Thursday, November 29, 2012

City Council Timeline November 26: Empty seats, a vote deferral, backyard hockey and other tales from Council's session

Monday night's council session might be best remembered for the volume of empty seats around the chamber, with three council members absent and Financial Officer Dan Rodin away ill, the night had the air of a pick up hockey game, as opposed to the full attendance residents might anticipate at the bi- monthly sessions.

And as the night would play out, pick up hockey in a backyard would actually prove to be a theme (along the lines of an episode of Judge Judy) taking up almost half the council session, along with the approval of a dog park and what threatens to be a never ending discussion on feral cats.

With Councillors Kinney, Carlick-Pearson and Thorkelson not sitting in the council chambers (Councillor Thorkelson would follow along with the proceedings from Prince George, via the telephone, allowing for a functional quorum on the night) the Mayor called the cast to order and civic governance in open forum began for another session.

North Coast Review City Council Report November 26 2012

Minutes from November 26 2012 

Readers of the blog can follow along through the City's video and audio archives of the most recent session.

Video Archive for November 26 2012
Audio Archive for November 26 2012

Timeline of discussion on the night can be found in red below.

Committee of the Whole

Mayor explains the purpose of the Committee of the Whole session, which preceded the Regular Council session on the night (0:00--2:04)

Call for questions of the public on matters of civic operations

A West side resident asks questions regarding train idling noise on West side of the city, Councillor Ashley and Councillor Rice asked questions regarding City noise bylaw and what steps the citizen took to seek redress on the issue, steps that provided for no resolution for the resident in his dealings with CN (2:04--7:30)

Committee of Whole was adjourned and Council moved on to Regular Business

Regular City Council Business

Mayor opens regular council session (7:30--9:30)

Presentations to Council

Zoning and permit issue on Montgomery Road
Residents of  Montgomery Road appear at council to discuss the erection of a backyard hockey rink in the neighbourhood, proponents and opponents to the rink discuss in front of council. No building permit was sought for the backyard rink, making the project a zoning issue. Councillor Ashley asked if the residents could do something different to make situation workable in the neighbourhood. The City planners report on the backyard rink, provided his thoughts on the issue. He advised that there were 8 letters received on the issue,  2 expressing dis-satisfaction, 6 that were in support. He then provided an explanation of the property development variance permits process, with the closing statement that City Staff Recommended against the project.  Councillors Ashley and Garon asked questions of Mr. Krekic on zoning issues about the project. Councillor Thorkelson weighed in by telephone asking further questions of the City Planner on the topic. Councillor Ashley asked questions of Gord Howie on the issue of noise bylaws and the impact on the backyard rink. Councillor Rice reminds council that this wouldn't have been such a complicated process had the property owner taken out the proper permits. Councillors Ashley and Garon echoed that thought on permits. Councillor Thorkelson expressed her thoughts on why a compromise had not been brought to Council for examination by the property owner in question. Council then voted on the issue, sending the backyard rink to defeat.  (9:30--41:30)

Council Business

Report from General Manager of Engineering and Public Works on the implementation of an official dog park at Doug Kerr Field at the Civic Centre. Gord Howie reviewed the proposal and offered up the City's recommendation for moving for on approval of the site as a favoured location for a Dog Park. Council approved the project with the cost put to the 2013 budget.  Councillor Garon asked to the costing of the project, Councillor Rice then sought clarification on the designation of the Dog Park, Councillor Ashley spoke in favour of the motion. Council voted to move forward with the project (41:30--45:00)

Report on the City Council schedule for 2013, Council discussed pending approval of the 2013 meeting schedule.  A process which must be completed an published in a local paper by years end. (45:00--46:00)

City Financial Officer's Report, with Mr. Rodin ill on the night, Gord Howie provided the review of the Report. Airport revenue is higher than last year, some of the traffic there is down. Fiscal revenues are down, recreation levels are down, though he added that the city is still in very good shape on the revenue side. Expenditures are within budget, Utilities will come in under budget. Should be in good shape at the end of the year. Councillor Ashley asked a question on a transfer to Capital expenditure. (46:00--49:45)

