Thursday, October 27, 2016

City Council Timeline: Monday, October 24, 2016

The final meeting for October looked to be a potentially lengthy one, with an opportunity for the public to take to the microphone in the Committee of the Whole session, two presentations and a potentially controversial conversation on LNG to bring the night to an end.

However, the most challenging of Agendas don't always fulfill their destinies it would seem, as on Monday night the public had nothing to share, the presentations were for the most part succinct and an absence in the Council chamber meant that the LNG discussion would be deferred for another day.

From start to finish Council members were done in seventy minutes and even managed to throw in some free rent at the Civic Centre and move forward on some grant proposals for the city's water infrastructure as part of their night.

For some background on the items of note on the evening, the Agenda for the Regular Council session for October 24 can be reviewed here, as can the Agenda for the Committee of the Whole Session.

Prior to the 7 PM meeting, Council also had a Closed Session Scheduled for earlier in the day, the notice to close it to the public can be examined 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 October 24, 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 -- Absent  

Video Archive for October 24, 2016

0:00 -- 1:30 ) Committee of the Whole for Monday, October 24, 2016 -- The first order of business from the Committee of the Whole session was to call for anyone in the gallery to come forward and approach Council with any questions, comments or concerns. However, the session would be short as no one came forward with anything for the Council members, leaving the Committee to adjourn to the Regular Council session.

( 1:30 -- 2:30  Regular Council Session for Tuesday, October 24, 2016  -- The Mayor reviewed past minutes and presented the current agenda for the evening.

Petitions and Delegations

( 2:30 -- 15:00 )  Presentation from Jean Pogge and Devlin Fernandes  from Ecotrust Canada --The two representatives from Ecotrust Canada provided an overview of the work of the organization on the North Coast. Ms. Pogge outlined the nature of the federally registered charity and its role  in helping to build economic alternatives and solutions for people and place, with a balance between social, Cultural and ecological benefits.

Ms. Fernandes reviewed the guiding principles for Ecotrust Canada which puts the focus on a number of areas including local control and benefit from resources and development, added value to natural resources and recognition of Aboriginal title and rights. The current strategic priorities for the organization at this time involve the Forestry, Fishery, Energy and other Local Knowledge based initiatives.

Other topics involved in the presentation included the approach the organization takes and the engagement that they bring to communities. On those themes, they commended the Mayor on the recent Redesign Rupert Recharge event and the approach brought to engagement with the community.

They also shared some of their work out of the Skeena office which has taken on a number of areas of study related to fisheries along the North Coast, as well as some of their plans heading towards the future.

Councillor Cunningham noted the list of some of their current initiatives and inquired whether they have any focus on the theme of LNG; they explained that on energy issues they are not an environmental NGO and tend to stay more towards such areas as helping people to transition from diesel-electric to renewable energy options.

The Mayor noted that both had attended the weekend's Redesign Rupert Recharge event and singled out Ms. Fernandes for her work as a facilitator at that event on Saturday.

(15:00 -- 43:00 ) Presentation from Tessa Gill and Derek Baker from Pacific NorthWest LNG -- Derek Baker carried the bulk of the presentation to Council on the night, noting some of the milestones that Pacific NorthWest LNG have reached with their project.

Starting with some background on the path towards their recently gained Federal Environmental Approval. He noted that the company has successfully incorporated many of the contributions from the public into their mitigation notes on the project.

Mr. Baker called attention to the 190 legally binding conditions that make up the Environmental Approval process and how it demonstrates that the project can proceed on Lelu Island without significant adverse affect to fish population and fish habitat.

He then turned towards the future prospects for the project, noting the need to address the 190 conditions and receive the range of permits before construction can take place.

Baker also examined the issue of Financial viability of the project, providing a look at some of the factors that Pacific NorthWest LNG's shareholders are considering at this time.  He noted that while they had announced a Conditional investment decision in the summer of 2015 for the project, there have also been some significant changes in the markets since that time. 

He outlined how the project and its shareholders are taking the opportunity to take some time to conduct a complete review of the project, examining the conditions and the global markets to ensure that it is a viable project.

The focus of the presentation then shifted towards the CEAA Approval process, with a review of the 190 conditions and how Pacific NorthWest LNG plans to address them. Among the elements that the company explored for Council were Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Air Quality issues, Report generation, mitigation requirements and issues of eutrophication. A look at fish and fish habitat and the conditions required on that theme was also provided, with such mitigation's as bubble curtains designed to dampen noise in the waters nearby during the construction phase.

