Thursday, March 13, 2014

City Council Timeline, Monday, March 10, 2014

Prince Rupert Council settled in for what turned to be a two hour session on Monday evening, significantly shorter than the February 24th marathon that seemed to fray the nerves of some of our elected officials.

 This week's meeting had a more collegial approach for the most part,   even offering up the opportunity for the public to weigh in on possible budget planning (though not many did).

Before the night was over council would hear a presentation on preparations for increased economic activity, along with providing for the second reading of a Development Permit and the setting of the stage for a Public Meeting on a condo development on the west side of the city.

As well, Robert Long, the City Manager provided his two week delayed Manager's report, providing a review of some of the priorities that the city had identified and provided an update on the progress on the many files that council has been working on

Prior to the Monday night public session, Council continued on with the common theme of the last year  that of the "closed session" of Council.

With Council once again sitting in a closed session earlier in the evening.

The background of  the evening can found on the Regular Council Agenda of the night.

The timeline of the Regular public council the proceedings can be found in red below, tied in with the City Council video feed archived below.

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

In Attendance March 10, 2014

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

Video Archive for March 10, 2014

0:00--3:00)  The Mayor asked for adoption of the agenda for the Regular council session, as well as the minutes from previous meetings.

Petitions and Delegations from the Regular Council session

(3:00-39:30) A presentation from Mr. Grant Lachmuth, who outlined the nature of the Northwest Readiness Project. -- During the course of his presentation he outlined how the province plans to work with communities as some of the large scale economic projects come into being in the Northwest.

He offered up suggestions that the city look at its Official Community Plan and other associated plans for required infrastructure to examine how they relate to an increased amount of development and expansion in the community.

He outlined some of the steps that the Readiness Program is looking to provide to communities that need assistance, mainly through Northern Development Initiative Trust. With assistance to be provided through 4-6 interns from the Trust program to be used in Northwestern communities.

Another aspect of the work that he touched on was the requirement of communities in accessing assistance to clear up backlogs of referral submissions, with Northern Development Trust to provide  a community liaison individual to offer up technical help in making submissions.

The Mayor inquired if that would include such things as work on Environmental Assessments and was advised that it could be. Councillor Ashley asked as to how many liaison's may be created, the number has yet to be determined, based on demand of the communities.

She followed with a question on help for city planning and what level of assistance will be provided for that aspect of the program, the process would see planning assistants placed in the communities as required.

Mr. Lacmuth followed up the question with a short overview of the planning assistants program and what level of those resources that each community may desire. It is his hope that they will be placed for six months to eight months will placed in the communities to provide support to city staff.

He then reviewed how the program could provide a better understanding as to what communities may expect as to population growth and employment requirements as major projects are approved and moved forward.

Councillor Thorkelson had questions on the theme of work camp requirements and what kind of research the program has been conducted into that issue. A short review of the issues that a work camp situation could provide for communities was provided.

The wider view of the Northwest Readiness Program was also provided, explaining which Ministries were involved in reviewing the needs and impact on services to communities impacted by growth.

The Councillors collectively offered up further review, with a number questions regarding the kind of assistance and information that Municipalities will require in the lead up period to the development of these projects and what kind of timeline was in place to address some of those concerns.

Key to some of their thoughts was the impact of increased development and how it may effect such things a social services, policing and health care in the community.

Councillors Ashley and Thorkelson inquired as to the prospect of further meetings, expanding to some of the service providers in the community as well as the stakeholders of the projects as well, to review some of main themes of the Northwest Readiness Project, which according to Mr. Lacmuth is a possibility as the project moves forward.

And on that note of agreement the presentation and introduction to the Northwest Readiness Project came to its conclusion.

39:30-- 48:00 ) The next item on the Agenda, offered the opportunity for the public to provide comment on the 2014 Five Year Financial Plan.

Prior to the public participation, the Mayor had the City's Chief Financial Officer provide a short overview of the Five Year plan, outlining the process of the plan and the nature of consultation that the city .

Larry Golden was the first person (and as it turned out the only person) to indicate an interest in offering comment on the topic.

Prior to his presentation the Mayor offered counsel to Larry Golden as to the guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to public comment, with particular attention to proceeding with his questions in a timely manner.

