It’s Sunday and in two days we shall see one of the most anticipated council sessions in this town’s memory. That’s when the City Council is supposed to let us know what they have decided on all of our behalves with regard to the post flood solutions to badly hit areas of the city.
- Will it be Option 1 or Option 2 or something else? is what those who live in North and South Ruckle are asking.
- Where will the dike protecting downtown go and which properties, if any, will be sacrificed?
- What will the plan for Johnson’s Flats look like?
- And what will happen to the properties across the river along the Granby?
To get myself in the right mind set we went and visited Sandon today. For those who don’t know Sandon is one of BC’s ‘ghost towns’. A bustling silver mining town in its heyday (it got going around the same time that Grand Forks was getting going) it spent most of the 20th century slowly sliding into oblivion. But then there was a catastrophic flood that ripped out the heart of the town and it never recovered from that.
On the way back I wondered aloud what I’d find in the Agendas for the meeting two sleeps from now.
Well I’ve downloaded the agenda PDFs and what did I find? (About this topic I mean)
- In the Information Items the second topic is a verbal update of the Hydrology report.
- They are going to borrow $2 Million dollars . . . but it’s not clear that this is for the plans we expect to hear about or not. The Bylaw mentions ‘to Meet the Current Lawful Expenditures of the City’ . . .
- There is the 2018-2022 Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw, No 2045-A1 but the things mentioned in there aren’t really about funding plans for the future, they are more about changes to our finances because of what has happened and what we’ve had to spend or forego.
- And aside from a Temp Use permit for a Tiny House on Wheels . . . that’s all there is about that folks.
It turns out that Council will have an in-camera meeting to make the decision and then announce the results at the public-invited Flood Update meeting on Wednesday . . .just have to hold your breathe another day.
But there’s this little ‘proposed bylaw for discussion’ that might concern some of you. More specifically:
If you smoke, toke or vape then you should SIT UP AND PAY ATTENTION.
BYLAW NO. 2054 is A Bylaw to Designate Smoke and Vape-free Outdoor Places in the City of Grand Forks
If you read the thing ‘outdoor places’ includes ‘public sidewalks’ ( 3.1.d) as well as parks (3.1.b.iii).
Pretty much any city owned property. And even private property if a public event is being held there and the city needs to ‘permit’ the thing.
The only place that seems to be exempt is alley ways downtown . . . yep it pushes you smokers into the back alleys (see Section 3.1.c below). And maybe one could make the argument that it allows you to smoke on the streets as long as you don’t come back onto the sidewalk and that street is not being used for a Public Event (3.1.e)
It’s almost as if someone wants to use this change brought about by the introduction of legal Cannabis to tighten the restrictions on currently legal products such as tobacco. Or maybe that’s just a pipe nightmare.
Of course this is just a working basis document created by staff, at council’s behest, for a proposed bylaw.
One that would put a large number of the residents of the town in jeopardy of being offenders of a bylaw for doing something they already do.
Not that council would really fine them $2,000 for lighting up. Each time. No . . . they wouldn’t do that to the voters of the town . . . would they?
And was this an ask; by All of the members of council? Or not all?
They’ve been pretty adamant that a council vote is a ‘council vote’ and the recording of who votes for and who against, or what the numbers were, should be immaterial because what matters is that council voted as a body in a certain way.
Well this isn’t a vote. And some are running for re-election. Maybe some are rethinking that ‘council as a body’ thing right about now . . .
Of course Cannabis legalization is upon us and all levels of government are tasked with coming up with regulations and maybe this is just the next step in that procedural juggernaut.
If you want to read about the bylaw In all it’s detail you can do so below. But if you don’t trust me then you can just take a peek at the agenda package on the city’s website for the Committee Of The Whole Sept 4, 2018
i don’t smoke cigarettes now but I did for quite a long time. Personally I feel that laws like this go too far in restricting the use of a legal product. Even though I’ve recently been diagnosed with asthma I still feel that way. And with the growing tendency of our valley to fill with smoke from wildfires in the summer I’m seeing an ironic form of ludicrousness to this law.
If you have thoughts on this maybe you could share them with any council member you meet because you have that democratic right and, in a small town like this, the opportunity. Remember this is just a working draft (puns intended) so if you don’t like what you see then go light a (metaphoric) fire under council’s butts.