GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL JAN. 14: Omega Restaurant permit approved, carbon offsets discussed

Grand Forks city council approved a development permit for the Omega Restaurant and talked carbon offsets at its last meeting.

Patricia Dehnel of the Community Energy Association makes a presentation to city council on Jan. 14.

Patricia Dehnel of the Community Energy Association makes a presentation to city council on Jan. 14.

The City of Grand Forks gave three readings to bylaws regarding electrical rate increases and garbage collection regulation at its Jan. 14 meeting.

Three readings were made for Bylaw 1944, the Electrical Utility Regulatory Amendment bylaw and for Bylaw 1945, the Residential Garbage Collection Rates and Regulations Amendment bylaw.

Final readings of the two will come at a future meeting and if that happens, both will take effect.

Omega Restaurant development permit approved

Council approved a development permit that will see a 39-square-metre arched structure (pergola) built at the front exterior of the Omega Restaurant, allowing for outdoor seating. The structure will be built on the west side of the restaurant.

Coun. Patrick O’Doherty proposed the motion, Coun. Cher Wyers seconded and the motion carried without opposition (Coun. Bob Kendel was absent).

GFBRAS, city news

Mayor Brian Taylor will be city council liaison to the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society (GFBRAS), it was announced at the meeting.

Sheila Dobie, vice-president of GFBRAS, also asked the city for support for the community garden’s next phase of funding, the Evergreen Green Grant from Walmart Canada.

“We have been informed by the funder that we’re applying for, that in fact, we are needing to apply for this funding as a charitable organization, which we are not,” Dobie explained. “We are wanting to know if the City of Grand Forks would be interested in being the representative for this funding proposal and co-sponsor that project with us.”

The grant would see funds to expand the Ruckle area community garden’s infrastructure, including the construction of a “composting toilet,” an outdoor gazebo classroom, a new tool shed, educational signage as well as development of garden-based educational programming.

O’Doherty proposed a motion to accept the report, Coun. Neil Krog seconded and there were no votes against. City staff will review the report and council will respond to GFBRAS at a future date. Application deadline is March 1.

New format for primary committee meeting

Taylor announced that there would be a new format for the city’s primary committee meetings, likely beginning in March.

Currently, primary committee meetings occur once a month, alongside the city council meeting scheduled for the same day.

“I think what we’re seeing is there is limited opportunity for committee chairs and work to be discussed in an open forum and so the model we’re looking at here is that we would meet on a morning, probably the same day that we’re meeting on Monday, and we would start around 9 a.m. and run ‘til noon,” Taylor said, adding that it was suggested that it be “informalized.”

Carbon offsets

Council was approached with a proposal to contribute city carbon offset contributions to Carbon Neutral Kootenay’s Darkwoods Project.

In 2013, the city will have to pay for its carbon offsets – reduction in carbon dioxide emissions or greenhouse gases (GHG) or compensation to counteract an emission made elsewhere.

The city had signed on to the Climate Action Charter in 2007 and as such, committed to being carbon neutral in its operations by 2012.

Community energy planner Patricia Dehnel and executive director Dale Littlejohn of the Community Energy Association made a presentation to council proposing that carbon offset funds be contributed to the Darkwoods Project, a forest conservation project between Nelson and Creston.

Doing so would keep carbon offset money local and from those contributions, a trust fund would be created within the Boundary and East and West Kootenays to fund related projects.

Coun. Gary Smith put forward a motion to accept the presentation and further, for the city’s 2012 carbon offset contributions to go to the Darkwoods Project with Wyers seconding.

All councillors present voted in favour. According to Wayne Kopan, city manager of environmental and building construction services, the amount for 2012 carbon offsets will be approximately $8,000.

“We will not have an accurate figure until all the data has been entered into the 2012 carbon report which should be another week or two,” Kopan said.