Thursday, June 16, 2016

City Council Timeline: Monday, June 13, 2016

With a cancelled Public Hearing and a number of items removed from the agenda on the night, City council members made pretty quick work of the rest of their workload on Monday evening, taking care of their pared down agenda in less than forty minutes.

The reduced agenda provided Council with the opportunity to take care of the work in a fairly quick fashion, with little in the way of questions or discussions related to the topics of the night posing for a time consuming process on the evening.

Among the items Council reviewed were the introduction of the 2015 Annual Report, as well as the need to revise the fees and Charges provisions for rentals of facilities at the Recreation Centre. Council also addressed a number of bylaw items and released some resolutions from closed council sessions from May.

A quick review of some housing issues was provided by the Mayor, who offered up some notes related to a new proposal from the Metlakatla Development Corporation.

Council members wrapped up the evening with a number of observations for discussion including a motion to write a letter of opposition to an extension for Enbridge and its Northern Gateway process, as well as another letter to reinforce Council's support for a tanker ban on the north coast.

Council also heard a report on an appearance by local union representatives at an Ottawa committee hearing on the fishery.

For some background on the evening's scheduled items of note, the Agenda for the Regular Council session for June 13, 2016 can be reviewed here.

The string of items that were removed from consideration on the night can be found on this revised agenda notice.

Council also had a Closed Session scheduled previous in the 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 June 13, 2016

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 June 13, 2016

(0:00--2:00  Regular Council Session for Monday, May 9, 2016  -- The Mayor outlined the range of items that Council would not be reviewing on the night, noting that Council had tabled the following items for the evening.

Adoption of City of Prince Rupert impact assessment bylaw, Quality of Life Official Community Plan amendment bylaw, as well as the first, second and third readings of the proposed Park dedication removal and disposal bylaw. 

Following the review of those items, the Council adopted the past minutes from previous Council meetings and the current agenda for the evening. 

(2:00 -- 4:00 )  Presentation from the City's Communication Director on the 2015 Annual Report  --  The City's Communication Director Veronika Stewart provided a short overview of the City's annual report that is now available online and at City Hall for review by the public, with a public comment opportunity scheduled for the June 27th Council session. 

Councillor Thorkelson offered up some comments related to the Annual report, calling it one of the most important documents that the city puts out each year and highlighting some of the items of interest from it that the community might find. She noted that this years report is a slightly different format than previous ones and encouraged residents to read the document to learn more about the city's strategies and how they have achieved those goals.

Council voted to approve the motion and set the date of the public engagement session.

Bylaw Reports

( 4:00--5:40Report from the City Planner with Background on a development variance permit for a property on Ambrose Avenue --  With Mr. Krekic away on the night, Mr. Rory Mandryk the Corporate Administrator provided the background to the proposed variance permit. Noting that recommendation is required to send the process on to public notification.

Council voted to approve the Bylaw motion.

Resolutions from Closed Meetings

(5:40 -- 6:20 ) Appointments to Library Board -- The corporate administrator released information from the May 9th closed meeting of council, advising that Ms. Heather Rose, Ms. Andrea Wilmot, Mr. Jagdev Uppal had been appointed to the Library Board, with Dale White, Devlin Fernandez re-appointed to their positions, with Shiwani Gupta also added to the membership of the Board.

( 6:20 - 6:50 ) Awarding of Custom Pumper Truck contract -- Mr. Mandryk also outlined that at the May 30th Closed session council had awarded the contract for the building of the Fire Department's new pumper truck to Rocky Mountain Phoenix (Rosenbauer) with approval given for financing through the Municipal Finance Authority.

(6:50 - 7:15)  ) Report from the Fire Chief regarding Emergency Management Bylaw -- Council voted to adopt the motion related to the Bylaw that appoints the City's Fire Chief Dave McKenzie as the City's Emergency Management Coordinator.

( 7:15 -- 18:30 ) Report from the Director of Recreation and community Services regarding Recreation Fees and Charges bylaw -- Ms. Willa Thorpe provided some background on the need to amend the recently passed recreation fees and charges bylaw. As part of her presentation Ms. Thorpe noted that in the original bylaw of February 9th the document did not have a specific cap identified in the space rental rates, which could result in leaving the city exposed to potential space rental rate increases of upward to 75 per cent in some cases. In order to make sure that the increase in space rentals maintains a manageable rate, the recommendation to Council is for a maximum increase of ten percent to the space rentals proposed.  There will also be some changes made to the language of the bylaw related to the definitions of family members.

