Wednesday, January 16, 2013

City Council Timeline: January 14

A few presentations, some discussion on earthquake preparedness and wolf incidents. A grant request approved and another denied, a change of banks and the usual meeting to meeting requirements of civic governance, that was the workload facing Prince Rupert City Council on their first public gathering of 2013.

Their first task of business however, the approval of the minutes of the Special Sessions of Council of the first two weeks, those in camera sessions that we only hear word of, but have no access to actual documentation of the results of their conversations.

With that out of the way it was on to the agenda package for January 14th.

The Timeline of the proceedings can be found in red below for those looking for a particular or favourite topic of discussion for further review. Further material such as minutes and video and archive items can be found as they are posted to the City Website.

Minutes from January 14, 2013

In Attendance January 14, 2013

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Present
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Present
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Attended by Phone 

Video Archive for January 14, 2013 
Audio Archive for January 14, 2013

Regular City Council Business

Adoption of minutes of January 3rd , January 10th Special sessions of Council (0:00 to 0:36)

Presentations to Council

Northern Development Initiative Trust (0:36 -- 23:15) Ms. Janine North provided a review of the program and recent consultation and some changes that are being made to  how the Trust may be utilized on the North Coast. The topic of grants available to communities and the parameters around them were outlined. As well as a review of some of the new infrastructure programs being introduced, with a look at who may qualify for the investment monies available. The City received congratulations on the nature of a previous grant application for the Marina project at Cow Bay. The Mayor thanked Ms. North on behalf of the community for the 100,000 dollar grant recently received for further study on the Marina project at Cow Bay. Council then was offered the opportunity to ask questions, with Councillors Carlick-Pearson, Councillor Garon, Councillor Kinney and Councillor Thorkelson (who was participating in the council session by phone) all following up on the presentation. Councillors Garon and Thorkelson inquired about a number of procedural items in place for grant applications and how communities seek out money and information from the Trust.

Wolf Control Review (23:30-- 37:15) The topic of wolf control was next up on the agenda, with the Acting Officer in Charge, Vic Steinhammer of the RCMP providing a review of some recent wolf incidents and some of the steps taken over the course of the last few months. Of particular concern to council were the incidents of firearm discharges in the community regarding the wolf situation. The basic outline of the situation as it has evolved, was that the wolf sightings evolved edging towards coming into contact with humans and thus became a public safety issue which resulted in the recent incidents where RCMP or Conservation Officers had to take action. Upon completion of the presentation, Council members Garon, Thorkelson all had observations and questions for the Acting Officer in Charge. With Councillor Thorkelson expressing her concern over officers discharging their weapons in the community, particularly in the evening, she also inquired as to the possibility of live trapping the animals and other concerns over the recent events, calling the incidents along the lines of wolf hunting.  The Acting Officer in charge once again re-iterated that it was a public service concern and that they were acting upon public complaints. Councillor Rice then introduced the topic of a Conservation Officer in the community, a topic which the RCMP couldn't offer an opinion on.

Reports and Recommendations

Grant Application from the Gitmax Mak'ay Nisga'a Society and Dancers (37:30--51:45)  with a recommendation of approval as one time grant, to pay the cost of the facility rental for the group. CFO Dan Rodin explained some history on their previous grant applications and what the group was seeking at this time. A presentation from the group was then provided to explain further what the grant would provide for, which could see an annual Salmon Festival in May. Councillor Carlick-Pearson spoke of the benefits of the possible festival and recommended that Council approve the grant. Councillor Kinney seconded the motion. Councillor Ashley asked a few questions on the budget request, seeking further information on the request. She also asked staff, how much money the City has set aside for late requests such as this one and suggested that the grant request include a budget submission from the Society. Councillor Garon asked a question regarding the prospects of the Festival for next year and whether they were considering fees for attendance going forward. Councillor Thorkelson expressed her appreciation that the Nisga'a were seeking to establish the Salmon Festival and hoped the City could help the Festival grow. Councillor Rice as well added her support for their proposal and their plans.

