Monday, December 17, 2012

City Council Timeline December 10:

Presentations, Presentations, Presentations, a busy night for Council as a number of presentations were scheduled for the December 10th session, a look at the Petronas LNG development for Lelu Island, an update from Spectra Energy regarding their planned pipeline project to Prince Rupert and an LNG terminal planned by BG.  Council also heard an update on the Emergency Services Buildings, just part of a full agenda of items for review.

North Coast Review City Council Report December 10, 2012

Minutes from December 10 2012 (when posted to City Website)

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

Video Archive for December 10, 2012 (when posted to city website)
Audio Archive for December 10, 2012 (when posted to city website)

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

Regular City Council Business  (0:30--2:15)

Mayor Mussallem Opens Council session, adoption of minutes of November 26th sessions.

Presentations to Council

Progress Energy/Petronas presentation (2:15--28:40) outlining the planned development of an LNG Terminal on Lelu Island. A recap of some of the material provided during the open houses in Port Edward and Prince Rupert last month. Pacific Northwest LNG, is the name of the project planned for the Northwest, as part of the presentation to Council Petronas spokesperson provided some background on Petronas and its imprint on the world energy stage, as well as an update on the recent approval of the Federal Government that will allow for the takeover of Progress Energy by Petronas. A review of the scope of the project, Operations safety Requirements and the projections of throughput per year upon completion.

Questions followed from Council with Councillor Thorkelson the lone participant of the question period asking about such things as; whether had Petronas looked at other locations other than Lelu Island, suggesting that they may have a difficult time of seeking approval by moving into the Skeena estuary, owing to fishery and environmental issues. Offering the opinion that by targeting Lelu there may be some that find it to be a less favoured location. Petronas re-affirmed that after their research that Lelu Island was the preferred site for them for development.

Spectra Energy Presentation (29.00--47:00)  An update on Spectra's pipeline plans from the Northeast gas fields to Prince Rupert, part of a partnership with BG which plans on developing an LNG terminal in Prince Rupert. They focus mainly on the pipeline aspect of the project, the routes that are planned, what they provide in communities along the way as far as employment, incidental investment, local spending and taxes in those communities. In addition they outline the recent expansion of their network and the safety priorities that they attach to those projects that have been completed in a number of BC communities. They provide an overview as to where they see the LNG market and where the future for British Columbia gas may be, that seemingly to be overseas. The presentation closes with a review of Spectra's history and how they hope to build on that with BC to ship natural gas through Prince Rupert.

Questions followed the presentation with Councillor Rice leading off to inquire about Spectra's expertise in running pipelines under water, with particular attention to two of the three routes planned that will operate under water. She also inquires as to how much pipeline would be required to run underwater.  Councillor Ashley also asked questions about the underwater portion of the pipeline and issues with temperature change. Spectra has few concerns over that aspect of the project.

City's Emergency Response to the October earthquake (47:00--1:09:00)

A review as to how the City handled the earthquake response from the Haida Gwaii earthquake of October 27th. With the event so fast moving, there was little time to respond, the City Fire Department and Emergency Response did not wait for any direction from Emergency Response out of Terrace.  Contact local partners, such as the Port, RCMP, setting up an EOC out of City Hall.

Not a full evacuation, and with the event just a watch for Prince Rupert, they set up a reception centre at the Civic Centre which was utilized by about 100 residents. Main focus was to deal with the low lying areas as the priority from the event. In the Fire Chief's opinion it all went well, with no real concerns, Emergency Operations Centre was in use for about two hours when they determined that things had settled down and that nothing was happening.

Recommendations include:

People go to the City website for contact information with PEP.

A map that outlines low lying areas could be inserted into local phone book.

Provincial government has already taken steps to rectify their information delivery process to the public.

Texting seemed to work best for communication, cel phone service was tied up, land lines worked best that night. Had to call in extra dispatchers to handle calls to the Fire Station that night. Recommend residents review how best to survive an event in the 72 hours after the event.

Questions from Council followed the presentation.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson recommended posting information on Chanel Ten. CityWest is currently working out a plan to inform the public through the Cable system.

Councillor Garon asked about sirens in the community and if that is something to consider.  Cost, monitoring requirements to be considered.

