Tuesday, December 2, 2014

City Council Timeline, December 1, 2014

Prince Rupert City Council held its first meeting of its new session on Monday evening, the first public gathering for the newly elected Mayor and a mix of new and returning councillors for the four year term ahead.

The evening for the most part was a short one for their first efforts of the new era, offering up a mix of ceremony, administrative directives and the Mayor's inaugural address.

For some background on the evening's items of note see the Council Agenda for December 1st here.

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 December 1, 2014

Mayor Lee Brain -- Present  
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present
Councillor Councillor Blair Mirau -- Present
Councillor Wade Niesh-- Present --
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gurvinder Randhwawa-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present

Video Archive for December 1, 2014

( 0:00- 2:30 ) The Mayor called the meeting to order reviewing Agenda items and past minutes, Councillor Cunningham called attention to an oversight in the item related to the City's request for a meeting with representatives of BC Housing and M'akola housing, the Mayor turned the item over to the Corporate Administrator to address. With that the past minutes and Agenda items were adopted.

( 2:30 - 12:00 ) Representatives of the region's First Nations provided a Presentation, offering up words of Greeting and Observations for the new Council as they prepare for their work ahead.

( 12:00 -- 15:00 )  Mayor's Inaugural Address -- The Mayor delivered his opening address as the newly elected chief municipal official, starting off with a word of thanks to the First Nations elders for their words and thoughts, with a hope for more cooperation between the City and First Nations.

He then thanked the most recent Council for their service to the comment, as well Mayor Brain also acknowledged the work of previous Council's through the years to bring the community to this point in time.

Speaking of Prince Rupert heading into a new time, he made note of the desire for change by the electors, as reflected by the new council, noting the relatively new Senior administrative staff that is in place as well.

He then observed that the real work begins now, with some thoughts regarding major infrastructure issues and  the need to expand the city's tax base to repair that infrastructure.

He also touched on the housing issues in the community currently was facing and that need address those as well.

He advised that there would be an increase in transparency in communication with the public, suggesting that they would be using a social media presence where people would be regularly updated on issues, public hearings and meetings and how to be involved with them.

Over time, he would see larger changes to the communication stream as well.

He expressed faith that all members of Council would be coming together to come up with a strategic plan and address the priorities that they have ahead, moving to develop a solid plan and then to execute that plan.

Calling it the start of a four year journey, with Council prepared to work together to take Prince Rupert to new heights.

Unfinished Business

( 15:00-- 19:00 ) Councillor Thorkelson brought up the topic of the upcoming Public Hearing on December 3rd at the Highliner, expressing her concern that Council was informed enough about the Lot 444 issues regarding the proposal.  She made mention of the recent meeting, which rather than a Public meeting was more of a "storefront" meeting.

She also outlined how the meeting originally was to have been recorded and placed on the city website, but that she has found no recording of that event, so was not able to access that information.

Advising that she had read the written package provided, her comments for Council were to make sure that the City Council was comfortable with the amount of information that hey have on the issue, calling attention to her concerns over the way that the public information session was delivered to the public.

She recounted how the last Council had not anticipated the storefront meeting approach and instead had contemplated a Public meeting, where questions and answers could be presented.  With that in mind, she wanted to be sure that the Council was fully informed on the issue.

The Mayor advised that they would discuss the topic as part of Additional Items at the end of the Council session.

Reports and Recommendations

( 19:00 -  ) Council was asked to approve a range of appointments as follows:

Acting Mayor Schedule (as per Agenda)
Motion was adopted

Report from the Chief Financial Officer -- Designation of Counter signing authority

Current Account

Councillor Mirau
Councillor Niesh

Cemetery Account

Councillor Cunningham
Councillor Niesh

US Dollar Account

Councillor Randhwawa
Councillor Mirau

Reports from the City Manager -- Appointments to Regional Bodies

Appointments to Regional District

Director -- Mayor  Lee Brain
Director -- Councillor Nelson Kinney

Alternate Director Councillor Blair Mirau
Alternate Councillor Councillor Barry Cunningham

Appointments to NorthWest Regional District Hospital Board of Directors

Director -- Councillor  Nelson Kinney
Director-- Councillor Barry Cunningham

Alternate-- Wade Niesh

Appointment to Northwest  Regional Advisory Committee

Member-- Councillor Blair Mirau

Alternate-- Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa

Appointment to Tourism Prince Rupert Board of Directors

Director-- Councillor Barry Cunningham

Appointment to BC Ferries North and Central Coast Board of Directors

Director-- Barry Cunningham

All motions and appointments were adopted

Additional Items

( 26:00 -- 33:30 ) Council returned to the discussion of early in the evening related to the upcoming Public Hearing on Lot 444 to take place on December 4th.

The Mayor reviewed the process involved in that Lot 444 proposal, with three public information sessions having taken place so far in July, September and last week, as well as having received a report from the City Manager on the topic, which included environmental notes from Dr. Barb Faggetter.

He also outlined how the report is available on the City's website and has been promoted by way of social media.

He then recounted some of the concerns of Councillor Thorkelson on the approach taken at the most recent public session, asking for more background to her concerns from the Councillor.

She observed as to how she had been working on the file for a while now and was quite familiar with the material herself, she didn't want the newer members to feel rail-roaded on the issue with such a short lead time.

She also observed that she didn't want anyone to come back later and suggest that they didn't have enough information on the issue.

She reiterated  that the topic is one of the most important decisions that they might make and that Council can't wait too long on the issue, with the need to make a decision soon.

Making the topic an Open Conversation at Council, the Mayor then asked Council members if they believe they have enough information on the topic.

Councillor Cunningham outlined his impressions of the public meeting which he felt comfortable with, advising that he received a lot of pros and cons regarding the issue from the gathering.

Councillor Mirau, outlined how he has made it a time sensitive matter on his agenda and that he feels comfortable with the amount of information available.

Councillor Randhawa advised that he was comfortable with the amount of information available, Councillor Niesh echoed much of the same, reminding council that they would be hearing more from the public at the Public Hearing on Wednesday.

The Mayor reviewed the process ahead for that night, highlighting how the information from the report is available on the City's website and that this is mainly a zoning issue, other issues related to development of the proposal LNG terminal would be addressed in the future.

With that, the Mayor asked Councillor Thorkelson if she was satisfied with the remarks from the Council members.

Councillor Cunningham raised one more item on the issue, reminding the public that it was just the first step in a very long process regarding Lot 444.

Reports Questions and Inquiries from council

No Issues were raised by the Council members

With that Council adjourned for the night.

You can access the City Council Review page for December 1st 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 December 1, 2014 

Council next meets in Regular session on January 12, 2015

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