Tuesday, March 12, 2019

City Council Timeline: Monday, March 11, 2019

With few members of the public on hand to weigh in on the budget and a light agenda of work on the night, Prince Rupert's City Council membership were done with the night's work in but thirty eight minutes on Monday evening.

The first twenty one minutes of the night, turned over to the Budget with Corinne Bomben the City's CFO providing a short review of the budget highlights, followed by comments from only two residents of the city.  With the two sharing their thoughts on the airport ferry, road conditions and a call for some of the tax decrease to be re-directed towards funding for community groups and projects.

A few housekeeping issues on zoning, a proclamation request and appointments by Council; along with a presentation from the Mayor on the plans for an electric vehicle charging program rounded out the night before the three quarter point of the hour.

Some background on the work of Council on the evening and the various Agenda elements for the March 11th Council session can be reviewed here

Council also met in a Closed Session with a 5 PM meeting which was closed to public viewing.

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, March 11, 2019

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

Video Archive for March 11, 2019

Regular Council Session

( 0:00 -- 1:30 )   Regular City Council Session for March  11, 2019 --  Mayor Brain called the Regular Council Session to order, with Council adopting the agenda and past minutes of previous minutes. 

(1:30 -- 21:00 ) Presentation from the City's Chief Financial Officer on the 2019 Budget -- Ms. Bomben provided for a short review of her larger Budget Presentation of two weeks ago, included in her presentation was a highlight reel from the City from the year just passed, as well the CFO used a number of slides to revisit some of the key elements of the Budget presentation of February 25th.

Ms. Bomben also noted for the public that they can participate in the Budget process through the Rupert Talks initiative, where more background on the Financial plan is available. As well she noted that the city is hosting a survey, with questions for the public to answer to help Council members with their decision making.

When it came time for comments from the Public only two residents spoke to the Budget issues.

Mr. Terry Sawka inquired about the built in Ferry charge that each airport user would find as part of their airline ticket, inquiring as to the scope of that charge. He was advised that the cost is 19 dollars per adult one way, making for a thirty eight dollar charge on the airline ticket for those travelling both ways.

Mr. Sawka also inquired as to whether there were any thoughts towards putting a two cent a litre tax on gasoline sales in the city, much like they do in Vancouver, with any revenue from that tax to be put towards road repairs across the city.

Miss Bomben observed that while a great idea, the city does not have the authority to impose such a tax, noting that Vancouver has its own charter to operate under.

He suggested that Council follow up on the idea for potential use in Prince Rupert.

Mr. Nathan Randall, spoke to the proposed two percent tax increase and offered up the suggestion that it be reduced to one percent, or that the council instead just freeze taxes for this year. Instead he suggested that council redirect the money that would be used for the tax cut towards community grants and community projects, observing how that funding would be a significant contribution towards portions of an organization budget.

Those were the only two residents to participate in the public comment period, there will be one more public opportunity for participation in the budget process, taking place on March 25th.

Reports and Recommendations

21:00 -- 23:30  )   Report from the City Planner in regard to a variance request for a property on Ambrose    -- Mr. Zeno Krekic outlined the nature of a variance request from a property owner on Ambrose Avenue, seeking to do some renovation work on their porch for the residence.

Council voted to move forward with the variance request and send the development to public notification stage.

Correspondence for Action

( 23:30 -- 26:00 ) Presentation from Joyce Charlton.Manager of the North Coast Victim Services Organization -- Ms. Charlton outlined the background for a request to declare the week of  May 26 to June 1st as Victims of Survivors of Crime Week in Prince Rupert.

Councillor Cunningham congratulated Ms. Charlton on her new position and endorsed her initiative.

Council voted to approve the proclamation.

( 26:00 --  ) Presentation from Mayor Lee Brain on the Electric Vehicle Charging initiative across Northern BC -- The Mayor outlined the work of the advisory council, which he is a member of, which is working towards introducing electric vehicle stations across the region from Haida Gwaii into the Cariboo region.

The organization now known as Charge North is currently working towards its blue print of what the program of charging stations, to be located approximately every 60 kilometres along highway 16 will look like once it moves forward.

He noted that the bulk of the financing will come by way of grants through a range of funding programs, while each Regional District and municipality is required to contribute to the initiative.

Mayor Brain observed that the resolution in front of Council was to allow the City to participate in Charge North, which would put in motion a plan for City staff to explore and map out locations in Prince Rupert for the charging stations. He noted that depending on their preference, the cost of the stations would be either $2,000, or $5,000 towards whichever station they choose to go with and how many they wish to place in the city.

He outlined how the North Coast Regional District will be considered the lead applicant for the program and will also install a station, with one on Haida Gwaii and another on the North Coast.

Councillor Randhawa inquired as to the kind of timeline that the Mayor is looking at; Mr. Brain observed that if all goes well, there could be stations in the community as soon as next year.

Councillor Adey spoke in favour of the initiative, asking about if there were any concerns related to vandalism.  He was advised that there were concerns, noting that the highway stations would be installed by BC Hydro, as for repairs, any stations that may be damaged will be the responsibility of the host community.

Councillor Cunningham offered his support for the program, but had a question on what the charging time difference between Stage One and Stage Two stations was.

The Mayor noted that the difference was that Stage Two is four hour charge, while Stage Three is a thirty minute charge. Mr. Bran added that these stations are also to double as a tourism piece as well, with displays to be part of the station to encourage those using the station to explore the community and its amenities.

He noted that the standard for most communities is to be the Stage Two machines at 2,500 each.

Mr. Cunningham observed as to how problems could arise with the lower range chargers; with residents or visitors waiting to use them, the mayor did note that local residents would be able to charge their vehicles at their own homes.

The initial phase of the program would be a five year contract for installation and maintenance on the units to be placed in each community along the corridor.

Council then voted to approve the motion to participate in the Charge North program.

( 34:00--35:00  )  Resolutions from Closed Meetings -- The City's Deputy Corporate Administrator outlined the details of a resolution from the Closed Council session of February 25th, announcing the appointment of Glenn Groulx and Chelsea Keays to another two year term with the Prince Rupert Library's Board of Directors.

( 35:00  -- 38:30 ) Reports Questions and Comments from Council members 

Councillor Adey called attention to the success of the Charles Hays Senior Boys Basketball team on the weekend as they claimed the AA Provincial championships. Mr. Adey noted that there were many people involved in the success from parents and coaches, as well as the team itself.

Councillor Randhawa inquired if the City had any plans for a celebration of the Rainmaker success.; Council decided to write a letter of congratulations to the team, while Councillor Adey suggested inviting the team to participate in this years Seafest Parade.

Councillor Cunningham made note of some upcoming Minor Hockey in town, as well as the recent success of some teams in tournaments both in BC and Alberta.

He then followed up with a question related to the city's derelict vehicle program, asking if it was going to be extended to the industrial park, noting that there were a number of abandoned vehicles there. The indications from the answer was that it was designed more towards the residential areas of the city.

He also asked about the timeline of hiring a new by-law officer should the budget be passed.

He was advised that once the budget was passed by Council, then staff could get to work on those initiatives that had been approved. The final date for Council to approve a budget is May 15th.

With no other comments from Council members, the Mayor then brought the Council session to close, reminding the public that there will be one more public consultation on the budget taking place on March 25th.

You can access the City Council Review for March 11th 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 March 11th, 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.

The Next session for Prince Rupert City Council is scheduled for March 25th, which will provide for another opportunity for comment on the Budget and Salary issues. As well it will be a Committee of the Whole Night, offering up an opportunity for the public to comment on other issues of concern to Council if they wish.

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

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