Councillor Ashley complimented the Chief on his presentation material and added that in addition to the internet access, that residents be told to listen to the CBC for further information when these events strike.  Can the City consider an insert to the phone book about what is required for those 72 hours after an event.

Councillor Thorkelson expressed concerns about the information delivery in place when these events happen, in particular relayed concerns over the incident at the Hospital where residents have arrived to reach higher ground, creating a congested situation in and out of the Hospital. Councillor Thorkelson is opposed to sirens, suggesting that they may cause more panic than provide clear information on an event.

Councillor Kinney spoke in favour of sirens, expressing concerns over power outages and how that would knock out Internet, phone and radio broadcasts.

Councillor Ashley expressed concerns over social media rumours and how they tended to make the situation worse.

Councillor Rice also expressed concern over information delivery, with conflicting messages that night from the provincial earthquake centre and the tsunami centre. Wondered where to access the most reliable information when it comes to local emergency situations. She also expressed her frustration with out of town media that was relaying information that may have been incorrect, wonders if the city should have been tweeting and delivering information by social media out of City Hall.

Officially the City gets its information out of PEP the Provincial service, making them the best source of the latest information. City Manager suggested that it wouldn't be the best use of resources to have staff in place to respond by twitter and face book and such.

City Waterfront East Plan (1:09:00--2:07:30)

City Planner Tony Krekic provided an update on the latest developments with the conclusion of his report on Waterfront Development from Atlin Terminal to the East. Reviewed the process of the Plan, the recent open houses, consultation sessions and Public Information sessions.

Summary for council is just a guide as to what can be found on the city website which features a more expanded scope for the project.

Cow Bay part of the main focus for many. Some parts of Cow Bay and Seal Cove are impacted by contaminated soil which will reduce the options on a financial basis.  Some of the suggestions included, a marina, trails which require civic champions, a road extending Third Avenue would be more of a city issue to be prioritized by council.

Plan was originally to be sourced out, but owing to immediacy of work required and a lack of grants it was instead undertaken by staff, with a team of four assisting the City Planner in the project.

The Recommendations are in five parts.

1) To review and amend the Quality of Life Official community plan, to recognize access to waterfront as one of the essential quality of life elements and strengthen the policies related to access to the waterfront.

2) Review and Amend Quality of Life Official community plan  and Zoning Bylaw to demonstrate that provincial and municipal land use regulations do not apply to Port of Prince Rupert Authority and CN lands. The CN lands are those specifically that include trackage, not the lands that CN owns in the city as fee simple lands.

3) Review and amend Zoning Bylaw C5 Marine Commercial Zone, with the intent to include some light industrial uses and any other components for the purpose of clarity

4) Review and Amend the Zoning Bylaw and Cow Bay BPA to expand the Cow Bay Development Permit Area, the additional area will be generally along Dry Dock Road and up hill of George Hills Way.

5) Review and Amend the Cow Bay Permit Area to accommodate new construction, subject to Port of Prince Rupert electing to comply to city regulations on Atlin Uplands project, this work should be done promptly, however if the Port of Prince Rupert elects not to comply to this work, it can be delayed until a new project is on the horizon.

Questions from Council followed the presentation, with the Mayor asking about point number four and if those property owners in the Dry Dock Road and George Hills region had been advised as to that prospect. None of the property owners responded to public information sessions but by email.

 Councillor Thorkelson led off the inquiries of Mr. Krekic seeking clarification on a number of items regarding reviewing and amending Zoning bylaws and such. All of the recommendations will have to go through the regular amending process including public consultation.

Councillor Rice had a few comments, expressing her enthusiasm for the vision aspect of the project and looking for ways to moving it forward. Seeking more time to digest the report and the additional information that comes with it, looks to table the motion of approval until that has been done.

Councillor Ashley sought clarification on the tabling motion, and suggested that council move forward on the report.

Mayor Mussallem asked questions of Councillor Rice as to the length of her required reading time, she suggested a month or two months.

Councillor Ashley then returned to questioning the City Planner on some of the facets of the report. In particular she had questions regarding zoning regulations related to jurisdiction over PRPA lands and their plans for them.

Councillor Garon expressed her support for the plan and offered her approval of it.

Councillor Thorkelson moved that council dedicate one meeting in January to more thoroughly discuss the report, owing to its importance to the community plan. She also issued a motion to table the discussion to January for further examination on the changes to the plan and zoning bylaws.

