Thursday, December 12, 2013

City Council Timeline, December 9 2013

The First session for the newest City Councillor provided for a lengthy first night at the office, as Barry Cunningham took his seat for what would turn out to be a three hour session, the final regularly scheduled one of 2013 for Prince Rupert City Council.

The lengthy evening consisted of a number of presentations to Council as well as a fairly healthy collection of items as found on the weekly agenda.

Prior to the Monday night public session, the new Councillor and his mates took part in another "closed session" of Council, the latest in what has been a lengthy listing of closed door sessions for this Council.

The timeline of all of the council the proceedings can be found in red below, tied in with the City Council video and audio feeds archived below.

Further information such as minutes and permanent placement in the  audio and video archives can be found below as they are posted to the city Website.

In Attendance December 9, 2013

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Present  
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present 
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Absent 
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney--  Absent
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present

Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Resigned her position on June 10th. (She was replaced by Councillor Barry Cunningham after a by-election on November 16th)

Video Archive for December 9, 2013

0:00--1:10 )  The Mayor opened the Monday session by welcoming Mr. Cunningham, as the newest member of Prince Rupert City Council.

With the introduction out of the way, Council moved on to the Committee of the Whole portion of the evening's proceedings, which featured a number of presentations to Council. The first item of note an advisory of the cancellation by Northwest Community College, as their representatives would not be appearing at the Monday council session.

1:10-30:00 ) Shaun Stevenson from the Prince Rupert Port Authority provided the first of the evening's presentations, providing an overview of developments with the Port Authority. Highlighting some of the growth that the Port has experienced over the last five years, as well as looking ahead to some of the planned developments for Port Authority lands in the region.

Following the presentation, the Mayor inquired as the status of a road bypass for the Port to address safety concerns in the city. Mr. Stevenson advised that planning and engineering procedures are underway, with a possible alternative by way of rail proposal under consideration.

Councillor Ashley thanked the Port for its recent interim 2.1 million dollar payment to the city, she then followed that up with a question regarding waterfront access on the Cow Bay Development plan and where things stand in that process.   He updated Council on those plans, stating that they were still intact and that the Port is looking forward to the transaction that would move that project forward as well as expanding planning towards the Kwinitsa station area of the waterfront.

She then followed up with a question regarding CN and the Pinnacle Pellet walkway project, wondering if that proposal could still be under consideration. She asked that Port contact CN to bring all groups together towards waterfront development in that portion of the waterfront.

He advised that the Port would pass on that message and that they are also interested in finding solutions for access to the waterfront.

Councillor Cunningham made his debut comments to council as a question for Mr. Stevenson regarding Pinnacle Pellet, wondering why none of the community groups in the area have not been contacted to be involved in the process.  He would like to see the Port sit down with local groups looking to gain better access to the waterfront.  Suggesting that they step up to the plate rather than just providing window dressing on the topic.  The Mayor then expanded on the Rushbrook trail situation, providing some background on the troubles that the Rotary club ran into with its revitalization plan for that area of the city.

Councillor Cunningham then again stressed that in his opinion, so far most of the conversation has been that of window dressing.  Mr. Stevenson outlined some of the steps that the Port has taken on its waterfront access plans, he offered up some background on the troubles that Pinnacle Pellet has run into on its plan for the waterfront owing to CN safety issues. He expressed that it's not window dressing that the Port is engaged in and that better access to the waterfront is something they would like to see accomplished.

Councillor Thorkelson then took to the microphone, saying that many of her issues had already been checked off and that it was good when Council is of the same mind, one question she had was the Ports linkage is to the environmental concerns out at Ridley and Lelu Island properties. She asked some questions on the environmental planning and the Port's role in the process and impact off of their properties.

Mr. Stevenson outlined the role of the Port in the environmental process, and that they have a seat at the environmental steering committees.

Councillor Thorkelson expressed her concerns over the disposal plans for any contaminated land or dredging operations.  Mr. Stevenson offered up some background on the procedures but did not have any specifics to offer up on the area of her concern.

Councillor Thorkelson then advised that the fishing committee would be willing to work in liaison on co-operative concerns. She wondered if the Port would be interested in coordinating or participating in such a process.

