Monthly Archives: June 2019

Values Now and Then

In the city’s mitigation FAQ page they answer the question of how the valuation of buy-out properties will be done saying that the province and federal governments will only go with post flood value.

” … the best it could get from the provincial and federal funding streams was the post flood value “

under the question: We were told that we would get the pre-flood value for our house, what happened?

When I look at the graph showing the timelines for various projects funded by this announcement I see that property acquisition begins in 2019 and stretches into 2020. I have a question about which valuation will actually be used in determining buyout value when the negotiation with the property owner actually happens.

A lot of those properties in North Ruckle have seen a drop into the four figure category. I mean that some properties that were worth 50 to 150 thousand dollars are now worth less than $10,000. That is pretty sad but not unexpected.

But not all of them have seen that same drop and some are still worth, on paper by BC assessment, over $50,000 or $100,000. Some of these property owners have actually spent money out of their own pocket, or the money that they got from the insurance companies (if they got any help from the insurance companies), to get their properties back in shape. Remember that doing this was one of the things suggested to them by the city and others when it was clear this process would take a couple of years.

My worry is that once this process gets rolling the assessments for those properties will also drop into the basement because all of the properties around them are essentially being devalued to Zero. The valuations that BC Assessments uses are what they calculate the values are as of Oct 31 the year before they issue your new year’s assessed value.

So if your property is still worth $100,000 in the year of 2019 and come 2020 you find that your property value has now plummeted – what is that going to do to your buy-out?

If you have to wait until 2020 before they negotiate a price on your buy-out what will your property value be then?

IF this is the case (and to be clear I am NOT saying this is the way it is – only asking a question) is there any way to either freeze the valuation used in the buyout to the 2019 value OR push the properties which still have a good value to earlier in the list to prevent the property owners from encountering yet more pain and suffering due to purely bureaucratic process?

The city is supposed to try and do the best they can on behalf of their tax paying residents . . . I think some resolution on this question is in order. If only to put the minds of those who have already lost so much and have no clear path into the future at rest.

UPDATED to point out that this is a question about how it works and not a statement about how it works.

Provincial Parks Expanding

The province dispatched the MLA for Nanaimo, Sheila Malcolmson, to deliver some good news to the folks at Christina Lake: The Government of British Columbia is adding land to two provincial parks Gladstone and Garibaldi. Specifically, a 6 hectare addition to Gladstone and 5.6 hectares to Garibaldi.

You can watch the event below and read the press release below that.

For Immediate Release Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Protected land added to two provincial parks

VICTORIA -The Government of British Columbia is adding land to two provincial parks Gladstone and Garibaldi -to protect ecologically sensitive areas, promote biodiversity and enhance recreation opportunities.

“Our parks are important for bringing families and communities together. They also protect B.C’s incredible biodiversity with ecosystems found nowhere else in the world,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Acquiring these lands ensures the conservation and protection of sensitive habitat so British Columbians can enjoy our spectacular natural spaces for years to come.”

Valued at $1.74 million, the Province purchased two lots from a private vendor at the north end of Christina Lake for a six-hectare addition to Gladstone Provincial Park near Grand Forks.

Featuring a natural beach/lake frontage, open forest and pockets of old growth, the properties were the last remaining private inholdings of the Sandner Creek drainage, which is used by 70% of the stream-spawning kokanee in Christina Lake. Securing the land for park purposes creates a continuous protected area on the north end of the lake.

“The Christina Lake Stewardship Society is extremely delighted to hear about the purchase of land at the north end of Christina Lake,” said Jeff Olsen, president, Christina Lake Stewardship Society. “This sensitive and diverse area hosts a myriad of plant and wildlife, some of which are species at risk like the western painted turtle. As depletion of wetlands continues, this acquisition is not only an engaging action taken by the Province, it is also an immensely important one for Christina Lake.”

