Thursday, November 27, 2014

City Council Timeline, Monday, November 24, 2014

Prince Rupert's outgoing Council met for one final time on Monday, with three Councillors and the Mayor making their exit from the Municipal government scene, it was at times an emotional session for some of those in attendance.

As for the work on the evening, the bulk of the two and half hour session was taken up by a Public Hearing and subsequent Zoning discussion related to the prospect of a work camp for the old garbage dump area of Wantage Road, with an additional lay down site for industrial projects to be developed in the area of the old trailer park that once was located along the side of the road.

Before Council would get to that Public Hearing session however there was a short Civic Recognition Presentation, where the Council members gathered to celebrate Community achievements.

The video review of those presentations can be found on the City's Video Archive, however there was no sound provided as part of that presentation, it runs from the  0:00--9:30 mark.

With the Certificates handed out and the handshakes complete, Council then commenced with their work on the night. With the Public Hearing the first item of the night on the Council to do list.

Background information on the Public hearing can be found in the Agenda Package for the evening, you can review the hearing from the City's Video Archive from the timeline below.

( 9:30-1:25:30 ) Public Hearing Regarding Amendments to the Quality of Life Official Community Plan and Re-zoning Amendment Bylaw -- Regarding the Wantage Road  area proposals

As part of the Hearing Process, City Planner Zeno Krekic provided a short overview of his report related to the proposed development of the two areas, one for the work camp and the other for the lay down site.

His presentation provided for a number of drawings and photos of what each proposal might look like  on the Wantage Road sites. He also outlined how the public could access the City's work thus far on the proposals, reminding residents that many of the city's major projects initiatives are available on the website under projects.

He outlined that the process ahead would be required  to go into the Development Permit Stage before any actual re-development of the area was to take place. He reviewed some of the steps that City Staff had conducted prior to the Public Hearing, including consultations with various City departments and emergency services in the area, as well as contact with provincial officials regarding the proposed use for area of land in question.

He advised that the Ministry of Environment had specified that a full environmental investigation would have to be conducted as part of the activities related to the proposal.

He  also reviewed the process of notification that the City provided to the public regarding the Public Hearing aspect of the review, as well as some details on the feedback received from the public to this point.

In closing, Mr. Krekic offered up his recommendation for the proposal in front of Council on the evening.

Following the City Planners review of the proposed developments, representatives of Horizon North, the proponents of the work camp proposal provided a short review and presentation of what they envision the project would look like.

They offered up some background on the nature of their company, which operates in Alberta and BC, providing for services and some 9,000 beds at a number of locations.

From that point, they provided their synopsis of the proposed lodging site that they would develop for the Wantage Road location. With plans to provide for Two - 1,250 person open lodges to accommodate work forces for proposed LNG plants in the community.

Describing their accommodations as along the lines of a four star hotel, with fitness, recreation and food services, as well as facility management and security.

The Camps would be considered "Dry" with zero tolerance for alcohol or illegal drugs.

Following the presentation, Council Members asked a range of questions on the proposal.

Councillor Ashley asked about their intentions regarding water requirements.  Receiving an answer that their plan is to hook up to city services, but that their sanitation requirements would be handled in house.

Councillor Thorkelson asked for an explanation as to how the Camp would be contained so residents of the lodges could not wander off into the town site. They outlined the nature of their landscaping plans and intentions to construct a fence around the camp for security purposes.

Councillor Ashley then inquired as to the hiring preferences of the company when it comes to employment opportunities that may be available.  She was advised that they had a preference to hire locally and then regionally.

Councillor Cunningham asked about training opportunities  that might be available through the proposed development. The proponents outlined their plans to provide training for those that were hired.

Councillor Cunningham then inquired as to the remediation work required for Wantage Road and how they would address traffic volumes.  They explained how they would be improving the road, but perhaps not to highway standards and that as far as traffic flow goes that would require further study.

Councillor Garon asked as to noise concerns, as well as the amount of traffic that could be generated from their proposal and how they would be transported too and from the work sites.  She was advised that a majority of those workers would probably be travelling by bus, with some possibly using private vehicles. The nature of the work would mean that for the most part its a 24 hour operation.

On the topic of noise generation from the camp site, the proponents advised that owing to the nature of the 12 hour a day work load, most would be returning to the camp site mainly to eat and sleep.

