Wednesday, January 26, 2022

City Council Timeline: Monday, January 24, 2022

Prince Rupert Council continues to meet via Zoom session, though they weren't using up too much bandwidth on Monday night with a session that lasted just under twenty six minutes from start to finish.

As for the proceedings, the agenda was light, with a few reports and a few zoning themes among the notes for the night.

The reports included a look at the progress of some of the city's major projects, while Council also received guidance on the options to consult the public on the Loan Authorization Bylaw required for the RCMP detachment project.

Some background on the work of Council for the night, can be reviewed from the Regular Agenda Package for the January 24th session.  

Council also hosted a Closed meeting, marking the second of the in camera sessions for 2022.

The details related to the reasons for the in camera session can be reviewed here

It being the final public session of the month, there was a Committee of the Whole session scheduled for the night, but it was cancelled by city staff on Friday owing to a lack of items for the Agenda.

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, January 24, 2021

(All Participated by way of virtual communication)

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, January 24, 2022 

Regular Council Session

0:00 -- 1:00 Regular City Council Session for Monday, January 24, 2022

Mayor Lee Brain called the session to order, adopting the past minutes and Agenda for the session with two changes one the elimination of one item and replacement for a second.  

1:00 -- 6:00 Report From Director of Operations and Intergovernmental Relations -- Regarding Monthly Major Projects Update -- Mr. Richard Pucci provided an overview of some of the major projects, noting that there had not been a lot of major progress owing to the holiday period.   

Of note he observed on the work related to the Third Avenue East extension was at 15 percent completion, with some geo tech issues to investigate further.  The Eat Street project is near ready to go with just some further electrical work to be done before it opens soon.  The Landfill cell project is complete and will be ready for refuse once the city hears back from the Province.  The Director of Operations also observed that the RCMP detachment is approximately fifteen percent complete, with the loan authorization bylaw currently in front of Council. 

He observed how he is very happy with the launch of the Recycling program, and while there are some kinks to work out overall he considers the program to be a success and staff is pleased with how its going with the community. The overall SCADA project, the communication system for the city's water system program is still in design and its hoped it will be completed later in 2022 or 2023. 

The Sewer treatment project is at five percent with the City seeking our further grants towards it to lesson financial burden on the community. The submarine line is at 5 percent complete with an RFP for design to be outlined soon.

The plans for the Water Treatment project is at ten percent complete, with an RFP for deign to be submitted to the BC Bid site within thirty days.

The waterfront project is fifteen percent, with a number of milestones reached and plans to move into the construction stage soon.

The Woodworth Dam is now at 90 percent complete, with building taking place on the main part of the dam structure at the moment, with it to be operational and commissioned by April, at which time the city will return to its main water supply.

Council had no Questions for the Operations Director

A full overview of the report is available from our preview of Monday.

6:00 -- 8:00 Report From City Manager regarding Development Variance Permit for a property on 7th Avenue East -- Mr. Rob Buchan noted that the application had been before Council before, but had been put on hold while Council considered a Local Service Improvement Policy, something that Council has chosen not to follow up on at this time.

Towards the laneway in question the proponent has offered to pay the 5,000 dollars required for improvements to bring the lane up to Municipal standard; but is seeking two variance requests to the Zoning bylaw as part of the proposed work.

Council had no comments to share on the request and moved the variance request forward.

( 8:00 -- 16:00 Report From the Chief Financial Officer on the  City's Loan Bylaw Authorization for the RCMP  detachment building  -- Ms. Corrine Bomben provided the details on the loan authorization process and the need for elector approval, outlining the two options available for Council to review, the Alternative Approval Process or by Referendum.

She observed that as there is a municipal election this year, Council could tie the referendum to that election process, however she did offer guidance towards how by waiting until the Fall could delay the process of the loan and increase the cost of the project overall, that owing to construction costs and supply chain challenges.

The CFO outlined the difference between the two options and the cost of each of the two mechanisms for consultation.

As for discussion, Council was unanimous in their decision to make use of the Alternative Approval Process.

Councillor Niesh noting of how it is a tool to move forward with the project more efficiently, observing  that if the city doesn't do the project, it will be built regardless by the RCMP,  with the City to receive a bill from the Federal government.

