Thursday, October 13, 2016

City Council Timeline: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The first Regular session of City Council for October proved to make for a fairly short appearance for Council members, with Tuesday's regular meeting wrapped up in just forty minutes.

Though, while the meeting may have been short when it came to the clock, Council did manage to fit in a number of topics and set the table for what should be a fascinating discussion in two weeks time.

As for the Tuesday session, Council heard a presentation from Krystin St. Jean representing the Community Development Institute, who provided some background on their work so far and a preview of what is planned for the month ahead.

Council also received a number of reports, addressed some bylaw items and also heard a number of updates from Mayor Brain on his recent travels. With topics ranging from conferences in Alaska and Victoria, as well as an update on LNG discussions with Pacific NorthWest LNG.

Council also received a notice of motion from Councillor Joy Thorkelson, who will be bringing the topic of Pacific NorthWest and their proposed Lelu Island project to the Council table in two weeks time.

Ms. Thorkelson also provided an update on the recently concluded salmon season and the decline that the season delivered when it comes to hours worked for local shoreworkers.

For some background on the items of note on the evening, the Agenda for the Regular Council session for October 11 can be reviewed here.

Council also had a Closed Session scheduled for Tuesday.

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 11, 2016

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

Video Archive for October 11, 2016

( 0:00 -- 2:00  Regular Council Session for Tuesday, October 11, 2016  -- The Mayor reviewed past minutes and the current agenda for the evening, adding an additional item that of the notice of motion from Councillor Thorkelson.

Petitions and Delegations

( 2:00 -- 21:30 )  Presentation from Ms. Krystin St. Jean from the Community Development Institute at UNBC -- Ms. St. Jean offered up a review of some of the work of the Institute through the Redesign Rupert initiative currently underway in the city. She outlined some background on the nature of the CDI's work and some of the community engagement that they have taken on in partnership with the city in the last year.  She also provided a preview of their upcoming Redesign Rupert Recharge consultation session on October 22nd at the Civic Centre. Following the presentation, Councillors Randhawa, Thorkelson and Kinney offered up some comments and asked a few questions on the topics explored.

Reports to Council

( 21:30 -- 23:00 ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer, August 2016 Financial Variance Report-- Council received a report Corinne Bomben, the City's CFO who provided some background on the August Variance Report. She advised that Phase One of the water project is expected to be underway by the end of the year. Councillor Randhawa had a question related to the Cow Bay Marina operations.

Council then voted to accept the Report.

Resolutions from Closed Session of Council

( 23:00 -- 25:30) Announcement of the awarding of a contract to the Planning Partnership -- The City's Corporate Administrator delivered the announcement of a contract award from a closed meeting of August, that has contracted with the urban planning consultants know as the Planning Partnership.  The Mayor then offered up some background on that announcement, with the process to begin at the end of November. He outlined how it will involve more than just the Third Avenue region, but will also examine options for Seal Cove and the city owned waterfront areas. Calling the initiative a very exciting period, he invited the community to Dream Big about the community and become engaged in the process.

He also noted that a media release would be issues on Wednesday to expand on the project.


( 25:30 -- 25:45  ) Report from Director of Operations regarding a road closure in the Besner Block area -- Council voted to adopt the motion of road closure.

( 25:45 -- 26:15  )  Report from the Chief Financial Officer on the 2017 Permissive Property Tax Exemption Amendment Bylaw -- Council voted to adopt the motion.

( 26:15 -- 30:00 )  Notice of Motion from Councillor Thorkelson -- The late addition to the Agenda of the evening had Councillor Thorkelson providing advance notice of a topic for the next council session of October 24th.

After a fairly lengthy preamble related to the motion components to be considered,  the city councillor advised that she would be asking Council to declare that it will not support the Pacific NorthWest LNG project until a number of local conditions are met.

1 -- The project is relocated to another area not in the estuary of the Skeena River, one industry should not put another at risk and our city should with a remain diversified economy.

2 -- The project must consult with the areas local governments and residents, as well as First Nations

3 -- The city's water supply is monitored and a specific set of responses agreed to by the City are in place to rectify any increase in acidification or eutrophication

4 -- Negative economic, or social consequences will be identified by the City and Pacific NorthWest LNG prior to the project going ahead and solutions agreeable to the city are identified.

