Thursday, June 28, 2018

City Council Timeline: Monday, June 25, 2018

The path ahead towards the construction of a supportive housing project on Park Avenue and a resolution on the fishery for this years UBCM dominated much of the fifty minutes from Monday's Prince Rupert City Council Session.

The Park Avenue project discussion for the most part involved the approval of the development permit for the site, but also provided a forum for council members to make inquires of the City Planner on elements of the design, as well as to make comments on some of the amenities they would like to see added to the building and property, along with some notes on safety issues related to Park Avenue.

On the fishery, Council members discussed a motion on support for the commercial fishing industry on the North Coast and the wording of a resolution that they wish to have considered at this years UBCM meetings in September.

A bylaw note and a property variance also made for part of the night's work.

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.

Monday was also a Committee of the Whole Session, which did offer the opportunity for the public to ask questions of Council or raise concerns, with one member of the public coming forward with a an item of concern for consideration of the Council members.

Some background on the items of note on the evening and the various Agenda elements for the June 25th 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 Monday, June 25, 2018

Mayor Lee Brain -- Present 
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present 
Councillor Blair Mirau --  Absent
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa--  Present 
Councillor Joy Thorkelson -- Present 

Councillor Nelson Kinney passed away on March 24th

Video Archive for June 25, 2018

Note: The City of Prince Rupert has not made the video of Monday evening's council session available for re-broadcast, no explanation has been provided as to the nature of its absence.

Update:  The June 25th council Video was uploaded to the City's YouTube portal on July 6, 2018

(0:00 -- 10:00)  Committee of the Whole Session for June 25, 2018  --  Mayor Brain reviewed the list of minutes and agenda items to be noted by Council members, with Council then approving the Agenda.

Council opened the Committee of the Whole session by calling form comments related to the 2018 Annual Report, no members of the public came forward to offer up any thoughts related to the Report.

One member of the public provided for other comments and observations for council with Sharon Jo Scott taking to the microphone  to express concerns over the location of the proposed supportive housing project to be developed on Park Avenue. Offering up some thoughts on how the location may not be the best location as a mix with other housing, social and commercial options in the area. 

The main thrust of her observations however, were to review some of the past public engagements hosted  in the community such as the Placemaking session and other civic initiatives.  From those gatherings Ms. Scott then asked for support from Council to go forward with a proposal for a community house to be developed in the McKay Street housing area, a gathering spot for the residents of that area to come together to address local issues and empower the people in the neighbourhood to bring about some change for their area.

The Mayor noted that the role of Council in Committee of the Whole is not to act on requests, but Mr. Brain added that what the city could do is to organize a meeting with MLA Rice's office to discuss the request further.

With no other members of the public coming forward to comment or ask questions, the Mayor brought the public comment portion of the evening to a close and moved on to the Regular Council Agenda.


(10:00 -- 11:00 )   Regular City Council Session for June 25, 2018  --  Mayor Brain reviewed the list of minutes and agenda items to be noted by Council members, including one late addition, with Council then approving the Agenda

( 11:00 -- 33:30Presentation City Planner Zeno Krekic, related to a Development Permit for 1500 Park Avenue, home for the proposed 36 Unit BC housing Project  -- Mr. Krekic reviewed the background to the proposed development, noting that it had been referred to appropriate authorities at the Ministry of Transportation, as well as the city's Fire Department and Building department, with neither of the latter raising any concerns.

The Ministry of Transportation did however, highlight notes related to potential parking issues and Ministry regulations related to travel along Park Avenue which is part of the Highway 16 system.

The Mayor outlined how the City had been involved in the project by looking for available properties for development on a long term, low lease basis, determining that the only one that was suitable and ready for civic services was the Park Avenue site selected by the City for the project.

Mr. Brain also observed as to how the housing development is to be operated by the Transition Hosue Society, which is on an adjoining lot, it is felt that there are no concerns over security and other issues related to the site.

Councillor Thorkelson inquired as to the nature of the construction and how the project will be assembled on the site and what it will look like, she was advised that they are modular units and that the completed structure will most resemble a modest apartment building. Offering up the apartments on Park Avenue near Five Corners as perhaps the best example.

The Mayor also outlined some of the details to the operation of the building and what life support options will be provided through BC Housing and the Transition House Society.

Councillor Randhawa inquired about on site management of the building, with Mr. Brain answering the question noting that Transition House staff will be providing 24 hour management for the building once it is in operation.

Mr. Krekic made note of the limited parking options for the site, noting how the main focus of the building was for homeless or near homeless, he advised that if BC Housing was to expand the mandate for the building, then the onus would be on them to add to parking for the site.

