Friday, October 9, 2020

"Getting it Done!!" Mayor Brain's Monday update features enthusiastic checklist of projects tackled by Prince Rupert Council

With the zeal of a televangelist, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain used the final fourteen minutes or so of Monday's City Council session to highlight a list of Council achievements which he chose to share with the chamber and the audience online on the night.

In an era where large public gatherings are no longer allowed, Monday's update almost took on the experience of a virtual Hays 3.0 presentation. 

With Mr, Brain reaching back to six years ago and his entry in the political scene to take note of where the city is today compared to then.

"We set a plan in motion as a community back in 2015. We started with the Hays 2.0 vision and at that time, you know Watson Island was still fully, that mill was still on the site and we didn't have the water project moving forward or any other infrastructure moving forward. Financially, we  were, I remember one of our first budgets was arguing over 30,000 dollar issues in the Enhancement grant and we just didn't have the room to move and since that time we've decided we were going to stick to some priorities and get some things done. Now we're at a place six years later where we've accomplished a lot as a community" -- Mayor Lee Brain's opening notes to a Community update on Monday

The Monday night review did make note of some significant themes and the welcome progress found so far; or as the mayor had noted often during Monday's council session how the City Council was 'getting it done" 

But for all the highlight moments, the presentation of Monday was high on praise, but rather light on any details and there was not much in the way of questions or contribution to the list of success from the Council members on hand.

The focus for much of his review that of the city's ongoing efforts on infrastructure issues and Official Community plan ambitions, as well as to how the City Council has stuck to its priorities and is now at a place where they have accomplished a lot as a community.

On Watson Island the Mayor observed how the old mill was torn down, the chemicals removed and a new industrial proponent set to begin operations in 2021, adding  how he views Watson Island as going 'fantastically well' for the community. 

Though when it came to any additional notes on the always popular topic of the industrial area, not much else in the way of background was shared, nor any update noted on whether other tenants have taken up residence there yet.

Mr. Brain followed that up with an update on the city's water infrastructure planning and the timeline towards the many projects towards it, noting how it was this council and the one four years previous that found the forward movement on accessing the grant money required.

A bit of historical review that really didn't pay tribute to the work done by those many council's prior who faced even more dire challenges for the city, than this current collective has had to deal with.

Also of interest and just weeks after the city had lifted its latest advisory on the city's drinking water Mr. Brain also spoke to the recent challenges with the water supply which currently comes from the back up supply of Shawatlans Lake. 

The most recent woes of the last three years for residents coming after the extreme weather event of August.  

The Mayor observed how some of those issues should go away as the city transits back to its main supply of Woodworth Lake once the dam construction is completed. 

As for the third and final phase of the water projects, which the Mayor referred to as the Final Frontier, the report from Monday did not have a timeline on the water treatment plans which currently are in the engineering stage, Mr. Brain suggesting that more information will be coming by the end of this year or early 2021.

He also reviewed some of the past advice that the city has issued towards water to the homes and the need for the flushing of lines in individual homes in the city.

Next on his highlight's list was the big announcement of Monday's Council Session and the City's work on the RCMP detachment replacement plans,  once again offering his congratulations to city staff for their work on the resolution of the fifteen year old issue.

Mr. Brain also spoke to the ongoing work towards the land fill site and some of the other infrastructure themes related to waste collection.

Turning to the city's work on the Official Community Plan, the Mayor used the analogy of building a new foundation for a house, the public isn't seeing new painted walls, new furniture and such as council has been busy fixing their financial and infrastructure challenges.

He pointed towards future plans for new downtown development, trails, recreation and such, using the plans for the RCMP station as part of that redevelopment of that area, as well as to some of the initiatives ahead for waterfront development but at the Kwinitsa Rotary Park area and with the Port led remediation of Seal Cove.

On what is perhaps the most pressing issue for the city, that of housing needs in the community, the Mayor observed as to some yet to be announced housing projects in the works and how he hopes to have some details in a report to the community by sometime this fall, the Mayor further observing as to how the city continues to work on the housing process with many more units to come to community.

He also relayed some of the recent work on the city's plans towards a downtown clean up program, something that is often mentioned but seemingly hard to achieve

The Mayor also returned to a recent theme from City Council and an incentive program for downtown development, with Mr. Brain reviewing the city's plans to host an event in October for out of town developers to come look at the community and to spark the interest in building in the city.

As the city moves towards adopting the Official Community Plan, it would seem that the consultation phase may be at an end, with no word on any further public engagement themes.  

As part of his Monday review, the Mayor noted how he has held meetings with a number of groups, Mr. Brain adding that he had never seen such a level of support for the city's plans, with no issues reported by the Mayor from any of those conversations all of which took place outside of public view.  

Looking ahead, he highlighted how 2021 will deliver a whole new development environment in Prince Rupert, stating that it's the most excited that he has been for the community in a really long time.

Part of his narrative was to explain how all of these elements have been done without tax increases and with the lowering of taxes last year; noting that that it has been no easy feat to accomplish as much as they have to date, calling it a testament to Council's will to stick to the priorities and hit their timelines.

"I'm the most excited I've been for this community in a really long time, and we've been able to do all of this stuff without actually increasing anyone's taxes so I mean that's a testament to the type of innovation that we've been bringing to the table"-- Mayor Lee Brain

The Mayor hailed what he called the team development approach and how that has helped to successfully build relationships with provincial and federal officials. 

A theme not really evident earlier in the evening when Council noted of their frustrations with the province when it comes to accessing daycare funding for the community.

The main takeaway from the Monday evening overview that of pushing heavily on the camaraderie of the Council team, as they continue to take action on the list of infrastructure and other files that have been their focus in recent years. 

The Mayor and Council should indeed receive some applause for their work, and yes much progress is seemingly being made to some long standing issues that come with the job of municipal governance. 

But the current council, does ride to their success on the sacrifices of previous councils who were dealt a pretty severe economic hand, something that the current collective may wish to reflect on from time to time.

The ironic part of the review on the night, is that as the City Council 'get's it done' the bulk of that work and collective approach hailed by the Mayor has been done outside of the public council sessions and behind closed doors far out of our view. 

The regular public council sessions now relegated to informercial like affairs, ones which rarely reveal any of the background towards work in progress, or provide details of the impact on community. 

The public Council meeting now seemingly just part of the communications strategy  from Council, the declarations coming well after the fact and without benefit of hearing of any of the internal discussions that delivered them.

You can review his presentation from the City's Video Archive page starting at the 48 minute mark.

More notes on Monday's Council Session can be explored from our Council Timeline Feature.

A look at some of the themes of the night is available on our Council Session archive, while a review of past Council Discussion themes can be found on our Council Discussion page.


  1. Fraser Street not done money was set aside. sidewalk completion down town core not done, city dump out of room for three years, New subdivision to facilitate building. Roadworks including utilities, one block done on 7th east in 5 years.

    One thing the administration has been good at is patting themselves on back and collecting bonuses since the mayor took office. Everyone’s pension is topped up nicely.

  2. The game changer and what made Watson Island and investment in the water supply possible (and generous pay increases for some) was the $18 million from Exxon, which was a legacy of the previous mayor and council during their last days in office.

  3. What the mayor and council seems to forget is the Legacy Fund is also taxpayers money. They never mention the amount of money drawn from the fund. A couple of years the financials for the Legacy fund showed travel expenses. The taxpayer has no idea who is traveling or for what. Is the administration hiding some of their travel? More detailed statement is deserved for the taxpayers.

  4. Great take. This council is only seeming somewhat successful due to the work and money of others. It is increasingly secretive and self-serving council too which is not serving our community that well.