upcoming service cuts that BC Ferries is preparing to put in place in April.
The Mayor is to meet with representatives of the Ferry Advisory Committee for the North and Central Coast, as well as with representatives of BC Ferries over the next week, looking to impress on both groups, the concerns of the City of Prince Rupert regarding the planned service cuts.
During his "Mayor's comments" of Monday night, Mayor Mussallem outlined the process ahead and touched briefly on a survey that the city conducted, designed to gauge the impact that those cuts may have on not only the North Coast and Haida Gwaii, but across northern British Columbia.
One interesting note from that survey can be found not from the council minutes or agenda for the night, but from the Information to Council package provided to Council on February 19th, where the actual survey is outlined. ( Item 10 )
As well as the background on the nature of the survey questions, in a bit of a surprise note, we learn that it was not a member of city staff that conducted the survey for the city.
Instead, those duties were apparently tasked to Bruce Wishart, the one time head of Tourism Prince Rupert, who departed from that post last year, when Tourism Prince Rupert decided to reconfigure its operations.
For his efforts on behalf of the City of Prince Rupert and through letterhead of Northern BC Tourism, he provided an outline of the City's request for assistance in learning more on the impact of service cuts by the Ferry Corporation.
The three questions for respondents to answer being:
1. Will the projected cuts threaten your ability continue your business, or impact your lifestyle as a northern resident?
2. What impact do you feel these cuts will have on your community as a whole?
3. Do you have any further comments?
And while Mr. Wishart no doubt did a fine job of compiling information for the Mayor. There is some background on the survey that should be explained a bit more fully from Council.
Since it does not appear to have been an in house, city staff project. The Mayor or someone on Council, should probably have been a bit more transparent about some of the background on the study and brought the theme up for discussion in public session.
Mainly so as to provide information as to what, if any, the cost of conducting the survey may have been to the City and whether the City had put the project out to tender. Allowing for a number of proposals from interested local applicants to be considered.
That kind of background information and process, is fairly common in other locations. As is the opportunity for council members to discuss the cost, the process involved in completing the job and what they hope to gain from the exercise
None of those basic principles however, appear to have received that much of a work out from Council on this particular item.
Perhaps those are the kind of details that City Council explores in one of the many closed sessions that the city seems to hold. Though one imagines that providing background on an item such as this, is something that should be delivered in the public forum of the regular council session.
As for the Mayor's overview of the City's planned response to the Province's Ferry cutback plans, it can be reviewed from the City's Video Archive.
The Mayor's talking points on the subject start up at the 3 hour 6 minute mark and carry him through to the end of the night's session.
As the Mayor prepares to take the findings of his survey to the BC Ferries Committee meetings, perhaps when he returns and delivers his next report to Council on how those meetings turned out, he could offer up a bit more of a back story when it comes to his survey as well.
You can find more background on the Ferry Cuts issue from our Transportation archive page, we have more on items from City Council on our Council Discussion Points Archive page