March 27, 2020: Mayor Taylor spoke with 102.3 Juice FM’s Martin Huhn this morning.  The recording of that interview is posted below.  The next planned appearance on JuiceFM is Tuesday March 31 just after the 9:00am news.



March 26, 2020:  Mayor Taylor and Director Russell have recorded an update for area residents.  Future updates are planned twice weekly.



March 25, 2020:  Mayor Taylor spoke on 102.3 Juice FM this morning.  He mentioned a list of resources available on the Community Futures Boundary website for employers and workers.  That document is available here.


COVID-19 Update from Grand Forks City Council – 2020-03-24

Grand Forks, BC – March 24, 2020 – The members of Grand Forks City Council have gathered via electronic meeting to discuss some of the current priorities facing the community.

Effective Wednesday, March 25, playgrounds and recreation sites including tennis courts will be closed to the public.  Open green spaces are closed for group activities but will remain accessible if residents practice social distancing as recommended by the Provincial Health Officer.  The Municipal Campground at City Park will remain closed until further notice.

The Fire Hall and Public Works Yard have been closed to the public since last week.  Effective tomorrow, City Hall will also be closed to the public.  Some staff will still be available to assist residents by telephone and e-mail.  Workplans are being set to permit some staff to work remotely where possible, and to rotate both inside and outside staff to ensure that essential services can be provided with minimal disruption.

Security patrols will be increased to summer levels effective immediately, ensuring that eyes are on activities around town while business presence may be reduced.  All levels of government continue to work together to ensure public health and safety.  The province has requested that municipalities utilize their local bylaw enforcement to assist with ensuring compliance with Provincial Health orders.

The province is not currently recommending declarations of “State of Local Emergency”.  Municipalities have been advised to follow provincial recommendations and orders which will be expanded or amended as needed.

Council are very aware of financial hardships being experienced by business owners and employees during the economic slowdown the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered.  They have asked staff to review utility and tax billing.  The current utility billing cycle is due April 2, 2020, but staff are looking at options for residents who are forced to delay payments.  Property taxes, though collected by the City, are subject to timelines set by the Provincial Government and Grand Forks will adapt to any deadline adjustments made by the province.

Council and staff are making efforts to follow recommended guidelines regarding self-isolation and social distancing and encourage all residents to do the same.  Council commends local businesses that are adapting their work to follow these guidelines, including actions to limit the size of crowds gathering and provisions for take-away and delivery of goods and services.

Wastewater crews have noticed an increase in problems with pumps due to residents flushing disinfectant wipes, rubber gloves, and other products which are not intended to be disposed of into the sewer system.  They ask that residents please dispose of these items in the trash rather than flushing them.


The City of Grand Forks has received several questions regarding businesses or public facilities operating during the COVID-19 event.

The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has issued several orders. Businesses and facilities not impacted by these orders will open or close at their owners/operators discretion.
Gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited by one of the PHO’s orders.

A summary of the current Provincial orders can be found at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0092-000521

In addition, the Federal Government has announced an Economic Response Plan which includes a number of measures designed to support individuals and businesses.

A summary of those initiatives can be found on the Government of Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html

 


Grand Forks Cancels March 23 Council Meetings

 

Grand Forks, BC – March 18, 2020 – The City of Grand Forks has cancelled the Public Feedback Session and Regular Meeting of Council scheduled for Monday, March 23, 2020.

Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid rate at which the situation is changing, this was a precautionary decision in keeping with the goal of social distancing to reduce the risk of infection.

Council and City administration will continue to review upcoming meetings to determine if they will proceed as scheduled, be held in an alternate format or cancelled with items appearing on future agendas.

 


City of Grand Forks Makes Plans to Provide Service During COVID-19 Outbreak

 

Grand Forks, BC – March 17, 2020 – The City of Grand Forks is following guidance from Federal, Provincial, and Regional governments and health authorities to support efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has elevated their Emergency Operations Centre to Level 2 to allow for monitoring and responding to COVID-19; the Centre was already open at Level 1 monitoring Spring Freshet conditions.

City Staff have been in regular communication with area health and emergency service providers to ensure that essential services continue to be provided during the current situation.

Our staff have been advised to cancel any non-essential travel and to practice social distancing wherever possible.  We are currently monitoring best-practices being adopted by other municipalities as well.

As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, public reception areas at the Public Works Yard and downtown Fire Hall are closed.  Staff continue to be available to assist residents by telephone.  The Fire Department will continue to respond to all emergency calls, however weekly practices for volunteers, public education sessions, and fire inspections are currently suspended.  Public Works crews will continue to perform regular and emergency work.

Both the Fire Department and Public Works have mutual aid arrangements with other municipalities and contractors to ensure that essential services can still be provided should workers need to be self-isolated during this time.

Front Counter service remains open at City Hall, however any residents who believe they have need to self-isolate under Health Authority recommendations are kindly asked to contact us by telephone and refrain from visiting the office.

Residents have the option to pay utility bills and taxes online.  Customers requiring service from the Building Inspection, Bylaw, or Planning departments are encouraged to call City Hall for assistance or to schedule an appointment.

  • Public Works – 250-442-4148
  • Fire Hall/Emergency Services – 250-442-3612
  • City Hall – 250-442-8266
  • By e-mail: info@grandforks.ca

Several civic facilities including the Public Library and Court House are operated by third parties and these operators will communicate any changes to their operations directly.

We recommend that residents monitor official websites for current information and best practices:

The City of Grand Forks supports recommendations that social gatherings be limited to groups of less than 50.  Anyone who has travelled to other countries or otherwise exhibits symptoms including sore throat, cough, fever, or difficulty breathing is advised to self-isolate for a period of 14 days and to call 8-1-1 for further support.

We encourage your support of local businesses throughout this developing situation.

BACKGROUND:

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus which was first identified in December, 2019.  The outbreak was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 12, 2020.