The first city council meeting day of 2018 was a busy one indeed. They had the Committee Of The Whole in the morning, a Budget Overview public meeting in the afternoon, in-camera meetings, and the regular meeting in the evening.
The gallery was overflowing into the hall for the Committee Of The Whole at 9AM. The major draw was, of course, the discussion surrounding a motion, by Councilor Ross, to extend the exit deadline imposed on Whispers Of Hope.
The non-perfunctory topics of this meeting were: (links take you to YouTube)
This meeting also saw a return to Live Streaming. This first day back live wasn’t without troubles. The audio was initially slightly garbled but improved quite a bit. Until it got bad again and then worse and then I checked and found that the batteries powering the device (zoom H2) I was using to pick up the sound had run out of power. This was fixed with a quick AC/DC converter purchase. But then when the equipment was reconnected before the evening meeting the software couldn’t see the camera it had been using all morning and afternoon. By the time a replacement was attached and device drivers updated it was 7 or 8 minutes into the meeting.
Even with these problems the topic drew viewers. Hundreds of views happened and at one time there were 50 simultaneous watchers. With this being an election year we hope to live cast every meeting in addition to making them view-able here on the web and on Shaw Cable TV. (the live webcasts of these meetings ended up on my personal youtube channel instead of the gftvca channel – to those who subscribed during the stream thinking you might see more of the same in the future I invite you to subscribe to the correct channel, the one the links above on this page point at)
Evening (Regular) Meeting
The actual decision on what to do with Whispers Of Hope wasn’t made until the evening meeting. By the time they got around to discussing it their fatigue was showing.
For those not into the pie chart, these were the non perfunctory topics of the meeting:
There was a public meeting at Perley School Dec 14, 2017 at 6PM. As the poster shows it was titled “Building a Safe and Secure Grand Forks”.
Essentially the meeting was about the homeless and the problems that both they and the residents of the city face. Within the ranks of the homeless are people affected by mental health issues, substance abuse addictions, and poverty. And a small group of criminals engaged in property crime: trespass and theft.
The topic has fueled much rancorous discussion in both council chambers, the coffee shops of the town and online social networking.
The meeting was facilitated by 3 city councilors: Butler, Ross and Tripp (though most of council was present). A panel of speakers from various agencies involved in this spoke and answered questions. Representatives from Mental Health, the RCMP, Block Watch, and Citizens On Patrol faced a crowd of over 100 residents in a session that lasted 2 hours. People associated with Whispers of Hope and Boundary Emergency Temporary Housing and Shelter were also present in the audience.
Last week the city gave notice to Whispers Of Hope: Cease operating on Friday and get packing to leave – your lease is done.
And Whispers responded with No we will not stop operating, you have no legal reason to terminate our lease.
This week the city relented a bit. their new stance can be found in this press release on the city’s website. The new notice can be read below (here is the link to that PDF doc on the city’s own website).
Essentially they’ve given Whispers 30 days to straighten out and fly right (by the terms of their agreement) or face eviction. And it also says they have 6 months to find a new home even if they do conform. So Whispers / BETHS have some extra time to achieve a move to another place. Some other place not in the city’s yard, back or front.
Unfortunate for sure but not the end of the world just yet. BETHS isn’t even open for the season and they have to find a new place and find a way to make it habitable at least to whatever standards a shelter needs to conform to. To see what they did to make this place take a look a what it was like when it opened.