Wednesday, January 29, 2020

City Council Timeline: Monday, January 27, 2020

Councillor Wade Niesh held the gavel for the January 27th Council session

It was presentation night at Prince Rupert City Council, with two outside groups delivering an update on their plans or potential initiatives for the community, with members from Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society outlining their recent work and future plans.

Also participating by phone was Shannon Tucker, a representative from the provincial Ministry of Public Safety who outlined the potential gains for the city through a program known as the Situation Table.

As well, Council heard  a pair of reports from the City of Prince Rupert's Operation Manager, who updated the members on a contract award and potential funding for infrastructure work.

Council members also approved a request for a letter of support for the Golf Society.

The evening came to an end with some discussion on the state of the city's roads of late, as well as what plans the city may have to address the number of unsightly properties in the community.

Some background on the work of Council on the evening and the various Regular Agenda elements for the January 27th  Council session can be explored here.

The Agenda for the Committee of the Whole Session can be explored 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, January 27, 2020

Mayor Lee Brain -- Absent
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, January 27, 2020


Committee of the Whole Session

( 0:00 - 1:00  ) Committee of the Whole Session for Monday, January 27th, 2020 -- With Mayor Lee Brain away on the night, hosting duties fell to Acting Mayor, Wade Niesh. He brought the council session to order for the night, outlining the process on the night adopting the agenda and past minutes of previous sessions. Though occasional technical issues on his part left portions of his presentation unheard for those not in the chamber.

( 1:00 -- 21:30   Presentation from members of the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society -- Steve Milum and Frances Riley provided an update on some recent work from the Kaien Trails Society, reviewing some of the past projects that the group has taken on and offering a preview of their next initiatives. 

Ms. Riley outlined that the next work that they have planned will be known as the Cloud Berry Trail, which will feature development of a trail along Highway 16 leading from the Civic Centre towards the Butze Trail area, Tall Trees Trail and Oliver Lake.

That project would be a multi use trail, running along the mountain side of the highway and wold offer a strong opportunity towards accessing funding towards development.

Among their other notes was a look at the now put aside plans for development of the McClymont Trail, that with the Kaien Trails group noting that as it is a City of Prince Rupert utility corridor, they have had difficulties accessing funding opportunities towards that proposed project. Though they did note that there are federal and provincial grants available to the city towards further development of that trail if the city wishes to follow up on them. 

They also outlined how another trail proposal in the Seal Cove area known as the Rail Trail,  noting how it will need further consultation with the City and other regional stakeholders before they can look to move forward into development of it as part of the Master plan trail.

Mr. Milum took over on theme of funding, outlining the range of grant opportunities that are available for the community to access, he also advocated for the City to develop a Transportation Strategy, noting that if the City does so, it would be easier to access a wider selection of grant funding.

He highlighted some of the benefits of such a plan and how it would work nicely as part of the City's plans to update their Official Community Plan in 2020.

Mr. Milum observed how he realized that Council could not move on their request on the night, leading to Councillor Niesh to note that Council could ask staff as to how they could move forward on it in upcoming sessions.

Councillor Adey commented how the Kaien Trails proposals were part of the recent discussions on Redesign Rupert process and how he found much enthusiasm for their plans.

He also made note of one item that will need to be addresses and that was on the theme of maintenance of the trails and what provisions might be in place towards those elements.

The Kaien Trails representatives offered up a thumbnail guide as to how they would address those issues, noting how the Cloud Berry trail is on provincial land and how the province would most likely take on the maintenance concerns.

As for other trail initiatives, it would be a mixed approach relying on volunteers.

Coucillor Adey also made note of the urgency related to the February deadline and how he supported whatever Council needs to do to move it forward.

Councillor Mirau echoed a number of Mr. Adey's themes and made note of the timing of development for an Active Transportation Plan and how it would work with the city's review of the Official Community Plan.

