Thursday, April 16, 2015

City Council Timeline, Monday, April 13, 2015

A fairly packed Agenda greeted Prince Rupert City Council on Monday evening, with a Public Hearing thrown in for the evening, as well as a lengthy list of items on the Regular to do list.

All of which kept the city's elected officials on the air through Cable Ten for over two hours on the evening. Though two hours of listening to varying degrees of audio levels from the broadcast might have chased a few viewers away from the evenings delivery of Council business.

The Public Hearing portion of the night lasted close to half an hour with a number of presentations received related to zoning of the old Canadian Freightways yard, a requirement that will be necessary before Quickload  Terminals can relocate to the site.

Council also receive a presentation from the developer for a project on India Avenue, that proposal would see the old Baptist Church turned into Executive Suite Housing.

Members of the United Church congregation also appeared at Council on Monday evening, expressing their concerns over a proposed lane closure between their property and that of Annunciation Church, with parking issues high among their list of concern.

Council also addressed a number of bylaw issues and Council members had opportunity to raise any concerns that they have received since the last Council session.

For some background on the evening's scheduled items of note, see the Regular Council Agenda for April 13 here.

Council also hosted a Special Closed session on Tuesday evening.

Further information from our overview and placement in the video archive can be found below, with the permanent record of the minutes added as they are posted to the city website.

In attendance April 13, 2015

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

Video Archive for April 13, 2015

( 0:00 -- 26:00 ) The Mayor started off the evening by outlining the Terms and process ahead for the Public Hearing for the Zoning Bylaw for a Property on Prince Rupert Boulevard that hosts the Canadian Freightways yard.

The process started with a presentation from the City Planner Zeno Krekic, he outlined his work on the file and released his finding on a number of questions related to the zoning application. He outlined a number of potential uses that the proponents have advised that they would exclude from the property in question.

The first presentation came from officials of School District 52, Mr. Cam McIntyre representing the School District outlined their opposition to the proposed rezoning request, offering up their concerns over the impact that a shift in industrial use on the site would have on property adjacent  to the site, located at the old Kanata school, which the School District hopes to sell to developers, with the most likely option to be residential lots.

The opinion of the School District is that they may have more difficulty in selling their property with their rezoned lot with any number of uses adjacent to their property.

The School District highlighted from their review for the Official Community Plan, that the proposed rezoning to M2 status would make the property the wrist to be located near a residential area. Something that they suggest is very different from the Official Community Plan.

He closed his presentation by outlining that the Board of Education urged the City not to approve the rezoning bylaw for the land.

Councillor Thorkelson asked a number of questions of the delegation, asking if they had a buyer for their property, or if they were asking the City to sit on industrial property while the School District increases its value for its property, suggesting that the City would then not be receiving any value for the land through taxes or other measures while they wait for the School District to come to a decision on their undeveloped land.  Adding that if the City were to do that, the School District would in effect be asking the City to not draw any value from the industrial property in question.

Mr. McIntyre provided an update on the status of negotiations related to the land, with hope to sell it as soon as they receive an appropriate bid.

Councillor Thorkelson then reminded the School District officials that they would then have to ask for the property to be rezoned.

Councillor Cunningham made note of the current status of the industrial site an dhow it had been a warehousing operation in the past, Mr. McIntyre advised that the School District concerns were more related to an potential change  of use for the land to a more heavily influenced industrial aspect.

Next at the hearing was a delegation representing Quickload Terminals, they outlined their plans for the land in question and addressed some of the issues raised by both the City Planner and of the School District.

Expressing that they were hopping to relocate their Watson Island operation to the lot in question, allowing for taxation revenues to remain with the City an continue to create employment for the area.

They described the zoning proposal as more along the  lines of a housekeeping measure more than anything else.

As for the School District concerns, they advised that the site would note be a 24 hour / 7 day a week operation, they would would not be working at night, but would be adding lighting to the area for security purposes.

They noted that the M2 zone already exists at the neighbouring Williams Yard, which means that the land in question is already making use of that zoning and would not adversely affect property values for the School District property in question.

Councillor Niesh asked if the Quickload organization had any concerns related to covenants that the City might put in place on the land to ensure that they were to conduct only the operations that they have said that will use the site for.

The Quickload representatives outlined that they were in agreement with that, adding that they had already volunteered  on their own initiative a number of restrictions on the land related to the work that they plan to adapt the Canadian Freightways yard for.

