Friday, May 26, 2017

Sustainable Cities conference re-energizes Mayor's desires for community engagement

A trip to Vancouver last week by Mayor Lee Brain for a three day sustainable cities conference clearly has renewed his personal energy on the theme, as well as to provide him with some new thoughts on how to better engage Prince Rupert into the goal of  becoming a more sustainable community.

As part of Tuesday's Council session, the Mayor was anxious to share some of his observations from the trip, as he provided a thumbnail sketch of some of the elements of the conference that resonated the most with him.

During the course of his short overview for Council, Mayor Brain outlined some of the exciting developments he had heard about from leaders from as far away as Rio de Janeiro, Japan and Germany.

From his observations of the conference he noted some of challenges that rural communities face in developing sustainable initiatives and how they can achieve some of their goals. He also shared some of the background information that he had taken in when it comes to the availability for Green initiative funding for the community through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Mayor Lee Brain offered up an enthusiastic
account of his recent trip to a Vancouver
conference on sustainable cities.
Mr. Brain also put some of the focus of the International conference into a local perspective, noting how he would like to enable Prince Rupert as a community to become leaders in this world.

He observed how that doesn't mean that the City has to take the lead, but rather how it could serve as a support to people and the community to enable that vision.

Towards those ambitions, he pointed towards the city's 2030 sustainable cities policies which will be delivered to City Council shortly.

From those policies, the Mayor is proposing that Council take them to the public to seek their engagement towards achieving some of the goals of more sustainability.

Earlier this month, Hans Seidemann the City's Manager of Community Development provided an update on the City's Community Energy and Emissions plan, as part of the discussion from that report Mayor Brain expanded on some of his passion for the theme of sustainability in the local environment.

The Mayor carried some of that enthusiasm to the Vancouver gathering and on into his social media notes during the course of last week's sessions. As both he and Mr. Seidemann, offered updates to their twitter feeds showcasing some of the themes that had caught their attention.

The full review of their time in Vancouver can be found from the City's Video Archive, starting at the thirty eight minute mark.

More notes from Tuesday's council session can be found on our Council Timeline page.

While a larger overview of Council Discussion points can be examined on our Archive page.

A look at some of the city's initiatives as part of the 2023 Sustainable City program can be found here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

City spat with CN takes spotlight as Seafest weekend approaches

CN is holding to its plan to restrict
access to the Prince Rupert waterfront
It's not on the official program for the 2017 edition of Seafest, but the ever simmering irritant of the CN fence on the waterfront will clearly be part of the backdrop to this years events.

The controversial fence became a discussion point on Tuesday night, as Mayor Lee Brain took the issue to the residents of the city as part of the Regular Council session.

Responding to a question on the status of waterfront events this year from Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa, Mayor Brain outlined some of the frustrations that the city has had in making the case with CN for a return to access for the area that some in the community refer to as the last beach on the city's waterfront.

Despite the Mayor's past work as a facilitator, it appears that to this point his communication skills have not resonated with CN officials, with the railway showing little in a way of a change of direction for the topic. Since it was erected in October, the national transportation company has continued to maintain that there is a need for the fence which is found just west of the lightering dock adjacent to the Rotary Waterfront Park.

With Seafest but two weeks away, the Mayor outlined the short and long term options facing the city when it comes to waterfront access, noting that it would not be coming down in time for Seafest.

From his short overview on the impact on Seafest, he returned to the longer term issue of waterfront access and the CN fence, observing that it's the first time that the fence would block off access for Seafest and then urged the community to express their concern about to CN, asking for the residents of the city to help the city in its efforts with CN.

"We've been in consistent negotiations with CN around the fence, and obviously it is something that the community ... it's certainly a negative impact to the community there's no doubt about it. We feel that, that beach should be a public access beach, that it should be remediated, it should be used for public use, and it's going to be a difficult road to negotiate CN into a position where they would see it that way."

He also provided an indication as to the direction that the City would be taking towards the issue moving forward, noting that both he and Councillor Niesh would be in Ottawa next week and would reinforce the community's concern on the issue with senior CN officials.

"The longer term plan here is to continue to negotiate with CN, that's something that we're never going to let up on. Actually, Councillor Niesh and I will be meeting with Senior executives of CN at the FCM next week in Ottawa. We're bringing this straight to the top, so that they can become aware, especially since CN's motto this year is partnering with your neighbours, so that's a good motto for us to bring to Ottawa."

Mayor Brain highlighted that he believes that there is a solution that can be had, noting that remediation has been done before. He observed that the beach is already fenced off against the track, so he doesn't believe it is a safety issue and offered up a solution of partnership, adding how he believes that the city could could easily have that area developed as a public access beach.

Photo from October, of CN installing a fence on the waterfront
making the area west of the Lightering dock
Out of bounds for Prince Rupert residents,

Mr. Brain followed up his Council update with a few more comments for his Facebook page, providing further background to the dispute and providing his legion of followers with the name of a CN Official, as well as both a phone number and email address, suggesting that those that feel strong on the issue of to the railway's fencing decision could express their concerns to CN officials.

It's not the first time that the Mayor has tapped into his base of supporters on Facebook to address the CN fence issue, as we noted back in October, he was quick to the social media platform to review the situation when the fence first went up.

Differences of opinion between the City and CN are not a new thing, with previous city council's having taken on a number of other topics up with railroad over the years. However, it has long been the access to the rocky shoreline and aging pilings that make up the "beach", that has made for a long running irritant for city officials and the railway.

