Wednesday, November 24, 2021

City Council Timeline: Monday, November 22, 2021

Progress on Housing, Garbage and recycling and a range of other council initiatives marked the second to last Council session for 2021, with the Councillors tackling a varied list of items from the Agenda package on the night.

It was also a Committee of the Whole night, though as the evening would progress, that element was not available for viewing by the public as technical issues plagued the start of the Monday evening Council broadcast.

The Agenda for the Committee of the Whole Session can be explored here

Council also hosted a Closed meeting, marking the twenty first such session which has been closed to the public in 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, November 22, 2021

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

Video Archive for Monday, November 22, 2021


Committee of the Whole Session  

( 0:00 --1:00  ) Committee of the Whole Session for Monday, November 22, 2021 -- Some technical issues plagued the Council Broadcast for Monday, with an unknown amount of the presentation related to the City's plans for Garbage and Recycling from the Director of Operations lost to the digital universe,  the broadcast finally switched on as the Director of Operations was wrapping up his overview of the city's plans moving forward.

Whatever he had to say did not seem to stoke the interest of the Council members or give cause to ask a follow up question, as none had questions to ask of him when he had completed his remarks.

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.


Regular Council Session

(1:00 -- 2:30  ) Regular City Council Session for Monday, November 22, 2021 -- Mayor Lee Brain called the session to order, adopting past minutes and the Agenda for the session, as well as to make note of a number of amendments from the published agenda for a number of files on the night.

( 2:30 -- 10:30 ) Report from Director of Operations - Major Project Monthly update --Mr. Pucci would return a number of times during the course of the Regular session, his first appearance to provide a thumbnail sketch of the statistics for the list of Major Projects underway or in the planning stage.

Among his notes, the status of the Water Dam project which is at 85 percent complete and anticipated to be finished by February of 2022 when commissioning will take place. 

He also noted that the Landfill site is at 95% completion, though noted like the Dam project, it too has been impacted by the weather situation, with a completion date anticipated of December 1st.

Towards recycling he advised it was at 85 percent complete he noted that the information program and an app program will continue to roll through the fall.

Other themes explored, the Submarine line, a water information system, water treatment plant plant ing,  the RCMP detachment plans, liquid waste wetland treatment planning continues. He outlined the plans for an area of the city to be known as Eat Street Project, which is where the new Urbaloo washroom facility is located on Third West, the expanded site to feature a number of Food Trucks in the city.

Councillor Cunningham asked about a location for the water treatment plant, though he was advised that the city prefers not to disclose that location until they are further into the process.

Councillor Adey, shared some insight into his days of marking papers as a high school teacher, that as he reviewed the percentages of completion rates on the projects, asking a question on the Woodworth Dam and if the impact of weather events had been factored into the design of the new infrastructure.

Mr. Pucci noted that the dam design had been raised by two and a half metres to account for any climate issues or water surges, 

His full list is available from the the City's Agenda for Monday night

The Mayor observed how this would be the start of the Monthly major projects review and that the new City Manager has a number of other more regular reports to provide for in the future.

( 10:30 -- 13:00) Report from the Corporate Administrator -- Northern Development Initiative Trust infrastructure grant . -- Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller delivered the report originally set to be delivered by the Manger of Transportation and Economic Development. 

In her review, Ms. Miller outlined how the 5.3 million dollar CN Station revitalization project fit into the City of Prince Rupert Vision while also meeting many other aspects of funding, such as job creation, improved tourist amenities and developing a new local destination. She observed  how the bulk of the project is funded through a Northern Capital grant, and then highlighted how those elements match up within the scope of a grant program with the Northern Development Initiative Trust, with the city to seek 300,000 dollars from that funding program towards the project.

Councillor Mirau put his support behind the request to seek out the additional funding, noting how the terms of the grant fit into what the city is trying to achieve through he project and is a good fit for the city.

Council then carried the motion.

(  13:00  -- 22:00  ) Report from the Director of Operations - PUMP Track license to occupy request -- Mr. Pucci relayed the state of progress of the North Coast Mountain Bike Association towards development of a PUMP track in the community, with the Association making a request to use land offered by the city along McClymont Park.

Following his overview, Mayor Bran asked about their funding status, with Mr. Pucci noting that they have a significant amount in hand but that with a firm site selection in place they will be able to access further funding.

Councillor Niesh asked questions related to the site selection and his concerns over potential flood issues there and what measures may be in place to account for that, with Mr. Pucci noting that the proponents have spoken to raising the site and other measures to address that possibility.

Councillor Adey asked about access to the site, particularly for that of emergency service providers, Mr. Pucci stated that he hadn't taken that into account but that he would talk with emergency services to ensure that they know of the best route into the location for fastest access.