A follow up question from Councillor Niesh on the nature of the proposed hours of operation brought an expanded response, highlighting the length of time that Quickload has been operating in the community and the how the search for a new home for their business has been limited by a scarcity of industrial use land within the city limits.

Councillor Cunningham made note of some past controversies in the community and asked for their definition of daytime  operating hours. He was advised that the nature of their business was one that could only really operate during daylight hours for safety requirements.

One final presentation was received from a local property owner and developer in the region, as Kevin Stender the current owner of the land of the old bowling alley site offered up some thoughts on the rezoning issue, offering his support for the Quickload proposal. Adding that their move to the Canadian Freightways yard would offer up certainty for neighbouring lots and would be beneficial  for the City in its approach to business issues in the region.

With no other participants coming forward, the Public Hearing was declared closed and Mayor turned Council's attention to its regular Agenda.

Return to Council Business

( 26:00 -- 29:30 ) The Mayor opened up the session by reminding Council of the rather aggressive nature of their agenda on the night and  asked that they keep that in mind as the evening moved forward.  He then outlined the number of minutes and agenda items to be adopted by Council for the evening. As part of the discussion, Councillor Randhawa called attention to a slight error in the minutes for the March 23rd session, which were addressed.

Petitions and Delegations

( 29:30 -- 43:00 ) Presentation from Mr. Geoff Greenwell from the 2 G Group speaking on the proposed re-development of the Bethel Baptist Church into housing units to be known as Mountain View Executive Estates -- Mr. Greenwell offered up  the opportunity for Council members to ask any questions that they may have regarding his proposed development.

Councillor Niesh started off the questions with an inquiry related to this parking concerns when it comes to the project. He was advised that a revision to the design of the project had created access for eighteen parking sports for the seventeen suites that are proposed for the development.

Councillor Thorkelson had concerns over perceptions that the property is being defined as a boarding house, she was advised that it more a nature of the city's zoning descriptions than a reflection of what the building would be.

Councillor Thorkelson then asked for a wider overview of what his business plan for the property would be.

Mr. Greenwell offered up some background on his other business interests in the region and how his proposed housing development would work with those other business options that he has created in the region, pointing out that it is the executive clientele that he is seeking for residents of this form of suites.

He noted that he also has an upcoming session planned for the Seniors Centre, where he would be outlining the project and how it could be of interest for them looking to the future.

Councillor Cunningham focused on that possible shift towards Seniors Housing and inquired as to what kind of renovations or modifications might be required to address the needs of Seniors. He followed up that by noting the suggested rents that the proponent had in mind, and wondered if there would be a lesser rate for seniors as opposed to the executives.

Mr. Greenwell noted that they hadn't found a price point for Seniors at the moment an observers that the location might be considered too far from the  downtown area, which he says for Seniors is a concern as they prefer to be closer to the city centre.

Councillor Niesh wrapped up the questions by commenting that he had a concern that the proponent might decide to sell the building in a few years time and what reassurance Mr. Greenwell might offer to protect the interests of the city in the long run.  Mr. Greenwell provided some background on his past developments in the city over the years an observed that this was a different type of project that was more of a long term proposal.

That final statement marked the end of the presentation.

(43:00 - 56:00 )  A presentation from a Group from the First United Church regarding the proposed closure of the lane between their church and Annunciation church -- The delegation from the United Church outlined their concerns related to possible parking issues, should the lane between the two churches be closed and Annunciation church users no longer make use of the playground for their parking.

The group was seeking confirmation that the playground would continue to be used for that purpose by Annunciation.

Councillors Thorkelson and Cunningham offered up some comments related to past appearances at Council related to the issue of the road closure and the impact that it may have on the surrounding area.

The Mayor offered up that as it was a simple zoning change it should go through, the issue itself was one for the two church groups to reach accommodation on.

To provide some background on the topic, the City Manager recounted some of the past conversations on the issue and noted that he had believed that the two sides had reached an agreement on the situation, but with the interjection of the group on the evening that may not be so.

He added that for the city the issue was one of a simple road closure decision, one that Annunciation had made a case for, offering a number of reasons that seemed legitimate, leaving it as a matter of policy for the city to decide on as to whether they want to close the road or not.

