Wednesday, March 28, 2018
City Council Timeline: Monday, March 26, 2018
Along the way Council would also approve the zoning change required for a supportive recovery house facility in the city and bring an end to the public consultation period for the City's 2018 Budget process.
Through the ninety minutes, Council heard four presentations from supporters of 333 Trinity House during the Public Hearing portion of their review of the supportive housing residence for the city, with Council later approving the zoning request to allow for the facility.
They also heard from representatives of a local group that had provided assistance to youth prior to their funding expiring, as well as a pair of representatives from Ecotrust Canada who outlined their upcoming plans for the spring and summer.
Council also approved the request from the Recreation Department to seek out funding from Northern Health's Imagine grant program, with hopes of replacing the skating resources for the public skate program at the Civic Centre.
Council members brought the evening to an end by providing for a few comments, observations and suggestions on a range of topics for further action by the City.
Some background on the items of note on the evening and the various Agenda elements for the March 26th Council session can be reviewed here.
Council also met in a closed session earlier in the day, the notice closing that meeting to the public 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 March 26, 2018
Mayor Lee Brain -- Present
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present
Councillor Blair Mirau -- Present
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson -- Absent
Councillor Nelson Kinney passed away on March 24th
Video Archive for March 26, 2018
( 0:00 -- 4:00 ) The evening marked the first council session since the passing of Councillor Nelson Kinney over the weekend and began on an emotional note.
Prior to the start of Monday's Session, Mayor Lee Brain spoke to the passing of Councillor Kinney over the weekend, asking for a moment of silence in his memory.
He then invited the remaining members of Council to offer up their own thoughts if they wished, with all those that were in attendance for the night providing for a short remembrance of Mr. Kinney's life.
The Mayor also noted that Council planned to host a more extensive tribute to the life and work of Councillor Kinney at a future Council session in the months to come.
( 4:00 -- 16:00 ) Public Hearing to review a zoning revision application for a Supportive Housing Residence to b located at 333 11th Avenue East.
Councillor Wade Niesh excused himself from the proceedings, observing that he owns a property in the immediate area of the residence in question.
City Planner Zeno Krekic provided a review of the zoning request, along with an update on the steps that were taken as part of the process, as well as to make note of any correspondences that the City had received related to the development.
Following his presentation, the Mayor first explained how the Public Hearing process works and then called for comments or questions from the public related to the zoning request.
Four members among a large contingent of supporters in the gallery spoke in favour of the residence making note of its value to the community, with all four urging Council members to approve the zoning change to allow the residence to operate.
With no other members of the public coming to the table to offer comments, the Mayor brought the Public Hearing to an end. Council would discuss and vote on the zoning issue later in the evening as part of their Regular Business.
(16:00 -- 17:00) Committee of the Whole Session for March 26th -- Mayor Brain reviewed the list of minutes and agenda items to be noted by Council members, with Council then approving the Agenda.
( 17:00 -- 28:00 ) Presentation from Joyce Charlton, regarding Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Action Team Report -- As she introduced her report, Ms. Charlton noted that the group was no longer an active Action Team having lost their funding in late 2017.
Her report outlined the range of findings that were reviewed over the course of two years, that as part of the collaboration between the Local Action Team and area service providers, youth and families.
During that period all worked to provide for timely access to support and services for children and youth struggling with mental health concerns and substance use in Prince Rupert.
Ms Charlton reviewed the range of projects that the group worked on over the two years in Prince Rupert, with over 40 community members taking part at one time or another, lending assistance to help to provide those services to youth.
Councillor Randhawa thanked Ms. Charlton for her work in the community, while Councillor Niesh inquired as to whether additional funding may be available to keep the program going, he was advised that the moment they had not heard of any funding that can be accessed at this time,
Councillor Cunningham praised the program for its work in the city and made note of the Healthy Communities Committee that meets with Northern Health and offered up a hope that perhaps some funding could be delivered through that option.
( 28:00 -- 35:30 ) Budget Presentation Report from the Chief Financial Officer -- Ms. Corinne Bomben, the City's CFO provided a short overview of the Budget process and Five Year Financial Plan for the Council members, public gallery and those viewing the meeting at home.
When it came time for a public comment period, No one came forward to make a contribution towards the budget presentation, with the Mayor then bringing the Budget consultation process to an end.
Mayor Brain then called for any other General comments or Questions related to other aspects of the city's work.
Only one participant came forward to speak, first making a short observation on the life of Councillor Kinney and then offering comments related to the city's open burning bylaws, permitting and enforcement practices. He also raised concerns over the lack of rental space in the community and took note of the volume of buildings that stand empty and could be available for rental.