The CN/City dispute story was also faithfully recorded by the weekly newspaper and from the themes explored through that piece, the comments section at both the Northern View website and Facebook page have started to fill up, as those of readership that have common ground with the Mayor roar out their apparent approval to his approach to the issue with the railway.

You can review the comments from the Mayor from Tuesday as part of the City's You Tube Archive, the topic is introduced by Councillor Randhawa at the 41 minute point.

A full overview of the theme can also be reviewed from our Council Timeline Feature.

We will track the developments on the story as it evolves beyond the Seafest weekend, what news that comes from the dispute can be found on our CN archive page, as well as from our City Council Discussion archive.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Councillor Cunningham reinforces his desire for more information sharing with the public

The theme of how the city communicates with its residents received a two pronged approach at Tuesday evening's City Council Session, first with Councillor Mirau's motion related to Closed Council sessions and then with some follow up notes on related topics from Councillor Barry Cunningham.

For his part, Mr. Cunningham returned to a proposal that he has raised at council in the past, reminding council that he would like to see the various department heads for the city provide public reports at City Council, adding that the communication project could also be expanded to include the Fire Department, RCMP detachment and Airport Society to name a few of the services that he believed could participate.

"Now that we've passed the one about closed meetings, I've brought this topic up numerous times before and it seems to go nowhere, although we get yes we should do that. I would like to see the department heads come before council and give us a report on progress of projects and projects that are in the future. And I would also like that to include the RCMP giving a monthly or quarterly report, they indicated they are more than willing to do this and other communities do that. And also our Fire Department and from there, we can branch out to the airport and other places and just let the public know what's going on"

Mr. Cunningham noted that Council sessions are a venue that get reported on in many ways, whether through Social media, the newspaper, or from people watching on TV and how he believes that it's very important to the residents of the community to know what council is doing.

Mayor Brain addressed the topic by first observing how he believed that it was a great idea, adding that now that the Councillor had mentioned it he did remember him bringing the theme to council in previous sessions.  He observed that sometimes council gets so busy, that they forget to enable some of those things, expressing his desire to work out some form of regular reporting at Council.

The theme of more communication is one we've explored in the past on the blog noting many of the same areas that Mr. Cunningham explored on Tuesday.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday in relation to some concerns on safety in the McKay street area, other communities across the Northwest host department and service officials who provide updates to the community on a range of issues.

The full exchange on the topic can be found from the City's YouTube Archive page starting at the thirty five minute mark.

One of Mr. Cunningham's requests for more public updates for Council came in January.

More items related to Tuesday's Council Session can be found from Council Timeline feature.

For a wider overview of Council Discussions see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Council looks to move on Mirau's call for more transparency on closed council issues

Three years into a four year mandate, some Prince Rupert city council members seem to be taking note of some concerns in the community when it comes to the limited flow of information the comes from the elected officials to the residents of the city.

Towards that theme and having received a two week heads up on the debate to come, City Council members on Tuesday night heard a call from Councillor Blair Mirau for more transparency, particularly when it comes to how the city handles the issue of Closed meetings and the information that comes from them.

The first term City Council member offered up a short overview of some of the perceptions from the public when it comes to the frequency of meetings that are held behind closed doors and noted that there are some unique areas where the City must remain in a confidential mode, particularly the Watson Island and LNG development files.

However, during the course of his presentation he urged council to consider an approach that would give the community faith that they are conducting closed meetings only as required.

"A fair question I got afterwards on this  motion about an in camera communications policy was "why now?"  And the quick answer is that I wanted to be proactive, I think that given the amount of closed meetings that we've had, people rightfully have questions for us and more often than not we can't actually legally give answers ... so essentially the motion the way that I've designed it, essentially is just to ask staff to develop an in camera policy to come back to us with,  but also to develop a policy keeping in mind the best practices of the ombudsperson."

As he noted in his comments to Council, the main thrust of Mr. Mirau's motion was to have the city adopt a ten point policy related to Closed Council sessions, based on the Ombudsperson's office report, six of which the City currently follows, the other four he observed account for more than the legislated minimum.

Those ten points which were made as part of the resolution before Council can be reviewed below:

Mr. Mirau also noted that when it comes to reporting on those meetings, that Council should do more than the legislated minimum in order to provide assurance to the public that Council is being proactive in their disclosure.

Following his notes on the theme, Mayor Brain offered the topic up for further discussion, however no members of Council took that opportunity to weigh in on how the current closed meeting process works, or what ambitions that they may have for it in the future.

Later in the Council meeting Councillor Cunningham would touch on Mr. Mirau's motion, as he expanded on his own concerns over the lack of information that the city relays to the public from it's various departments.

As for the topic of Closed meetings, the Mayor did provide a few observations of his own towards Mr. Mirau's motion.

He followed up on some of the concepts that Mr. Mirau made mention of, reviewing some of the themes that brought the issue to the discussion table on the night.

"I'll echo what councillor Mirau is saying, I think absolutely we don't necessarily want to be in a position where we are always having closed meetings so to speak, but we do have some legal challenges, with Watson Island in particular which requires confidential meetings. And so it's just part of the role that we have here at the City of Prince Rupert, it's unique to us. You know, whether it's negotiations going on, or labour issues these are things that are standard practice that communities have to have in closed meetings "

Returning to Watson Island as one of the challenges that the City faces, (though while not disclosing any new notes on those issues), Mr. Brain observed that at one time or another, when things are finally resolved with Watson there may be a book written about the saga of Watson Island.

However at the moment the Mayor noted that they are doing what they can within their jurisdiction.

