Grand Forks recently spent around $6,000 to remove unoccupied trailers from the former motocross track at the top of Morrissey Creek Road. Two trailers were hauled from the area starting Tuesday, Jan. 5, after city hall said they had been abandoned.
The bill, discussed at Wednesday’s (Jan. 20) meeting of the Grand Forks Social Services Advisory Group (SSAG), is the latest fallout from city hall’s longstanding dilemma about what to do with the site more commonly known as “Moto.” People experiencing homelessness have for years lived out of trailers and other vehicles parked at Moto, which is owned by the city and is not zoned for use as a campsite.
“It’s been used as a party spot for years,” city councillor and SSAG member Chris Moslin told The Gazette Thursday, Jan. 21.
“If we don’t do something to re-purpose that site, we’ll just have to clean it up again in a few years.”
Moslin highlighted that the $6,000 bill represents the city staff’s latest clean-up effort. Council passed resolutions last year directing staff to remove vehicles abandoned at Moto, but the city has no definite plans for Moto’s future.
Moslin said council has heard ideas about converting the site into a paid campsite or a bike park. Alternatively, Moslin suggested that existing barriers to campers could be beefed up, effectively walling off the area, “in which case the public wouldn’t be able to use it at all.”
There are at least 36 people experiencing homelessness in the Grand Forks area, SSAG heard from BC Housing’s Nanette Drobot last December. Meanwhile, BC Housing and Boundary Family Services, which fund and operate Grand Forks’ extreme weather shelter at the Old Hardy View Lodge, reported that the shelter provided beds for around 12 clients over the winter holidays.
Boundary Family Services’ Director Darren Pratt said the city’s recent removal of trailers at Moto has “meant the shift in the delivery of COVID-19 Outreach services to some former residents of Moto in different locations.”