Thursday, January 9, 2014

City Council Timeline, Monday, January 6, 2014

The First session for  a new year, provided for a gentle introduction to the assembled congregation of civic governance, with a fairly short session for Prince Rupert City Council to work through on Monday night.

All but one chair for the city's elected officials was full on the night, with only Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson absent from this first session of 2014.

The light workload of Monday evening consisted of a few housekeeping items on utility rate increases and user charges for Cemetery services, as well as a number of discussion items of interest to the council members and the Mayor.

Prior to the Monday night public session, Council continued on with the common theme of last year of the "closed session" of Council. Starting off 2014 in much the same way as they ended 2013, with a closed session, getting a head start on last year's total number of closed sessions which checked in at 28 in 2013.

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 January 6, 2014

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

Video Archive for January 6, 2014

0:00--0:30)  The Mayor opened the Monday session with the usual adoption of past minutes.

Reports and Recommendations

( 0:30:30-- 4:30:00 ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer on the Security Issuing Resolution --  Council received a report and recommendation to approve the 7 million dollar loan authorization for the Prince Rupert Airport for the purpose of capital improvements.

Councillor Thorkelson expressed her approval for the concept of airport improvements, but outlined her opposition to the process  that  the City had used to put it in place, with that she advised that she would be voting against the motion.

Councillor Cunningham asked if there was any way that the loan authorization could impact on the City. The Mayor advised that there was no

Ms. Bomben the City's CFO outlined the nature of the loan and the repayment provisions that are in place regarding it.

Councillor Ashley echoed Councillor Thorkelson's concerns over the process, and owing to the time sensitive nature of the repairs required she did advise that she would be voting in favour of the Loan resolution

The motion was adopted, with Councillor Thorkelson opposed.


Council then moved on to four By-Laws for consideration on the evening.

( 4:30-- 7:40)  Cemetery Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw 3338-2014 -- The Mayor outlined the nature of the By-Law and asked for staff to provide some background on the bylaw. Ms. Bomben provided the update on the process, which includes increases for Cemetery services over the next three years.

Councillor Thorkelson offered up her observations on the process that was in place over the Cemetery Fees and Charges. Ms. Bomben advised that this current proposal under discussion, was following the theme of past suggestions, including those that Ms. Thorkelson had commented on from previous City Financial Officers.

The motion was adopted

( 7:40--9:25 ) Water Regulation and Rates Byalw 3339-2014-- The Mayor asked that Ms. Bomben provide some background on the proposed increase of water rates by 5 per cent over the next three years, she outlined the nature of the city's water lines and the need for repair and replacement. The Mayor expanded on that thought, explaining the declining nature of the city's waterline infrastructure.

The motion was adopted

(9:25--12:30) Sewer Regulation and Rates Bylaw 3340-2014-- The Mayor again asked for some background from Ms. Bomben as to the nature of the Bylaw requirements. She again advised that it would provide for an increase of 5 per cent over the next three years.

Councillor Cunningham asked what the total cost of the rate increases would be to local taxpayers. Ms. Bomben provided the breakdown of all of the increases, with each household set to pay $19 water, $19 sewer and $12 for solid waste

Councillor Cunningham expressed some concern over the growing rate of increases to utility costs for taxpayers. Ms. Bomben explained the background on how the city funds its utility requirements and observed that the current level of increase is a fairly modest increase to maintain the systems in place.

Councillor Cunningham offered up the thought that it was the "evil we have to put up with", observing that to him it seems that ever since the City separated utilities from the mid year taxes the utilities have climbed, expressing the theme that he did have concerns that the load puts on people with fixed incomes.

The Mayor shared that concern but outlined that the utilities need to be self funded and the nature of the city's infrastructure requires funding.

The motion was adopted

12:30--14:00 ) Solid Waste Amendment Bylaw 3341-2014 -- The Mayor again turned to Ms. Bomben for background on the final ByLaw amendment. She covered much the same territory as the previous bylaw rate increases, advising it to was for 5% over three. years

The motion was adopted

14:00-- 19:00 ) Councillor Ashley then added some commentary on the Solid Waste issue, advising on some of the discussion on the issue that they have had at Regional District. She in particular suggested that the city needs to be more strict in what is allowed into the landfill and what should be re-directed to the recycling centre. She also suggested that the topic be added to the agenda of their Strategic Planning session to be held on Friday.

The Mayor also reviewed the consideration of the 24 hour recycling transfer station, which has been delayed. Councillor Ashley advised that the station may be in place by April of this year.

Councillor Thorkelson outlined some observations on how solid waste is handled in the Castlegar area and that perhaps the City could use some of those ideas locally.

Councillor Garon also had some observations on the topic, suggesting that having a sorting station at the dump may help reduce some of the items going into the landfill that shouldn't be.

Councillor Cunningham observed that in his opinion was that the dump was so far out of the city and that may be part of the problem. He was advised that the transfer station planned for the Recycling Centre may solve some of that problem

Report from the City Manager  

(19:00--19:15) Mr. Long outlined that at this time he did not have anything to report and would provide an update later in the month.

