Thursday, February 28, 2013

City Council Timeline: February 25, 2013

It was another skeleton crew on duty for the 25th of February edition of City Council, with three Council members and the acting City Manager all away for the night.

The night provided for more in the ongoing process of presentations from groups seeking or receiving Community Enhancement Grants for this year. With the SPCA, Special Events Society and local Francophone Organization all providing some background on the their efforts for Council's review.

Derelict properties, property variances and resolutions for an upcoming local government convention were also discussed over the course of the night.

Council once again addressed the topic of funding for a Snowbirds air show this summer, with another vote (this one in open council session) to move forward the city's contribution in funding for the planned air show.

The remainder of the council night was taken up with resolutions and discussion on a number of items from the agenda.

The timeline of the proceedings can be found in red below, tied in with the City Council video feed archived below. Further information such as minutes, audio and video archives can be found as they are posted to the city Website.

Minutes from February 25, 2013

In Attendance February 25, 2013

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Absent 
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present 
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present (Acting Mayor)
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present 
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Absent

Video Archive for February 25, 2013 (not available) 
Audio Archive for February 25, 2013

Councillor Garon, as Acting Mayor commenced a session of the Committee of the Whole Meeting seeking questions from the gallery, with none approaching the microphone, Council then adjourned fo the Regular Council Meeting for February 25th.

The first task of business for Council on the 25th was the usual adoption of minutes from the past sessions of the Regular Council meeting of February 12th, and the Special session of February 12th. (0:00-4:00)

Regular City Council Business

Presentations to Council

Prince Rupert SPCA (4:00- 18:00 ) Anna Terebka The head of the local branch of the SPCA, provided a presentation on behalf of the SPCA in regard to that organization's application for a Community Enhancement Grant.  The SPCA, which has received a 23,000 dollar grant in the past outlined some of the work that they provide in the community, stressing the nature of the volunteers that give of their time to the shelter on a weekly basis. The presentation revolved around some of the principles that the SPCA has in place for the care of animals in the community.

On the topic of cruelty to animals, Councillor Rice asked some questions as to the nature of some of the photos provided in the presentation. The SPCA advised that 44 percent of the dogs that the Bylaw office brings to the shelter become the responsibility of the SPCA.

On the financials, Council was told that the SPCA operates on a deficit year each year, a review of the revenue streams for the SPCA was provided, with adoption fees and donations making up the bulk of their financial stream.

The shortfall this year is approximately 175,000 dollars, a total that can be lessened from donations from other branches in more populated areas of the province. Though the possibility of closure is always a possibility owing to the nature of the financials the SPCA faces.

Councillor Ashley began the questions phase of the session, asking for particulars on the financial items of the presentation. Councillor Kinney asked who sets the adoption fees at the SPCA, he was advised that with input from the local branch, the head office sets the fees. He recommended that the SPCA revisit their fee structure.

Special Events Society (18:00-39:00 ) An overview of the work of the Special Events Society was next up on the agenda, with a delegation from the Society thanking Council for their grant of 20,000 dollars. At which point Councillor Garon congratulated the Society on their success at the recent Chamber of Commerce Awards.

Rather than a financial presentation, the Society provided a review of the nature of the volunteers that offer their services to the Society on its four main events each year. An update of the status of the parade float that the Society hopes to have completed shortly was provided.

The video presentation for council featured some background on each of the events that the Society puts on each year for the community.

A short overview of the objectives of the Society and questions moving forward were provided following the video presentation.

The Society wrapped up their presentation with an explanation of why they do what they do and how they hope the community continues to get involved with their activities.

Councillor Garon thanked the group for their presentation and complimented them on their work and commiserated in their struggles to find volunteers.

Councillor Rice congratulated the Society on the work and the service that they provide to the community with the budget that they have to work with. She also saluted the inclusivity that the Society provides for in the community. Councillor Rice observed that with the Job Fair coming up in the community, the Society may find volunteers for their work from that event.

Nelson Kinney also saluted the Society for its hard work.

Councillor Ashley asked if there was need for a resolution to arrange for another meeting with the Special Events Society for a brainstorming session.

Councillor Rice then inquired as to whether Ketchikan has any plans to attend Seafest celebrations, the Society advised they will be.

Councillor Kinney asked if the Society Float would be ready for the annual trip to Ketchikan's fourth of July celebrations, the Society is hopeful that the Float will be constructed by that time.

AFFNO (39:00-46:00) Patrick Witwicki provided the overview of the Francophone Society and the events that they put on in the community.  He also saluted those volunteers that offered up their assistance to AFFNO's Sugar Shack festivities this year.

He thanked Council on behalf of AFFNO for their assistance over the years and looked ahead to growing the annual event.

He provided a review of how the partnership with the City worked, and how AFFNO made use of the 500 dollar grant from the City and how that grant impacts on Heritage Canada funding.

The use of the Civic Centre was the main focus of the City's contribution in kind and the Society thanked the City for that, Witwicki also reviewed some of the events of the weekend and how the festival is starting to catch the attention of residents beyond Prince Rupert.

Councillor Ashley congratulated the group for their efforts in putting on the event this year.

AFFNO also mentioned the help from Charles Hays and from a local business Rupert Meats.

Reports and Recommendations

(46:00--53:30) Report from the City Planner on an application for a development variance on Bill Road.

The City Planner outlined the particulars on the application, which would be the construction of a covered deck in the backyard and the request for a variance on the back yard property. His recommendation was that it be approved and forwarded to public notification.

