Wednesday, October 23, 2019
City Council Timeline: Monday, October 21, 2019
The expression of democracy at the local level was in motion downtown at Prince Rupert City Hall, as the city's six council members and Mayor settled in for forty minutes or so for local governance issues.
Half the Council session was turned over to the Committee of the Whole Process, which included a presentation from Joe Griffith of the Prince Rupert SPCA, who delivered an update on local issues at the Prince Rupert Boulevard facility.
The remainder of the night had Council members work through a fairly brief Agenda which covered some variance permit requests, correspondences for action and announcements from former closed sessions.
The Council members also provided some additional themes for discussion at the end of the night, that before the session came to a close and members went off to view the results of the Federal election night.
Some background on the work of Council on the evening and the various Regular Meeting and Committee of the Whole Agenda elements for the October 21st Council session can be explored here.
Council also met in a closed session earlier in the evening, hosting a 5 PM meeting that shut the doors owing to one element of the Community charter.
90.1 (e) the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements, if the council considers that disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality;
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, October 21, 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 Monday, October 21, 2019
Committee of the Whole
( 0:00 -- 1:00 ) Adoption of Agenda -- Mayor Brain called the Committee of the Whole meeting to order, outlining the elements of the Committee session.
( 1:00 -- 13:30 ) Presentation from SPCA -- City Council received a presentation from Joe Griffith from the Prince Rupert SPCA, who offered up an overview of some of the developments at the local shelter.
Among the statistical review he noted that the Shelter has taken in 256 intakes, with 153 of those strays within the community, as well the SPCA has also provided spay and neuter service on 104 animals.
The local adoption level so far is 93 taken in by local residents as domestic pets, Mr. Griffith also observed how the Prince Rupert shelter is primarily a transfer shelter with 154 transfers out of the community to date.
When it comes to fostering in the community to date 22 animals have been taken in on a temporary basis by local residents, with fostering an area which the SPCA would like to improve on in the community.
He also outlined how the one vet in the community had moved on from his practice as of September 30th, which means the city is now served through the use of locums who come to the community on a rotating schedule.
Mr. Griffith also outlined how a potential solution is the SPCA mobile unit which is currently based in Smithers and could be brought to the community to help alleviate some of the pressures in the city when it comes to spaying and neutering program.
Something which he noted might be of great assistance when it comes to an explosion of wild or feral cats in the community at the moment.
He also outlined some of the challenges that the shelter faces, noting how they need more volunteers but that the Prince Rupert Boulevard location is one not accessible by public transit, observing that if they could have that access they may see an increase of volunteer workers.
When it came to questions, Councillor Adey inquired as to how long the SPCA hold animals in foster care and what process they have in place on how to deal with them.
He was advised that part of the issue is the need to spay and neuter them and to ensure that they are in good health before they can be released for adoption. When it comes to deciding which animals are adopted in town and which ones are moved to other communities, the SPCA has a coordinator that works towards the placement depending on the demand locally.
Councillor Niesh asked for more details on the mobile unit program asking towards cost and time frame for visits. He was advised that the cost towards bringing the mobile unit would be at 20,000 dollars based on two sessions of three visits over six days. Which works out to around $165 per animal for a spay and neuter program.
As for arranging for the program Mr. Griffith observed that it would be a low cost solution, though noting how it would need to be advertised and would require a large number of volunteers and some additional space for recovery for the animals.
He highlighted how it would bring attention towards how it is a community problem and would help to bring the community together.
Councillor Cunningham asked what percentage that the feral cats make for in the community and how the program may work towards that issue, Mr. Griffith noted how he didn't have those figures handy.
As for treating the feral cat concerns in the community, the SPCA's first preferred approach would be to offer the spay and neuter program to those in lower income categories in the area who many not currently be able to afford it, Mr. Griffith further noted how the process of capturing the feral cats one that would be quite challenging for the local branch at the moment.
Council wrapped up the presentation by thanking him for his review for them.
Public comment period of Committee of Whole
( 13:30 -- 17:30 ) City resident Larry Golden came forward to offer up some suggestions on how Prince Rupert could approach issues related to climate change and the strategies that the city may have towards that theme, including a call for quarterly reports for the community on the issue.
( 17:30 -- 19:00 ) Councillor Nick Adey made note of some commentaries on social media about some recent incidents of residents being attacked in the community and how there is a need for more information to come from the local detachment of the RCMP in the City.
From his observations the Councillor outlined how he was looking for semi-regular updates from the detachment on a range of topics such as dealings with the homeless, drugs and family abuse to name a few, noting how it may help provide for solid information for the public. The Mayor suggested that the City should seek to bring a member to attend to the next Committee of the Whole process, as part of the City's efforts to get community updates.
( 19:00-19:30 ) Adjournment to reconvene as Regular Council Session
Regular Council Session
( 19:30 -- 20:30 ) Regular City Council Session for Monday, October 21, 2019 -- Mayor Brain called the Regular Council meeting to order, reviewing the past minutes and other notes from previous meetings, as well as to add two additional items to the Agenda for the evening.
Petitions and Delegations
Reports and Recommendations
( 20:30 -- 24:00 ) Report from the City Planner related to an Application for a Variance Development Period for a property on Kaien Road -- City Planner Zeno Krekic outlined the nature of the request from Four Seasons Maintenance which is looking to build a storage shed on their property, which would be slightly above the city's regulations.