With Councillors Rice and Thorkelson seeking tabling of the motion, the Mayor then advised that will take place with a meeting planned sometime for January for a full discussion on his recommendations.

Councillor Garon asked as to the timeline of public comment to come on the recommendations.

Councillor Rice, voted in favour of tabling the motion and seeking more time for further examination.

Councillor Ashley voted against tabling the motion, suggesting that by delaying the recommendations that they are just adding another layer of deliberation.

Mr. Howie, clarified the timeline for the recommendations, with more consultation with user groups.

The motion to table failed and the process continued on.

And with the motion to table the discussion a failure, Councillor Thorkelson then weighed in with her  concerns and objections to some of the points of his recommendations, expressing her hope that fish plants may return to that area and some of the facets of the plan may offer problems for their development.

Councillor Ashley asked questions regarding grand father clauses for existing businesses within the Cow Bay development area.

Councillor Garon shared her remembrances of the public sessions and reminded council that the inclusion of active fish plants was part of the consideration at the time.

Councillor Thorkelson returned to the theme of the waterfront and what the city wanted to do with it in the Cow Bay Development area in particular again on the theme of fish plant development and again suggested that the city needed to support the commercial fishery. She also once again expressed her preference for a separate meeting on the issues, and then moved forward relaying her concerns over the  recommendations regarding the Port and CN lands of the waterfront and the impact on zoning that they may have on the process. Stressing how she believes that the Port and CN should meet with the city to discuss what is acceptable development on the waterfront.

She then offered a motion to strike recommendations 2 and 4 of the report, at which point Councillor Ashley interjected, asking of the Mayor if not the motion was to adopt all five recommendations. A read back of the motion verified that and it was back to discussing the recommendations.

Councillor Thorkelson wondered if the recommendations would result in the City not being able to exert its influence on development in those lands held by the Port and CN.

Councillor Ashley then returned the discussion to the waterfront plan currently the subject of the recommendations and explained her reasons for voting to move forward with the motion to approve the recommendations.

Councillor Garon called for the approval of the motion, the vote was held, the motion to move forward with the five recommendations was passed.

Council Business

Community Enhancement Grants (2:07:30--2:10:30) Mr. Rodin reviewed his report and recommended that the current 2013 Community Enhancement Grants be approved at the same level as 2012. Council would not be taking on any additional groups. Councillor Garon asked if those that did not put in a request would be excluded, which Mr. Rodin affirmed. The motion was adopted to accept the recommendations.

Chief Financial Officer Report: Fire Hall / RCMP building projects (2:10:30--2:14:10)

Recommendation that the City adopt the following resolutions:

1) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that the existing Fire Hall and Police station have exceeded their useful life
2) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that it will be more economical and operationally more effective and efficient, to construct new buildings, rather than to begin major renovations to the existing buildings
3) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that the City will need to commit a significant portion of any new tax revenue receivable, as a result of new heavy industry development to financing a fire hall and police station
4) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that there are construction and operational savings achievable through the construction of a joint use building, that these savings must be weighed against the incremental cost of acquiring and developing a suitably large parcel of property, the loss of future municipal tax revenues and the ability for the city to pay the annual financing cost of a joint use building. It therefore appears unlikely that the City will generate any significant savings by building a joint use facility.
5)  That the City approve the use of the properties located at the intersection of McBride and Sixth East as the two sites for a new police detachment and fire hall and that the children's park be relocated to the tennis court site at Sixth and McBride prior to construction of either building.

Councillor Garon called for the recommendations to be tabled until January or February, or even March or April, owing to other issues such as trying to sell Watson Island and the city's financial concerns.

The motion to table was approved, with a tentative date of March 1st to review the recommendations, with Councillor Thorkelson in opposition.

Chief Financial Officer Report: 2013 Financial Plan and Capital Purchases (2:14:10--2:26:30)

Of note from the report: Most of the items will have no impact on the municipal tax levy, the exception being the roads department budget with a request for 500,000 dollars for 2013.
Councillors Ashley and Thorkelson had questions on some of the Capital projects, with an emphasis on the road department budget. The Mayor suggested that the Roads department provide a presentation as to their requirements, a suggestion backed by Councillor Garon. Councillor Thorkelson had questions on spending on the police station cell block and the requirements needed to fix the cell block, in light of the tabling of the new police station issue.