Councillor Cunningham inquired as to the volunteer numbers that the Society has at the moment, he also expressed his admiration for their work and spoke to the success of the Rushbrook Trail.

Councillor Skelton-Morven also offered his congratulations on their work and their initiatives ahead.

 ( 22:00 -- 28:30  ) Following the presentation members of the public were invited to come forward to speak, among those who participated were:

Chris Lightfoot of Complete Streets for Prince Rupert, he spoke in support of the Kaien Trails initiative and also urged Council members to develop a Transportation Strategy for the community.

Also speaking was resident Larry Golden, he spoke to his concerns over the recent Prince Rupert 2030 vision plan and noted some areas proposed for development, where he believes the city should address attention to seismic, tsunami and climate change issues.

With no other members of the public coming forward Council moved on to their Regular agenda for the evening.


Regular Council Session

( 28:30 -- 30:00 )   Regular City Council Session for Monday, January 27, 2019  -- Acting Mayor Niesh called the Regular Council Session to order, with Council adopting the agenda and past minutes of previous minutes. 

30 :00 - 1:16:00  ) Presentation on the topic of the RCMP Situation Table program -- Ms. Shannon Tucker from the Provincial Ministry of Public Safety and Attorney General joined the  council session by phone outlining a number of elements of the Situation Table initiative, which looks towards the social issues found in the community and delivers assistance to those at risk that are first engaged by the local RCMP or Social Services agencies.

Her presentation provided for a comprehensive overview of the provincial program which has recently been introduced to the Terrace area, though that community has yet to implement the Situation Table initiative.

As for what it could offer Prince Rupert, Ms. Tucker took Council through the various elements of the Situation Table process, highlighting how it is designed to help all agencies build and sustain multi-sector collaboration.

She noted that 50 to 70 percent of calls for Police service are for issues that are for non-chargeable or not criminal in nature, with the table designed to reduce that load on the police and deliver those people to the services that they require.

The goal of the program is to work towards Risk intervention, that would identify and reduce the risks that are present in the lives of vulnerable people.

The make up of the Situation Table would consist of a number of participants, including Police, School District, Social Services, Health Agencies. They would meet regularly for 60 to 90 minutes, with each individual situation allocated 6-8 minutes for discussion through a pre determined protocol.

Any plan for intervention would come within 24-48 hours of reaching the situation table.

The ability to redirect those in need to the proper care is the main focus for the program, with the success of it one which will take the stresses off the Police, Fire, Ambulance and health care personnel who currently find much of their duties consumed by attending to such situations.

The province offers up start up funding of up to 65,000 dollars with travel assistance towards 5,000 dollars, the provincial ministry also offers up a web presence and assistance with information sharing materials.

Ms. Tucker noted that the closest Situation table in place to Prince Rupert is in Williams Lake and the travel grant could offer an opportunity for Prince Rupert officials to explore their program further.

Council members expresses some strong enthusiasm for the potential of the project in Prince Rupert, with Councillor Adey leading off the discussion to the theme, he spoke of some of the previous work in the community on the proposed project and how it moves beyond the RCMP and takes the social issues to the services that are best able to address them. He also observed that some of the member agencies in Prince Rupert were quite interested in exploring it further.

Among his inquiries was a question towards the nature of the quick intervention towards client needs and if there was a way to address  more immediate concerns outside of the scheduled Situation Table meetings.

Ms. Tucker noted that the province usually recommends a weekly meeting process in order to provide for the best results when it comes to acting on situations.

When it comes to moving forward with the project, the next stage is for the City to apply for the program and to ensure that the requisite partners are lined up to become involved in the program.

Councillor Randhawa explored themes of how to promote the program, while Councillor Cunningham inquired as to how the program has been rolled out in other communities.

He also observed how the local RCMP need additional support towards the local situations and if there is additional funding available for those agencies.

Ms. Tucker observed how the Situation Table could help to identify where services are lacking or there is little in the way of resources and where the need for additional funding may be required.

