Wednesday, March 9, 2016

City Council Timeline, Monday, March 7, 2016.

A quest to reopen a Tax agreement with neighbouring Port Edward and a lengthy discussion which led to another delay for zoning on the Kanata School lands provided for the two main themes of Monday night's Prince Rupert City Council Session.

Of shorter duration Council also reviewed plans for the Prince Rupert Yacht Club, approved the fees and bylaw for the City owned Cow Bay Marina, received a number of correspondences for action and heard a Housing report from the Mayor.

Bringing the evening to an end were a number of items from Council members, many related to the upcoming Budget Consultation forum on March 14th at the Lester Centre.

For some background on the evening's scheduled items of note, see the Regular Council Agenda for March 7, 2016. While the late addition item to the Agenda for March 7, 2016 can be reviewed here.

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 March 7, 2016

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

Video Archive for March 7, 2016

(0:00-2:00Regular Council Session -- Mayor Brain, outlined the details of the past minutes and Agenda for the Monday evening session, which were accepted by council.


(2:00--4:30) Report from the City Planner related to a Development Permit Application from the Prince Rupert Yacht Club  -- City Planner Zeno Krekic, provided a review of the plans that the Yacht Club have for the Cow Bay site that currently is home to the Club, with the destruction of the existing club house and the building of a new larger facility. The City planner observed the plan complies with the city's Cow Bay Design Guidelines. The Mayor noted that the design looks amazing and he is glad to see this kind of development happening.

Council voted to approve the Development Permit Application

(4:30--17:00Report from the Chief Financial Officer regarding the Ridley Island Tax Agreement  -- Ms. Corinne Bomben, the City's Chief Financial Officer provided the background of the agreement that dates back to the City's expansion of its boundaries to include Ridley Island. Included in her review was a look at the amount of money that the City of Prince Rupert has provided to the District as well as the most recent correspondence from Port Edward that did not express any interest in reopening the agreement.

Councillor Mirau inquired if the City had been involved in any of the discussions between Pacific NorthWest LNG and Port Edward, he was advised that the city was not part of those discussions.

From that Mr. Mirau observed that he understands why Port Edward does not want to reopen the arrangement and that he wants to be a good neighbour, however with the arrangement being over 50 per cent of the tax revenue for Port Edward, he observed that the agreement is out dated and is not serving the City of Prince Rupert's interests. He then put forward a motion to invite officials from Port Edward to Prince Rupert for a council to council meeting to discuss modifying the existing agreement.

Councillor Cunningham followed up on that motion with the recommendation of seeking a share of any of the tax revenues that may come from development of Lelu Island should that project go forward.

The Mayor asked for clarification on what fees the District pays in such areas of the landfill site and ferry transportation, as well as what kind of arrangement the City has with the District for such issues as fire support if required.

From Ms. Bomben's notes the Mayor stated that the current situation is a very one sided arrangement with the City of Prince Rupert transferring quite a lot of revenue over but in terms of shared services that doesn't seem to be the case.

Stating that its time now for the City to look at the fact that when this deal was negotiated we had a mill that was supporting this community and Ridley Island which was just about to be developed. Noting that now we don't have that mill and that is costing the City of Prince Rupert 90,000 dollars a month for a long time and we don't have these extra developments at the moment.

The Mayor further observed that now Port Edward has a development opportunity in PNW and there is no reciprocal arrangement back in terms of Prince Rupert receiving benefits from those developments, adding that it's time for a frank discussion, that it's 2016 now the world has changed and time has changed and its time for the City of Prince Rupert to address the fact that we're not in a position anymore to be transferring that kind of revenue over to Port Edward.  Noting as well that the tax payers in Prince Rupert pay the highest taxes in BC, while Port Edward has some of the lowest tax rates, which is why he is supporting the motion to reopen the arrangement.

Councillor Randhawa inquired how the process would work to effect change,  while Councillor Thorkelson asked if there was a dispute mechanism in place, Ms. Bomben noted that its up to the two municipalities to forward a request to the Province, with no dispute resolution process in place at this moment.

The Mayor observed that the Province does have the power to make the changes.

