An artist’s rendition of Grand Forks’ proposed community centre. Photo: Community Futures Boundary

An artist’s rendition of Grand Forks’ proposed community centre. Photo: Community Futures Boundary

Grand Forks city council defers community centre decision for a year

Staff and council said Monday, Jan. 25, that the city should wait for a clearer understanding of city finances

Grand Forks city council on Monday, Jan. 25, voted unanimously to defer plans to build a new community centre until the 2022 budget cycle. The vote came after a staff report advising council to hold off on a financial commitment pending completion of major projects under the auspices of the Disaster Mitigation and Relief Fund (DMAF), through which the city is buying Grand Forks’ properties damaged by the 2018 freshet and relocating some homes on those properties.

READ MORE: To build or not to build: Grand Forks community centre could to go to city, district referendum

City bylaws would require council to seek residents’ support for the project through a referendum, if council were to decide to include the project in its 2022 budget. The approximately 13,000 square foot centre is designed to be built around the Jack Goddard Arena and the aquatic centre at the intersection of 19th Street and Central Avenue, according to recent architectural designs submitted to council.

A recent cost estimate puts the tentative budget for the community centre project, spearheaded by Community Futures Boundary’s (CFB) Grand Forks officer, at around $9.7 million. Costs would be shared between the City of Grand Forks and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), according to staff’s report.

“It was a very difficult report to write, 10 months into the job in Grand Forks. I know a lot of work has gone into the community centre,” Chief Administrative Officer Duncan Redfearn told council at chambers.

“At this time, the recommendation is that the city is really not positioned well to make this decision,” he explained.

Redfearn highlighted that Grand Forks’ buy-out program saw $5 million in extra costs in early 2020.

“There’s really a lot of uncertainty around that project,” he said, qualifying that the city’s financial obligations would be much clearer later this year. Redfearn also suggested that the city assess the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillors who spoke at Monday’s meeting said they agreed with Redfearn’s recommendations.

“Moving forward and putting it to a referendum when our taxpayers have no idea what the costs on the DMAF will be, in my opinion, would ultimately fail,” Councillor Christine Thompson said.

“I think by deferring it, we may be saving the project,” Councillor Chris Moslin said.

Speaking next, Councillor Everett Baker said he was “strong proponent of a community centre.” Deferring the project would be “practical,” he added.

“I think this is a good move — to not let it die,” Mayor Brian Taylor said.

Boundary-Similkameen MLA Roly Russell, who advocated for the project while serving as Area D Director on the RDKB’s board, said he was “disappointed” that the project is not yet going to a referendum.

“A huge amount of energy went into preparing a good comprehensive package of information for the community, to inform a referendum in 2020. So, I certainly hope and look forward to this coming back to the table soon, before costs escalate, grant opportunities fade, and what is still a robust report grows stale,” he told The Gazette.

CFB General Manager Jennifer Wetmore declined to comment on council’s decision, pending further discussion by CFB’s board of directors.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CityCity CouncilCity HallCommunityGrand ForksMunicipal Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pastafarian Gary Smith, pictured here dressed as a pirate, wanted to wear his tricorn (also pictured here) in his driver’s licence photo, arguing that the display was a religious observance. Photo: Facebook
B.C. Pastafarian loses Supreme Court fight to wear pirate hat in driver’s licence photo

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith put his case to the Supreme Court in Rossland early last month

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

BC Ambulance Crews prepare to evacuate a sick Greenwood boy by helicopter on Friday, Feb. 26. Photo: Submitted
Greenwood boy taken to hospital by BC Ambulance helicopter

Greenwood volunteer firefighters helped prepare the chopper’s landing

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Gas prices jumped in Golden to 131.9c this week, a trend that's supposed to continue into the summer. (Claire Palmer/Golden Star)
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Clovechok concerned as gas prices continue to rise

Fuel prices are supposed to skyrocket this summer as British Columbians await BCUC analysis

The area shaded in yellow was purchased last year by the Regional District of Central Kootenay. The purple area is the current purchase. Map: Submitted
Cottonwood Lake fundraiser reaches goal

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read