Wednesday, November 27, 2019

City Council Timeline: Monday, November 25, 2019

With the prospect of winter holidays over the horizon, Prince Rupert City Council entered the homestretch for the 2019 Council year with the second last public meeting for the year on Monday night.

The evening featured a Public Hearing, some presentations from the Prince Rupert Golf Society and Special Events Society in the Committee of the Whole session and a fairly light agenda for the Regular Council session, all of it dispatched in less than one hour.

Among the topics explored in the Regular session was the decision on the distribution for the 2020 Community Enhancement Grants, approval of a variance request and a zoning change, as well as a correspondence request to declare January 2020 as Crimestoppers Month in Prince Rupert.

The evening wrapped up with some comments on a couple of themes from City Council members.

Some background on the work of Council on the evening and the various Regular Meeting and Committee of the Whole Agenda elements for the November 25th Council session can be explored here.

Council also met in a closed session earlier in the evening, hosting a 5 PM meeting

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, November 25, 2019

Mayor Lee Brain -- Present 
Councillor Nick Adey --  Absent
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, November 25, 2019


Public Hearing -- Pillsbury Avenue Zoning change

 ( 0:00 -- 5:30  ) Mayor Brain opened the session with an explanation as to how the process works and then introduced City Planner Zeno Krekic, who provided for an overview of the request for a zoning change  for a property on Pillsbury Avenue.

The Amendment would see the zoning changed from duplex to triplex, to allow for an additional suite for the structure.

Among some of the notes that the City planner offered towards the review, there had been no written submissions,  or over the counter inquiries related to the request. 

The City planner noted that Internal referrals had addressed an issue related to parking on the property.
Following Mr. Krekic's presentation the Mayor called for comments or questions from the public related to the zoning change request.

With no members of the public coming forward with concerns or comments, the Public Hearing was then brought to a close. With the topic to be brought back up later in the Regular Council session.

Committee of the Whole

( 5:30 -- 6:30 )  Adoption of Agenda -- Mayor Brain called the Committee of the Whole meeting to order, outlining the elements of the Committee session.

( 6:30 -- 22:00 ) Presentation from Iain Cullen and Ross McNish from the Prince Rupert Golf Society  -- Mr. Cullen provided for the majority of the presentation opening up with a bit of a year of review from the golf course, noting of the hiring of Tyler Stene as golf pro and the successful opening to the season with a number of out of town golfers coming to town.

Among the highlights of the year as outlined by Mr. Cullen, was an overview of the youth and high school program that was initiated by Mr. Stene, including the formation of a high school golf team for the first time in over a decade.

The success of the summer camps hosted by the Golf Course were also made note of, with plans to continue with those in the spring and the summer. The Golf course also started a new program for youngsters called SNAG, Starting New at Golf.

As for the 2019 golf season at the course, there was an influx of new golfers and more golf dates were able to be realized this year as opposed to past years.  The departure of the greens keeper was noted with some disappointment, but with an advisory that a new hire will be on the job soon, with a start date of December 16th.

The work the Golf Course has done towards some corporate funding was outlined, with the Course able to work with the Port to provide for some maintenance work on the eighteen holes to assist with drainage and root structure.

As for challenges, Cullen made note of how wages continue to be an issue, with the Golf Course paying sixteen dollars an hour for greens keeping crews, noting how that puts them in competition with the City and the Port who pay significantly more for labour, when it comes to seeking out new employees.

Equipment issues also provided some challenges for the Golf Course this year, with a need for some new machinery  on the site which would cost $100,000 which is beyond their budget. Also noted was the fact that the golf course has not purchased any new equipment in the last twenty years because of expense.

They noted that as for operating costs they are doing well and are above water.

An explanation of the structure of the Golf Course and responsibility of staff members and Society members was reviewed for Council, highlighting the work of the Course Pro in that area.

They also pointed out how Prince Rupert differs from other golf courses in the region, with  Mr. Cullen also making note that many of the elements of the Prince Rupert course rely on the work of volunteers.

He also reviewed some of the sponsorship arrangements that have been taken on at the golf course this past year.

