Wednesday, May 27, 2015

City Council Timeline, Monday, May 25, 2015

Another short night for Council, with the stop watch recording 35 minutes from start to finish for Monday evenings City Council session.

While Monday was listed as a Committee of the Whole night, with no members of the public in the audience to raise concerns or ask questions about Civic functions, that portion of Council's business was but a formality, with Council quickly moving on to the Regular Agenda for the evening, which for the most part provided for few items for discussion.

Council reviewed a report from the City's Financial Officer related to the purchase of the new support apparatus truck for the Prince Rupert Fire Department.

As well, the City's Engineering Coordinator outlined the timeline for work to be done as part of the Fraser Street Rehabilitation Project.

The Mayor provided a short update on the plans ahead for the City's housing data survey to be held in the community in the coming weeks ahead.

Council also heard a review from Councillor Thorkelson of the current housing situation for those at risk of homelessness in the community, with a particular concern expressed for those recently moved out of the Neptune Inn after that housing option closed its doors.

For some background on the evening's scheduled items of note, see the Regular Council Agenda for May 25 here.

Council also had a Special closed Session earlier in the day at 5 PM.

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 May 25, 2015

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

Video Archive for May 25, 2015

( 0:00 -- 1:00 )  Introduction of the Committee of the Whole Session  -- The Mayor opened the evening session by moving into the Committee of the Whole proceedings, however with no members of the public in attendance in the gallery to offer comment, Council declared the Session closed and moved on to its regular business of the night.

( 1:00  -- 2:30 )  Introduction of the Regular Council Session for Monday evening -- The Mayor provided the listing of Agenda and past Minutes of council sessions for approval by Council members.

( 2:30 -- 8:30 ) Report from the City's Engineering Coordinator on the Fraser Street Rehabilitation Project -- Mr. Richard Pucci, outlined the timeline ahead for the long delayed project and provided background on the bids received for the work for Phase One, in addition to the timeline of work ahead Mr. Pucci made a recommendation that Council award the work to Adventure Paving which submitted a bid of 1,185,228.56 dollars..

The 80,000 dollar budget shortfall for the project would be absorbed through the use of the Gas Tax Fund.  After a short discussion, Council moved to adopt the motion and award the contract to Adventure Paving.

The project is scheduled start by June, with a completion date of September 1st.

Councillor Thorkelson had questions related to the location of the work of Phase One (which will be near the Salvation Army) and any impact that the shortfall payment would have on the Gas Tax Fund.

( 8:30 --12:30 ) Report from the City's Financial Officer on Borrowing authority for the new Apparatus Support Vehicle for the Prince Rupert Fire Department -- CFO Corinne Bomben outlined the nature of the request as it relates to the purchase of the new vehicle for the Fire Department.  The cost of the new vehicle, which has been built and delivered to the City, is $338.904 with repayment to be made over five years.

Council reviewed a suggestion to use the Legacy Fund to make the purchase, a recommendation offered up by the absent on the night Councillor Barry Cunningham, as relayed through Councillor Thorkelson.

However, following that discussion, the decision of Council was to go ahead with the borrowing plan to finance the purchase of the vehicle.

Correspondences for Action 

( 12:30 - 14:00 ) Proclamation Request from the Community Action Network -- The Mayor outlined the nature of the request that would see June 15th proclaimed as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day  in the city of Prince Rupert, adding that there is an event on June 15th from Noon to 4 PM at the Moose Hall.

Council then voted to approve the motion

( 14:00 -- 14:30 ) Request for support from the Friendship House -- The Mayor outlined the nature of the request that would see the City provide a letter of support for the efforts of the Friendship House, who are looking to approach the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation, seeking to access an onsite defibrillator.

Council then voted to approve the motion

( 14:30 -- 14:45 )  Resolution from Closed Meeting -- Announcement of the names of those selected for the Board of the Prince Rupert Airport Authority. -- The City's Corporate Administrator, Mr. Mandryk released the names of  Dave Smith, Michael Cote, Erminio Pucci and Judy Fraser who were named to their positions as members of the Prince Rupert Airport authority effective Monday, with terms expiring in 2017.

( 14:45 -- 15:00 )  Resolution from Closed Meeting -- Announcement of the names of those selected for the Board of Tourism Prince Rupert -- The City's Corporate Administrator, Mr. Mandryk released the names of Scott Farwell and Jack Payne who were named to their positions as members of the Board of Directors effective Monday, with terms expiring in 2017.

( 15:00 -- 17:00 ) An update on the Go Plan survey -- The Mayor provided some background to the upcoming Housing survey to be conducted in the city. Between June 8 and 18, the City will be launching a community campaign to collect information for the City to help them determine the need for affordable housing in the community.

He advised that a video would be released over the next few days to explain the project, with the City looking for volunteers to help with the survey process.

Reports and Recommendations from Council

( 17:00 -- 31:00 ) Councillor Thorkelson expanded on a current housing situation in the community and how the survey might provide more information regarding those who are homeless. She observed a regional situation that has found other communities of the Northwest sending their homeless residents to Prince Rupert to try and find accommodation as housing options dwindle in those communities.

She then provided a review of the status of some of the former residents of the Neptune Inn who were forced to leave their accommodations when that housing location closed. Expressing a great amount of frustration at their situation as they are soon to be moved from their temporary accommodation and have no location to be moved to.

She noted that in the weeks since the Neptune closed, some of those former tenants have been sleeping outdoors in areas of the city, with the police coming to move them on from where they have set up.

She also focused her attention towards BC Housing, which she says has not been of any help to those relocated out of the Neptune.

At one point, she observed that perhaps those residents should just stay in the lobby of the hospital as a last recourse, in order to engage Northern Health into the issue.

She urged Council to push BC Housing, as well as the upper levels of government on the need to step up and address the ongoing issues of housing in the community, recounting for Council a recent appearance by BC Housing officials, noting that there is clearly a problem with the grant and subsidy program that they mentioned at that time.

She also passed along concerns she has heard of other apartment buildings and hotels planning to close for renovations, putting those tenants out on the streets.

She spoke to the issue further, stating that it's something that Council has to address, she then asked that the City write to the Province and Federal ministers involved with housing, offering an outline of the current situation and to seek the assistance of the upper levels government on the issue of housing in the community.

The Mayor noted that with the City about to move the Go Plan initiative forward, the project is designed to provide some information on the issue to better address the problems that have developed, adding that if there is any economic development related to LNG the situation may become amplified significantly.

Council then voted in favour of Councillor Thorkelson's motion to write to the provincial and federal officials.

Reports and Recommendations from Council

( 31:00 -- 35:00 ) Councillor Mirau outlined for Council the background to his attendance at a pair of local events. Providing a review of the recent celebration of the last spike at the Rail, Road and Utility Corridor project and at Saturday's SalmonFest at the Civic Centre.

Councillor Randhawa asked the Mayor if any decisions had been reached regarding the requests for rental reductions at the Civic Centre, Mayor Brain advised that those requests are still being considered would be addressed in a future Council session.

Mayor Brain outlined that he will be out of town in early June, attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Edmonton. Noting that it was the first time in seven years that the City has sent a representative to that conference and that he will be reconnecting with the national network of municipalities and that he has plans to meet with a number of ministers, he will provide a report on his trip when he returns to the City.

And with that, the Monday night session came to an end.

You can access the City Council Review for May 25 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 May 25

Council next meets in Regular session on June 8th  in Council Chambers at City Hall.

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