Thursday, September 4, 2014

City Council Timeline, Tuesday, September 2, 2014

With the summer all but over, Council turned its attention towards the fall sessions, with a trip to UBCM in the offing and election campaign of November the two key items of note for councillors to consider as they return to more frequent Council gatherings, post Labour Day.

The first meeting of September took place on September 2nd, with council reviewing a number of items on an agenda that provided them with enough work to register close to an hour in public session this time around.

As part of the night's work, Council received a presentation from the Provincial Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Natural Resources, providing some background on fishing along the Skeena region. The half hour primer and follow up questions from council on matter related to fishing taking up more than half of the council session for the night.

As for other business, a number of financial items and information notices made up for the bulk of the remaining portion of the night.

The City's Financial officer relayed a status report with the latest numbers as of July, and made a second attempt at getting her updated Purchasing policy into place.

News was also delivered from one of the recent closed sessions, outlining the awarding of a contract for demolition work on a number of structures at the Watson Island industrial site.

And for good measure all on Council had the chance to vent on the plan from CityWest to charge two dollars for those that don't wish to receive their bills by computer and prefer to continue on with paper billing.

Prior to the Monday night public session, Council once again hosted another in their growing list of  closed sessions with the latest entry taking place 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 September 2, 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 (by telephone)

Video Archive for September 2, 2014

Petitions and Delegations

0:00-- 28:00 ) A Presentation from representatives of the Ministry of Lands, Forests and Natural Resources on Angling Management issues in the Skeena Region  -- Council received a fairly comprehensive report from a pair of representatives from the Ministry, outlining the current status of the Management of angling resources in the Skeena Region.

The overview provided background on three issues, Steelhead management, Trout and Char management and Angling processes.

Following the presentation, Councillor Ashley asked as to the numbers of vulnerable species that may be caught in local waters. Councillor Cunningham asked to the nature of their statistical compilation and how it impacts on their decision making on local fishery issues.

From there, Councillor Thorkelson added to the conversation with the two Ministry representatives, asking a range of questions and offering up a number of observations on themes of the North Coast fishery.

She asked for elaboration on the input of the province on their steelhead management and highlighted some of the past concerns that the commercial fishery had in the past with decisions regarding management policy.

They called attention to a current study seeking public feedback and participation on the topic of management issues and suggested a follow up with the regional headquarters in Victoria might provide more information on the topic.

Councillor Cunningham inquired as to the nature of enforcement capabilities in the Skeena Region.

Councillor Thorkelson then asked for some input from the guests on the need to keep the commercial fishery viable and asking where and local residents should go to contact Provincial government officials to stress that commitment to a commercial fishery.

She was advised that as for policy there is a recognition of the commercial industry and objectives to be met and to balance issues with all stakeholders. A review of the twin approach for contact was highlighted, both locally through the Smithers office and in Victoria for a more provincial and national overview.

Councillor Thorkelson then expressed a number of her concerns regarding the current situation and how in her opinion, the wishes of the commercial fishery were not being fully understood and received by the provincial government.

The Mayor then made some observations on some cursory discussions, he has had with provincial officials regarding the commercial fishery and how the province could pay closer attention to the issues and advocate for the industry with the Federal Fisheries department.

He also suggested that Council may wish to pursue the issue further when it participates in the UBCM sessions later in September.

To wrap up their presentation in front of Council, the Ministry representatives provided some background on the nature of angling regulations and the process as to how new regulations can be proposed.

Councillor Ashley then followed up that information with an inquiry as to how residents could find out more information on issues related to freshwater fishing regulations.

( 30:00--33:00 ) A Presentation from the City's Financial Officer providing background on the July 2014 Monthly Finance Report -- Ms. Bomben reviewed the city's financial picture as of July, outlining revenue increases of 107,000 dollars for the Airport Ferry,  increased revenue streams from the Recreation Department were up 34,000 dollars, while Watson Island revenues dropped 571,000 dollars owing to the expiry of the Watco exclusivity agreement.

She also outlined the latest revenue amounts received from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, through the PILT assessment process.  The Port has paid 1.152 million dollars which is the City's share, which is 523,000 dollars short from what was budgeted.

Had the Port not made another interim payment in relation to prior years while the City and Port attempted to resolve their dispute regarding land values, the city would be projecting a budget deficit. after this current payment.

However, with that interim payment from prior years, that deficit situation will not be the case at this time.

As for expenditures, most departments are within budget for this time of year.  And planned capital projects for 2014 are underway and nearing completion.

Councillor Garon commended staff on the increase of usage at the Civic Centre and the increase in fees that have come with it.

Council moved to receive the report.

( 30:00--38:30 ) A Presentation from the City's Financial Officer, regarding the City's Purchasing Policy -- Mrs. Bomben brought her revision to the City's Purchasing Policy back to Council chambers for further review. Providing for a second attempt to move the proposed policy to the adoption phase.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this week, at their August 18th meeting, Council chose to wait until after the Labour Day weekend to vote on the proposed policy changes, allowing for time to compare the current policy with one proposed by the City's Chief Financial Officer.

