Monthly Archives: October 2018

City Council Oct 22, 2018

This was the last meeting of this council. Four long years has this group occupied the seat of decision making. Long enough for some to become comfortable in their position while for others it’s time to move on. For Councilors Butler, Hammet, Ross, Tripp and Mayor Konrad this was their last meeting as a city councilor here in Grand Forks.  The rest will be returning with the new council at the next meeting.

The main topics of discussion were

 

 

 

COUNCIL REPORTS BC Seniors Games - Mayor Konrad remarks Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw Temporary Use Permit Application 7255 Riverside Drive (Proposed Religious Centre) QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC AND THE MEDIA

2018 Municipal Election

Oct 20, 2018 was Election Day in Grand Forks (and the rest of BC).

This was the final day to vote for City Council, School Board Trustees and the Kettle River Watershed Authority Service referendum. In total 1568 votes were cast, just under 50%.

2018 Election Results

2018 Election Results

The makeup of council has definitely changed.

  • Brian Taylor has returned for another term as Mayor of the City of Grand Forks.
  • The only incumbents returning for another term on council are Christine Thompson and Neil Krog.
  • Returning to the council table are Chris Moslin and Rod Zielinski (although Rod’s council experience was in Alberta) who, even though it was his first time running here, got the most votes of all the candidates.
  • The two newbies on council are Cathy Korolek and, after many tries, Zak Eburne-Stoodley.

Congratulations to all those who won seats at the table. Congratulations to Bronwyn Bird for becoming a school trustee. And a big thank you for everyone for standing for office.

Congratulations to those pushing for a Watershed Authority through the referendum which saw more Yes’s than No’s (but voting on that was not quite over).

 

2018 Volunteer Appreciation Awards

On Thursday evening (Oct 18) the City and Community Futures arranged for an event at gallery 2 where they handed out some awards to volunteers.

In the fall the City and Community  give out volunteer appreciation and small business awards. This year so many businesses are still affected by the spring flooding that this part of the ceremony was suspended. But the Volunteer Appreciation awards still went ahead.

This year two awards were handed out

The Outstanding Community Service Award was given to Gabe and Rachel Warriner for their tireless efforts during our flood emergency. Before the flood had showed up Gabe was out behind the arena getting his system for bagging in place. His team researched how to do the filling more efficiently and constructed jigs to make it quick and easy. For many days around flooding Gabe was not only filling bags, He was managing the growing army of volunteers. Filling bags was just part of the job – people also came out to place bags, transport them, feed and support those who were doing the labour. Plus dealing with the media, and support requests out of the cellphone in his pocket.

All this didn’t stop with the end of the flood – people were sill in need of support and both Gabe and Rachel have kept busy providing that support. Whether it’s assistance with finding and filing forms for financial support or collecting and organizing needed replacement clothing, furniture and appliance they have been very active doing the best they can for their community.

The Volunteer of the Year award was given to Les Johnson for all the video coverage of city council and events in the city. That’s me and I’m very happy that my efforts have been officially recognized by the City.

But . . . as I say in my remarks I feel there are a lot of people who do a lot more than myself and don’t get this kind of recognition. Because of what I do I’m often in front of the camera so a lot of people see me. They also see me at events. They see me so much they get the impression I’m everywhere covering everything and no one can do that or live up to that expectation. Many people do so many things without being continually highlighted by being in front of a camera.

Look at the Volunteer Firefighters – they put in a lot of effort and get a lot of training and all that take a lot of time. They are engaged in dangerous activities to help protect their friends and neighbours. For no pay.

Look at the Search and Rescue volunteers. They also put in long hours getting trained so they can go out and help people out of dangerous situations. And they do not get paid.

During the flood this spring flooding disaster members of both these groups helped out in dire times of need.

These are the true outstanding community volunteers. And there are more I haven’t mentioned.

 

Candidates Cafe 2018

There was a third all candidates thingy on Oct 13, 2018.

The previous forums took place at the auditorium in the high school, this one was in the upstairs of the curling rink.

Previous forums had a single speaker / audience dynamic. Well, except for the Mayoral Candidates one which had no questions from the audience.

This ‘café-style’ event had a small audience for each candidate, basically 4 or 5 chairs around a small café table. The public were free to ask questions and the candidate answer. On regular intervals a bell was rung and participants urged to switch to another table with another candidate,

The final part of the event was a debate between the candidates for Mayor. Some prepared questions but also questions from the floor.

We had hoped to live-stream the event but technical issues prevented that from working out. We were reduced to streaming from a cellphone, through another cellphone and that eventually died when the batteries ran out.

In a small number of conversations with some of the candidates it appeared that the format worked so maybe we’ll try it again sometime. Like in 4 years or so.

We’d hoped to stream some of the individual candidate Q&A’s and some bits were recorded . . . but in the reviewing there was a marked difference in the quality of the audio that had to do with which part of the room the candidate was located.

The audio from recordings in the larger space at the west end were much easier to listen to than those from the longer and narrower space extending east. Whether that was down to the distance to the neighbouring candidate’s conversations or the distance to the walls is still a matter of conjecture at this time.

But the feeling was that it wouldn’t be fair to show the recordings and have viewers’ opinions possibly shaped by an implicit bias formed because of the quality (or lack there-of) of the audio. Difficult to listen to audio might reflect badly on a candidate irrespective of what was said.

So we won\t be showing those recordings. Another reason to come out to the real live event – you don’t miss as much.

If and when we try this again we’ll be better prepared with better microphones – that might help isolate the speaker’s voice from the background. As long as they wait for the mic to point at them first that is . . .

All in all it was a big learning experience. People learned a few things they wanted to know from the candidates themselves instead of relying on the rumour mill. The candidates learned things about what’s important to the voters. And we learned a few lessons about how to do events like this.

It takes a team.

Thank you Shawna Reichelt for being a moderator and the MC, Ted Invictus and Christopher Stevenson for being moderators, Thomas Reichelt for technical and camera work (and cleaning the tables) and ‘roadie’ Lorraine Van Boeyen.

And for instigating a forum where the public could ask all the candidates, even those running for Mayor, questions . . . thank you Gary Smith and all the candidates who attended and helped make it happen. Thank you for taking a different dance with the democratic process.