City Council went back to virtual sessions on Monday, that making for the City's response to recent Health COVID orders from Northern Health
Prince Rupert's City Council members took care of their public business in less than half an hour on Monday evening, almost one half of that period of time used for the Committee of the Whole and a presentation from a local paramedic and RCMP member.
It was a brief agenda on the night, with two variance issues to address, a Financial variance report to hear and a request from the local Métis Society to approve.
Some background on the work of Council for the night can be reviewed from the Regular Agenda package for the October 25 Session available here.
( 0:00 --12:30) Committee of the Whole Session for Monday, October 25, 2021 -- Mayor Lee Brain called the session to order, adopting past minutes and the Agenda for the session underway.
Presentation from BC Ambulance Service member Jessica Freisen -- On Emergency Response and a request for a bylaw related to home signing.
Ms. Friesen hosted most of the presentation for the pair of Emergency Responders which provided a detailed look at the challenges of their work, particularly when it comes to finding addresses in the city, noting of the many unusual breaks in the continuity of the city's streets, the lack of visual numbering large enough to be spotted by those responding to calls in the city.
Towards that they proposed a new bylaw, one that they noted should have as little financial impact on residents as possible, was for all homes to have a standard size requirement of at least 4 inches minimum, with height requirement of at least half an inch as well as to have no obstructions for those looking for them from the street.
As part of the review they noted of some of the high turnover rate for the Ambulance and Police personnel in the community and then offered up some samples of houses that have little to no numbering, or are located below the street surface with no indication as to the number.
All of which makes for a slower response as they look to access those calls for assistance.
Towards creating the new signage, the presentation included some notes on how the Rotary Club is looking to become involved in the initiative, the plan one to incentivize the program to benefit the community as a whole.
They also noted how the hope is that the City will purchase the signs towards implementation of the program, eliminating the cost to residents of the community.
The Council members for the most part agreed with the review of the situation, with the Mayor suggesting that they contact city staff to work out the details towards creating the bylaw request.
The Mayor obersving the tit all makes sense, something that Councillors Adey and Skelton-Morven concurred with. The Bylaw request will be brought forward at a future meeting.
As for the rest of the Committee of the Whole Business on the night, Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller observed that there were no comments to relay to council from the public.
Council then adjourned to the Regular Session for the night.
( 12:30-- 14:00 ) Regular City Council Session for Monday, October 25, 2021 -- Mayor Lee Brain called the session to order, adopting past minutes and the Agenda for the session, as well as the addition of one additional item for consideration.
( 14:30 -- 15:45 ) Report from iPlan related to Development Permit Process for a property on First Avenue West --Mr. Buchan then outlined the scope of the variance permit request towards the recreation of additional space on the top floor of the structure.
With no concerns to share over the requestCouncil moved forward with the process.
( 15:45 -- 16:15) Report from the Corporate Administrator -- Request for support from the Métis Nation of British Columbia. -- The Mayor relayed the notes from the Corporate Administrator with council approving the request to observe Métis Awareness week.
( 16:15 -- 17:00 ) Report from Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben with the August Financial Variance report -- Ms. Corinne Bomben provided the overview of the August financial variances. The CFO observed that Operating and Utility. revenue and expenses continue to perform as expected compared to budget.
She noted that as was outlined during Budget Season the safe restart grant funds are avaiable to address shortfalls related to the pandemic. Of note she addressed the the topic of the Airport Ferry which has seen significant revenue declines from previous budget forecasts owing to the late restart of the Air Canada Flights.
Ms. Bomben also outlined that the Capital Projects are well underway and continue to remain on budget with no significant variance to report.
The council members had no questions for the CFO related to her report.
( 17:00 -- 22:30 ) Report from iPlan related to Development Variance Process for a property on Overlook Street -- Mr. Niesh excused himself from the discussion, seemingly owing to a conflict. Mr. Buchan then outlined the scope of the development permit request for enhancements to a property.
The contract planner observed of some feedback from the notification process from a neighbour to the property in question raising some questions and concerns over the proposed modification.
That was a theme that Councillor Cunningham addressed noting that he had visited the property in question and found those concerns as not really significant. Councillor Mirau made an inquiry of the planner towards some clarification of the timeline of the correspondences and communication on the property.
From that Council moved forward with the process.
( 22:30 -- 28:00) Questions, Comments, Reports or Inquiries from Council
Mayor Brain opened the final portion of the night, first with congratulations for Mr. Buchan as the city's new City Administrator, noting that he will be the CAO as of the next Council session.
He then observed of some of his interviews with media related to the water supply system and noted of his commitment to begin a monthly process of monthly updates at Council meetings on the progress of that work. He reinforced his plan to have the new City Manager commence with those reports in November.
As for the water project, the Mayor noted that phase two may see some delays to April of 2022 owing to some rain delay issues, with plans for the Operations Department to provide a report in November. The Mayor offering up a hopeful view of the project being completed in a timely manner and the city reconnected to its main water source.
He also observed of plans to create a page on the city website to be specific for the water system with current information for the public to consult, the mayor also reviewed some of their past work on sharing information and noting of the need to be fully communicating with the public.
Mr. Brain also provided an update on the plans to have a delegation from Northern Health attend Council for a conversation on health issues, that conversation one that was supposed to take place at the Monday night session but has now been deferred to November 8th at the request of Northern Health officials.
Councillor Adey recounted an event he took in over the weekend presented by the Community Arts Council and hailed the remarkable talents that are found in Prince Rupert. He provided on some thoughts towards the work called Arts in the Time of COVID and observed as to some of the past students in the community who have moved to larger projects.
Councillor Cunningham concurred with those sentiments, providing his own remarks related to the large volume of talent that is found in Prince Rupert, the councillor urging residents to get out and support the arts community on the North Coast.
Councillor Randhawa had questions related to further line marking in the community, the Mayor noted that staff would reach out to the Operations Director for an update on the status of the road marking program in the city.
And with that the October 25 session came to an end.
You can access our Council Session 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 October 25, 2021
(not available yet)
The next scheduled Regular Council session as part of their reduced summer schedule will take place on Monday, November 8.
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