Community Enhancement Grant requests, Mr. Howie then outlined the request and the options available and how the City handled these requests in the past. Recommendations included; approve the requests to the same level as last year, so applicants will know what they are getting. Advise that there may be a reduction in their grant, schedule meetings with Grant applicants prior to Christmas or the New Year. Councillor Garon asked Council whether they needed to meet with all applicants, instead suggesting, that other than the big six applicants, that they call the other applicants forward should they have questions. The big six are the Golf Course, Museum, Library, Economic Development, Tourism Prince Rupert and the Lester Centre. Councillor Ashley advised that if any applicants wanted to approach council they could. Councillor Thorkelson said that those applicants should come forward with an accounting of their programs, and over the course of the year they should appear at Council to advise as to how the civic donation is working for the community. Councillor Rice asked for a re-read of the motion. Councillor Ashley made a motion that smaller grant applicants come forward through the year to explain their programs. Motions were adopted (49:45--59:30)

Cannery Road Animal Shelter request that Council reconsider the SPCA request for 7,500 dollars for a spay and neuter and release program and the Cannery Road request to allow feral cat feeding stations to be set up around the city. Consider licensing cats. Council Garon asked for the issue to be tabled until   all Councillors were in attendance. Councillor Ashley explained why she recommended the tabling of the issue moving forward (59:30--1:02:00)

Correspondences for Action

Proclamations, Letters of Request:

Adoption Awareness, Figure Skating Club request (1:02--1:04)

City Managers Report ( 1:04:00--1:09:30)

Report geared towards recreation services, patch job on chiller is still working, have received the new chiller and will be able to install the new one should the old one fail. Installation of new chiller to take place at end of season. Infrastructure review including the pool, a prioritization will be provided at budget time as to requirements. Healthy Communities working group review and looking at ways to increase the activity levels of the arena and gymnasium.

On the Financing side, the banking services will be put out for proposal, a review of insurance proposals is underway as well. Mr. Krekic is putting forward his final report, and Mr. Rodin will have a report on the options for Council on the Emergency Services Building project.

Discussion on his report followed, Councillor Garon asked about monitors installed at the Civic Centre and the status of the of the Civic Centre signage on McBride Street,

Items of Interest to Council Members (1:09:30-- 1:11:30)

Councillor Ashley provided an item of concern from Councillor Carlick-Pearson over the issue of wolves in the city over the last few weeks and what the City should do about the issue. Mr. Howie advised that was  a Conservation Officer issue

Councillor Thorkelson advised she was absent at Council owing to her attendance at the Northern Gateway Hearings in Prince George, advised as to some of the progress of them and suggested that local residents examine the transcripts prior to the hearings arrival in Prince Rupert.

Mayor's Report  ( 1:11:30-- 1:14:44 )

The Mayor participated in a meeting regarding development of a compressed Natural Gas export facility in the Prince Rupert, Port Edward area.

Participated in a British Columbia Chamber of Commerce sponsored Northwest Energy Summit on the benefits of Liquefied Natural Gas to Northwest BC.

Attended the Western Transportation Advisory Council Board of Directors Meeting and General Meeting, on such transportation topics as Asian Economies and North American commodities.

Met with the President and Executive Vice President of the Canadian Fishing Company, the Prince Rupert Oceanside cannery is the company's only cannery. Indications for Alaska and British Columbia are that the next fishing season should be a very strong year for the cannery.

Met with representatives of Pacific Northern Gas, a long standing corporate entity in the Northwest, PNG is interested in expanding their throughput of gas as the region grows.

Met with representatives of the Pattison Group of companies providing an overview of the economic development in the region and discussing their holdings in the community and their plans going forward.

Attended a meeting with other community representatives and met with the President of UNBC on their outreach programs and current activities.

Attended a meeting on an itinerant vessel marina, which could involve various community partners.

Called for an adjournment of the November 26th session and to reconvene in closed session.

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