Wednesday, January 14, 2015

City puts in motion plan to develop Mayor's Select standing committee on Housing

City Council picked up a familiar theme for the start of 2015, once again turning its focus to the issue of Social Housing in the community.

Or to recount the words of Councillor Barry Cunningham from Monday night, "to get the ball rolling" on addressing what was one of the top discussion points at Council in 2014 and a major campaign item during the November election campaign.

Councillor Cunningham introduced the topic once again at Monday's Council Session. Making mention of his frustrations at the lack of movement on the issue from other levels of government.

During the course of his opening remarks on the topic, he outlined that he was looking to council to get things underway, highlighting how Prince Rupert was already significantly behind issue compared to other communities, noting how Terrace is already well engaged in the topic.

The Mayor also made some comments to the theme on Monday, providing a thumbnail sketch of his desire to set up a Mayor's Select Standing Committee on Housing, which he would be a member of serving as Facilitator, inviting other members of Council to join it if they wished.

Working on Councillor Cunningham's theme of seeking community input, the Mayor suggested that Council  make recommendations of those who may provide some insight to the Committee, observing that Council already knows who the stake holders may be on the topic and the Council could appoint those who best fit into the proposed Committee concept.

Councillor Thorkelson recounted recent history for Council of past Committees that started out as good ideas but in the end did not provide for the desired results. Suggesting that any committee created on Housing would need strong terms of reference and be tasked to provide for key deliverables.

Towards that theme, she suggested that City Staff be approached to provide a working list of what issues for consideration should be, one which Council could review before deciding on any format for their Committee plan.

Councillor Mirau also offered up some points on the topic, agreeing to the idea of strong terms of reference and cautioning about wandering into areas of duplication with provincial and federal areas of housing.

Councillor Thorkeslon picked up on those comments,  reviewing more of her thoughts on what is needed as part of any approach to the issues of housing or in the make up of any committee structure.

As part of her overview of Housing concerns, Councillor Thorkelson made mention of a radio feature she had recently heard, which outlined the approach to housing and homelessness in the southern Alberta city of Medicine Hat

As things turned out, the radio item that Councillor Thorkelson was referencing came from the CBC radio program Sunday Morning

This past weekend host Michael Enright featured the work of Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston. A report that Councillor Thorkelson suggested all members of Council should give a listen to.

You can listen to that radio feature related to Homelessness in Medicine Hat here.

For more on the Housing committee proposal in front of Council see our Council Timeline here, more background as well can be found from the City Council Video Archive, the discussion on Housing starts at the on hour thirty two minute mark.

For more items related to housing issues on the Northcoast and in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Further background on Monday's Council session can be reviewed from our Discussion archive page.

1 comment:

  1. Fancy how the one councillor that has been around for all the committees that haven't worked is still around to comment that committees haven't worked. I hope she's not on the committees. Need her guidance.