Thursday, February 15, 2018

City Council Timeline: Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A quick pace, light agenda and a few comments again provided for the theme when it comes to the pace of Prince Rupert City Council sessions, with Tuesday evening's review of civic business taking but three quarters of an hour to conduct.

With Councillor Thorkelson participating by phone, and Mayor Brain in Alaska and absent on the night, the duty of Acting Mayor and host for the Public Council session on the night fell to Councillor Mirau, who rolled through the Agenda in less than 42 minutes.

Over half of those 42 minutes was given over to a pair of presentations to Council, with Constable Kayla Radford from the Prince Rupert RCMP providing Council with an overview of a new initiative in the community called Safe Places, designed to provide a safe location for members of the LGBTQ community to go to if they have fears for their personal safety.

Council members also took in a presentation from Chris Lightfoot, a representative of the Complete Streets for Prince Rupert organization, who provided a look at their proposal for some temporary projects to try and make downtown streets safer.

The remaining fifteen minutes made quick work of a sparse Agenda on the evening, with a variance request, appointments for Elections Officers, Resolutions from Closed sessions and the approval of a Housing agreement with a supportive housing proposal for 11th Avenue East.

Some background on the items of note on the evening and the various Agenda elements for the February 13th 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 February 13, 2018

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

Video Archive for February 13, 2018

(0:00 -- 1:00)  City Council Regular Session --  Acting Mayor Mirau 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 - 9:30 Presentation to Council, from Constable Kayla Radford of the Prince Rupert RCMP providing background to the recently introduced Safe Place initiative in the city -- Ms. Radford took the Council members through the steps that led to the program coming to Prince Rupert, which is the first community in British Columbia that the RCMP has launched the Safe Place project.

Constable Radford outlined how a Safe Place business or facility is identified by a sticker that is placed in a prominent window of the establishment, which designate the location as somewhere that members of the LGBTQ can go in and call for assistance of the RCMP.  She noted that the response has been strong in the community and that interest is high in the program, adding that the members of the detachment can offer up more information to anyone that asks. Assisting the detachment in getting the program started is Christine Danroth at Charles Hays Secondary School.

As for Questions from council on the project, Councillor Randhawa inquired as to how the word will be spread about the project, while Councillor Cunningham  asked if it was a provincial initiative and what assistance the provincial headquarters may be providing to help get the project started. He also suggested that the Safe Place program take advantage of the Community TV Channel hosted by CityWest.

Councillor Mirau offered up City Hall as a location for the Safe Place program, while Councillor Thorkelson suggested that information be shared with the City's Communications Officer to help get word of the program distributed.

( 9:30 - 27:00 Presentation to Council, from Chris Lightfoof from Complete Streets for Prince Rupert, providing background to a proposed road safety program for the city -- Mr. Lightfoot outlined what the Complete Streets for Prince Rupert initiative is about, and provided some details on an initiative that the group would like to see put in place in Prince Rupert. Asking for permission to explore on a trial basis the concept of a curb extension in the downtown area to try to improve safety measures for pedestrians in the area.

Originally they had identified three locations for the proposed trial, First Avenue West and McBride, Second Avenue West and Third Street, and Third Avenue West and Third Street.

However, as the middle option of Second Avenue West is a provincial highway, the group noted that the Ministry of Transportation indicated that they were not inclined to support their request for the trial project on that roadway.

The project evaluation period would take place before and after the placement of the pedestrian measures tracking such things as time it takes for pedestrians to cross, speed of vehicles and feed back from those crossing at the intersection.

Funding would come through grants and donations that Complete Streets for Prince Rupert would approach the community for.

The group would consult with the City as to how they would approach the program should their quest be approved, as well as guidelines for criteria to determine success.

While the planned extensions would be temporary in nature, the organization highlighted some of the permanent options that the City could consider.

When it came to questions, Councillor Randhawa inquired as to who would be making for the set up and takedown, he was advised if it were a short term one day project the Complete Streets program would take care of it, but should it be a more permanent set up they would defer to the City for installation.

Councillor Randhawa also suggested that they approach ICBC for grant funding.

Councillor Kinney inquired if the organization had contact the RCMP regarding to the project,  and while Mr. Lightfoot indicated he had not formally approached them he was of the belief that they would have some feedback on the proposal. Mr. Kinney followed up with a comment related to his concerns over the Second Avenue West design.

Councillor Cunningham offered up his support to the concept of bump outs, but expressed some concern over the nature of the plastic bollards as opposed to a more permanent feature which would provide more protection for pedestrians.

