Full Attendance for the 11th of March edition of City Council, with all Six Councillors, the Mayor and City Manager all gathered in Council Chambers for what would be a lengthy review of events.
Presentations to Council on the night included a review from the Port of Prince Rupert as to the procedures for bringing vessels into the harbour and a request of Council to join a Steering Committee on New Immigrants to the community.
The night providing for a full schedule of discussion points ranging from expanding the city boundaries, to the ongoing discussions on the process of providing for a new fire station and RCMP detachment for the city.
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 March 11, 2013
In Attendance March 11, 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-- Present
Video Archive for March 11, 2013 (not available)
Audio Archive for March 11, 2013
The first task of business for Council on the 11th was the usual adoption of minutes from the past sessions of Council meetings from February 25th. (0:00-3:22)
Councillor Rice raised a question for clarification on one of the motions passed at the February 25th session, inquiring as to the nature of the tax appeal process over the motion.
Regular City Council Business
Presentations to Council
Prince Rupert Port Authority (3:30--22:30 ) Port and Harbour Safety. Dave Charlton from the Port provided a presentation on the procedures involved in providing for safe transit into Prince Rupert harbour. An update in the volume of ship calls to Prince Rupert was provided showing how Prince Rupert has grown from 215 calls in 2006 to just under 400 last year, with an anticipation of some 1,389 calls in 2020. He also offered up a review of the projection of commodities that are expected to pass through the Port of Prince Rupert in the years ahead. As well as a review of the process of bringing vessels into the harbour. Included in the review was a video on the nature of the marine pilots and their work in the community.
Councillor Thorkelson was the first and only Councillor to ask a few questions of the Port, inquiring as to the difference between transits and vessel calls. She followed up that question with an inquiry over the accident in the harbour where a vessel ran aground, her focus was on the concern over the fishing industry vessels and their interaction with the incoming traffic. She was advised that the nature of the vessels arriving in Prince Rupert are following well established traffic routes into the harbour. In addition, the Port is continuously looking at best practices and procedures to adapt to maintain a safe and secure status.
Councillor Thorkelson expressed her concerns over the approach lanes to the proposed LNG Terminals off Lelu Island and the impact that they may have on the commercial fishing fleet. She inquired as to whether there may be a community committee put into place on the issue and followed up with comments as to the readiness of the Port for incidents in the harbour and its approaches.
Hecate Strait Employment Development Society (22:30--38:00 ) Presentation on the wish for an Immigrant Welcoming Committee in the community. Glen Groulx from Hecate Strait provided some background on the work of his organization with new immigrants to the conmunity. The main points of his presentation were to explain the Welcoming Community Action Plan that Hecate Strait is establishing in the community as well as highlighting some of the services that they provide.
He then asked that Council consider participating in a dialogue with new immigrants to the community, by way of participating in a steering committee of four meetings a year.
Councillor Thorkelson asked if Hecate Strait had been given an idea as to the nature of the immigrant population in Prince Rupert and the aspect of employment that they are seeking, in addition she inquired as to what the expectations are looking ahead.
The Mayor asked if Council members had the time to participate, Councillor Garon asked for more time to consider the topic, Councillor Thorkelson advised that she would be interested in the project and asked for a written proposal for Council to consider.
Reports and Recommendations
(38:00--53:00) Report from the City Planner on an application for a development variance on Bill Road. The City Planner outlined the nature of the permit and offered up the progress of it. The motion to approve the variance was adopted.
Mr. Krekic followed up with details of an application for a property on 11th Avenue East. The application was moved to a public notification process.
A third application for a development permit for 5th Street was outlined. Mr. Krekic provided some background on the nature of the request by NWCC to place an antennae tower between the Senior Citizens Centre and the College. He also outlined some detail on other communication tower possibilities in the community. Council Ashley inquired as to the nature of the height of the proposed tower in at the College location. Councillor Rice inquired as to the specifics of the tower, what it is, what it would be used for. Councillor Thorkelson asked as to the time sensitive nature of the application and what the city is hoping to achieve by expediting it. The motion to move the process to public consultation process and was adopted.
(53:00--1:10:00) Report on City of Prince Rupert Boundary Expansion proposal. Mr. Krekic and Mr. Grodecki outlined the parameters of the proposal (available from the agenda and which we reviewed here).
A slideshow presentation examined the scope of the proposed expansion. Councillor Ashley asked about the timeline of the expansion project and where it goes from here. The Mayor advised that he hoped it would be available municipal election in 2014. The Mayor also outlined the historic nature of the proposal and stressed that the city is not considering taking over any of the local communities currently in place.
Councillor Garon inquired as to how the proposal will move forward, who the contact person on it will be at City Hall and what the steps will be. She also stressed the need to make the process as easy to follow for the public as possible. Mr. Rodin weighed in with a comment that the planned information ahead could provide some of that background for the community.