Mr. Brain did acknowledge that he agreed that Council could communicate more effectively to the best of their ability to make sure that they are putting as much as they possibly can to the public, so that everyone feels confident that the city is managing the communities affairs within the legal boundaries.

Considering the volume of time that council members have dedicated towards other topics at previous council sessions (some of which perhaps have little impact on civic governance), it's somewhat disappointing that few on Council had anything to add to the discussion on transparency and accountability.

For a topic that should have generated observations from all in attendance, in the end the theme provided for but six minutes of discussion towards the goal of a more transparent City Council.

You can review the full presentation to Council from the city's You Tube Archive page, starting at the 26 minute mark.

So far this year, City Council has hosted ten Closed Council sessions, including one on the same night as the discussion of the topic. You can track the listings of City Council sessions both Open and Closed from our Council Archive here.

A more expansive look at the conversation on Closed meetings from Tuesday can be found on our City Council Timeline feature.

Further background on City Council topics can be reviewed on our Council Discussion Archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

City Council Timeline: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

With the month's final council meeting of the month moved forward by a week, seemingly to accommodate a city delegation's visit to Ottawa at the end of the month, Council members made some quick work of their Agenda for Tuesday night.

From start to finish, the session  ran but 44 minutes, with Council members knocking down an agenda package which included a public comment opportunity as part of the Committee of the Whole portion of the night.

Beyond the few comments offered up members of the public, Council heard a presentation on a proposed upgrade to the McClymont Park trail system, a project that would expand the capabilities of the existing trail to offer wheelchair and cycling access.

Council also heard a number of reports from the City's Financial Officer and discussed a motion from Councillor Blair Mirau to review how they handle Closed sessions and the prospect of providing more information to the public from them.

The evening concluded with a number of reports from the Mayor covering his recent trip to Vancouver and his upcoming trip to Ottawa, Mr. Brain also took note of the community voting opportunity to help Transition Prince Rupert gain funding for the McKay Street Park Project through the BCAA Play Here program.

The evening ended with Councillor Cunningham raising a pair of issues for council to consider moving forward.

For some background on the items of note on the evening, the Agenda for the Committee of the Whole and Regular Council session can be reviewed here.

Prior to the 7 PM meeting, Council also had a Closed Session Scheduled for earlier in the day, the notice to close it to the public can be examined here.

Further information from our overview and placement in the video archive can be found below, with the permanent record of the minutes added as they are posted to the city website.

In attendance May 23, 2017

Mayor Lee Brain-- Present 
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present  
Councillor Blair Mirau -- Present
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney --  Present 
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa--  Present 
Councillor Joy Thorkelson -- Absent

Video Archive for May 23, 2017

(0:00 -- 10:00) Committee of the Whole Session  -- Two members of the public took advantage of the public comment period of the Committee session, the first was Keri Yee a member of the Roosevelt School community who outlined the nature of a Bike to Work/School program at Roosevelt, with the school seeking donations of bicycles for the initiative. She inquired as to the status of any bikes that had been collected by the City and if the City of Prince Rupert could turn some of that supply over to the program.  Councillor Kinney asked as to how many were required, while the City's CFO outlined the nature of the city collection policy and how the School could approach it for help. Councillor Cunningham also noted that if anyone in the community had bikes to donate they could contact the Roosevelt program.

Larry Golden was the second participant on the evening and he made some inquiries related to the Airport Society and CityWest, making some observations related as to how Board members may be compensated, as well as delivering some suggestions as to how the City could better provide for information related to those two organizations. He also made inquiries and offered some suggestions on how the city approaches Building permits in the community.

He then made some inquiries as to whether Society compensation would be included in the upcoming Statement of Information process. Councillor Cunningham corrected one element of Mr. Golden's commentary, noting that of the members on Council who sat on Boards or Commissions, none were provided compensation for those duties. Mr. Golden then expanded his inquiry to those staff members that would be members of the Board, the Mayor clarified some of the theme of compensation, noting that only he and Mr. Kinney received an extra stipend through their Regional District participation, which he noted was at a level of 11 or 12,000 dollars.

(10::00 -- 11:00) Regular Council Session -- The Mayor reviewed the list of minutes and agenda items to be noted by Council members, with Council then approving the Agenda while the past minutes of previous council meetings were adopted.

(11:00 -- 18:00 ) Presentation to Council -- Frances Riley and Sean Carlson on the McClymont Trail proposal - The pair from the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society provided council members with a short overview of their plans to upgrade and redevelop the current stretch of pathway from the Civic Centre to George Hills Way into a multi use pathway accessible to bikes and wheelchair users.

They noted that Ducks Unlimited and the North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society had approached them as part of their plans to upgrade the trail. Towards that goal, they provided a timeline of how they plan to approach the design process leading into the rejuvenation plans.

As part of their proposal, they are asking Council for a letter of support towards their quest for funding through the BC Rural Dividend Fund.

Following the presentation, Council members, made some inquiries, offered some observations and suggestions on the proposal, with Council Mirau starting of the Question period by seeking more background on the interest from the two stakeholder groups that they had mentioned.

Councillor Randhawa made inquires related to the cost of the proposed development and what kind of timeline that they were looking to entertain as far as moving ahead with the project.

Councillor Cunningham congratulated them on their work on the Rushbrook Trail and  asked if there were any other local organizations that might be able to offer their support for their application for funding. Councillor Niesh echoed many of Councillor Cunningham's thoughts on their work and what they have in mind for the McClymont Proposal.