The Province also purchased 5.6 hectares that were completely surrounded by Garibaldi Park near Squamish. Valued at $955,000, the property will help provide more opportunities for recreation in the Diamond Head area of the park.

Quick Facts:

One of the largest park systems in the world, British Columbia has 1,033 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas. They cover more than 14 million hectares, or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base.

The Province regularly adds land to the parks and protected areas system through the acquisition of private land, and partnerships with conservation groups and individual donors.

Learn More:

For more information about the BC Parks Land Acquisition Program, visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/partnerships/landAcguisition.html

For more information about BC Parks, visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/

Government Comes Through Big With Flood Funding Support

UPDATED – See below
Today (June 26, 2019) Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice was back in town with an announcement. You can watch and listen to the whole thing below but here is the spoiler: We are getting pretty much what we asked for – $53 Million!!

UPDATE (June 27,2019):
The City of Grand Forks has created a FAQ page in response to questions people have asked as a result of this announcement. Follow the link above to find some answers to some of your questions.

The text of the press release is below

For immediate release

Canada and BC work in partnership to help protect residents and businesses of Grand Forks from disastrous impacts of flooding

Grand Forks, British Columbia, June 26, 2019-Now more than ever, communities need help adapting to the frequent and intensifying weather events caused by climate change. Reducing the impact of natural disasters such as flooding is critical to keeping Canadian families safe, protecting local businesses and supporting a strong economy.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Jennifer Rice, B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary Responsible for Emergency Preparedness, announced nearly $50 million for an important flood mitigation project in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary community of Grand Forks.

In May 2018, spring thaws caused flooding along the Granby and Kettle rivers, devastating residents, businesses and households. By reclaiming and repurposing property in the City’s most flood-prone neighbourhoods, moving residents to a safer area, and constructing new flood mitigation systems to better manage flood waters, the community will be able to better protect its residents and businesses from future flooding.

The project also involves reinforcing approximately 1,300 metres of river bank along the Johnson Flats channel, re-establishing a natural flood plain in North Ruckle and building new retention ponds in South Ruckle. A total of more than 2.3 kilometres of road and trail dykes will be constructed or reinforced in strategic areas to manage flood waters within the City and by the railway tracks.

The City of Grand Forks estimates that once complete, the project will increase the flood resilience of over 800 residents during spring thaws and other extreme weather events. The project is also expected to reduce the number of residents who go without essential services during flooding by 45 per cent, and will provide long-term savings in recovery and replacement costs.

The Government of Canada is investing over $19.9 million, the Government of British Columbia is providing more than $28.9 million, and the City of Grand Forks is contributing $1 million to this project through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

Quotes

“These measures to mitigate flooding and take people out of harm’s way in Grand Forks will go a long way in ensuring the devastating impacts of 2018 are not felt again. This project will help protect families and their properties while also creating jobs and laying the groundwork for a strong sustainable economy and future for the community.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Extreme weather is becoming more severe, more frequent, more damaging and more expensive because of climate change. By investing in the infrastructure that protects our neighbourhoods, businesses, and families, we are building communities that can withstand future natural disasters and thrive for generations to come.”

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety

“We know that preparedness and mitigation is key to reducing the impact of natural disasters on our communities and improving recovery outcomes. That’s why I’m pleased our government is providing $28.9 million in natural and structural flood mitigation works as part of our continued support of the Canada community and the people of Grand Forks in their efforts to recover from and rebuild after the devastating floods. In partnership with the community of Grand Forks, we are also providing an additional $2.6 million toward a $3.1 million flood protection work project in downtown Grand Forks. ”

The Honourable Mike Farnworth, British Columbia Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

“As Grand Forks continues to recover, this flood mitigation funding will help the community find a safer path forward. The Province has been working alongside the local government from the start of this emergency, and we will continue to stand with Grand Forks into the future.”

