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
You can watch the event below and read the press release below that.
For Immediate Release Ministry of Environment and Climate
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.
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.
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.
“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
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
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
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.
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
June 10 was a busy day for Council with a number of meetings. Not only that but it was also a day where they were deciding on a highly controversial issue: Should they work towards changing BC Housing’s planned location for the Supportive Housing from downtown to lots on 70th adjacent to the project BCH has nearly finished?
To ‘support council’ (and remind them about the level of concerned opposition) a local group held a rally outside city hall just before council. Some people from this rally also wanted to attend the meeting.
When the public gallery gets full in council chambers staff enforce the fire code regulations and prevent people from entering until seats become available. This was the case for the evening meeting and the result was a group of people waiting in the hall and extending down the stairs.
Normally those in the hall wait and if they talk among themselves keep the volume at a respectful level. Apparently a couple of the people in this group would not do that – the hubbub could be heard for the first 20 minutes of the council meeting. So much so that people sitting near the door were experiencing some difficulty hearing the proceedings in the room (not every councilor uses the their microphone) At one point chanting was heard – what the reason for that was I cannot say. I was stuck in the room running the live webcast. When they would not quieten or leave the police were called. They settled down after the RCMP attended and talked to them. No one was arrested.
The result of council’s deliberations on this went in their favour: Council voted not to let the motion proceed to a 3rd and final reading. So the move will not happen. And the facility will go into the location on 2nd and Central downtown . . . which very many oppose as well.
Council did have other things to discuss and decide. You can see that from the agendas which you can download below.