17:00 -- 21:30 ) Report from Director of Operations related to a Provincial referral -- Mr. Pucci outlined the nature of the request of referral towards a proposed fuel transfer station at a site in the Industrial Park. Noting that the recommendation of city staff is to not offer support to the province for the moment, owing to a range of concerns related to the proposal that the city should have addressed prior to supporting the application.

Councillor Mirau concurred with the findings of staff and how it 'has to be a no for now' until additional information is provided.

Councillor Adey also agreed with Councillor Mirau and noted of a number of significant areas on the list of concerns that would be of public concern, asking as to what steps the city should take on the file.

Mr. Pucci noted that the city's referral would not be the only one that went out and how collectively that the application is incomplete and how the proponents need to come back with something with more details.

Mr. Niesh asked if there was a an environmental process that the proponent would have to go through, he was advised that the referral process was the start of the engagement process for the proponents.

From that Council moved forward to not support the referral for the moment.

21:30 -- 22:30  Report from the Chief Financial Officer - September Financial Variance Report -- Ms. Corrine Bomben outlined the range of financial data related to the September Financial Variances.

Among her themes Operating Revenues and Expenses are continuing as expected, though she did note that the Utilities Budgets are projected to be close to, or over budget by years end.

The areas that are driving that projected over budget situation include breaks in supply lines and sewer mains have required more work than budgeted, as well the Ministry of Environment has required stricter requirements at the landfill site which have required additional specialized testing which are costs which were not budgeted for and are projected to have an impact on the final results at year end.

The Council members had no questions of Ms. Bomben from her report.

22:30 -- 23:30  Report from the Corporate Administrator - Release of information from November 8 Council Session -- Ms.Miller announced the appointments to the Prince Rupert Airport Society, with Mr. Cody Smith, Mrs. Rosamaria Miller, Mr. Paul Venditelli and Mr. Antonio Vera all appointed to the Society. 

Mr. Brain noted that Mr. Smith's name had not been listed as part of the Agenda on the night and that the final notes should be amended to reflect his inclusion on the list.

23:30 -- 25:30  Report from the Corporate Administrator - Acting Mayor Schedule -- After discussion of the topic, Council decided to use the same Schedule as 2021, though no names would be listed after October owing to the 2022 Civic election period. With Council approving the schedule with the provision for change if required as they enter 2022.

25:-30 --  46:30  Report from City Manager - Strategic Action Plan -- City Manager Rob Buchan outlined the nature of the amended options he had provided from the Agenda package, exploring the two streams of choices for Strategic priorities that were developed through workshops earlier in the year.

Following the City Manager's presentation,  Mayor Brain called attention to the changes from the Agenda version with the proposal under consideration as an amended version; with Option 1 featuring a 1.3 percent tax increase and option 2 featuring no tax increase and the use of funds from surplus instead.

After extensive review by the Council members as to where they wished to place some of the elements as priorities, Council chose to make use of Option Two, which would not require a tax increase and instead would make use of the surplus to move the strategic plan forward.

The Mayor further noted that the forward momentum will not require a tax increase and that Council will be discussing Budget preparation themes for 2022 in the new year.

46:-30 -- 52:30  Report from Planning - Zoning Amendment Bylaw Number 3479, 2021--  Council provided for fourth and final reading of he Required zoning amendment for the proposed Apartment development on 11th Avenue East.

Corporate administrator Rosa Miller advised Council that as the City was in receipt of the Ministry of Transportation approval for the bylaw, that council was now asked to provide final readings to the document, which will provide final approval for the Lax Kw'alaams Housing proposal.

Council members had few questions or comments, with Councillor Randhawa supporting the concept of the housing but making note of his concerns over traffic issues and calling for a reduced speed limit for a segment of the street from Alfred Street to Brett Street, noting of some of the challenges found in the area.

The Mayor, noted of the 'world class recommendations' from the traffic consultants and observed that once the project is moving forward they can make changes to the traffic themes if required.

Councillor Adey made note of some of the controversy of the proposed development noting of his 'trepidation' related to the depth of the feeling and expressed his respect for those who spoke out against the development and noted that unfortunately at times decisions have to be made, and how the Council decision was the one that best addresses a deep priority that the city has on housing.

As for the traffic themes, Mr. Adey did recommend that Council review the issue of traffic along the entire stretch of 11th Avenue and what Council can consider towards traffic flow.

The Mayor followed up with an observation that the City has plans to conduct some new traffic patterning for the entire community and that legitimate concerns can be reviewed at the time.

Councillor Cunningham stated that he hoped that the screen of trees that is in place remains there, noting that as projects move forward sometimes elements such as that are not attended to. Noting that owing to the scope of the project having as many trees up to screen it from the neighbourhood.