Mayor Brain asked the City's Financial Officer for some information, asking if this was a similar arrangement as what the city has with the Rushbrook trail. He then thanked the Society for their efforts and outlined his support for the awesome project.

(18:00 -- 20:00 ) Report from City's Financial Officer - April 2017 Variance Report  --  The City's Financial Officer provided some comparisons from this year to last, noting that all departments are on target, with the Roads Budget over budget from last year owing to the snow and ice of this year. She also noted that a number of capital reports are now underway.

Councillor Mirau inquired about the timing of Community Grants and how the City will manage the cash flow for distribution of the Community Grants.

Council received the report

(20:00 -- 21:00 Report from the City's Financial Officer regarding Insurance premiums for Tourism Prince Rupert --  Ms. Bomben provided some background on the nature of the city's process of providing insurance for Tourism Prince Rupert which provides a service for the city, noting that Council must approve the service provider agreement, in this case the additional cost will be 250 dollars, which Tourism Prince Rupert will pay back. The insurance is required so Tourism Prince Rupert can provide mobile information services on Prince Rupert Port Authority property and at other community events.

Council voted to approve the motion.

(20:00 -- 24:00 Report from the City's Financial Officer regarding  the BC Rural Dividend Program and its use for Redesign Rupert -- Ms. Bomben noted that last year the city had found success in receiving a grant in support of the Redesign Rupert initiative, which she noted was part of the Hays 2.0 plan. She observed that a new intake of applicants is underway and that the city would like to apply for another rural dividend program grant, once again to be directed towards the continuation of the Redesign Rupert program, she noted that the deadline for applications was coming up at the end of the month.  Councillor Randhawa inquired as to what plans that the City were looking to develop as part of the redesign Rupert program.

Ms. Bomben provided a short overview of some of the elements of the program currently in place.

Council then voted to approve the motion to see the grant.

 ( 24:30-25:30) Correspondences for Action 

Council reviewed a request of support for two items from the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Society.

The first a request for a proclamation declaring June 1st as International Day in the City of Prince Rupert, the second was a request for a proclamation declaring June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in the City of Prince Rupert.

Council voted to approve both proclamations.


 ( 25:30 -- 26:00  Report from the Corporate Administrator regarding the park dedication removal bylaw for a property on Graham Avenue -- Mr. Mandryk noted that this was just part of the adoption of the Alternative Approval Process for the piece of land, noting that the city can have it sit in parkland, but that it can be rezoned in future time for other uses.

Council moved forward with the motion.

 Reports, Questions and Inquires from Council

 ( 25:30 -- 32:00  ) Report from Councillor Mirau regarding council meetings -- As a follow up to his notice of motion from the last Council session, Councillor Mirau made note of how his desire was to be proactive when it comes to how Council approaches its use of Closed Council sessions,

For Council's consideration he offered up a policy that would incorporate ten points from the Ombudsperson's office, noting that they will do more than just the legislated minimum.

He observed as to some of the unique issues that the city has to deal with from Watson Island to LNG development and how the circumstances are unique with so many land and legal issues  to be dealt with on a regular basis.

He offered up an approach that would give the community faith that they are conducting closed meetings only as necessary and that when it comes to reporting, that they do more than what the legislated minimum is, providing assurance to the public that they are being proactive in their disclosure.

He suggested that it was in their best interests as elected officials and in the best interest of the city of Prince Rupert that they can answer those questions that residents have as quickly as they can and release information that doesn't harm the interest of the municipality.

Mayor Brain called for comments from council and with none offered, he then provided his own observations towards the topic.

He echoed some of what Mr. Mirau was saying, noting that they didn't want to be in the position that they are always having closed meetings so to speak. Mr. Brain pointed to such legal challenges such as Watson Island in particular, which require confidential meetings, stating it's part of the role that they have at the city of Prince Rupert and is unique to them.

He also made note of areas such as negotiations, or labour issues that are standard practice that communities have to have in closed meetings.

On Watson Island, Mr. Brain observed that at one time or another, when things are getting resolved with Watson there will be a book written on the saga of Watson Island, but at the moment they are doing what they can within their jurisdiction. He added that he did agree that they could communicate much more effectively to the best of their ability to make sure that they are putting as much as they possibly can to the public, so that everyone feels confident that they are managing the communities affairs within the legal boundaries.

Mayor Brain then commended Councillor Mirau for bringing forward the motion, adding that being proactive is a good thing, as is making sure where they are at as Council.

Council then voted to approve the motion.

( 32:00 -35:00 ) Mayor's Report

Mayor Brain provided some background the Transition Prince Rupert application to the BCAA Play Here competition, noting that the McKay Street Park proposal is now in competition with a number of other communities in the province for funding for their project. He then outlined how residents of the city could participate in the voting process to try and help the McKay Street Project  gain the most votes.

He also provided a short overview of an upcoming trip that he, Councillor Niesh and the City Manager will be taking to Ottawa as part of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference next week. He observed that only he and Councillor Niesh would be attending as the other Council members had other commitments and could not attend the session during this time period. From their time in Ottawa, the Mayor noted that they will be talking with a number of federal ministers to discuss a range of topics related to infrastructure and community growth.

Councillor Cunningham expressed his regret at not being able to attend, noting that he thinks it's important that the city is represented and is front and centre and has a presence in Ottawa to get its message out. Adding that he thinks it's important to let the federal officials know how important Prince Rupert is to the economy of Canada as a gateway to the pacific, and how much this port and the country needs to support this town is a message that needs to get out. He observed that he fully supports this trip and believes that it is a very significant trip.