(35:30 -- 36:30 ) Regular City Council Session for March 26th, 2018 -- Mayor Brain reviewed the list of minutes and agenda items to be noted by Council members, with Council then approving the Agenda
( 36:30 - 54:00 ) Presentation from Ecotrust Canada, with Devlin Fernandes and Nathan Randall providing an update on the status of the North Coast Innovation Lab and NDIT grant application . -- The two representatives from Ecotrust Canada, led their presentation with condolences at the passing of Mr. Kinney.
From there, they provided some background on the groups history in Prince Rupert since its arrival on the national scene in 2009 and then outlined the background to the plans for development of the North Coast Innovation Lab, which will be used to help support economic alternatives that address community interests and needs.
Ms. Fernandes noted how the work of ecotrust is looking to build on the previous work of the Hays 2.0 plan and ReDesign Rupert initiatives.
As for the work of the North Coast Innovation Lab, Ms. Fernandes noted that its goal is to work on tangible projects that will build a resilient economy in the community. The lab will provide for research, facilitation, design, incubation and project coordination capacity to activate community-led projects.
To do that they will build community capacity for social innovation through workshops, partnerships, events and other forms of interactive learning.
Mr. Randall provided for the review the Innovation Lab concept and how it will be introduced into the community, with Ecotrust having held consultation sessions with community members to determine some of the initiatives that they may be able to work together on.
He made note of such areas as growing the local economy for fish and marine products, downtown revitalization, place making and livability, and economic diversification through entrepreneurship.
Ecotrust hopes to have project incubation underway in the summer of 2018 with two graduate student positions to be filled to provide for supports for their work.
They also outlined the nature of the fundraising options that they have access to, as they look to move their projects forward. As part of their overview they noted that they had recently received funding from the Rural Dividend Fund.
As they look to secure further funding, they also asked for the support from the City of Prince Rupert as they look to seek out grant funding for 70,000 dollars from the Northern Development Initiative Trust, their request mainly requires the approval of council to approach NDIT for the funding, with no financial commitment required by the City.
Council members then asked a range of questions, with Councillor Randhawa inquired about the level of businesses interest in their programs and supports.
Councillor Cunningham had one question for them, inquiring about the prospects of a project that he has long been looking to see developed, that of a Fish Market location for the Cow Bay Marina floats.
The answer didn't quite deliver the blue print for development just yet, with Mr. Randall and Ms. Fernandes noting that some study would be required with one of the two grad students to be tasked with looking into marine options and what might be required to deliver on that project and what hoops may be in the way before it could move forward.
Mr. Cunningham noted that the only hoops that should be faced would be those put in place by the city by way of permission, which he suggested should damn well be approved by the City.
He then recounted some of the history to his attempts to move the fish market initiative forward, observing that one of the main complaints that he has heard, is that there is no ability to buy local seafood from local fishermen off the dock and how he would like to see that project in place by this summer.
He outlined that from his conversations with fishermen they would be quite receptive to the idea of being able to set up on the dock and sell their product, he also made an observation as to the local economy and the fishing industry.
Observing how with the current herring fishery underway, a large volume of the fish caught in the region is now being sent to the south for processing.
Ms. Fernandes made a note that the first person that their grad students will contact for research will be Councillor Cunningham to learn more on the fish market proposal, she then outlined how ecotrust Canada does have concerns as to the nature of the adjacency of the fishery and the best way to address local jobs related to fish industry.
Mayor Brain noted that he had been working closely with them, and then offered his praise for their work to this point and thanked them both for their efforts and looked forward to working collaboratively with them.
Council then voted to approve their support for the bid for a grand from NDIT.
( 54:00 -- 55:00 ) Report from the Director of Recreation and Community Services regarding the Northern Health Imagine Grant application -- The Director outlined the nature of the grant request which would be used towards the purchase of supplies for the public skating program at the Civic Centre. Council then voted to approve the request for application.
( 55:00 -- 60:00 ) Zoning amendment Bylaw for the Supportive Housing Residence proposal for 333 11th Avenue East -- Councillor Niesh once again excused himself from the Chamber during the discussion, with the Public Hearing complete, Council reviewed the application one more time.
Councillor Mirau inquired of the City Manager as to who would be responsible for compliance enforcement related to agreement between the City and the residence.
Councillor Cunningham offered his support for the residence proposal, Councillor Randhawa also added his voice to questions on compliance enforcement.
Councillor Mirau then outlined why he was in support of the housing proposal and noted that the proponent will do some great work in the community.
Mayor Brain noted the support that the proposal received on the night from the public and added his support to the initiative and how the contract the City has signed creates an innovative solution to the process.
Councillor Cunningham noted that there had been two letters of concern related to the proposal and suggested that the proponent contact those residents to answer their questions. He noted that the supportive housing project fills a need in the community and how he hopes that it will be the start of other services being put in place in town.