Councillor Ashley offered up her support for the proposal and how it provides the City with the opportunity to control its growth and in a sustainable way for the community.
Councillor Thorkelson agreed with Councillor Ashley and asked some technical questions of Mr, Krekic. A discussion of the nature of referrals and interaction with some of the title holders in question followed. Councillor Thorkelson also offered up some suggestions for the planned web presentation that the city intends to launch to explain the proposal.
Council voted to move forward on the proposal.
(1:13:00--1:53:00 ) Report from Acting City Manager on Fire Hall/RCMP Detachment.
Mr. Rodin provided the overview on the status of the ongoing discussions regarding the proposed replacements for both the city's Fire Hall and RCMP detachment.
Much of the Mayor's talking points in introduction can be found here item 6e, Mr. Rodin then delved into the technical aspects of the report. The main take away from it is that we may eventually see two separate buildings constructed. His presentation to council covered much the same material as available from the agenda item above.
Much discussion over the financial limitations that the city faces at the moment followed Mr. Rodin's presentation. The theme of which being that the city look towards the more promising industrial plans for the community as a timeline for development.
Councillor Thorkelson spoke to the report, providing her own motion on the topic. Asking that Council recognizes that we need a new fire hall and police station, but that we cannot build them at this time. We commit to looking for a variety of monies to earmark for these buildings, including new tax revenue, corporate donations and land sales.
Councillor Garon agreed with Councillor Thorkelson on the issue and agreed that at this time the City can't move forward on the building replacements.
Councillor Ashley agreed with the motion from Councillor Thorkelson, adding that at this time the City needs to make a plan for when they can afford it.
Council voted in favour of Councillor Thorkelson's motion.
Discussion of the Emergency Services motion then moved on to the nature of the Tot park on McBride and 6th, Councillor Carlick Pearson asked about cash projections of moving the park. Mr. Rodin advised that some of the funding to move it could come from the parks budget over a two year period.
Councillor Ashley expressed her concern over the two properties in question and the importance of both the park and the tennis courts to the community. She also believes that the time has come to ask the community where they are on the issue and to go to a referendum on the issue.
The Mayor asked as to whether the referendum would involve both the police detachment or the fire hall, she advised that with the Police Detachment situation involved in a process that may soon have the province involved, that a referendum may provide some input from the community.
Councillor Thorkelson outlined more of her thinking behind her motion, with a view towards the arrival of new industry and an improving tax base for the city. She offered up her thought that she's not convinced that the RCMP couldn't move some of their secretarial staff outside of the detachment. She did offer up concerns over the nature of the cells in the current building and if the City may not have to address that issue. She voiced her opposition to the idea of a referendum at this time.
Her final thought being if the City doesn't have the money, it doesn't have the money.
Councillor Garon also offered up her support to Councillor Thorkelson's comments, offering up her belief that the issue should be put aside for the moment. She said that she knows of no one in the community that is in favour of a tax increase at this time, she also did not want to see a referendum at this time and expressed her concerns over the location of Sixth and McBride.
Councillor Kinney shared similar thoughts of those of Councillor Garon, he also is not in favour of the proposed location.
Councillor Rice joined in with the chorus, she did inquire as to what will happen should the RCMP process a third letter of request that could force the city to build a detachment.
Mr. Rodin offered up his thoughts on the third letter situation, and his findings were that the RCMP has not in the past gone on to unilaterally build a detachment of their own.
The Mayor also offered up his lack of enthusiasm for a referendum on the topic of a fire hall and RCMP detachment, he did express concern over the prospect of the City having to build an RCMP detachment, he doesn't see that as the subject of a referendum. He reminded council that the city had been served with notice that it needs to provide a new facility, and if the city does not at some point proceed in that way, they could find that the building is constructed and they will have lost control of the process.
He indicated that the RCMP is the more pressing issue and at some time the city will have to build that, as for referendum he thought that the fire hall might one day be the subject of one.
He then recapped the talking points of the discussion and also looked towards the industrial prospects of the future for a better financial situation.
Councillor Ashley then again made her case for a referendum on the topic, suggesting that any other option for approving such a project should be done with public approval.
The Mayor outlined his thought that the alternative approval process was less expensive than a referendum, he then touched on some of the risks involved in not acting promptly on the RCMP detachment process.
Councillor Ashley called on the memories over the CityWest quasi privatization process of a few years ago, which did not go to a referendum and left some in the community upset over the in house nature of that decision by a previous council.
Councillor Garon then asked where the City was going with the motion on the floor.