Reports, Questions and Inquiries

( 19:15--22:00 ) Councillor Ashley provided an update on community concern over noise at the Pinnacle Pellet Plant and suggested that the City inquire of the Port about the issues that residents have about the industrial site. She wondered if they have to follow the City's noise By-laws, she asked as to the status of a noise barrier that was recommended.

The Mayor recounted that Council was told that there was off site monitoring to be put in place regarding noise and dust at the site. He then directed the City Manager Mr. Long to make the necessary inquiries of the Port of Prince Rupert.

(22:00--30:42 ) Councillor Thorkelson outlined some thoughts that she had over a correspondence from the province to the City, regarding public input on the cost of running for elections. Which would limit the amount of spending that candidates can make in their quest for electoral office.  She outlined that public commentary is requested to be in place by January 31st and she asked that the City make the information available to the public through the city's website. The Mayor directed that the information be provided on the city website

Councillor Thorkelson then turned to an item she read in the Northern Connector, which outlined how Terrace City Council was seeking to have an LNG Education session and she was wondering if the City should also bring those participants to Rupert as well.  There was some discussion on why Terrace would be hosting a session on LNG development, with the Mayor describing them as "keeners' at the moment.

Towards more information, the Mayor did observe that the BG Group has held community sessions to outline the background on their project for Ridley Island.

Councillor Thorkelson returned to the article she had read and what she believes was the theme behind their proposal.  Suggesting that it may be a more balanced approach and may provide for more information than what an industry driven session might provide for.

She also outlined some of her concerns over LNG development proposed for the region, particularly in the realm of environmental issues.

Councillor Cunnigham offered up his support to Councillor Thorkelson's suggestion, calling on the concerns he has over the Pinnacle Pellet Plant and the current issues Council has raised on that. He believes that the suggestion from Ms. Thorkelson may help answer a number of questions that Councillors may have on LNG development.

( 30:42--31:00 ) Councillor Garon turned her attention towards phone books and observed that some residents have yet to receive their copy of the 2014 CityWest directory. In particular it poses a problem for those that depend on the information section regarding garbage collection and such. She advised that the city website had not yet been updated to reflect the 2014 collection schedule. The Mayor turned to Mr. Long who advised that it would be updated on Tuesday.

( 31:00--31:35 ) Councillor Kinney offered up his thanks to the Regional Hospital regarding their approach to Flu season in the region.

( 31:35--32:00 ) Councillor Ashley asked the staff through the Mayor, if the City had heard back from CN Rail regarding the city's recent inquiries. The answer was given off camera.

( 32:00--42:00The Mayor's Report

The Mayor along with Councillor Garon participated in the Annual General Meeting of the Prince Rupert Airport.

He attended a Prince Rupert Marina stakeholders meeting to review the latest developments in that project.

He attended a District of Port Edward meeting to take in a presentation from the prince Rupert Airport Authority.

He advised that the Airport Authority observed that there has been a 3.22 per cent increase in use of the airport in the first 11 months of 2013.

The Mayor attended the Prince Rupert Friendship House Festive Season dinner to provide greetings from the City. He outlined some of the activities and services that the Friendship House provides to the community.

The  Mayor also attended a festive season gathering with the MP and MLA for the region.

He attended the CUPE 105 Christmas social.

He attended the opening of the Pacific Northwest LNG office and observed as to the information available there.

On behalf of the city's residents he thanked Ridley Terminals for their financial support for a community day at the Civic Centre complex, which provided for free admission for community residents.

He attended a pancake breakfast at the Prince Rupert Seniors Centre.

He advised that the City of Prince Rupert is pursuing discussions with the Provincial government on three issues, the inclusion of the city's watershed in the municipal boundaries, continuing removal of residual chemicals at Watson Island and issues of concern over BC Ferries service reductions.

He outlined some background on the upcoming Strategic Planning Discussions, touching on some of the items they may wish to consider. Including proposed developments in the District of Port Edward at Lelu Island, in the City of Prince Rupert at Ridley Island and adjacent Lax Kw'alaams at Grassy Point.

He suggested that this may be the appropriate time to develop a dialogue on regional service delivery and benefits. Such services and facilities as public transportation to all communities and the Tsimshian access project to the Prince Rupert airport. He also observed that council may wish to discuss such concerns as policing in the region and landfill and recycling requirements.

Councillor Thorkelson observed that on the 18th of February the Provincial government was going to release its agreement on LNG taxation. She wondered if Council might not want to inform the province as to what they would like to see as far as revenue to be delivered from LNG sources in the region. She suggested that they perhaps add that to the discussion agenda for their upcoming Strategic planning meeting.

Mr. Long advised that the city should over the next three months have a good idea as to what the costs may be to the city of increased development in the region.

Councillor Thorkelson returned to her theme of providing information to the province as to what they believe will be the financial requirements of the city and the region with that development arriving. She in particular was concerned about taxation caps that may impact on the city's financial burden.

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

You can access the City Council Review page for January 6th 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 January 6th, 2014 

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