Councillor Niesh offered up his observations as to how a neighbourhood ten minutes away doesn't have to contribute to the kind of services and amenities required, with residents able to make use of those in Prince Rupert.  Adding that the agreement is outdated and needs to be talked about, reinforcing councils concerns over providing for half of Port Edward's taxes. Mr. Niesh further stated that the people of Prince Rupert need to know about this and to understand why the city pays the revenue to Port Edward

Councillor Mirau noted that he was respectful of the comments from Mayor MacDonald related to past inquiries on the topic and stressed the need for good faith negotiations with Port Edward members across the table from Council.

A review of the CFO's report can be found on page 25 of the Agenda package.

( 17:00-18:00 )  Correspondence from the Museum of Northern British Columbia seeking a letter of support  -- Council reviewed a correspondence seeking a letter of support form the City of Prince Rupert in the Museum's efforts for a security upgrade project for 2016.

Council voted to endorse the letter.

( 18:00-19:00 )  Correspondence from Mr. Brent Ross seeking the support of the City for an All Native Junior Basketball Tournament   -- Council reviewed a correspondence seeking a letter of support form the City of Prince Rupert in a bid for the All Native Junior Basketball Tournament, after some discussion as to the intent of the letter, it was determined that the letter request was for support for the bid.

Councillor Thorkelson offered support for that letter, but noted that the city should advise that any request for facilities and other services should be acted on separately with those terms negotiated separately.

Council voted to endorse the letter.

( 20:00-21:-00 )  Correspondence from the Judy Riddell seeking support for   -- Council reviewed a correspondence seeking a letter of support form the City of Prince Rupert to seek grant funding for the BC Hospice Society for the BC Palliative Care program

Council voted to endorse the letter.


(21:00-- 37:00 ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer on the Cow Bay Marina Fees and Regulations Bylaw -- Ms. Bomben and the City's Economic Development Officer Paul Venditelli provided a review of the research conducted to determine what fees and bylaw requirements should be put in place for the City's new Cow Bay Marina.

There will be a range of fees in place at the Marina, for short term temporary moorage and long term annual moorage uses, the rates proposed for Prince Rupert are similar to those found at many marinas up and down the coast.

Council members offered up a number of comments related to the bylaw options, Councillor Cunningham asked if there would be allowance of the sale of fish from community dock, he was advised that is not in the plan moving ahead with the usage plan for the facility.

Councillor Mirau asked as for some clarification on what an annual moorage agreement would require, he was advised that fifteen slips would be put aside for use on an annual basis, with two different rates depending on the season.

Councillor Thorkelson asked if there was a limit on vessels that can use the facility on an annual basis, Ms. Bomben noted the previous advisory of only fifteen vessels to be able to use the facility on an annual basis, with the remainder of the available slips to be used for itinerant or temporary use.

Councillor Thorkelson followed up that question to seek clarification on policies related to sewage facilities and whether the facility will be compliant with pollution and sewage regulations and services that may be required, also asking if there were any plans to institute a fine for pollution incidents at the facility.

Councillor Cunningham offered up some background on some of the regulations in place for small vessels in harbour facilities.

The full report and outline of rates to be in place for the facility can be found on page 31 of the Agenda package.

Council voted to give first, second and third reading to the Bylaw Provisions.

( 37:00--1:27:00 Report from the City Planner to lift the table motion related to the zoning bylaw for the Kanata School land are -- City Planner Zeno Krekic refreshed Council's memories on the status of the zoning issues related to the Kanata School lands and why the process had been tabled.

Mr. Krekic provided some background as to the concerns that council had in early December and to review the status of the proposal after meetings with the proponent of the land development later that month.

The revised version of the proposal calls for a twin track of zoning featuring RM 1 and RM 3 style of housing, with varying levels of density for the land in question. As well, road construction in the area would fall more in line with the desires of the City.

However, with the changes, the city's preferences and the proponents offer still provided for a significant gap in the amount of development that would take place if the zoning was approved.

The full report can be found in this late addition to the Agenda for Monday evening's meeting.

For a recommendation City Staff suggested two options; outright rejection of the proposed development or to lift the resolution from the table and proceed to Public Hearing.

That provided for a lengthy discussion among Council members on a number of themes, though the major concern for most part remained with the nature of the population density of the development, something that in particular was of concern to Councillor Thorkelson.

The Mayor asked for some additional population density projections should different zoning concepts be reviewed for the land in question. The Mayor also inquired as to what kind of amenities were close to the proposed development site, with Conrad School considered the closest playground to the development area.

