It was a busy Friday afternoon around Grand Forks with three separate ribbon cutting photo-ops for city council, staff and committee members.
First was the dedication of the new kiosk at the bottom of the east side of Observation Mountain.
Shortly after, the group descended on Eighth St. under Observation trail for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new bat houses, which will help the city control insects in a natural manner.
Finally, the last ribbon-cutting ceremony was in City Park by the Kettle River for the new sign celebrating the riparian area and the local wildlife.
The first event on Friday for city councillors, staff and committee members was the ribbon cutting at the kiosk at Observation Mountain.
The kiosk whch is at the bottom of Observation Mountain at the end of 2nd Street will help guide both visitors and residents alike.
“It’s been very undervalued as a landmark,” said Mayor Taylor. “Other than the few energetic people who can sprint to the top – it has been very under-utilized. Having a better pathway up (is great). We will also probably look at how we can move people up from the other side if we develop more of a spot on top so we can relax and enjoy the jewel of our valley.”
There was also a cheque presentation from Peter Perepelkin to the trails society to improve the trail to the top of Observation.
Perepelkin and wife Joy have donated $10,000 from a special fund which was set up in memory of their son Keith. The fund will be paid in installments of $1,000 per year for 10 years.
“It’s a fantastic jewel of a landmark that is not being utilized or recognized in the community,” he said. “We want to improve the trail so it’s more accessible to more people and make sure it has proper signage and is maintained.”
The city has erected five bat houses around Grand Forks to help control insect populations in a natural manner. The five bat dwellings are located at the city cemetery, Boundary Drive and trail area, and under Observation loop trail.
“We were asking ourselves if there was another way (to control insects) other than spraying,” said Taylor. “The argument is that the spraying is fairly innocuous and that they use safe chemicals. But there is a lot of objections to spraying anything on anything. So clearly moving this direction and using nature to control nature is positive. Although it’s a small step, it’s an important step.”
Contributing to the creation of the bat houses were: Telus, which donated five poles that the bat homes sit on; the Boundary Woodworkers Guild, which did the building of the bat houses; Stryker Industries, which donated all the material and labour to fabricate the brackets that mount the bat boxes to the poles; and the City of Grand Forks installed them.
Also instrumental in the process were the City of Grand Forks’ city council’s environment committee and the Granby Wilderness Society.
The last ribbon cutting of the day was at City Park for the new kiosk on the Kettle River which tells readers of the many benefits of the riparian area.
“I think what we’re doing is sending signals to the community about what we as council and what we believe they support—which is to value some of these riparian areas that surround the city that make the environment we create around the rivers,” said Mayor Brian Taylor. “It’s become so important to understand the relationship between quality of water and how we look after the surrounding lands around rivers and streams and wetlands.”
Taylor said it’s been pressure from groups like the Granby Wilderness Society to protect the habitat that has result in the city putting up the information signs and kiosks.
“It’s had a snowballing effect,” he said. “If we’re going to look after the Lewis woodpecker and the cottonwood areas then we’re already in the riparian business. I think this is all part of a trend with Grand Forks leading the way with this kind of environmental sensitivity.”