Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Premier John Horgan announces intention to step down from office, calls on NDP to begin process of leadership search

"I'm looking forward to just being me again, talking to people not as Premier of British Columbia but just John, a guy who stopped by to make friends. So I'm looking forward to that"  -- The final observations from Premier John Horgan at his announcement today of plans to step down from the post in the fall

The next British Columbia provincial election will be contested by at least two new leaders, that after John Horgan provided for a significant political headline today in British Columbia. 

In a thirty minute media session this afternoon, Mr. Horgan announced his intention to step down as Premier by the fall.

Still high in Cross Canada Polling despite a few political stumbles in recent week, the Premier charted his personal course ahead to quieter times and a chance to just be John, a guy that wants to make friends as his farewell to top office in the province.

The announcement came after an NDP Caucus retreat, with the Premier observing on his recent health issues and that as he was asking those around the room what their plans were for the next two years, he needed to assess that decision making himself.

"At the halfway point in a mandate, which we are at coming up to this fall it's traditional for a leader to ask his colleagues what their plans are will they be running in the next election.

Many of you will know, in fact I'm pretty sure that it's not a secret that I have gone through my second bout with cancer and successfully went through thirty five radiation treatments and I am currently cancer free. My health is good, but my energy flags as the day goes by.

So before I could ask my colleagues what their plans were for the coming two years and beyond I had to ask myself that"

In his outline for reporters, he noted of a recent period of time on the west coast of his riding with his wife Ellie that determined his next path. 

From that time watching the marine life off of Otter Point, came the decision that Mr. Horgan was not able to make a full commitment ahead.

"We came to the conclusion that I'm not able to make another six year commitment to this job and as a result I've asked Aaron Sumexheltza the President of the BC NDP to work with our governing body the provincial council and the executive to select a date in the fall for a leadership convention.

This has been the thrill of my life to be the Premier of British Columbia, and I'll be the Premier of British Columbia tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that." 

The Premier noted that he made his announcement today to put the endless speculation on his fate behind the government, that so they can get back to the issues facing British Columbians.

Towards those issues the Premier pointed towards the ongoing Health Care issues, with a vow to have the Federal government live up to its promises of the past, as well as the current concerns of British Columbians in other areas.

While he did not outline a timeline, Mr. Horgan will be staying on as the MLA for Langford-Juan-de-Fuca through the fall, perhaps as far as to the next election. 

His full announcement and the Question session which followed can be review from the video below:

Selecting his replacement won't be an easy process for the party, as he prepares to step away from political life, Mr. Horgan has set a high bar for those of the ranks that will follow, having taken the party from the ranks of the Opposition to that of Government.

Since the time of a minority government with assistance of the Green Party, the Premier has led a government that put much focus on reconciliation themes and changes to relationships with the Indigenous peoples of the province. 

His first term delivered good governance and strong economic conditions for the province , the party quick to answer many of the challenges, particularly those through COVID. 

The second term, a majority government that came in the midst of the pandemic, floods, heat domes and wildfires returned he and his party to the government side; sidelined by illness and his cancer treatments, he was off the political radar for a period during some of those challenging times. 

It was in that time that the government has however seen some of its most choppy waters since taking office, with some stumbles on large issues, decisions that have given the opposition parties some new energy marking some of the political narrative to date.

In the end, the Premier decided to set his own timeline for his political future and that of his personal one for himself, his wife and family.

"It was a difficult, difficult decision. I do love the work and I love my colleagues, it's very rare, I've been a student of history as many of you know, and it's rare for a political leader to have the opportunity to say I think it's time for someone else. Without it being a less comfortable moment, so the timing was right, my health circumstances  dictated it ..." 

His statement that followed up his media session can be reviewed here.

Those with an interest in the top job and an instant promotion to Premier, will have the summer to contemplate their political future and what they have to offer the party and the province.

More notes on the Legislature can be explored through our archive page here.

Further provincial themes can be explore from our political blog D'Arcy McGee.

Island Hop ahead for MLA Jennifer Rice

Some constituency travel is ahead for
North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice

 Residents of Haida Gwaii with some things to share with their MLA are being asked to contact the constituency office for MLA Jennifer Rice, that as the North Coast Member of the BC Legislature makes plans for an Early July visit to the Islands.

