Whispers, BETHs, ask council to reconsider eviction

Whispers, BETHs, ask council to reconsider eviction

A representative from Whispers of Hope will appear before council on Monday

A month before they were due to be evicted from their Riverside Drive location, two organizations serving Grand Forks’ homeless and underprivileged residents are making a play to have city council reconsider.

A representative from Whispers of Hope Benevolence Association is set to appear at the City of Grand Forks council Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday morning, asking council to rescind the six-month eviction notice issued earlier this year. The lease is set to be terminated Feb. 10. The group is requesting that they be allowed to remain in the space until June 2018, the original end date of the lease.

According to the delegation request included in the agenda package, the group is also requesting a new lease to be renegotiated with city council.

Coun. Colleen Ross also has a notice of motion on Monday’s COTW agenda, asking that council extend the time for the organizations to remain in their location until May 1. She writes in her notice of motion that Whispers and BETHs are active in seeking a new location but have not yet found a suitable space.

Included under Ross’ agenda item are emails from Grand Forks Fire/Rescue Chief Dale Heriot and the city’s manager of building inspections Dave Bruce.

In his email, addressed to Chief Administrative Officer Diane Heinrich, Heriot said he has inspected the facility three times since October and while some deficiencies with compliance to the fire code have been corrected, an issue with the range hood failed to be cleaned is ongoing.

According to Heriot, the range hood is in dire need of cleaning and efforts to have it cleaned have stalled.

“As the facility was scheduled to close in February I have been lenient on shutting down the cooking system until it has been cleaned,” Heriot wrote in his email, dated Jan. 4. “Unfortunately the manager has been lax in sourcing out a cleaning company. With a delayed closure and because of the continued risk of fire, I will be forced to shut down the stove and exhaust system until it has been cleaned…”

Bruce also addressed concerns in an accompanying email, noting safety concerns regarding the wiring of the building and the need for an electrical review.

Bruce also wrote about concerns with the occupant load of the building. The load is certified for 10 but Bruce said he “is hearing” that the occupant load in BETHs is usually in excess of 10, and that the building lacks a fire alarm system.

According to a consultant brought in by the city to conduct a building review in the spring, the cost of rehabilitating the building would be around $312,000. At a public meeting in December, Coun. Christine Thompson, when questioned, indicated the city would likely demolish the building when it was vacant due to the high cost of repairs.

“If the occupant load can be maintained at 10 or less, and if the electrical systems are corrected immediately, then I would be comfortable stating the place is safe to occupy for the time being. If this cannot be done, then the place should be vacated now,” Bruce wrote.

Meanwhile, a change.org petition to city council has garnered over 250 signatures opposing the eviction.

The petition is addressed to members of council, including the mayor.

“It is inhumane to take shelter from people who are vulnerable in the coldest months of the year,” the petition reads.

As of Thursday morning, 278 people had signed the petition.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Ambulance Crews prepare to evacuate a sick Greenwood boy by helicopter on Friday, Feb. 26. Photo: Submitted
Greenwood boy taken to hospital by BC Ambulance helicopter

Greenwood volunteer firefighters helped prepare the chopper’s landing

City council was given a draft budget presentation at chambers on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
City’s draft budget shows modest surplus, with slight property tax bump for 2021

The draft reflects the latest numbers in the on-going budget process

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Third-grader Hudson Adrian (left) on Wednesday, Feb. 24, poses with fourth-graders Josh Hlookoff (centre) and Jaylen Dekteroff at Hutton Elementary’s Pink Shirt Day parade. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
WATCH — Grand Forks’ elementaries support Pink Shirt Day

The annual celebration of kindness puts paid to the idea that bullying was ever cool

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read