In a recent letter to the editor, a resident of Grand Forks questioned the purpose of a webcam that is being planned for the top of Observation Mountain.
Chris Moslin – chair of the environmental committee that is planning to install the webcam – assures everyone that the purpose is not to spy on residents.
“The webcam will provide a panoramic view of the valley, it won’t be trained on any one source,” Moslin says.
“The other thing the webcam does is keeps track of the weather.”
It would help to measure air quality in that information could be compared to the information taken in the city, to see if an inversion of warm air is keeping pollutants from rising out of the valley.
“A webcam on top of Observation Mountain would see that,” he says. “We could see the stratification in the clouds.”
Moslin says that currently, Grand Fork’s air quality alerts come from a meteorologist in Cranbrook.
“All he’s really got to look at is the TEOM (Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance) device on top of City Hall and it’s measuring the particulate matter,” he says.
The meteorologist can only go by the data from that instrument and word of mouth from what Moslin or others in Grand Forks can tell him. The webcam would give another option.
Moslin adds that these days there are webcams in most communities that are not used for spying.
“The whole point of the camera would not be to zero in on anything,” he says. “The point would be to give a wide angle view so there is no loss of individual privacy at all.”