Mr. Rodin provided some background to a previous point from Councillor Thorkelson on alternative property options, advising that they had looked at those two options that had been offered in the community and determined that they weren't suitable for the project.
The topic then apparently exhausted, the Mayor then moved business on to other business.
Report from City Manager
(1:53:00-1:53:30) Outstanding city initiatives. Mr. Rodin advised that there would be a written report provided for the next meeting.
Reports, Questions and Inquiries for Council
Councillor Kinney called attention to the community that the Legion Ladies were celebrating their 80th year of operation, with a call for a letter congratulating them on their service to community.
Councillor Thorkelson asked the community to look at the Agenda package and review an item called Salmon Fishing in the Skeena River and to seek out a video on the topic.
She also advised that it had come to her attention that the deadline for the Petronas group environmental process had arrived at March 11th. What happens now she advised was that unless there is a request for an environmental assessment on the project, it can move forward without one.
With that in mind she called on Council to write up a motion and that the Council write to the CEAA and request an Environmental Assessment be made on the Pacific Northwest LNG project. She also wished for council to express their concerns over the impact on the community, both socio economic and health. As well as the impact on other industries and the impact on the Skeena estuary. Councillor Ashley seconded that motion.
Mr. Rodin was asked his opinion on whether the City can request this. The answer to that question was yes.
Councillor Garon took issue with the nature of Councillor Thorkelson's impressions on the topic of the Assessment process thus far. Councillor Thorkelson spoke to that topic, the Mayor then called for discussion on the motion.
Councillor Garon said she was not prepared to support the motion from Councillor Thorkelson as she did not have all the information in front of her.
Councillor Rice offered up her thoughts on the issue, speaking to it as the kind of thing that the Idle No More movement had been focused on in the recent past. She observed that with the changes to the assessment procedures recently put in place by the Federal Government, that it was appropriate for Council to ask that the project be evaluated.
The Mayor then made a few observations on the theme of the discussion and the City's dedication to a Clean and Green Marine environment .
Councillor Thorkelson then expanded on her concerns over the process and the need for an assessment on the project, stressing her wish for the Council to express its wish for one.
Councillor Ashley lent her support to the request for the letter to seek an assessment.
Councillor Garon then relayed some information she discovered from a radio station website, Councillor Thorkelson offered up a different resource material directing Councillor Garon to consult the CEAA website for further information.
The Mayor then offered up some advice to anyone who was intending not to vote for or against the motion. Reading from the regulations on Municipal governance, he advised that if a councillor stayed in the room and did not vote, they would be counted in the affirmative. If they intended not to vote, he advised then they should leave the chambers or be recorded as in the affirmative.
Council Garon asked for five minutes to look over the information that Councillor Thorkelson directed her to. Councillor Rice then read some information from a different website that outlined her thoughts on the topic at hand.
Councillor Ashley then weighed in on the topic of the motion, advising that she wouldn't recommend that anyone leave the room on this motion.
Councillor Garon then continued to read the website she was directed towards, outlining her takeaway from the material.
After all of that, the vote was held, with Councillor Kinney the sole Council member opposed, the motion was passed.
The Mayor hosted a tour of council chamber for Annunciation School and had them participate in a mock city council session.
He attended the All Native Basketball tournament and spoke on a number of items.
He participated in the PR Chamber of Commerce luncheon and provided updates on a number of city issues. Councillor's Rice and Garon were also in attendance.
He advised that he attended a Natural Gas Conference and took in sessions to learn more about the resource development and export plans for it.
Representatives of the City attended meetings with government and opposition officials in Victoria on the topics of Watson Island and LNG development as well as the Prince Rupert airport and Tsimshian access project, Councillors Rice, Thorkelson and Kinney attended the meetings with the Mayor.
He participated in an economics essentials workshop which provided an overview of economic development.
He as well as Councillors Garon, Kinney and Rice attended a community forum involving elected officials from surrounding communities to discuss common issues of concern in the region and update some of the items from it.
The Mayor, along with Councillors Rice, Carlick-Pearson and Garon attended the opening ceremony for the Ridley Island Corridor.
The Mayor met with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure on the topic of Airport access. Councillor Garon attended with the Mayor to represent the city.
The Mayor then provided a declaration of support for seafood and asked that City council consider sending a letter to all provincial parties to seek support for the salmon fishery.
He, along with Councillors Rice and Garon attended the opening of the new Transition House facility in the community.
He then suggested that Council seek the opinion of those on Third Avenue over the issue of potential parking changes.
He then reminded Council that the BC Jobs Fair is coming to town at the Highliner on March 22nd.
Councillor Garon then updated council on the developments at the Northern Development Initiative Trust.
Councillor Ashley congratulated the three Charles Hays Secondary School teams that took part in the recent provincial basketball tournaments.
With that he brought the session to a close