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Grand Forks Council re-visits notice to Whispers of Hope and BETHS

Whispers of Hope and BETHS was given a second notice Monday to adhere to City’s bylaws and sections of the lease that have lapsed over the last year. — Facebook photo

In a media release Tuesday, Grand Forks City Council has said it is re-visiting the timelines in their decision from last week regarding the closure of the City owned building occupied by Whispers of Hope and BETHS.

The release said the revised notice would give the societies additional time to plan their transition while enforcing the City’s bylaws and sections of the lease that have lapsed over the last year.

In the notice, the City has said it has received numerous complaints from the public, including owners of neighbouring properties.

“The City issued notice today for the soup kitchen, thrift store and emergency shelter to bring their premise into compliance with City bylaws within thirty days, and to maintain the standard set in the lease agreement, or they would be required to vacate the premise,” the release said.

“The notice included direction to vacate the property within six months in accordance with the lease agreement.”

Last week (August 2) the City issued a notice to cease operations within 48 hours and to vacate the premise in thirty days in reaction to dozens of complaints from the public and thousands of dollars spent by the City in repairing vandalism in areas around the building.

The notice sparked a debate within the community and the societies about the services provided and the general issue of homelessness, addictions and mental health.

“The City’s goal is to reduce behaviour that presents a risk to public safety,” the release said.

“This includes interpersonal conflicts (yelling matches or fighting), improper disposal of needles or drug paraphernalia, and damage to property or vandalism.”