Grand Forks needs solid infrastructure plan, mayoral candidate Baker says

In this provided photo, Everett Baker is one of four candidates running for mayor of Grand Forks. Baker says building on their good start on housing and lobbying for infrastructure will be key items to tackle if he's elected. (Everett Baker via Vista Radio)

Mayoral candidate Everett Baker says the City of Grand Forks needs a solid plan for replacing its aging infrastructure.

The councillor, who won a council seat in a 2020 by-election, lost to now-outgoing mayor Brian Taylor by 56 votes in 2018. Soon after Taylor announced this year that he wouldn’t seek re-election, Baker made his intentions known.

Baker, whose family runs the Grand Forks Funeral Home, says he wanted people to get a sense of his hard work ethic this year instead hearing about his platform in an all-candidates meeting or in the weeks leading up to the election.

Baker says there are many issues the city will face and infrastructure is one of them.

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“We’re going to have to make some long term plans and stick to it and that’s throughout Grand Forks, certainly downtown. We need to solidify our infrastructure which is really the heartbeat of the community. You lose your water and sewer, you’re in trouble,” Baker said in an interview with Vista Radio.

The city will have to strongly lobby senior governments for infrastructure funding, he says, in order to keep the tax burden down for local taxpayers.

Also on the ballot this year will be a referendum for a community center for the Grand Forks area.

While he supports the concept of it, he’s “very concerned about the cost, particularly at this time period.” But he supports the referendum because it deals with tax dollars

On the issue of housing, Baker says “we’re doing pretty well” to start with a number of developments as well as working with the with Osoyoos Indian Band to move homes from North Ruckle and have them refurbished. Baker has also been a city liaison with BC Housing and has been working on senior housing, supportive housing and he also supports lane housing and tiny homes where appropriate.

With less than two weeks to go before the election, Baker wants people to know about the value of their vote and “their vote does count.” He thinks there’s a lot of pessimism in communities today and that people think their votes don’t matter. “I encourage people to get out and vote.”