With a lighter schedule ahead for the summer, Prince Rupert city Council put in some extra time compared to previous meetings this Monday evening, with a two and a half hour session that covered a large volume of work.
The Evening starting off with a pair of presentations as part of the Committee of the Whole one on policing in the community, the other the delivery of the City's Annual Report.
Council received a number of reports, related to parking themes, the release of the Statement of Financial Information documentation, as well as how the Council will approach Loan Authorization for infrastructure requirements.
Variance and Zoning reports provided for the largest volume of work with the Hays Cove Avenue apartment plans taking up the largest amount of discussion time for Council Members.
The Ninth Avenue West Apartment plans adjacent to the PRMS location also came back to council though there was no further discussion taken on towards that zoning request.
The Public Comment period brought forward a number of residents, the dominant topic that of the elimination of an Adult Swim program at the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre, while another resident had a list of questions for Council related to the Statement of Financial Information documents.
The Agenda for the Monday session can be reviewed here.
The Committee of the Whole Agenda is available for review 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, June 26, 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, June 26, 2023
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE SESSION OF COUNCIL
( 00:00 -- 2:00 ) Call to Order
Adoption of the Agenda -- The Mayor opened the session with a bit of an information piece for the gallery and audience at home related to Council process and the rules that Council has to follow. He then reviewed the Committee of the Whole Agenda of the June 26th session and seek approval of Council towards it.
Petitions and Delegations --
( 2:00 -- 26:00 ) Council received a presentation from Sergeant Gerry Walker the head of the Prince Rupert Detachment of the RCMP. His presentation provided an overview of developments with the Detachment in the community, starting with the findings of a survey that was conducted to gauge the impressions of the public on policing in the community.
Among the top three priorities identified from the survey were Crimes against persons, Drug Trafficking Sexual offences, improving community relations and traffic enforcement.
From that the Sergeant outlined the nature of the Policing Performance plan for the community, he noted of some recent enforcement work, traffic related themes and expansion of the foot patrol program from his list of items.
He explained on the training program and mentorship themes that the Detachment has put in place observing how the detachment is mostly placement for first positions for members with only a few exceptions of the complement that numbers 34 at full staffing.
Towards reconciliation themes he noted of the Restorative Justice program in the city and initiatives at the detachment level to expand Indigenous related knowledge of the region as a goal.
Sergeant Walker also noted of the progress towards the new detachment building.
Towards questions, from Councillor Forster he spoke to the work on reconciliation and how social media video perceptions don't capture a whole incident; as well as to how he and the detachment review practices from those interactions.
Councillor Adey spoke to training themes and the volume of first time placements for recruits in Prince Rupert and what they have found challenging and rewarding from their postings.
He outlined how the more engaged in the community they become helps to give them a view of the more positive side of policing, for challenges he noted of the administrative themes and some of the personal dynamics of the members.
A question on e-bikes and complaints about them, had the Sergeant observing he would have to learn a bit more about the topic as it relates to the local area and get back to council on an approach towards them.
Councillor Niesh picked up on comments earlier about enforcement themes in the Five Corners area, asking for some more details related to hat area, noting how it was one of the top areas he heard complaints about.
The Sergeant outlined how members make frequent patrols, pour out liquor regularly, have handed out tickets. He observed some of the issues are social concerns adding that the Detachment members have been called to that area or made a point of patrolling it more.
The Mayor asked about vacancies, of the full complement status the current roster is at 31 though there are always challenges in the flux of the detachment complement.
Councillor Cunningham asked about the ability to make use of the Rural and marine elements, he also observed of having seen the RCMP members at Five corners and the frustrations that they must find with the ongoing situation.
( 26:00 -- 43:00 ) The Second Presentation was that of the 2022 Annual Report, with Veronika Stewart the City's Manager of Communications, Engagement and Social Development who took the Council Members, those in the gallery and viewing from home through the range of elements that make for the Report.
The presentation provided a look at the City's Community Vision, Strategic Plan Goals, some of the Infrastructure work and planning that is ongoing for the future.
Ms. Stewart outlined some of the background to the Awards that the City received in 2022 and so far in 2023.
She observed how much more material including financial statements is available for review from the document.
No members of the public came forward to comment or speak to the Annual Report.
Council then put forward a motion to approve the Annual Report and move it to the Regular Council session.
Mayor Pond then took the opportunity to highlight the awards that the City has recessed, praising the work of the City's Senior Staff and City Manager, noting of the local roots for many of them and how they are achieving significant awards on the national stage, as well as to how any community would be pleased to have them as employees.