Mayor Brain also advised that they would be meeting with the US Embassy to address the Ferry issue, as the city looks to keep it on the radar. He also observed that he also would be meeting with members of the FCM and that the city will be discussing the needs of the City of Prince Rupert for any grant funding that they will be distributing.

(35:00 -- 44:00 ) Report from Council

Councillor Cunningham provided two topics for consideration by Council members, the first following up on Councillor Mirau's thoughts on closed meetings, with Mr. Cunningham once again calling for department heads, RCMP and Fire Department provide reports to Council. He noted for Council that he had asked for that process to be put in place previously, but that Council had not moved forward on the proposal to this point. He added that Council could also expand on that theme of reports to council, by bringing in the Airport Society.

To make his case for more information, Mr. Cunningham observed that it would provide an opportunity to let the public know what was going on. He reminded Council members that the meetings made for a venue that gets reported in many ways, through social media, the newspaper, or people watching at home and that its important to the residents of this town to know what they are doing and that its something that Council owes the people to do.

The Mayor observed that he thought that it was a great idea, adding that now that Mr. Cunningham mentions it, he did remember the proposal being presented before , noting that sometimes council gets so busy that they forget to enable some of those things, adding that they could work out some regular reporting.

Mr. Cunningham's second commentary involved raising awareness of some upcoming Golf tournaments and cruise visitors to the city and how the appearance of some residences in the city need to be addressed. Suggesting that the City should send a letter to those home owners to start looking after their premises.

Mayor Brain delivered one final report, providing a short outline of his time in Vancouver last week when he was in attendance at the renewable cities conference, an event that attracted participants from communities as far away as Rio de Janeiro, Japan and Germany. From his observations the Mayor relayed how had he learned quite a bit from his time there, particularly as to what other communities are doing.  He noted that as a rural community looking at renewable energy can be a challenge and how he had explored some of the Green funds that are available to the community.

The Mayor put his focus on how the theme is a global issue and how he would like to enable Prince Rupert to become leaders in this world and called towards the City's 2030 sustainable cities policies which will be delivered to Council shortly. Asking that if Council  finds those policies suitable that they take those policies to the public to seek their engagement towards the goals of more sustainability.

Mr. Brain observed as to the passion he has for the topic and noted some of contacts with global representatives that he had made at the conference and how he intends to stay tied to that network and try to draw some global support.

Councillor Randhawa had one final topic for discussion on the night, asking the Mayor for an update on the Seafest Waterfront issues. Mayor Brain then outlined some of the city's frustrations in dealing with CN Rail when it comes to access to the old beach area on the waterfront. He noted that the City had been in consistent negotiations with CN about the fence and how they have noted for the railway that the area should be a public access beach, however he observed for council that it will be a difficult road to negotiate CN into a position where they would see it that way.

As for this years' Seafest, in the immediate term the fence the Mayor advised that the fence won't be coming down in time for the festival, noting that it will be the first time in the 39 year history of the event that the public won't have access to that area.

He stated that this was something that the public needs to become engaged with, calling for residents to contact CN and express their concerns over the stance that CN has taken. Asking that they help the City make their concerns known to CN and how this is a community issue, how this is the last beach that people could access in the community prior to the fence going up.

For this years event, a barge will be brought in off the lightering dock to allow the waterfront events to continue on, but he vowed not to give up on the issue noting it is a longer term plan that he will continue to follow up on.

He also outlined that when he an Councillor Niesh are in Ottawa next week they will be raising the issue with CN Officials during the FCM and how he will bring the issue straight to top so they can be more aware of the issue and noted with some irony how CN"s motto is "partnering with your neighbours" which he suggested is a good motto to bring to Ottawa and how he believes that there is a solution to be found and through partnering he believes it could be a well developed public access beach.

And with those contributions complete, the evening's session came to a close.

You can access the City Council Review for May 23 here,  where a number of items regarding the council session, including links to local media coverage, if any, 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.

In addition to the city's official minutes, the City's Video archive provides a helpful record of the events from each public council session.

Official Minutes of the Regular Council Session from May 23, 2017 (not available yet)

The next regularly scheduled Council session,  takes place on Monday, June 12, 2017.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Thursday, May 25, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Provincial scene:

Grace McCarthy

Grace McCarthy: 1927-2017
Trailblazing B.C. politician Grace McCarthy dies
Former Cabinet Minister Grace McCarthy dies
Trailblazing B.C. politician Grace McCarthy was a tireless advocate for children
Grace McCarthy, influential B.C. cabinet minister for 3 decades, has died at 89
Amazing Grace left her influential fingerprints on B.C.
Grace McCarthy First Lady of B.C. Social Credit, dies at 89
B.C. political legend Grace McCarthy dies
'Amazing Grace' McCarthy dies at 89

After the counting ends ...

Vote counting done: Talks turn to minority government in B.C.
BC Greens seek to avoid another election
B.C. Green Party eyes long-term deal in pursuit of electoral reform
Vancouver mayor sees affordable-housing funds in NDP-Greens government
Power-sharing between B.C. parties is a mix of policies and personalities
B.C.'s political crisis creates transit funding fears
B.C. will have first minority government in 64 years

Kinder Morgan gives pipeline decision final OK
Kinder Morgan to proceed with Trans Mountain pipeline pending strong IPO
Canada's mayors call for speedy approval of proposals to address overdose crisis
4/20 events cost Vancouver nearly $250K
Coast Guard dismantles Vancouver's search and rescue dive team
B.C. Wildfire Service introduces new firefighting terms
Protestors removed from Imperial Metals' annual conference
Tahltan, B.C., reach agreement on plan to protect sacred headwaters
Schools feeling the crunch

Ottawa Observations: Thursday, May 25, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for Thursday, May 25, 2017.