Ms. Bomben once again highlighted the nature of the changes to the current policy and how they would streamline the process and provide a more relevant threshold for procurement procedures for the City departments.

The Mayor asked that Ms. Bomben outline and expand on the nature of the local procurement policy under the new Purchasing Policy recommendations. She advised that the new policy emphasizes best value for money, including local providers. As for sole sourcing, that process would automatically make the local provider a more likely choice in those instances.

Councillor Cunningham had an inquiry on purchases under 5,000 dollars and the procedure in place for those requirements. She advised that it provided a record of verbal quotes for those items.

Councillors Garon and Thorkelson congratulated staff on their work on the policy process under consideration.

Following her review, Council voted to adopt the new purchasing policy provisions.

Correspondences for Action

( 38:30-- 39:00 ) A Proclamation Request of Council from the FASD Ad hoc committee -- Council was asked to declare September 9th 2014 as International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day in the City of Prince Rupert.

The motion was adopted.

Resolutions from Closed Meeting

( 39:00 -- 42:00 )  Concerning the removal and dismantling of the Former Pulp Mill Site through a RFP - Request for Proposal Award-- The Mayor outlined the nature of the Request for Proposal that would see a contract awarded to Stantec Engineering for the removal and dismantling of the former Mill site on Watson Island.

The Mayor then provided a bit of background on the process involved for that dismantling project and highlighted some of the challenges ahead for the contractor as they move ahead with their work.

Stressing the goal of the City is to move ahead in the community with the redevelopment of Watson island, he advised that the start of the demolition process would start in the new year.

He also touched on the nature of the agreement with the former company on the site of the  (SunWave) who as he put it through a twist of legislation, owns the equipment in the buildings on the site, while the City is in ownership of the buildings and the land.

Councillor Garon was the only Councillor to offer up comment on the release of information from the closed session of council, asking for clarification as to where the money is coming from in regard to the dismantling project.

Mr. Long, the City manager, advised that there  was money in trust from Sun Wave Forest Products that is being used for this particular purpose.

Bylaws and Development Permits

( 42:00-- 45:00  ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer regarding an amendment to the 2013-2015 Permissive Taxation Bylaw -- The Mayor asked for first, second and third reading to the amendment bylaw.

Before that motion was adopted, Councillor Ashley had one question on the title and time frame of the amendment.

Councillor Cunningham had a question regarding a tax exemption for Ocean Centre Mall.

Ms. Bomben outlined the nature of that exemption and how it involves the location of the Alternative School and its space in a section of the Ocean Centre Mall.

Councillor Thorkelson also offered up an observation and question on the nature of the exemption to the Ocean Centre Mall, seeking clarification as to the procedure for the exemption and how it impacts and or benefits the Alternative School.

The motion was then adopted.

( 45:00--53:00 ) Reports Questions and Inquiries from Council

Councillor Kinney had a question for the City Manager regarding an increased cost for CityWest billing, with a two dollar charge for those that will continue to receive paper billing.  Councillor Kinney pointed out the cost burden that such a move would place on Seniors and those on a fixed income that may not be able to make use of the computer billing option.

The Mayor asked that Mr. Long provide Council's interest in the discussion and reinforce their concerns to the company.

Councillor Cunningham offered up some insight on the theme and how the company is exempting those that do not have Internet service through CityWest.

The Mayor pointed out that the City is the representative of the shareholders to the company and how he believes the change at CityWest is unfair.

Councillor Garon offered up her thoughts on the issue and questioned why CityWest was imposing this on its subscribers in the community.

Councillor Ashley asked for Council to hold an informal workshop prior to their attendance at UBCM, so as to put together a plan for their time at the annual municipal government convention.

Councillor Garon had questions and concerns regarding  traffic concerns in the Cow Bay area and called attention to some missing signage in the area.

Councillor Cunningham brought up the topic of the Sixth Street Bridge and inquired as to the timeline for repaving the bridge.  The City manager advised that Adventure Paving had been contacted to move that project forward as soon as possible.

Councillor Garon asked for an update on the Airport paving project and suggested that may be impacting on the nature of the pavement plan for the Sixth Street Bridge.

( 53:00--  57:00 The Mayor's Report

The Mayor attended the August Board of Directors meeting of the Prince Rupert Airport Authority, outlining the progress of the runway rehabilitation project and what the timeline for it is.

He also advised that the airport terminal renovation project is about to get underway.

He attended the Friendship House Block Party on August 22nd, providing a greeting on behalf of City Council.

He asked that Mr. Long have a staff member make an inquiry to the City of Prince George regarding their recent access of funding for improvement projects in their downtown area, asking that the City follow up to find out if they could find similar funding for Prince Rupert.

Councillor Garon called attention to the traffic light pattern at McBride and 3rd Avenue and asked that someone contact the Ministry of Transportation regarding the situation.

You can access the City Council Review page for September 2 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 September 2, 2014 

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