The delegation sought to reassure the city that other than the parking issue, the two church groups were actually very good neighbours and wish to continue to be such, but that parking is clearly a thorn in the side. Noting that they believe the City has a responsibility to maintain the parking whatever development may take place on the Annunciation lot, something that they are asking the City to follow through on.

Mr. Long then advised that the next step in that regard would come should Annunciation apply for a building permit, at which time the City would be required to consider those issues at that stage of the process.

Council members asked a few more questions of the City Manager related to how the parking regulations requirements might be triggered and how many parking spots are required to be provided for by Annunciation.

Mr. Long noted that the requirements of the original time for Annunciation probably don't meet the current bylaws and zoning requirements of today, but as for review the City isn't at that stage yet, reinforcing that the issue would be part of any process required as part of a building permit application/

Reports and Recommendations from Council

( 56:00-1:10:00 ) Report from the Assistant Operations Manager Regarding Rushbrook Parking -- The Mayor provided a short overview of what the presentation was going to be about, advising that it was more of an information update and that Council would not be making any determination on the issues related to the Rusbhrook area at this time.

Ms. Tanya Ostrom, the City's Assistant Public Works Manager provided an overview of the history of the Rushbrook Improvement Area, highlighting many of the concerns that residents had in the past about the area and reviewing the steps that the City had taken through the years to make improvements to the area, as well as to generate revenues for improvements to it.

Following the review of the past work, Ms Ostrom previewed the work ahead for 2015, with a project to improve the boat launch area the selected improvement for the year. Towards that work, she advised that the City had awarded a contract for work to install pre cast concrete panels and rip rock for that location, a project that will cost close to 200,000 dollars to complete. Money she noted that had been allocated from Rushbrook Improvement Funds and not through city taxpayers.

She observed that the next significant project planned for the area would be the replacement of the Marine dock, with a plan for that job to be done in phases subject to funding.  However, she noted that the Rushbrook Improvement Funds would be depleted following this years boat launch work.

On the topic of the Fund, she outlined for Council how the City had met with users of the area in 2007 and advised that that the rates would be increasing in 2008,  however no increase to rates was ever implemented a situation that continues to this day.

With that in mind, she recommended to Council that they give consideration to raising those rates for 2016. To conclude her presentation, Ms. Ostrom noted that the funding of Rushbrook improvements through this method had been  huge success and how the city had also been able to provide for set procedures and guidelines for parking in the area. Noting how the city continues to work with those that use the area to address concerns as they come up.

She explained how the city continues to study fees in other areas and set the rates accordingly at Rushbrook, adding that she believes the fees to be reasonable for residents. She offered up the recommendation for council that they continue to keep the user fee process as it is, so as to continue provide funding for the many required improvements to that area.

Councillor Thorkelson took up the cause of commercial fishermen in the area and their use of Rushbrook, making note that the wharf is a commercial wharf and not sport fishing wharf. She called attention to concerns from those in the commercial fishing industry, with a particular focus on winter access and the enforcement of parking issues by the bylaw officer.

Councillor Niesh asked for more information from staff related to the purchase of passes during the winter months, while Councilor Kinney would like to see more background on the rates charged for charter boat operators and those from out of town, or out of province.

Ms. Ostrom advised that she would provide as much information as she could on those issues for Council members to review.

( 1:13:00--1:13:30 ) Request for a letter of support from the Prince Rupert Port Authority in a bid for shore power rate from BC Hydro for the Fairview Container Terminal -- Council voted to approved the request to provide the letter.

( 1:13:30 -- 1:14:30 ) Resolutions from Closed Meetings -- Mr. Mandryk the Corporate Administrator outlined two resolutions that the City Council has authorized for release from their closed sessions.

The First was the notice of an appointment of Alexander Hembroff to the Lester Centre of the Arts Society Board.

The Second resolution from Closed Session  was the notice of the awarding of a contract to Eby and Sons Contracting, they will be providing work for the re-roofing project for the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre.


( 1:14:30 -- 1:18:00 )  Recommendation for third reading for the bylaw related to the Canadian Freightways property -- The Mayor noted that Council has to hold off on any final reading for adoption until the city hears back from the province on issues related to the application.

As for the discussion on the recommendation, Councillor Thorkelson made note of the discussion during the Public hearing phase earlier in the evening, and suggested that in light of the fact that there had already an operation taking place in the location in the past, the zoning change should not be an issue for any residential property.

