Housing and mental health are two of the issues that have dominated discourse in Grand Forks over the last year, and local city councillors are making a move for provincial change on both issues with pending resolutions to the association of local governments.
At Monday’s regular meeting of council, Couns. Christine Thompson and Chris Moslin put forward draft resolutions for discussion by council, with the intention that council will adopt the resolutions to bring forward to the annual Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) conference in April.
The AKBLG is a conference of the Kootenay and Boundary area local government leaders, and resolutions endorsed by the association at that conference are often brought forward to he provincial stage at the Union of B.c. Municipalities in the fall.
Thompson’s proposed motion read:
“Whereas addiction, particularly drug addiction, is recognized as a mental health issue; and whereas small communities do not have many of the supports required to assist those wanting to recover from addiction; and whereas detox followed by immediate rehabilitation is necessary in order to recover; and whereas the wait time between detox and rehabilitation can be up to three months; Therefore be it resolved that the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions be encouraged to fund more detox and rehabilitation centres throughout the province.”
“Council is going to work together to create a resolution we are comfortable taking to AKBLG and onward to UBCM, and we will pass it at a meeting,” Thompson said.
Moslin’s proposed motion read:
“Whereas the City of Grand Forks has been devastated by a recent flood and is challenged to protect and rebuild its downtown core as a vibrant commercial area; and whereas BC Housing failed to consult council about the location or size of the facility before land was purchase, a design chosen and the project put to tender; Therefore be it resolved that BC Housing seek local government’s approval before supportive housing initiatives are tendered for construction.”
After discussion with council, Moslin said during the regular meeting council had suggested he amend this motion to add “…seek local government approval before land is purchased for…”
Moslin said in discussion of the draft resolution, which was presented as part of the councillor’s report, that he felt council had been “sidelined” from making decision as a result of BC Housing’s action, and hopefully bringing this motion forward would draw attention to the issue.
“This has saddled this council with difficult choices, and in many ways, sidelined us from having an impact or having the decisions we were elected to make, we were elected to solve the housing problem with partners, not endure someone else’s solutions.
“If BC Housing is going to spend [provincial] money, they should do it in a responsible way, and a responsible way in my mind is make sure the money is well spent in a supportive community.”
Council will be making a motion to endorse these recommendations and forward them to the AKBLG at a meeting in the near future.