Thursday, July 10, 2014

City Council Timeline, Monday, July 7 2014

Monday  provided for another fairly lengthy council session to open up their July deliberations.

With the session for the most part providing for a night heavy on listening to presentations and light on attendance, with three Councillors not available for the Monday night review.

Four presentations to Council took up a good portion of the night's review, with a review of housing stock in the city, the impact of LNG development of Flora Banks, some background on an inter-community visioning program and a review of a proposed LNG development from Imperial Oil all part of the night's agenda.

Once the presentations came to an end, Council returned to the more regular duties of an average council session, with reviews Reports from staff and a review of some Bylaw issues from the agenda, as well as the Mayor's update on some of his activities since the last session.

Prior to the Monday night public session, Council continued on with what is a rather common theme of the last year, 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 July 7, 2014

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

Video Archive for July 7, 2014 

(0:00-- 5:30 Review of the Agenda for the Regular Council session and adoption of minutes from previous meetings, with a number of additions to be made to the Agenda on the evening.

Presentations to Council

( 5:30--30:00 )  Presentation from the City Planner Mr. Zeno Krekic, outlining his update on the baseline indicators on Housing in the community. City Manager Robert Long outlined the scope of Mr. Krekic's  baseline review and what it will be used towards by the City so as to understand the current state of the city's housing stock circumstances.

Mr. Krekic provided the overview of the nature of the information collection, making use of a core team of Prince Rupert City staff members, Urban Systems and Pacific Northwest LNG members.

The purpose of the study was to determine the nature of housing stock as part of the city's planning for Major Projects ahead and the impact that those projects could have on the community. The team measured such categories as Private market Rentals, Home Ownership, Emergency Shelters, Independent Social Housing and Rent Assistance.

The various steps that were used to collect the data and categorize it was then outlined. With the team capturing some 5108 units in their 13 and a half days of inventory work. They then broke down the data for Council as to the various styles of housing, age range and condition of the inventory that make up the housing stock in the city.

From their study, they determined that there were approximately 117 vacant units in the city as the time of their inventory, there are 524 vacant lots considered to be part of the available space for housing stock.

The Final Report of the Housing Survey will be delivered by the end of July. With hopes to have the entire project provided to the city's website for public review.  The Land Base Inventory portion of the project is aiming to be completed by the end of September.

With the presentation coming to an end, Councillor Garon provided her thanks to the team for their work on the project, while Councillor Cunningham asked questions as to how they identified the different types of lots that had been studied. He also passed on his thanks to Mr. Krekic and his team for the work that they put into the study.

The City manager offered up some observations from the study, pointing to some of the topics covered and how they could impact on future development through housing density.

( 30:00 -- 58:30 ) A Presentation from Dr. Barb Faggetter, an Independent Scientist who provided a report on LNG in the Skeena River Estuary and the impact on salmon from it.

Dr. Faggetter's report was for the most part a review of her work on the theme over the last two years.

She provided some background on salmon and their importance to the ecosystem and the nature and importance of the Skeena River Estuary to the salmon stocks.

The specific area of interest of her study was the Flora Banks section of the Skeena Estuary and Dr. Faggetter outlined the make up of the estuary and the importance of that area to fish habitat in the region.

She offered up a statistical review of the current state of juvenile salmon that enter the Skeena Estuary and their reliance on the water and the shallow grasslands of it. She outlined that her research shows that Flora Banks offers up the best quality habitat for juvenile salmon, making it an important rearing area.

She then switched her focus towards the problems that Industrial development of the Flora Banks area could provide, with particular attention directed to the issue of the dredging that will be required for the projects proposed for the area.

She also expressed her concerns over the nature of some of the science that was being relayed to the public about the proposed development area adjacent to Flora Banks. She outlined her thoughts on a recent tour of the Flora Banks area and compared her observations to a similar tour of the area by Pacific Northwest LNG calling attention to some discrepancies she observed between the two reviews.

Of particular concern from her study was the impact that Pacific Northwest LNG's proposed trestle would have on the Flora Banks ecosystem.

As a wrap up to her presentation she offered up a prediction on impact suggesting that 57 per cent of the shore line of the ecosystem could be impacted at some level of all of the proposed developments for the region.

She said that considering the habitat value of the shoreline loss could be as much as 29 per cent or more of the current habitat of the juvenile salmon  which she feared could be close to a tipping point for one or more of the species of the region.

In regard to the Pacific NorthwestLNG proposal she suggested that the expected impact of the project could see a loss of high value juvenile salmon habitat, with particular concern towards sediment damage to eel grass and fish owing to berthing activities at the site.

Councillor Garon led off the question session inquiring as to the nature of her funding towards her studies on ocean issues, Dr. Faggetter outlined that she has a combination of volunteer work and assistance from different organizations.

Mayor Mussallem followed by seeking her opinion as to what she would recommend as somewhat acceptable.

Dr. Faggetter offered up that she was not anti industry but in her opinion that Lelu Island is not where we should be, suggesting that the BG Group proposal is something that could be worked with, while Grassy Point would perhaps be the best option for LNG development, adding that anywhere away from the Skeena Estuary was preferable.

