It was a Resident's Night out at City Hall on Tuesday, with a large delegation in the Council Change gallery, there in support of a petition from the Fourth Avenue West area,. The document calling for the repair and reopening of the Trail between their neighbourhood and the downtown area, with three residents speaking to the topic on the night.
Also of note from the evening, while the Council Agenda notes that a Liquor Licence referral request from Port City Spirits would be deferred until June, the topic still made for some extensive discussion by the public in the public comment period that started the night off.
Property variance reports for the most part rounded out much of the council session, with two items of note one the expansion of options for the provision of day care operations around the city.
While a proposed multi family development of forty units adjacent to Prince Rupert Middle School generating some conversation, as did plans for an apartment building on Hays Cove Avenue.
The Agenda for the Monday session can be reviewed here.
Further information from our overview and placement in the video archives can be found below; with the permanent record of the Council minutes added as they are posted to the city website.
In attendance: Monday, May 23, 2023
Mayor Herb Pond -- Present
Councillor Nick Adey -- Present
Councillor Barry Cunningham -- Present
Councillor Teri Forster -- Present
Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven -- Present
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa -- Present
Video Archive for Monday, May 23, 2023
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE SESSION OF COUNCIL
( 00:00 -- 19:00 ) Call to Order
Adoption of the Agenda -- The Mayor reviewed the Committee of the Whole Agenda of the May 23rd session and seek approval of Council towards it.
Petitions and Delegations -- Council received a presentation from Sean Carlson of Kaien Trails. Speaking towards the Kaien Island Trails and Recreation Society.
Mr. Carlson provided some history of their past work on Rushbrook Trail, noting of the work with a range of partners which includes the City, First Nations, Province and local Industry.
Carlson also updated the Council members on some of the progress for the Society's trail building plans in the community, putting the focus on the Cloudberry Trail which has seen over 2 million dollars raised towards it to this point.
The first phase will take the Trail from the Civic Centre to Prince George Street, design work is underway for phase two further ahead.
He advised that Access Mountain out of Terrace was the successful bidder for the phase one work. As the plans evolve Carlson noted that it would be along the same lines as the pathways of Stanley Park Galloping Goose or the Millennium Walkway in Terrace.
Towards his appearance on the night, he had two asks of Council.
The first was to seek permission to submit the phase one plan to the Ministry of Transportation, through the City of Prince Rupert, noting that the Ministry doesn't allow non-profits to submit plans on their right of way.
The second request was to seek the assistance of city staff in submitting applications for the second phase of the trail building program.
He wrapped up his commentary with an update on upcoming Kaien Trails Events in the community, as well as to share notes on the Trail Coastal Rider program.
Towards Questions from Council, Councillor Adey saluted their work in opening up the community and noting of the Cloudberry design and how it may be accessible for many.
Councillor Niesh asked about the timelines, with Carlson advising that with Ministry of Transportation approval they could be breaking ground by September with work complete hopefully by March 2024.
Councillor Morven noted of the large group in the gallery, though Mr. Carlson observed that they are likely in place for a separate issue later in the evening.
Councillor Forster asked about sharing information on the Trail Rider program.
Councillor Cunningham thanked the Society for their work in the community, he also asked towards how the trails would hold up considering the climate of the community.
Mr. Carlson noted that it was part of the design process.
Mayor Pond then consulted with the City Manager towards the requests and what kind of timeline the City would need, Mr. Buchan noting that the process could begin as part of the Council session that night.
Question and Inquiries from members of Council
Adjournment to Regular Council Session
REGULAR SESSION OF CITY COUNCIL
( 19:00 -- 20:00 ) Introduction of Late Items
Approval of Agenda -- The Mayor reviewed the Agenda of the May 23rd session and seek approval of Council towards it, adding the item from the Committee of the Whole towards Kaien Trails to the night's work.
( 20:00 -- 44:30 ) Public Comments regarding Agenda items -- This period offers a chance for those in attendance to speak to any items to be addressed on the Agenda for the evening.
The theme for discussion for the large gathering in the gallery was a petition forwarded to City Staff related to the status of the pathway and staircase linking Fourth Avenue West with Third Avenue West.
