SUMMING IT UP: Grand Forks City Council
Creating friendly border crossings, water meters and branding topped the list for Grand Forks city council at their last meeting before heading off to the provincial gathering of local governments.
Mayor Brian Taylor took the opportunity during the primary committee meeting, with an open agenda, to update council on a meeting with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). After a speech on Canada Day where Taylor critiqued both Canadian and American border services for alleged harassment of citizens and creating an “unfriendly” border, CBSA requested to meet with the mayor.
The discussion covered ground from economic development opportunities that could arise with more open, friendly borders, to exploring ways to provide anonymous feedback to the CBSA from travellers.
“Can we not tap into the potential economy across the border and get more (Americans) to come up this way?” Taylor said. “(CBSA) were saying that if we were willing to sit down with mayors and chairs that they would see if they could get Americans to also come and sit down with us.”
Taylor suggested that they start a discussion involving mayors and regional government chairs from across the Kootenay Boundary to start a regional initiative to make our borders friendlier, but also educate travellers to make the experience more comfortable.
Both councillors Gary Smith and Neil Krog agreed that there might be some opportunities for improvements in border experiences. Krog suggested that education around border travel for Americans could enhance tourism, while Smith described the challenges that local businesses can sometimes experience transporting their products.
Council gave Taylor support to initiate a larger group discussion.
After a tendering process developed by the city’s economic development committee, Story & Co. was chosen to create the city’s new image.
“The sub-committee received three proposals. The selections were quickly narrowed down to two… the sub-committee discussed the nuances of the two. The discussion included the merits of utilizing a company with extensive experience in the community and branding. Their specialization coupled with a particularly strong design portfolio gave the sub-committee further clarity and confidence in choosing the proponents,” explained Smith.
Council ratified the committee’s recommendation to hire Story & Co.
As part of the city’s annual strategic planning process one of the goals set is to pursue residential water meters. Earlier in the year council approved a grant application to access gas tax funding for the metering program.
“We’re asking our staff to prepare data and costs for a council decision to move forward on water metering,” said Taylor. “I’m assuming if we would have heard we would know at this point if we had funding from gas tax, but regardless of whether that has come through we need to go to that stage of referring it and scheduling it for budget discussions for the 2013 – 2017 five-year financial plan.”
The motion to have staff prepare the reports was passed with councillor Michael Wirischagin recording his vote against the motion.
Watch the entire meeting, or just parts at GFTVCA, by Les Johnson!