Council approved a recommendation by staff to apply for a $375,000 Strengthening Communities grant to deal with homelessness in Smithers.
The original proposal was for $350,000, but a last-minute addition to the agenda proposed an additional initiative worth $25,000.
An email informed council of a former Local Action Team that studied homelessness in Smithers, and according to Coun. Greg Brown, could be of use and had already explored some of the areas the grant is intended for.
Although details were vague, a member of the Local Action Team, Cheryl Hoffweber, would be able to work with town staff in giving background information for the grant application, and help implement a third initiative yet to be determined,
The first initiative is to hire two Indigenous outreach workers who will be available 24/7 in downtown Smithers to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable homeless individuals.
The second is installing storage lockers to meet the storage needs of people experiencing homelessness.
A longstanding drainage issue on 13th Ave. has become exacerbated by the death of a property owner on the street.
At its April 13 meeting, council heard from a delegation requesting the Town build a drainage ditch along 13th to Main Street or Queen Street.
For 45 years the property owners have taken it upon themselves to pump water down a self-made draining ditch. But with neighbourhood change of ownership and the passing of one of the property owners, the draining ditch is no longer available, and physical limitations make it impossible to pump the water, which floods basements with heavy rains and snowmelt every year.
The delegation reported that the landowners have requested assistance from the Town in the past, with no resulting help.
Council recognized poor drainage is an ongoing concern for town, but will have to look at the feasibility for a ditch to drain water away from this area.
Council members expressed their appreciation to the delegation and tabled the matter for future discussion.