Wednesday, June 29, 2016

City Council Timeline, Monday, June 27, 2016

With Councillors Thorkelson and Randhawa away for the night and a fairly light agenda to work with, Prince Rupert City Council continued on with the theme of recent weeks of taking care of their work with little in the way of delay.

Monday evening provided for few lengthy questions or discussions on the night, as Council navigated both a Regular council session and a public comment period of the Committee of the Whole.

The Monday session did feature one inquisitive mind, as a member  of the public took advantage of that public comment option through the Committee of the Whole session at the start of the night, though even that overview only took up a nine minutes of the thirty four minute night.

Among some of the major notes of the main portion of the Regular session, council members heard of a reduction in parking requirements for a proposed work camp in the city, moved forward a project to rename parkland on the west side of the city to commemorate the life of Odd Eidsvik and approved the recent revisions to the fees and charges in place at the city's recreation facilities.

As well, Council heard an update from the Mayor on housing issues in the community.

For some background on the evening's scheduled items of note, the Agenda for the Regular Council session for June 27, 2016 can be reviewed here.

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 27, 2016

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

Video Archive for June 27, 2016

(0:00--17:30) Committee of the Whole Session for Monday, June 27 , 2016 --  The Committee of the Whole Session began with a presentation from the City of Prince Rupert's Communication Manager Veronika Stewart, who provided a short overview of the City's Annual Report for 2015 and noted that Monday night offered up the final opportunity for commentary from the public.

Only one resident had a few items of note related to the document starting out his commentary by seeking clarification on the status of a CityWest dividend for 2015, the City's Financial officer noted that CityWest had provided a repayment on their loan, something that is not considered a dividend for the city.

He followed up that item, with questions related to pay parking in the city and then turned his attention towards the nature of the Annual Report and how it's mainly a document related to financial items.

For Council's consideration he observed that the city should provide more background into such items as the use of Recreation Facilities, or a more detailed overview of the nature of the city's crime statistics, recommending to Council that they return to the practice of inviting the leadership of the Recreation Department, RCMP and Fire Department to attend to Council to provide more comprehensive reports on the city's services.

That was the only contribution to the public session on the Annual Public meeting and no residents followed that up with any other concerns, which brought the public comment session to an end.

(8:00--8:30 Regular Council Session for Monday, June 27, 2016  -- The Mayor reviewed past minutes and the current agenda for the evening. 

(8:30--9:00)  Recommendation to approve the  2015Annual Public Report -- With the public having been provided opportunity to comment on the 2015 Annual Report, Council then moved on the motion to approve the Report. 

Reports to Council

( 9:00--11:30 Report from the City Planner regarding a request for a development variance permit for a property on Ambrose Avenue  --  City Planner Zeno Krekic provided a review of the background on a request for a variance permit for a property on Ambrose Avenue. 

Council voted to approve the motion.

( 11:30 -- 18:30 ) Report from the City Planner providing details on the request for a variance permit for a development by Horizon North -- Mr. Krekic outlined the background to a request to change the parking requirements for a proposed work camp location to be created behind the Lester Centre of the Arts in the area of the old trailer park. The main thrust of the request is to reduce the amount of parking required at the proposed site from 168 to 110 parking spaces.

Councillor Mirau offered up one question related to the topic asking for some clarification from Mr. Krekic's notes on the two examples of the camps that Horizon North operates in Alberta.

Councillor Cunningham noted that his only concern was what would happen if there was reversal in projections on the amount of vehicle traffic that the site might generate.

Mayor Brain noted that there were no residential areas in the vicinity of the site that would need to be notified as part of the move towards public notification.

Council voted to approve the Motion and the process now moves on to public notification.

18:30--20:30 ) Report from the City's Director of Operations regarding a proposal to install playground equipment at Roosevelt School -- Mr. Richard Pucci provided council with the background to a request from the school District to support the planned installation of new equipment at the school playground, as it is to be installed on municipal land Council is required to approve the installation process.

The Mayor inquired as to the liability risk related to the playground equipment.

Council voted to approve the motion.

