The beat goes on for bylaw services in the city

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
November 1st, 2016

The city will be keeping the bite in bark of bylaw service after it approved the extension of the contracted service.

City council received a report from city staff recommending the extension of bylaw services for 2016 and beyond, and acted on the recommendation at its regular meeting on Oct. 11.

The city had received very positive feedback on the effectiveness of the bylaw services, read a report from the manager of building inspection and bylaw services to council, since the contracted bylaw officer was employed in July.

“With the officer working random hours and weekends, many have been surprised to see him out and about,” wrote Wayne Kopan in his report.

“The bylaw officer’s presence at events and just walking the beat downtown has given the residents a sense that the city is finally taking action.”

Kopan noted that a total of seven “homeless camps” have been removed from the riverbanks in the city as a result of bylaw services, and 34 unsightly properties have been identified with 11 now in compliance.

In addition, watering notices have been handed out to a total of 74 residences this summer.

Kopan felt the delivery of notices at the time of the infraction was a key aspect of maintaining the solidity of bylaw enforcement.

Bylaw enforcement will continue this fall, said Kopan in his report, with issues such as commercial vehicles in residential neighbourhoods, sea cans in areas where they are not permitted, and illegal parking on city boulevards of recreational vehicles.

The position consists of 40 hours per week of work and includes weekend coverage.

“This would provide the city with bylaw enforcement coverage seven days a week for the balance of the year,” Kopan said in his report to council.

The extended bylaw service will be funded through the bylaw enforcement budget approved in the 2016 financial plan — with remainder of 2016 costing the city $6,300. The 2017 budget will reflect the continuation of the bylaw services position until Oct. 30, 2017.

Gallery 2 back in the saddle

More consultation is necessary in the details of the revised 2016 lease agreement between the city and Gallery 2, but the fee-for-service funding agreement between the municipality and the gallery has been passed.

A revision on the eight-year-old document has been in the works for some time, and it will likely take a little longer before city council approves it.

Council referred the revised lease agreement back to staff for more consultation.

When the Society for the Preservation of Community Arts and Culture moved into the old courthouse in 2008, they signed an agreement with the city.

The next year the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce requested that Grand Forks Art Gallery take over operation of the visitor information centre.

During this time the Grand Forks Gallery took over the operation from the society, and a new lease agreement and a new operating agreement was agreed upon.

The lease and fee for service agreements are the legal bones to hang the overall relationship between the city and Gallery 2. The lease agreement remains for a term of 25 years, with the commencement date still being April 1, 2009.

Earlier this year city council voted to have “the costs of electrical power” removed from the city’s financial responsibilities in the agreement.

Under the terms of the revised — but tentative — lease, Gallery 2 will pay the city $1 annually for the right to use the premises, but for the purposes of providing the services of museum and archives. The gallery also assumes all capital improvement costs for the building, as well as repairs and maintenance.

On the fee for service end, the city will pay Gallery 2 a minimum annual amount of $142,000 to provide services identified in the agreement, including the art gallery, heritage and visitor centre, and services in relation to the municipal campground.

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