Wednesday, July 8, 2015

City Council Timeline, July 6, 2015

Monday evening's Prince Rupert Council was a Special Regular Session, dealing mostly with items related to a zoning issue for the proposed Park Avenue Housing Development.

The Council session followed the Public Hearing on the topic, which offered the opportunity for local residents in the area to offer comments or concerns related to the zoning issue.

Beyond the discussion related to the Public Agenda, council also discussed a number of other items, including the approval of a proclamation declaring Prince Rupert to be a Child Friendly community as well as a review of the awarding of a contract for a Master Airport Plan.

For some background on the evening's scheduled items of note, see the Regular Council Agenda for July 6  here.

Council also had a Special closed Session earlier in the day at 5:30 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 July 6, 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 July 6, 2015

( 0:00  -- 4:30 )  Introduction of the Public Hearing Session for Monday evening -- The Mayor opened the Public Hearing process, by turning to the City Manager Robert Long who offered up some clarification of the items related to the zoning proposal under consideration. Mr. Long provided some background on the process that the Hearing was review on the evening, which was a simple rezoning of the land in question.

The Mayor then followed up the introduction by outlining the procedure in place for the Public Hearing process of the evening.

( 5:00 -- 18:00  ) Public Hearing on zoning issues related to the Park Avenue Housing Development Proposal -- To open the procedures of the hearing, the Mayor called on the City Planner Mr. Zeno Krekic to provide the overview of the zoning issues related to the proposal and the reasoning behind the need for a second public hearing on the development, which was related to a desire for more transparency on the nature of the proposed use plan for the area in question.

Mr. Krekic then outlined the nature of the resident engagement on the issue, with a number of those living in the area having made contact with his office regarding the application for the zoning bylaw.

Following that review from the City Planner, three residents of the immediate area spoke to the issue of the zoning, with the bulk of their concern related to the extension of the road from Graham Avenue to Park Avenue.

In response to issues related to the road layout and design, the City Manager outlined that this particular rezoning proposal does not involved itself with the actual road layout design, that will come as part of the sub-division approval process which would be taken on by the city approval officer would take into consideration.

That information provided for some concern from some of the participants, while many had no particular concern over the nature of the housing development, they did have thoughts related to the lack of public consultation that the road approval process would provide for as it had been explained by Mr. Long.

A final observation from a resident related to design issues and bylaw fees and the timing them  related to the proposed development brought the public portion of the hearing to an end.

With only three residents offering up comments, the Mayor then brought the Public Hearing process to a close and moved on to the Special Council Meeting on the evening.

Special Session of City Council

( 18:00 --19:00 ) Introduction of the Special Regular Session of City Council -- The Mayor asked for the Agenda of the evening to be adopted.

( 19:00 -- 28:00  ) Recommendation of third evening for the Bylaw and Zoning Amendment for the Park Avenue Housing Development Proposal  -- Councillor Thorkelson spoke in favour for the adoption of the zoning issue and then offered up her thoughts on the nature of the discussion from the Public Hearing, noting that the issue for many of the residents appears to be the road and the Council needs to have a discussion related to that topic, asking that City staff should provide some guidance on that issue and the opportunity to provide for a public meeting on the topic.

She also suggested that the Council needs to be more careful next time that they do something like this, noting that the City had asked the proponent to hold a public meeting and not a public hearing on the concept of the development.  From that public meeting the developers made some changes which were reflected in the first Public Hearing, though as noted in the past the residents of the area were concerned that the nature of the development had changed from the public meeting to the public hearing.

She observed that this was one of the first major housing developments that the city has had to consider in recent years and that Council needs to ensure that in the future that the public is aware of the process that is taking place and that the public is clear on what is involved.

As for the housing development she believes that it is in keeping with the Graham Avenue area and that she does share the concerns of some of the people related to potential changes to the development. She also observed that by shifting the land in question into the residential zoning category there would be no danger of any form of industrial development being inserted in that area.

She acknowledged that the road extension was an issue, and that Council needs to be careful in how they approach that aspect of the proposal.

Councillor Cunningham spoke to the road issue, noting how the residents were not objecting to the housing development but more to the prospect of increased traffic to the Graham Avenue area.

He did however speak to the need for the connecting road between Graham and Park Avenue and how it was crucial to any development on that side of the city observing as to how it would alleviate a lot of the traffic issues on the already congested roads of the area.