18:30--25:00 ) Report from the City's Corporate Administrator regarding a proposal to name parkland behind the Westview School site in memory of Odd Eidsvik -- Mayor Brain described the topic as one of the highlights of the evening and left it to Mr. Mandryk to outline the nature of the planned dedication of the parkland in commemoration the memory of Mr. Eidsvik who passed away last year.  

The recognition is to a process that will be done jointly with the Rotary Club of Prince Rupert and at some later date a formal plaque and sign may be placed at the entranceway to the park, the location would be known as Odd Eidsvik Park.

Mayor Brain noted that the initiative was spearheaded by Mr. Newton of the Rotary Club and Councillor Barry Cunningham,  he also observed that the City was not making a commitment towards a plaque or sign for the park at this time, adding that the Rotary Club is raising funds towards something of that nature through their Odd Eidsvik Memorial Fund.

Councillor Niesh offered up his support for the concept but had one question towards the project, asking if the designation as parkland would offer any restrictions on the city for any form of public use development.

The Mayor outlined that only the woodland area would be designated as the parkland, and that there were two covenants in place on lots in the area that state that it can't be developed, while the site of the old Transition House would still be available for some form of development.

Council then voted to approve the motion  


( 25:00--25:30 ) Recommendation to adopt the Building amendment bylaw  -- With council having discussed the amendment bylaw at their last session, they voted to approve the bylaw which puts in place the requirements related to temporary structures in the city such as shipping containers used for storage.

( 25:30--30:00 ) Recommendation to adopt the Recreation Fees changes bylaw -- With the document revised to reflect caps of five percent over the next five years when it comes to recreation fees for use of the city's recreation facilities, Council had opportunity for any final thoughts prior to the adoption of the bylaw changes. 

Councillor Cunningham was the only one to offer up commentary asking Willa Thorpe, the Director of Recreation and Community Services about aspects of responsibility that users of the facilities should pay for, he was advised that the nature of the  clause was to ensure that the city did not end up being required to pay the costs. 

The second area of concern was related to staffing at the Civic centre after hours, something that was required to reflect for security for any use of the facility in that period of time when City staff are not working at the faclities.

Mr. Cunningham had one final question related to rental rates that don't fit the criteria outlined, asking in specific about such a venture as Senior hockey and how it would fit into the new structure.

Council then voted to approve the motion

( 30:00--35:00  ) Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

Mayor Brain offered up a few notes on the latest developments through the work of the Housing Committee, providing an update for Council members on a recent visit to the city by representatives of BC Housing. Noting that he and the City's Financial Officer Corinne Bomben had toured a number of site locations with the BC Housing officials. 

The Mayor noted that it was all part of the application that the City has made towards the affordable housing fund, something separate from the City's Housing Committee work, with Mr. Brain adding that he was personally managing that aspect of the process himself, along with the City Manager and Economic Development officer.

Once the BC Housing officials have done an assessment of their current stock they will determine the course ahead whether by renovation or replacement, the City has communicated to them their preference to see different stock of housing located around the community in different locations. 

He also outlined that as that process moves forward it's possible that the city may see some form of investment in the community for some affordable housing, adding that they have been up to Prince Rupert a few times now and taken note of some of the issues that the council has been advocating for the last two years.

Councillor Cunningham inquired if the city has any interest in tapping into the theme of a recent announcement by the federal government that is allocating further funding for housing in the country, the Mayor noted that  this was the exact same process. 

What is required now is a list of specific needs for the community with part of the city's application to make use of data from the Go Plan survey to try and access that funding.

Councillor Cunningham observed that he hopes that all of the Mayor's work on the issue will reap some benefits.

The Mayor followed up with a few more notes related to the mechanism in place to apply for funding for housing initiatives and how the City is approaching that process.

The final comments on the night went to Councillor Cunningham who observed on the success of the weekend events in Port Edward as part of the fiftieth anniversary of that community, with Councillor Cunningham offering his congratulations Port Edward for the work they put into the weekend.

You can access the City Council Review for June 27th here, where a number of items regarding the council session, including links to local media coverage, if any, 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 27th, 2016 (not available yet)

Council members now head into the summer schedule for Regular Council sessions, featuring only one session per month for July, August and September, the next scheduled Council session takes place on July 25th.

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