Question and Inquiries from members of Council
Council members had no questions or comments for the forum
Adjournment to Regular Council Session
REGULAR SESSION OF CITY COUNCIL
( 43:00 -- 45:00 ) Introduction of Late Items
Approval of Agenda -- The Mayor reviewed the Agenda of the June 26th session and seek approval of Council towards it, adding one late item, that of a letter related to the Recreation Department and the Adult Swim program. It was added to the Correspondence listing of the Consent Agenda.
The Endorsement of the Annal Report was also moved to the Regular Session.
( 45:00 -- 1:13:00 ) Public Comments regarding Agenda items --
The Mayor reviewed the guidelines towards the public comment portion of the evening, noting of some confusion from the last Council session as to what could be discussed and what can't be discussed and how the Public comment period is the only part of the night where that comment can take place.
As for the public on hand for the night, a few members came forward with concerns and questions.
Three of the participants on the night, including the author of the letter referenced by the Mayor, spoke to the issue of the Adult Swim and how it has been a recreation option for the community that is frequently removed from the schedule. The Three speaking to the topic spoke of its value and how it offers one of the few opportunities for adults to enjoy the facility in a dedicated period of time.
Mrs. Dawn Quast returned to the council chamber to speak to the topic of plans for the apartment complex proposed for Hays Cove and Frederick Street. Expressing come confusion as to why the topic had been brought back and if the public would have opportunity to discuss the issue.
The Mayor observed of the process in place and how the City was bringing it back for reconsideration, with a fresh look at the proposal owing to the concerns of the notification process that were outlined previous.
Terry Sawka also returned to the Council Chamber, revisiting some of his previous concerns over housing of the last Council Session, noting that some of that confusion was related to the Public Hearing he had missed and wished to speak of on the night, but had been denied of that opportunity.
The Mayor and Mr. Sawka had a bit of a debate over the Chairing of meetings, the process towards that and rules of order, with the Mayor observing that Mr. Sawka was wrong in his interpretation of how the process works.
The Mayor did apologize for the lack of information delivered on the rules at the previous meeting, but referenced the procedure related to the post Public Hearing period and the inability of Council to receive any further information.
Mr. Pond did speak to the important element of the Public comment period, but set the parameters towards what the public could anticipate towards further engagement with council outside of the period set aside for them.
An interpretation that Mr. Sawka did not share of the same sentiment on the theme as the mayor had.
He followed up with some questions related to the Statement of Financial Information, among his questions.
The cost of operation of the Airport Ferry, more details related to Franchise Fees.
He also asked towards the money spent renovations to the Airport and a suspension of loan payments towards them.
Watson Island was also on his list with questions related to remediation and if any money was made from items removed and what level of revenue has been generated by the industrial area.
His last question was related to the 9th Avenue West land which is owned by the City, to be used for an Apartment and if the land is to be put up for sale or if it was just a deal that was done. He also asked if there have been any discussions between the School Board and City related to that property.
Of the five questions, the Mayor spoke to the issue of land and outlined the legal process that the City will put in place towards the sale of any land. Noting that the City doesn't necessarily have to put up a For Sale Sign as part of that process.
The final moments of the Public Comment period were used by the advocates for the Adult Public Swim program to reinforce their commentary towards it.
( 1:13:00 -- 1:18:00 ) Consent Agenda
Report from Chief Financial Officer : Re: 2024 Budget Process (see pages 11 - 13 of Agenda)
Report from Chief Financial Officer : Re:April 2023 Financial Variance Report (see pages 14 - 19 of Agenda)
Report from City Planner and Director of Development Services : RE Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 3504, 2022 for Parking Specified Area (see pages 20-23 of Agenda)
Report from the Manager of Communications, Engagement and Social Development: Re: Update on Tourism Prince Rupert's Destination Development Project for Mariner's Park (see pages 24 - 26 of Agenda)
Email from Skeena Roundtable Re: Gitanyow Field Trip Reflections and Thank you (see pages 27 - 29 of Agenda)
Email from from Alexandra Vervain, Acting Senior Program Advisor, Strategy and Engagement, Fish and Fish Habitat protection program. (see pages 30 -76 of Agenda)
Councillor Forster asked for Council to speak to the presentations on the Adult Swim issue, towards that the City's Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller outlined some of the background towards the frequent cancellations as well as to note that she had asked for the Recreation Complex to revisit the decision.
Ms. Miller also outlined some of the challenges related to the Deep Water Aquafit program at the pool.