She then followed up with a question on the discharge at the coal terminal and whether the Port or some other group makes that decision on the process in place.  Mr. Stevenson outlined the terms of the Ports involvement in that particular topic

And with that his the Port's presentation came to a close.

30:00 -- 58:30 ) A presentation from Pacific Northwest LNG, with Tessa Gill, corporate and Stakeholder relations and Derek Baker providing an update on the latest developments with their proposed terminal development for Lelu Island.

She outlined some recent changes in the ownership levels of the partners in the project, with Petronas holding the majority of the ownership in the proposed venture.

She reviewed the partners in pipeline development that will bring the gas to the Lelu Island site.

Ms. Gill outlined the criteria that Petronas used in selecting the Lelu island site for development. As well, she identified some of the changes that have been made to the design of the terminal area, some of which were in response to community comments.

She advised that they would have further updates for the community as they review more of their surveys that they have conducted regarding the project.

An overview of the employment prospects that the project could provide for, both in the construction and operational phase of the terminal. Towards better education for potential employment, she outlined the company's involvement in the Coastal Pathways initiative in the region.

She then offered up the project timeline, with commercial operations anticipated to start in 2019.

A quick review of the environmental process that they are involved with was next. She highlighted the community comment aspects of that process and what they have done so far to meet those requirements.

Ms. Gill then outlined some of the mock ups of the terminal that hey have had designed and that geo technical work continues on Lelu Island regarding the project. From the recent consultations she offered up some of the issues that had been raised from their community involvement so far.

She advised that their Community office in Prince Rupert would have its opening on December 20th and that they also intend to have a presence one day a week in Port Edward.

As part of the presentation Ms. Gill outlined some of the community investments that they have made since they arrived in the community, she also directed residents to their website to seek out more information on the planned project.

The Mayor thanked her for the presentation and outlined for her some of the tasks that the City have identified as important to the progress of development in the region and the impact that it would have.

He then offered up some thoughts on the location of their delivery dock, Ms. Gill advised that they selected the proposed location after consideration of tidal and current effects at some of the other proposed sites.

Councillor Garon inquired regarding to the length of the proposed trestle and if there are any problems with ones of the projected length of 2.7 km.  She was advised that the longer trestles provided challenges as it requires the pipe to be insulated .

Councillor Cunningham then asked about the trestle location and the potential impact it could have on smaller vessels transiting that area. Ms. Gill advised that they had been trying to find ways to mitigate that concern.

Councillor Thorkelson then asked if the Technical Data Report was out yet, Ms. Gill advised that she didn't believe that it currently was released.

Councillor Ashley asked if there had been any talk of sharing a dock with the BG Group's proposed terminal, Ms. Gill advised that the other proponent (BG Group) had a different timeline and that considerations such as these couldn't be looked at in isolation.

The Mayor thanked her for the presentation.

58:30-- 1 hr 15 minutes ) A presentation from Conrad Lewis regarding the Tribal  Nation Tournament, providing some background on what it was about, where they see it going towards the future and in particular an issue of concern organizers have from the 2012 edition of it.

The scope of his discussion involved the events of the 2012 tournament which coincided with the Haida Gwaii earthquake of October that year and some of the issues that arose from the city's request to  stop the tournament on that night, including the impact that it had on the tournaments finances from the weekend.

With that background he outlined a request on how to address the shortfall that occurred from that event. With a hope for an understanding on the issue.

The Mayor then asked a few questions for clarity on the issue, reviewing the events of that night that involved the tournament having to leave the civic centre as it was an evacuation centre for the city for incidents such as the earthquake.

The Mayor asked for more details on the shortfall in question which is around 420 dollars, which represents a partial payment for the Sunday's lost revenue

Councillor Garon inquired as to why it was before Council, wondering if it was a policy question. She also asked if the tournament made a profit, she was advised that they didn't make a profit from that year's event.

She asked how much the rent for the facility had been, he advised that the Sunday session was charged by the hour at a rate of 47 dollars per hour.

Councillor Garon then turned her attention to staff asking if the City needs a policy in place to address issues such as these.

Councillor Ashley then inquired as to the timeline of events of the day in question and the impact that those events had on their Sunday attendance.

Mr. Lewis outlined that he believes that the fear from the Saturday event and the way that events were handled at the Civic Centre impacted on the tournament.

