Grand Forks goes green with new initiative

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
December 2nd, 2016

The City of Grand Forks is considering setting itself up as one of the greenest municipalities in the province.

City staff has now identified several city-owned properties that could be used to add to the inventory of nature parks already under municipal jurisdiction. In early November the city approved the creation of its first nature park, the Johnson Flats Wetland Natural Area. It was during the creation of that park that the seed for further parks within municipal boundaries was planted.

Several have now been inventoried — including the oxbow and Eighth Street areas — and are now under consideration for inclusion as future nature parks.

Once it builds momentum, the green movement would establish the city as having “the most amount of green parkland for a city of this size in the region,” said the city engineering technologist, Graham Watt, in his verbal memorandum to city council Monday night during its regular meeting.

“We have been looking at all of the city properties that have real limitations to development as well as real strong ecological values, and we have identified them” in choosing the list, he said.

There are several city properties around the oxbow, as well as around the forested area near Eighth Street, a pocket-wetland area up on 78th Avenue and other hillside areas that would be too tough to develop on for future park considerations.

Watt suggested council bring forward for a request for decision in an upcoming council meeting that identifies all of the parcels and set out a timeline for the next bylaw that would group ones that council would choose.

The advantage of going with that is it would provide a “big splash,” said Watt, “because we would have some of the largest amount of parkland for a city our size in the region, I believe.”

None of the lands proposed for parkland would have to be purchased, Watt explained to council, as all are city owned.

Coun. Beverly Tripp wondered if the bylaw would be just for those properties identified in the oxbow area or would there be others.

“I believe the options for parkland would be brought forward in the request for decision,” Watt replied, with other areas than the oxbow.

It could all be brought forward into one bylaw and listed as individual attachments. Choosing to add another nature park in the future would be an amendment to that bylaw.

Watt said council may wish to consider grouping several of the parcels — like Pahoda Slough, McCallum Marsh, 15th Street Marsh and Fifth Street Wetland — into one “Oxbow” nature park, and protect the other single wetlands as well using the same process.

Categories: General