From that Ms. Forster asked towards the level of interest required for the programs to operate and suggested bringing back at least one night for the Adult Swim program.
Councillor Niesh asked towards the schedule and from his question came advice that this year the Pool maintenance schedule would take place in September, keeping the pool open through to the start of September.
Council then approved all items of the Consent Agenda which was accepted and filed
( 1:18:00 -- 1:18:30 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-02 -- Council received a report recommending approval for a variance for a property on 6th Avenue East. Council approved the variance without further discussion. (see pages 77 - 81 of Agenda)
( 1:18:30 -- 1:20:00 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-04 -- Council received a report recommending approval for a variance for a property on on Sherbrooke Avenue. Councillor Nick Adey asked for some background as to how the request went from one not to be approved, to one that is now approved. Director of Planning Pope provided for some of the detail towards the change of approach on the file. Council approved the variance without further discussion. (see pages 82 - 86 of Agenda)
( 1:20:00 -- 2:02:00 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-07 -- Council received a report recommending approval for a height variance for a property on Hays Cove Avenue at Frederick Street. The topic generated some significant discussion, with Councillors Niesh, Cunningham, Adey and the Mayor all contributing to the conversation, which mostly was related to the impact of the building on the surrounding area and if a change of access away from 10th Avenue would not be best.
Director of Planning Pope provided some additional background to the review of the issues raised.
Councillor Adey spoke to the topic of the variance request up for review on the night, summing up the pros and cons, noting of the need for more housing in the community and the availability of a Federal grant to assist that goal, which would be of benefit to women and children in the community.
He also observed of the recent string of development proposals that have brought some push back from the community.
He then turned to some of the objections of the current proposed development, including the sequence of construction, congestion, Parking and concerns for safety for School children in the area, as well as challenges for Emergency Responders.
He outlined his concerns over the process that was in place towards the project and how it created much of the controversy to the issue for the residents of the area and how some of the objections of the neighbours are valid as to how the current plan doesn't work. He added that in his opinion there was a need to stop the process where it is at and find a path forward the works better for everybody affected.
The Planning Director followed up with some background towards those themes, noting that few of the elements of the proposed development were set in stone.
She also outlined how the proposal is part of the Rapid Housing initiative and how delays could impact on the timeline for delivery of the project and the funding that is attached to it.
Councillor Cunningham joined the discussion with more questions related to the site and the scope of the housing proposal. He called attention to the issues related to using 10th Avenue east and the expense that could bring to the City.
Ms. Pope outlined how the city owned the land and its current zoning made it appealing towards the proposed development.
Councillor Niesh observed how when any project is proposed it brings change and impact to a neighbourhood and how there has been push back in previous instances that Council has reviewed, citing the Lax Kw'alaams housing plans from years previous as one that brought a volume of community input and concerns.
He also noted that there were still many steps ahead for the current proposal on Hays Cove that could bring changes.
The Planning Director reminded council of the current process that they have in place that normally does not send these elements back to Council.
That serving as a reminder for Council that had previously decided to defer such elements to City staff.
Councillor Adey spoke to that theme noting how it was incumbent on staff to take in the concerns of the community.
Councillor Forster also noted of the process in place and if there was a possibility that specific processes should have to come back to Council for further review.
Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller offered up some guidance for Council on the wording towards an amendment to the motion under consideration.
To bring the discussion to a close Council then took the motion to a vote
From that the Variance Permit for the property on Hays Cove Ave was approved on condition that the application for a Development Permit be brought back to Council prior to approval to understand how community concerns regarding the proposed variance and project will be mitigated.
The vote count had all council members in favour, with the exception of Councillor Adey, who was recorded as being against the motion. (see pages 87 - 100 of Agenda)
( 2:02:00 -- 2:02:30 ) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-11 -- Council received a report recommending approval for a variance for a property on 8th Avenue East. Council approved the variance without further discussion. (see pages 101 - 108 of Agenda)
( 2:02:30 -- 2:03:00) Report from the Director of Development Services: Re DVP 23-13 -- Council received a report recommending approval for a variance for a property on 7th Avenue East. Council approved the variance without further discussion. (see pages 109 - 113 of Agenda)
( 2:03:00 -- 2:03:30 ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer -- Council received the 2022 Statement of Financial Information (SOFI). CFO Corinne Bomben observed that it was a Standard publication that needs to be done every year and all information is in the report. Council approved the SOFI reports without further discussion (see pages 114 - 160 of Agenda)
( 2:03:30 -- 2:07:30 ) Report from the Chief Financial Officer : -- Council received a Report related to the Alternative Approval Process for Infrastructure Replacement Design. Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 3519, 2023 and Linear Liquid Wasted Infrastructure Replacement Loan Authorization Bylaw 3520, 2023.