Councillor Ashley then agreed that the City needs a policy on the issue, but has concerns as to how the City would be responsible for the attendance of the Sunday event.

The Mayor then asked Mr. Lewis to provide his further submission on the topic, addressing it to the City Manager for further study from City Council.

That brought an end to the Presentations portion of the Committee of the Whole meeting

( 1 hr 15 minutes  -- 1 hr 26 minutes ) The next phase was an opportunity for public comments from the gallery.

The first participant was Margaret Niesh, who had a concern on speed limits in the city, looking for those to be reduced. She also had concerns on access to downtown stores and offices who don't have push button access to their establishments . She outlined her thoughts regarding snow and ice removal in the downtown area, particularly with those businesses that are empty. She also had concerns over the dog leash bylaws and the lack of an air raid siren for emergency purposes.

Councillor Cunningham addressed the speed limit issue, suggesting that it's better to contact the RCMP traffic division to enforce the current speed limits by way of radar.

Councillor Ashley tackled the access issue, wondering if there were any grants for businesses to access to make entry to their establishments.

Councillor Thorkelson offered up her thoughts on the access issue recounting the efforts at the Fisherman Hall in seeking out a grant for the project.  She also touched on the snow and ice removal topic, reinforcing the need for enforcement on the part of the city on the issue.

Councillor Garon also outlined some thoughts on the door access issue, suggesting that it was a costly expense for local business owners.

And with that the public comment session came to an end.

Council then moved on to its Regular Council session.

( 1:26:00-- 1:30:30) The first topic at hand the adoption of the agenda and past minutes.

Councillor Thorkelson made comment on two meetings that the Mayor reviewed. Noting that she was listed as absent at a Special Committee of the Whole for Council of (November 25th) (November 28th) and that her absence at that session was the result of her not being notified of those meetings.

Reports and Recommendations

( 1:30:30-- 1:38:30 ) Report from the Executive Assistant on Community Grant Approvals-- Discussion then took place regarding the nature of the Grants, with Council opting to leave grant levels at their 2013 funding, with further discussion to take place on the three outstanding areas of the Library, Tourism Prince Rupert and the Visitors Centre. With the amount provided to the Museum in property tax exemptions be deducted from the Museum's grant.

Councillor Ashley then spoke to the issue regarding the recent budget challenges and the impact that they have on financial requests to the city. The Mayor outlined the recent challenges that the city has faced but expressed some of the positives that the future may hold.

The motion was adopted.

( 1:38:30--1:43:00 ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer on the 2014 capital purchase and works plan-- The Mayor asked Mrs. Bomben to review her report on the topic. Highlighting the requirements of the Fire Department and for  large scale maintenance work required at the Civic Centre. The Mayor then listed the other items up for consideration.

The motion was adopted.

( 1:43:00--1:50:00 Report from the Chief Financial Officer regarding the Budget Efficiencies report-- Mrs. Bomben outlined the features of her report, providing background  on some of the measures utilized to achieve cost savings. Council received the report for informational purposes.

Councillor Ashley thanked staff for bringing forward the report so the public could better understand the efforts put in place to achieve the budgetary savings. Councillor Thorkelson thanked all the workers that work for the city for their contribution to cost savings. She also stated that she believes that the "infrastructure of city staff" should be something that receives some investment from the City.

The Mayor commented on how the staff coped with the many executive level changes that took place in the last year and how all stepped up to lend a hand during that period of time. He also hopes that with a new city management in place, that they set a tone that the door is always open.  He also reviewed some of the challenges that Council faced during that period of time.

Councillor Garon also offered up her thanks to the city's workers for their contributions in the last year.

The motion was adopted.

( 1:51:00--1:59:00  ) Report from the Corporate Administrator on the 2014 Meeting Schedule-- The Mayor asked that Mr. Mandryk outline the nature of the changes ahead for the year to come.

Councillor Ashley had one disagreement over the nature of the proposed calendar and in particular the need for two meetings in January and September, dates that were missing from the proposal. She then offered up a different proposal for consideration. Proposing a different schedule, with additional meetings to be held, requiring a revision of the proposal from the Corporate Administrator.

Councillor Ashley then expanded on her thoughts on the need to meet more than once a month. 