No firm timeline has been outlined yet by the MLA's office, though upon her arrival on the Islands there should be a few items of note for residents to take up with her, the largest one perhaps the ongoing challenges faced by BC Ferries of late.

The most recent one a delayed sailing on Sunday owing to a crewing issue.

In the recent past residents have also had concerns noted when it comes to health care and paramedic services on Haida Gwaii.

More notes on the MLA's plans for her travels will be added as the travel date nears, so follow her Facebook page for further updates.

To request an appointment with Ms. Rice contact her office at 250-624-7734 or by email at Jennifer.Rice.MLA@leg.bc.ca

More notes on the MLA both from Victoria and the constituency office can be explored here.

UBCM sets convention theme for Whistler Gathering this September

The first in person convention for the members of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities since COVID took delegates into the world of Zoom is set for Whister this fall. 

And when delegates gather they will be adopting the convention theme of "Value of One, Power of Many".

The theme explained as one which will explore the ways that local government can and must forge together to successfully align rescuers to deliver community needs. 

As municipal and regional government members in the Northwest make their plans for their travels south  they can keep an eye on opportunities for nominations to the UBCM Board as well as the Resolutions portion of Convention week. 

That is one of the key parts of the convention where local initiatives get a larger review from the provincial body and could form policy proposals for the UBCM to the provincial government.

So far, the CityCouncil members in Prince Rupert have not identified what themes they hope to take up at UBCM, what resolutions if any they plan to submit for consideration, or which cabinet ministers they hope to snag for some time to discuss issues of note.

As we outlined earlier today, Regional District Board members have outlined who they wish to chat with at the Convention, identifying seven of the NDP Cabinet members for discussions around the convention events.

The event will take place at the Whistler Convention Centre from September 12 to 16.

You can learn more about the 2022 convention from the event's home page here.

The 2022 UBCM convention will be the final one for at least two members of the Prince Rupert City Council, with both Mayor Lee Brain and Councillor Blair Mirau announcing in January that they would not be seeking office again come this fall's vote.

The remaining members of Council have not as of yet declared their intentions towards the 2022 Municipal election campaign for the October vote.

More notes on the Prince Rupert Municipal government themes can be explored through our archive page.

Have Dozer, will trade ... City of Prince Rupert seeks out new piece of machinery for Landfill Site

The City is looking to add some newer equipment
to their landfill work site on the Ridley Island Road

With an expansion to the Ridley Island Road Landfill Site now complete, the City of Prince Rupert is looking to add some new heavy equipment to its inventory, putting forward a request for proposals towards a new Bulldozer for the Ridley Island worksite.

The RFP was posted to the BC Bid Website on Monday and notes of some of the challenges that Kaien Island presents for the equipment in place at the landfill site.

(From City of PR Bid package)
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As part of the Bid request, the city is offering up a piece of equipment as a potential Trade-in for the new purchase. 

The city's trade in dozer
(From City of PR Bid package)

The timeline towards the RFP provides for four stages:

Deadline for Questions, July 11th

RFP Closing Date July 18th

Notice of Award July 27th

Notice to Proceed august 8th

The proposals are to be delivered to Assistant Operations Manager, Jose Soares, through City Hall, 424 3rd Avenue West, Prince Rupert V8J 1L7

The full Bid package is available for review from the BC Bid website

More notes on past Bid opportunities with the City can be explored from our archive page.

Toxic Drug Alert, additional equipment noted for Terrace Region

Northern Health issued a Toxic Drug Alert on Friday for the Terrace area noting of an increase in the volume of recent overdose incidents in that community related to a substance know as Down.

The Alert relayed through the Northern Health Website and Social media stream

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Some additional information on the Alert can be reviewed here.

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Towards a response to the situation in the Northwest, Northern Health has also outlined one of the measures they have put in place in the Terrace area, noting of the opportunity to make informed choices on drugs through the Fourier Transportation Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) a drug checking machine that is now in operation.

The announcement from Monday outlined how the machinery operates and how it may help towards lessening the dangers from the ongoing drug poisoning crisis.

