Thursday, February 12, 2015

Council considers possible shift in Housing Commission plans

Some Spirited discussion Tuesday
evening on Housing at Council
Prince Rupert City Council may be tweaking its plans once again for a Housing Commission for the city, with Council to explore further a new recommendation when it comes to the long discussed issue.  

At Tuesday evening's Council session, Mayor Lee Brain introduced a new initiative from Councillor Joy Thorkelson, one which suggests that council form two separate committees to review housing concerns in the area.

In order to consider Councillor Thorkelson's new outline, Council had to put aside its plans to review Terms of Reference for a Housing Commission, a document that had been outlined in a report from City Manager Robert Long (see our Tuesday preview of that proposal here)

With Mr. Long's work put on the shelf for the moment and perhaps further, the Mayor then asked Councillor Thorkelson to expand on her concept for the two Housing committees, a proposal that he has seemingly generated both his excitement and support for. 

Councillor Thorkelson provided an outline of how she believes the Housing issue should be approached, with the two committees created to address some of the past concerns that Council has reviewed.

Towards that she recommended that Council form a Committee to Review and Prioritize the needs in the Community regarding Housing, with a second Committee to be created to examine and identify housing in the community.

She offered up the need for a fairly quick timeline to get the project rolling, looking for Council to have the Committees in place by February 23rd with a list of names of those to take part to be reviewed.

Councillor Thorkelson recommends
creation of two committees on Housing
Her two committees would deliver some of their initial findings by mid to late April if all goes according to her plan. In addition to the creation of the two committees, Councillor Thorkelson also would like to have Staff compile a report related to current housing issues for Council to study.

The Mayor showed enthusiasm for her initiatives, suggesting that Councillor Thorkelson chair one of
the two Committees herself, towards that suggestion she selected the Committee to examine the needs of Housing in the community as her preference.

The Mayor originally expressed interest in the other committee, however Councillor Cunningham then recommended that Councillor Mirau take charge of the committee related to identifying housing in the community.

For his part, Councillor Mirau appeared to be cautious towards the new proposal from Councillor Thorkelson,  offering up a few thoughts of his own on the path ahead, as well as to suggest that Council take the next two weeks to review her concept a bit further.

He also outlined his desire to see some concrete Terms of Reference applied to the issue of any Housing Committee or Commission option.

The Mayor provided more background on his concept for Housing issues moving forward, but agreed that Council could use the time leading up to the February 23rd Council session to examine the proposals further.

Councillor Cunningham provided some final thoughts urging council to be sure that they weren't duplicating other housing initiatives in the community and that Council work in consort with those projects as well.  He also observed that perhaps the City could seek out some funding from the Port of Prince Rupert to host a housing forum in the community.

The Mayor closed discussion on the topic by suggesting that Council table the discussion for now, and review the frame work in front of it over the next two weeks an move forward on the issue at the next Council meeting.

The entire review of the shift in focus on housing can be found on the City's Video Archive running from the one hour forty four minute mark to 2 hours and 10 minutes.

A full outline on Council developments can be found on our Council Timeline feature.

For more background on Housing issues in the area see our archive page here.

A full review of City Council developments is available from our Council Archive page

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