Councillor Garon agreed that January and September do require second meetings.

Councillor Thorkelson also had similar thoughts on the need for a second meeting in both January and September.

Council adopted the revised motion and revised calendar as outlined by Councillor Ashley.

( 1:59:00--2:01:30 ) A review of the Acting Mayors Schedule for 2014-- The Mayor outlined the nature of the report and which Councillor would be acting Mayor in each month.  Councillor Thorkelson inquired as to whether Councillor Cunningham was ready to accept the position in February, he advised that he was comfortable with the role of Acting Mayor for the months in question.

The motion was adopted.

( 2:02:00- 2:03:00 ) Report from the Corporate Administrator on the Northwest Community Plan-- Mr. Mandryk outlined the nature of the sessions that he attended and what topics were discussed during the process.

Council received the report for information purposes.

Correspondences for Action

( 2:03:30-- 2:05:30 )  Request from NWCC for a letter of support -- The Mayor outlined the nature of a request from Northwest Community College seeking a letter of support for a School of Marine and Coastal studies.

( 2:0530--2:17:30 ) Request from Prince Rupert Crimestoppers for a letter of support-- Mr. Mandryk outlined the nature of the request for Council's support in seeking out a 20,000 dollar grant to put in place a Community Garden.

Councillor Garon inquired as to where the Garden would be placed and whether it was intruding on other community garden proposals.  Constable Matt Ericson offered up some background on the project and what they hoped to achieve from it.

Councillor Thorkelson praised the efforts of the local detachment of the RCMP in community engagement and suggested that they touch base with the McKay/Richie Street Community Garden.

Councillor Ashley also offered up her support to the proposal. The Mayor offered up some gardening tips as the presentation came to an end advising Mr. Long to perhaps have the letter of support prepared for the next day.

Report from the City Manager  

(2:17:30 -- 2:20:30) The City Manager, Mr. Long outlined the details of his December report, updating council on some of the projects that have been moved from this year to next year, as well as the time lines in place for current projects underway.

Councillor Ashley asked who residents should contact regarding streetlights, if they notice that they are not working.

Reports, Questions and Inquiries

( 2:20:30-- 2:43:00 )  Councillor Thorkelson had two items of note for discussion, the first on the theme of local services that are impacted by developments in the Northwest. Inquiring about the nature of Community Service Levels impact coordination and some of the developments from it in the Northwest. Mr. Long provided more background for her regarding the working group sessions and the city's involvement with them.

The Mayor also outlined a program that may be available for the community to access for transition on this theme.  Councillor Thorkelson then followed up with some observations on the theme and stressed that in her belief that the city needs to be involved in the process further.

The City Manager outlined the preliminary work that staff has taken on in regard to the process under discussion.

Councillor Thorkelson then moved a motion asking that provincial representatives of the program in question come to City Council chambers to explain the program, Councillor Garon added to the motion that they should appear in Council every three months. It was decided to ask them to appear every three months when they make their first appearance

Councillor Thorkelson's second point for discussion was the lack of information received regarding the November 28th meeting which she did not attend, having not been informed of it.  She also outlined that the planned session for Strategic Planning consultations in December do not work with her calendar.

Mr. Long advised that the facilitator was only available for December 16th, Council Cunningham then weighed in advising he would prefer to have a meeting more convenient to Councillor Thorkelson's schedule.

Councillor Ashley advised that in her belief all councillors should be in attendance and Council should work for a more acceptable timeline.

Councillor Cunningham asked if they had to make use of the facilitator in question or if they could make use of a different one to better fit Council's schedule.

Councillor Garon asked if they used a new facilitator if it would require a longer period of time to bring a new facilitator up to speed on the issues of discussions.

Council outlined for staff that they would like to cancel the December session and seek out a more workable date for January. Councillor Ashley recommended they contact the missing members of council from this session to make sure they are available in January.

The City Manager offered up January 10th as a potential date for the meetings.

( 2:43:00--2:43:45 ) Councillor Ashley inquired on the status of a correspondence -- asking  if the City had heard anything further from CN regarding a meeting between the railroad and City Council. She was advised that a letter had been sent, but no reply received as of yet.