Canada's judges urged to speak out and change outdated perceptions
Quebec seeks probe of Davie shipyard as part of ferry contract review
Citing Manchester, Trump rebukes NATO over defence spending
Conservatives, welcome to urban Canada. You need these voters
The new Conservative leader must look beyond the party's rural roots
Quebec resort town in Charlevoix region to host 2018 G7 meetings
Nigel Wright broke ethics rules during Duffy affair: watchdog
Ottawa seeks to preserve residential-school testimonies
In B.C., at least one certainty: Political leverage is fleeting
Are B.C. Greens ready for the spotlight?
To burst Trudeau's bubble, Conservatives need a sharper edge
More than a million restricted, prohibited guns in Canada
Trudeau suggests defence review will invest more in troops than weaponry
Nigel Wright broke ethics rules during Mike Duffy affair: watchdog
Families of missing, murdered women urge critics to get behind national inquiry
Trudeau says Canada will keep sharing intelligence amid U.S. controversies
Justin Trudeau faces next Trump test at NATO and G7 meetings
Liberals for over another $30 million to keep Canada at F-35 table
Tougher methane regulations to be phased in between 2020 and 2023 under Canada's climate change plan
Uncertainty the word as B.C. political parties wrestle for power
Supreme Court to look at constitutionality of victim surcharges
Government accused of hoarding Canadian history in 'secret' archives
Fate of residential school records in hands of Supreme Court
NATO members wait to hear where Trump stands on alliance's existence
Conservative leadership race down to its final days
Ethics watchdog says Harper aide Nigel Wright breached guidelines in Duffy affair
We must never accept terror as the new normal
Nigel Wright deserves better than this
The obvious lesson about terrorists - they hate us for who we are, not what we do
Alberta's British invasion: Massive military base allows troops from U.K. to replicate war
Details slow to come as first hearing on missing, murdered indigenous women set to begin
Nigel Wright violated ethics rules in trying to help pay Mike Duffy's Senate expenses: watchdog
'We have no choice': Liberals pour $142M into Phoenix pay system in hopes of fixing boondoggle
Political Neophyte Takes Aim at NDP leadership
Mayors across the country call for feds to lead on opioid 'national emergency'
Justin Trudeau could shuffle cabinet as agenda lags, rivals regroup
Former BC Cabinet minister Grace McCarthy dies
Trailblazing B.C. politician Grace McCarthy dies

A need for more details on McKay Street safety issues

According to Mayor Brain, some residents
of the McKay/Kootenay area consider
their neighbourhood to be dangerous
In all the excitement over the pursuit of a potential prize of 100,000 dollars for the McKay Street Park project, was a line in Mayor Brain's original notes related to the BCAA competition, a commentary that should stand out for residents far beyond the corner of  McKay Street and Kootenay Avenue.

As part of his preamble to the get out the vote campaign, was an observation from the Mayor that suggests to the reader that there is perhaps a bit more in the way of civic engagement to be done in that neighbourhood, beyond the ambitious parkland redevelopment project that has been proposed.

In the enthusiasm for the project, the Mayor offered up a short overview of how the project would rejuvenate the area, including one line that indicates that there are some very real problems that should be addressed sooner rather than later.

What should catch the attention of all who live in Prince Rupert is the observation of "At the moment, the space is considered dangerous by many residents, and at night it has been used by drug users as an area sheltered from view".

Moving beyond the hopeful quest for BCAA money for the potential park development, City Council might want to offer up some guidance for the residents of the area (and others) as to what immediate steps they (and the local RCMP detachment) are taking to make the city's neighbourhoods safer.

The subject of the level of crime, or public safety in the city is one that doesn't seem to get much attention from this current City Council.

A past practice that used to be a feature of previous City Council's no longer seems to be popular, as Council members no longer appear to invite the head of the RCMP detachment to Council chambers to provide any updates for the city's residents.

It's a missing element to the Council process which leaves residents somewhat out of touch with their local police department, whether through the delivery of local crime stats, or through a general outline as to what initiatives that the local detachment is currently engaged in.

Other than the occasional request by residents of council members for some help, usually made during public comment opportunities at City Council, the elected members rarely make mention of issues related to personal safety, whether it be in the McKay Street area, or anywhere else in the city for that matter.

Other communities around the Northwest frequently hear reports from their police departments as to what kind of challenges the front line officers are facing and how the community can help in the cause of public safety.

Terrace Council members for instance hear updates from their detachment on a regular basis and the Terrace RCMP is very active on social media and through their local website to provide updates on what is happening in that community.

It's a blue print from the east that perhaps Prince Rupert Council might want to adopt to provide more information to residents here.

For more items related to City Council see our archive page here.

Fore a look at some of the past work of Emergency responders from across the Northwest see our  monthly archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

And now with the negotiating, we await a government.

'Welcome Back, my friends to the show that never ends ...
We're so glad you could attend!
Come inside, Come inside!
--Emerson Lake and Palmer

After a two week hiatus, the voters have finally spoken in Comox-Courtenay with the delivery of the final numbers from Election Day.

The Vancouver Island constituency, is a riding probably not of much notice to British Columbians prior to May 9th, but one which was thrust into the spotlight on election night with a razor thin vote count that tentatively gave victory to the NDP.