Mr. Golden observed that the city should provide a web page to provide reference material to the public on an ongoing nature.

His first question on the Financial plan was to ask about RCMP staffing in the community. Ms. Bomben outlined the current nature of the contract in place for policing in the community, with the cost of each member having gone up.

Mr. Golden followed up with a question regarding the Airport Ferry and asked as to the parameters of the airport ferry funding allocations.  The Mayor advised that it had not bee finalized as of yet.

Councillor Thorkelson offered up a review of the past financial aspects of the ferry's operation, what factors are considered with its funding, highlighting the current work the city has done on attempting to reduce the impact of its cost, calling back to the days when the airport ferry ran a profit for the city.

Mr. Long outlined that the projected deficit for this year was to be around 897,000 dollars .

No other members of the public took to the microphone to express comments on the nature of the Financial Plan.

Correspondences for Action

(48:00--52:00 Request for a letter of support -- The Mayor outlined the nature of a request from Ken Franzen, asking for the city to write a letter requesting that the Deputy Minister attend a meeting with a local organization regarding issues of steel head stocks.

Councillor Thorkelson offered up some thoughts on the steel head issue from the perspective of the commercial industry and her understanding of the issue. Suggesting that it might not be to the interest of the City to have the gill net fleet tied up owing to related issues.

She recommended that the Commercial industry be included in any conversation to take place.  Councillor Cunningham agreed to the concept of asking the Minister to make a trip to Prince Rupert. The motion was then adopted.


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

( 52:00--1:09:00 Zoning amendment bylaw (3344 - 2014) Recommending to Council that they give second reading to the City of Prince Rupert zoning bylaw and instruct staff to schedule a public meeting for 7 PM prior to the March 24th council meeting.

The Mayor called on Mr. Krekic to provide the background for Council on project and the process for a public hearing regarding it.

Mr. Krekic provided the review of a townhouse development proposed for the end of Graham Avenue,  by Prince Rupert Living Concepts.

He outlined the process that has been followed to this point and said the next step would be to take the project to a Public meeting. One of the proponents of the project, Kevin Newton provided some material for council to consider regarding the proposed development.

Mr. Krekic then expanded on the scope of the project and the impact it would have regarding density in the region.

Mr. Newton, the Project Manager, then stepped forward to provide a short presentation on the proposed development and answer any questions from council regarding it. Explaining the background on the nature of the development and the process that was involved in putting together their plan for development and the timeline that they have in mind.

Councillor Ashley offered up her support towards the project, highlighting the need that the concept would be filling in the community.

Councillor Thorkelson offered up some of her observations on this proposal, as opposed to the recently turned down proposal that bordered on the Westview school area. She observed that the proposed project is along the kind of concept that the city should consider as part of its Official Community Plan.

Mr. Mandryk reviewed the bylaw provisions of the motion for Council.

Councillor Ashley then expressed a concern on the date of the public hearing and observed that it was going to be a fairly busy evening, with budget discussions to take place on that evening, as well as a number of presentations planned for the evening. She suggested that budget consultation be moved to the council meeting following March 24th.

Mr. Long recommended that council stick with the schedule as it has been designed and should the public hearing appear to be taking up too much of the time on the 24th, Council has the option to adjourn that hearing to a different time and place.

Councillor Ashley followed up with a suggestion that Council may desire to give the public an extra budget consultation, should they find that the interest in the the discussions is there.

Councillor Cunningham observed that adjourning the public hearing may inconvenience a large portion of the public should they make that decision.  Councillor Thorkelson also suggested that they gauge the item as to turn out and if a large group arrives on the 24th that Council should adjourn the public meeting to a later date.

And with all of that, Council decided to hold the public meeting on the 24th as originally designed.

(1:09:30--1:10:30 )  Application for a Development for the Prince Rupert Courthouse -- Mr. Krekic outlined the nature of the permit request and what work was to be engaged in regarding the court house project. The motion was adopted.

( 1:10:30 -- 1:11:30 Non-Motorized Wheeled Conveyance Helmet Bylaw (3343-2014) --  Council provided it's final word on the Bylaw, with Councillor Carlick-Pearson commending the local youth community, which in her observations have been complying with the use of helmets as the weather improves. The motion was adopted.

