Letter – Money better spent on image

Letter to the editor from the May 7, 2014 Grand Forks Gazette.

Further to the comments by Grace McGregor that appeared in the April 30 edition of the Gazette:“Businesses are shutting down: lists of houses for sale are growing: school registration is declining: people are shopping across the border: population is getting older.”These points are attributed to comments made at the recent AGM of the Grand Forks Credit Union. All any resident has to do is drive around town and look at the for-sale signs and vacancies on main street. Even a recent article in the Gazette that dealt with population growth/decline had the Boundary area dropping and no doubt the next census will show a decline.This situation will continue unless we are able to attract new residents. We can seek new businesses but Grand Forks has little or no sustainable competitive advantage for most industries.The other residents we can attract are seniors as we have most of the amenities retired couples seek. Last fall we had two couples, who are both long-time friends, come and stay with us for a few days. These couples were from out of province and looking for a community to retire to. They both have now settled in the Okanagan Valley. When asked why they didn’t choose Grand Forks I received the following answers: “It looks like the town is dying”; “The roads are in terrible shape”; “Abandoned vehicles must be lawn ornaments (jokingly).”The money the City of Grand Forks has or will receive  (which is allocated to the installation of water meters) would be far better spent on improving the image of our community. If we don’t attract additional residents we can all watch our property values continue to tank. If you doubt this just look at your last couple of years’ residential tax assessments.It is unfortunate that our city council appears to be far out of touch with a large number of the residents of Grand Forks (see the anti-water meter petition).Barry Jarvis,Grand Forks