Speaking for much of the delegation of residents were Sandra Jone and John Patterson, with Mr. Patterson providing for the largest share of the narrative.
He outlined the history of the closure of the pathway and the volume of people that use the pathway and observed on how improving accessibility in the community is part of the Official Community Plan.
Mr. Patterson advised that a couple of chainsaws and repairs to the railings would be sufficient to reopen the trail, then recounting some of the concerns of those in the area with the trail no longer accessible.
He called for the City to take the bull by the horns and advise public works to make the repairs the number one priority, noting of change in signage from Permanently Closed to Temporarily Closed, which he advised was the same thing.
Ms. Jones followed up with a reference to the Official Community Plan and its desire for walkability and how the Trail was featured in the documentation, She also observed that more than just the residents of the area make use of the trail but many other residents and tourists do as well.
Brian Musgrave also spoke to the Trail issue, observing to the vast volume of people that use the trail beyond the neighbourhood, noting that with Cruise passengers in town, many wish to see the Church on Fourth Avenue but the access to it is now restricted in access to it.
He also observed on the lack of maintenance that the City put towards the pathway and staircase in recent years and how the City has a responsibility towards to get it cleaned up and to maintain it, as well as to make it a priority.
The Second topic that attracted attention on the night was the Port City Spirits Liquor lounge licence amendment on the Agenda for the night, with Barbara Kuhl returning to share many of the same points of opposition that she had shared two weeks ago.
She observed of the process towards the lounge issue as that of a colonial kind of way, that of act now and ask later. She once again noted of the services provided by the Friendship House, Salvation Army and North Coast Development Services and how they are not compatible with the plans that Port City Spirits have for the area.
Ms. Kuhl, spoke of the difficult decision that Council has, but cautioned of the need to weigh the situation facing many of those in the area, as part of their process, asking if they would allow a business such as the Port City Proposal to set up beside a school, which she suggested is what the Friendship House is.
Also speaking to the topic and noting his opposition was Terry Sawka, also a repeat contributor to the discussion from earlier in May.
He challenged the theme of the proponents of appealing to cruise ship passengers, noting that they can find access to alcohol anywhere. He offered up his interpretation of the change in licence focus from tasting room to lounge, noting how the latest plan is for the most part that of a bar.
He also raised issues of proximity to the Daycare at the Friendship House, as well as the issue of parking.
Sawka also expressed concerns at the prospect of a widening area for allowing for liquor licences, noting he has no problem with the concept of a distillery, but did object to the idea of a lounge or bar and that of off sales that the proposed change would offer.
( 44:30 -- 50:00 ) Consent Agenda
Council minutes -- Council reviewed and adopted the minutes of the previous May 8th session.
4th Avenue West Petition. May 10, 2023 (see pages 9-15 of Agenda)
Letter of Support the the Prince Rupert Aboriginal Community Service Society: Re Aboriginal Head Start Day care facility (see page 16 of Agenda)
Letter from Assistant Deputy Minister MacLaren re: cryptocurrency mining in BC (see page 17-19 of Agenda)
Announcement from North Coast Regional District: re: NCRD and CUPE 3 year collective agreement (see page 20 of Agenda)
Letter from Chris Fairclough, Director, Social Purpose and Community Stakeholder Engagement re: Chances Prince Rupert Gaming Centre self exclusion program. (see page 21 of Agenda)
Councillor Forster called attention to the letter from the Aboriginal Head Start Day Care Facility, while Councillor Adey asked that the 4th Avenue East petition item be moved into a Discussion.
From that the council members discussed the comments of the gallery and how it was received.
Councillor Adey noted of the significant amount of residents in the gallery and the interest in the topic and how it has been raised in previous Council meetings. He noted that from those meetings it was an item that was not budgeted for and from that he suggest Council ask Staff to consider how the city might develop a proposal that would work towards solving the problem without compromising other civic elements.
City Manager Rob Buchan, noted of his support for the matter to be referred to staff for further study towards reopening the stairway pathway sooner than later.
With Council referring it to staff, Councillor Adey asked for the report to come by the next meeting.
The City Manager noted that he would discuss the topic further with the Operations Manager, and noting of the urgency expressed by the public, they would work on the report as soon as possible.
