Thursday, August 30, 2018

City Council Timeline: Monday, August 20, 2018

As we return to the blog,  we first play a bit of catch up on city council themes, offering up our look at the August 20th City Council session.

An evening which provided a presentation on housing that brought back a controversial move from ten years ago for council to revisit, as a pair of residents on the city's east side find themselves on the cusp of eviction from what was once the Mountain View Trailer Park.

As well, Council members finally received their once delayed update from Ridley Terminalson the plans to add a second shipment berth at the Ridley Island facility.

Variance permits, correspondences to Council and bylaw issues took up the bulk of the remainder of the night, along with a report from the City's Financial Officer on the June Budget variance results.

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 was the forum for the housing issue on the east side to be explained.

Some background on the work of Council on the evening and the various Agenda elements for the August 20th 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 Monday, August 20, 2018

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

Councillor Nelson Kinney passed away on March 24th

Video Archive for August 20, 2018

(0:00 -- 16:00)  Committee of the Whole Session for August 20, 2018  --

The only business  for the Committee of the whole process, was to take public comments from those in attendance..

Starting off that process was Paul Lagace, from the Prince Rupert Unemployment Action Centre, advocating for two residents of a trailer park in what was once known as the Mountain View East park off of Frederick Street, recounting for council the history of their residence in an area and ongoing dispute related to their home ownership in an area that is now mostly zoned as an industrial area.

At the heart of the dispute now, is an attempt by the owner to evict them from the property, with Mr. Lagace offering up his interpretation of events that by their actions, the owners were not only trying to break a contract with the home owners but they are going back on arrangements made with the city of Prince Rupert to have the land rezoned.

He asked if there was any action that the city of Prince Rupert could do to assist the residents to help them keep their manufactured homes as a result of the owners attempts.

He noted that the two homes in question are the two last manufactured homes in the community and there is nowhere for them to move their homes.

The two residents offered up their personal testimony of the situation and the seemingly deteriorating relationship with the property landlord.

The Mayor spoke first to the issue, calling it an unfortunate event, but noting that the city would have to explore the issue further before they could offer an opinion and response on the situation.

Councillor Cunningham offered up the observation that in in his mind a deal is a deal, calling attention to the nature of the city's arrangement of ten years ago with the property owner. Noting how he doesn't know where the city stands on the issue, that it does call attention to some of the zoning issues that the city has to review.

Councillor Thorkelson, who was on council during the original agreement between the city and the landowner and works in Fisherman's Hall with Mr. Legace, recounted some of the history related to the issue of ten years ago, she also provided some background material from the original documentation. Ms. Thorkelson observed that this incident gives council pause to consider whether they should rezone anything or believe anybody. adding that it also means that Council needs better advice when it considers zoning issues.

Councillor Niesh asked one question on the issue about the nature of the length of time of the notice that was provided.

To bring the presentation to an end, Mayor Brain thanked the delegation for attending and promised a prompt response and reply from the city.

No other residents approached council with comments or concerns for the Committee of the Whole, with the Mayor then bringing the process to an end


(16:00 -- 17:00 )   Regular City Council Session for August 20, 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.

( 17:00 -- 41:00Petitions and Delegations -- Presentation to City Council from representatives of Ridley Terminals   -- Ridley President and CEO Marc Dulude and Michelle Bryant-Gravelle  provided an update for council on a planned expansion project at the industrial site on Ridley Island, work which will include the addition of a second shipping berth southeast of the existing dock at the coal shipping facility.

In addition to a presentation on what the new facility will look like and the space it will take up on the Ridley waterfront, Ms. Bryant-Gravelle provided a look at the range of steps required before authorization for the project will be provided.

As for the timeline, consultation through a technical committee with First Nations is underway related to their expansion plans, after that step a decision is expected from the Federal Government by the end of this year.

Public input will be sought out once those steps are complete as part of the evaluation process. Two public Open Houses are planned for October of this year, one for Prince Rupert and one for Port Edward.