Noting that it's location in the Industrial area, Mr. Krekic observed that it was reasonable to make an exception for this request.
Councillor Niesh made an inquiry as to whether if it was normal for industrial areas to have to make requests for such variances, and how we was of the opinion it may not be something that is necessary, suggesting that Council should consider changes to it policies.
Mr. Krekic noted how, he has included that concept in a report on changes to policy, and that it was a topic that should be discussed for further action.
Council voted its approval which will send the process to final consideration.
( 24:00 -- 25:30 ) Report from the City Planner in relation to an application for a Development Variance Permit for a property on Seventh Avenue East -- Mr. Krekic outlined the nature of the request and renovation plans for the property in question. Noting that no comments have been received expressing any concern over the proposed variance.
Council members had no questions or concerns related to the application and Council moved the process forward towards final consideration.
( 25:30 -- 27:30 ) Correspondences for Action. -- Council considered two requests for letters of support from the Gitmaxmak'ay Nisga'a Society, as Councillor Mirau is the CEO of the Society he excused himself from the Discussion.
Mayor Brain outlined the nature of the two requests, the first asking for a letter of Support towards their plans to seek funding from the Northern Development Initiative Trust for an upgrade to the Nisga'a Hall as part of their Cruise Modernization Project.
As well Council was asked for a letter of support towards the Society's plans to seek NDIT funding towards development of a hydroponic greens project.
Councillor Adey made note of a recent presentation that he attended that featured the theme of hydroponics and how he reviewed it with enthusiasm and was in support of the request for a letter from the City.
Councillor Cunningham noted how the project fit into the kind of thinking that the Mayor has in mind for his Sustainable communities proposals and how it could prove to be a good example for other groups in the community.
Council then voted in approval for the request for the letters of support.
( 27:30-- 29:00 ) Correspondence for Action -- The Prince Rupert Curling Club is seeking a letter of Support towards a funding request to the Northern Development Initiative Trust related to the need to replace ice making equipment at the Seal Cove facility -- Mayor Brain outlined the nature of the request. Following its introduction, Councillor Niesh spoke in favour of the request for the letter of support noting how the City needs to have such pursuits available to attract residents to the area.
Council voted to approve the resolution.
( 29:30-- 30:00 ) Correspondence for Action -- The Prince Rupert Rotary Club is seeking a resolution of support towards declaring October 24th as World Polio Day in Prince Rupert -- Mayor Brain outlined the nature of the request, Council voted to approve the resolution.
( 30:00 --31:00 ) Resolution from Closed meeting -- Corporate Administration Officer Rosa Miller released information from the Council Closed meeting of October 7th.
As the first report involved the addition of Mrs. Miller to a position on city staff, the City's Chief Financial Officer made the news of her appointment as Corporate Administrator official. The Mayor followed up that announcement with his congratulations.
Mrs. Miller then outlined the nature of the second announcement, that of the appointment of City Staff members Hans Seidemann and Tanya Ostrom to the North Coast Regional District Recycling Advisory Committee.
( 31:00 -- 34:00 ) Report from the City Planner in relation to a zoning amendment for a property on Pilsbury Avenue -- Mr. Krekic outlined the nature of the request and how it relates to a change from the current zoning of the property from that of a duplex to add the status of a triplex to the property in question.
Council Adey asked if there was sufficient parking available towards such a change, it was noted that the applicant has observed that he would expand the amount of parking available on the lot.
Council then gave first and second reading, with a public hearing for the property in question, scheduled for November 25th prior to the Regular Council session of that night
( 34:30 -- 43:00 ) Reports and Comments from Council members
Councillor Barry Cunningham provided a short overview of his recent travels to Vancouver for meetings of the BC Ferry Advisory Committee, making note of a theme he would like City Council to follow up on, That of the addition of Prince Rupert to what is known as a resident's rate for travel from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, offering residents a choice of driving on winter roads or taking the ferry to southern destinations.
He observed how it's a decision that would have to be made by the Province's Transportation Minister and asked that staff draw up a letter for her attention, adding that they should consider asking for a resident rate for both summer and winter travel, including transits to Haida Gwaii.
Mayor Brain, calling the idea a great initiative, noted that they should make it a resolution for the next Council session.
Councillor Nick Adey recounted some of the community events he attended over the last few weeks, observing on a meeting he attended for Columbus House, which is affiliated with the Knight of Columbus, which has taken over two of the Seniors housing complexes in the community, that of Kaien Place and Wayne Place.
The Councillor observed that as the city is hoping for population growth, that housing will be a key issue to consider and how there is a need for residents to consider Prince Rupert as a place to spend the rest of their lives.
Further noting how Seniors Housing will be an important part of future community development. He highlighted the commitment of the Columbus House group and how they are considering further Seniors facilities for the community in the future.
His second engagement took him to a joint presentation of the Port of Prince Rupert and the Wild Salmon Foundation, and how they are taking measures towards improving on the Skeena River enhancement program, making note of the five programs that they have provided funding towards. He highlighted the engagement that Port has taken on with area First Nations and how he believes that is an important and valuable aspect of their engagement.
Councillor Cunningham followed up on the housing notes from Mr. Adey, suggesting that City Council invite the COO of the Columbus Society to City Council to share some of their future plans, noting how it would offer the opportunity to share those plans with the community.
With no other concerns of note on other topics, the Mayor brought the evening to a close.
You can access the City Council Review for October 21, 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 October 21, 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, November 4, 2019.
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