Friday, August 1, 2014

City Council Timeline, Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday  provided for another fairly lengthy council session to bring an end to Council's workload for the month of July.

For the most part the night was heavy on public hearings and presentations and light on definitive decision making.

As Council put one issue on the back burner pending further review and put aside for at least a year,  plans designed to move Fraser Street into the Downtown Business Area

In addition to those items of note, Council also heard report from the City Planner on the ongoing nature of the Land inventory he is conducting.

Council also received a report from the Engineering coordinator,  who provided details on the situation at the landfill site and the need to provide for funding for immediate expansion concerns, as well as the longer term planning for Phase 3 of the site.

Parking issues related to the Atlin Terminal lot and Rushbrook Floats lot also were on the mind of council on Monday, making for a wide ranging discussion.

Council received information related to the Civic Awards Nomination process of August, while the City's Financial Officer provided a short overview of the financial picture from the June reports.

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 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 28, 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 July 28, 2014

(0:00-- 6:00 ) Public Hearing into for zoning amendment 3348-2014 for a property on Ambrose Avenue -- The City Planner provided an overview as to the nature of the project, with a recommendation to move to the third reading and adoption. The Corporate Administrator outlined the process involved in the public hearing regarding the property in question.

As no members of the public provided feedback at the public hearing regarding the property, Council then brought the public hearing to a conclusion.

( 6:00-- 51:00  ) Public Hearing into a zoning amendment 3349-2014, to provide for an adjustment to the Downtown Development Permit Area, including the movement of the Fraser Street area into that area.

Councillor Thorkelson excused herself from the discussion owing to her involvement with Fishermen's Hall which is in the area under discussion.

Mr. Zeno Krekic, the City Planner outlined the scope of the amendment and what the city wishes to achieve through it, advising that when the area was drawn up, the subject area under review was inadvertently left out of the DPA.

Mr. Krekic outlined the nature of the grandfathering clause for the existing property owners in the area and that any impact would only take place should there be a change in designation of the property status.

He then outlined some of the aspects of the amendment that have been of concern to some of the property operators in the Fraser Street area.

The Mayor offered up some observations on the delays to improvements to the Fraser Street area, which have had to be put off owing to budget concerns in recent years.

Councillor Ashley inquired as to the grandfathering issue and the impact that it may have on changing of property ownership and how that affects the Downtown Business Permit Area requirements.

Councillor Cunningham provided his observations on the bylaw requirements and how it may impact on the existing building owners in the area.

Mr. Mandryk once again provided the guidelines for the public in the delivery of their comments as part of the public hearing process.

Two members of the Fraser Street area participated in the public comment session, with Jim West leading off the discussion registering his concerns regarding the planned amendment. Among those items of note, he found no particular benefit for his property from this amendment and suggested that the regulations are unnecessary for his and other businesses on Fraser Street.

He touched on some of the other businesses operating in the Fraser Street area and suggested that they don't seem to have any problems getting along and accommodate each other as required.

Councillor Garon outlined how the original plan of the Development plan was to put all the businesses in the downtown area on the same playing field and that she believes the line was drawn in the wrong place at the time.

Councillor Ashley asked for some clarification on a few of the issues of concern, particularly along the lines of parking.  She turned her attention on that issue to Mr. Krekic for a bit more background on the theme of improvements and other facets of building maintenance in the area.

In his closing comments, Mr. West reviewed delays in the way of any remediation to the area roads and infrastructure, suggesting he would be more inclined to offer his support to the amendment if the City had followed up on its promises of the past to do the work in that area.

Councillor Cunningham followed up with a few more observations on properties in the area and the requirements under the Permit Area if the amendment moved forward.

Councillor Kinney asked for clarification on tax related impacts of the amendment.

Christina Nelson represented the Fisherman's Hall at the hearing, providing a video compilation of issues and provided for a list of their concerns regarding the impact of the proposed amendment.  She asked a number of questions of the City regarding the area surrounding the Hall and what might be expected from the city in addressing them.

She observed that Fraser Street does not receive the same standard of city services in the way of snow removal and landscaping in the area and that the Fisherman's hall doesn't believe it should be under the same requirements as other areas of the downtown area of Second and Third Avenues that receive better attention from the city.

