Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Suspended Public hearing for 11th Avenue East Apartment development to resume October 4th, with Council to make the session an online virtual affair


Prince Rupert City Council will restart the clock on the 
Public Hearing for the 11th Avenue Apartment project next month

The Public hearing into the proposed housing development for 11th Avenue East will move forward again next month, with Prince Rupert City Council setting October 4th as the date, the Hearing one which will be taking place by Zoom owing to the city of Prince Rupert's move to distant council sessions as a result of recent Northern Health Orders.

Mayor Lee Brain set the course of renewed public constellation in motion following the delivery of a report from the city's contract planner Rob Buchan, the document providing some answers to a number of questions raised by participants in the Public Hearing that was suspended on August 23rd.

"As Council is aware, this bylaw has been to a public hearing and there was quite a number of questions raised during the public hearing and Council resolved to have a subsequent report done to address some of these concerns. 

In the process of that, we have received another mini-report here from the applicant's engineer addressing the traffic issues and outlining a proposal to deal with some concerns regarding sight lines and speed in that area. 

There was a number of other things in addition to traffic, environmental, questions about whether or not taxes would go up, servicing - is the property properly serviced, whether a tree barrier would remain, how garbage and recycling would be handled and whether or not the property is suitable.

So this report endeavours to answer all of those questions, I will not go into each of those items except to say with respect to traffic. The engineer did conclude that the development does not make anything  worse it does not have any negative impacts. 

It provided a number of recommendations to manage the traffic coming out, what is being proposed here with this technical memo in discussion with staff is the development basically of some bulbs at the end of the intersection to allow for a shorter cross walk, to improve sightlines and delineate where Parking would be.

This is actually would be an improvement on the existing traffic situation in that location. This is proposed to be paid for through a local improvement area, so the city would do the work it would go onto the taxes of that property and be paid back from that property over time " -- Contract Planner Rob Buchan providing a thumbnail sketch of his report to Council related to the proposed 11th Avenue Apartment project

As we noted on Monday, the document along with the companion technical briefing which you can review here, is currently available for examination on the City website, for now located as part of the Agenda package for Monday's session.

At the Monday night gathering Mayor Brain spoke to the issue of information delivery for the reports, suggesting that the City ensure that those residents looking for the information can find it easily, offering up a range of options towards achieving that information relay, including placement on the city's website.

"Given that what we heard at the last public hearing about information not becoming available to residents. I would appreciate if, we can make the effort to make sure that this information gets to those who have raised concerns hence... So,  what I don't want at the next public hearing, people to come and say that they never had access to this information and  don't want them to have to dig around in a council agenda to try to find a technical memo. 

So what I would request is if we could potentially extract this memo put it on our city website and the, we have emails of individuals who are interested in this project and make sure that they are given this directly and that we accommodate this information" -- Mayor Lee Brain on the process of getting information to those with an interest in the proposed 11th Avenue housing development.

Mr Buchan noted that in the notification process for adjacent property owners a link will be provided towards the information; as well he noted that the proponent plans to host an online virtual open house the afternoon prior to the next Public Hearing that will also feature the answers to the questions.

In keeping to that theme the Mayor observed further as to what he hopes to see in the way of information sharing by the proponent and the city.

"I'm just making sure that as long as people have the notice, that there's a link there maybe on our City Facebook page. We can say this is where you can access this, there's going to be another Open House before the Public hearing, also the information about the Public Hearing. I think it's prudent of us that we are overly communicative, so that there is no confusion on where you access this information."

As part of some further conversation on the topic, Councillor Barry Cunningham asked questions related to the nature of the make up of the apartment complex and noted of some of the items from the public from the Public hearing that might have been missed in the reports.

Councillor Blair Mirau also asked for clarification on the nature of the infrastructure work that the city would be doing and charging to the proponent.

As for the Public Hearing the Mayor outlined for the Council members and those residents who may have been viewing at home that in keeping with the new approach towards Council gatherings in response to the orders from Northern Health,  would be that of a virtual gathering online.  with the next Hearing now set for October 4th 

"One of the challenges we have now is that we're not allowed to have, we have to have a limit of indoor gatherings and under legislation we actually can't limit anyone's ability to participate in a Public Hearing. So what we don't want to be in is a situation where we have turn people away at the door ... if we're at capacity. And so at this stage what we've decided to do I think is have a Virtual Public Hearing"

Mr. Brain then observed that most people most likely have a computer or electronic device that will gain them entry to the virtual public hearing. 

But further that adding for those that don't have the technology available, that the city will be working with the Prince Rupert Public Library to set up a station at the Sixth Avenue library for a computer access to the Public Hearing. 

Council will then make their decision on the fate of the project following that second Public Hearing.

You can review the presentation from the City's contract planner, as well as the Council discussion from the City's Video Archive starting at the one hour mark of the Council session.

More notes on the Monday Council session can be reviewed from our Council Timeline Feature.

You can travel back in time to review all of the elements of the proposed development as part of our Housing Archive which you can review here.

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