5 --  Adequate contributions agreed to by the City of Prince Rupert for rebuilding and maintaining Prince Rupert's infrastructure are identified and scheduled.

6 --  Alternative clean forms of energy are identified and their development are committed to by Pacific NorthWest LNG.

Council will consider her motion in two weeks time at the October 24th Council session.

( 30:00 -- 37:00 ) Mayor's Report

Mayor Brain provided an overview of some of his meetings and travels over the last month.

He started with an overview of his meetings with Alaskan officials during his trip to the Southeast Conference session. Noting that he has hopes of seeing some progress when it comes to the Alaska Marine Terminal Complex issue. He provided a short review of the recent history of the proposed renovation project and outlined that a tentative compromise solution to the issues may be at hand, with the Alaskans proposing a 20 million dollar upgrade to the terminal as is.

Observing that in exchange as part of a trade off towards using American supplies, the project would make use of Prince Rupert labour to construct the terminal. He added that he would be working with the Alaskans and Canadian Federal representatives to try to reach a solution on the issue.

He also updated the audience on the recent UBCM meetings in Victoria, providing some notes on the meetings that the Prince Rupert delegates had with Ministers from the BC Government. Among the list of Ministers that the group from the City met with during their opportunity: Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Aboriginal Relations,  Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, the Ministry of Natural Gas and Housing and Premier Clark.

He observed that the City had three topics of concern to review with government officials.

According to the Mayor, the City found good traction on its plan to develop the Airport road network that would link Metlakatla, Lax Kw'alaams and the City to the Digby Island airport. He highlighted the work that is involved in moving that concept forward, calling it a big project and one of those Dream Big and see where we land concepts.

Another area the City addressed at UBCM was affordable housing in the community, with the City discussing its recent application with BC Housing towards some of the 830 million dollar fund that is available for affordable housing. He outlined that the City provided background for provincial officials when it comes to the issues that the community faces on  housing, including rent increases in the local market and the speculation market the city is in at the moment, stressing to the province that the city needs some housing infrastructure help.

The final topic the city discussed with the province was directed towards LNG development in the region and the logistics of transportation issues related to any potential project.

He also noted that owing to scheduling conflicts, Councillors Thorkelson, Cunningham and Kinney did not attend this years UBCM convention.

The Mayor also provided an update on the city's position related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG decision from the Federal Government. He observed that the city is currently at the table and has been over the last two year to ensure that the city's and the communities needs are taken care.

Noting that the city has made some asks in its Economic Assessment as well as infrastructure and social components, adding that the city will continue to discuss those topics with Pacific NorthWest to ensure that everything is taken care of and is above board for this community. Adding that the next meeting between the City and Pacific Northwest is to take place next week.

He also observed that while the project is technically in Port Edward, the city is looking to secure an Impacts Benefits Agreement to address the city's needs through that agreement. He provided some further background on the city's work on the LNG file, outlining that the city has directed a staff member to analyze the recent Environmental Assessment and a number of reports will be generated to outline if the city's concerns have been addressed and what the impacts may be.

He also noted that indications are that it will be at least six to eight months or so before the proponent, Petronas/Pacific NorthWest makes any Final Investment Decision related to the project which allows the city to continue the dialogue with Pacific NorthWest LNG.

( 37:00 -- 40:00  ) Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

Councillor Kinney offered his congratulations and thanks to the Lions Club, La Gondola Restaurant and local schools who all participated in the Seniors Dinner held over the weekend.

Councillor Thorkelson offered up a review of the 2016 Commercial fishing season, providing some rough calculations that show that the number of hours worked by employees at the Canadian Fish plant were down significantly from previous years. She suggested that the total loss in hours came to 70,000 to 80,000 hours this summer which translates into lost income for city residents. 

She also observed that while there was more fish passing through the Canadian Fish at their Prince Rupert operations, almost twice as much as last year according to her figures, with the removal of the canning operation at the Main plant, the actual work done in the city was down significantly. 

Ms. Thorkelson added that if the plant had canned the volume of fish that passed through the plant this year, that some 118,000 hours or work would have been generated.

She also offered up some notes from inside the Canadian Fish plant, where she said management was removing a number of the machines from Prince Rupert having moved some to Alaska, with plans to ship more out of the city as well.

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

You can access the City Council Review for October 11 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 October 11, 2016 (not available yet)

The next regularly scheduled Council session takes place on October 24th.

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