Just as British Columbians were to settle in for their Wednesday evening dinners, the election night decision finally was confirmed once and for all.

As the May 9th results were reviewed and absentee ballot votes added to the mix, the NDP actually built on their narrow lead of election day on Vancouver Island to claim the riding by 199 votes.

Elections BC which clearly prefers the glacial approach to their post election vote counting measures, managed to add two additional days of drama to the Great BC Vote Count project this week, taking us from the May Long Weekend into late Wednesday afternoon before the final provincial seat tally was announced.

The accounts of the balloting now set to list those who will assemble in the Legislature, once we have some idea as to who will form a government.

As the updates tricked out through the afternoon, Liberal leader Christy Clark,  seemingly decided that she didn't need to wait for any official breakdown of he final total, the political path ahead of her seemingly set in her mind.

Still technically Premier elect Clark for a moment one assumes, she issued a notice through the dinner hour yesterday to note that the Liberals would be looking to form a government. Using the term plurality rather than the more widely noted observation of the day of a minority government, the first for the province since the 1950's.

Whether Ms. Clark's ambitions come to pass will be in the hands of negotiation teams for the Liberals and Green Party, with the bargaining soon to heat up, as the Liberals review just how much of the Green demands they can possibly accept in a quest to remain in power.

Andrew Weaver, the leader of the Green's will seemingly take a page from the Election BC guide book, suggesting that it may be at least a week before he and his caucus are finished consulting with both the Liberals and the NDP and decide which way their political weather vane will swing when it comes to putting a provincial government in place.

Waiting patiently no doubt for all these political winds to settle down will be North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.

As Elections BC issued the final notes for North Coast campaign the numbers realigned a bit, but the final results held firm for the most part from election day.

Hondo Arendt picked up an additional 17 votes good for 9.31% and 826 Green ballots counted, while Mr. Pond increased the BC Liberal's vote percentage to 33.66% adding an additional 200 votes to bring his final tally to 3,079.

The shift in numbers in the end however, had no impact on who gets to pack their bags and head off for Victoria. Ms. Rice, held her overall victory by a significant margin, increasing her vote total by 245 ballots to 5,243 votes, good for 57.31 per cent.

The re-elected NDP MLA has not had much to say since her election day victory, offering up a short update on Tuesday through her Facebook page, mainly to confirm the final numbers from Elections BC and to once again give her thanks to  those voters that gave her their vote.

She like everyone else in BC, will be watching to see how the negotiation dance ahead moves forward and who has the dance partner when the music comes to a stop.

How the story evolves over the next week could mean the difference in how three potential scenarios play out for the newly elected Ms. Rice.

An NDP partnership with the Greens would mean that John Horgan would be in the cabinet making business, the first time for an NDP Premier since the Glen Clark/Dan Miller/Ujjal Dosanjh days of 1996-2001.

The prospect of a Premier Horgan  era offers up two potential paths for Ms. Rice, one a cabinet spot and more prominence in the Legislature and the added bit of cash to a pay package to go along with such responsibilities.

The alternative NDP scenario would see a return to the back benches for the MLA from the North Coast, though with the potential of additional work in support of the work of Mr. Horgan's cabinet ministers.

Should Christy Clark find the right tone for the Greens and retain her post as Premier, Ms Rice's station in Legislature life would return to the familiar life of an opposition MLA, perhaps with a spot in Mr. Horgan's shadow cabinet.

Regardless of how the immediate future shapes up, one thing seems certain, if the history of minority governments is any indication at some point before the normal four year mandate of a government the minority situation will send us all back to the voting booth.

Something that will send Ms. Rice back to the election trail to seek the support of the voters one more time.

Wednesday's latest developments made for the majority of the provincial news filings for the day, some of the various stories and punditry can be reviewed below:

BC Liberals denied majority as final election count leaves government in danger
With all the votes finally counted in B.C., this is where the bartering gets real
B.C. Liberals fall short of majority following final vote count
B.C. NDP and Greens working on a governing framework, 'but we don't have that today'
NDP wins in Courtenay-Comox, leaving Liberals with minority government
A Green deal can give Clark or Horgan keys to power
B.C. Liberals to make pitch to continue government as a minority in legislature
B.C.'s political drama has only just begun
It's Official: Liberals 43, NDP 41, Greens 3
Christy Clark says B.C. Liberals 'have a responsibility' to form a government
B. C Green leader Andrew Weaver says his caucus wants a stable minority government
NDP Leader John Horgan is optimistic about making a deal with B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver
NDP win in Courtneay-Comox; Clark will try to form government
NDP government looks more likely
'Work together,' but with whom?
B.C. will have first minority government in 64 years
NDP wins Courtenay-Comox riding; minority government confirmed

You can review some of the background notes to the last two weeks of political mystery through our BC election Digest feature, our political portal D'Arcy McGee has been tracking some of the daily developments since Election Day.

The latest of updates can be found here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Provincial scene:

After the counting ends ...