Councillor Cunningham inquired as to the non-profit nature of the Fisherman's Hall and the impact that the amendment might have on them, Councillor Ashley followed up on that theme by asking Mr. Krekic as to how many non-profits are in the area and if there is any relief available to them from the City.

Mr. Krekic advised that everyone in the Downtown Permit Area is held to the same platform and that the nature of the Permit Area is to create a benchmark for the downtown area and all businesses are considered in the same nature.

Councillor Cunningham also spoke to the issue of the non-profit businesses in the area and how he was against any changes that might impact on their ability to operate and make renovations to their buildings.

Larry Golden outlined his concerns regarding the amendment, which involved the criteria for exclusion of properties in the DPA.  The City planner provided an overview of the decision making about the areas of exclusion and the requirements of property owners in the DPA.

With no other members of the public offering comment, the public hearing was brought to a conclusion.

( 51:00 -- 57:30  ) Council then addressed the Agenda to the Committee of the Whole Meeting portion of the evening.

Mrs. Nelson from the Fisherman's Hall once again addressed Council, this time to seek out the assistance of Council to provide a letter of support for the gaming licence application that the Hall is seeking.  She provided some background on their work at the Hall and how the money raised from the gaming application would be used towards renovations for the building.

Councillor Thorkelson once again excused herself from the discussion regarding the request from the Fisherman's Hall.

With no further questions for Council from the public on the City's operations. Council brought that session to a conclusion.

( 57:30-- 58:30 ) Council then moved on to the adoption of past minutes and the Regular Agenda for the Council session.

Presentations to Council

( 58:30--1:20:00  )  Presentation from the City Planner Mr. Zeno Krekic, regarding the Land Based Indicator Inventory.  Mr. Krekic, Mr. Lapointe and Mr. Thurston provided an overview of the ongoing nature of their project to plan for major projects in the community.

Mr. Krekic advised that it is a work in progress, providing some background on their findings to this point, highlighting the various factors that they have been considering as part of the Inventory, such things as population, housing, Infrastructure and such.

Mr. Lapointe outlined some of his observations from the Kitimat area and what they had discovered from the various major projects currently in varying stages of development there.  He reviewed the impact of camp development and how the growth there had impacted on housing availability there.

Providing the comparison between  2011when they had a very high vacancy rate and the current situation of few availabilities now to be found in the Kitimat area, which was first noticed in mid 2013.

He provided advice that it was a key issue that the City of Prince Rupert might wish to consider in a pro-active nature as projects begin to develop in this region.

Mr. Krekic then outlined the steps that have been put in place regarding the Inventory and how they are doing it on a tight budget.

Through a slide show, he offered up the varying levels of vacant land availability in the city, with 209 municipal lots in the community, 299 privately owned lots and 7 of Crown Provincial status. He reviewed the there main categories of land available in the community and the evaluation criteria that the City will be using in assessing the land for development.

The initial observations suggest a demand for camps, for single family homes, for apartments as well as for light industrial and lay down areas or large areas for the staging supplies by project developers.

He outlined how the project team intends to move forward in their analysis and where they are directing their attention towards further development.

As he wrapped up his review of their progress to this point, he advised that his next presentation will be in September.

( 1:20:00-- 1:22:30 ) A Presentation from the City's Financial Officer, regarding the June Financial Report  -- Mrs. Bomben provided an overview of the Monthly review offer up a look at revenue streams and expense items through to June of 2014.

Among her main points of interest, the Airport Ferry has seen an increase in revenue of 40,000 dollars owing to improved airport usage by 2,000 more passengers in the last year.

 9-1-1 revenues are declining as residents migrate away from land lines towards cellular phones.

Compared to the same period of 2013, the Recreation Department has also seen an increase of revenues of 40,000 dollars, mainly through the use of civic centre and pool facilities.

She did advise that the city has seen a decrease of revenues of some 475,000 dollars from Watson Island with the expiration of the exclusivity agreement with Watco, she outlined how the City is working to offset that decrease.

She observed that all departments are within budget to this point of the year, with the onset of summer , the services and supplies budget is expected to be used to greater extent.

As well Capital purchases and works projects for the summer of 2014 are underway.

