Friday, December 5, 2014

Council asks Staff for report on cost of Lot 444 overview

Prince Rupert City Council had their first contentious issue of the new session to deal with on Wednesday evening, as Councillor Joy Thorkelson raised a few concerns over how the City was approaching the proposed LNG Terminal development for Tuck Inlet.

And while she joined all of Council in the unanimous vote in favour of the rezoning of the land and made a fairly strong defence of the city's quest to steer LNG development towards that parcel of land on Tuck Inlet, she did find herself at odds with the Mayor and some on Council, as to her approach towards Civic oversight of the process ahead.

As we noted in our review of Wednesday night's work,  Councillor Thorkelson outlined her thoughts as part of an amendment to the motion on the night, asking that Council consider and add the recommendations of Mr. Long's Report to Council as part of the requirements of the proponent (Exxon/Mobil) to be dealt with in conjunction with the re-zoning of Lot 444 being successful.

She then suggested two additions to Mr. Long's twelve points as outlined in his report to Council of November 25th (see the report here).

Her  first recommendation was that the LNG proponent undertake to negotiate with the City any noise and light issues.

Her second proposal for Council, and the one that would prove to be the sticking point for some of those around the table on the night, recommended that the City Direct the Legacy Corporation to pay for an environmental officer responsible to the city, to ensure that these recommendation are followed and to pay for  sufficient staff and resources to attend the Environmental Assessment Process on behalf of the City.

The last item gave Mayor Lee Brain cause for a bit of a pause on the suggestion, with the Mayor offering up the need for a report from staff  to outline what the potential cost of providing for such staff resources would be.

For her part, Councillor Thorkelson pushed back a bit on that suggestion and the need for another report.

Reminding Council members of the 1 million dollar non refundable deposit that the City was already in possession of from Exxon/Mobil/Imperial.

She also provided a short reminder of the work of the previous council on the Lot 444 proposal and how the wish to have such a measure of overview in place was a key part of those previous discussions.

In response to the outline from Councillor Thorkelson, the Mayor went on to observe that while he did want to have someone watching over the proposal as it moves forward, he however felt that there was a need to have a better understanding of the costs associated with that overview, rather than just moving forward at this moment, with many question marks still in place.

To bring the first bit of controversy of the new era of Council to and end, Councillor Thorkelson then adjusted her request, allowing for the prospect of a report from staff to be compiled before her motion  would move forward.

With the night getting long, Council voted to have staff provide a report for their consideration related to the costs associated to Councillor Thorkelson's proposal, with the final item on Councillor Thorkelson's Lot 444 checklist to get a further review in the near future.

You can review the full exchange between Council members from the City's Video Archive of the Public Hearing, starting at the two hour fifty seven minute mark of the night.

For more items related to the Lot 444 proposal see our archive page here.

More background on City council discussions can be found on our Council Archive page.

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