Mr. Cunningham called it "a dream come true" if they can get it in, the Councillor noted that the proposed road would provide a vital secondary access point into that area of the city taking the load off the Second Avenue bridge.

He also said that the City needs to address the existing traffic issues in that neighbourhood.

Councillor Kinney also spoke in favour of the zoning proposal as well as the need for a second road access into the area, noting the aging nature of the Second Avenue Bridge.

Councillor Mirau sought clarification on a pair of items related to the nature of the zoning issues between R1 and R2 zoning.

With the discussion at an end, the question was called and Council voted to move the zoning amendment proposals forward.

( 28:00 -- 29:00 ) A proclamation to declare Prince Rupert a Child Friendly Community -- The Mayor outlined the nature of a request from the Success by 6 program to have the City of Prince Rupert reinforce its previous proclamation of the City being a Child Friendly City.  The Mayor also outlined the details of the upcoming celebration of the Declaration at Mariner's Park this Saturday at 11 AM.

Following the review of the proposed declaration, Council voted to approve the proclamation

( 29:00 -- 31:30 ) A resolution from Closed Meeting regarding an RPO for the Airport Master Plan -- The City Administrator outlined the nature of the resolution, which followed a recommendation from the Economic Development Officer  to award the work on the Airport Master Plan to WSP Canada Incorporated.

The Mayor then asked that the City manager provide further background on what the Airport Master Plan project is about.

Mr. Long outlined how with the prospect of anticipated large industrial development for the region, the City needs to review the way that the City is working on planning for the Prince Rupert Airport and the transportation links involved.

With the focus of the plan to review the process of moving people in and out of the community, with the initiative part of they City's planning and budget for Major Projects.

The Master plan would put to use some of the feedback from the major industrial proponents in the area and provide for a number of options on how we connect back and forth between the city and the airport. As part of that review, the plan would provide for a number of options for the City to consider when it comes to the management of the Airport Ferry and the way it is used to move passengers in a more efficient way.

( 31:30 -- 40:00 ) Inquiries from Council

Councillor Cunningham spoke to a land use issue on Seventh Avenue West and relayed some of the concerns from residents in the area. He was advised that the issue would be looked into and reported back to Council on.

Councillor Niesh offered up his thanks to the City and area firefighters related to the twin fires of the weekend just past.

Councillor Thorkelson provided an update on the City's Housing needs survey and Block Party on Fraser Street.  She asked that the City provide letters of thanks to those that volunteered in the Housing Needs Survey as well as to those who contributed to Block Party aspect of the event.

Council voted to approve her motion.

The Mayor followed up her update with some thoughts on the status of the City's LNG Go Plan and the process ahead for it, advising that the City would provide release of information on the program sometime in the fall, which will provide some background on where the City plans to go following its information gathering work to this point. He also called the recent Go Plan Survey a success, calling it a great initiative that the City took on, with the Mayor thanking those on City staff and volunteers who helped to collect the data.

Councillor Cunningham paid tribute to former City Councillor Odd Eidsvik who passed away in June, noting the many contributions that he had made to the community and suggested that the City should provide for some form of recognition of those contributions to the region.

Councillor Thorkelson asked for the Mayor to provide an update on the Wildfire situation in the province, from that request the Mayor advised that the City of Prince Rupert and Port Edward now had a fire ban in place, which includes campfires and backyard fire pits, noting that the public would be advised should that situation change.

Councillor Thorkelson then provided a short update on the situation facing the North Coast fishery this summer, calling on her work with the Fisherman's union she observed that the season has been very slow so far.  Noting that despite indications that the area would have a very good year, there have been some problems starting to appear, with the Nass suffering an algae bloom and to this point there has been no harvesting of fish.

She noted that the price of sockeye has been dropping and that fisherman have concerns that they may not have enough money to be able to go out into the fishing grounds this year.

She warned of a potential disaster locally, with the Canadian Fish cannery not having begun operations as of yet, leaving a dire situation for local shore workers in the community who are already having problems housing themselves, highlighting that if the cannery does not operate they have no income and it could provide for quite a crisis.

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

You can access the City Council Review for July 6 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 July 6, 2015

Council next meets in Regular session on July 20th  in Council Chambers at City Hall.

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