FAQ – Status of buyouts in the Ruckle Addition area

Many questions have been submitted to the City regarding the status of buyouts in the Ruckle Addition area.  City Council and Staff have heard the questions and concerns and are committed to providing information as it becomes available.

 

This is a complex process, and there are many pieces still being defined.  Some questions do not have clear answers yet, as some steps in the project planning are still in various stages of progress.

 

Several property owners have requested independent mediation be included as part of the land valuation and agreement process. We hear this is important so property owners can feel satisfied that their agreement is as fair and impartial as possible. In our Request for Proposals for Land Acquisition and Design Support, we have specifically recognized mediation as part of the approach, and the appraisal and land acquisition professionals will be evaluated based on their ability to support a fair agreement package, including their approach to mediation. Questions of how this will be implemented will be resolved as part of the contract’s terms of reference once a consulting team is selected.

 

The following Frequently Asked Questions aim to provide as much information as is currently available.  Further information will be provided as developments occur.

 

Council and staff continue to pursue additional options for providing supports to enable acceptable agreements with property owners. Council has heard the requests to pursue additional funds and resources and has meetings with Provincial Ministers and representatives scheduled at the upcoming Union of BC Municipalities conference.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  • Where is the Contribution Agreement at?

The contribution agreements with the two senior governments are in currently in process. We hope to have detailed review underway within the next three weeks and finalized in October. The federal agreement will not be completed until after the federal election as it requires the Minister responsible for Infrastructure Canada to sign off.

  • How will the land acquisition process unfold?

The land acquisition process depends on the design submitted from the successful proponent in the Request for Proposals. Once the City and contracted professionals have an approved plan, the professionals would operate under those terms of reference and final decisions for areas where agreements can’t be made would rest with City Council. Questions about the appraisal method will be answered with this process, and staff and Council will discuss how we engage with affected residents about these technical questions.

  • How will residents be contacted?

The land acquisition team will work with the City and Regional District to ensure notices are sent out by mail to all affected landowners regarding notices for appraisals and individual meetings.

  • When will this be able to start?

The City understands there are several property owners who have an urgent need to work towards a purchase as soon as possible. Staff is working towards finding a resolution for that request as soon as possible and aims to begin by November 2019.

  • Who is coordinating the work for the City?

The City has hired a program manager who is currently working remotely but will be relocating here later this year. The program manager will be developing an updated project plan and detailed budget breakdown for Council review by the beginning of November 2019. The program manager will also be hiring the design and engineering team that will develop the detailed designs to go beyond the conceptual maps shared on http://bfre.ca/. Manager of Strategic Initiatives / Recovery Manager Graham Watt is coordinating the land acquisition and community planning components of the flood mitigation program.

  • What’s the budget breakdown?

The budget breakdown as submitted in the grant will be provided in a separate information package within the next couple of weeks. This shows the included contingency above post-flood value estimates.

  • Is the information from the floodplain mapping workshop in August available?

The floodplain mapping and hazard / risk assessment project will be presented in a public workshop in October – details to be announced.

  • May residents have salvage rights before any demolition?

Salvage rights and the opportunity for moving homes has been identified as a need in the in-kind program. A survey asking to identify your interest in this support as well as the rest of the supports will be sent out this week, and staff will consider how to accommodate these requests.  The survey for buyout area residents can be found online at In-Kind Options Survey.

  • What about properties that seem to be abandoned?

People should continue to care for their homes and support neighbours as they are able. Staff will consider any public safety issues with properties on a case by case basis.

  • What incentives may be available if residents wanted to buy and develop property together?

The City is studying all development incentives and in-kind options, including access to land and waiving of fees. Please use the survey to be sent out this week to identify your requests. The City is also looking at the tax implications of borrowing to support additional costs to the extent required.

  • More information on the 2018 Emergency Response?

Questions about the 2018 flood response need to be directed to the RDKB Emergency Program.

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Grand Forks City Council Announces Interim Chief Administrative Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Grand Forks City Council Announces Interim Chief Administrative Officer

 

Grand Forks, BC – September 18, 2019 – Grand Forks City Council has hired Ron Mattiussi as the Interim Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Grand Forks while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

 

Mr. Mattiussi retired from the City of Kelowna in March, 2018 after 23 years of service, with almost 12 as City Manager.  He fulfilled a similar role as Interim Chief Administrative Officer in Summerland earlier this year.

 

Mayor Brian Taylor said, “We’re fortunate to find someone with Mr. Mattiussi’s experience available to fill-in for us on short notice.”

 

Mr. Mattiussi’s first day with the City will be September 30.  The City will begin the search for a permanent Chief Administrative Officer in October.

 

 

BACKGROUND:

The City of Grand Forks’ previous Chief Administrative Officer retired last week.  The search for a permanent replacement is expected to take 4-6 months.

