The only council meeting day of July didn’t disappoint those who expect not-so-smooth-sailing from Grand Forks City council.
It began with an ironic double appearance by one of the delegations at the Committee Of The Whole meeting in the morning: Paramedics appeared as the 2nd delegation to promote ‘Community Paramedicine in BC’ and then they were back to take the Mayor off to the hospital before the meeting was over! (He is okay and didn’t even have to stay overnight)
Whispers of Hope also appeared to ask the city’s opinion on a plan of theirs: They’ve got a ‘mobile’ kitchen which needs a location in order to serve their clients. They were hoping to use Dick Bartlett Park but that idea was not well received. You can hear all that in the video.
The evening meeting just met the requirements for forum after 3 councilors (Konrad, Ross and Tripp) were no shows. At less than 18 minutes the Meeting was also one of the shortest they have had. You might notice the pie chart has not too many slices. Our apologies for the quality of the audio.
The recent flooding disaster affected not only residents but businesses as well. It’s a month on and a number of downtown businesses are still evacuated from their premises. Some will be able to return sometime during the summer once restoration work is done but others have a tougher and longer wait – with the worry that some of these buildings might have to be destroyed.
This creates a lot of anxiety and hardship because most businesses cannot go 3 months of interruption and still survive. So what can the business owners expect to happen? And what can the community do to help prevent losses and facilitate recovery?
It turns out that people here in Grand Forks have connections that lead to people who were part of the team that got High River, and its business community, back from its historic flood disaster 5 years ago. In their case over a thousand businesses had to be evacuated among the myriad of other issues facing them. But they persevered and as a result High River has been able to recover and be stronger (and better protected) than before.
Two of those people mentioned above happened to be attending something nearby in Kelowna. These are Angela Groeneveld and Todd Williams. From Angela’s bio:
Angela also has extensive experience in Business and Economic Disaster Recovery. She was on the ground through all phases of recovery experience combined with professional education to assist local businesses to recover and rebuild after natural or manmade disasters. Some of her projects include; building Canada’s first temporary business park to house businesses that lost their storefronts to the 2013 flood; transitioning the businesses through the phases of recovery. She was then called to share her expertise in partnership with EDA and Red cross to assist in the initial stages of business recovery during the Fort McMurray fire. Angela is a facilitator for the International Economic Development “restore your economy” training. Angela currently is working with the Puerto Rico Economic Development Director on business recovery and contracts to the Town of High River on the last phase of recovery.
Todd Williams was the Project Manager for all these projects and grants related to rebuilding and renewing the business community of High River.
They were able to change their schedule to visit Grand Forks and see for themselves the situation. They talked with some of the people in affected businesses, made connections with the local government and business support groups.
The Boundary country Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted this Open House for business owners so they could hear what Angela and Todd had to say and ask questions.
(please excuse the audio issues at the beginning of the meeting – it gets better)
In the afternoon City Council met with representatives from the Boundary Regional Chamber of Commerce to discuss the Board election held at the recent Annual General Meeting of the BCRCC. The Mayor, and some on Council, wanted some assurance that they weren’t giving taxpayer money to an organization that doesn’t follow its own rules.
The meeting followed a rather long and torturous path of discovery during which it appeared that the Bylaws the city was expecting they should have followed weren’t theirs at all. They might have been those from the previous Grand Forks Chamber. The city had looked on the Federal records but BCRCC board / executive people both current and previous mentioned they were following Provincial rules. At times it almost seemed like they were talking about different things. And at one point it strayed off into personal things and relationships and got a bit heated.
While I’d love to be able to explain it all in a clear and concise manner that isn’t really possible – as you will learn if you sit and listen to all 2 hours of the discussion.
Unlike other council meetings there is no pie – there was only one topic of discussion.
The City’s agenda can be found in the link to their website.
The BCRCC came with an information package which you can read below the video.
Enjoy – or not.