Monthly Archives: November 2018

Flood Recovery Meeting Nov 21, 2018

Nov 21 the Boundary Flood Recovery Team had another public Update meeting at GFSS. This time it was in the open space adjacent to the quad.

About 75 people were there in total. Mayor Taylor and Director Russell were present.

Was there news?
Of course there was news.

Was it what we wanted to hear?
Not all of it, no.
But knowing some progress is being made and work is being done is better than not knowing.

Some of the Asks have borne fruit – Darren Pratt introduced 5 newly hired case workers. It’s the result of an ask that went in months ago . . . part of their job will be to go out and get updates from all of you affected by the flood.

The fruit of other Asks is bitter-sweet: The Federal government’s strictures prevent them from funding the raising of individual houses. They also restrict any funds going towards buyouts to ‘current value’ only. Do not take that as the final and complete word on the buyouts because the Province and the City also have to chip in (though the city’s portion might be more along the lines of here’s some land and maybe some help moving your house if that’s possible). We don’t know what the Province’s stand on this is yet. Plus a professional assessment firm has been hired to do new assessments on all the flood affected properties. When it comes to deciding which value to use there will be hopefully a choice for them in there. So don’t give up hope.

That last throws a different complexion on the buyout plan. And changes or challenges to one part of the plans for the future will possibly affect other plans.

A major point of contention is the way government does things. IF the government has had to deal with an issue before they may have developed a plan so that when it comes up in the future mechanisms are in place and everyone knows what to do. And what resources they can draw upon to execute the plan.

If Grand Forks had been in New Brunswick we’d be much further along in some ways because flooding is a problem they have experience with. Unfortunately we are in BC which has no plans for how to deal with post flood recovery and the multiple and inter-related issues facing those who have to lead recovery efforts. And in order for the province to release funds and resources they apparently need Data. Lots and lots of Data. And they take their time . . . but then they aren’t the ones facing a cold winter in a camper. Or running their business out of their homes. Or making do with their Child Allowance cheques. While making payments on mortgages and insurance for buildings they are not occupying.

And when it comes to any help for the businesses affected by this – the province cannot give money directly to businesses. They can, and are, giving money to fund positions such as Economic Development Officer and Events Coordinator / Marketing person. While this may buoy the spirits of those in the economic development community it really ticks off those businesses that have lost tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars due to being evacuated from their locations. But those are the rules and regs the provincial officials have to operate under.

Graham Watt, the recovery manager, described it as akin to the game of Snakes and Ladders. You make progress along a path in the plan and get to a point where you run into a wrinkle or block you didn’t know was there. And that sets you back a stage or two as you try to find another way to achieve your goal.

All the while the weather gets colder, people’s resources and spirits get more depleted. And Victoria asks for more data . . .

 

A Possible Venue

Over the last decade the number of venues available for events has shrunk.

  • The Wildlife Hall at the top of 2nd is now a church.
  • Studio B was around for a while and then the Gazette moved back there.
  • The Senior’s Centre in City Park is out of commission for the foreseeable future.
  • There are 2 less hotels downtown thanks to arson.
  • There is a dance hall in the Davis Block but it hasn’t seen a dance seen the 50s or 60s.
  • The Scout Hall isn’t used for much beyond scouting meetings.
  • We have no Community Centre.

A few years back I was involved in a co-op effort to purchase and operate the Gem theatre. The idea was to preserve some succession of a community entertainment resource. So that it wouldn’t come to an end when the owners retired. For various reasons that never came to pass and even though the place got damaged in the flood the Paquettes, bless them, are forging ahead with repairs so the theatre likely isn’t going away anytime soon.

Now there’s another community entertainment resource in danger of going away – the Bowling Alley. It was flooded just like all the other businesses in that area. Unfortunately the owners cannot afford the restoration . . .

When you look at that big Quonset-style building forget for a moment that it is a bowling alley.
Instead imagine what a venue it could be if it were gutted and redone inside.
It’s right downtown. It’s fairly spacious. A single large space with a high ceiling.

What could we put on in there?

  • Dances? Music concerts? Sure . . . but what else?
  • Imagine a double row of gaming tournament stations running down the centre aisle with screens projected onto the curved ceilings.
  • Imagine drone racing.
  • Imagine something, anything that you could do indoors in a space that large.

What’s the catch?

It got flooded. As far as I know the furnace and any other equipment in the basement was trashed so it’s cold hulk.

It likely needs to be gutted seeing as it’s been closed up since the flood.

How much would that cost? I’ll admit I do not know the answer to that.

Is there Asbestos remediation needing to be done? I don’t have the answer to that though, given other places experiences, I’d imagine there’s some in there somewhere. So that would add to any renovation costs.

What shape is the roof in? The foundation? I don’t have those answers either.

What I do have is an idea.

The town doesn’t have a Community Centre . . . or any real venue of any size downtown. I have an idea.

City Council Meeting Nov 19, 2018

City Council had only one meeting this past Monday.
It began with Service Awards being handed out to two members of the local Fire Department. The largest item was the Update from the Recovery Manager, Graham Watt.

The highlights of the meeting:

The meeting:

 

Award presentations COUNCIL REPORTS Verbal Update - Local Travel and Remuneration Discussion RDKB REPORT Amendment of funding approval for DMAF grant application from $200,000 to a maximum of $250,000 Recovery Update Memo and Presentation QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC AND THE MEDIA

 

Remembrance Day 2018

It was 100 years ago that World War 1, also know as the Great War, came to and end. Our Remembrance Day tradition was created to commemorate that event.

Hundreds turned out for the Remembrance Day ceremonies in this centenary year. (I showed up with my camera but as you will see from the video below I was a bit late getting there – my apologies)

Later in the day (4:30PM) there was a bell ringing event. The wreaths at the cenotaph were arranged in a display commemorating the centenary.