Council then approved all items of the Consent Agenda which was accepted and filed
( 50:00 -- 52:30 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-03 -- Council received a variance report for a property on Omenica Avenue. Councillor Adey asked if there had been any feedback from the public. Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller advised that none had been received. Councillor Cunningham called attention to the location of the BC Hydro box on the property. He was advised that if any issues related to the bus were to be raised it would take place in the next step of the process. Council approved the request. (see pages 22 - 26 of Agenda)
( 52:30 -- 53:00 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-05 -- Council received a variance report for a property on Pigott Avenue. Council approved the request. (see pages 27 - 31 of Agenda)
( 53:00 -- 56:30 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-07 -- Council received a variance report for a property on Hays Cove Avenue. Councillor Adey asked questions towards whether any public response had been received. He was advised that none had come forward. Councillor Cunningham observed of the use of 10th Avenue for access and the challenges it may provide and his concerns over increased traffic along it. He suggested that the City explore ofter access options to the site in question. The city's planning department observed that the final decision on access would come later in the process. Council then approved the report. (see pages 32 - 45 of Agenda)
( 56:30 --56:45 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-06 -- Council received a variance report for a property on 9th Avenue Avenue . Council moved the process forward to statutory notification (see pages 46 - 51 of Agenda)
( 56:45 -- 57:15 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-09 -- Council received a variance report for a property on 11th Avenue East. Council moved the process forward to statutory notification (see pages 52 - 57 of Agenda)
( 57:15 -- 58:45 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-10 -- Council received a variance report for a property on Hays Cove Avenue. Councillor Cunningham noted that the item in question has for the most part already been built. The planning department outlined the status of the project noting that a Stop Order request was in place. The Councillor observing that it's another case of building and then asking for forgiveness. Mayor Pond noting that a Stop Work order was a pretty good wake up call (see pages 58 - 63 of Agenda)
( 58:45 -- 1:04:30 ) Report from the Director of Development Services and Manager of Communication, Engagement and Social Development: Re Zoning Amendment Bylaw -- Council received a report related to the permitting of of child care in public facilities and in all residential zones. Councillor Skelton-Morven asked for some further background on the Child Care facility.
In reply Ms. Pope from Planning noted that it was to allow for an expansion of the areas where child care facilities would be permitted. Councillor Cunningham noted how there was a need for Child Care but how he had concerns over whether neighbours would have a say on placement of Child Care centres in their areas. Ms. Pope provided some further background to the topic, Communication Manager Veronika Stewart further expanded on the opportunities for residents to share any concerns.
Councillor Niesh noted that he had no concerns over the establishment of the Child Care centres in residential areas. Councillor Cuningham reinforced some of his previous concerns, Councillor Adey noted of provincial overview on the issuance of licences to operate.
Councillor Niesh recounted his own experiences with Child Care and his observations from that time, Council then received the report. (see pages 64 - 66 of Agenda)
( 1:04:30 --1:07:00 -- ) Report from the Director of Development Services: -- Council received a Zoning Amendment Bylaw for a proposed 40 unit, 5 storey multifamily building on 9th Avenue West. Councillor Skelton Morven asked for clarification as to where the proposed development was to be located. The City Planner advised it was a re-application for rezoning, it would be located at Lisa Walters Drive and 9th West adjacent to the Middle School. Council adopted the motion. (see pages 67 - 69 of Agenda)
( 1:07:00 -- 1:07:45 ) Report from the Corporate Administrator: Re: Liquor Licences Amendment -- Council will receive recommendation to further postpone a review the Liquor License Amendment to enable a longe area endorsement for 801 Fraser Street to June 12, 2023. Council approved the postponement to June, the Mayor noting that it was at the request of the proponents.
( 1:07:45 -- 1:08:45 ) Late Agenda Item from Committee of the Whole: Re: Support for Kaien Trails with Mintiry of Transportation -- Council was requested to direct staff to work with Kaien Trails to work with the Ministry of Transportation to submit the plans for the first phase of the trail. And to work with staff through an MOU for future phases of the Trail program. Council approved the motion with no discussion
( 01:08:45 -- 1:09:45 ) 2023 Zoning Amendment Bylaw Number 3506, 2023 -- Council provided first and second reading to the City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3506, to permit child care facilities in all public zones. Council provided the required readings of the Bylaw. Councillor Skelton-Morven spoke in strong support for the efforts towards development of Day Care in the community. (see pages 70 - 72 of Agenda)
( 1:09:45 -- 1:14:00 ) 2023 Zoning Amendment Bylaw Number 3507, 2023 -- Council povided first and second reading to the City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3507, related to development of a multifamily story building with 40 units in the 9th Avenue West area of town. With Council to proceed to a Public Hearing.
