June 30, 2022

Grand Forks TV

video for Grand Forks BC

March 24 City Council Meeting

Monday March 24, saw City council meeting again.

And once again the Residential Water Metering program came before council. Councillor Wirischagin made a motion to delay which found a seconder this time but still failed when the vote came. You can see all that in his council report.

But the council is about more than the residential water meters and this meeting began with a moment of recognition for the young women of the Head Start program.

Real Estate policy is on of the other things that council covered in this meeting. How does the city deal with buying and selling real estate? You can hear all about that in the Recommendations from Staff section.

A number of people came before council in question period. And most of them were addressing the residential water metering program … again. It’s the issue that keeps spilling into the question period that council can’t seem to turn off.

Some members of this group seem to be looking at the published numbers that have appeared in public statements. They’re fact checking, questioning and probing for any mistake or collection that doesn’t add up or make sense in the hope that they can find some flaw in the plan that gets council to either stop or pause to reflect. It brings to mind the style of argument that religious people use when trying to bring down the theory of evolution. The hope that any little arithmetic mistake or thing that doesn’t make sense will cause the other side’s argument to fail and fall. Unfortunately for them the only people apparently convinced the plan is wrong are the same people that were of that mind when the meeting began.

Lost in this parade members of the of anti-meter world was Zak Waterlow. Zak came to try and save his yearly Canada Day Concert.

With Zak you have a person coming before council who is behaving more like an organization. He is self energized, self equipped and public event focused. What that means is he has everything he needs to put on music concerts except the venue and support. Sound, lighting and staging equipment he has. Experience and connections in the music world also. He just does not have a venue of his own.

Last year’s concert he moved to the new stage in City Park from the previous venue at James Donaldson Park (the baseball park). That wasn’t his choice (the baseball park was being used) and it meant he had to make the concert free. Which he did. And that meant he needed financial support to bring it off. Council was in no position to help financially last year so no money came from them. Last year when Zak came before council to make his case I got down off my work station and stood with him. I stated my support of $500 and publicly challenged others to support him and his concert as well. Some did ‘step up to the plate’ and it was enough to make it happen. The public enjoyed the music, the bands loved being here. I felt my money was well spent.

Now A year has gone by and the city still don’t have a system of financially aiding community projects like this completely ironed out so they won’t be helping again this year. To make matters worse someone else has made a claim on using the stage in the same time as Zak would have been putting on his concert.  And since he has no ‘contract’ with the city to reserve that venue for that time Zak will not be using the public stage in city park.

He came before council to ask them to consider what was happening and try and help him work out what to do next. He reminded council that he had informed them as to his intentions to make this a recurring yearly event last year. Unfortunately for Zak he found that council (and the city) only officially remembers things you give them in print. They only really remember things they can touch and sign. So when the group wishing to use the stage made their bid for it no one in city staff had any written down reservation or precaution about that venue at that time. So Zak’s desire to use that venue is hooped.

He’s been trying to make a yearly tradition happen the only way such things become established: to do it consistently every year.

I applaud his efforts. I wish to help.

Last year I was financially able to support him. This year I’m not so flush with cash. BUT I do have a venue for public information and discourse and I would ask those of you reading this to comment and consider and think about this.

Some facts to consider:

  • In that week before Canada Day the baseball park is in use – the GFI is happening in June this year.
  • The city park stage is being used to put on the performance Godspell. Both Zak and myself are left wondering what that has to do with Canada Day … it isn’t a religious holiday.
  • There is no longer a public entertainment venue at the Wildlife Hall.
  • There is no longer a public entertainment venue at Studio B.

What do you think?