Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Council Timeline: Monday, January 28, 2019

An opportunity for residents to speak to council proved to be the highlight portion of the January 28th Council session, a thirty five minute free for all that delivered a range of topics and talking points from the Committee of the Whole session.

And while the City's audio and video feed was suffering some extreme glitches on the night, what was available to review does offer a good glimpse into the items of interest among those who took the time to share their thoughts with their elected officials.

The Regular Agenda items which only required twelve minutes of Council's time, provided for reports on potential grant funding opportunities and a list of arrangements that the City has finalized with the SPCA, Curling Club and Racquet Centre.

Council also reviewed a letter from Kaien Trails seeking the support of Council for its own quest for grant funding towards development of a trail project along McClymont Park.

Some background on the work of Council on the evening and the various Agenda elements for the January 28th Council session can be reviewed here.

Council also met in a closed session earlier in the evening, hosting a 5 PM meeting, that in camera session carried on following the Regular council session, with the meeting returning to its closed door status.

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, January 28, 2018

Mayor Lee Brain -- Present 
Councillor Nick Adey --  Present 
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present 
Councillor Blair Mirau -- Absent
Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven --  Present 
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa--  Present 

Video Archive for January 28, 2019


Committee of the Whole

(0:00 -- 1:00 )  Adoption of Agenda -- The Mayor called the Committee of the Whole meeting to order. He then asked Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven to deliver the acknowledgement that the Council session wast taking place on the traditional territory of the Allied Nine Tribes  of the Lax Kw'alaams  and Metlakatla and Coast Tsimshian people, thanking the people for coming out to attend and to allow Council to hold the gathering.

( 1:00 -- 13:00 ) Presentation from Tom Kertes of Community for Clean Water -- Mr. Kertes who is one of the organizers of the community group Community for Clean Water delivered a presentation that outlined his group's concerns related to the recent Boil Water Order that was in place for six weeks in the community.

The main focus for their concerns was to speak for those that were at the most risk and who did  not have the resources to access clean water during that period.

He observed ow the last month has been an introduction to local government and how he had left the last council presentation somewhat disappointed, noting that over the last two weeks members of Council had reached out to him to hear more of his concerns and that has reassured him as to how the community could work together.

Towards the water issue he delivered three points from his organization on the water issue.

Among the observations how access to water is a human right, as well as a look at the approach that the city is taking to seeking out grants towards improving the city's water issues.

Noting that there is no magic wand to solve the issues, he then outlined how there is a need for what he called guard rails to help residents towards a preparedness plan for the city's infrastructure program.

He outlined how he believes there is a need for a plan to be in place should the city face the same situation again, calling for more transparency and a better process for sharing of information for the public in those instances.

He called attention to the Community for Clean Waters proposal (see here) for Council to consider, highlighting how information should be posted to the city website first and with as much information as possible. 

As for any review of how the city handled the recent Boil Water Notice, Mr. Kertes observed how it should be more than an internal review, calling for an outside expert on water quality to provide for the review to help rebuild the trust for the community on water issues.

Towards the results of the review, he suggested that there should be a reach out to those residents who were most impacted by the situation; as well as to consult with the community at large including business, health authority, institutional and the vulnerable residents themselves.

The Mayor thanked him for his presentation, in follow up to his comments, Councillor Adey commented on the many points and good ideas that were included in Mr. Kertes review and found the recent conversations with him very productive. As for the nature of the review ahead, the council member offered up belief in his faith in city staff to conduct that review with great integrity and forthrightness and that he anticipates good things to come out of that process.

Councillor Cunningham echoed some of the same points as Councillor Adey, adding that he believes many of the concerns  raised have already been recognized, he also added that he believes the integrity of staff is beyond reproach and how they will compile the after action report that Council will review. He observed that lessons have been learned from the situation and that the only way you learn is sometimes to make mistakes.

Mr. Cunningham also outlined how he had met with some of the vulnerable groups in the city following his discussion with Mr. Kertes and noted that some community groups had reached out to them during the course of the six weeks. To wrap up his comments he too thanked Mr. Kertes for his presentation.

( 16:00 -- 34:00  Public comment period of Committee of Whole --

Ms. Shelly Starr spoke to her thoughts related to some policing notes, as well as her concern over traffic and speeding issues in the community. She also inquired about future steps towards the development of the McKay Street Park.

Mr. Joey Jacks inquired of council as to whether they would be interested in writing a letter to seek out a BC Government Cannabis store for the community, citing the well paid union jobs that such a retail operation would bring to the city.

Larry Golden offered up some thoughts on the state of recycling in the community, asking for more collection boxes and larger ones, to be set up around the city to help encourage recycling. He also suggested that the city conduct a survey on recycling issues.

He also made an inquiry as to the current pay status for the City Council, with a focus in particular on what the Mayor's salary level is at currently.  The Mayor noted that the pay issue had reverted to its previous level as the Mayoralty top up through Major Projects had a sunset clause attached to it that expired at the end of December, Mr. Brain also observed that a committee to review salary issues would be delivering its findings during the budget process this year.

Mr. Cunningham addressed the recycling concerns, offering up some of his observations on the topic and outlining some of the steps that the City has taken and what it is still considering, including the consideration of perhaps starting home curb side collection for recycled goods.