Mr. Cunningham did note that with the number of incidents in recent months something has to be done to try and increase the safety in the downtown area. He also, suggested that some pressure be put on the Traffic Detachment in Terrace to provide assistance to the Prince Rupert detachment in a more aggressive approach to road infractions.

Councillor Niesh echoed the concern of Councillor Cunningham in the need to have something done, he outlined how the idea of using paint probably wouldn't be a good choice considering the weather here, but did offer support to the concept of bump outs and other options.

Councillor Thorkelson made note of her experience on the success of bollards that she had seen in Portland, Oregon, she noted that some of the concepts had been part of the ReDesign Rupert program a few years back. She also inquired of the City Manager as to who has authority over Second Avenue West, Mr. Long noted that it is a provincial highway and they have the authority to accept or reject any options.

Councillor Mirau suggested that Third Avenue would be the best option for the test period, and asked that Mr. Lightfoot make his presentation to staff to see if the concept could move forward.

 ( 27:00 -- 27:30 Report from City Manager Robert Long on the Appointment of Election Officers   -- With the municipal election set for October 20th, the City Manager's report recommended that the City's Financial Officer Corinne Bomben be appointed Chief Elections Officer, with the Deputy Corporate Administrator to be appointed Deputy Elections Officer.

Council voted to accept the recommendations.

27:30 -- 29:30 ) Report from the City Planner related to a variance permit for a property on 9th Avenue East - City Planner Zeno Krekic provided the overview of the work to be done and why the variance had been requested.

Council voted to approve the variance.

( 29:30 -- 30:00 ) Resolutions from Closed Meetings -- Councillor Mirau provided the background to the release of information from two closed meetings.

From the January 15th Closed Meeting, City Council approved the recommendation from the Fire Chief to award the Tsunami Risk Assessment Project to Northwest Hydraulic consultants.

Council also appointed Roy Henry Vickers to the CityWest Board.

( 30:00 -- 40:00 Report from the City Planner related to an Housing Agreement Bylaw towards a Supportive Housing proposal for 11th Avenue East -- City Planner Zeno Krekic outlined the nature of the process for the proposed development, as well as the terms Housing Agreement that includes a Housing Agreement that specifies that the property be kept in good order and that residents do not engage in any conduct or behaviour that unreasonably disturbs the neighbourhood.

The Housing agreement can be terminated should the owner not comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement. Mr. Krekic noted that the agreement provides for a safeguard the proper use of the subject property and provides for a mechanism for termination in case of any failure to comply.

Councillor Niesh observed that he considers the agreement a case of putting the cart before the horse, as the project has not even gone to Public hearing to this point. Mr. Krekic advised that its a procedural step that is required as the process moves forward.

Councillor Thorkelson offered up her support for the project and inquired as to how she would like to see a process put in place towards other potential supportive housing options for the community.

Mr Kreckic provided an explanation as to the various housing descriptions and elements that the city has to consider when it comes to different types of zoning issues related to the different housing options.

 He outlined how the Housing agreements are designed to ensure that the properties in question do not stick out and blend into the neighbourhood and offers remedies should any issues arise that could have the agreement cancelled.

Mr. Krekic noted that each separate situation would require a new bylaw.

Councillor Cunningham asked for an explanation of the different types of housing and how they would fit into the city's bylaw process.

Council then voted to give approval and first, second and third readings to the bylaw.

40:00 to 42:00 Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

Councillor Cunningham raised a question from a few residents about the status of the front doors to City Hall inquiring if they are to remain locked and not accessible to the public. The City Manager advised that the doors would remain locked on a permanent basis, citing safety issues and the need to manage the amount of people that come into City Hall through one location. He outlined that they will continue to direct people top use the side door, which he noted is wheel chair accessible.

Councillor Randhawa asked if the city could contact ICBC to have them make arrangements to come to Prince Rupert to schedule personal appointments in the city, he observed that the Insurance company had centralized their offices in Terrace and many residents have inquired if there is something the city could do to express their concerns.  Councillor Mirau noted that ICBC is going through some structural change and suggested that the request was something that should be handed over to staff.

With no other comments offered up for the final portion of the evening, Councillor Mirau made note that the Mayor sent his regrets for his absence at the meeting, as he was in Alaska meeting with a series of his counterparts.

Council then voted to adjourn the meeting.

You can access the City Council Review for February 13th 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 February 13, 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, February 26th.

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

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