He also made note of the Environmental monitoring that will be conducted by two local First Nations at Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams with those monitors having the authority to direct the project to stop or outline further mitigation's if required.

Another area that they reviewed was the approach that Pacific NorthWest LNG would take towards Socio-Economic Effects Management for the region that are attributed to the project and how they will develop mitigation's. Looking at such areas as health care services, and how they engage with local government, Aboriginal groups and social agencies. He noted that Pacific NorthWest officials have been meeting with the City of Prince Rupert on these issues since the approval was granted. 

As the presentation began to wind down, he outlined the nature of the community engagement that the company has taken on and issued an invitation for members of the public with questions or concerns to stop into their offices. He also paid tribute to the recent Redesign Rupert Recharge event and noted that it was an initiative that Pacific NorthWest was very excited in being a contributor towards and participant with that kind of engagement with the broader community.

One final look at the next steps for the project brought the presentation to an end.

Councillor Cunningham inquired as to the nature of the testing if any in the area of the city's drinking water and items related to greenhouse gas issues. 

Mayor Brain then suggested that the company representatives might want to explain the monitoring process when it comes to greenhouse emissions.

Ms. Gill outlined the ratios and requirements that the Pacific NorthWest project will have to meet as outlined by the province of British Columbia, noting that the submissions will be independently verified. She also addressed a question from Councillor Cunningham on items of note on Air Shed issues related to the project and whether the company has any plans in the future to switch from gas turbines to electric; she advised him that any future expansion would address the issue as to the reliable options available at the time.

Councillor Randhawa inquired as to any potential timeline that might be in mind to deliver any Final Decision to move ahead, he was advised that one hasn't been identified at this time.

To bring the presentation to an end, Mayor Brain noted that the City is still engaged in discussions with Pacific NorthWest LNG over an impacts benefits agreement on a range of topics and that process will continue into the future.

Reports to Council

( 43:00 -- 48:00 ) Report from the  City Planner  on an application for a Development Variance Permit for the Yacht Club -- Council received a report from Zeno Krekic outlining the nature of the request, calling attention to the height provision that is outside of the city's guidelines and the nature of the light that would be installed as part of the project. As well as the steps that the city will take to send the process to public notification, including providing notice to residents of the 4th Avenue East area.

Councillor Cunningham spoke in favour of the application and noted the enhancement that the project would bring to the area.

Council then voted to send the permit application to the public notification stage.

48:00 -- 53:30 Two Reports from the Operations Director related to the Clean Water Wastewater Fund application for replacement of the Woodworth Dam and the Submarine Lines -- Mr. Pucci noted that the two grant application issues would need to be addressed separately, the first outlined the city's plan to application for grant money related to the city's plans to replace the Woodworth Dam under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

Councillor Randhawa inquired as to whether this request would conflict with any other grant requests underway, he was advised that there would be no conflict and that the City has already received funding for the first phase of the Water supply project and would be putting that out for tender shortly.

The Mayor followed up those thoughts by calling attention to a recent article in the Northern View, providing his clarification on the issue noting that the projects that the paper had noted were already in motion and the City had not missed out on any funding opportunities, adding that the City is moving forward with this current application which has a deadline date of November 23rd.

On that theme, Mayor Brain noted that the city does know how to apply for grants and that he believes that there will be a clarification issued on the subject in the Wednesday paper.

Council supported that motion to make an application.

On the Second grant request, Mr. Pucci outlined the challenges that the city faces in bringing its water supply to the population on Kaien Island, noting that the underwater pipes have only a forty year lifespan and to address those issues the City will apply for a grant to replace the submarine line under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

Council supported that motion to make an application.

(53:30 --) Correspondence for Action from the Bank of Montreal with  a request for Free Ice time at the Civic Centre for a Fund Raising initiative -- Mayor Brain outlined the background to the request which would see the Bank of Montreal host a public skating session at the Civic Centre with donations of food by participants to be directed towards the Salvation Army.

Councillor Kinney had a question on the date of the event, which was not known, while Councillor Cunningham asked about the cost, he was advised it would depend on when the Bank intended to host their event.

Councillor Niesh raised his concerns over the position the city was put in when it came to raising the fees and charges recently and suggested that giving away the time was not going to benefit the city towards keeping the place open. He also wondered why the Bank didn't donate the money towards the cost, or why another organization didn't step forward to cover the cost.  He also observed that it could set a precedent for other groups to also come forward to ask for free time at the arena.

