Wednesday, January 31, 2018

City Council Timeline: Monday, January 29, 2018

Those Council members in attendance for the second Public meeting for 2018, doubled the amount of time that was taken to review civic matters, but still managed to keep the work load under the one hour mark on Monday.

With Mayor Brain and Councillor Mirau absent on the night, the duty of Acting Mayor and host for the Public Council session on the night fell to Councillor Cunningham, who steered the council members and those in the gallery through the 47 minutes that also included the Committee of the Whole and it's public comment opportunity.

As Monday was a Committee of the Whole Night, Council heard comments from a member of the public on parking issues, earthquake preparedness and access to recreation facilities for those with limited income.

They also received a tutorial from a city staff member on the topic of the city's Go-Map information system available to the public through the City of Prince Rupert website.

For the Regular Council session, they received a report that explored an Aquatic Centre grant opportunity from the Northern Development Initiative Trust, as well as to review and vote on some past bylaw changes.

The evening came to an end by returning to the theme of last weeks Tsunami alert in the city, with Councillor Thorkelson providing for some thoughts on the nature of the city's response, while the City's Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben outlined some of the options the city is considering to improve the flow of information in the future.

Some background on the items of note on the evening and the various Agenda elements for the January 29th 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 January 29, 2018

Mayor Lee Brain-- Absent
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present (Serving as Acting Mayor)
Councillor Blair Mirau --  Absent
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney -- Present 
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa--  Present 
Councillor Joy Thorkelson --  Present

Video Archive for January 29, 2018

(0:00 -- 1:00)  City Council Committee of the Whole Session --  Acting Mayor Cunningham 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.

(1:00 - 15:00 ) Following that business they moved on to the Committee of the Whole, starting with a presentation from Rheannon Brooks , the City's GIS Coordinator, who provided some background on the City's Go Map Online system.

Ms. Brooks outlined how the public can make use of the Go Map program and what elements are available for residents from the mapping system.

Among some of the basic elements is an ability to review property information in the community, with such details as property ID, Lot Numbers and legal descriptions.  Users can also review zoning information related to the property in question.

Other areas that you can access from the mapping system is information from BC Assessment, as well users can add aerial overviews to provide for a comparison of the city from years previous and more current images, as well as to add other features.

Other elements available for review include BC Transit routes and shelters in the city which can provide additional information on Transit service.

The garbage collection map also includes a link to the city's pick up schedule for all areas of the city. The program also features a cemetery map, which breaks down the available information by section and then lot, with additional information added as part of the information flow and leading to the city's cemetery data base.

The Official Community Plan information is also part of the Go Map system, with users able to discover more about that planning element as part of the information that is provided by the City.

Councillors Randhawa and Thorkelson inquired about some of the elements available as part of the program.

Residents with any questions about the program are asked to contact City Hall.

( 15:00 24:00 ) During the public comment portion of the Committee of the Whole Session, only one resident took advantage of the opportunity to make inquiries of the council member, with Larry Golden, a familiar face at City Council sessions offering up a few questions and comments.

Among his themes were some notes on Child Poverty in the city and his concerns over what he believes are reduced access opportunities for recreation facilities for those with limited means, suggesting that the Recreation Centre has become somewhat elitist, with benefits for staff coming at the expense of youth in the community.

He also had comments related to the recent Tsunami warning and recounted some of his thoughts on what he described as a damaging tsunami wave from 1964, which he believed caused damage to the waterfront area.

His final comments related to concerns over parking bylaw enforcement and a belief that the enforcement isn't being handled equally. He also outlined concerns over the reduced council schedule that has been put in place for this year and also called for a reduction in the number of closed council sessions that Council hold during the course of the year.

Councillor Cunningham took issue with a number of his themes, observing that he doesn't believe that the Recreation Centre is an elitist place, noting a number of programs that the city is involved in to help defray the cost of use for the Civic Centre, he also invited Mr. Golden to attend a Recreation Council meeting.

He also challenged the belief that the parking bylaws are not being applied as they should be.

The acting Mayor chastised Mr. Golden for making statements that he suggested just creates a sensationalist attitude towards city staff who work very hard, noting that the bylaw officer's job is a very tough one, with a number of responsibilities to take care of.

Mr. Cunningham did not provide any thoughts on the topic of the reduced level of council sessions for 2018 and the frequent use of closed council meetings.

