Council Briefs: Feedback requested

Briefs and a graphic showing how they voted at the Committee of the Whole and Regular meetings of Grand Forks City Council June 15.

How Grand Forks City Council voted at Committee of the Whole and Regular meetings June 15.

Council requests feedback on metering program

At the Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting on June 15, Grand Forks City Council voted unanimously to receive a report from consulting firm Urban Systems regarding the water meter project and to invite feedback from water utility customers.

City staff will collect the feedback and prepare a report for council for the July 20 COTW meeting. The deadline for feedback is 4 p.m., June 25, and can be submitted by email, mail or hand delivered.

Water restrictions

Council considered a recommendation from staff to increase water restrictions. The new restrictions would see watering go from three days per week to two days per week.

Council defeated the original motion to go to second stage water restrictions. Council then carried a motion to remain at stage one water restrictions but to have increased enforcement (through fines) of the bylaw and to reconsider stage two at the next meeting (June 29).

Council also added a provision to alert the public through advertising in the Gazette about the restrictions and the applicable fines for offenders.

Detailed information on the city’s sprinkling regulations is available on the city’s public works website.

Allin contract

Council approved a motion to release both the current contract with CAO Doug Allin and the previous one.

The motion was passed with a vote of 4-2 with councillors Ross and Krog opposed. Councillor Wirischagin was absent.

Mural project

At the regular meeting of Grand Forks City Council June 15, council unanimously approved a request regarding a partnership with Selkirk College for a mural project including funding.

The mural project will be done by Amber Santos, a mural artist from Nelson, working with kids aged 7-18 years old, at a series of camps run by the college.

The college is asking for $2,000 to cover items such as canvases, paint and brushes. The project would include eight 1.2 metre by 1.2 metre (4 foot by 4 foot) canvases that would be displayed on the lift station/washroom buildings at City Park.

BETHS lease transfer

Council received a request from Habitat for Humanity Southeast BC for support to transfer the lease of 7212 Riverside Drive (MAAP) in the event that Habitat chooses to withdraw from the lease.

Council voted 4-2 against the motion with councillors Butler and Ross voting for and Neil Krog, Chris Hammett, Christine Thompson and Mayor Konrad voting against. (Councillor Wirischagin was absent.)

Krog said he voted against the motion because he felt it was backwards to approve the lease transfer before Habitat even withdraws.

“We’ve had no formal information that Habitat is going to withdraw,” he said, “and this says ‘oh by the way, if they do withdraw will you just transfer the lease.’ They haven’t told us they’re withdrawing. There’s been some verbal, but not official, information. As the mayor says, we do things in writing.”

A subsequent motion, which was approved, referred the issue back to staff to talk to Habitat and get confirmation in writing if they do decide to withdraw from the lease before proceeding.

Verbal reports from councillors

In her report to council, Councillor Butler said she has received many questions about the contract that was awarded for the remediation of the gravel pit. Butler wondered why the city only received one bid for the contact after advertising it for two weeks on the city website. She questioned why the city did not advertise the request for proposal (RFP) in the paper and on B.C. bid “to receive three bids and the lowest possible price.”

CAO Doug Allin responded by stating that the city has a new purchasing policy and that by putting the RFP on the website, it fulfilled the policy expectations.

Solid waste collection

Council approved a motion to formalize the solid waste collection agreement with the RDKB. The agreement means that RDKB will continue to provide solid waste collection service to Grand Forks through the contractor Kettle Valley Waste.

Electrical utility regulatory bylaw

Council gave fourth and final reading to bylaw No. 2015, the electrical utility regulatory bylaw. The bylaw includes updates to allow the city to disconnect overdue utility accounts in certain circumstances.

According to Community Charter section 18, a municipality may, by bylaw, establish circumstance in which it may discontinue a utility service. However, the bylaw must include provisions for reasonable notice and a provision for the persons affected to have an opportunity to make representations to council.