It was a short but unique council meeting on Sept. 14 at Grand Forks City Hall with all 32 municipal workers in attendance holding signs asking for respect. Although the proposed job losses were not on the agenda, there were several other topics discussed.
Council put a call out to the public for nominations for exceptional volunteer service in the City of Grand Forks. Nomination forms are available at City Hall or online at grandforks.ca and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off at City Hall by Monday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m.
The volunteer appreciation night will be held in conjunction with the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures’ Business Excellence and Community Awards night on Oct. 15 at the curling rink.
The city contributes $2,000 towards the awards night.
Delegate to the Municipal Insurance Association AGM
Councillor Christine Thompson was selected voting delegate for the Municipal Insurance Association (MIABC) annual meeting, which takes place on Sept. 22 in Vancouver during UBCM. Mayor Konrad and Councillor Colleen Ross were selected as alternates.
In accordance to the reciprocal agreement, council must register the voting delegate and alternates with the MIABC) in order to be eligible to vote at the meeting.
New building Canada fund –Waste water treatment
Council received notification from the province saying that the city’s application for funding under the new Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund has been approved to a maximum federal/provincial contribution of $306,666. The project earmarked is the waste water treatment plant’s conversion to ultra-violet disinfection.
Water meter timelines bylaw deferred
Council voted to defer final reading of water regulations bylaw No. 1973-A1 until the Oct. 13 regular council meeting. The bylaw would allow residents who have already signed up to have water meters installed without penalty. The bylaw would extend the timelines for free water meter installations to Dec. 31, 2015 and also clean up some language/billing concerns.
Councillor Christine Thompson proposed the motion to defer until there was a full complement of councillors in attendance. “I would prefer—Neil Krog wasn’t at the meeting and Mayor Konrad recused himself—I felt it would be wiser to have the majority of council that are eligible to vote there,” Thompson told the Gazette on Friday, “so it would be a clear and decisive decision. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, all the councillors need to be there.”
Council unanimously voted to give the first three readings of the amendment bylaw (No. 1957 A-3) of the municipal ticketing and information bylaw No. 1957. The new bylaw would allow for better control and enforcement of the municipal ticketing bylaw with regards to watering restrictions.
Community works fund reserve
Council passed the first three readings of the community works reserve fund establishment bylaw 2020. The city signed a renewed agreement for the community works fund, also known as gas tax, in 2014.
The new agreement expanded the eligible project categories to include many capital projects that were not eligible under the previous agreement. As a result, the accounting requirements have changed and the establishment of a reserve is necessary.
Bylaw 2020 will provide efficient accounting of funds received, interest earned and capital projects expenditures as well as simplify annual reporting of fund activities. The segregated funds will be clearly identified and directed to local priorities that fall within one of the eligible project categories pursuant to the community works fund agreement.
In her councillor’s report, Julia Butler stated she was extremely touched over the past month to read numerous stories of how citizens pulled together to support each other through the devastating fire season. She thanked city staff for assisting the RDKB in many capacities with their emergency operations centre.
“As information sharing with the public was increased and we all became aware of the dangers and procedures involved, citizens were able to better plan for their families,” she wrote. “Now that the threat is over for this year generosity continues to flow to our neighbours in Rock Creek who will be in our thoughts and prayers for many months to come.”
Butler also said that there has been no progress in the court case to dismiss her from council.
In her report to council, councillor Christine Thompson thanked fire chief Dale Heriot and deputy fire chief Kevin MacKinnon and all the volunteer firefighters for working so tireless and with limited sleep to ensure the city and surrounding area was safe and secure from the wildfires that surrounded us.
“I would also like to acknowledge John MacLean, CAO of the RDKB, who ran the emergency operations centre out of Trail, for organizing and facilitating the two wildfire information meetings here in Grand Forks.”
Thompson also said she was pleased to represent the city at the fall fair’s volunteer appreciation dinner on Aug. 27. “On behalf of Mayor Konrad and council I thanked the board of directors for cancelling the fair this year in view of the wildfire situation and consequent air quality advisories,” wrote Thompson.
Next council meeting cancelled
The planned regular council meeting on Monday, Sept. 28 has been cancelled.