Jennifer Rice, British Columbia Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness

“Over the last year, the Boundary Flood Recovery team has worked tirelessly to secure funding for flood recovery and risk reduction for future floods. The partnerships we forged and built to accomplish this have been vital and extremely helpful, particularly with our provincial and federal government partners. Special thanks to those Provincial representatives that went above and beyond their regular duties to help build these communities back better, such as Parliamentary Secretary Jennifer Rice and her dedication of time and energy to help make our communities safe and to support our vulnerable populations.”

Roly Russell, Chair of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary

“We’ve come together to support the flood affected residents of Grand Forks after the flooding in 2018. Despite the challenges, the resilience of our people has shown that we can and will recover. Thank you to the senior levels of government that continue to support our community with this new funding .”

Brian Taylor, Mayor of the City of Grand Forks

Quick facts

The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) is a $2-billion, 10-year program to help communities build the infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes and droughts.

DMAF is part of the federal government’s Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, which is providing more than $180 billion over 12 years for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and rural and northern communities.

Investing in green infrastructure that helps communities cope with the intensifying effects of climate change is an integral part of Canada’s transition to a more resilient, low-carbon economy, which is among the commitments made under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Budget 2019, Investing in the Middle Class, is the government’s plan to create more good well­paying jobs, put homeownership within reach of more Canadians, help working people get the training they need to succeed, support seniors, and lay the foundation for national pharmacare.

With many municipalities across Canada facing serious infrastructure deficits, Budget 2019 proposes a one-time transfer of $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund to address short­term priorities in municipalities and First Nations communities.

Associated links

Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/dmaf-faac/index-eng.html

Investing in Canada: Canada’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/icp-publication-pic-eng.htmI

Federal infrastructure investments in British Columbia: https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/investments-2002­investissements/bc-eng.html

Investing in Canada plan project map: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/gmap-gcarte/index-eng.html

Canada Budget 2019, Investing in the Middle Class: https://www.budget.gc.ca/2019/home-accueil-en.html

City Council June 24, 2019

Council had a very busy day this Monday – without even having a Committee Of The Whole.

The day began with two public hearings / feedback sessions beginning at 1PM.

The first was a Hearing regarding Bylaw No. 2039-A4
Proposed Rezoning from R1 to R4 to accommodate agricultural uses on the 7600 Block of 8th Street.
No one showed up to speak to it as you can see below.

Following that was the Public Feedback sessions regarding a Development Variance Permit for the Proposed Non-Medical Cannabis Retail Store Licence at 7500 Donaldson Drive.
This is the current location of the Warming Centre.
A number of people showed up to speak against Pot and Pot stores in general. The warming centre turned out to be a side issue in this hearing. Listen below.

Right after these sessions Council had a long in-camera session. Of course I cannot tell you what they discussed – media isn’t allowed in the room. But they do give an agenda where they show which sub–sections of section 90 they are using to invoke the in-camera proceedings. I’ll reproduce that part of the agenda below:

THAT Council convene an In-Camera Meeting as outlined under Section 90 of the Community Charter to discuss matters in a closed meeting which are subject to Section 90 (1)
(a) personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered
for a position as an officer, employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality;
(e) the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements, if the council
considers that disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality; and
(k) negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal
service that are at their preliminary stages and that, in the view of the council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public;

Finally the evening meeting took place at 7PM. A number of items were added to the agenda and they related to the housing issue and warming centre.
The links to the Agenda for this City Council Meeting are:
As an HTML page
As a PDF doc


ANNUAL REPORT West Boundary Community Services Co-op Association REPORTS, QUESTIONS AND INQUIRIES FROM MEMBERS OF COUNCIL Discussion on 2nd Street Housing Meeting requests with Premier Horgan, Provincial Cabinet Ministers and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Bylaw 2060 - Reserve Fund Establishment Bylaw 2054 – Smoke and Vape-Free Places Bylaw 2039-A7 - Proposed Rezoning and Development Variance Permit 2680 - 75th Avenue Discussion about the Warming Centre QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC AND THE MEDIA