Council held its only regular council meeting of the month on April 11 with several topics up for discussion including water restrictions, pickleball courts and a motion to stop discussion on the Councillor Julia Butler court ruling.
In a very close vote, council approved removing Stage 2 water restrictions and returning to Stage 1 water restrictions as of April 11. The vote was 3-2 with Julia Butler, Chris Hammett and Mayor Frank Konrad voting for it and Chris Thompson and Colleen Ross voting against it.
The background information stated that the current snow pack levels for the area are at 127 per cent (of normal) and that the forecast for April and May indicate above normal temperatures for Western Canada.
Ross spoke against it saying that the high snow pack (127 per cent) is a nice figure but that it is “melting really, really fast.”
“We are losing our water quickly; we don’t have precipation,” she told council. “Although we are seeing our streams running, our soils are getting dry already…I can support this resolution but I really want to caution council that this year we don’t drag our feet and we keep an eye on not just the flow of our rivers but we keep an eye on the dryness of our soil.”
Stage 1 Water Restriction allows outdoor sprinkling on alternate days with “even” numbered civic addresses sprinkling on “even” numbered days, and “odd” numbered addresses sprinkling on “odd” days. Sprinkling hours are restricted to between the hours of 7 – 9 a.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. Automatic timed underground sprinklers can water between 12 midnight until 4 a.m.
For the complete Grand Forks Sprinkling Regulations with information on times to water please check out the city’s website at grandforks.ca.
Council voted unanimously to commit money ($7,256) from the slag fund towards the cost of resurfacing the entire compound at Barbara Ann Park and dedicate one court as four permanent pickleball courts. The background information states that the pickleball group has subsequently secured additional funds of $25,000 contingent on the city support and are seeking private donations.
“I just think this is a great deal for the city that for $7,000 we’re going to get our courts resurfaced and updated,” said Butler. “The amount of work the pickleball association has done to get their grant money in place to help us with this is wonderful. It’s going to benefit the community as a whole.”
Parking limit quashed
Council voted against receiving a letter of request from the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce for discussion and decision regarding a two-hour parking limit on Market Avenue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Following the vote, council put forward and carried a motion to have a round-table discussion with businesses regarding parking issues.
Financial plan adopted
The 2016-20 Financial Plan bylaw for the City of Grand Forks passed fourth and final reading.
The background information stated that the financial plan is tied directly to the Asset Management Financial Policy passed by council in January. The Asset Management Financial Policy is a framework for financial decision making and will guide the city in funding infrastructure renewal. The goal of the policy is to annually fund, by way of transfer to the infrastructure reserves, 50 per cent of the $3.85 million recommended yearly infrastructure investment recommended by city engineers.
Art gallery funding passed
Council approved 4-1 (with Konrad opposed) funding for the Grand Forks Art Gallery for the coming year and approved early release of the next funding date from May 15 to April.