The Mayor noted that while they will face a number of these requests, he noted the charity aspect of the request and how it will benefit the community, leaving it to Council to decide.

Councillor Cunningham spoke in favour of the request noting the assistance that it will provide to the food bank, which is very busy at this time of the year and is facing larger demand with the issues at the Cannery.

The Mayor returned to his theme of the charity aspect and also added his support to the request.

Council then voted to carry the motion.

( 58:30 -- 59:00 )  Notice of Motion from Councillor Thorkelson -- With Councillor Thorkelson away from the Council chamber owing to illness, Councillor Cunninghan moved that the motion related to issues related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project and Councillor Thorkelson's resolution that Council withhold its approval until six conditions are met be considered at the next Council Session.

Council approved the motion to defer the discussion until November.

( 59:00 -- 1:05:00  ) Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

Councillor Cunningham had inquiries related to the recent contract for road line painting in the community and what the cost was and if it will be a process that continues from year to year.  

His second question involved a review of the issue of contracts for the Lester Centre, Museum and Library to reduce the need for them to approach council for enhancement grants.  He noted that the negotiations on those contracts have not been finalized and that those groups have now been told at the last minute that they will also have to go through the Enhancement Grant process.

The Mayor outlined the challenges being faced by City Staff to address the contract issue, suggesting that he doesn't agree with the argument that staff hasn't done anything for ten months. He did note that the issue is under discussion at the moment and the city is trying to set up a permanent arrangement and is changing a process that was already in motion under enhancement grants, with the city aware that they need operating grants.

He observed that the city is moving from one train to another and if they are going to do it, they are going to do it right and provide for long term certainty. 

The Mayor did acknowledge that there is a possibility that the City won't get the process signed off in time and as a back up plan it was recommended that the three groups make application for the enhancement grants, that way if the two don't capture the timeline of the contracts then they would still be able to go into funding until the contracts can be signed off on.

Councillor Cunningham followed up with a question if they were offered an extension to the deadline for the grants, it was not known if the three groups had submitted their applications to this point. The City's CFO noted she could find out the status of those applications.

City Manager Robert Long provided some further background to the issue noting that it has been a process that was started some time ago and that some of the parameters for the contract proposals had changed. Observing that Council had put in place some requirements over the last few meetings, that have made reaching an agreement on the contracts much more difficult than before.

Councillor Cunningham further explored that theme, noting that he has only seen a finalization on figures to this point and that only came at the last meeting.

The Mayor interrupted that train of thought, advising that there had been changes made in the process, explaining some of the challenges that have come up trying to bring it all together. He further added that it was something that staff is working on and that he didn't believe that it was a massive issue at the moment, and that he has not heard any issues from the organization related to it.

He observed that it was the first year that it was going to be changed and once it has been changed it will be a great process moving forward for all these groups.

Councillor Cunningham noted that he wasn't saying that staff hasn't been doing anything, but that he would like to see this come to an end as fast as possible, because the groups are looking for their funding for next year and how the do things.

( 1:05:00 -- 1:08:00 ) Mayor's Report

The Mayor offered up a short review of the weekend Redesign Rupert Recharge event at the Civic Centre, noting the number of volunteers who assisted, stating that hundreds of people from the community participated in the process and observed that the newspaper reporter had taken on the duties of the balloon distributor at the event.

Mayor Brain then took note of the participation of the community and how it's important to the recharge process, he then outlined how this process is different from other initiatives of the past and that what it really is about is that action groups will soon form around the topics that were identified by the community.

He observed that the process will see residents take ownership over the issues and to start the process of becoming more involved in reshaping and redesigning this town. Adding that interested residents should drop into the Redesign offices in the Community Futures office to learn more about what the process is all about.

He also reminded Council of the upcoming November engagement session that will allow residents to engage in redevelopment themes related to Third Avenue, Seal Cove and city held waterfront properties, adding that the economy of Third Avenue and the future for that commercial area will be part of those discussions.

The Mayor also called attention to the funding of 75,000 dollars provided by Norther Development Initiative Trust and observed that some may question just what can be achieved with that level of money, stating that 75,000 is better than zero dollars and that he is excited for the project moving forward.

Councillor Kinney had one note on the weekend event, reminding Council members he was unable to attend the Saturday session as he was taking care of the City's business as part of Regional District.

With no other contributions from Council members the session came to an end.

You can access the City Council Review for October 24 herewhere 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 October 24, 2016 (not available yet)

The next regularly scheduled Council session takes place takes place on November 14th.

No comments:

Post a Comment