The Mayor provided his observations on the nature of the environment of the Inverness Passage area of the region.

Councillor Garon followed up with a question on data collection during the Pulp Mill operation days, she was told that there were not many studies done on salmon impact from those days.

Councillor Cunningham asked for a bit more detail on the impact of any potential damage to the Flora Banks area.

The Mayor offered up further observations on the nature of the dredging and where the dredged sediment material might be distributed.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson asked about access to her study and then focused on the discrepancies between her review and that of the Pacific Northwest LNG numbers. Dr. Faggetter offered up some of her experiences working for industry and suggested that they did not get the right window for their review.

Councillor Cunningham then followed up asking if any of the proponents of the projects in the region had approached her for her data, the Mayor then observed how the proposed development is in the District of Port Edward and whether she plans to share her data with them.

She advised that she hoped that they would request a presentation, but as of yet there was no firm plan in place to deliver one there.

( 58:30 --1:03:00 ) A Presentation from John Farrell, who provided some background on an inter-community visioning plan.  He offered up some background on the work that was done in June by both Prince Rupert and Port Edward Councils, assisted by former Premier Mike Harcourt a session that the BG Group provided assistance with.

His overview of the visioning plan and how it could assist the communities in handling growth and challenges from increased industrial investment in the region.

Looking to create a vision for the next Great Port City and build a strategy when that investment arrives.

Through Community Futures and City of Prince Rupert staff a framework is being put together for Council's review.

Councillor Garon offered up her thoughts on the workshop that took place and felt it was a worthwhile venture, Councillor Cunningham also provided his observations on what he took away from the session.

Mr. Farrell advised that it was about a two year process, and that they would moving things forward in the weeks to come.

( 58:00--1:28:00  )  A Presentation from Mr. Scott Pinhey, the Opportunity Manager for Imperial Oil who would be providing an overview on the prospect of their LNG development initiative for the region. 

The Imperial Oil representatives outlined the early prospects for their project which would be developed with Exxon/Mobil.

They provided some background on the two companies and the relationship that they have in developing resources around the world.

As for the proposed LNG export terminal for the North Coast, it would be developed on the east side of Tuck Inlet across from the City of Prince Rupert's Seal Cove region.

Mr. Pinhey observed that the proposed development would be a  bit different from the most recent proposals reviewed by other proponents. Calling attention to water based nature of the Tuck Inlet proposal, which would feature a marine based barge mounted facility, supported by some land based facilities.

They would start with two barge mounted facilities, growing to potentially six barges along the shoreline of Tuck Inlet with expansion.  They also highlighted the nature of the navigation path that the LNG vessels would take to access the site.

The protection that the harbour provides, proximity to local infrastructure and smaller onshore footprint were some of the key aspects that led to their selection of the Tuck Inlet location as their preferred site.

They also believe that should their marine barge proposal not prove feasible, they would have enough land to work with in the area for land based project.

As well, they stressed the environmental sensitivities of the site they believe that their project offers up less items of concern, and touched on their consultation with local First Nations in the region regarding those sensitivities.

Other aspects of the presentation provided their attention to Safety issues, Environmental concerns.

When it comes to economic impact, the construction phase would provide for 1000 jobs with 300 long term jobs and indirect employment created by the project.

They outlined how Prince Rupert would be acting as the hub for operations staff which would be of benefit to the City as well as highlighting how the site would benefit the city owing to its location within the City limits.

The timeline that they are looking will be broken down into pre Project an Near Term engagement, the first step in the Near Term aspect a Community INformation Session to be held on July 24th to discuss the project.

The Project Description and Environmental Open Houses will come along later in the year, as will their consultations with stakeholder groups and First Nations.

Following the presentation, the Mayor opened up the question session with an inquiry as to the nature of the two barge phase and a timeline of development of that, the reply suggested a potential start up date in late 2023 or early 2024.

The Mayor also asked questions as to the nature of the gas to be used in the processing aspect of the plant operations and whether there would be any adverse affects from that processing.

Councillor Cunningham asked to the number of vessels they anticipated and whether they would be subject to an exclusion zone during their transit.  He was advised that there would be one LNG vessel a day and that there is an exclusion zone in place during the loading phase.

Councillor Cunningham offered up his observations as to the nature of the vessel traffic in the transit area and along the Tuck Inlet region. He also followed up asking if they had any plans on consultations with local groups such as UFAWU and others that may be impacted by the development.

He was advised that the company did have plans to include those groups to their list.

Councillor Cunningham outlined some of the concerns he has heard regarding the proposal as to the impact on air emissions in the proposed site area. He was advised that they would have their environmental experts in attendance with them at their July 24th session.

Councillor Garon echoed some of the concerns on environmental risks and mitigation in the proposed site area, stating that she would be interested in learning more about those aspects at their community session later in the month.

With that the presentation came to an end and Council moved on to other business.