( 2:43:45 -- 2:47:00  )  Councillor Cunningham returned to the theme of waterfront access, he inquired as to how someone from the City or the community could become more involved in that process. The motion  put forward was for the City to send a letter to the Port asking that the City be allowed participation in those discussions between Pinnacle Pellet, CN and the Port.

Councillor Garon offered up her observations on where she believes what areas the Port and Pinnacle are looking at and suggested that the letter widen its scope to the topic of larger waterfront access.

She then followed up with a question as to who would be responsible for that appointment to the discussions.

( 2:47:00--3:06:30  The Mayor's Report

The Mayor outlined his recent attendance at a Crime Reduction Forum of Northern Communities. Inspector Maughan from the Prince Rupert detachment of the RCMP also participated in that forum with the Mayor.

He reviewed his participation in the BC Ferries Community engagement session in the city last week and met with other community stakeholders who will be impacted by a rationalized ferry schedule.

He attended the Coastal Pathways Celebration at Northwest Community College.

He outlined some of what he learned from the recent BG Group Open House regarding the progress of their proposed development in the community.

He attended a Community based fisheries forum at Northwest Community College, outlining some of what he heard from the speakers at the forum. And recounted some of his observations on the importance of fishing to the community and how proponents of LNG projects in the region may wish to become involved in that process.

He provided an overview of a forum on Coastal Ferries Community Engagement  that he and Councillor Thorkelson attended.  During the course of their discussions the participants rejected the proposed cut backs that the province plans for coastal ferry service in the province.

He also expressed some of his thoughts on the nature of the provincial government receiving benefits of development in the Northwest, while at the same time reducing services to the region while providing other transportation services to other regions of the province.

He then suggested that with Council's consent, that the City would send a letter to the Premier and seek out a meeting with the Premier and invite other representatives of local communities to attend it.

Councillor Ashley reviewed a recent motion from Regional District that also has recommended the pursuit of a meeting with the Premier, she also advised that she was also in attendance at that forum that the Mayor attended.

The Mayor continued on with his review of the forum and expressed his disappointment in how it was organized and the nature of their inter action with the community. He said since this is a political decision, he believes that the city should be talking directly to the Premier.

Councillor Garon offered up her review of the UBCM sessions of September and how there seems to be a disconnect between what they had heard from the Minister of Transportation Todd Stone, comparing that conversation to what has taken place regarding the Ferry service since then. She also suggested that the need to take the message to the Premier was something that the City should pursue.

Councillor Ashley then provided a motion that staff write a letter requesting a meeting with the Premier regarding the BC Ferry situation, forwarding it to other local governments that will be affected by the Ferry cuts.

The Mayor reviewed the importance of the Ferry Service to the tourism sector and how it's an issue for the northern portion of the province.

The motion to write the letter was adopted.

The Mayor then reviewed his attendance at the Montreal Massacre vigil hosted by the North Coast Transition Society held at Northwest Community College.

The Mayor also suggested that the city seek out a meeting in the new year with the Port Edward Harbour Authority to learn more about their future plans.  Asking them to attend Council chambers to provide an overview of their operations in the region.

That motion was adopted by Council.

Councillor Thorkelson offered her observations on the nature of maintenance of Prince Rupert waterfront floats compared to those in Port Edward and how there is room for improvement in Prince Rupert.

Councillor Cunningham also weighed in on that theme and suggested that there are concerns in Prince Rupert considering their efforts here.

The Mayor wrapped up the session with a reminder to the community of the need for volunteers on a number of Boards and Committees, asking that those interested in those positions submit a letter of application to the city. He directed the public to review the city's website where more information on the positions can be found.

He also corrected his recent observations on the nature of Air Canada service and how contrary to his comments a larger plane is not servicing the Prince Rupert region on a regular basis.  He did express hope that one day the larger plane will be part of an expanded service to the region.

Councillor Ashley asked council that the proposed photo session for council should be re-scheduled owing to Councillor Kinney's rib injuries and required recovery period. Council then decided to reschedule that session to sometime in January.

And with that review, the Monday session of council came to an end.

You can access the City Council Review page for December 9th here, where a number of items regarding the council session, including media coverage of it can be found.

As always, consult with the official minutes from the City, when posted to the website for further review.

Minutes Regular Council Session from December  9th, 2013 

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