Rebuilding fees highlight decision at Aug. 17 council

A watering exception, new signage, and a street piano project were other decisions made

From funding a community music project to installing new signs, Grand Forks Council made several decisions during their Aug. 17 meeting, including one that may further frustrate residents.

Three residents of North Ruckle who were part of the buy-out program after the 2018 flooding filed building permits, and asked the city to waive the $2,300 or higher in connection fees.

Councillors Chris Moslin and Zak Eburne-Stoodley both supported waiving the fees, in order to encourage residents to stay in Grand Forks.

“We really need to rebuild the city, which means we need to retain the people,” said Moslin. “We’ve bought them out, but we haven’t moved them yet. To the extent that people have moved out, and are moving within the city, I believe we should encourage that.”

Moslin added that more residents who decide to stay in the city would provide a financial return.

Coun. Christine Thomson opposed any further financial support for residents of North Ruckle.

“Included in the buy-out price was a substantial contingency,” said Thomson. “In my opinion, that contingency should be used to pay any additional costs. I think the taxpayers and the utility users of Grand Forks have paid substantially for bringing up the buyout numbers.”

Thomson was not alone in her opinion, with Coun. Cathy Korolek backing her motion to oppose the waiver.

“The compensation, it’s already been paid,” said Korolek. “It was up to 18 per cent of their fair market value, and they’ve already received that. I believe the time has come, we have to start saying this is the limit, otherwise it will come back to haunt us again and again.”

That fair market value has been a sticking point for members of the community. Mayor Brian Taylor and Coun. Neil Krog both opposed waiving the fees.

The final decision was not to give the waiver, with Moslin and Eburne Stoodley recorded as opposing the decision.

Council found more unity in dealing with the other issues that were presented at the Aug. 17 meeting.

Two 50 km/h speed limit signs will be coming to the neighbourhood of South Ruckle. Also coming will be an online survey for neighbourhood residents on whether they want the speed limit in their neighbourhood reduced to 30 km/h.

The issue was brought to council by the South Ruckle Ratepayers Association, who also asked for the city to clarify that there is a traffic change as vehicles travel down the hill on Como and exit the 60 km/h regional district speed limit. One of their concerns is that residences at the bottom of the hill have families with children that play on or near the road.

Council was unanimous in their support for the signs, as well as their opposition to a couple’s request to be allowed to water from midnight to 4 a.m.

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