Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New Council comfortable with level of information on Lot 444 rezoning proposal

The topic of the upcoming Public Hearing session on the Lot 444 rezoning proposal, was high on the list of discussion topics for Councillor Joy Thorkelson on Monday night.

As one of the more experienced of City Councillors, offered up some questions of note for the new batch of elected officials to consider.

Councillor Thorkelson brought up the issue, asking Council members, many of them new to Municipal office, if they were comfortable with the amount of information available, with the Public Hearing and Re-zoning vote to come on Wednesday, part of a special session at the Highliner Inn.

In particular she expressed some thoughts on the most recent public information session and how it had not quite evolved as some on Council had anticipated, making mention of the previous Council's blue print of a  Public Question and Answer session, which would be taped for further review on the City's media platforms.

You can review what Council had in mind for that public session of November 25th from this item of last week.

As that night unfolded, the event instead became a storefront type of meeting, where residents could go from table to table to ask questions and access more information on the topic.

The format that was adopted by the city would appear to  be along the lines of a trade fair visit we imagine, where the proponents of the LNG Terminal Exxon/Mobil had a table, Dr. Faggetter the oceanographer tasked by the city to provide some environmental guidance had a spot and of course the City staff members were available for any questions from the public.

As there was no actual public question and answer forum, there is no audio/video material to post to the City's media options.

So Councillor Thorkelson's observations are correct in scope, as what the City Council of last week had seemingly proposed, was not in the end what the City delivered on the 25th.

With that change in the original plan of some note and Councillor Thorkelson calling the Lot 444 deliberations one of the biggest decisions that council is going to face, she  then, once again asked if the new Council members believe that they have enough information to make an informed decision on the topic.

Newly elected Mayor Lee Brain took the topic to the Council Members, with the exception of Councillor Kinney who was not in attendance on the night, from there the remainder of council outlined, one after the other, that they believe that they have enough background material on hand to make such a decision.

Almost at times it seemed, tipping their hands as to the nature of where they might be voting on Wednesday evening.

Though with a nod towards the goal and theme of civic participation in the process, Councillors Cunningham and Niesh did make note that there is still the Public Hearing to take place prior to the meeting on the night.

An opportunity for the public to provide some valuable information for Council on their impressions of the proposal.

Council members also noted that the Wednesday meeting was mainly dealing with a rezoning issue and would only be the start of the process ahead for any potential Terminal development there.

A point which calls to mind the recent vote to rezone the Wantage Road area for potential development of a work camp, a move forward for the proposal that came even with a fairly healthy bit of opposition from the Public Hearing of earlier in the evening of November 24th.

At that time, Council members outlined many of the same themes of this being just the first stage for the proposal during the discussion on that topic of last week.

The vote on the Lot 444 zoning issues comes up on Wednesday evening at 9 PM, the Public Hearing for that rezoning proposal takes place at 7PM , both sessions are taking place at the Highliner Inn.

You can review Councillor Thorkelson's concerns on the topic and the wide ranging discussion from them as part of the City's Video Archive, owing to procedural measures, the discussion was actually broken up into two separate areas.

The first phase takes place from the 15 minute to 19 minute mark, the wrap up to the topic comes starting at the  26 minute and continuing until the 33 minute mark.

A more expansive account of the Discussion is also available on the City Council Timeline.

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

For more items regarding City Council Discussions see our Council Archive page here.

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