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There so far has been no Toxic Drug Alert issued  for the Prince Rupert area, though over the weekend some social media contributors were making note on a number of forums of the risks associated to some of the drug supply that has been seen in this community in recent days.

More notes on Northern Health themes can be explored here.

Canada Day holiday making for Garbage hop scotch for city residents


The City of Prince Rupert Garbage Collection map
(From City of PR)

The Friday Canada Day holiday is making for some changes to the city's Garbage collection cycle this week, though it seems some residents may not have gotten the memo in time for their pick up.

An update from the City of Prince Rupert through Social Media today has called attention to the shift in collection days for many residents, one of five times this year when the fixed date will change.

The notification was also delivered to those who have downloaded the civic app program.

There doesn't however appear to have been any advance warning last week as to the pending pick up change for the week ahead, something which has caught the eye of at least one resident.

You can access more information about the Garbage collection process in Prince Rupert from the City's website here.

More notes on Civic Operations can be reviewed through our archive page.

Fairview Dock concerns and impact on Fishing industry among themes for Regional District's June 17th session

Members of North Coast Regional District are onboard with local users of the Fairview Dock, signing on the idea of sending a letter of concern to the Port Edward Harbour Authority that will highlight concerns regarding the decrease in dock space as a result of the proposed expansion for DP World/PRPA at the nearby container facility.

The expansion plans from DP World and the Port have created some significant controversy among the Fairview Dock users who fear they and the fishing industry is being squeezed out of the dock space with little in the way of suitable accommodation  for their requirements.

The letter comes following a letter to the Board from the Port Edward Harbour Authority requesting input from those with concerns related to the proposed expansion plans.

The Port Edward Harbour Authority's letter seeking feebback
on Port expansion impact on Fairview dock
(click to enlarge)

Back in May we outlined the background to the percolating controversy and the Port Edward Harbour Authority's quest for more feedback.

The resolution to send the letter was one of a number of items noted from the June 17th Session of Regional District which took place from Oona River.

Other notes from the meeting included the Regional District members putting together their list of meeting requests for this fall's UBCM Convention in Whistler, among those that the Regional District would like to meet with are:

Minister of Forests; Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship; Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy; Minister of Municipal Affairs; Attorney General and Minister responsible for Housing; Minister of Health; Northern Health Authority; and the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The Board also addressed two Haida Gwaii themes from the June session, the first receiving a correspondence from the Village of Queen Charlotte with respect to the restoration of their ancestral name Damaging Giids.

The other Island item was  resolution to submit an application for grant funding towards the Sandspit Trail Development project.

The Board members also received the 2021 Statement of Financial Information Report and approved the Report, we outlined the scope of that document with our notes of Monday.

A number of reports associated with the June 17th session can be reviewed from the Regional District Agenda from that session.

The full list of highlights from the June 17th Regional District session can be reviewed here.

Further notes on Regional District can be reviewed here.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Sunshine sends Prince Rupert's Soccer players into the summer

The 2022 Prince Rupert Youth Soccer season came to an end over the weekend, with a Saturday finale for  the players, coaches and the fans assembled on the sidelines or lined up for hot dogs at the end of each level of competition.

The Day began bright and early at 9AM on the pitch at Charles Hays Secondary for the Under 5 timbits squads, wrapping up later in the afternoon with the Under 12 teams.

The sunshine making for the punctuation mark for a return to the sport for local families following its COVID hiatus.

Some of the action from Saturday's season finale of the PRYSA

The PRYSA executive offered its thanks to the volunteers, officials, players, parents, sponsors and fans who shared in the season as they regenerated the interest in the sport in Prince Rupert.

While the soccer 2022 season has come to an end for the PRYSA, the summer ahead will see opportunities for youth to work on their skills development through some summer camps in the Northwest. 

And if all falls into place by September there may be an Indoor Fall league to launch to keep the players active during the outdoor off season.

You can follow the PRYSA Facebook page for more notes on the weekend tourney, as well as what's ahead for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

More notes on Soccer across the Northwest can be reviewed from our archive page.