The Golf Society had one recommendation for the City, observing how they consider the Society and City to be part of a joint venture, with the Golf Society as the stewards for the facility.  Mr. Cullen made note of a safety issue that they wish to have addressed, but have had some difficulties in getting public works to take care of the problem.

From that experience the Golf Society is looking for a liaison person to be put in place to be able to sort out some of those issues as they come along.

As for questions, Councillors Niesh, Cunningham, Randhawa and Mirau offered their praise for the work of the Gold Society in keeping operations going at the Golf Course.

Both Mr. Niesh and Mr. Cunningham were open to the idea of a liaison position to address some of the issues, with Councillor Cunningham observing as to how it would help cut through the bureaucratic red tape and make for more timely repairs and such.

Councillor Mirau asked if the additional rounds of golf this year translated into new members, Mr. Cullen observed that did have an impact in bringing some younger golfers to the course.

Mayor Brain brought the presentation to an end by thanking them for their time.

( 22:00 -- 33:30  ) Presentation from Bev Kilberry and Joy Sundin from the Special Events Society- - Ms. Kilberry delivered the majority of the commentary on some issues from the Special Events society, the majority of which focused on what will be their upcoming departure from City Hall to new offices somewhere else in the city.

She observed as to how that has been a bit of a challenge to fit the needs of the Special Events Society and how the cost of rent that they will be looking to pay will take away from the work they do towards planning the four community festivals.

With a potential rental price of 16,000 to 24,000 per year and noted how that is not something that they have readily available. They also noted that it's preferable for the Society to remain in the downtown core as that is where the focus for their festivals in the community.

The Special events representatives inquired as to what City Council thinks towards providing some assistance in finding a new accommodation, as well as to note their need for some secure storage for the many items that they have on hand towards community festivals.

Mayor Brain observed as to how City Staff had been working fairly diligently trying to rind new locations, which Ms. Kilberry acknowledged though she observed that so far the locations haven't quite met what they are looking for.

Mr. Brain followed up by making note of some of the meetings ahead in the days to come to try and resolve the location issue and how city staff was still engaged in the process. He noted how Council does not get engaged in the administration of buildings and such but they are working to make sure that Special Events is in a proper long term location and support the Society in their work.

Ms. Sundin made note of the ongoing efforts to bring in new members to share some of the work, noting how Special Events is an extension of the Civic government and asked for their feedback on what they would like to see for festivals in the city.

Both members also noted that like the Golf Course, they believe a liaison position might be a workable way of developing the partnership.

Three was a bit of discussion on how to approach the day of the festivals and what elements can be put in place to continue with the familiar themes of the events. The Mayor also urged them to continue to work with City Staff to try to resolve the situation and find a solution to their concerns.

Public comment period of Committee of Whole 

( 33:30 -- 37:30 ) Larry Golden came forward to make some inquiries related issues of law enforcement, as well as the work currently taking place in Moresby Park with the removal of the oil tanks on the property. He also made note of the city's Legacy Inc mechanism and how Council may want to provide an update on the city's financial instrument.

The City's Financial Officer Corinne Bomben, helped to clarify some of the elements of the Moresby Park tank removal, noting that there was a budget amendment in place for removal of one tank for this year, with the others to be addressed as money is made available towards them.

( 37:30 - 38:00 )  Adjournment to reconvene as Regular Council Session


Regular Council Session

( 38:00 -- 39:00 )   Regular City Council Session for Monday, July 22, 2019  -- Mayor Brain called the Regular Council meeting to order, outlining the elements of the session for the night.

Reports and Recommendations

39:00 --  41:18 ) Report from the City Planner in relation to an application for a Development Variance Permit for a property on Eighth Avenue East  -- Mr Krekic outlined the nature of the variance request in question, that to vary the side yards of the property for the purpose of additions to the home. He noted how it was an older neighbourhood and how the changes would turn an uninhabitable property into a new home.

He observed as to how there had been no inquiries related to the proposed changes from the public in the area in question.

Council members had no questions or concerns related to the application  and  Council moved the process forward towards the final consideration stage.