Mr. Cunningham also asked if any Federal agencies were involved in the project and how they should have a role in assisting with the program. He was advised that at the moment the program was purely a provincial initiative.

Councillor Skelton-Morven noted that the initiative could be a way to tie the services in the community together.

Councillor Niesh asked what the province requires from the City to get the process in motion and how the city can help to move it forward.

In reply, Ms. Tucker observed that first she would have to meet with Inspector Blake Ward of the local RCMP and along with Councillor Adey look to address any gaps in the potential partners and then forward the application for the City to put forward its plans to participate in the program.

On that final note, Council thanked her for her presentation, noting how they look forward to seeing the program happen.

( 1:16:00 -- 1:21:30 ) Presentation from the Director of Operations on the contract award for the Outfall study -- Richard  Pucci, the  City's Director of Operations outlined the recommendation to award the contract to study the city's sewer outfall to McElhanney Engineering, at a cost of 990,000 dollars.

Councillor Niesh, asked for some background on the scope of the information on the wastewater system to be studied. Councillor Mirau spoke to the cost of the work and what the city will be receiving from the work to be done.

Mr. Pucci observed that in order to collect data from the volume of pipes in the city will take close to a year.  Councillor Cunningham asked for an explanation as to how much of the city's outfall was to be covered by the project, as well as to if there are any grants available to help reduce the overall cost of the project, Mr. Pucci noted he was to address that topic in his next report.

Council then voted to approve the contract.

1:21:30 -- 1:22:30 Presentation from the Director of Operations on the opportunity to access Federation of Canadian Municipality Funding through grants  -- Mr. Pucci,  also outlined some of the funding opportunities that would be put towards the wastewater treatment facility, with the grant covering up to 80 percent of the funding towards that study towards wastewater feasibility for the City of Prince Rupert. He was seeking a resolution to move forward in accessing the grant.

Letters of Correspondence

1:22:30 -- 1:23:30 ) Council received a request for a letter of support form the Prince Rupert Golf Society -- With the society outlining their plans for Golf Club improvements and purchase of a golf simulator to be part of a partnership with the Prince Rupert Racquets Centre.  Council voted to approve the provision of a letter of support for the club's quest for community investment funding.

1:23:30 -- 1:29:30 Reports from Council

Councillor Adey led off the discussion, by inquiring about the plans of the city to attend to the pothole issue in the city, asking if there is a plan to move forward towards some of the more egregious potholes that have been reported to date.  The City manager provided a tutorial for Council as to the thaw/freeze cycle that has an impact on the city streets, noting that Prince Rupert doesn't typically have the thaw/freeze cycle that is found in other communities.

Councillor Niesh noted that the city crews had been out attending to the more prominent areas.

Councillor Cunningham asked about the City's plans to address property maintenance, noting that the city now has two by-law officers on staff.  The City Manager provided an update observing that City staff was preparing to present a report to Council about a number of property owners that have not responded to past civic attempts to effect a clean up.  He advised that they would be coming forward in the Spring to  set up a Special Council session to pass resolutions to Act, dealing with a large volume of the problem areas at once.

He further outlined that as each circumstance requires a show cause hearing to allow for the property owner to explain their lack of action. He recommended that at that time, Council review the most severe cases first for further action. Mr. Long noted that the City has been sending out letters for years to property owners, who for the most part disregard the notices.

Councillor Niesh observed that he looks forward to the opportunity for further discussion.

The audio troubles served to make the remainder of the discussion period silent for those viewing at home, returning only in time for the meeting to come to a close, that after some confusion on the part of Councillor Adey as to an old Agenda item of the past.

With no other concerns of note on other topics, the Acting Mayor brought the evening to a close.

You can access the City Council Session Archive here,  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 January 27, 2020 (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 February 10th, which will a Committee of the Whole Session, that providing opportunity for the public to comment on issues of note or concern to them.

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

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