COUNCIL CLIPS: Patio for Legion; Award for baseball player; sidewalk sold on Riverside

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
August 2nd, 2014

The City of Grand Forks’ regular council meeting started off with a presentation on July 21. Isiah McDonald was given a plaque Mayor Brian Taylor talked about how he was accepted to play international baseball.

“The City of Grand Forks is proud that a young member of our community has been chosen to play in the Latin American Baseball Classic,” said Taylor.

McDonald will play at the tournament in Santo Domingo.

“Your hard work and commitment to baseball has obviously paid off,” said Taylor.

He was also one of 40 players selected to play at the U18 (under 18) division in Team Canada.

The plaque was given to McDonald’s mother during the council meeting.


City council passed a motion to add over $145,000 as a contigency to the paving of 68th Avenue in Grand Forks. Previously, the council had approved a budget of $340,000 but Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Doug Allin said that the extra money would give them some leyway if any problems were discovered during the paving.

“We are actually asking for (this) contigency in the event that we run into any sort of repairs,” he said, adding that if there weren’t any problems, the money would go back into the reserve fund.

Council approved the motion, bringing the allotted funds to $489,000, which will come from the capital reserves, borrowing and gas tax funds.

Allin said that they would hold a ribbon cutting later that week and the contract would be awarded. Construction would start within a week or two of the contract being awarded.


Council entered into a partnership with the Grand Forks Community Trails Society. The agreement will help further trail improvements in and around Grand Forks, but does not require any financial committemnt from the City.

At the meeting, Coun. Michael Wirischagin asked if the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s Area D will also be making a partnership with the trail society. He noted that it is obvious where the City’s ends and Area D begins because the maintenance of the trails changes.

Allin agreed that there is a gap in service between the two communities but that the trail agreement is a step in the right direction to improving trails around the region.


Property developers on Riverside Drive put in a request to buy a section of sidewalk in front of their strata complex. The owners will care for the three-metre portion of property.

Allin said that it’s in the City’s favour to allow the developer to own part of the sidewalk.

“It’s to the City’s advantage not to own this sidewalk,” he said. The owner will take on responsibility. Pedestrians would still have access and while there would be a small amount of revenue coming to the city from the purchase, they would have long-term cost savings because they wouldn’t have to maintain or replace that section of sidewalk.

Council approved the request.


The Royal Canadian Legion #51 sent in a request to the City, asking to have a patio outside the Legion. The development variance permit is for a setback variance that is 20 feet to two feet at 7353 6th Street.

Allin said that the Legion had gone through all the necessary steps to get approval, including talking to neighbours. Councillors approved the request with little discussion.


The Congregation of Jehovahs Witness in Grand Forks asked city council if they could set up a small, portable cart in high traffic areas in the downtown core. In the request, they said it would be to manned by well-dressed congregation members who would prevent vandalism and encourage people to take the information. The cart would be set up twice a week for a couple of hours.

At the council meeting, Allin cautioned councillors about approving the request, saying it would open a “great big can of questions and requests” from other religious groups.

Coun. Gary Smith agreed with Allin, adding that people can go to places of worship to gather information. Wirischagin also agreed.

Allin went on to say that a cart like this can create problems for business owners and once that door was open, councillors might have to look at a bylaw to organize these kinds of carts.

Coun. Neil Krog said he was “definitely torn.” He said it’s a small cart and that he didn’t see a problem if it was on private land, like in a private parking lot where the business owner had approved it.

Councillors agreed that this was the first time they had been approached with this request and it would be better to receive it as information and look into it further.

A motion was passed to that affect.


A late addition to the July 21 meeting was a projected budget for the murals that will go by the Lift Station in Grand Forks.

The budget that was sent to councillors said that the mural would cost $5,000 for each wall. Four walls are to be painting, meaning the project will cost $20,000.

Kendel had concerns about this budget, especially because the work is volunteer so the budget would be $20,000 for paint and supplies. He wanted a more detailed breakdown of the budget and time to compare it to similar projects. He didn’t want to guess how the money would be used.

Smith agreed, saying he wanted a better financial picture.

However, Wirischagin said because the project was from volunteers they shouldn’t question it too deeply and if they tabled it to the next meeting it wouldn’t get done this year.

Taylor said that there wasn’t a lack of support at the table and that council definitely supported the project, they just wanted more details about the financial aspect.

Allin gave them several options, saying they could approve only one wall, while they looked into the funds deeper, or they could hold a special meeting.

Council decided to meet at a special meeting if the mural committee was available.

A special meeting was later set for Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. at 6641 Industrial Parkway (the Old Canpar Office building).


One of the last agenda items was to pass a liquor license for the Grand Forks Fall Fair so they could host a beer garden. The motion was passed. 

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