Councillor Skelton-Morven asked for a wider overview of the proposed use of the land towards a multi unit apartment complex. Councillor Adey asked if there would be any impact on the plans for a build of the new Middle School.
The Mayor asked if there was any conflict with the School District, the City Manager advised that the City was aware of the School District plans and would be reaching out to the School District related to any potential access or access implications. Councillor Skelton-Morven spoke to the need for more housing in the community and noted he was in favour of it.
In response to questions from Councillor Cunningham, City Manager Buchan observed that the housing would be market housing though he could not confirm if it would be for sale or rent, adding that it would be explained further at the public hearing.
He added that the City knew who the developer was, someone named Mr. Brown and how it had been a easy process with hopes of success for this project, of further opportunities to work with him in the future. Mr. Buchan also confirmed that a reverter clause was in place to return the land to the city if the project does not move forward. (see page 74 of Agenda)
( 1:14:00 -- ) Council Round Table and Public Question Period --
Councillor Cunningham led off the discussion, reminding the Council members of the upcoming Salmon Festival taking place at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on Friday and Saturday.
He then noted of some recent sports success for a number of community teams in tournaments away from Prince Rupert. Noting of the travels for soccer players and softball players.
He then delivered a short report on the gathering of the NCLGA, observing of his work from a number of Northern Health related themes, of concern for him was the ongoing hospital replacement program and how Prince Rupert has fallen further down the list, trailing Terrace, Smithers and now Hazelton when it comes to hospital replacements. He recounted some of the issues at the Prince Rupert Hospital that he suggests should move Prince Rupert up the listings, also observing of the issues of travel in the winter tha the has raised in the past.
Mr. Cunningham also explored some of the topics discussed on recruitment in the region for health professionals and how the city will have to keep an eye on the issue.
Councillor Forster spoke to the success of the Prince Rupert Middle School Band in recent competition back east, she also had some thoughts on health care, noting that as a nurse what she finds that there is an advantage in Prince Rupert that of community, Adding that the best way to retain staff by accenting the benefits of the community.
Councillor Adey recounting his recent experiences in health praised those working in it. He also put in a shout out for the upcoming Rock Stock show at the Lester Centre from the Ring System Music Studio on the coming Saturday night.
Councillor Skelton Morven, observed of some upcoming travels for himself, Councillor Forster and city staff who will be heading to Toronto and will miss Salmon Fest.
Mayor Pond added to the details on that trip, noting that the two councillors and Doctor Buchan would be attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities gathering in Ontario.
Mr. Pond then recounted some notes from the North Central Local Government Association gathering in the Peace Country last week and how there is a call from the organization for Prince Rupert to host one of the conventions in the years ahead. He outlined what Prince Rupert could offer to the gathering, noting that next year is not a possibility, but that 2025 is a year to consider.
Councillor Cunningham also noted of the interest from the organization in having Prince Rupert host a convention.
The mayor recounted his recent meeting that he and Dr. Buchan had with Premier Eby in Victoria, noting that it was the seventh face to face meeting he has had with the Premier in pursuit of long term sustainable funding for the community.
Mr. Pond also noted that he is now one of three co-chairs representing the Regional Benefits Alliance, he recounted some of the history of the organization and its work to access additional revenue streams to support communities.
He outlined some notes between the group and the province in recent weeks and how there continues to be progress being made towards their goals.
Adjournment -- The Mayor brought the session to a close with a call to adjourn to a closed Council meeting, citing sections 90.1 (c) of the community charter, related to labour and employee relations.
Council then adjourned to their Closed session.
You can access our Council Archive for May 23rd here, from that page a number of items regarding the Council Session, including links to any local media coverage can 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.
Council next meets in a Regularly scheduled session on Monday June 12, 2023
That session starts at 7PM.