( 1:11:30--1:16:30 ) An additional item was added to the evenings agenda that of CN closing the Access road to the Exstew recreation area. The Mayor offered up the suggestion that whatever Prince Rupert Council decides to do here, that they should advise the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District.  Councillor Ashley outlined her concerns and provided some background over the potential lack of access to the area and recommended that the City write a letter of support to seek a resolution on the issue.

The Mayor then offered up some further guidance on the topic and how the city might wish to approach the issue, suggesting that the City request a meeting with the parties involved in the controversy.

Councillor Cunningham observed his concerns over the nature of the loss of access to recreation areas of the Northwest, suggesting that council try to nip the potential troubles in the bud.

The Mayor was advised that at the moment there is no meeting scheduled with representatives of CN. He then asked staff to work towards bringing all the parties involved to meet with Council.

The motion was adopted.

(1:16:30--1:19:30) Councillor Thorkelson inquired as to when the next Community to Community meeting was scheduled and wondered if they could invite Mr. Lochmuth to attend the meeting to provide further background on the Northwest Readiness Project.

The Mayor then suggested that rather than wait for the scheduled meeting, that the city instead schedule a special session on the topic and invite the other communities in the region to receive more background on the theme.

Council adopted that motion with an eye towards a mid-April meeting.

City Managers Report

( 1:19:30-1:29:30 ) Mr. Long provided a short synopsis of a number of items, including the Strategic Priority List, with attention to Watson Island, major projects and recreation centre issues.

He observed that he believes that things are improving at Recreation Centre, which has entered a new phase and with numbers of usage increasing. He advised that they have turned a corner and turning to a positive direction regarding that.

He recounted his recent meetings with the Port and Community Futures on the Marina plan.

On Watson Island he advised that they continue to strive towards their goals on that issue, though those items must remain in camera in nature.

As for major projects, preparation is in place with hopes of a presentation later in the month as to where staff sees the city's readiness when it comes to social and economic issues and challenges that may come from hyper economic development.

Up next for the city will be the airport access project, boundary rationalization issues, the CN Rail station issue that has to be dealt with in camera and infra structure deficits, with a better definition as to what the city needs to work on. 

He advised they had made good strides on the Waterfront plan to gain more public access to waterfront areas of the city. To turn it into a positive community asset, he hopes to have more details on that in the next couple of months.

He also touched on the regional service delivery model, which needs to be look at in the scope of hyper economic activity. 

He observed that the city had addressed the Visitor Centre issue.

He suggested that updates every couple of months would provide Council with a good idea as to the focus on the priorities that they have established.

Councillor Thorkelson asked about an asset inventory and management plan and how much progress the city has made on that item. She was advised that it was an item that was budgeted for, but that they already have a lot of background information accumulated.  The next step is to develop that into a plan and how the city would approach any challenges that may come along.

He outlined some of the challenges that the city faces when it comes to infrastructure and how the city should address them, with a day of reckoning coming owing to age and demand of economic activity.

The Asset Management plan will lay all of that out for council to review.

Councillor Thorkelson reminded Mr. Long of the Provincial offer of paid interns to be used on projects such as these.

Mr. Long observed that those kind of resources won't be of as much use to Prince Rupert as other regions as they won't have the experience required for the tasks at hand. He explored where the City could find some use for the program that was outlined earlier in the evening.

Reports Questions and Inquiries from Members of Councils

(1:29:30--1:31:30 ) Councillor Ashley outlined some background on a development at Regional District, regarding an upcoming session on March 17th with Minister John Rustad, advising that she can't be at that meeting and offering the opportunity for someone on council to attend if they wish.

The Mayor, advising that he could not make the meeting then tasked Mr. Long to attend the meeting and to bring a copy of the city's BC Ferries report, as well as to perhaps bring up the topic of the Tsimshian Access Project. Councillor Ashley also recommended that the city send an alternate to the session with the Minister.

Councillor Ashley then advised the Mayor that she distributed the Ferry report to members of Regional District.

