Thursday, January 9, 2014

City to set course with Strategic Planning Session

Prince Rupert City Council will begin to look into the tea leaves of the future this Friday, as they begin the process of Strategic Planning for the years ahead, a balancing act of the current realities of the city's financial situation and the prospect of some of the mega-development that has been outlined for the region.

The impact of the latter of course won't be known until an actual shovel hits the ground and at the moment we haven't heard much of a timetable as to any go ahead as far as construction of any of the variety of LNG projects that have been promoted for the region.

Still, the City needs to provide a blue print for itself and part of the Strategic planning is to consider what the City requires both short and long term as far as services and infrastructure.

Council addressed the topic a number of times at their Monday session, with Councillor Ashley leading off on the theme suggesting that Waste Disposal and recycling options be included in the discussions.

Her thoughts on Strategic Planning and waste issues can be found from the 14 minute to 19 minute mark of the Video Archive (see link at bottom of this article)

For her part, Councillor Thorkelson wants to see some of the LNG development issues explored in the course of the planning sessions.

She no doubt warmed the heart of the publisher of the weekly newspaper when she outlined an article she had read in the Northern Connector (see e edition page A6), as to how Terrace was making plans to hold a wide ranging discussion session on the impact of LNG to that community.

A topic which provided for some bemusement of Prince Rupert Council as to why Terrace was inclined to weigh in on a theme that wasn't actually being developed in their community.

The Mayor providing the off hand comment that it's perhaps a case of Terrace being "keeners" on the issue.

He did as part of the discussion on the topic, outline some of the steps that one industry participant the BG Group had taken in the community as far as information delivery.

Councillor Thorkelson, cast some doubts on relying on a purely industry delivered session.  And instead would seem to wish to have more wide ranging and balanced discussion on the topic with a greater number of voices involved.

Beyond those notes however, Councillor Thorkelson suggested that if the Terrace session does go ahead that Prince Rupert bring those participants down the highway to Prince Rupert, so as to offer this community a larger scale overview of the proposed LNG developments.

Councillor Cunningham stood shoulder to shoulder with her on that theme, recounting his concerns over the arrival of the Pinnacle Pellet Plant in the community and how the city should not rely purely on industry driven presentations to provide background information on the LNG plans.

Councillor Thorkelson and Cunningham's  thoughts on the theme can be reviewed from the City's Video Archive from the 20 minute to 30 minute mark.

The Mayor also provided some potential talking points for Friday's planning session. Reviewing how development could soon be taking place near Port Edward and Lax Kw'alaams as well as Prince Rupert.

Suggesting that it may be time to develop a dialogue on a more regional approach to such items as policing issues, urban transportation and access to the airport that may be required with the potential of regional development.

The Mayor thoughts on Strategic Planning arrive as part of his Mayor's report at the 37 minute mark through to the conclusion of his report at 42 minutes.

The Video Archive from the January 6th session can be found here.

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