Councillor Cunningham made note of the potential traffic dangers for the site, observing as to the speed on the highway at that part of the city, noting that there should be some discussion about a cross walk or some other option to ensure for safe transit across a very busy roadway. He also inquired as to the status of fencing for the property.

The Mayor asked about buffers for the building and whether some of the trees may be left in place to provide for a natural buffer.

Councillor Niesh offered up his support for the project and its location, noting the ongoing need to address the homeless issue in the community.

The Mayor also observed that he had viewed a similar style of housing last year at the UBCM gathering and it was of high quality, he added that the structure proposed for Prince Rupert was part of the province's rapid response to housing issues and that the city has a choice to either approve a project like this on not, and if not, they will have people living on the streets.

Councillors Cunningham and Thorkelson also raised issues of aesthetics and safety for the site, calling for such amenities as a garden, benches, a fountain and such to add some green space to the project.

Ms. Thorkelson also noted some of the comments from those living on the streets and their concerns of having somewhere outside to gather and not to just be confined into a single room. She also echoed Councillor Cunningham's concerns over the safety related to Park Avenue and  how the city needs to put their minds towards that.

The Mayor offered the observation that some discussion has been taking place related to that issue.

Mr Krekic noted that the wouldn't be inclined to recommend any slow down of  the development of the project to address those concerns at the moment, noting that it is heading into a critical period of time towards getting a start on construction.

Council then voted to approve the development permit, the next phase for the project will be to apply for a building permit before commencing construction.

33:30 -- 36:00 )  Presentation City Planner Zeno Krekic, related to an Application for Development Variance Permit for a property on 1st Avenue West   -- Mr. Krekic provided some details related to the permit request, which is to add a deck to the front of the property setback in question.

Council members vote to approve the variance application, with the process now to go to public notification.

( 36:00 -- 37:00 ) Report from the City Manager : 2017 Annual Report --  With Council having hosted the public comment period prior to the Regular Council Session and with no comments from the public to consider,  Council then approved the 2017 Annual Report.

The Mayor added his thanks to staff for their work on the Annual Report and called attention to some new features that have been added to it.

( 37:00 -- 45:00 ) Correspondence For Action - Resolution for UBCM on the Commercial Fishery -- The late addition to the Agenda for the night brought up a resolution from Council back in March, with the Mayor reviewing the details of that resolution for Council's consideration as an addition as a resolution for consideration by the UBCM gathering in September.

Councillor Cunningham provided his thoughts in support of the request, noting that all the community was asking for was equal treatment with the east coast and calling attention to the job losses in the community from last year. Adding that the region is in a crisis when it comes to the fishery on the North Coast and how the fishermen are the ones with the best knowledge of the issues of the fishery.

He noted that there has been no response as of yet from the Federal government related to the crisis on the North Coast and how the resolution may bring some action for the community.

Councillor Thorkelson also expanded on the theme, asking for some friendly amendments towards fleet adjacency options. She called for a start of discussion at the UBCM level and noted the recent moves by the provincial government to address the concerns with the fishery at the provincial level and how if the resolution was passed at the UBCM level it would provide an additional voice towards moving the Federal government to take action.

She observed that time is of importance as the Federal government will be in election mode by next year and that this fall is the time to make their voices heard in Ottawa and strike while the iron is hot.

Council voted to approve the motion.

45:00 -- 46:00  ) Recommendation of the Adoption of Election Voting procedure and automated vote counting system bylaw -- Council voted to adopt the bylaw

( 46:00 -- 49:00  Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

Councillor Niesh reported on his attendance at the Charles Hays Secondary School and Pacific Coast School Graduation Ceremonies as a representative of the city, noting how he spoke to the group and tried to convince them to return to town following their additional studies to help grow the town.

Councillor Randhawa passed on his congratulations on the opening of both the Atlin Promenade and Mariner's Park and noted the community partnerships that were formed to bring those two openings together.

Councillor Thorkelson outlined the current plan for fishing in the region with a two week window on the Nass for the fishing fleet to catch fish in the region, with the seine fleet's arrival anticipated to be July 5th.

Councillor Cunningham also took note of the opening of Mariner's Park and the atmosphere that the opening created in the park, he also paid tribute to those that contributed towards the park revival as well as to hail the work of city workers in helping to install the new park, adding that he wanted to make sure that they were recognized as well.

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 June 25th herewhere 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 June 25, 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 now heads into it summer schedule of reduced meetings, with only one meeting to be held in July, with another in August.

Council members next meet on Monday, July 23, 2018

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

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