Councillor Cunningham returned to the theme of Security at the camp site and the zero tolerance designation and how they would enforce that scenario, in particular if they arrived at the camp after having been drinking in the downtown area.

They reviewed some of the industry standards for camp rules and what is expected from those that live in camp. With the basic premise being that anyone who violated the rules, most likely would lose their jobs.

Access to Mount Hays was discussed, and if the project would impact on those that use Wantage Road to access that site.  The proponents advised that they imagine some of their work on the road would improve that access.

Councillor Ashley calling attention to concerns related to traffic flow at the Civic Centre/Lester Centre area, asked if they would consider shifting the access road to the site to areas behind the Lester Centre, something the proponents advised they would be willing to investigate.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson asked as to what safeguards would be in place for Hays Creek, she was advised the they didn't see any particular issues from the camp which would affect the Creek.

Councillor Thorkelson asked about the Health and Safety issues related to the landfill site and if it may have health impacts on those that would be living at the camp.  The proponents advised that they would be conducting a geo-tech studies on the site to determine if there are any concerns related to the project's location.

She then inquired as to what kind of base they would be placing over the area as part of the site,  she was advised that they planned to put a cap over the area to be developed.

On the topic of the Lay Down area for development, Councillor Ashley asked for a short review of what they had planned for that portion of the area. She was advised that for the most part it would be used for storage of building modules before shifting them to the actual camp site.

Councillor Cunningham followed up on that, asking what use the area would have after the camp was set up and operating.  The proponents offered up that they had no knowledge as to what other uses might be made of that lay down area, once they had finished the construction phase of their camp site.

With the presentation complete, Council then turned things over to the members of the Public Gallery who had indicated that they wished to offer up their thoughts on the proposed development.

A total of eight participants, many of them from the Haysvale neighbourhood, took advantage of the opportunity to provide some commentary and outline a range of comments on the proposal.

The majority of which involved concerns over noise, issues related to camp life and the proximity of the camp to the urban area of the city and the impact on residents in those areas directly adjacent to the site.

In particular the impact that the camp may have on the Haysvale residential area was the subject of many comments, with noise and ambient light of key review, as well as property safety. In addition some of the residents of the immediate area had concerns over property values adjacent to the camp site.

Traffic concerns in the area were also among some of the concerns related to the development, particularly in the area of the Civic Centre/McBride junction with Wantage Road as well as volumes found further up McBride towards the city.

As well, environmental concerns related to the preparation and the operation of the site itself were raised, with a focus on how those changes could affect the immediate area.

Issues related to recreational uses on Wantage Road were also raised, with concerns that access may no longer be feasible if a lay down and work camp site was to be developed in that area.

Many outlined their concerns over the limited nature of notice and information available related to both projects and the short timeline that was in place when it came to an advisory regarding the Public Hearing itself.

One contributor to the public hearing made not of the prospect of the lay down area becoming an eyesore that would be greeting visitors and then turned the discussion towards community housing concerns.

Asking why the City was not using the old trailer park to address its recent concerns related to the housing shortage in the community, suggesting that using the lot in question at that location would be better suited to addressing that issue.

Among those providing a contribution to the public hearing was Cam McIntyre, representing the School District. He provided a review of some of the observations that the School District has made note of,  as part of their research on work camps.

In addition, Mr. McIntyre outlined some of the concerns that the School District has with the prospect of a work camp located close to two of the District's schools in the area.

Some of the final thoughts from the evening's participants related to public safety, with questions regarding whether the City will have to hire extra police officers, or fire department personnel, as well as extra civic workers to address any increased requirements related the camp and its impact on the community.

With the hearing complete, Council then moved on to it's Regular Business for the evening, some background on the items of the night can be found from the Regular Council Agenda for Monday.

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 November 24, 2014

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

Video Archive for November 24, 2014

( 1:25:30 - 1:26:00  ) The Mayor called the meeting to order returning to its regular agenda items.

Reports and Recommendations

( 1:26:00 - 1:26:30  ) Report from the Chief Electoral Office on Results of the 2014 Municipal election  -- Council received a report on the results of the November 15th Municipal election.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson took advantage of the topic to extend her thanks to the Mayor and those on Council and wished her best to the incoming council. As well she expanded on some the past conversations that Council had engage in over the last session.

