Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Council Timeline: Monday, September 14, 2020

It was a short night for City Council with the only session
for September lasting but fourteen minutes

It was a rather short City Council session Monday night for the only public gathering for September.

With the Council members in and out of the 7PM session in just fourteen minutes, making for another listing for a year that has seen a fair bit of brevity for public discussion.

The night was one which featured one third of the council membership, as well as City Manager Robert Long participating remotely and calling in their contribution by phone.

The few items of the Agenda included a pair of variance requests, as well as the forward movement for the two loan authorization bylaws for the Dam construction and land fill expansion.

The final ten minutes of the session for the most part were taken up by a few reports on selected themes by Mayor Lee Brain.

Some background on the work of Council on the evening and the various Regular Agenda elements for the September 14th Council session can be explored here

Council also hosted a Closed Session earlier in the evening (their eleventh such closed session of the year), the details as to why they required the doors to be closed for the 5PM meeting can be reviewed 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, September 14, 2020

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

Video Archive for September 14, 2020


Regular Council Session

( 00:30 --1:00 )   Regular City Council Session for Monday, September 14, 2020  -- Mayor Brain called the Regular Council Session to order, with Council adopting minutes of previous meetings and the agenda and revisions for the night, with the Mayor making one deletion to the list of the work ahead for the night, that being the review of the Kootenay Housing plans from BC Housing.

1:00 -- 1:30 ) Application for Development Variance Permit for a property on Kootenay Avenue -- Council had no inquiries on the topic with Mayor Brain asking the Corporate Administrator if there had been any feedback from the public on the proposed work. With Ms. Rosa Miller advising that there had been no comments delivered to the administration offices.

( 1:30 -- 2:00 ) -- Application for Development Variance Permit for a property on 9th Avenue East  -- Council had no inquiries on the topic with Mayor Brain asking the Corporate Administrator if there had been any feedback from the public on the proposed work. With Ms. Rosa Miller advising that there had been no comments delivered to the administration offices.

2:00 -- 4:45 )  Bylaws

Report from the Chief Financial Officer -- Re: Woodworth Dam Replacement Loan Authorization Bylaw No.  3433, 2019 and Solid Waste Infrastructure Loan Authorization Bylaw No.  3454, 2020 -- Councillor Mirau only had one comment related to the loan prospects making an inquiry of the City Manager as to what impact past COVID restrictions may have on municipal bank rates related to the two loans. 

Mr. Long suggested that he doubted that it would have a large impact, adding how the collective credit of the Municipal Financial Authority's which is "as good as it gets".

Councillor Cunningham also inquired if the Federal Government was coming up with any new programs for infrastructure; the City manager advised that there have been some announcements but that the City hasn't heard any detail as of yet.

With that Council gave first, second and third reading towards the two Bylaws.

( 12:00 -- 14:00) Reports from Council 

Mayor Brain led off the final portion of the evening, first with an advisory as to why BC Housing's Kootenay housing plans had been removed from the Agenda for the night. As Mr. Brain explained it, the proponents after hearing feedback through their process they have decided to make some adjustments to their project before it comes to second reading of the zoning amendment at City Council. The Mayor further noted that they will be attending at a Council meeting in the future and that the process was still moving forward.

The Mayor then provided a snap shot of how the UBCM convention will be handled this year, with the annual gathering scheduled for Victoria now that of a virtual meeting. As part of the run up to the meetings next week, Council members will be holding virtual meetings with a range of Cabinet officials, he also noted that there are plans to update the public on the work of the Resource Benefits Alliance.

Turning to the city's ongoing work on the Official Community Plan, Mr. Brain noted that he is hosting one on one sessions with the public on the topic, observing how he believes it has been a well received initiative so far. He also suggested that there could be further consultation and that within a year there should be some good concrete projects on the ground related to the OCP changes that are underway.

His final report focused on the engagement of the public with wildlife, noting of the incident with a black bear last week and recounted previous incidents with wolves in the community. He observed that the city has heard from cabinet Minister George Heyman on the city's request for a full time conservation officer for the city. Highlighting the key element of Mr. Heyman's letter back to the city,  Mr. Brain outlined how the province does not believe that Prince Rupert has the volume of incidents with wildlife that warrants the basing of an officer in the community. The Mayor also advised that the City would continue to follow up with the Ministry and the MLA on the topic.

On the theme of wildlife encounters, Councillor Adey commented on the impact that such incidents can have on the public and how the city needs to acknowledge that, he further added that there is some responsibility required of the public as to how they handle garbage, how they store garbage and other attractants for wildlife.

He also noted how the ongoing level of development is contributing to some of the issues the community is facing, adding that while residents have their responsibilities towards the situation, the city also has a legitimate reason for a more comprehensive system of response for incidents in the area.

The Mayor followed with his own thoughts on the city's responsibility to make sure that residents are aware of the proper behaviours related to wildlife, noting how the City had recently provided some educational information on the topic through the City website.

On a different theme, Councillor Niesh provided a notice of motion to request Stop the enforcement of any infractions of containers in light industrial areas, until the city has an opportunity to finish its work in years past and that of the current Official Community Plan review.  

Mr. Niesh suggested that a proper set of rules should be put in place once the OCP is adopted.

The Mayor then proposed that the councillor's motion be discussed at the next Council meeting.

With that final note the September council session came to an end, after just fourteen minutes, releasing the council members into the enjoyable late summer weather.

You can access our archive on the City Council session 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 September 14, 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 will take part in the annual UBCM meetings next week, though owing to COVID-19, this years event will be a virtual convention, with the council members and senior city staff remaining in Prince Rupert.

Council members next meet on October 5th.

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

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