The motion was approved by Council, with Councillor Ashley inquiring as to the impact that the deck may have on neighbouring homes. She also asked as to the height of the planned deck cover.

Councillor Rice asked as to the nature of compliance to existing zoning rules that the deck would be extending on.

Council was advised as to the changing nature of the lot sizes that homes are being constructed on in the community.

The motion was carried.

(53:00--56:00) Report on Derelict properties in the community. An update on some of the properties of concern to the city, with an advisory that a property on Fulton had been demolished at a cost of about $110,000 to the city, it's anticipated that the city  try to collect that from the owners but that the city will end up owning that property. The city also had a building on 9th Avenue West demolished as per the council resolution, that removal will cost the city $25,000. A third building on Alfred street has been slated for demolition, however the owners of the building have said that they will take responsibility for the building's demolition.

Councillor Ashley recommended the report be received for information purposes, seconded by Councillor Kinney. The motion was carried

(56:00-- 1:03:30) Report from Corporate Administrator on the upcoming North Central Local Government Convention for 2013. A call for three resolutions for the upcoming convention was provided for councils consideration.

Included in the package for Council was a draft resolution for an amendment to the Community Charter /Local Government Act, to better serve communities in items regarding tax sales along the lines of Watson Island. Seeking to have the province amend the charter and act so that a municipality's clear title to a property cannot be disputed in a court of law or tribunal. The resolution would try to lobby the NCLGA and UBCM to look upon the legislation and amend it to remove the onerous costs to municipalities.

That motion was passed to  be forwarded to the NCLGA.

Councillor Ashley outlined the aspects and her thoughts on the other two resolutions that she was forwarding that night for consideration.  The first one being that the NCLGA and UBCM petition the provincial and federal government to award equal financial support to individuals on disability, welfare and old age security, regardless of their marital status.

The third resolution would ask both the NLCGA and UBCM to petition the provincial and federal government to increase the basic support allowance to those individuals, to a level that reflects the true cost of living in this country.

The motion was passed to be forwarded to the NCLGA.

(1:03:00--1:11:30 ) Community Enhancement Grant for funding for a Snowbirds airshow in the city .
Mr. Grodecki outlined the history of the recent request for a Community Grant, which was declined previously in January. The motion was then the topic of discussion in a closed session, and council then announced it at an open session. However, to stay onside of the Community Charter, the grant request is to be presented again at Council, with this session being the final vote on the resolution. Some background on the topic was revisited, with a look at the cancelled show of last year and how efforts were launched to try and bring it back for 2013.

Council then voted on the resolution to provide 7,000 dollars in funding for the Community Enhancement Grant, with Councillors Garon and Kinney firmly on side of the resolution to fund the grant.  Councillor Ashley thanked staff for bringing the topic again to the Council Chamber, with a nod that their efforts in Closed Session inadvertently discussed something that they should not have discussed in Closed Session. She then reviewed her previous thoughts against the funding, voting against the resolution.

Councillor Garon again reviewed her thoughts on the topic, expressing her thanks that the topic has again been put on the agenda and offering up much of the same support for the grant that she did at the January session of council.

Councillor Rice changed her previous position on the topic of the last open meeting, voting this time in favour of the grant, owing to the "will of the people".

Councillor Kinney took charge of the discussion at this point calling for the question to be voted on.

By a margin of 3-1, the grant resolution was approved.

Resolutions from Closed Meetings

(1:11:30-- 1:12:00) Mr. Grodecki advised that Mr. Scott Farwell and Mr. Jack Payne had been appointed to the Prince Rupert Tourism Board Board of Directors for a two year term.

Report from City Manager

(1:12:00-1:13:00) Mr. Grodecki pinch hitting for Mr. Rodin, outlined that there would be  a community forum in March for local First Nations and neighbouring governments.  He provided an update on a broken water main in the Cow Bay area, part of an ongoing situation in that part of town. And he provided a review of the recent All Native Basketball Tournament, from the city's point of view.

Reports, Questions and Inquiries for Council

(1:13:00-- 1:21:00) Councillor Rice congratulated the organizers and participants of the All Native Basketball Tournament recently held in the city. She pointed out two items from the Info to Council package, a letter from Nathan Cullen on a potential name change to the federal riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

She also called attention of Council to a suggested resolution from Green Jobs BC, she requested that Council adopt the resolution to support the Bold Green Jobs plan.

Councillor Ashley seconded the motion, the vote held, the motion then carried.

Councillor Ashley then turned her thoughts towards the Nathan Cullen letter and asked what kind of response Councillor Rice was looking for from the City.

Councillor Rice also had inquiries about the recent transformer spill at the Fairview Terminal area, she wondered if we should be concerned about PCB pollution and asked for the City to inquire further to the Prince Rupert Port Authority on the nature of that spill.

Councillor Kinney congratulated all the young people who took part in the recent Science Fair at Charles Hays Secondary School over the weekend.

Councillor Garon then brought up a request from Councillor Ashley regarding the ongoing meetings with the various groups seeking Community Enhancement Grants, limiting the presentation sessions to just the major grant recipients, and not requiring the smaller groups to have to make presentations to council.

Mayor's Report

(1:21:00- 1:23:30) Councillor Garon, filling in for the Mayor on a pair of occasions, outlined her recent attendance at the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce Awards Night, and provided an update to Council on the success of the night and congratulated all the Award winners on the night.

She also outlined her attendance at the recent Chinese New Year's celebrations in the city. She observed that there were representatives from the Chinese consulate attending the local festivities and that she had invited them to return to the city sometime in the future.

She then brought the night's session to a close.

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