( 1:31:30--1:41:30 ) Councillor Cunningham was next, outlining his thoughts on the need for a resolution to have a regular session of meetings with the Port. The Mayor observed that council should sit down with staff first to determine the city's timeline of other issues to work the Port meeting on a quarterly basis.

That motion was passed

He then offered up some commentary regarding the SPCA and the feral cat issue in the community, advising that the SPCA has money available for a program and that he wished to see the SPCA come before council to outline the nature of their program. The Mayor suggested that staff touch base with them first to determine what they have to offer.

Councillor Cunningham's next concern was over the nature of derelict buildings, turning his attention towards the larger apartment buildings in the Seal Cove area. Making a motion that staff contact the owners of the property in question and inquire as to their intention for the buildings.

The motion was adopted.

He then asked about the status of parking meters in the community and why the Atlin Terminal lot was available for free parking in the winter, while the Rushbrook Floats lot continues to charge through the year.

The Mayor outlined some background on the issue, with Councillor Thorkelson also providing some thoughts on the issue, particularly over the issue of ticketing at Rushbrook and how it impacts on commercial fisherman that are checking their vessels.

The Mayor recommended asking for a report from staff to explore the issue further.

Councillor Cunningham then suggested that a return to charging at Atlin parking lot year round should be considered as well.

Councillor Ashley offered up the observation that the user pay option provides benefits for services in such areas as Rushbrook, and that local businesses in Cow Bay considered that it was unfair that visitors to Cow Bay should be charged while downtown visitors do not have to pay.

Councillor Thorkelson put forward a motion to ask staff for a report on the issue.

The motion was adopted.

(  1:41:30-- 1:53:00 The Mayor's Report

The Mayor had a discussion with Minister of Sport, Culture and Community to outline the city's two priorities, one the boundary expansion to take in the city's drinking water area and the removal of chemicals from Watson Island with an eye to redevelopment of the site.

The Minister also spoke of pending export LNG opportunities and the province's planning initiatives.

She also advised of the plan to increase municipal and regional terms of office for elected officials to four years.

He reviewed his meetings with representatives with Telus regarding developments on the North Coast, he outlined that Telus has plans to expand its presence in the region.

He also met with representatives of BC Ferries and the regional Ferries Advisory committees, outlining the city's concerns over the proposed cutbacks to services on the North Coast and the impact that they will have on the entire northern BC region.

He reviewed the city's plan to distribute its report to those communities and organizations that are going to be impacted by the cutbacks and offered up a review of his recent media appearances to provide more information on the report.

He also offered up his review of conversations with the Minister of Transportation and infrastructure on the city's report, he advised that he would have his staff and that of BC Ferries review the report and offer up comment on those recommendations.

The Mayor outlined his attendance at the Chamber of Commerce Awards of excellence.

He offered up a reminder of the weekly Seniors pancake breakfasts and also outlined his attendance at a meeting with BC Housing officials, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Natural Gas and Northwest Readiness to discuss issues related to economic growth and the impact on communities. Attending with him to those sessions were councillors Ashley, Cunningham, Kinney and Thorkelson.

He attended a tour of the Transition House and learned more about their programs in the community.

He also attended a Literacy event in the community, providing a greeting on behalf of council.

He advised of the sale of a number of acreages at Grassy Point by the provincial government and the parameters that are involved regarding environmental oversight from that sale. He suggested that Council should write to the provincial government asking that when the properties are developed that a Ministry of Environment office be created in Prince Rupert.

Councillor Ashley offered up her support to the motion.

Councillor Thorkelson observed that one of the properties had been sold to Enbridge and that the city must be very careful about northern routes and what Enbridge's intentions may be for the land that it purchased.

She took the opportunity to offer up her criticism of the province in making that sale, while the Joint Review Panel conditions have not yet been met.

With that, the Mayor called for the motion to write to the Province and seek a Ministry of Environment office to be set up in Prince Rupert when those properties are developed.

The motion was adopted.

The Mayor concluded the meeting with a review of a problem with an individual at the Aquatic Centre, he then outlined the work that the city staff at the Aquatic Centre provided to address the situation and offered his public thanks for their efforts.

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

You can access the City Council Review page for March 10th 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 March 10, 2014 

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