Council received the report for information purposes.

( 1:22:00--1:28:30  ) A Presentation from the Corporate Administrator regarding the Civic Recognition Awards Program --  Mr. Mandryk provided some background on the program and the requirements for nominations for the program, with the nomination period to take place through August.

The Awards Ceremony to take place on September 30th.

Councillor Thorkelson suggested that the public be directed to come to City Hall to pick up the list of nomination requirements and award restrictions.

Mr.s Bomben recommended that the guidelines for the Awards program be provided to the city's website, as well as through its social media offerings.

The motion was adopted.

1:28:30--1:45:00 )  A Presentation from the Engineering Coordiantor regarding the Atlin  Parking lot, with a recommendation of removing the Atlin Pay Parking area and reinstate the 2 hour parking limit-- Mr. Pucci provided an overview of the current situation at the Atlin Terminal lot, with the current situation providing for losses owing to the obsolete nature of the machinery at the parking kiosk.

He would like to use the Atlin kiosk as spare parts for the Rushbrook parking kiosk which he recommends remain in place.

The report provided for a lively exchange between council members over the nature of the Atlin Parking Lot.

With the Mayor leading of the discussion by suggesting that a letter be sent to the Port Authority, seeking that they provide their current Port only spots in the area as a form of an overflow in exchange to their possible access to the Atlin lot.

Councillor Thorkelson took issue with the proposal, highlighting the unfair nature that it provides for the commercial fishermen, who will still be required to pay for their parking requirements at the Rushbrook floats, while the city opens the Atlin lot up to the employees of the Port Authority and other local business operators in the Cow Bay area.

She touched on the nature of bylaw enforcement requirements should they move to the two hour parking proposal and that she didn't believe that the move would offer any relief. She provided some suggestions as to what the City may wish to consider to provide relief for the Commercial fishermen and their parking concerns.

The Mayor observed that if the City went to two hour parking, that it doesn't work for those that may use some of the day trip options that are offered through the Cow Bay area.

Councillor Garon returned the discussion to the Atlin Terminal proposal and asked as to the nature of the problems with the machinery and the inability to gain replacement parts. She also observed that the Visitor Info Centre is now located in the Cow Bay area and that a change at this time may reduce opportunity for them to park and seek out information from the Centre.

She offered up her preference to see the kiosk remain where it is and that the city may wish to investigate the possibility of acquiring a more modern machine.

Councillor Cunningham picked up on Councillor Thorkelson's theme on the commercial fishermen issue, offering up his opinion that he does not support a move that would reward those with high paying jobs with free parking, while the Commercial Fishermen will still have to pay for their parking.

He then offered up his concerns over the state of repair of the Rushbrook Floats area, the Mayor cut short that conversation by advising that the repairs are planned for later in the summer.

Councillor Ashley provided her observations on the topic, stating the budget constraints of hiring on another bylaw officer, she then suggested that Council needs a bit more time to review the situation and look for other options regarding it.

She suggested that the City might want to look at the idea of pre-paid options by way of a daily pass for the area.  She provided a motion to table the report and suggested the city hold a workshop to investigate potential solutions.

Council chose to table the report and take no action on the parking issues of Atlin Terminal until the issues could be further examined.

1:45:00 -- 2:03:00 )  A Presentation from the Engineering Coordinator regarding the nature of planned closure of phases 1 and 2 of the Landfill site and the planned Phase 3 expansion -- Mr. Pucci provided an overview of the current situation at the Prince Rupert Landfill site and the recommended plan of approach to address some of the issues that currently are in place there.

As part of his review he outlined how the Engineering department was recommending that the City provide 1.5 million dollars from the Gas Tax, towards landfill development.

He provided the recommendations of the consultants that the city has engaged on the issues which recommended a progressive closure of the current phase one and two cells of the landfill.  With a lateral expansion to the east and west of the existing cells to allow for addressing the issues surrounding them.

He then provided a snapshot of the Phase three expansion which would address the city's solid waste requirements for fifty years, dependent on the growth of the community and the projected development in the region, which could change that timeline.

The rough budget planning for the timeline of landfill development would bring a total cost of 9.5 million dollars, when you considered all facets of the landfill redevelopment leading to progressive closure by 2018 and the opening of Phase three.