With Ridley Terminals in the news recently related to a potential sale of the property by the Federal Government, Council members weighed in with comments for the Ridley representatives on that theme.

Councillor Niesh inquired if it would go ahead should the Terminal be sold, a process that is currently in motion, Mr. Dulude observed that while those discussions continue, for Ridley it's business as usual and that the need for a second dock is something that Ridley needs to address in order to meet capacity requirements. He also noted how a second dock would assist RTI in its approach towards diversification into the future.

Councillor Cunningham, asked as to what other bulk commodities that Ridley may be looking to ship out of the Terminal facility,  the RTI President however, did not offer up any indication as to what forms of other commodities may be in the future for the terminal.

Mr. Cunningham also inquired as to how many additional jobs may be created by the expansion. He was advised that from their current level of employment of 125 employees, an additional twenty five jobs will be created, with a dedication towards gender and origin equity employment to provide for a better representation of the local population.

Mr. Cunningham also complimented RTI for their community involvement, pointing out how Ms. Bryant-Gravelle has a strong presence in the community.

Councillor Randhawa asked for the timeline of the project and when the first ship will dock at the new terminal, he was advised that the hope is to have all ready to go by the first quarter of 2021.

In a follow up, Mr. Randhawa asked about taking advantage of training local residents for positions at the facility, he was advised by Ms. Gravelle-Bryant that RTI has a partnership with both SD52 and Coast Mountain College for training, while Mr. Dulude noted that Ridley was also providing resources towards robotics training in local schools.

Councillor Thorkelson had comments related to the disposal plans both on land and in the water that will be required for the expansion project, she also offered up her concern at the prospect of the Federal Government selling the property.

Offering up her view that Council should take a stand on the potential sale, as they have in the past, noting that they don't really know who will be looking to purchase the terminal and what their plans may be, whether it be to operate the facility or to close it, offering up her concern on the issue, adding that the people of Canada subsidized RTI when it was doing poorly and now that it is on the cusp of moving forward the people of Canada won't get to gain the profits of the facility.

She would like to see the city put some pressure on the federal government to keep the facility owned by Canadian ownership.

Mr. Dulude once again noted, that for RTI the approach is business as usual and observed as to the consultation process and noted that any comments should be directed towards the Federal Minister.

With no further questions and to bring their review to a close, Mayor Brain thanked the RTI representatives for their time and presentation.

41:00 -- 42:00 )   Opportunity to comment related to an Application for Development Variance Permits -- Mayor Brain outlined how the process works related to the two properties in question one on Overlook, the other on First Avenue West.

With no members of the public coming forward, council then moved on to other business.

( 42:00 -- 44:30 )   Report from City Planner Zeno Krekic, related to an Application for Development Variance Permit for a property at 1641 Overlook Street  -- Mr. Krekic provided some background related to the variance request, which is to add a new deck to the residence in question.

Council members voted to approve the variance application, with the process now to go to Final Consideration.

44:30 -- 46:30 )   Report from City Planner Zeno Krekic, related to an Application for Development Variance Permit for a property at 1045 First Avenue West  -- Mr. Krekic provided some background related to the variance request, which is to make a variation to the front property setback.

Council members voted to move the variance application to final consideration.

( 46:30 -- 49:30 Report from the Approving Officer  -- Mr. Richard Pucci the City's Director of Operations, speaking on behalf of the Approving Officer provided details related to proposal to stratify a duplex on Seal Cove circle into two strata properties.

He reviewed the background to the proposal in front of council and relayed how all conditions had been met and there are no identifiable costs associated with the request

Councillor Randhawa inquired as to the status of the property tax for the property in question, Ms. Bomben noted that there were a number of factors involved in determining what the assessed value would be.

Councillor Cunningham noted that the property recently had suffered a fire and inquired about some of the firewall requirements in place.

Council then voted to approve the strata conversion.