Operations Director to seek approval for additional funding quest for Wastewater Test Project

A synopsis of the city's Test project for wastewater solutions for Prince Rupert
From City of PR Annual Report)

One of the list of reports ahead for Prince Rupert City Council tonight will put the spotlight on the ambitious test pilot towards Wastewater Treatment, with the City's Operations Director Richard Pucci to provide an update on the preliminary work for the location near Omenica Avenue.  

As well as to seek out approval to pursue some additional grant funding for the proposed project.

His notes for Council are included as part of a report listed on the Agenda for tonight's Council session.

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The report for tonight, makes for no change  to the scope of the project, other than the quest for funding from a different funding program from that which was delivered on February 7th. 

The details towards the project are much the same as that from a presentation to Council in March of 2021.

The key takeaway from tonight's report points to the potential for savings for the city:

This grant application would apply for $1.313M to cover the remaining costs that ICIP would not fund. If successful, the grant would significantly lessen the impact on the taxpayers of Prince Rupert

Some of the past notes on the proposed wastewater solution can be reviewed below:

The project was also noted in the recently released Annual Report.

The test project will collect and treat sewer and stormwater from a catchment area of 100 homes near Omenica Avenue, replacement of aging pump station is also part of the project. 

Once it has been in operation for a full year the city will determine the effectiveness of the treatment process and then look to expand the program to other areas of the city as a lower cost solution for the city's wastewater requirements.

The test project most likely will be one of the elements of note for tomorrow evening's State of the City presentation at the Lester Centre by Mayor Lee Brain.

More notes on tonight's Council Session can be reviewed from our Council Preview here.

Further items of interest from City Council Can be explored through our Council Discussion Archive.

Celebrating the Seafarer!

Sunny skies made for an enjoyable Day Saturday as the Prince Rupert Port Authority Celebrated the Day of the Seafarer, the annual salute those who serve aboard the many commercial vessels that keep Global supply chains in operation. 

As they have in past years, the PRPA provided for a BBQ for those mariners in port on the weekend, serving up the burgers and best wishes from the promenade area adjacent to the Northland Cruise Terminal

The Prince Rupert Port Authority put on a BBQ for those Seafarers in
port on Saturday as part of Day of the Seafarer celebrations

The day is observed around the world, wherever commercial mariners call on ports and the efforts of communities like Prince Rupert to make things a bit more comfortable for those far from home don't go unnoticed.

The Creation of Day of the Seafarer comes through International Maritime Organization an agency of the United Nations, which has been raising the profile of global mariners and advocated on their behalf since the 1960's

Learn more about the organization and their work here.

A wider overview of their efforts can be explored through their website, a short video for the 2022 year of the Seafarer outlined the celebration of those aboard the ships and the challenges they have faced in recent years.


Some snapshots of the global celebration can be reviewed here.

The  Prince Rupert Port Authority Social Media feed provides a glimpse at some of the Prince Rupert event. The event also was part of the PRPA Twitter theme for the day.

To see how the day evolved world wide check out the #SeafarerJourney feed through Twitter

More notes on the Prince Rupert Port Authority can be explored through our archive page.

Regional District releases Statement of Financial Information for 2021, Salaries, Supplier payments and Grant Funding among elements outlined

June has been a month of Financial Reporting for the municipal and regional bodies of government and the last of the reports from the North Coast has been released, with North Coast Regional District publishing their SOFI report to their website.

The Documents include the compensation review for the elected and appointed officials, as well as that for Regional District Staff along with the listings of suppliers and service payments. 

The release of information also outlines the scope of Grant Funding for organizations and community groups on the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

Towards compensation the total for 2021 came to just under 200,000 dollars for all thirteen representatives listed. 

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The financial compensation makes for an additional bump in the take home pay for a number of officials including two from Prince Rupert city Council who serve on the Regional Board.

As as Director, Councillor Barry Cunningham earned 17,010 for his Regional District work with no expenses listed, while Mayor Lee Brain gained 16,441 for the year as a Director also with no expenses to report.

Councillor Wade Niesh also appears on the list though as an Alternate Director he seemingly was not called on for duty often, with compensation of just 190 dollars.