He also noted how the Alternative approval process could send the topic to referendum, should more than ten percent of the population disagree with the City's plans for financing the structure.

Council Mirau concurred with many of Mr. Niesh's overview and how it was not a Yes/No question related to a referendum; but rather that a decision to borrow money is now more of an and/or situation which would give the City control over the construction process.

He too noted that if a significant number of the population objected, the request could be added to the ballot in the Fall election period.

Councillor Skelton-Morven was also in favour of the AAP, as was Councillor Cunningham  who recounted other locations where projects were built and communities billed at a higher cost with items not necessarily required added to the completed project.

Councillor Randhawa was the final council member to speak to the issue he too agreeing with the Alternative Approval Process.

Mayor Brain brought the topic to an end, noting how the detachment build is a required mandate item with the RCMP having the option to go and build their own structure and sending the bill to the City.

He also noted of a public community engagement/education campaign to start soon to explain the process to the community.

You can review Ms. Bomben's report for council from our preview notes of Monday here.

8:00 -- 16:00 Report From City Manager  Zoning Amendment Bylaw for a property on 11th Avenue East --  As the topic involved a property owned by Councillor Wade Niesh, the Councillor recused himself from the proceedings.  Mr. Buchan noted that the item was back up for consideration owing to an error in the description of the Bylaw draft which did not specify the proper zoning.

He noted that nothing related to the proposed development had changed, with the plan still set for three units of housing on the property.  

The City Manager also noted of new legislation in place that allows for properties that fit into the Official Community Plan to not have to make use of a public hearing.

With the path ahead for the housing proposal that of a First and Second Reading of the new bylaw, with a letter then to be sent to area residents advising that a Public hearing would not be taking place.

Mayor Brain noted that the situation was that of a clerical error and the recommendation is appropriate, as council has found no major issues relayed during the previous review.

Councillor Adey made note of one concern that was brought forward  over parking on the proposed development, Mr. Buchan observed that there is the required number of parking  stalls in place for the proposed development.

Councillor Mirau followed up on the opportunity to make use of the new provincial legislation that will save time in moving forward housing in the community.

Councillor Cunningham noted how they were ready to pass a housing proposal that will actually happen, noting how some previous approvals have yet to see any housing developed.

Councillor Randhawa was also in favour of moving forward with the process to create more housing.

Council then approved the motion to allow the housing proposal to move forward.

22:00 -- 36:00 ) Questions, Comments, Reports or Inquiries from Council 

Councillor Adey led off the comment period with a question for the City Manager as to why the Committee of the Whole Session had been cancelled for the night.

In reply, Mr. Buchan advised that it was cancelled as there were no Items for placement on  the Agenda for the Committee session.

Councillor Randhawa brought up the topic of some of the growing potholes on the city's streets and if there were plans to address them shortly and before the larger paving program takes place. 

The Director of Operations returned to provide comment, with Mr. Pucci noting how the City had recently activated its in house paving plant and would be watching the weather for opportunities to patch some of the problem areas. He also observed that there may be more snow and cold weather to come which could impact on some of the remediation plans.  

He also noted of plans to do a sweeping of the streets to collect as much of the rocks and such of the trees, advising how that could cause problems for the city storm sewer system if not addressed.

Councillor Cunningham returned to the cancelled Committee of the Whole Session on the night, noting how if the City plans to continue with Zoom sessions, then the City should find ways to allow for public input. He observed how it is important to us the Committee of the Whole process to give the community an opportunity to speak if they want to. 

And with that the January 24th session came to an end, with the Council membership then to return to their suspended Closed session of earlier in the evening.

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 January 24h, 2021
(not available yet)

The Next session for Prince Rupert City Council is set for Monday, February 7th, 2022.

1 comment:

  1. Re: Street Sweeping.

    With the amount of gravel on the roads I hope the city mandates vehicles to be moved off the street for effective street sweeping. There are many areas where the street has not been cleaned / swept for a couple of years because of vehicles parked on roadway. Some of the downtown area is included in the areas not cleaned. It is common practice in many communities to require no parking for street cleaning. Why should Prince Rupert be an outlier.