FRESHET 2020 – Disaster Financial Assistance Available

DISASTER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

The Province of British Columbia, through Emergency Management BC, is making Disaster Financial Assistance available throughout the Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary, including the City of Grand Forks.

The deadline for submitting flood-related claims is September 28, 2020.

Please review the DFA Fact Sheet for details.

 

Council Adjusts Property Tax Increase

Council Reduces Property Tax Increase

At their meeting on Monday, April 8, Council approved a reduction in the previously approved property tax increase from 4% down to 2% as part of the 2020 Financial Plan which will be considered at the April 20 meeting. And further, at the same meeting Council approved deferring the previously approved 3.5% utility rate increase until at a minimum the fall.

Upon review Council determined that a 4% tax increase and an increase in utility rates in 2020 would create additional hardship in an already trying time for our community. As a result staff were directed to re-open the financial plan and to find opportunities where expenditures may not be fully utilized as a result of COVID 19 and the current environment. These changes will not impact the current service levels and included reductions in conferences, training and other business travel; as well as, savings realized by not filling some vacant positions within the organization. As we learn more about the health and economic impacts of COVID 19 Council will continue to be proactive and look for opportunities to reduce the impact on our community.

Campfire/Open Burning Ban in Effect – April 7, 2020

BURN BAN

In addition to province-wide bans on Category 2 and Category 3 fires which include all of the City and Rural Grand Forks, Grand Forks Fire/Rescue has temporarily suspended all campfire permits during this time of social distancing from COVID-19 and in advance of possible Spring Freshet responses. Effective today, no new permits will be issued and permits currently held by residents may not be used.

A dry spring is forecast, and the Province has implemented these restrictions to limit wildfire response crews potential exposure to the coronavirus and to minimize particulates in the air which could aggravate symptoms associated with COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

Within city limits, open burning is prohibited year-round without a permit from the Fire Department. Propane and natural gas powered barbecues and fire pits are exempt from the City’s Fire and Life Safety Bylaw and may be used at this time.

Residents outside of city limits are reminded that fire bans enacted by the Province apply throughout Area D year-round.

For any questions regarding this open burning and campfire ban, please contact Grand Forks Fire/Rescue at 250-442-3612.

NEWS RELEASE : City Names New Chief Administrative Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Grand Forks City Council Announces Appointment of Duncan Redfearn as Chief Administrative Officer

 

Grand Forks, BC – February 12, 2020 – Grand Forks City Council is pleased to confirm the appointment of Duncan Redfearn to the position of Chief Administrative Officer effective March 16, 2020.

 

He spent some time in Grand Forks years ago as a member of the Border Bruins hockey club and says “[i]t has been a number of years since I last lived in Grand Forks and I can’t wait to move my young family to this wonderful community.”

 

Mr. Redfearn moved to Dawson Creek during his hockey days, established himself in the community, and joined the municipal government in 2008 where his career progressed until becoming the Chief Administrative Officer three years ago.

 

In making the move to Grand Forks, he says “I am looking forward to this very exciting opportunity to return to Grand Forks and work with such a forward-thinking Mayor and Council, and the amazing staff at the City.”

 

The search for Grand Forks’ next CAO began in November under the guidance of Interim CAO Ron Mattiussi and saw significant interest from around the country and even internationally.  Council interviewed a short list of candidates in January resulting in the confirmation of Mr. Redfearn’s appointment earlier this week.

 

Mayor Brian Taylor noted that “Council interviewed a very good slate of candidates for the position.  We are confident that Mr. Redfearn will be an excellent fit to the community, and we look forward to his joining the team in March.”

 

-30-

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.