Friday, October 21, 2022

Monday brings a time for Council Farewells and maybe a chance to tie up a few loose ends

Monday night brings the final gathering at Council for the 
Class of 2018, with Mayor Brain and Councillor Mirau set to bow
out from civic politics.
(Photo from past civic mailer from the City of PR)

The Final City Council Session for October this Monday will mark a night of Farewells, as both Mayor Lee Brain and Councillor Blair Mirau take their leave of the municipal political scene.

The Mayor and Councillor announced early on this year that they would not be contesting the 2022 municipal election. The exit plan announcements made in the heart of the winter, with no change in their focus or determination as we moved through Spring and Summer and into fall and the election cycle.

As the Council members gather Monday, the pair will have opportunity to reflect if they wish, on their eight years of public service and some of the programs that they initiated and championed in that period of time.

Considering the recent message making towards the Woodworth Dam completion, it's likely that Mr. Brain and Mr. Mirau  and those Council members re-elected on Saturday night may make mention of the success they had in delivering the largest piece of infrastructure for the community of their term and a long discussed much anticipated replacement for the 100 year old former dam. 

It's an achievement of note for the City, the current council as well as the previous administration pre-2014 that did get the plans moving forward for the city's many water infrastructure issues. 

And should they make note of it Monday, few would quarrel with them on the theme of a much needed improvement to the water infrastructure situation and their role in making it happen.

The Dam completion however does still feature a few outstanding questions that could make for an update and post mortem on the project.

In an interview with the CBC's Matt Allen earlier this week, one of the contractors on the project noted how the design for the new dam had been revised from the original planning making for a smaller footprint for the work, that taking place three years ago in the timeline of the long running project.

That item of note, was not included in the city's information release of October 14th, which recounted some of the many challenges that the project faced.

So, Council should probably offer up some kind of a fiscal update/recap of sorts on the project, noting of the values gained from the redesign for the project; as well as towards any additional costs that may have come along the way and if that  may have impacted on dam timeline schedule towards completion.

Something that would be of some interest for residents, many of whom were using bottled water for much of the last four years owing to the frequent Water Advisories issued as a result of the required use of a secondary source for water.

As well, as has been noted in the past, the completed dam features an electricity generating function, an element that more than likely added to the cost of the facility and again did that make for a longer period of construction?  

Council members may also want to ask city staff if there has also been any progress towards a day when the City may actually be able to put the energy that could be generated to work, or sell it to the Provincial grid.

Future Water infrastructure planning also is a current topic for the community,  with a recent BC Bid request put forward by the City towards the city's ambitions for a water treatment facility.

As we noted earlier this week, the City is seeking some interest in a potential private/public partnership towards the proposed facility.

As that seems to be a shift in focus for how the city plans to address its infrastructure planning, the topic is  one that the City Council members should share some details on with the public, providing some guidance for residents as to how that all would work and what the larger ambitions may be. 

How the city plans to invest in and operate infrastructure isn't really an area where residents should have to dig deep into BC Bid requests, or put in for Freedom of Information requests to get an idea of what's ahead. 

The process of information delivery on elements that make for expensive infrastructure should be an area that is delivered through public discussion as part of the Council duties.

The farewells on Monday may also include a quick look at how the City and Council has transformed Watson Island, another topic that hasn't really made for much discussion in the public Council sessions of the past. 

The city's work on Watson is frequently noted as something the Council Team has been proud of over these last eight years, though how it's all going out on the Island isn't a theme that makes for much detail.

That was the case as part of the recent State of the City presentation, where the general overview of the industrial site focused on the challenges that the old mill site had provided for. 

The Lester Centre event put the focus on how the Council members viewed both their efforts at Watson Island and the use of the financial instrument of Legacy Inc., which has been instrumental towards the remediation of the site.

Before they take their leave, the departing members may want to update the community on how the quest to add tenants to the Island is going and some notes on how any ongoing debts from the remediation shape up, compared to the revenue streams of the new Intermodal Logistics facility.

Now it's doubtful that the departing duo will want to use up a lot of their farewell time on Monday to address much of that, as they prepare to deliver their Coles Notes on the last eight years.

The occasion one which will probably focus on the Vision planning and the blueprints in place for the future of the City and the redesign that has been envisioned over the last two terms of office.

But with the majority of the previous Council membership re-elected and heading back for another four year term, a few expansive public reviews on some of the larger themes on recent spending from the City should be added to the to do list in the near future.

That as the next collective embarks on their new adventures in civic governance along with the soon to be installed Mayor Herb Pond.

The Next Mayor and his Council take their oaths of office and get to work on November 7th.

You can explore some of the infrastructure themes from the last eight years through our archive page here.

Past notes on Council Discussion themes can be reviewed here.


  1. One post mortem nice to have would be to see how local companies benefited from this major project.
    The city should break down a percentage of how much of the spend went to local lead/sub contractors versus out of town lead/sub contractors.

  2. How much the city paid which contractors will appear in the next Statement of Financial Information that the City will be required to release by June 2023. With some number crunching it should be possible to calculate overall numbers of how much went to local contractors compared to out of towners. As on other issues, the practice has been that information is released on a need to know basis and generally the council seems to feel that the public does not need to know.

  3. There are a lot of out of town contractors working on various jobs around the city. Does the city even bother to ensure the general contractors make sure they have a valid business license. If not is this another voluntary thing?