Monday, May 29, 2017

Destination Ottawa for City officials on way to municipal meetings

Representatives from the City of Prince Rupert
are heading east to Ottawa this week for the
Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention
With barely enough time to host a Council session and set the scene for an ongoing battle with CN on the issue of waterfront fencing, Mayor Lee Brain will be back on the road again this week, taking along with a pair of fellow travellers from City Hall as they chart a course for the nations capital.

Departing with the Mayor from YPR for the journey east (at least we hope the city reps are departing from the Prince Rupert aerodrome) will be Councillor Wade Niesh and City Manager Robert Long.

The trio are set to take in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention, as well as to settle in for some side meetings that they have arranged with a range of officials while in Ottawa.

At last Tuesday's council session, Mayor Brain provided a short preview of the journey ahead, while lamenting that the roster of municipal representatives would only be listed at three, noting that he had hoped that other members of Council could have been able to represent the city at the convention this week.

Fortunately however for the taxpayers of the Prince Rupert, who of course play the role of financiers for such expeditions, the majority of council members apparently had other commitments in place during the FCM convention week and won't be able to make the journey.

For his part, Councillor Barry Cunningham did express his regrets at being unable to travel to Ottawa for the conference, and did offer his full endorsement for the journey, noting how he believed it is important for the community to have a presence in the capital.

"Unfortunately, I would like to have gone on this trip, I think it's a very important trip. I'm glad that we are being represented. The meetings you are going to be going to are going to be with some very significant ministers. And like a lot of the meetings you have had in the past and we've seen fruitation  with different grants come through and that. Unless we're front and centre with these people and actually seek them out sometimes, we're just another city in the big picture with our hand out looking for stuff. When you can get there and actually get a few minutes of their time and let them know how important Prince Rupert is to the economy of Canada as a gateway to the Pacific and that. And how much this port, needs to support the town and the country needs to support the town through different methods, it's a message we have to get out. And I fully support this trip I think it's going to be a very good and significant trip." 

In addition to the convention activities, which the Mayor observed will be similar to those of the Union of BC Municipalities conferences, though on a larger national scale, Mr. Brain made note of some of their plans beyond the conference floor and activities.

"We've also lined up meetings Minister meetings with the Minister of Infrastructure, Minister of Natural Resources, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ministry of Trade, as well as the Ministry of Transportation. We'll also be meeting with members of the Prime Ministers office as well. Mainly to discuss a variety of infrastructure issues that the city has, port related growth, growing pains I guess that you could say that we are having as a community, where we need more support federally to help the community grow as a community. And to discuss some strategies on how we can help enable the gateway vision that the Federal Government has enabled in Prince Rupert."

The Mayor noted how he has found that the discussions have been fruitful in accessing funding for such things as the dam and infrastructure issues and how the Federal Government plays a large role in that and how it's very important to stay on the radar and have a presence in Ottawa.

In addition to the Federal representatives, the Mayor also advised he would be meeting with the U.S. embassy to discuss the ferry issue related to the Fairview terminal project.

Later on in the council session, the mayor advised that the City representatives will also be seeking out officials from CN Rail regarding their ongoing concerns over waterfront access along the rail yard.

The Mayor also noted how some federal funding is going to be distributed to communities across Canada by the FCM, with Mayor outlining how the City has plans to meet with those officials to discuss Prince Rupert's need and to see what kind of programs are available through them.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention takes place from June 1st to June 4th. You can examine some of the events that the Prince Rupert delegation may have on their minds from this agenda package from the FCM.

A larger overview of the discussion from last Tuesday can be found on our City Council Timeline feature.

You can review the Mayor's preview of the trip from the City's Video Archive here. It starts at just after the thirty one minute mark.

The journey to Ottawa marks the third trip out of town in less month in what has been a busy few weeks for the Mayor.

Two weeks ago Mr. Brain attended a Sustainable cities conference in Vancouver, and prior to that he was part of a delegation of local officials who had taken a northern trek to address to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce.

For more items related to City Council Discussion topics see our archive page here.


  1. The City Council's ongoing battle with CN over how private property should really be public property is farcical. If the council members really believe that they have a tenable position, they should invite the public to hang out in their yards.

  2. What's make the difference on infrastructure funding is not meetings with ministers but putting up the municipal share of the funding (usually 1/3) which has become possible because of Legacy Corp. Previously Rupert was too broke to take advantage of funding programs.