New service offers legal direction

Midway council heard about a new service that provides access to legal information to those who need it in the Boundary.

Midway council logo

A new service has started in the Boundary that will help direct those in need of legal advice to the information they need.

Legal services outreach worker Barry Pratt, along with RCMP victims Services program manager Cathy Riddle, explained the new service to Midway council at its regular meeting Monday night.

Pratt will be funded four days per month under a contract with the Legal Services Society (LSS) program called the Community Partners Program. According to the LSS website, the role of a community partner is to provide access to public legal education and information materials, act as a link between LSS and people who need to apply for legal aid services, and raise awareness in the community of legal aid and other resources that can help resolve legal issues.

The proposal was first brought to council last May by Riddle who, at the time, was looking for someone to administer the contract with LSS and a physical space in the West Boundary where the outreach worker could meet with clients.

Pratt said both issues have been solved and he has been invited out of retirement to take on the role.

He worked for a number of years as a family support worker in the Boundary and he knows the people and resources of the area. “We don’t give legal advice,” Pratt said. “But there are tons and tons of brochures focussed on seniors, what to do if someone in your family dies, power-of-attorney, etc. Basically people get in touch with me and I will direct them to the appropriate information.

“If it turns out that they will need something more than the brochure will provide, then I have both telephone and Internet access to be able to hook them up to Legal Services Society in Vancouver.”

The service will be based out of Grand Forks—operating in the Open Learning Centre above the public health in Midway, and three days a month in Grand Forks.

Pratt said posters have been put up throughout the Boundary and he is working now to raise awareness of the service. He said he is also working to locate venues where he can put up brochures and other information.

He can be reached at 250-442-2267 or toll-free 1-877-442-5355; or via email at Barry.Pratt@bfiss.org

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Works foreman John Boltz also appeared before council to deliver his quarterly report to council. A new snowplow truck has been acquired by the village, he said.

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After a lengthy discussion council voted to approve an extension of the arena concession contract with Gerry Watson for the same rate.

There was discussion about the need to expand the kitchen area; with options discussed being to move the east wall out about five feet into the entryway or moving it to where the old dressing room is located.

Councillor Richard Dunsdon said he would prefer to see money spent on other parts of the village before more is put into the arena. “But if we could help her out by moving the wall out, I would support that. We need to deal with the community hall—decide whether we are going to revamp the old one or build a new one.”

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Council gave approval in principle for the library to proceed with work to enclose exposed pipes in the basement, subject to approval of the works foreman.

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Mayor Kappes was not able to make the meeting but sent in a written report. “The Community Forest Board met to give final approval of the community forest management agreement with Vaagen Fibre Canada ULC. It has now been approved and signed.”

Kappes wrote that Area E director Vicki Gee had approached him about inclusion in the community forest. After discussion, the community forest board agreed that they would be supportive of the shareholders (Midway and Greenwood) considering Area E’s inclusion. “I ask council to have staff look into the implications of adding Area E to the community forest and have it brought back for consideration once that info has been gathered,” Kappes wrote.

“The CAO and I met with the fire chief and representatives of the Rock Creek Fire Coverage Society. We discussed this year’s grant that they successfully applied for. We also talked about how to best share info and the relationship between the society, the fire department and the village moving forward.”

He also reported he had met with Gee and discussed a number of issues affecting our area. “We agreed that the whole area is affected by local happenings and would like our areas to continue to work together.”

Council directed staff to set up a meeting with Gee in January that would include all members of council.

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Council will send a letter to the regional district asking that the recycling bin remain in the village. Councillor Gary Schierbeck said it would be “disastrous” if it were taken out.

 

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