Friday, June 25, 2021

City Council Timeline: Monday, June 14, 2021


The gang was all in house on June 14th, with Prince Rupert's city council
membership meeting for the first in person session  at City Hall since November of 2020

As we make our return to our blogging following a wee bit of a break, we play a bit of catch up on some of the key top events of the last ten days or so, our first overview that of the June 14th Council session.

And that event was highlighted by a return to the City Hall Chamber for the Council members, with the days of Zoom now seemingly in the past, as the city's Council members gathered in person at City Hall for a public session for the first time in 2021, their last in person get together dating back to November 9th of 2020

The first meeting of June a short affair lasting but 22 minutes, just about half of which was focused on community frustration over the current growth opportunity for grow ops in the city.

Among some of the other civic business, the city's contract planners from iPlan contributed from out of town by way of Zoom, the City Manager offered up a short note on the Annual Report and Council breezed through the review of the Statement of Financial Information without any comments to share.

The night ended with Questions and Comments from Councillors Cunningham, Adey, Skelton-Morven and Mirau.

Some background on the work of Council for the night can be reviewed from the Regular Agenda Package for the June 14th Council Session  

Council also hosted a Closed meeting, marking the tenth such session which has been closed to the public for 2021. 

The details related to the reasons for the in camera session 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 council minutes added as they are posted to the city website. 

In attendance Monday, June 14, 2021

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, June 14, 2021



Regular Council Session

( 0:00 - 1:00 ) Regular City Council Session for Monday, June 14, 2021 -- Mayor Lee Brain called the session to order, adopting past minutes and the Agenda for the session underway, 

( 1:00 -- 3:45  ) Report from iPlan -- The City's contract planners from iPlan provided a review of property variance request for a property on 11th Avenue East. With no negative public feedback to report, Council approved the variance request.

( 3:45 -- 5:36   ) Report from the City Manager -- Robert Long provided some brief comments on the release of the Annual Report for the City of Prince Rupert. The Mayor followed up with some observations on the report, noting of the content involved from the document, outlining how it provides clarity and how if residents are looking for answers to questions they will find them in the civic document.

Councillor Adey asked for clarification from the public as to how they can comment on the document, with the City Manager noting how residents can email the city, go to the website or attend the next Council session to share any comments on the document.

The public can offer comment on the Annual Report by June 28th

( 5:30 -- 6:30 )  Report from the Chief Financial Officer  -- Ms. Corinne Bomben outlined the background towards the requirements of disclosure of the Statement of Financial Information, the Council members had nothing to add to the discussion.

(SOFI Reports can be accessed below:)

( 6:30 -- 7:50 ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer  -- CFO Corinne Bomben delivered the April 2021 Variance Report, noting that operating and utility revenues and expenses are within budget; adding that pervious year figures are impacted by pre-pandemic operations and therefore do not offer much value for comparison. Capital projects continue on, with costs continuing to roll, while other projects are in the planning stage for the summer.

Councillor Mirau asked about inflation and any impact on the variances of city operations and contracts, he was advised that everything was in line and there had been no noticeable escalation.

( 7:50 --  22:30 ) Questions, Comments, Reports or Inquiries from Council 

Mayor Brain noted of the changing nature of the BC Governments COVID restart plan and how by the Fall things should be in a more semi-normal state of affairs, he thanked the City Staff for their work on operations and called attention to the ongoing Second Dose COVID vaccination clinic at the Civic Centre. He also thanked Northern Health for partnering with the City on the clinic.

Councillor Cunningham observed that BC Ferries has had some schedule changes owing to the repairs required for the Northern Expedition until August; with the Northern Audition now working on the Winter Schedule, which will mean reduced service for the communities that are served by the service in and out of Prince Rupert.

Mr. Cunningham also asked about the status of the planned City hosted Health Advisory Committee and the terms of reference. In reply the Mayor observed that the City is awaiting a presentation from Northern Health, and that he won't be moving forward on any terms of reference until the Council has a chance to communicate with them and to explore what direction the city's involvement should be focused on.

Councillor Adey raised the ongoing topic of the marijuana grow ops that are found around the City, noting  that the public knows of the large volume of the grow ops, but little in the way of what the city's limitations are when it comes to controlling them. Mr. Adey then suggested more of a push for public education on the city's limited options with the issue.

Mayor Brain outlined the city's position on the situation, observing how the City does not support any commercial marijuana growing operations within the commercial or residential areas and officially the city does not accept that type of activity in those areas. 

He then outlined the various areas where the city has no ability to control the situation, with the issue one of a Federal licence with no notice required to give to the city and that a loophole in the Federal law trumps any bylaw in any community.

The Mayor observed how the City has almost Zero jurisdiction and has not even be notified as to where the grow op locations are being put in place. He outlined how the City has been in contact with MP Taylor Bachrach to express the city's concern over the situation, noting that there may be a review of the situation by the Federal government in the Fall.

He further  outlined the frustrations with a medical licence requirements loophole that have created the situation in many communities and how the city will raise the issue again with a number of municipal organizations.

Towards the prospect of more communication with the public, Mr. Brain noted it's a technically challenging thing to communicate to the public and how people are looking for an easy answer to a complex problem and that the City remains actively engaged in approaching the situation.

Councillor Skelton Morven updated the public on his recent attendance at the vigil in May following the discovery of the bodies of children from the Kamloops Residential School, noting of more discoveries in other communities since that time. He also outlined how there is some conversation in town about Canada Day and how some in the community are planning a march on Canada Day in tribute to those children and their families. Mr. Skelton-Morven also noted of the sad, sad truth of this country and how there is a need to push for accountability and find different ways to show up as a municipality as well.

Councillor Mirau asked about more information on the local group, Mr. Morven advised that he would share more information on their plans through his Social Media page, as well as to forward his information to the Mayor.

Mr. Mirau also spoke towards a motion to be reviewed for the next council session, outlining some background on the UBCM Code of Conduct and Policies that the City may wish to explore to strengthen their own procedures.

The motion calls for the CAO to review the UBCM guidelines and report back to Council at the next session.

And with that the June 14th session came to one end.

You can access our Council Session Archive page 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 June 14, 2021
(not available yet)

The next City Council session will take place on Monday, June 28, 2021

No comments:

Post a Comment