Thursday, September 14, 2017

City Council Timeline: Monday, September 11, 2017

Eliminating the Committee of the Whole portion for the September 11th Council session certainly contributed to a quick pace for the city's council members on Monday night.

Without the open microphone nature of the COW and the potential for public participation from it, Prince Rupert's Council members were able to knock down another fairly light agenda in less than twenty minutes.

Council members rattled off the few items for consideration in quick order and with few comments, as Council addressed a pair of variance issues, along with a couple of reports from the City's Financial Officer.

As well, Council moved forward with some Property Tax exemptions for 2018,  awarded a contract for work on the landfill site and issued a proclamation to make September Prostate Awareness month in the city.

As we noted last week, Monday was originally scheduled as Committee of the Whole evening a once a month part of the civic government process. However, on September 6th, City Hall  posted a notice cancelling that portion of this week's schedule and with it the usual opportunity for city residents to raise any questions or concerns at the public meeting.

While they may have cancelled the COW process on the night, Council did host yet another Closed Session for the year, this one taking place at 5 PM you can review the notice to the public related to that meeting here.

Four council members, as well as the Mayor were in the City Hall chamber on Monday, with Councillor Thorkelson absent on the night and Councillor Mirau participating in the process by phone.

For some background on the items of note on the evening, the Agenda for the Regular Council session can be reviewed 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 September 11, 2017

Mayor Lee Brain-- Present  
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present
Councillor Blair Mirau -- Present (participated by phone)
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney --  Present
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa--  Present 
Councillor Joy Thorkelson --  Absent

Video Archive for September 11, 2017

( 0:00 -- 1:30:00 ) Regular Council Session -- The Mayor reviewed the list of minutes and agenda items to be noted by Council members, with Council then approving the Agenda while the past minutes of previous council meetings were adopted.

( 1:30:00 -- 3:15  ) Report from the Community Planner, related to a request for a variance permit for a property on 8th Avenue East Avenue -- A review of the request for a variance to allow for the renovation of a family residence. The Community planner outlined some of the elements related to the request.

With no questions from Council members, Council moved the motion forward towards the Public Notification stage.

3:15:00 -- 6:00:00   ) Report from the Community Planner, related to a request for a variance permit for a property on 7th Avenue East Avenue -- A review of the request, for a variance to allow for an addition to the property. The Community planner outlined some of the elements related to the request to add a structure for vehicle storage to the back of the property

Councillor Cunningham offered up comments related to potential run off of water from the property and how the city storm service can handle any run off.  His concerns were addressed by the Community Planner who noted that they believed the storm service is capable of handling any potential runoff.

Council moved the motion forward.

( 6:00--7:00 Report from the City's Financial Officer, providing the July variance report for Council  -- Corinne Bomben, outlined the nature of the July report advising that all departments and capital projects are on track.

Council voted to receive the report for information purposes.

7:00--8:30 Report from the City's Financial Officer, providing background on the authorization to borrow $890,000 for the Fire Department Pumper Truck  -- Ms. Bomben, outlined the background to the purchase of the truck, which has now been delivered to the Fire Department.

Council was asked to approve the financial requirements from the Municipal Financial Authority and approved the authorization.

8:30:00--11:30 Report from the City's Director of Operations   -- Mr. Pucci, outlined the background for Council related to the awarding of a contract for electrical and earth work required as part of a project at the city's landfill site, the contract was awarded to Coast Industrial Construction.

The company was one of three bids received, providing for the lowest bid for the project.

Councillor Cunningham revisited some of his past comments related to the potential use of an incinerator by the City and generate electrical power, as well as to reduce the impact of land use at the land fill site. Asking the Operations department to provide a comparison on those themes.

Mr. Pucci noted that he didn't have the information at hand, but could produce a report on the topic for Mr. Cunningham. He did however note that some previous research on the topic had indicated that the climate found in the region was not the best atmosphere suitable for such an incinerator.

Council the voted to approve the motion and the awarding of the contract.

( 11:30 -- 12:00  ) Correspondence for Action -- Council received a request for a proclamation of September 2017 as Prostate Cancer Awareness month in the City of Prince Rupert.

Council approved the motion.


( 12:00 -- 14:30 ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer regarding the 2018-19 Permissive Property Tax Exemptions Bylaw -- Ms. Bomben outlined the background to this years listing of Property Tax exemptions. Noting that this years bylaw amendment is to change the legal descriptions of two properties already exempted, given additional information provided by BC assessment, with no dollar impact involved in those exemptions.

As well, the City will add the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society to the list related to the Rushbrook Trail property

That change is requested to address the opportunity cost related to the land which has never had taxes collected on before,  as it is owned by the City.

Council was asked to move the process forward so staff can proceed with the required  public notification process for public comment, noting that any adoption must be in place by October 31st to take effect in 2018.

Councillor Mirau inquired as to the nature of the deadline of October 31st and the purpose of it.

Council then voted to begin the process of first, second and third readings to the bylaw.

( 14:30--19:50 ) Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

Councillor Randhawa raised the issue of the potential loss of Greyhound Service in Prince Rupert and asked that council forward a letter to the company and the provincial transportation minister to express their concerns on the request to end the service.

The Mayor offered up an update on the situation first noting that he had spoken to Transportation Minister Claire Trevena on the issue and also has a call in to Greyhound to discuss the situation.

He added that no decision has been made and how the request from Greyhound has to go back to the Transportation Review Board to determine if Greyhound is allowed to end its service, with Transportation Minister Trevena working with Greyhound on the topic.

He observed that it might not even be possible for Greyhound to do that and how it's a provincial matter, in terms of transportation along the highway corridor that will follow under the province's hands.

Mayor Brain noted that the city is monitoring the developments closely, but at this juncture no decisions have been made and until the Transportation Review Board comes back with a decision there won't be any movement on that.

He stated that he could report back once he hears back from Greyhound, Council then voted to write a letter of concern to Greyhound and the Transportation Minister on the issue.

Councillor Cunningham raised some questions related to the city's parking fund and asked for Council to present an explanation as to how much money is in the parking fund and how much has been collected  through the years that the city has had the fund in place.

An additional note on parking from the Councillor focused on the city's parking permit process,with Mr. Cunningham asking Council to examine how they are charging business owners for their parking places, collecting revenue from those permits but not developing any kind of expanded parking for the community.

He also questioned how the City could be fining people for something that they in the case of parking, that they aren't providing for. Noting that the issue is something that Council should look at further.

Councillor Kinney asked that Council send a letter of thanks to Paul Bull for the calendars he provided to council members over the years.  Council voted to forward their message of thanks to Mr. Bull, he and his family recently moved away from the community.

And with those final thoughts, the evening's session came to a close.

You can access the City Council Review For September 11th 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.

Official Minutes of the Regular Council Session from September 11, 2017 (not available yet)

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.

As the Council members will be heading to Vancouver later this month for the annual UBCM meetings, this was the only City Council Session scheduled for this month. 

The September 11th session also marked the end of Council's summer session schedule providing for just one meeting per month.  Council members will return to their twice a month schedule of meetings in October, with the first session for October set for October 16th  2017 .

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