Councillor Cunningham offered up some observations related to the question of rate increases noting that in the original bylaw the rate increase had been pegged at five percent, Ms. Thorpe offered up some clarification when it comes to the fees for space rentals compared to those of admission fees. Noting that the space rentals were determined by square feet to ensure that community members were only paying for what they needed.

Councillor Cunningham used the city's Minor basketball league as an example as to the impact that the revised fees might have on organizations, asking if the Recreation Department had talked to the individual groups that use the facility to gain insight as to how they would be affected.

Mayor Brain observed that the good news from the new proposal was that ultimately that with the recommended cap the cost will be more manageable for those groups.

Councillor Cunningham outlined how he understood that, but that his main concern was that he didn't want to see any of the programs dealing with an increased cost that will be too high that results in the loss of participants in those programs.

Ms. Thorpe then noted that the city is looking to work with minor sports organizations to introduce a local chapter of the Kid Sport program that can lend assistance to those groups that may be finding barriers to participation.

Councillor Niesh also expressed surprise at the shift in the percentage being requested, stating he was under the impression that it was going to be a five percent increase and asked if it was going to be a yearly thing.

Ms. Thorpe provided clarification on the theme that the maximum space rental rate would be capped at ten percent of the 2015 rates and after that would be a five percent increase.

Councillor Niesh observed that while the original bylaw may have been adopted as Ms. Thorpe described it,  but that the general feeling was that Council was voting on a five per cent increase. He noted that the increase to ten percent is a dramatic step up from the council's original intention, reinforcing that in his opinion the rate should be set at five percent.

Councillor Randhawa added his concerns to the proposed increase, suggesting that Council find out what kind of impact that it would have on local organizations.

Mayor Brain's reply to the Councillor noted that was why Council was considering the issue at this time, adding that the impact was too significant from the original bylaw adoption. He further observed that it was from a response from the Basketball league that the Recreation Department has brought the issue back to Council for consideration. He added that Council can change the amount to set the rate at five percent if they desire, adding that the issue was an oversight on Council's part.

Councillor Cunningham then made a recommendation to amend the amount to a five percent increase, which was seconded by Councillor Niesh.

Councillor Thorkelson inquired if there was any impact on the Recreation Department budget, Ms. Thorpe advised that it would not as the budget was based on the minimum increase of five percent.

Councillor Cunningham then offered the situation up as a lesson for Council to read the fine print, noting that all of the council members had missed it, suggesting it was just one of those things that as a new council they need to read the fine print on such items.

Council then voted to approve the amendment

As a friendly gesture the Mayor noted for the Corporate Administrator that the vote would count as first, second and third reading towards the amendment.

You can review the full report from the recreation director, including the various fee schedules from the Council agenda from page 92 to 112

( 18:30 -- 22:00 ) Report from the Director of Operations related to the Proposed Building Amendment Bylaw -- Mr. Pucci provided some background related to an item that had been missed in the proposed bylaw, with the recommendation to put back into the bylaw the requirement of a temporary use permit for shipping containers on property. Should it be approved, the bylaw would allow for a six month period for the applicant to have a shipping container on their property, with the opportunity for another six month renewal.  Currently they aren't allowed in residential zoned areas, this amendment would allow for them to be permitted in those areas, with specification required as to where they will be place.

A 2,000 dollar certified cheque will be required to purchase the permit, which would be returned once it is confirmed that the container has been removed. He noted that main use of the containers is during home renovations and such activities.

Councillor Cunningham inquired about smaller containers and how they would be addressed, as well as to whether there would be any grandfathering involved for existing containers.

He was advised that the smaller containers don't fall under this amendment, but that they aren't allowed under the current zoning bylaw and would not be permitted, he added that city would be making note of where existing containers are found and would be forwarding letters to residents to advise them of the new amendment bylaw.

Council provided First, Second and third Readings of the Bylaw motion.

( 22:00 --36:30  ) Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

Mayor Brain provided for a short Housing Report for council  noting that the Housing Services Report has been completed, however the housing consultant is on vacation and is expected back later this month, at which time he hopes the report will come in. He also provided some background on the city's interest in a proposal from the Metlakatla Development Corporation related to a possible use of the old King Edward School site for a Seniors care and health facility. He outlined the dates for the upcoming public sessions that have been scheduled for this month.