He observed that three may the requirement of a review of landfill rates for residents vs non residents and demolition rates, as well cost reductions at the landfill site could be found through more engaged recycling in the region.

He outlined the importance of keeping the landfill operational at a current level of service, Council needs to consider the items of his report. And while the east side berm construction recently was completed was over budget it was required in order to get the landfill back on track.

In his conclusion to his report, he reviewed how the engineering department plans to fund the expansion process moving forward.

Councillor Garon suggested more attention to what is being brought to the landfill site and that the city needs a better way of addressing the volume of items that go into the landfill that should not be there.

Councillor Cunningham suggested a better focus on recycling and inquired as to whether an incinerator at the landfill site might address some of the waste issues that are finding their way into the site.

Councillor Thorkelson suggested that Council members might want to explore the landfill site to see firsthand some of the issues that it faces. She had concerns over the nature of some of the items that are finding their way into the landfill and called attention to the increasing pace of renovations in the community and how that may impact on both the work required by city workers with items such as asbestos and other materials, as well as the space availability at the landfill site.

Councillor Ashley called back to a past resolution at Council about the need to address the Garbage bylaw and seeking some information as to what progress the city has made on that issue.

Councillor Cunningham had questions on the cost factors and where the engineering department was getting them from, he was advised that the numbers came from the land fill engineer consultants. Councillor Cunningham then observed to their under estimation on the fill settlement.

Council adopted the motion.

( 2:03:00 -- 2:07:00  )  A Presentation from the Engineering Coordinator  on an overage payment requirement for the development contract at the landfill site -- Mr. Pucci provided an overview of the current situation at the Prince Rupert Landfill site regarding their existing contract with the contractors Coast Industrial Construction.

As progress moved forward on the landfill development project, it became clear that there would be an overage on the contract of 113,000 dollars.

Mr. Pucci through the Engineering department and after consultation with the Finance department, recommended usage of the city's Landfill Closure Account to cover the cost of the overage.

He advised that the City is working with the contractors to seek out other ways of reducing costs at the landfill site.

Councillor Cunningham asked a question regarding the sale of gravel from work at the landfill site and what the City gains back from that.  He was advised that the city receives a royalty of 3 dollars a cubic metre from gravel sales.

Council adopted the motion.

Bylaws and Development Permits

( 2:07:00-- 2:08:00 ) A Report from the City Planner on rezoning to allow a multi family development on a property on Ambrose Avenue -- With the public hearing having taken place earlier in the evening, Council considered the rezoning issue.

With no objections issued by council members.

The motion was adopted

( 2:08:00-- 2:29:00  ) A Report from the City Planner on an amendment to adjust the Downtown Development Permit Area boundary.  With Council having held a public hearing on the issue earlier in the evening, more discussion took place regarding the proposal to amend the boundary of the Development Permit Area.

Councillor Thorkelson excused herself from those discussions.

Councillor Cunningham outlined his reasons for not supporting the motion, calling attention to the needs of the non-profit organizations in that area that would suffer under the requirements of the Development Permit Area.

Councillor Garon outlined her support for the amendment, explaining that the change would not affect the way anyone is currently conducting business in the subject area. She also observed that she did not believe that the requirements of the Development Permit Area were of a nature to impose a large burden on those existing business operators.

She suggested that the amendment would provide for a level field for all businesses in the downtown area. She also offered up some observations regarding city maintenance of such things as flowers, snow removal and such.

Councillor Ashley offered up how she was torn between the two sides of the discussion and also wished to protect the non-profit organizations in the area, suggesting that the city might want to consider some kind of adjustment for the non-profit groups to ease the burden on them.

Mrs. Bomben observed for the council that the city has development plans for Fraser Street next year,  with repaving of streets, repairs to sidewalks and improvements for lighting on the list for work.

Councillor Cunningham offered up the theme of Fraser Street residents as second class neighbourhood, pointing out that they pay the same taxes as other residents but have not in his opinion received the same level of service as other downtown businesses.

The Mayor too him to task over the tone of his commentary regarding the discussion of the issue.

