Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Council Timeline: Monday, March 25, 2024

Monday's Council session saw a reduced collective in the Chamber on the night,  with Mayor Herb Pond away for the session and the City Manager Robert Buchan participating by video connection.

With Councillor Wade Niesh serving as the chair for the session, most of the night was taken up with three presentations as part of the Committee of the Whole. That session featured representatives from AltaGas, the Rural Health Network and a delegation from the Wayne Place Seniors residences all speaking to Council on the night.

The Committee of the Whole Agenda is available to review here.

The agenda for the Regular Session for the night had few items to be dealt with, of note from their work, was the Consent agenda, with a late addition of a letter to Northern Health officials and a variety of reports, included on the night was a proposal for a bandshell project for Mariner's Park from Prince Rupert Rotary.

The Agenda for the Regular Council Session can be reviewed here.  

Council  members had also participated in a Closed Session earlier in the evening, the details towards why it was closed to the public can be reviewed here.  

Of the one hour and twenty five minutes for the session, the Presentations of the Committee of the Whole accounted for one hour and ten minutes of the night; the Regular Agenda was dispatched with in fifteen.

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, March 25, 2024

Mayor Herb Pond -- Absent
Councillor Nick Adey -- Present 
Councillor Barry Cunningham -- Present
Councillor Teri Forster --  Present
Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven --  Present
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present (served as Chair)
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa -- Present

Video Archive  for  Monday, March 25, 2024 



0:00- 1:45) Approval of Agenda  -- With Mayor Herb Pond not in attendance for the night, Councillor Wade Neish served as the Chair,  to open the Committee of the Whole he reviewed the Agenda for thesession  and then sought approval of Council  towards it. 


1:45 -- 41:00)  Presentation from ALTAGAS

The delegation from AltaGas provided for an update on their plans for development of the  Ridley Island Energy Export Facility. They provided a review of some of the past five years of history of AltaGas in Prince Rupert through their RIPET facility at Ridley Island and the importance of their Prince Rupert operations to their corporate interests.

As part of the overview they focused on the training provided through Coast Mountain College in the northwest, as well as their commitment to hiring locally and within the Indigenous community.

They also highlighted the Rail Safety program that they have in place with fire fighters across the region, as well as their community investment in the Prince Rupert/Port Edward area.

Looking to their next project, an update was delivered to Council on the progress, the bulk of the presentation focused on the joint venture with VOPAK in RIEEF, the Ridley Island Energy Export Facility.

The Presentation outlined  that while they have not yet made a Final Investment Decision for that terminal project, the plans have been in place over the last three years, with the expectation that they will make that decision  in the second quarter of this year.

A review of the design of the proposed terminal and the regulatory licensing, Indigenous engagement and site preparation made for much of the overview.  They also provided a look at some of their outreach with Coast Mountain College towards training.

Towards questions, Councillor Adey led off the discussion, first noting of the changes that have taken place on Ridley Island from what residents may have remembered from the past when it was previously accessible by the public.

His questions were related to the Wetlands Compensation Function plan, it was noted by the Alta Gas reps that the discussion of the program was currently underway with area Indigenous communities.

The councillor's Second question was towards the FID, Mr. Adey asking what the plan would be if they decide not to move forward.  The AltaGas reps outlined how they are still looking at ways to manage costs and how they will develop it in phases, expressing confidence towards that decision.

Councillor Teri Forster asked for more background on the waste wood burning that is taking place,  it was outlined how the trees that could go to market did, with the remainder the material they being disposed of through a burn operation.

The Councillors second question was related to response to any emergencies at the facility, in reply the AltaGas Emergency Response plan was outlined, as was the relationship that they have with local agencies.

Councillor Randhawa's contribution to the conversation was to seek out a timeline for development and to ask towards the construction process, what kind of workforce would be assembled.

The timeline element was noted as still something in motion towards determining, with a target of late 2026-27 for in service operations. As for the construction it would be a phased approach, with some of the large elements to be constructed offsite from the community and brought to the site.  

For assembly over time it would feature a load level execution with lower levels of workers on site, with AltaGas looking to work with the local community. At peak it's anticipated that 250 people could be working the site, with 50 to 60 percent of them local.

Councillor Cunningham returned to the themes of Emergency services, asking about the nature of their in house emergency response.

He then observed of both the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Fire Departments and how they don't have the specialized training and the burden it would put on the local taxpayers and stretch their resources even more.

To that he asked if AltaGas would be contributing to the local Fire Departments to reduce those burdens.

He also observed of the volume of workers and asked if they planned  for a work camp for their workers and where it was going to be, noting of the housing situation in Prince Rupert.