BC Liberals denied majority as final election count leaves government in danger
With all the votes finally counted in B.C., this is where the bartering gets real
B.C. Liberals fall short of majority following final vote count
B.C. NDP and Greens working on a governing framework, 'but we don't have that today'
NDP wins in Courtenay-Comox, leaving Liberals with minority government
A Green deal can give Clark or Horgan keys to power
B.C. Liberals to make pitch to continue government as a minority in legislature
B.C.'s political drama has only just begun
It's Official: Liberals 43, NDP 41, Greens 3
Christy Clark says B.C. Liberals 'have a responsibility' to form a government
B. C Green leader Andrew Weaver says his caucus wants a stable minority government
NDP Leader John Horgan is optimistic about making a deal with B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver
NDP win in Courtneay-Comox; Clark will try to form government
NDP government looks more likely
'Work together,' but with whom?
B.C. will have first minority government in 64 years
NDP wins Courtenay-Comox riding; minority government confirmed

New report proposes elevator to Granville Island
Higher rents, fewer units as Indigenous Housing Agencies Lose subsidies
British probe into Political campaigns' use of personal data reaches into BC
Victoria school district considers changing student placement rules
Details of plot to kill journalist revealed at Vallee murder trial
Don't ignore inquest results
One day left to give input on Vancouver's new logo
Wildfire burning out-of-control near Mount Robson Provincial Park

Ottawa Observations: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Senators amend legislation aimed at removing sexism from Indian Act
Bank of Canada leaves key rate unchanged, but 'soft hawkish tilt' emerges
U.S. Federal Reserve official urges preservation of trade ties with Mexico, Canada
What the Bank of Canada didn't say speaks volumes
Police deserve to march at Pride. The Manchester attack reminded me of that
Close the loophole for foreign money in Canadian elections
Canada considers donation to UN fund for victims of sex abuse by peacekeepers
Peter McKay, Jason Kenney say new Tory leader should be inclusive
Justice Minister's father calls missing, murdered inquiry a 'bloody farce'
BC Liberals denied majority as final election count leaves government in danger
With all the votes finally counted in B.C., this is where the bartering gets real
Canada brings home 1 of 2 Aurora surveillance planes from anti-ISIS mission
Jody Wilson-Raybould's father calls missing and murdered inquiry a 'bloody-farce'
U.S. view on NATO polarized while allied support climbs
NDP MP Nathan Cullen on tour demanding electoral reform
'Bittersweet' day for ex-RCMP women as sex-harassment lawsuit nears end
'Taxing the rich' gets biggest reaction in real-time survey of 2017 budget speech
53 First Nations reserves lack adequate fire protection: audit
NDP MP Nathan Cullen on tour demanding electoral reform
Price tag for fixing Phoenix pay system now tops original cost
Uncertain outlook keeps Bank of Canada firmly on sidelines for now
Ottawa offers $950 million for 'superclusters' to create jobs
Supreme Court to decide who owns the 38,000 stories of residential school survivors
Madeleine Meiulleur's appointment fails the non-partisan smell test
Time to stand up for Western civilization
Call it what it is, Islamist terrorism
Canada has dozens of jihadists walking free, yet authorities won't charge them
Manchester reminds us that we're all vulnerable
Foreign election influence happens in Canada too
'Urgent' Super Hornets are just another pawn in Trudeau's desire to prop up Bombardier
Final vote count confirms minority government in B.C., with Greens holding balance of power
Bernier brings ideas and personality to the Tory race. That's more than can be said for the others
Deadly Manchester attack pushes terrorism into spotlight at NATO summit, G7 meeting
New legislation good first step but not enough to curb fentanyl crisis: NDP critic
Canada deploys alternate numbers to defuse NATO defence spending situation
Canada a World Leader in Health? Not Exactly

Australian LNG proponent keeps Canadian focus on Kitimat plans

At one time the Australian LNG giant Woodside seemed quite bullish on the prospects of LNG development in the province, putting together a pair of Canadian plans, with the Prince Rupert region one of the potential sites that they were looking at for development of an LNG terminal as they looked to bring Alberta and British Columbia's gas reserves to world markets.

As recently as one year ago, Woodside had flagged the Grassy Point area north of Lax Kw'alaams as one area under consideration, going so far as to host an Open House at the time to keep North Coast residents up to date on their plans.

However, that interest it seems has cooled off over the last twelve months, with global financial twists and a shift in focus towards Kitimat seemingly knocking Prince Rupert off the immediate plans list.

When it comes to mentions of any development for Prince Rupert, the last focus put on Grassy Point by Woodside came back in 2016 when a 30 day comment period was opened.

Even the Government sites tracking LNG development have seen few mentions of the proposed development over the course of the last year.

The Province of British Columbia's EAO project page still lists Grassy Point as 'In Progress" while the last entry on the CEAA website for the proposal comes from November of 2014, when the Provincial process took over as a substitute.

As for their global development plans moving through this year and beyond, Woodside hosted an Investor Briefing Day yesterday, designed to bring current and would be investors up to speed on where the company if looking towards near and short term.

As part of that presentation company officials provided their blue print for 2017, with much of their attention returning to their side of the Pacific Ocean and those nations a little closer to Sydney, while other areas of potential development included Africa and Ireland to name a few locales.

That's not to say that British Columbia didn't get some attention from the Australian company, with their Canadian plans still part of the presentation, though listed much later in the presentation and more of a long term focus than of any impending production plans.

While the Grassy Point proposal is still featured as part of their overall BC holdings, any new details related to the proposed project didn't make it into the annual report for investors as part of the Tuesday presentation.

The main direction for Woodside's interest in Kitimat would appear to still be in some form of long term development. With the Australian company continuing to work on reducing the cost of the proposed pipeline and terminal aspects of their development plans.

The Kitimat plans are reviewed as part of Woodside's Horizon III planning, featuring a timeline of 2027 and beyond.

The majority of the key Kitimat related material goes from pages 64 - 66 of the 108 page report, which is available for review here.

Our past notes on the Woodside proposals for the North Coast can be found below:

Cross posted from the North Coast Review