Councillor Garon returned to the theme of how the permit application process of the Development permit area would not be as large a burden as some of the other councillors were suggesting. She returned to the theme of putting everyone on the same playing field and providing guidelines for staff to administer to the issues.

Councillor Kinney expressed his support for Councillor Cunningham's opinion, particularly on the theme of support for the non-profit organizations.

Councillor Ashley once again spoke towards supporting the non-profit organizations in the area and suggested that there was a need for some flexibility on the issue.

Councillor Garon reminded council that Mr. Krekic had held a number of open houses on the topic in the last year or so and recounted some of the thoughts from those sessions, suggesting that this is mainly a case of a section of the downtown being inadvertently left off the map and that the amendment addresses that issue.

Councillor Cunningham once again returned to his concerns over the burden that renovations such as a roofing project for the Fishermen's Hall might provide for those non profits if included in the Development Permit area.

The Mayor outlined how he was against the amendment, pointing to the need to address the road and infrastructure issues in the area first. He then  suggested that the initiative might find more support in fourteen months once that work is completed.

Councillor Ashley offered up her thanks to Mr. Krekic for his work on the topic and hoped he did not take Council's comments personally, she then asked some background questions regarding potential change of use of property in the area under discussion.

With the amendment up for a vote, the motion was defeated.

2:29:00-- 2:31:30 Application for a development variance permit for a property on 8th Avenue West --  Mr. Krekic provided the outline of the application and tied it into some of their previous discussions on the nature of the housing stock in the community and how some of it will be renovated.

With no objections issued by council members.

The motion was adopted and the process will move forward to public notification.

Reports Questions and Inquiries from Council

( 2:31:30-- 2:32:30 )  Councillor Cunningham offered up a resolution for a letter of support for the Fishermen's Hall in their quest for a gaming licence with the BC Gaming commission.

Councillor Thorkelson once again excused herself from the discussion.

Council adopted the motion.

( 2:32:30 -- 2:33:00 ) Councillor Cunningham offered up his thanks to the CUPE workers that tend to the city's flowers and gardens outlining the positive comments he had received about their work.

( 2:33:30-2:41:00  The Mayor's Report

The Mayor some background on a recent meeting with representatives of ICBC, and recounted how they paid for a third of the pedestrian crossing at McBride and 9th street.

He reviewed a recent meeting with UNBC officials to develop a regional planning function,  also in attendance at the meeting were Councillor Carlick-Pearson, Councillor Cunningham and Councillor Garon.

The Mayor and Councillor Cunningham attended a reception from Air Liquide to learn more about their plans for the Northwest.

He attended the Board meeting of the Prince Rupert Regional Airport, he updated Council on the two major projects about to get underway at the airport. Councillor Garon was also in attendance at the meeting.

The Mayor and Councillor Garon attended a function to announce funding for the runway project at the airport.

The Mayor met with Senator Douglas Black, where they discussed port related developments in the area.

He attended a gathering hosted by Hawkair to introduce their new morning air service between Prince Rupert and Vancouver.

With a member of the RCMP, the Mayor provided greetings to visitors from the cruise ship Regatta on its port call to the city.

He discussed the Tsimshian Access project with Chief Leighton of Metlakatla, Mayor Reece of Lax Kw'alaams and Mayor McDonald of Port Edward. He advised that the provincial government is reviewing  its consideration of the proposed route.

The Mayor, along with Councillors Ashley and Garon took a tour of the West Coast Connector Gas Transmission route along the Prince Rupert area of the route.

He attended a portion of a technical working group with West Coast Connector Gas Transmission proponents.

He, Councillors Ashley and Carlick-Pearson attended a session with Northern Health who provided a review of their planning process to address social and health impacts related to rapid increase of economic activity.

The Mayor met with representatives of the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource operations, he advised that until there is a commitment to development of provincial property they have no plans to open an office here.

He attended an information session on the Lot 444 LNG proposal from Exxon/Mobil, also in attendance were Councillors Ashley, Kinney Garon and Cunningham.

He outlined details of the city's plan for improvements to the Rushbrook Floats area.

The Mayor acknowledged both Tricorp and Community Futures of the Pacific Northwest for their efforts in the community to help develop opportunities in the region.

You can access the City Council Review page for July 28th 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 28th, 2014 

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