Councillor Ashley commented on the strong vote turnout in the November election and congratulated the voters for their participation

( 1:27:30 -- 1:29:00  ) Report from the Corporate Administrator --  Change of the Start time for the upcoming Council session from 7 PM to 5 PM -  The City Manager outlined the reasons for the recommended change in the start time

Council moved to adopt the shift in time for the session.

( 1:29:00 -- 1:31:00 ) Report from the Economic Development Officer regarding an Intern application opportunity available to the City  -- The Corporate Administrator Rory Mandryk outlined the nature of the resolution and the opportunity that it offers, as well as what is required of the City to access the Intern program.

Councillor Ashley spoke in favour of the opportunity, calling attention to the work load currently in place for City Staff.  Councillor Garon echoed many of Councillor Ashley's comments on the theme.

Councillor Cunningham also spoke in favour of the opportunity and suggested exploring other potential internship opportunities.

Council voted to adopt the recommendation

Bylaws and Development Permits

( 1:31:00 -- 2:05:00 ) Report from the City Planner regarding the Community Life Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw and Zoning Bylaw Amendment ( To accommodate ancillary uses for major projects Wantage Road Proposal)

With the Public Hearing completed earlier, Council members then discussed the issue further providing recommendation to move ahead with the two Amendments.

Councillor Ashley touched on many of the concerns raised in the Public Hearing and from conversations with others regarding the proposal. Suggesting that many of those issues could be addressed as the process moves forward.

She asked for some comment from Staff regarding the comments from the Public hearing regarding potential use of the old trailer park site to re-establish a mobile home site in that location.  Mr. Long advised that much of the infrastructure in that area had decayed over the years, which was one of the factors that led to the original closure of that site.

She also then suggested that the City might wish to work with the Horizon North proponents to address some of the City's housing concerns.  Mr. Long advised that it was a topic that has already been started with the company.

Councillor Ashley then suggested that the City follow through on the prospect of developing an access road to the Wantage Road camp site that would run behind the Lester Centre. The City Manager outlined some of the requirements that would be in place to address that potential opportunity.

Mr. Long then provided a review of the City's view of the proposed Wantage Road development and what factors the City has considered as part of the proposal.

Councillor Garon observed that the City is trying to do this project right and expressed confidence that the issues raised tonight would be addressed by the next council when it takes office next month.

Councillor Cunningham offered up support for the proposal and provided his observations that any issues would be worked out during the Permit stage, where the community could remain engaged in the process.

Councillor Thorkelson spoke to the issue of concerns related to traffic and parking requirements for the Wantage Road proposal, Mr. Long advised that the proponents would have to conduct a traffic study before determining any final numbers.

He did observe that the proponents would be providing improvements to Wantage Road which could be of benefit to residents seeking recreation activities related to Mount Hays.

Councillor Thorkelson also asked for clarification on the process related to the Community Plan and Zoning bylaw provisions. She also had some comments regarding the concerns of the public related to the amount of lead time that they were provided on the proposal and hearing process.

In regard to concerns over the information flow regarding the proposal and the public meeting, the Mayor outlined the steps that the City took to inform the public, stating that staff went beyond what was normally required in this case.

As well, he pointed to the limitations in the community with the local newspaper only publishing on a weekly basis.

To wrap up her questioning on the Amendments, Councillor Thorkelson suggested that the City should strive to take advantage of any potential large work force arriving and find ways to receive the most benefit from that situation should it arrive.

Councillor Thorkelson then turned the issue of some of the comments related to the workers that would be living in camp.  Suggesting that some of the commentary she heard was close to vilifying the workers and that Prince Rupert should be presenting itself as a welcoming community for those that come here to work.

Speaking on behalf of the Labour movement, she outlined how the workers are for the most part just coming here to do a job, she suggested that some of the concerns as outlined were perhaps a bit off base when it comes to the social aspects of camp life and the impacts that it could have on the community.

Adding that she welcomes the idea of camp in the city and that it should provide many benefits to the city should it be located within the city limits.

Council Ashley reviewed some of the concerns of the residents of Haysvale and how those are issues that the City should be able to address as part of the proposed project.

Councillor Cunningham reminded council members that most of the concerns would be addressed as part of the Development Permit Process.

And with that, Council voted to adopt the Amendments to re-zone the land, moving it on to the next stage of the process.