That tops up the income for all three City Council officials as declared from the Prince Rupert SOFI of a few weeks ago

The combined totals look as follows:

Mayor Lee Brain $86,349 City of Prince Rupert Compensation, $16,441 Regional District Compensation - $102,790 total for both bodies of Government

Councillor Barry Cunningham City of Prince Rupert Compensation $21,472, $17,010 Regional District Compensation -
$38,482 for both bodies of Government

Councillor Wade Niesh City of Prince Rupert Compensation $21,472, $190 Regional District Compensation -
$21,662 total for both bodies of Government

Keeping the Regional District Machine running through 2021 came in at under 2 million dollars when all employees are added to the Directors remuneration charts.

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Suppliers of services and supplies came in at just over 2 million dollars from the list.

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The Distribution of Grants across Regional District included five based in Prince Rupert and Two Port Edward listed organizations.

Among those listed:

Prince Rupert Regional Archives -- $130,000
Lester Centre of the Arts -- $20,000
Museum of Northern BC -- $20,000
Prince Rupert Library -- $6,000
North Coast Transition Society -- $2,470

Port Edward Historical Society (North Pacific Cannery) -- $130,000
Port Edward Harbour Authority -- $735

The Dodge Cove Recreation Society received $2,575

The Full list of Grant recipients can be reviewed below

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The Financial Review also includes the listings of Debenture Debt towards a number of financing themes for projects and services.

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The complete Statement of Financial Information Report for Regional District can be reviewed here.

Notes on the City of Prince Rupert SOFI release are available here.

Our look at the District of Port Edward SOFI report is available here.

More items of interest on Regional District are available from our archive page

Climbing the Staircase of Inclusion

It's a call for Inclusion and a new look for the Stairs leading from 
Fraser Street to Borden following a weekend painting party

The second of two community painting projects through Transition Prince Rupert wrapped up on Saturday, with an energetic group of volunteers putting a new look on the Stairs in the downtown core leading from Fraser Street to Borden Street.

Among those who helped out Transition Prince Rupert on the staircase were members of Change Makers Education Society and the GSA at PRMS/CHSS, they along with a number of other helpers had the job wrapped up in just three hours.

The City of Prince Rupert lent an assist as well with a pressure washing of the staircase prior to the event.

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The Fraser to Borden Stairs made for the second staircase project of the month for the local community group.

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You can review more photographs from the twin projects through the Transition Prince Rupert Facebook page.

More Community Notes can be explored here.

Port Edward Fire/Rescue extinguish tractor trailer fire on Highway 16

The members of the Port Edward Volunteer Fire/Rescue Department had a challenging call out on Friday evening, with members responding to an area of Highway 16 near Purdhomme Lake to put out a fire aboard a tractor trailer.

In a post to their Social media stream, the Department highlighted the work involved in putting out the semi-trailer fire which originally had been called in as a brake fire, upon arrival the situation had escalated to a fire having spread to the two adjoining trailers which contained wood chips.

Crews quickly extinguished the blaze, but remained on site into the early hours of Saturday, the response required multiple water relay shuttles from nearby Prudhomme lake to keep the situation from flaring up through the night.

Assisting the PEVFD on the scene were the Prince Rupert RCMP who ensured that traffic and those transiting the area did not impede on the work of the fire-fighters.

The Port Edward department is the first response unit for many of the incidents and calls for assistance that take place along the Highway 16 corridor, covering an area from the Port Ed turnoff to near the Tyee Overpass to the east.

The Photos and Video above come from the Port Edward department's social media page, more pictures of their Friday/Saturday work are available here.

Further notes on the work of Emergency Responders in the Northwest can be reviewed from our archive page.

City of Prince Rupert to celebrate Civic Awards recipients with three honourees for 2022

The Stage will be set this Canada Day Friday for the next group of community
residents to receive Civic Honours from the City of Prince Rupert

The City will recognize three Prince Rupert residents for their commitment to community, with City Council set to announce three recipients of Civic Awards for 2022.

The City put out the call for nominations in early May and from the nominations three have been selected for the annual honours. 

Tonight City Council will receive a report from Rosa Miller. the City's Corporate Administrator, she will release the names as chosen from a previous Closed Council Session.

On the list of honourees for 2022 include:

Teresa Mackereth
Ella Ferland
Rob Gruber

All three will be awarded the Civic Merit Award

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If the past precedent for handing out the honours holds, the presentation of the Awards for the deserving nominees will come as part of this Friday's Canada Day ceremonies at Mariner's Park.

