Friday, November 7, 2014

Lot 444 prospects to go to public meeting and hearing phases through next four weeks

With many local residents still a little unsure as to what the City has planned for its recently absorbed land across from Seal Cove, City Council will be bringing the Lot 444 situation to public meetings in November and  December.

The discussion regarding how to approach the upcoming Public sessions regarding Lot 444 provided for much discussion on Monday evening.

As a number of Councillor's took pains to explain how the process would work and how each step of the process was designed to engage the public along the way.

As the discussion regarding the process ahead was about to start, Mayor Mussallem made note that Councillor Garon had left the chamber during this discussion, but did not explain why that was required.

To get the new timetable in motion, Council was asked to rescind, two aspects of it's previous approvals on the Lot 444 Boundary extension, a move which was handled quickly by Council.

You can review the procedural items from the City's Agenda package (pages 17-37)

With that done, Council engaged in an interesting review of the process so far and what will be put forward for the public at the public sessions to come in early December.

Councillor Thorkelson spoke first to the issues, outlining how she would also like to see an amendment put in place that would stipulate that the City would not allow for any development, of any facility for any oil products including crude oil or bitumen to be located in that location.

That additional wording calls to mind Councillor Ashley's concerns of June of this year and her desire to make sure that no oil refineries would ever be permitted to operate within the city limits.

As for the work of Monday evening, the Mayor expanded on that change  of wording, explaining how it reflects the desire of council to limit the use of the area to LNG terminal proposals only.

Councillor Thorkelson then reinforced that Council isn't considering rezoning the land at this moment, and will only act on that aspect of the issue upon further review and engagement from the community.

Councillor Cunningham had a question for staff regarding the 30 metre setback provisions and how some of those provisions had been changed.

The City Manger, Mr. Long reviewed the information regarding the setbacks and then outlined the process that will take place regarding the area in question, calling attention to the distances between the proposed development area and the city's watershed area.

Council then adopted the amended amendments regarding the Lot 444 provisions.

As for the upcoming Public sessions, Councillor Ashley offered up some advice for Council on the issue regarding the timetable of the community engagement.

Suggesting that the City hold a public meeting at a venue to be determined by staff on November 25th, where the environmental engineer hired by the City, (who was not mentioned by name, but we imagine is Dr. Barb Faggetter), can outline the impacts and mitigation's required of the proposed development area.

The hiring of Dr. Faggetter was first noted on our blog item of October 28th. Making for a bit of a surprise for some in the community, as the City had not previously announced her hiring, nor had they explained the scope of her work.

After that public meeting of November 25th takes place, Councillor Ashley recommend that a public hearing and if demand requires it a second meeting, be scheduled for December 3rd and 4th .

Allowing the public to then bring their concerns and issues to the newly elected council, with the zoning consideration to be put on the agenda of the December 8th Council meeting for the new council to consider.

Council then explored a few themes related to the Legacy Corporation, the corporate entity created by the City to oversee Lot 444 issues. Mr. Long was asked to provide further background on the relationship between the Legacy Corporation and the process that is involved with it.

He outlined the steps that the Corporation has taken, including the hiring an environmental engineer (Dr.Faggetter) to conduct a review of the situation and what the process of the proposal will look like moving forward.

As the discussion over the upcoming public sessions was winding down, Councillor Thorkelson offered up more observations on what topics the public may wish to explore at that time and how they can engage on the process both at the public meeting and hearing.

Councillor Ashley reminded Council of the need to make sure that any newly elected council members are made aware of the meeting and invited, as well as to advertise the dates and location of the planned meeting.

She then asked a question and recommendation for staff regarding the possibility of recording the public participation session and posting it on line somewhere.

With the City hosting a You Tube channel, that might make for the best location for the Public Meeting and Hearing videos..

As the conversation came to an end, the Public Participation schedule ahead on Lot 444 and the Legacy Corporation, would appear to look like this.

Public Information Meeting -- November 25th, Public meeting to be held at a venue to be determined
Public Hearing(s) -- December 3rd and 4th (the latter if required) at a venue to be determined
Zoning Consideration-- December 8th (to be added to the Agenda of the City Council meeting that night)

You can review the full exchange of ideas and discussion on the public participation plans from the City's Video Archive, the conversation starts at the twelve minute mark and continues through until the 31:30 point.

More background on the Lot 444 issue can be found in our archive page related to the Tuck Inlet LNG options.

A full review of the November 3rd Council session can be found on our Timeline feature.

For more items related to discussions at City Council see our archive page here.

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