Councillor Niesh offered up his own thoughts on how the differing density levels could work out, while Councillor Cunningham turned his attention to whether the proponent had indicated any plans to develop any green areas or parks in the Kanata area.

It was noted that the original proposal had called for a playground in a corner of the land available for development, though Councillor Cunningham noted that the city would still have responsibility for maintenance of the park.

Councillor Cunningham also expressed his concern over the nature of the buffer zone that had been part of the original design.

Councillor Niesh asked as to what the city might consider as to the path ahead should they reject the proposal in front of them and how they might get closer to what the City had been looking for.

Mr. Krekic outlined how the proponent had noted that the city's preferences did not work for their business plan and that if the City was not inclined to accept the revised plan then rejecting the current zoning bylaw and starting the process over might be the best approach.

Councillor Thorkelson expressed her concerns over the creation of a ghetto like atmosphere on the land in question, adding that while she wants to see Prince Rupert grow with neighbourhoods that are desirable to live and that she doesn't want to see a bunch of apartment blocks put up for LNG people who are just going to come and go.

She added that she is not in favour of just developing apartment blocks and noted that the proponents had rejected her idea of just developing part of the area so the city could see the impacts were of the design, preferring to be able to develop the whole site.

And on that she stated that the city should defeat the RM 3 aspect of the resolution and that if any amendment is to be made it should be through another discussion with the proponent.

Other Council members also expressed concern over the level of apartment development for the land in question but also noted that while there is a need for more discussion with the proponent they didn't want to delay things much further.

Councillor Cunningham expressed frustration with the constant spinning of wheels when it comes to the issue of housing. Councillor Mirau asked a question of process of the City Manager, asking if there would be an additional waiting period should Council reject current proposal, Mr. Long noted that there would have to be a change in the terms to move a subsequent motion ahead.

Mayor Brain provided a few more comments related to what the neighbourhood would look like in the future, noting that Council has approved every development that has come across its desk and that they are looking to the future.

Councillor Cunningham continued to express his frustrations at how Council continues to get slowed by procedures, noting that they've been working the Kanata question since December and how he hoped that the issue is straightened out at the next meeting.

The Mayor followed that up with some clarification as to what Council's responsibilities are on issues such as these.

Councillor Thorkelson had the final word on the issue reiterating her concerns related to the issue, suggesting that since the proposal does not meet what the City wants then it should be defeated.

The Mayor then passed the issue by the city Planner once again who provided a final overview of the issue, with Council members then reintroducing many of their thoughts of the evening before calling for the vote.

Following that consultation, Council chose to table the issue one more time, seeking another meeting with the proponent to determine if there was a path that each could find comfort with.

Council will review the entire process again at their next Council session on March 21st.

1:27:00--1:35:00  ) Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

The Mayor provided an overview of the latest developments with the Housing Committee. Noting that the Draft Report will be delivered this week or next which will outline what all the services that are needed in the community regarding housing. Adjacent to that, the next step will be to get BC housing in the room and select a lot for development and determine what kind of housing they wish to develop.

Councillor Mirau offered up a short report on his attendance at the Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony as well as his participation in a Responsible Development Forum, reminding the public about the CEAA process related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project which concludes on Friday.

Councillor Cunningham inquired as to the status of the Terms for the Small Business Task Force and how council had not yet held their workshop on the issue, he also called attention to a house that had been scheduled for demolition and that it was still standing.

The Mayor asked the Corporate Administrator to schedule the workshop on the Small Business Task Force and noted that Council would seek further information on the derelict house from Engineering.

Councillor Thorkelson reminded Council that she would like to see as close to the actual financial numbers listed prior to next Monday's Public Information session on the Budget Process allowing residents to better understand the budget considerations.

She also noted that with the City planning for electronic voting at that public session, more information should be provided to the public as to how that process will work.

The Mayor provided a short overview of what that process will be like and what the options for voting will be when the Community Forum takes place.

Councillor Niesh also echoed some of Councillor Thorkelson's thoughts on providing information on how to participate at the Budget Forum of March 14th.

You can access the City Council Review for March 7th 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.

Official Minutes of the Regular Council Session from March 7th (not available yet)

Council next meets in Regular session on March 21st  in Council Chambers at City Hall.

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