Follow the City's Facebook page for any updates on the Civic Awards presentation.

More notes on tonight's Council session can be reviewed from our Preview here.

A wider overview of past Council themes is available through our Council Discussion Archive.

Council to Receive report from CFO on required Financial Plan Amendment owing to McBride Street waterline work

The repairs of the waterline from Fifth Avenue to Third Avenue will mean
some changes to the Five Year Financial Plan adopted earlier this spring

The path towards providing for an amendment to the recently approved Five Year Financial Plan will begin tonight, the need for the change coming as the recent and expanding work on McBride Street waterlines continues.

Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben, cautioned of the need for the amendment last week, and tonight's report for Council will outline the scope of the situation and the request for approval for the amendment and its 1 million dollar price tag.

The work on the McBride Street waterlines is anticipated to take up a good portion of this summer.

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Also included in the Financial changes, is 175,000 dollars required for repairs to the Airport Ferry Dock on the Digby Island side of the transit.

More notes on tonight's Council Session can be reviewed through our Council Preview.

Items of interest from the original financial plan and budget themes can be explored here.

A wider overview of past Council Themes can be found from our archive page.

Major Projects update to note Woodworth Water Dam at 98% completion, many other projects continue forward

Prince Rupert City Council will receive an update this evening that will chart some of the status for a range of Major Projects currently under development, the overview to be provided from Operations Director Richard Pucci.

Of the 11 projects to be updated, three have been deemed as complete by the Operations Director, those include the Eat Street initiative, New Landfill cell and the city's Recycling program.

One high profile project, the Woodworth Water Dam edges closer to the finish line, now listed as at 98 percent complete, the Operations Director observing that he expects to declare it finished by the time he next appears at Council later this summer.

Some of the preliminary work for the Third Avenue Extension

The remainder of the projects on the list are still in their early stages of preparation or work, one of which the Third Avenue road extension, which is now on hold awaiting confirmation of lot development.

Demolition work is set to get underway on the old
Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall to make way for the 
new RCMP detachment

Also on the horizon demolition work for the old Kingdom Hall building at Third Avenue East and McBride which will be the location for the new RCMP detachment for the city.

The monthly Update report, which you can review below, also offers up a few notes towards each of the eleven projects .

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Many of the projects from the Major Projects Overview, will most likely make for part of the narrative for Tuesday evening's State of the City presentation with Mayor Lee Brain.

That community event, the last one to be hosted by Mayor Brain who will be stepping down from his post in October, takes place at the Lester Centre at 7PM on Tuesday evening.

More notes from tonight's City Council session can be reviewed from our Council Preview page.

Our archive of past items related to Major Projects and Infrastructure themes is available here.

Further items of interest related to past Council Discussions can be reviewed here.

Public Hearing tonight to provide final review of proposed Omnibus Zoning Bylaw update

After a month of consultation with the public through the Rupert Talks portal, Prince Rupert City Council will be hosting a Public Hearing this evening to receive any further comment from the public. 

Following the Public Hearing Council will make its decision on whether to approve a wide ranging Omnibus Zoning Bylaw Update as part of the Regular Council session of the night.

The project, which serves as kind of a Catch all for a number of planning themes was introduced  in early May by the Planning department. 

The additional bylaw elements coming from some of the extensive discussion of April related to the City's new Renoviction/Rental bylaw.

Some of the propose changes include themes related to Permitting of Secondary suites in two family homes (duplexes)and lock-off suites in multi family homes (3 plus principle units)

Addition of Animal Hospital or clinic in any zone where retail is permitted

Clarifying Gross Floor Area definition and adding a definition of Building footprint

Allowing temporary use of Shipping Containers of dup to 60 days

Allowing housing be built from modular units on permanent foundations

The full list of proposed changes was part of the recently completed engagement program through the RupertTalks portal.

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Tonight's Public Hearing is scheduled for a 6PM start in City Hall Chambers.

Some of our notes on the process can be reviewed below:

More notes on this evening's Council Session can be reviewed from our Preview here.

Further notes on planning themes can be reviewed from our our archive page.