Those events take place June 22nd at 2 and 7 PM and on June 23rd at 10AM all sessions take place at the Crest Hotel. He added that if anyone wants more information on the proposal they should contact Shaun Thomas at  778-629-1004.

You can learn more about that upcoming forum from our item of June 10th.

He wrapped up his housing report by noting that the city has made an application with the province to try and access money towards the new affordable housing program that the province is offering and will be following up with BC Housing on that imitative.

The Mayor outlined the process ahead related Councillor Thorkelson's notice of motion on the Enbridge request for extension to its process with the NEB, as well as the call for the city to also reinforce its support for an oil tanker ban on the North Coast.

After reading out the resolution that outlined the City's opposition to any extension to the sunset clauses for Enbridge's Northern Gateway process and to once again offer the support for the tanker ban, Mayor Brain put the motion up for approval, with Councillor Thorkelson providing for the second on the motion.

Councillor Mirau offered up some thoughts related to the motion, noting that the call from the NEB was quite clear and that he didn't believe that the city had any new information to provide to the discussion and that he wasn't sure that a letter of this nature deals with the jurisdiction of the City of Prince Rupert, however he acknowledged that to the topic at hand democracy rules.

Councillor Thorkelson observed that in her opinion the city deals with lots of things outside of its jurisdiction, adding that it's because they represent the people of Prince Rupert and have provided advice to the government on a number of issues that would impact on the community. Noting that an oil tanker spill would have an impact the region, on the theme of the Enbridge extension, she noted that the City should have a say as to whether they should receive the additional time, stating that as she sees it the city should advise that they do not believe that the extension should be granted, recounting for council some of her concerns related to the Enbridge proposal.

Councillor Randhawa offered up his support for Councillor Thorkelson's motion.

Council then voted to approve the letters, with Councillor Mirau casting the only vote in opposition.

You can review the full resolution from page 117 of the Agenda package

On other notes, Councillor Thorkelson provided a review of her presentation to the Commons Standing Committee on the Fishery in Ottawa last week speaking on the theme of fishery issues on the North Coast. Providing some background on the issues of  adjacency and fleet separation as they may relate to the recent closure of the Canadian Fish cannery in the city.

She outlined that as part of the presentation she had asked the Committee to consult with the City and the province to explore how the two concepts could be put in place on the North Coast. As part of their presentation she observed that they had asked that the Department of Fisheries, the Standing Committee or the Fisheries Minister come to the North Coast and conduct a commission of inquiry to explore the three principles of fleet separation, owner/operator issues and an adjacency requirement to provide for a made in BC solution to the situation.

She noted that when they host community engagement on the east coast the turn out is always high, offering up that is something that she hopes to see federal officials conduct on the North Coast to hold discussions on how to make fishing communities benefit from the resource that is being caught next door to them.

Councillor Cunningham followed up on those themes by asking if it would be helpful for the city to write a letter to the Fisheries Minister to ask that that he come to the North Coast and appear at a session of council as well.  Councillor Thorkelson observed that it can't hurt to offer the invitation and provided some background on the current Fisheries Minister  Dominic Leblanc who recently took over the post.

Councillor Cunningham then put forward the motion to have that letter written, with Mayor Brain offering up that he would compose the letter and address it to the Fisheries Minister inviting him to come to Prince Rupert.

Councillor Cunningham moved on to another topic, asking that city staff provide him with some information related to the staffing levels and hiring policies when it comes to the staff on the city's airport ferry. Seeking background on full, casual, or temporary employees on the service.

Councillor Randhawa had two questions, the first asking if there were any plans to upgrade the drainage on the Roosevelt Sports field and whether the rates at the new Cow Bay marina were comparable to other facilities in the community.

On the first issue the City's financial officer advised that she would get back to Council on the drainage topic, as for the Marina, she noted that the City's Cow Bay facility offered some additional services, with the city's rates comparable to similar facilities that they researched.

You can access the City Council Review for June 13th here, where a number of items regarding the council session, including links to local media coverage, if any, 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.

In addition to the city's official minutes, the City's Video archive provides a helpful record of the events from each public council session.

Official Minutes of the Regular Council Session from June 13th, 2016 (not available yet)

Council members now get three weeks away from the public forum portion of their work, with the Regular session set for June 27th in Council Chambers at City Hall.

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