At the regular council meeting of Grand Forks City Council on Jan. 26, all council members voted in favour of Coun. Colleen Ross’ motion to have Grand Forks opt out of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).
Council also agreed to send the motion to Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG).
After a short discussion that included former councillor and former deer committee chair Gary Smith from the gallery, council voted in favour of having the deer committee become an ad hoc committee. Formerly the deer committee was a committee of council.
Coun. Chris Hammett was appointed council liaison with the deer committee.
WildsafeBC program approved
After a brief discussion, council approved $8,000 for the WildsafeBC program for 2015.
Council heard from Sasha Bird, manager of development and engineering, who stated that the minimum cost for council for the program was $2,500 and that they would need to decide before the program deadline on Feb. 6.
Coun. Julia Butler originally spoke against the expense, stating that the city is spending enough money already. Coun. Thompson said the cost was money well spent.
Butler changed her mind and voted in favour.
Mitchell letter addressed
Mayor Konrad responded to a letter from resident Ian Mitchell. In the letter, which also ran in part in the Gazette, Mitchell stated that the mayor had “let down the citizens of Grand Forks” by speaking to Wayne Kopan, the city building inspector, in a belittling manner about the water meter installation and the use of certified installers instead of licensed plumbers.
Mayor Konrad told Mitchell, who was in the gallery, that he was acting on behalf of the citizens of Grand Forks and that that was his duty.
“When statements are put out to the public as mayor I feel if they’re not totally accurate than I must as an elected official act on behalf of the people who elected,” said Konrad. “It is not only my obligation—it is my duty.”
Coun. Thompson apologized directly to Kopan about the treatment by council at the previous council meeting. She said it would be better to discuss any disagreement privately rather than in public in a council setting.
“I don’t like to see anyone publicly embarrassed like Mr. Kopan was on the 12th of January,” she said to council. “I have every confidence in his ability to do his job…I apologize to Mr. Kopan for not having said something (at the time).”
Park in the Park donation
All councillors except Coun. Ross voted in favour of a donation of $1,000 to purchase a highway banner for Grand Forks Park in the Park car show.
Ross said that “celebrating cars is passé.”
Coun. Krog stated that the car show is a big economic driver for the city and it’s important to help out. He also added that cars are still very popular and pointed to the Barrett Jackson auction on television.
Ross responded that maybe Barrett Jackson should pay the $1,000.
Despite the decision to send a letter asking for the federal government to approve medical cannabis derivatives, council was less than hospitable about a potential pro-medical cannabis music concert.
Sarah Winton, acting corporate officer, read the request from Chuck Varabioff to host a music festival for Grand Forks called Cannafest.
The event would be put on by the B.C. Pain Society, a pro-medicinal marijuana group. Winton said she was told there would be no recreational drugs or alcohol at the event. Playing at Cannafest would be popular ’80s rock bands Trooper, Prism, Foreigner and more.
Council agreed to table the motion until more information could be procured as they had just learned about it at dinner.
Council voted to approve Coun. Chris Thompson as the liaison to the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities. Coun. Chris Hammett was appointed as the liaison for the deer committee.
Coun. Butler read a letter from Zachary May (compliance advisor-energy, senior codes administration, building and safety standards branch, office of housing and construction standards).
“I cannot tell you that allowing persons not listed in the code as qualified to perform plumbing work complies with the code because it does not. The approach of using ‘certified’ installers may be acceptable or considered reasonable in other parts of the country but it does not comply with the BC Plumbing Code,” she reiterated.