Thursday, February 28, 2013

Council affirms support for Snowbirds funding

It's perhaps provided for one of the longest in timeframes from suggestion to funding, but what was threatening to turn into the Snowbird saga, has finally it seems come to a resolution.

On Monday night, Prince Rupert City Council confirmed that they will be providing funding towards the planned air show of the famed Royal Canadian Air Force squadron.

The issue came up once again for council's consideration, after what appears to have been a procedural faux pas by Council at their last session.

At that time, Council had seemingly approved a funding request for 7,000 dollars prior to the last Council meeting of February 12th.

The funding announcement been made in passing at the end of the Open session of that evening.

The only problem being, as Rob Grodecki of City Staff and Councillor Ashley both pointed out on Monday evening, was that Council had inadvertently discussed the issue in Closed session, which is contrary to the procedures of the Community Charter.

As we mentioned on the blog at the time, that situation had raised more than a few eyebrows in the community over Council's handling of a money issue, making for an editorial piece in the Northern View on the always popular transparency issue .

So, with a bit of controversy on the horizon, the motion was back in front of Council again for the February 25th session, introduced as the final motion and final vote on the topic at hand.

Much like the past few weeks however, the motion was discussed in front of a less than full Council chamber, with two Councillors, Mayor Jack Mussallem and the Acting City Manager all away from Council chambers for the night this time around.

That presence of but a skeleton crew however did not stop the process, with the motion introduced once again and up for discussion.

Offering up the opportunity for Councillors Garon and Kinney to once again speak in favour of the funding, while Councillor Ashley, reprised her concerns over the funding in the scope of recent Council decisions on Community Enhancement Grants.

When it came to the vote, Council Ashley stayed with her position from previous council sessions, as  she voted against the motion.

Which left Councillor Rice to send the issue on to a successful pass, or leave Council deadlocked on the issue.

Councillor Rice expressed her concerns over the topic and how it had left her torn on the issue.

In the end, she reversed her position of earlier this month, though not before expressing doubts on the logic of an outdoor festival in a community with wide ranging weather. She also expressed her opinion, that while it was not her particular kind of attraction, she would be voting in favour of the motion.

Suggesting that she had determined that it was the will of the people to have the air show take place.

With that vote quickly in hand, the motion was passed by a margin of 3-1.

You can review the entire discussion on the topic from the City's video archive from their website.(view the discussion at the 1 hour three minutes to 1 hour eleven minutes mark)

With the vote, it appears that the matter is now settled, with no further returns to council anticipated.

However, one hopes  that when the summer rolls around, that the actual attendance of the air show itself, proves more successful than that of council's attendance record when it came to the discussion of the issue over the last few weeks.

You can review the past discussion on the Snowbirds funding topic from our timeline of past Council sessions.

January 14
February 12
February 25

March 6-- Northern View-- City of Prince Rupert supports Snowbirds funding - barely

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