She added that the city doesn't have a lot of land available for industrial uses and that the City would like to see the stuffing of containers done in the city and not force to relocate out of town. She also observed that city would have a number of covenants in place regarding the property.

Councillor Cunningham also so no problem with the proposal and added that he liked the idea of the company remaining in the city and paying taxes. He also noted that there are noise bylaws in place that the company would have to follow.

Following the discussion, Council voted to approve third reading for the application, with the knowledge that they cannot address the development permit application process until the province provides it input on the zoning application.

( 1:18:00 - 1:29:30 ) Recommendation for second reading on the Application for a zoning amendment for the property on India Avenue, a project to be known as Mountain View Executive Suites -- The City Planner outlined some background o the proposal and noted the presentation earlier in the evening from the proponent of the project.

Mr. Krekic attempted to clear up some of the confusion regarding the zoning of property, advising that is is more along the lines of zoning for multi-family residential and not as a boarding house. He suggested that the city does not consider that the project would be a boarding house, bur that the zoning process under consideration addresses issues that include such options as a boarding house.

He also reviewed some of the past concerns that the city had expressed about the proposal and the steps that the proponent took to address them. He also added that the proposal for rental units would help in shaving some of the housing concerns related to major industrial projects proposed for the area and how it adds densification to the core areas.

He also observed that the issue of parking concerns had been addressed by the proponent and expanded on the nature of possible covenants on the land that the city was considering and instead suggested that Council consider a Housing agreement instead for the property.

Following the report, Council voted to approve second reading for the bylaw and move the process to the Public Hearing Stage, which will take place at 7 PM prior to the April 27th Council session.

Councillor Thorkelson added one final note to the discussion, reviewing how she had done some reading on the proposed development and noted that rents would be listed at between 1800-2500 dollars, a price point she observed that suggests that the building would not be falling into disrepair.

( 1:29:30 -- 1:31:00 ) Report from the City Planner for a variance permit for the property on India Avenue -- The City planner provided a short report on the variance request and the process required to move it forward.

Council adopted the motion to move the process to the public notification phase.

( 1:31:00- 1:35:00 ) Report from the City Planner on a request for a variance permit for a property on Edward Avenue -- Mr. Krekic outlined some of the background on the property in question and the nature of the property owner's request.

Council voted to approve the motion and send the process to the notification stage.

( 1:35:00--1:49:00 )  Report from the Engineering Coordinator regarding the Road Closure Bylaw for the Lane at Annunciation Church -- The City manager provided more background on the outstanding issues related to land exchange between the City and Annunciation and how it relates to the Lane Closure issue.

Richard Pucci, the City's Engineering coordinator the outlined the nature of the request and the history of the use of Church property.

He followed up his report with a recommendation for first, second an third reading on the bylaw.

As part of some further background on the topic, Mr. Pucci noted that the move could provide the Parish with the option to expand the school on the site and added that the City had received one letter of concern related to the bylaw change, that from the United Church with Mr. Pucci making mention of their presentation to council of earlier in the evening.

He suggested that the lane closure was was separate to any concern related to parking, stating that any change in the nature of the property by Annunciation would require the parish to address the parking issue accordingly at any development permit stage.

In response to an inquiry on parking issues from Councilor Cunningham, the City planner Mr. Krekic observed that the Engineering Coordinator was correct in his review as to the requirements for the parish should they wish to change the current site and that the Parish would be required to address the parking issue.

Mr. Pucci then expanded on the parking theme, outlining the issues that would be required to be reviewed and what options that Annunciation might consider to solve the parking concerns.

Councillor Thorkelson wanted to make sure that it was noted in the minutes to state that the City by way of the land exchange has not excused Annunciation Church from having to meet any parking requirements.

Councillor Mirau added to the conversation by advising Council that Annunciation was aware of the parking requirements that they will have to provide should they go ahead with any expansion plans.

With all of that to consider, Council then voted to approve the lane closure bylaw.

( 1:49:00--1:49:30 ) Report from the Corporate Administrator regarding a bylaw on the closure of a portion of Kaien Road -- Mr. Mandryk provided the background on the topic an noted that it is a portion of unused land located near the proponent's property.

Council voted to approve the motion with first, second and third readings.