Snowbirds Community Enhancement Grant (51:45--1:05:45 ) An ad hoc committee in the community has made an application to bring the Snowbirds air performance team back to town. Owing to Federal cutbacks the cost of such an event would be increased this year, the grant request is for 15 to 20,000 dollars. City staff has recommended that the application be approved. Councillor Ashley asked if the money from the last fogged out attempt had been returned to the city's surplus. Which it apparently had, less what was required to house and feed the pilots and their team at that time. Councillor Garon inquired as to whether other monies from other sources may be made available. Councillor Thorkelson expressed some confusion on the spending resulting from their previous visit to town. Councillor Garon asked questions on how any surplus money would be redistributed to needy groups in the community. Councillor Thorkelson registered her opposition to the application for funding on this one day event, outlining her concerns over recent cuts to other groups in the community. Councillor Garon again inquired as to how much was left over from the last attempt, which is apparently about 9,000 dollars. She highlighted the benefits to the community of such an event and offered her support to the grant. Councillor Ashley aligned herself more towards the opinion of Councillor Thorkelson on the issue, repeating the theme of having turned down community group funding and then approving funding for a one day event. Councillor Garon reviewed her conversations of last year with organizers and how at this time turning down the potential visit may mean we have to wait for a number of years for another opportunity. Councillor Carlick-Pearson sided with Councillors Thorkelson and Ashley on the issue, raising again the theme of having turned down other Community Groups. The motion to approve the Community Enhancement Grant, seconded by Councillor Kinney, was defeated. With only Councillors Garon and Kinney in favour of it.

November Monthly Department Report (1:06:00 - 1:11:30 )  A quick review from Dan Rodin of the financials of the city's departments with aggregate revenue and expenditures anticipated to be close to budget. He provided  an advisory that some items and projects will be rolled over into 2013. Capital works projects such as the Cell Block renovation will not move forward while the City reviews its efforts on the Emergency Services building question. That money will be diverted to other Capital Works projects. And the Duncan Road Sewer extension will be started this year. Council Garon inquired as to an item called Parks revenues and expenditures. Councillor Ashley also had a question on the parks issue, asking if the Charles Hays field replacement was in that category, which it apparently isn't, being a Capital Works project. Mr. Rodin advised that the cost of preparation work for the repair of the field was significantly reduced thanks to a 200,000 dollar donation from the Prince Rupert Soccer Association, to which the Mayor asked him to send them a letter of thanks.

Tsunami Warning Response (1:12:00--1:22:00) Mr. Rodin outlined the report put together for Council to discuss the October response to the Haida Gwaii earthquake and tsunami warning for the North Coast. He highlighted how the city's website was improved, how they have improved their media presence and what steps the city has made to improve response to such events. With plans to include a civic information page to the phone book, to highlight concerns in the case of earthquake and tsunami. He made mention of the most recent warning from the Southeast Alaska quake, and how some residents in the Beach Avenue area expressed complacency to Fire and Police officials who were advising them of the tsunami warning that was in effect, which left the Fire Department with no recourse but to simply take names of residents in the house and their next of kin and such from those residences. Councillor Ashley asked questions regarding the City response stemming from the most recent event and inquired as to whether it would be worthwhile to hold an information session with the public. The Mayor suggested that staff could do up an information sheet that would go out with the tax bills, the sheets would provide information on the city's recommendations in the event of an event. Councillor Ashley also suggested that the sheets be made available to the library and such for those that don't receive tax bills. She also suggested that the local media become involved in the sharing of such information.  Councillor Carlick-Pearson also encouraged residents to put together emergency kits for their homes and she too encouraged the newspaper to provide an emergency kit list for residents to make use of. Councillor Thorkelson inquired whether the CBC had a requirement to provide any kind of information in the event of these events. She also expressed her concern over the complacency of those residents that refused to leave their homes. Councillor Rice reviewed her experience from Masset when the earthquake struck and how the CBC had no information on the event at that time, she asked again that the City inquire with the CBC as to their requirements in these situations.

Bank Signatories (1:22:00 - 1:25:30) Council was to decide as to which Councillors should become Bank Signatories, Mr. Rodin explained the procedure in place and the reason for the change. The City will be moving its banking to the Credit Union and with that move they will have to fill out new paperwork and with that they will require bank signatories. Councillor Kinney recommended that they continue on with the current council signatories that exist. Councillor Ashley added an addendum to that, advising that Mr. Howie's (who will be leaving soon) name be removed and that Mr. Grodecki's name be included in its place. That motion was adopted.

Grant Application for Municipal Alcohol Policy Program (1:26:00 - 1:28:00 ) Mr. Rodin explained why the City was inclined to apply for this grant, which offers a grant for the city to create a policy to govern the regulation of liquor in the community. Which goes beyond the current bylaw situation. It was brought to the attention of the city by Sheila Gordon-Payne of Northern Health, it has already been take advantage of by council's in Burnaby and Whistler. Councillor Ashley moved that the city apply for the grant and seconded by Councillor Kinney and approved by council.