( 2:05 -- 2:05:30  ) Report from the City Manager Regarding an Application for a Development Variance Permit for a property on Atlin Avenue

Council voted to adopt the Application.

Additional Items

( 2:05:30 -- 2:14:00 ) Council Garon introduced a motion to have Staff prepare a report that  to amend the current bylaw which would see the stipend for Councillor and the Mayor be increased -- She outlined her thoughts on her belief that Council members and the Mayor require a raise in their annual pay.

Her motion was seeking a study from staff, to review the prospect of a Councillors salary being increased to a level of 18 to 20,000 dollars per year, with another proposal to raise the Mayor's salary by $15,000 per year from the current level of pay.

She outlined the amount of work that Councillors and the Mayor are required to put in as part of their workload, calling attention to some of the sacrifices to family time and the requirements of travel that they face as part of their job.

Councillor Ashley expressed some surprise at that large a jump for the council positions, though she was in favour of the Mayor's salary being increased, suggesting that in effect it had become a full time job.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson outlined her thoughts as to the timing of the salary proposal, suggesting that sometime in the future there might be an opportunity to increase the salary levels, however at this time it is not feasible owing to the city's current financial situation.

Councillor Cunningham expressed many of the same thoughts on the topic, though like many others he observed that the Mayor's salary should be increased.

Councillor Thorkelson suggested that it should be up to the next council to decide if wants to increase salary levels for Council members.

Making note of current negotiations with CUPE and how this wouldn't be the time to introduce the topic of salary increases for Council Members into the discussion.

She too offered up  some observations on ways to provide more compensation for the Mayor advising that she believes the Mayor should be a member of Regional District which would provide for added income.

With the discussion at an end, Council in a close vote chose not to proceed with the motion.

Reports Questions and Inquiries from council

( 2:14:00 -- 2:19:00   ) Councillor Cunningham asked for representatives of BC Housing and the local agent for housing in the community to attend to Council and advise as to the status of housing stocks in the community.  He is looking for both groups to provide a proper account of where the community is in regard to housing opportunities and renovation issues for existing buildings from those agencies.

Councillors Ashley and Thorkelson offered up a few more thoughts on the housing issue and what steps Council should take to address the issue.  Council then voted to extend the invitation for the meeting to take place.

( 2:19 -- 2:21) Councillor Cunningham expressed his concern over the status of renovations to the Prince Rupert Airport, asking for the minutes of the recent Airport Board meeting. Going further he asked that Council invite the Chairman of the Airport Authority to attend an upcoming Council meeting to explain the current situation and progress of the renovation project.

Council voted to extend that invitation to the Airport Authority Chair.

( 2:21:00 -- 2:26:00  ) Councillor Ashley provided some of her thoughts on her time on Council, an opening which provided for all members of Council, those that will be leaving and those that are returning with the incoming council, to offer up their reflections on their time served on Council.

( 2:26:00 -- 2:26:30 ) The City Manager then provided plaques of recognition to the outgoing members of Council, in recognition of their service to the community.

(  2:26:30 -- 2:27:30 The Mayor's Report

The Mayor delivered his final Mayor's report starting a review of his attendance at the Prince Rupert Ministerial Association, a meeting which discussed housing issues in the community.

On behalf of City Council the Mayor laid a wreath at Remembrance Day Ceremonies.

The Prince Rupert Airport Authority advised that traffic through the Airport has increased by 7.85% in the first ten months of this year, compared to totals from last year.

He attended a presentation from representatives of Smit Marine, which took place at the Port Interpretive Centre.

( 2:27:30 -- 2:32:00 ) Mayor Mussallem then offered up his parting thoughts from his ten years on City Council, thanking the staff and city employees and outlining his appreciation for the work of his fellow Council members during some challenging times.

He provided a final thought on the topic of Watson Island, offering up a cautionary note for the incoming Council as to challenges that can arise when situations are forced upon the community through Local Government Legislation. Observing as to "what a hell hole it can be", referencing the Watson Island file and the long running nature of that issue.

He called attention to level of dedication of those on Council as well as those on City staff and the City's employees who are the strength of the community. The Mayor wrapped up his farewell by thanking those that supported him in the past, some of whom have passed away in recent years.

You can access the City Council Review page for November 24 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 of the Regular Council Session from November 24, 2014 (not available as of yet)

Council next meets on December 1st.

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