MEDIA RELEASE : City of Grand Forks Chief Administrative Officer Announces Retirement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

City of Grand Forks’ Chief Administrative Officer Announces Retirement

 

Grand Forks, BC – September 10, 2019 – The City’s Chief Administrative Officer has announced her retirement from the City effective later this week.  Diane Heinrich advised Council earlier this month of her intentions and Council has determined next steps in succession planning.

Ms. Heinrich joined the City 12 years ago and advanced through a series of positions including Administrative Assistant and Corporate Officer before being appointed Chief Administrative Officer three years ago.

During her tenure, Ms. Heinrich spearheaded the Sustainable Infrastructure Investment Program (SIIP), designed to get the best use of available City resources through the post-flood recovery period.  She also implemented training programs to enable staff to advance in their careers in local government.  Mayor Brian Taylor, on behalf of City Council, specifically acknowledged her “great job with staff regarding succession training” when discussing Diane’s retirement.

After the challenges presented in managing a City recovering from natural disaster, Ms. Heinrich plans to focus her attention on more artistic pursuits, including her home-based glass art studio and her love of music.

Council recognizes that finding the right next CAO may take several months and will bring in an interim Administrator later this month until the search is completed.  The search for a new CAO will begin immediately.  Corporate Officer Daniel Drexler has been appointed as acting CAO until the interim replacement has been selected.

 

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Flood Mitigation Buyout Meetings

The City of Grand Forks will be hosting small group consultation meetings with residents on the flood mitigation project buyout list to discuss and gather feedback on the in-kind support options. These are exploratory sessions only and do not indicate an ‘offer’ or commitment to provide the option until Council makes that decision.

  • July 23 10 am and 2 pm – Affordable Rental Options. If you will not have enough resources to buy a new home, or if you are looking for a ‘landing pad’ while you assess your longer term options, the City would like to explore how existing or new rental resources and sites could support your needs.
  • July 25 2 pm – Moving houses or placing manufactured / mobile homes. Are you interested in moving your house to another lot, either leased from the City or through another means? Or maybe buying a manufactured or modular home to place? In this session we’ll explore some ideas and logistics with your input.
  • July 25 6 pm – Buying or trading City land. If you are obtaining a new property from the City, what might be involved? What are options to spread the cost of servicing over time so it is more attainable up front?
  • July 30 10 am – Moving or placing houses / manufactured homes (as for July 25th 2 pm)
  • Aug 2 10 am – Co-op housing / condominium / townhouse development. Are you interested in being involved in a housing cooperative or living in a townhouse or condominium? What kind of amenities and locations are of interest?

 

Further meetings will be available on request and more sessions may be scheduled as needed to accommodate those interested in participating.

Call 250-442-8266 or email info@grandforks.ca to sign up for a meeting. Attendance is restricted to property owners who received a buyout notice in the mail.

Council to Deliberate Buy Out Policy Direction Affecting Over 100 Properties

City Council will discuss the mitigation project buy outs and policy direction at the 9am July 15th Committee of the Whole to give more information to residents about the process and in-kind support under consideration. The property transfer process needs to be set to give property owners a better idea of when they can expect to formally hear from the City as well as to clarify the post flood value. The general mitigation project timeline has a time range for the buy outs from late 2019 through to 2020. No specific dates have been set yet. Despite only receiving funding for the post flood value, the City is considering what in-kind support it can give to the residents struggling to relocate.

“I should set the story straight on a couple of things, but I want to get to this first” says Mayor Brian Taylor. “Post flood value means current fair market value. We got some budget numbers from the appraisals last year, but obviously things have changed since then. We aren’t aiming to necessarily use the numbers in those appraisals because you may have improved the value of your property since then and that wouldn’t be in the spirit of current fair market value.”

The first step in the buy out process was to secure the funding commitment from the federal and provincial governments. This happened with the announcement June 26, 2019. Now that the funding is committed, the City is working to confirm the process that residents can expect for the buy out process. By discussing the policy issues in open meeting, Council is hoping to hear from concerned residents during the decision making process.

The decision to buy out the North Ruckle neighbourhood comes from the September 4, 2018 decision of Council to endorse the recommendations from the Dobson Engineering report. The report notes: “Constructing a standard dike does not eliminate the need for the dwellings protected by the dike from being constructed/reconstructed at the required FCL [flood construction level]. A dike does provide a significant level of protection but dikes can fail or be overtopped under extreme events such as was experienced in 2018. Further, there is the matter of the local water table that is naturally close to the surface and often rises during high river flows and can result in local flooding.”

“Council considers public safety first and foremost in its actions and policy decisions” said Mayor Taylor. “Even if we built the best dike in the world, we just don’t know what the weather will be doing in the future. What we saw with our updated flood model is that climate change is real and makes it riskier to rely on engineered solutions in the floodplain. We’re building back better and that means making the hard decisions in the best interest of our community and its safety.”

Questions can be directed to Cavan Gates, Communications Officer at (250) 442-8266 or cgates@grandforks.ca.