Chief Financial Officer Report: October 2012 Monthly Departmental Report (2:26:00-- 2:29:10)

Overall the city is not doing too badly, a few departments are going to be down such as the Recreation Department, expenditures are a bit under budget. Utility budget is coming along nicely, some projects are going to be rolled over into 2013, such as the street lighting project. Councillor Garon asked how much the city is saving with the  new lights, 40 per cent was the answer.

Feral Cats, Spay and Neuter program (2:29:10--2:43:40)

Request from the minutes of November 26th, to discuss and reconsider the Feral Cat spay neuter program and feeding station request. Also asked if Council would consider licencing cats. Councillor Ashley suggested that the city use the charitable flow through policy to help the out with the provision of tax receipts for the spay/neuter program. Councillor Carlick-Pearson asked for an explanation of the flow through policy.

That motion passed.

Councillor Garon asked that Council deny the funding to the SPCA for their spay neuter program. Councillor Ashley stated that the City doesn't have the money to fund the spay/neuter program. Councillor Thorkelson also spoke to the issue as well, expressing doubts as to the value of treating and then releasing feral cats back into the community. Councillor Carlick Pearson agreed to the denial of funding for the spay and neuter program, though she suggested that the proponents of the program approach council again next year to see if the city's financial picture has improved. Councillor Rice spoke out against the spay and neuter program as well, recounting her conversation with the past head of the SPCA and agreeing with other council members as to the financial aspects of it at this time.

The motion to deny the funding was passed.

Councillor Ashley offered a few more final thoughts on the topic, putting them to staff to look over and then bring them back to council for consideration in January.

Alice Kruta of the Cannery Row Animal Shelter addressed council on the issue, the Mayor advised her to have her supporters approach the City's charitable flow through program for their funding requirements.

By Laws (2:43:45--2:44:18)

2012 Amended Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw

City Managers Report (2:44:10--2:47:00)

Gord Howie advised on the lighting project at the Civic Centre parking lot and that City Hall will be closed from December 24th to 28th. Reopening the 2nd of January. The Province has an project designed to provide information to newcomers to communities, City staff is providing data to the province for it. Prince Rupert is the third community the province has approached for the program.

Reports and Inquiries, Items of Interest to Council (2:47:00--2:51:45)

Councillor Ashley on the development variance permit on Montgomery Road. Property owners have been advised to have the structure taken down within thirty days and offered other options to accommodate the wishes of all concerned.

Councillor Carlick Pearson offered her support to the project and looks forward to see what staff can come up with to resolve the issue.

Councillor Ashley said she too hoped that the issue would be resolved through compromise

Councillor Kinney asked that all be invited to Council to discuss the issue after staff has advised as to the options.

Councillor Garon had a question on the escalating cost to contractors and users of the landfill site, looking for a schedule of the costs at the landfill and for the airport ferry vehicle users. Mr. Rodin advised that the landfill fees were approved through the utilities budget three years ago, the ferry is not supposed to go up this year. Councillor Garon also observed that some items are being placed in the landfill that could be instead taken to the recycling centre.

Councillor Ashley advised that the new baler is being installed at the Recycling Centre.

Mayor's Report (2:52:30--2:57)

Attended a webinar about downtown revitalization with the  Economic Development Officer and members of the Prince Rupert Business community.

Participated with Councillor Thorkelson and Councillor Rice in the Montreal Massacre vigil.

Participated with Councillor Garon in a gathering hosted by Ridley Terminals Operations and their expansion plans.

Attended with Councillor Thorkelson at the West Coast Salmon Fishery review held by the Department of Fisheries, the Mayor asked questions of DFO as to how best improve the lot of those involved in the salmon industry. He advised that DFO advised that the low returns are anticipated for the upcoming years, declining to actively work on the issue of ocean ranching that the Mayor inquired about.

Airport traffic has increased over 2.5 percent

Attended the CUPE Local Christmas social, providing a greeting on behalf of the city.

The Mayor on behalf of the City expresses thanks to to those that helped with the ice chiller repairs at the Civic Centre, the new chiller will be installed at season's end.

Council adjourned, to then reconvene in an in camera session.

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