Towards the workforce question, the AltaGas reps noted of the existing  camp at Watson Island which they would use, as well as plans to expand that camp footprint. They also observed of the medical services that they plan to provide for those camp residents to reduce any impact on local hospital services in Prince Rupert.

A question on the volume of trains required to serve the site, provided a response of roughly 75 train cars per day of LPG for the first phase, expanding up to 90 additional cars for each of the additional commodities should they come on line.

Mr Cunningham noted of the city's concerns over the growing need for travel to Terrace for hospital purposes and how the increase in trains would increase wait times at the level crossing between Prince Rupert and Terrace.

The Councillor also observed as to how the city will be the service centre and how the terminal will bring impacts and challenges to policing and other services in the community.

In reply the AltaGas reps outlined of some of their internal programs for consultation with the community towards those issues. They also highlighted how they are tax payers to the community and how that property tax payment goes to those initiatives.

To close his commentary, Mr. Cunningham praised the working relationship with AltaGas  in the last few years, noting how he was raising the issues that make for local concerns.

Councillor Niesh outlined how he was hopeful for a Final Investment Decision and thanked AltaGas for their contributions through taxes paid to the community.

 41:00 -- 1: 06:00 )  Presentation from RURAL HEATLH NETWORK 

The focus for the second presentation was a recruiting drive to have Prince Rupert join the Rural Health Network to advocate for better health care services in their community.

A portion of the presentation from Paul Adams was plagued by technical issues, what was available outlined the scope of the program, tracing its beginnings back to 2017.

The organization has been raising concerns about the state of the health care crisis in the rural areas of the province since that time and outlined the benefits that Prince Rupert could find by joining in with the other communities that make up the Network.

Towards questions Councillor Forster asked how communities could contact them towards more on their work in rural communities.

She also asked if Jennifer Rice, who is Parliamentary Secretary for Rural health was involved with engagement with the organization, as well as to their engagement with health care professionals.

Mr. Adams observed that they are engaged with both Ms. Rice and the other political leaders in the province, as well as to explain towards their communication work with front line health care professionals.

For Councillor Nick Adey, the focus for his questions was to note of their website and how it provides a good volume of material for the community. He then asked towards their pitch to have Prince Rupert join the Rural Health Network, noting how MLA Rice has advocated for it.

Mr. Adey asked what would change in how to address the concerns for Prince Rupert should they decide to join.

To that, Mr. Adams noted of the still developing  footprint of the Northern membership, highlighting how each area provides background that goes towards their research and advocacy to Health officials and government. 

The Corporate Administrator joined the discussion to note that while the technical difficulties impacted on the council members, the audience at home was able to hear the presentation fine.

Councillor Niesh asked about local recruitment in the north, the response noted how with a focus on urban recruitment for education in medicine, many of those graduates return to the large communities.

He noted that the Rural Health Network has long been advocating for a more decentralized approach towards both education and medical practice and services in the rural areas.

Councillor Cunningham noted of the biggest problem coming through of education and outlined how other areas of the country ensure that the needs of rural areas are addressed.

He also noted of some of the inequalities found in the health care system, which are impacting on rural communities.

To bring the presentation to a close, Mr. Adams observed of some of the challenges in place that have been impacting rural areas for decades, he made one more pitch for Prince Rupert to join the Network observing of the entry cost of 50 dollars, which he noted was a small cost to add Prince Rupert's voice to the network.

1:06:00 -- 1:10:30 )  Presentation from Residents of Wayne Place Seniors Residences

Bruce Rempel spoke on behalf of the residents of the Senior's residences that are adjacent to the Rupert quare Mall, highlighting a topic that has come before Council before, that of the noise related to truck traffic in the area in the late evenings and in the overnight period.

In addition to Mr. Rempel's commentary, a tenant of the residences spoke to the reduced quality of life that they have in their homes. 

That due to the excessive noise and fumes from the trucks that is found in the area through the night and in the early morning hours.

As part of the presentation a petition was handed over to Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller.

Council members had no questions or comments related to the Committee of the Whole, with Council then adjourning to the Regular Session.



Introduction of Late Items

(  1:10:30 - 1:11:00) Approval of Agenda  -- Mr. Niesh reviewed the Agenda of the March 25th Regular Council session  and then sought approval of Council  towards it. 

He noted of one addition to the Consent Agenda, that of correspondences from the City related to the Health care situation at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.

1:11:00 -- 1:11:30 Public Comments regarding Agenda items -- No members of the public took the opportunity to speak to any topics.