Dave McKeever, representing the Chamber of Commerce paid tribute to the way that City Council had handled the recent Boil Water Notice and water concerns in the community.

Mr. Joe Lewis, who was representing the Mr. Nice Guys Cannabis Corporation spoke to Councils approach to its Cannabis retail launch in the community and its sole focus on the retail side of the industry.  He observed as to the potential for cannabis production and the jobs that it would create for the region and how his business proposal could deliver revenue and employment to the community.

Councillor Niesh and Mayor Brain observed that at the moment Council was only considering the retail opportunities as part of the city's entry into the new Cannabis regulations as part of their steps and how they were working towards the other elements.

Mayor Brain  noted that council was not looking to debate the issue with him at this time, and also observed as to how the city was currently following the guidelines of the province as part of their process towards their cannabis consideration, calling for patience as they work towards the other aspects of the industry.

With No other residents approaching to share comments, the Mayor then returned the Council to the Regular Council Session.


Regular Council Session

( 35:00 -- 36:30 )   Regular City Council Session for November January 29, 2019  --  Adoption of Agenda,  the Mayor called the Regular Council Session to order, with Council adopting the agenda and past minutes of previous minutes. Councillor Cunningham pointed out an error in the minutes of the last meeting.

36:30 -- 38:30  )   Report from the Recreation Director  and Community Services on a number of capital projects proposed for the Recreation Department and Lester Centre    -- The Recreation Director David Geronazzo,  outlined the nature of the upgrade program and the grant application for funding of $482,705, which will include the city's portion of $175,560 as part of the city's 2019 budget. He noted that the capital projects have already been allocated and would not be an increase to the capital budget. The work to be done has been combined as part of  the Recreation and Culture Energy Efficiency and Risk Management Upgrade Project.

Councillor Randhawa inquired if this would require a tax increase, Mr. Geronazzo  noted that it would not be an increase in the capital budget, the Mayor added that he thought it was a good project and thanked him for his diligence on it.

Council then voted to approve the proposal.

38:30 -- 40:00  )   Report from the Communications Manger on capacity funding for Emergency Services   -- Ms. Veronika Stewart outlined the background to a grant funding program that would allow the city to access the financial resources to purchase emergency service equipment and supplies. The city would apply for $25,000 in funding through a UBCM funding program, that would allow the city to purchase, radios and identification vests as well as to put some money towards an engineering cost estimate for a generator fo the public works department. With the funding program at 100 percent there would be no cost implications for the city.

( 40:00 -- 45:30  ) Reports from the City Financial Officer on behalf of the Corporate Administrator -- Ms. Corinne Bomben spoke on behalf of the Corporate Administrator who was not in attendance and delivered three reports to Council outlining the following:

SPCA Society -- A review of the details of the City's allocation towards the SPCA for a  three year period, the nature of the Service agreement that would provide certainty for the Agency would require funding from the city of $25,000 per year over the three year term. It is a continuation of funding that the city already provides for.

Racquet Centre -- Ms. Bomben outlined how the city owns the building (located adjacent to the golf course) with the city leasing it to the club for one dollar a year for a three year term.

Curling Club -- Ms. Bomben provided the background to the arrangement with the Curling Club, which is also for one dollar a year and for a lease term of five years.

All three initiatives will require advertisement in the local paper at a cost of approximately 400 dollars, along with whatever legal fees are included as part of the arrangements expected to be at around 1,000 dollars.

Mayor Brain observed how the changes to the process is to provide for some certainty towards their planning, Ms. Bomben noted that the situation the Mayor referenced was in place for the SPCA only.

Councillor Cunningham inquired if the SPCA had at one time been contracted to handle dog catching duties, with no one sure of the answer towards that, he then suggested that the city may wish to seek out that option, in order to free up the city's bylaw officer for other duties.

Councillor Adey asked for clarification on the terms related to the Racquet Centre and Gold Club at a lease of one dollar per year and asked if there were any other buildings that the city offers a similar leasing arrangement for.

He was advised that the Lester Centre is also subject to the one dollar a year lease provisoin.

Council then voted to accept the three recommendations.

45:30-46:00 ) Correspondence for Action -- Council received a letter from Kaien Trails seeking the support of Prince Rupert City Council as it pursues funding opportunities for a trail development proposed for the McClymont Creek area.

Council approved the motion to provide a letter of support toward the Kaien Trails initiatives.

( 46:00 - 47:00 ) Reports and Comments from Council members 

Councillor Skelton Morven offered up his thanks to those who took the time to attend the council session and speak to the issues raised in the Committee of the Whole. He noted that it was important that council take the time to listen and be able to learn and to collaborate with the community and observed as to the passion of the community during the testing times of the recent Boil Water Notice, he also thanked Tom Kertes for his presentation on behalf of Community for Clean Water.

The Mayor then brought the Regular Public Council session to close, advising that the Council membership would then return to their Closed Door session which had started at 5 PM, he did not expand on the nature of those discussions.

You can access the City Council Review for January 28, 2019 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 January 28, 2019 (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, February  11, 2019. 

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

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