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SUMMING IT UP: Grand Forks says no to rugby field in city park and tackles oil recycling

Grand Forks City Councillors (L - R) Gene Robert, Christine Thompson, and Joy Davies; Photo, Mona Mattei

Campers have discovered the vandals ruining trees in City Park – the beavers did it said City Councillor Gene Robert at council’s last meeting. Joking aside, council dealt with a light meeting on June 28 deciding the location of the rugby field, authorizing financing for the development of northwest 79 Avenue improvements, and proceeding with a call for nominations for their volunteer appreciation night.

 
Recycled oil
 
During the primary meeting council Mayor Brian Taylor raised the topic of recycling oil. A stewardship program developed by the province is designed to make the manufacturers of products responsible for the waste that results from them. Recycling of tires, oil, and other waste is a priority area said Taylor.
 
“Automotive tires are now being returned to the automotive dealer, not to the dump,” said Taylor. “What we have here with the stewardship and recycled oil though is that government has designated a number of places that will take oil, store it and periodically have it picked up. The problem is that it’s costing the garage, let’s say, way more to go through the hassle of this than it is worth their while.”
 
The business owner gets paid virtually nothing, said Taylor. Payment is based on a sliding scale, for example for up to 2000 litres they receive two cents a litre, at about 10000 litres they get five cents. With the provincial government collecting eco-taxes both on the sale of oil and oil filters there is a gap between what is collected in taxes and what the local businesses are receiving for their efforts.
 
“Without undermining the stewardship program with oil, the regional landfill and the regional government has said that they would consider looking after a repository for used oil at the waste disposal site provided they can recoup that money back from the oil companies,” said Taylor. Taylor said RDKB Waste Management Director Alan Stanley has committed to working to ensure that companies are responsible for their waste products.
 
“Almost all the people who take oil have been burned to the point that they don’t want to do it. In fact, as Councillor Robert has pointed out, it’s become critical in town and we suspect that a lot of people are dumping oil. So I think this situation is critical and we need to deal with it,” said Taylor.
 
Council agreed to work with the RDKB to develop a local repository for oil while pursuing cost recovery from the provincial government and oil companies.  
 
Rugby pitch
 
Tod Benson, president of the Grand Forks Wanderers Rugby Club made a presentation appealing to council to approve a full size rugby pitch in City Park.
 
“We have gone through lots of discussion and education into developing a new multi-purpose field. We’ve looked at a number of field locations, most recently Dick Bartlett Park. After further research we found that that park is pretty much completely booked by the baseball and I just don’t see that being an option at this time,” said Benson. “We’re just going to have future conflicts. There’ll be no space for another multi-purpose field there so we would still consider City Park as our number one option.”
 
Once council entered their regular meeting they received a report from staff that suggested that council consider locating the field at Dick Bartlett Park. Councillor Michael Wirischagin gave support to the City Park location.
 
“I speak in favour of City Park as I have many times in the past. I think it’s time that we give our children a chance to play on a field that resembles the sport they are playing not playing soccer on baseball diamonds, rugby in dirt, etc. The problem that I have (with Dick Bartlett Park) is the scheduling,” said Wirischagin.
 
Despite discussion about the location, the motion to locate the rugby field at City Park was defeated.
 
Regional District items
 
Taylor provided council with an update on activities at the regional government level. Surplus funds of $10,000 have been allocated to develop new drawings of a fitness / wellness centre at the aquatic centre. This will be the first step in moving forward with a major renovation at the pool complex which would increase space for the gym, and create other spaces for fitness classes and wellness treatments.
 
There is a move at the regional hospital board to consider the development of a helipad at the Boundary Hospital. Taylor advised council that the drawings for a pad were done a few years ago and that the construction of the emergency landing area would only cost between $75 – 100,000.
 
Other
 
Council approved the financing of services to be installed on 79 Avenue for a new housing development. Funds well be repaid by those receiving the services over time.
 
Volunteer appreciation night for local volunteers has been set for Sept. 22. Council will be posting a call for nominations for the recognition night.
 
An honorarium has been approved for Les Johnson, who currently provides video coverage of council meetings to Shaw Cable through their community cable station. The station’s contributions are winding down, and Johnson would not be able to continue to provide the service without support.

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