1:11:30 -- 1:12:30Consent Agenda

Building Department Activity Report for February 2024  (see pages  7-8 of Agenda)
Request for Support Application to he Local Government Development Approvals Process Fund (see pages 9-10 of Agenda)
Monthly Fire/Rescue Report February 2024 
 (see pages  11-12 of Agenda)
Minutes of the Accessibility Committee of January 16, 2024 
(see pages  13-18 of Agenda)


Prince Rupert Children's Festival  - Certificate of Appreciation    (see page 19   of Agenda)

The only comment that was heard from the Consent Agenda was that from Councillor Adey who noted of the late items and the rather limited areas where the city can engage on the issue of Health care.

He recommended that the public should review them, observing how they were strongly worded coming from his perspective something that it should have been.

As the letters were a late addition to the Agenda, they have yet to be posted to the Agenda for the March 25th Council session, nor do they appear on any of the city's information streams.

Council then provided approval for the Consent Agenda 


Staff Reports

(  1:12:30 -- 1:15:00Report from Rotary Club or Prince Rupert  Re: Bandshell Proposal - Pacific Mariner's Memorial Park  (see pages 20-21 of Agenda)

Towards discussion Councillor Cunningham called on the past experiences of Councillor Adey as a musician to speak of some of the challenges that site location may provide, noting of a comment from the consultation on exposure to rain.

He asked Councillor Adey for his thoughts on the positioning of the bandshell, to that theme he observed of the increased challenges that outdoor weather can provide for.

Adding that a consideration towards design might help to reduce some of that as well.

Councillor Niesh observed how that could be mentioned to the Rotarians.

Business Arising

( 1:15:00 -- 1:25:00 Council Round Table 

Towards discussion Councillor Adey led off the contestation for the evening. 

His first was a note of appreciation for the local group that cleaned up the Moresby Park Trail area over the weekend. He also noted of some solo efforts in the community

His second topic was to speak to the Emergency Room Closure issues, speaking first to the impact on the BC Ambulance service and to mitigate the risks of the ER closure.

The City manager directed the comment to the Corporate Administrator.

From her overview, Ms. Miller outlined that when the Emergency Room is closed additional assets are brought into the community by BC Ambulance, observing that at the most recent overnight closure that three additional crews were in town, making for four crews and a critical care paramedic.

She also noted that additional guidance is available on the Northern Health social media stream and the city's own social media stream.

Councillor Adey offered his praise for the city's initiative to relay that information.

Councillor Skelton-Morven spoke of the importance of Prince Rupert Regional Hospital for the local First Nations communities and how the closures are a concerning issue for those communities as well.

He added of the importance for the communities to alleviate the issue.

Councillor Niesh pointed to the previous presentation on Rural Health and added that there is a need to bring pressure to the government towards the issues of health care, noting of the strong industrial presence in the community and how it was a top priority for the community.

He outlined how the letters that the City has forwarded and discussions that the city will have in the future will resolve the issues.

Councillor Forster spoke to the theme of the recent demolition of the Angus Apartments and how for many in the community it was a long time coming and relayed some of the gratitude that she heard from the public that it had taken place.

Councillor Cunningham returned to the Moresby Park clean up to pay attribute to the work of organizer Chantal Meggison, who has been in the. lead in the community towards community clean ups.

On the Health Care situation in the area, the Councillor noted how the ER has now become a doctor's office owing to the recent departures and how the facility is crucial to the community, noting of the vulnerability that is here at the moment.

He observed how its going to be used more and more, the also wondered as to the ratio of desks to Bed for Northern Health in Prince Rupert and how there is a need to reverse those priorities.

Councillor Niesh had a few thoughts on the Angus Apartments demolition, noting how the delays to that demolition were not the result of staff, but more related towards the actions of the former landlord, recounting some of the many challenges that he had provided for the city on that file.

He shared his enthusiasm towards its demolition and observed that more buildings and houses in the community will see similar action in the months ahead. He also noted how from the recent work downtown,  it's more enjoyable to drive down Third Avenue these days.

And from that final thought,  the Council session was adjourned.

From that a number of items related to the Monday session can be reviewed.

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.

The next City Council Session is scheduled for Monday, April 8, 2024.

That session starts at 7 PM.


  1. These technical issues during council meetings need to stop. They are embarrassing and make civic leadership look like amateurs.
    We are paying top dollar for IT support, AV equipment, and administrative planning and expertise.
    Judging by some of the recent grammatical errors out of City Hall, I am going to guess they do not test presentations before council meetings.

  2. Ch10 is the problem because it’s archaic technology. Stream from the city website.

    1. Isn’t Channel 10 a CityWest channel. Council has authority over CityWest