With no other participants approaching the microphone, the Committee of the Whole Session was brought to an end, with Council returning to their Regular agenda.

24: 00 -- 25:00 )   Regular City Council Session --  Acting Mayor Cunningham 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.

 ( 25:00 -- 26:30 Report from David Geronazzo, the Director of Recreation and Community Services  -- The City's Recreation Director and Community Services provided a short overview of a grant opportunity that the City would like to pursue, to seek a fifteen thousand dollar grant from the Northern Development Initiative Trust, to be put towards the City's Aquatic Centre renovation project.

Councillor Randhawa inquired about some of the elements to the renovation plans.

Council then voted to approve the request to pursue the grant opportunity.

 ( 26:30 -- 28:30 ) Verbal Report from the Manager of Transportation and Economic Development related to the Cow Bay Marina Fees and Charges Bylaw --

Corinne Bomben, the City's Financial Officer, provided the review of the report and clarified some of the language from the previous document.

Council then voted to approve the Fees and Charges Bylaw.

 ( 28:30 -- 31:00 Verbal Report from the Director of Recreation Fees and Community Services on the topic of the Recreation Fees and Charges bylaw --  David Geronazzo the City's Recreation Director and Community Services provided a request for the final approval for the Fees and Charges. Councillor Thorkelson asked for an explanation of the changes.

The Recreation Director outlined the nature of the changes which had been part of his presentation to Council from January 15th.

Following the overview, Council voted to pass the motion.

31:00 to 18:00 Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

Councillor Thorkelson took advantage of the final portion of the evening to challenge some of the comments from the Committee of the Whole session, suggesting that Mr. Golden did not quite have the right information related to the 1964 earthquake and tsunami, noting that there was little in the way of damage that took place in Prince Rupert during that large scale earthquake event of over half a century ago.

From her overview, she offered up the observation that there is a report available for review for those that wish to examine the official data from the 1964 tsunami along the coast.

That did however give her cause to provide some comments related to the recent tsunami alert of last week, with the Councillor coming to the defence of MLA Jennifer Rice, making note of some of the commentary from the local newspaper that she had issues with when it came to their review of last weeks event.

She observed that Prince Rupert has not had any emergency sirens in place since the late seventies and had nothing to do with the work of Ms Rice both during her time at Council and later at the Legislature as MLA.

Ms. Thorkelson also cautioned as to whether they want to put such a siren program into place, as it may lead to a large volume of residents heading towards the hospital and creating problems for those who need access to that facility. Adding that we should be careful what we wish for.

She also noted that after reviewing the reports from the last week in her opinion, the city handled the recent incident quite well, highlighting how emergency services personnel were prepared to alert those that may have been in any danger had the need to arise.

One recommendation that she made was that the city should provide more information for the public as to the Tsunami warning signs in the community and where those routes lead towards.

She also suggested that with the city about to conduct a study on Tsunami risk planning, that the City should ensure that part of the study be used to make sure that the City is doing a good job in communication when it comes to such events.

She also recounted some of experiences from Vancouver, as she had been in the Lower mainland during the recent warnings.

As a follow up to the discussion on the recent seismic event, Councillor Randhawa also added his thoughts and appreciation on what he called the great work of the city in responding to the situation.

He did inquire of staff if they have any plans to provide for to educate the public for future events.

The City's Financial Officer handled the request, first thanking Councillors Thorkelson and Randhawa for making note of the work of the emergency services last week, providing a short overview of some of the work that night.

She also added that the City's Emergency staff had determined that the response on the night was appropriate to the risks that had been presented to the community.

Looking to the future, Ms. Bomben advised that the City is looking at implementing an automated alert system for text and landlines, that will enable the City to provide local information to residents as it becomes available.

She also added that the City is looking at developing an application for mobile phones, the range of measures being planned will allow the city to provide better clarity on conditions for local residents.

From their learnings related to last weeks seismic event, the City will also begin a campaign to re-educate residents as to what to do in the event of a tsunami event, that project will be launched shortly.

With no other comments offered up for the final portion of the evening, Council then voting to adjourn the meeting.

You can access the City Council Review for January 29th 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 January 29, 2018 (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.

Monday's Council Session was the first of the seventeen Regular Council sessions for 2018, Council members next meet on Monday, February13th.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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