Ms Bomben outlined some further detail towards the AAP and how it would work, which would see the two Loan Authorizations move forward, unless more than 1, 029 of the registered voters (10%) express a negative vote on the required form, which would then send the issue off to a larger and more expensive referendum process.
The Recommendation set Monday August 14 at 4:30 PM as the deadline for elector responses for the two loan initiatives. Council approved the motion to take the process to the Alternative Approval Process (see pages 161 -173 of Agenda)
( 2:07:30 -- 2:08:00 ) Report from the Corporate Administrator: Re: Resolutions from the Committee of the Whole -- Council received the recommendation and then accepted the Annual Report for 2022.
( 2:08:00 -- 2:20:30 ) City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw Number 3504, 2022 -- Council will be asked to provide third reading to the City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3504, related to Parking in specified areas.
Mayor Pond called for some clarity on the bylaw amendment, with Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller noting that it was an amendment to a bylaw introduced in 2022. Council then discussed some of the elements of the amendment, with Councillor Cunningham seeking some further background on what the bylaw would mean towards parking strategies for Third Avenue.
The Mayor observed that the topic on the night was related to the provision of parking spaces for new developments and the opportunity to waive the requirement for mixed used properties.
He also referenced a report that was included as part of the Consent Agenda, as part of his commentary Mr. Pond made note of was the opportunity that Parking Meters might offer the community.
Planning Director Pope noted for Council that the larger parking strategy is expected to move forward later this summer for Council's consideration.
As for the bylaw under consideration for the night after a fair bit of additional commentary on a range of parking themes; Council provided third reading to the amendment that was in front of them. (see pages 174 - 178 of Agenda)
( 2:20:30 -- 2:20:31 ) City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw Number 3506, 2023 -- Council was asked to provide third reading to the City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3506, related to permitting Child Care facilities In all public facilities zones. Council delivered the third reading without further comment. (see page 179 - 181 of Agenda)
( 2:20:31 -- 2:21:00 ) City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw Number 3507, 2023 -- Council was asked to provide fourth and final reading to the City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw 3507, amending property on Ninth Avenue West at Lisa Walters Drive to allow for RM5 Multiple Family Residential Zone. Council delivered the fourth and final reading without further comment. (see page 182 of Agenda)
( 2:21:00 -- 2:30:00 ) Council Round Table and Public Question Period --
Councillor Randhawa led off the discussion asking about the status of the Recreation Board, Councillor Miller provided some background on the current nature of the Board, the Mayor observing that Council could review the topic.
Councillor Adey returned to the Public Comment period from earlier in the evening, noting of the questions raised by Mr. Terry Sawka and asking for city staff to provide a reply to him, towards the list he had read to Council.
Mr. Adey noting that he wasn't looking for them to be answered on the night, but as a request that the answers be provided to the person who was asking them.
Ms. Miller advised that she had taken note of the questions and that it was likely that Ms. Bomben would get back to Mr. Sawka with some answers.
Mr. Adey then observed of the end of the School year and offered his congratulations to those about to head off on their break.
Councillor Skelton Morven, paid tribute to the organizers of the National Indigenous Day event in Prince Rupert. He also turned to the discussion on housing from the night and the nature of public discussion on the issue and how the goal should be to not tie up the process that would delay housing construction in the community.
He recounted his frequent observations on the need for much more in the way of additional housing and how many people who are not in the room would be in favour of such developments moving forward.
He also called on his own remembrances towards his view of the need for housing and how Council should view the issue through a compassionate lens.
The mayor wrapped up the session with a note on Canada Day events, noting of a drumming event at Kwinitsa Station at 11 AM on Canada Day, as well as the Community Celebration at Mariner's Memorial Park at 5PM.
He provided some background on what that time was selected for the celebration, noting of the challenges in finding volunteers to help with events and trying to create one big solid event and to enjoy the fireworks.
Adjournment -- The Mayor brought the session to a close with a call to adjourn to a closed Council meeting.
The Meeting was closed related to two elements of the Community Charter.
(e) the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements, if the council considers that disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality;
(k) negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal service that are at their preliminary stages and that, in the view of the council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public.
You can access our Council Archive for June 26th 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 now moves to their more relaxed schedule of once a month sessions, with the next Regularly scheduled session to take place on Monday, July 24.
That session starts at 7PM.