Councillor Randhawa echoed many of Councillor Cunningham's comments and offered his support to the zoning amendment as well.
With that the Mayor declared that it had passed with unanimous consent, and noted that the large crowd in the gallery could now depart if they so desired.
( 60:00 -- 1:23:00 ) Report from the City Planner related to the proposed update to the City of Prince Rupert Development Procedure bylaw -- Mr Krekic provided the overview for council on the range of elements related to the new bylaw recommendations, noting that the current bylaw is over thirty years old and requires an update.
As part of the overview, he outlined where the new changes were to be put in place and what aspects would remain much the same from the document that the city operates under at the moment.
Councillor Mirau led off the discussion asking for clarification on an element related to contaminated sites and what steps the City would take to address that issue, noting that it seems that the city is taking on more than it needs to do on that issue.
Mr. Krekic reviewed some of the reasoning behind that addition to the process, adding that it may require some pressure on the provincial government to lend assistance towards that kind of oversight.
Councillor Cunningham asked as to the status of current applications that have yet to be addressed, he was advised that those currently in that phase would have to be reviewed under the old requirements, though he did note that some kind of time limitations may be required.
A second question from Councillor Cunningham raised questions related to the language of a section of the bylaw and what the reasoning was behind them.
Councillor Mirau offered one small amendment related to language, suggesting that the Council should change the wording on the nature of required meetings with the applicants.
Councillor Cunningham recounted some options explored through a workshop that Council held on the topic and asked for clarification on how he remembered those discussions.
Councillor Mirau returned to his concerns over the checklist nature of the environmental provisions of the bylaw, leading to an extensive review as to how past Council's approached the issue.
Mayor Brain noted that the bylaw proposal allows for flexibility for Council when it comes to concerns over environmental issues related to any land under consideration for development.
Council discussed some of the other elements of language related to when developers should appear in front of council to discuss potential developments. With Councillor Cunningham expressing concerns that some projects may slip through the boards before Council has even heard of them.
From that point Council carried the motion and moved the proposal forward.
( 1:233:00 to 47:00 ) Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council
Councillor Cunningham returned to a theme introduced by Councillor Niesh at the last council meeting, making note of the deteriorating condition of the city's crosswalk and street marking and other line painting.
With the Councillor suggesting that the work of the contractor that was hired was not up to any kind of standard that the city might expect and how it would require continued action to keep the markings visible.
The Mayor noted that the need to paint lines was a yearly expectation, while City Manager Robert Long provided a wider overview of the process and highlighted some possible reasons for the conditions related to the erosion of the paint this year.
Mr. Long then offered to provide Council with a report on what work was or was not done last year.
Councillor Cunningham noted that in the past the City did the work in house and he expressed the concern the they were not getting their full value for their money spent.
The City Manager observed that when they did conduct the work in house, there were periods of time when they never got the work completed owing to other staffing needs, he then once again offered to compile a report on the situation.
Councillor Randhawa asked for an update on the Friday incident which saw contractors cut down a stand of Cherry Blossom Trees adjacent to the Department of Fisheries building on Second Avenue West.
Mayor Brain recounted many of the themes that he had expressed through a Facebook post earlier in the day, noting that he had been on the phone frequently about the issue.
He directed viewers at home towards a Northern View article related to the history of the trees and then relayed what the City new about the work that was done.
He pointed towards a lack of communication between the contractor and those that issued the contract out of Victoria, he also noted that the decision was not made by DFO and that those that work in the building were as shocked as the rest of the community.
The Mayor outlined the nature of the city's response to the issue and how the events evolved as they did, reaffirming how shocked he was that the incident took place and suggested that lessons may have been learned from how the situation came to pass.
He observed that the Federal government is looking to address the situation and find an appropriate solution, with the Mayor noting he has reached out to the community to offer up some suggestions as to what the best way forward may be.
Councillor Mirau thanked the Mayor for all his work in getting the information out to the public, he then addressed a question to the City Manager about how the City could work forward on a tree cutting bylaw.
Mr. Long noted that the Federal lands would not be subject to those conditions and added that even introducing a tree bylaw may provide for unintended consequences related to private property.
Councillors Niesh and Cunningham inquired what investigations that they could explore to fine the contractor and to find out if they had a business licence to operate.
Councillor Cunningham praised an article in the weekly paper that focused on the life and career of Nelson Kinney and urged residents to look it up.
City Manager Robert Long offered up some remembrances of Mr. Kinney's passing and his strong support for city staff and their work and offered up some personal remembrances of his times in the community.
With no other comments offered up for the final portion of the evening, Council then voted to adjourn the meeting.
You can access the City Council Review for March 26th here, where a number of items regarding the council session, including links to local media coverage, can also 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 March 26, 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.
Council members next meet on Monday, April 9th.
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