With that Council gave final approval and the Mayor offered his congratulations to the proponents.

52:30 -- 55:30  Report from Planning - Rezoning application for a property on 11th Avenue East --  Council reviewed the application to rezone a property on 11th Avenue to prepare it for public hearing following further community consultation.

The City Manager outlined the scope of the rezoning request, with the property consolidated from two separate lots and how the proponent  is requesting a rezoning so as to build three dwelling units in one multi family dwelling. Adding that the proposal complies with all zoning guidelines

In discussion Councillor Mirau noted that the applicant was fellow Councillor Wade Niesh and complimented his work in preparing the documentation for the rezoning and how it was addressing the themes of the city's housing action strategy.

Council moved the process forward and it will go to public hearing following community consultation.

55:30 -- 1:23:00  Report from Director of Operations on Solid Waste Bylaw --  The Mayor opened the review by asking if the Director of Operations had anything further to add to the topic. 

For his part Mr. Pucci observed he had nothing to add, having provided all the information in the Committee of the Whole earlier in the evening (an element of the night that is not available from the city's video review)

Towards discussion of the Bylaw provisions, Councillor Nick Adey led off the review of the elements of he document, seeking some clarity in the bylaw wording.

The Councillor also had questions related to the fees and charges and concerns over the increase on the tipping fees which he notes would double.

On the tipping fees discussion, Councillor Randhawa shared the same concerns.

For his part, Councillor Mirau observed that in his view that the current rate of five dollars was abnormally low compared to other areas of the Northwest and province. The councillor noting how he views the approach of penalizing excessive waste and incentivizing those residents who take action on that. Adding that he supported the proposed increases.

Mr. Pucci also called attention to some of the challenges that are found at the Prince Rupert landfill facility as opposed to other communities and how the increases are to bring in more revenue to cover operation of the site.

Councillor Wade Niesh reflected on how raising the rates may have other consequences of trash accumulating in the bush and other areas, he also reviewed some of his household's approach to garbage as well as his observations from his time at the landfill site and how he has found much material taken to the landfill that could be recycled instead. Adding that the city needs to start enforcing peoples' actions while at the landfill site and how he himself has challenged and called out some people towards their use of the landfill.

The Mayor introduced the topic of residents accessing a larger garbage bin that the one supplied in September by the City, should they require more capacity for their household.

Mr. Pucci outlined how that exchange program would work, with residents to pay a one time fee to swap their smaller city supplied grey garbage can for a larger one, which would be the same size as the blue recycling bins that have been received.

There will also be an annual fee for the larger can that will be put on the residents utility bill for that household, that fee to be rolled into the bylaw that Council had in front of it.

The Director of Operations also noted in his overview that there would be a vigorous message making campaign to explain the process ahead for the residents of the community.

Towards the fees discussion, Mayor Brain suggested an incremental system of gradual fee increases to reach the ten dollar mark, which was a concept accepted by the rest of the council membership.

Councillor Adey asked what kind of an impact a staged system of fee increases may have on the operation projections for the program, with Mr. Pucci suggesting it wouldn't have much of an impact on the revenue projections.

Councillor Mirau observed that with the city about to introduce curbside recycling the concerns over any dumping of garbage may not be as large as the councillors believe.

The Mayor outlined how there will be a need for an education campaign for the community as the city pursues a zero waste goal, he recounted some of his travels of 2017 and how he spoke to community leaders in Sweden to learn more about how they collected their waste and how it was used.

Mr. Brain also noted how it was appropriate to delay the start of recycling which was originally scheduled to start in September.

Councillor Cunningham also called attention to the need to ensure that out of town companies make use of the civic facilities for collection of liquid waste, towards that Mr. Pucci noted that a letter would be sent to those providers to ensure that they do use the city facility.

Council then approved the Bylaw.

As a final note the Mayor asked for a date for the start of recycling.

On that theme Mr. Pucci noted that they don't have a specific date to relay as of yet somewhere towards the beginning of January, He did remind residents to be aware of the information that will soon be delivered to the community, with the city to make use of a number methods to get the word out on the program

(55:30 -- 28:00  ) Questions, Comments, Reports or Inquiries from Council 

Councillor Randhawa called attention to some traffic issues related to the intersection of McBride and Ninth Avenue West, where travellers looking to turn left on to McBride are finding challenges at that location. 

The Mayor observed how its a highways area of concern, recommending that Mr. Pucci bring the topic to them when he next speaks with officials from the ministry.

And with that the November 22nd 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 November 22, 2021
(not available yet)

The next scheduled Regular Council session, and the last of the year for 2021 will take place on Monday, December 6th.

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