( 49:30 -- 50:30 )Report from the Chief Financial Officer -- June 2018 Financial Variance Report -- Council received a report for consideration from the City's CFO Corinne Bomben, who noted that all operating revenues and expenses were on track as of June and on budget, with capital projects ongoing, however as it is midway through the construction season, costs will be reported month by month.   She also observed that the next phase of the Woodworth Dam project, one of the largest of the year, is now out for tender, with the bulk of that cost to be found as part of the water budget for next year.

Council accepted the report with no comments or questions.

50:30 -- 51:30 Correspondences to Council -- The Mayor outlined the nature of a letter from the Prince Rupert and District Metis Society, asking for a proclamation of November 12 to 16, 2018 as Metis awareness week in the City of Prince Rupert.

The Mayor observed that it was something that Council naturally would like to do, with Councillor Mirau inquiring if any events were planned, the Mayor did not know if any plans were in motion for the week. Council members approved the request.


( 51:30 -- 52:00 ) Vehicle for Hire Regulation Amendment Bylaw  -- With Councillor Randhawa excusing himself from the conversation due to conflict of interest, Council members reviewed the proposed change to the bylaw which adjusts the period of licensing. With no comments or concerns expressed in relation to the bylaw proposal, Council voted to give final reading to approve the amendment.

( 19:45 -- 27:00 ) Reports and Comments from Council members

Councillor Randhawa thanked the city workers for their work during the tourism season.

Councillor Mirau asked a question of CFO Bomben related to the MSP phase out by the provincial government, asking if the Council could get a report on the financial impact on the projected cost to the City of Prince Rupert on payroll taxes related to the new approach from the province.

Councillor Cunningham observed on his participation in the Overlook Community Garden build day, noting how the community had come together to get involved in that initiatives, hailing the work of Sarah Dancer and the Transition Society of Prince Rupert. Adding how he hopes to see other areas of town adopt the program.

He then asked questions of the city's purchasing policy and whether it is lowest price, or if it involves other factors. In response, the City's CFO outlined that cost and other qualitative factors were considered, including capabilities and letters of reference among the factors used.

In a follow up Mr. Cunningham asked if local businesses were given preference if they are within a certain percentage of the lowest bid, he was advised that it was not currently the city's policy.

Mr. Cunningham then turned his attention to a concern from a resident who had suffered a broken water line and expressed concern over the cost, which he considered to be rather steep, Ms. Bomben advised that she could look into it.

The final topic from the Councillor involved a look at a resolution from February 26th calling for an invitation schedule at Committee of the Whole meetings, for progress reports from local organizations and services.

Noting that it was now six months later and not one of the groups he listed had yet to appear, Mr. Cunningham further  observed that council introduced that plan to enhance on its goal of transparency for the public, he noted that since there were now no more COW sessions planned prior to the October election, that he hopes that the next Council would embrace that goal of more transparency.

The Mayor noted how he didn't know how that maybe fell off the radar, but that he would look into the issue.

Councillor Niesh  made note that this years election will take place in October, announcing the he would be putting his name forward for this years election period.

Councillor Thorkelson asked if anyone had taken note of the consultation date from the Ridley Terminals process, with the Mayor observing that he didn't believe that they had stated a set date, offering up the prospect of contacting MP Nathan Cullen to determine that information.

Ms. Thorkelson returned to her previous theme of the Ridley presentation to again stress how the City needs to be involved in having their voice heard when it comes to any potential sale of the industrial terminal.

Noting how previous City councils took a stand against the sale of the terminal and urging Council to again to take a similar stand against the sale. She offered up the prospect of the City of Prince Rupert writing a letter to be included as part of the process, to ask that the Terminal be kept in federal hands.

Councillor Cunningham agreed with Ms. Thorkelson's suggestion, noting how they have been a strong presence in the community and it would be convenient for the terminal to be purchased and shut down by competitors.

The Mayor outlined how the process should be addressed at the next Council session, Ms. Thorkelson noted her only concern is that the process may be underway prior to the next Council session on September 4th.

Mr. Brain noted that the city could find out and call a special council session if required.

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 August 20 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 August 20, 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.

As part of their reduced schedule of work for the summer, Council members next meet on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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

No comments:

Post a Comment