 Reports and Recommendations

( 1:28:00--1:31:30  ) Report from the Engineering Coordinator  -- Regarding the 17th Street Rehabilitation project. Recommending that Council approve the recommendation and authorize the allocation of funds to complete the project.  Mr. Pucci provided a review of his report, outlining some background on the project and the nature of the required repairs. With a 250,000 dollar allocation request from General Surplus to complete the project.

Councillor Cunningham inquired as to the nature of a completion date, he was advised it should take a month to six weeks to complete the project.

The motion was adopted

( 1:31:00--1:34:30  ) Report from the City Financial Officer regarding the Gas Tax Agreement with the UBCM--  With a recommendation that Council enter into a Community Works agreement with the UBCM for ten years.  Ms. Corinne Bomben provided some background on the Agreement and what it will deliver to the community in the way of funding.

Councillor Cunningham asked if any of the funds had been projected, he was advised that it was not included in projected revenues for the year.

The motion was adopted.

Bylaws and Development Permits

( 1:34:30--1:36:30  ) Application for a Development Variance Permit for a property on Eighth Avenue East -- Mr. Krekic outlined some of the background to the application and advised that the city had not received any comments on the proposal

The motion was adopted.

( 1:36:30--1:37:30 ) A Report from the City Planner on rezoning to allow a multi family development on a property on Ambrose Avenue and a recommendation that Council give second reading to the amendment bylaw and move it forward to a public hearing prior to the July 28th Council meeting.

The motion was adopted

( 1:37:30--1:40:00 ) A Report from the City Planner on an amendment to adjust the Downtown Development Permit Area boundary.  Mr. Krekic outlined the background on the nature of the amendment which will be brought to public hearing prior to the July 28th council session.

Councillor Cunningham returned to a previous theme on the status of Fisherman's Hall and some residential properties in the area and whether they would be grand-fathered in to the new amendment.

Mr. Krekic outlined the process ahead for those properties in question.

The motion was adopted.

( 1:41:00--1:43:00 ) City of Prince Rupert Elections and Other Voting Procedures Bylaw--  The City Administrator outlined the background of the bylaw with some observations on the potential use of voting machines at some point in the future.

The motion was adopted.

( 1:43:00 -- 2:00:30 ) A Report from the City Planner regarding the Official Community Plan and the City's Rezoning bylaws related to Lot 444 -- Mr. Krekic outlined the background on the recent boundary expansion by the city and the need to provide land use regulations to the absorbed lands. He provided further review of what Council was required to do in regard to moving that process forward.

The motion for the introduction, first and second readings for the Rezoning Bylaw was adopted, with a public hearing schedule for the 28th of July

That was a suggestion that did not meet with the approval of Councillor Cunningham who stated that it should be held as its own hearing and not lumped in with others scheduled for that night. A theme that the Mayor was in agreement with.

Mr. Long, the City Manager entered the conversation at that point,  stating that the Lot 444  Bylaw was actually proposed to be considered in September.

Council then settled on the date of September 15th for the Public hearing on the Bylaw.

Councillor Cunningham then followed up the discussion seeking further clarification on whether a buffer zone was required between the Watershed and the Industrial land adjacent to it.

The Mayor suggested that as they had time between now and the public hearing that staff could report back to Council on that issue.

The Mayor reviewed the process under consideration for Councillor Cunningham,  the Councillor was not satisfied with the explanation and instead recommended that the motion be tabled until the staff report on the area in question was provided to Council.

His efforts did not gather enough support and Council voted to adopt the motion of introduction, first and second reading.

Additional Items for Council


Reports Questions and Inquiries from Council


( 2:00:00-2:06:00  The Mayor's Report

The Mayor outlined his attendance to an event at the Museum of Northern British Columbia.

He advised that the Prince Rupert Airport had released statistics showing that there has been a 5.85 per cent increase in airport usage in the first five months of 2014.

The Mayor and members of the RCMP provided greetings to visiting cruise passengers as they arrived in the City.

He outlined the nature of his duties at the Canada Day ceremonies at Mariner's Park.

He and Councillor Thorkelson attended a public session celebrating the upcoming canoe journey to Bella Bella.

He and Councillor Garon participated in the Prince Rupert Airport Authority meetings on their planned renovations at the airport terminal.

The Mayor, Councillors Ashley and Carlick-Pearson attended the Recreation Commission for June to discuss recreation programs and improvements to the facility.

The Mayor met with representatives of the Ministry of Transportation, they discussed a number of issues of note in the region.

The Mayor suggested that the City send a letter of thanks to the CBC and to the Special Events Society for their hosting duties at the Canada Day celebrations. Council members agreed with that suggestion and advised staff to follow through on it.

He outlined some community concern over the response time of BC ambulance to an incident in the downtown area, asking the City manager to investigate the issue further.

The Mayor provided an update on the status of the Sixth Avenue East project, advising that the bridge would be closed from July 9th until late August as required work is done on the structure.

And with that final bit of business the Monday session of Council to an end.

You can access the City Council Review page for July 7th here, where a number of items regarding the council session, including links to 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 July 7th, 2014 

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