( 1:49:30 -- 1:50:30 ) Report from the Corporate Administrator regarding a bylaw on the closure of a portion of Cow Bay Road --  Mr. Mandryk provided background on the topic and noted that the previous council  had agreed to sell the land known as Atlin Uplands to the Port Authority and as part of the transaction, the bylaw is required so as to close off an area of land that actually is not used as a road.

Councillor Thorkelson asked for some clarification  on a few items related to the land transaction, asking the City Manager to expand on the nature of the Cow Bay Development Plan and how the Port will meet the conditions of that plan. Mr. Long outlined the background on the process and noted that taxes will be based on BC Assessment authority values, with the Port playing the same taxes as anyone else would.

Council then voted to approve the motion with first, second and third readings.

( 1:50:30 -- 1:52:30 ) First, Second and Third Reading on Bylaws related to the 2015 - 5 year Financial plan and property Tax Bylaw -- Council voted to pass the motions in question.

( 1:52:30 -- 2:03:00 ) Recommendation that Council give First, Second and Third reading to the 2015 Statutory Financial Reserve Amendment Bylaw -- Councillor Mirau asked for some clarification on the nature of the bylaw related to the various Funds included in it.

The City's CFO Corinne Bomben outlined the background of the four programs included in the bylaw, explaining that it involves the Gas Tax Program, Asset Management Program, Rushbrook Improvement Fund and a new fund called the RCMP Operations Program.

Councillor Thorkelson followed up with a question related to the Reserve Funds and expressed some confusion as to the nature of the Funds and how they are set up.  Suggesting that a name change could help clear up the situation regarding the issues related to civic finances.

The City Manager observed that they would have to look into that proposal further, as some of the funds require bylaw legislation and that if they are important then they do require the bylaw process, which involves a motion and a vote.  He further explained the difference between bylaws and reserve funds and the requirements that the province has in place surrounding them.

He used the Rushbrook Improvement Fund as an example as to how the process works and why the City uses that approach of bylaws to put those items in place.

Following all of that, Councillor Thorkelson made some observations on events from past council years and how the city had been required to use up Statutory Funds in 2005 in order to keep the city afloat. Recounting for council some of that recent history where the city as Councillor Thorkelson explained was on the verge of being taken over by the provincial government and used that the city used those funds to keep the city out of provincial trusteeship in the past.

She further stated that it's important that Council by name have knowledge of which funds are required by the Province for the city have on hand, with Councillor Thorkelson providing some examples of areas where some funds could lock up money that the city could not access.

She also observed that Council should be clearer on the various funds that are in place and to have knowledge as that the funds the city has available an dhow to gain access to them if required.

At the end of the review, Council then voted to move forward with First, Second and Third readings for the Amendment Bylaw.

Reports from Members of Council

( 2:03-- 2:08:00 ) Councillor Randhawa outlined his concerns over the number of pot holes on city streets and recommended that the city begin the process of taking care of the issue. The City Manager outlined the process ahead and how those road improvements will be taken on through the spring, advising that there would be a presentation to Council in the weeks ahead regarding the plans from public works related to road work and other projects for the year ahead.

The City's Financial Officer noted for Council that potholes are addressed by the City on a complaint driven basis, adding that as the City hears about them they are addressed. She advised residents to call in to Public Works with any areas of the city that may require work from the city related to pothole problems.

Councillor Cunningham added his own concern to the pothole review, asking that staff contact O'Brien Road Maintenance and have them address a problem with the road in the Fairview area near where the Airport Ferry arrives, noting the condition of the road there makes for an interesting ride for those arriving in the city and makes for a bad first impression of the city for visitors.

The Mayor outlined that he had organized a meeting between Prince Rupert Council  and the Council of Lax Kw'alaams for Wednesday. Prince Rupert Council members will spend the day with their counterparts from Lax Kw'alaams, where the two groups will follow up on some community to community initiatives.

Councillor Cunningham requested that council members be provided with the action reports from the previous Community to Community meeting, so that they can be aware of the discussion topics for the Wednesday meeting.

With no other items for consideration, the council session was brought to a close.

You can access the City Council Review for April 13th here, where a number of items regarding the council session, including links to media coverage of it can be found.

As always, our Council Timeline is only a reflection of our observations from the Council session of the night. Be sure to consult with the official minutes from the City, when posted to their website for further review.

Minutes of the Regular Council Session from April 13

Minutes for the Public Hearing related to the Canadian Freightways yard for April 13

Council next meets in Regular session on April 27th in Council Chambers at City Hall.

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