41:18 -- 49:30  ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer related to the 2020 Community Enhancement Grants  -- Corinne Bomben, the City's Financial Officer outlined the details for this years recommendations for Council, noting how the community has just emerged from a significant local recession which will give the City cause to address some of its outstanding critical infrastructure issues.

She also noted that new industries are beginning to open in the community which also provides for a chance to address capital needs and with it an opportunity to recommend an increase grant to the Community Grant funding by 5 percent from prior years.

She observed that at the moment that there won't be a need for a tax increase to provide for the increase, and recounted some of the feedback received on consultations over the summer towards funding of community grants in the community.

From that point, she asked that Council accept the recommendations or provide direction to staff towards the 2020 Community Enhancement Grant distribution.

As for questions Councillor Cunningham led off the discussion, inquiring about the status of a request from the Prince Rupert Hospice Society, after significant discussion Council decided to approve by an amendment to provide for one time funding for 2020 of 5,000 dollars for equipment.

Councillor Niesh observed as to how as part of their workshop discussions on Community grants, that they noted that they were not in a position to approve new grant applications this year, but that the nature of the Hospice Society is supportive of the whole community and how it was a good recommendation to offer support to them.

Council members then offered their praise of the work of the Financial office in putting together the  Community Grant listings for this year making note of the limited resources that they have to work with, as well as how they hope to improve on the process in the years to come.

Mayor Brain observed that council still hopes to change the model for future applications, with plans to address that topic in 2020. 

He also made note of some of the funding towards such groups as the Arts Society, Special Events, Museum of Northern BC and Lester Centre of the Arts and how this years grants address many of the supports that they need.

( 49:30 -- 50:00  )  Correspondences for Action.

Council had one request to consider on the night.

That request from Prince Rupert Crimestoppers asking for Council to Proclaim January 2020 as Crimestoppers Month in Prince Rupert. 

Council then voted to approve the proclamation.

50:00 -- 51:00 ) Report from City Planner Zeno Krekic on the proposed rezoning request for Pillsbury Avenue -- With the Public Hearing providing for no opposition to the proposed rezoning, and no comments or questions towards the topic coming from the Council membership.

Council Mirau observed as to how the zoning change to be adopted fits in with council's views on creating housing in the community. Noting how adding residential density, within an existing residential neighbourhood with little impact to surrounding properties is the best way to increase the amount of housing available in the City of Prince Rupert.

Council members moved the motion forward giving it third reading and allowing for the zoning change.

51:00 -- 57:00 ) Reports and Comments from Council members 

Mayor Brain opened the final segment of the evening, noting how Council was originally scheduled to hear a delegation from the city's RCMP detachment, but that it has been rescheduled to the December 9th session as the Inspector in Charge of the detachment was out of town.

Councillor Barry Cunningham raised the issue of Health Care in the community, putting forward a resolution to create terms of reference for a coastal communities Health Committee, observing how the city is being left behind on certain health issues with the provincial government and how with the villages they can raise their voices a bit to address the concerns.

The Mayor used the topic to make mention of the upcoming Redesign Rupert presentation of December at the Lester Centre and how there will be a need for all communities in the region to work together on health issues. He also made note of how the city has a good relationship with Northern Health and how they are one of the many organizations that are involved with the Redesign Rupert initiative.

He also recounted some of the meetings recently held with provincial ministers on issues of health and mental health in the community.

Councillor Mirau sought some clarification on Mr. Cunningham's request, noting how the City actually has terms of reference in place for a health committee and how a simple revision would bring in the neighbouring communities.

Council then decided that rather than creating new terms, that the existing ones be modified to feature Councillor Cunningham's desire to bring in more members to raise the health issues with the province.

The Mayor thanked Councillor Mirau for reminding him of the original terms, admitting that he had forgotten that they existed.

Councillor Randhawa inquired about any kind of an update on the Alaska Ferry situation, Mayor Brain advised that he had to wait until the Alaska Government was ready to make an announcement as to what they plan to do. Adding how he wasn't at liberty to discuss the situation yet and when that time arises the community will be notified at that time.

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 November 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 November 25, 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, December 9, 2019. 

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

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