Letters and Correspondence for Action

(1:28:00- 1:33:30) A letter from Marion Weir, President of the Prince Rupert Senior's Centre, requesting that Council write a letter requesting that Connect Hearing re-establish services in Prince Rupert. Mr.Rodin reviewed the request for Council and Mrs. Weir's concerns over the lack of hearing aid service in the city. Councillor Rice spoke out in favour of writing the letter, Councillor Garon expressed concern over telling a business how to conduct its work and wondered if there was any funding available to keep the service in place, though she did show her support to the letter as a way to express the concern of the community. Councillor Ashley expressed that while it's a private business, this is a health care service and that we seem to be suffering from downsizing and closing of services here. The motion to write the letter was adopted

(1:33:30--1:34:30)  Councillor Ashley added a motion that the City also write a letter to Northern Health and even to the Ministry of Health and ask that they look into the issue and ask how they plan to provide those services to residents of this community. Councillor Carlick Pearson seconded that motion and it was adopted.

(1:34:30- 1:35:30) A Proclamation request that Council proclaim February as Heart month in the City of Prince Rupert, the resolution was adopted.

Additional Items

Resolutions from the Closed Meeting to advise to the public. (1:35:30- 1:37:00) Mr. Rodin advised that there a couple of items that came from the closed meeting that Council may wish to share with the public, Councillor Ashley introduced the motion to move ahead with that and Councillor Kinney seconded that motion. Mr. Rodin then advised that Council passed a resolution that the City change its banking services from the CIBC to the Northern Savings Credit Union.

Also Mr. Grodecki advised that Council had decided to act on the 136 Montgomery Road deck issue with the City to direct the homeowners to bring their deck into compliance wit city bylaws.

Report from the City Manager

(1:37:00 -- 1:39:30)  Mr. Rodin filling in for Mr. Howie outlined that there were no outstanding City initiatives to discuss.

Questions and Inquiries from City Council

(1:37:30--1:39:00 ) Ridley Terminals Privatization Councillor Thorkelson raised her concerns over the proposed privatization of Ridley Terminals. Reminding Council that they had a large discussion the last time that the privatization issue was raised. She requested that Council should have staff compile a report on why they were against the sale of the Terminal and that council should discuss the issue. Councillor Ashley seconded her motion.

(1:39:30 - 1:40:00) Conservation Officer Request Councillor Garon presented a motion that the City write a letter seeking a full time Conservation Officer be based in the community. The motion was seconded by Councillor Ashley.

Mayor's Report
(1:40:00- 1:50:00)

The Mayor attended the third in a three part webinar series on the 20 ingredients of a successful downtown. Outlining some of the items of interest that he found from the series. The event was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce with a number of local business people in attendance.

He attended a community stakeholders meeting regarding the development of a Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal in the community, and the procedures of marine transportation of the product.

He met with the Ministers of State for Finance and Transportation over the planned divestiture by the Government of Canada of Ridley Terminals and recounted some of the points of interest from that meeting.

He took the opportunity to discuss the Prince Rupert Airport and Tsimpsean Access Project with the two ministers.

He participated in a Southeast Alaska conference call regarding a planned ferry construction project in that state. He outlined the planned capabilities of the two vessels being considered.

He and councillor Ashley participated in the Prince Rupert Airport Authority General Meeting.

The Mayor, Councillors Kinney and Garon attended the regional recycling centre for the start up of a new bailing machine, which will increase the viability of shipping and freight costs from the centre.

He participated in a BC Mayor's tele-conference in preparation for a caucus meeting later in the Spring.

On behalf of the residents of the city he thanked Ridley Terminals for sponsoring a community day at the Civic Centre and pool this month.

He outlined the Cruise Ship schedule for 2013 with 9 vessel calls planned for the year, with the possibility of a few more possible.

He attended the Prince Rupert Seniors  Centre Breakfast.

He informed council on the issue of the solar powered speed sign by the Civic Centre and how it's currently not working well with that power source. The Ministry of Transportation is looking into the situation.

He attended a luncheon for a Civic worker that is retiring.

He commented on the demolition of the old King Edward School.

Made note of the recent tsunami warning of earlier this month and advised the city's residents to make access to information from the Emergency Preparedness website and that the city would soon have further information to share as well. He reinforced that residents  do need to have an emergency kit on hand and be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours.

Councillor Garon inquired as to whether the city had heard back about their letter to the Ministry of Transportation regarding a traffic light at McBride and ninth, it would appear that we have not had a reply as of yet.

Councillor Kinney congratulated Port Edward Council on the building of the new school in that community.

Councillor Garon inquired as to the acting Mayors list for 2013.

Council then re-convened to an in  camera meeting after a break.

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