Council Live blog time! – Bike Paths!

Here we go! Newest is at the top. Here is the Agenda.
Done!

21:42 – Chopra moves to put $350,000 in a special fund with $100,000 going to general.
21:42 – McLeman removes rest of motions.
21:41 – motion defeated
21:40 – Kerr disagrees with motion as well, operating funds lent to forest should go back to taxpayers.

21:35 – Solda and Washington believe it should go to general revenue so as to pay for other projects.

Cole indicates he would like to have funds earmarked for a specific project and make the fund big enough to have other parties take notice, agrees with McLeman motion.

21:33 – use the $150,000 and $350,000 from the Community Forest to:
- $100,000 of debt payback and $350,000 from the forest be put into one fund for benefit of Alberni Valley (likely a pool)

21:32 – motion on Canal beach. For staff to report to council on cleanup costs and testing at the beach.

21:30 – missed name – speaks in favour of bike and walk bridge on 10th.

21:28 – Ian Thomas – Benches – thinks memory benches like those at harbour quay could be on Johston
10th ave. crossing has been passed a number of time.
Spent $60 million on McLean mill since 1986
Redford Extension bridge – Gary Delong, (sp.) was killed there, would be a good name.

21:26 – Jane Armstrong – interested in motion that was defeated on bike bridge. We have large population under 30 and over 60. We have ongoing health concerns in city.

Solda notes the motion can be brought back.

21:20: councillor reports.

Washington – great work on Our Town. – Salmon Derby will be more expensive but bigger prizes.

Cole – LNG project will be great for port expansion and community. Solda notes there will be an open house on LNG soon.

Chopra – WFP IWA union has 5 year agreement gong to vote soon.

McLeman – compliment on Kevin Wright fixing up his business deck. Sales are coming through at McLean Mill. Also looking for contract from water system.

Kerr – attended air quality council meeting. Bernadette Wyton has retired. Looking for a chair/champion. Working toward a burning bylaw. Funding for wood stove exchange is back this year. Funding opportunities perhaps for chair. Stack test from Catalyst has been low or zero.

21:16 – McLeman report – good reports on wwater connection with Beaver Creek. Also Sproat lake patrol will be an issue on ballot, does support the service.

Cole asks about naming of new Redford extension bridge. Solda – there is a name in the hopper.

21:13 – Solda- Mayors report – City will be sending a letter to AVNews congratulating Wawmeesh on his time and good luck with Masters. Welcome new reporter.
Thanks to Chris Alemany (*blush*) and signers of petition and supporters of Martin Mars. Unfortunate that government has chosen not to listen to public, AVICC and UBCM on issue. Mars could also be used to support or backup for support to Alberta and others.

21:11 – McLean Mill new bridge likely over budget by around $20,000 not necessarily all going to come from City. Kenny is keeping a keen eye on budget.

21:10 – Chopra asks if community can help with access to Klitsa Park.

21:05 – Parks and Rec report – Esso beach is mentioned, lower Johnston, Russel park pole fell over in wind a few weeks ago.

Our Town big success.

Next one is Gyrassic Park at Gyro.

Train Station is open 7 days a week now.

Big work at McLean Mill, new bridge over stream.

21:00 – Police report – patrols increased, port ALBERNI is one of busiest jurisdictions. Priorities: active in community, substance abuse, crime reduction, youth. Detachment is meeting goals so far.

Solda asks about recent 3rd ave. incident with coffee shop.

Police: driver error.

Solda and Kerr: should there be changes in parking.

Police: we go to a lot of collisions related to parking.

Cole: ICBC often tells us we don’t have enough traffic problem for changes to be warranted….

Chopra: accidents happen everyday.

20:58 – Status Report

Solda asks about Tseshaht protocol questions – Manager indicates it hasn’t gone anywhere but is in Tseshahts hands.

20:49 – Council passes agreement with Shaw to provide Wifi for all public.
Kerr brings up concerns about children exposure to wifi signals.

20:31 – Council passes a motion to create the referendum question on a 10th Avenue crossing. The cost is now $14.6 Million. $160 for 25 years.

Chopra: We don’t want to scare people if it is not going to cost $14 million.

Cicon: we endeavour to get the best estimate. Redford connector is only $5 Million, much smaller and much lower bridge than 10th proposal. Had good communication with ministry on costs.

McLeman: brings up point that the vote doesn’t solve anything even if it goes through since a binding referendum would have to take place if council actually went ahead with borrowing.

Manager: last referendum died on a half and half scheme with city/ministry because ministry did not want any cost sharing. Expects that to be the same, no ministry indication they would be willing to help.

Finance : can only borrow up to $2 million this year.

Chopra: why isn’t it binding? Why aren’t we doing a binding referendum.

Clerk Hartwell: this would not be friendly amendment, binding referendum would actually commit City to spending.

Cole: let’s make it binding and end the debate.

Manager: recommends to Council that if they go to binding that they refer back to City because City would have to approve funding, do geotechnical work, etc etc. before a binding referendum could be had.

McLeman: says yes this is why he didn’t vote for the question in the first place.

Solda: starts to say something and then……

Chopra: moves to table the motion. Motion is tabled, discussion ends until next meeting.

McLeman: makes a motion to have a referendum to partner with senior gov to out in a cycling and walk bridge over 10th.

Chopra: is defensive. Doesn’t want a motion that would overtake referendum motion.

McLemans motion for walk bike bridge fails. (I am sure we will hear more next meeting!)

20:26 – resident has problem with a wood-burning furnace that does not comply with city bylaw on emissions. Fire chief recommends that it not be allowed because otherwise the bylaw would have to be rewritten. Council approves recommendation to deny use of the furnace.

20:25 – Kerr moves that the city investigate what is needed to include bike provisions into development bylaws for new buildings. Passed.

20:05 – City Engineer makes one point – report does not fix any timing or expenditures on Council. Plan is only an outline of a number of areas that Council can move forward on creating a more walkable and cyclable city.

Cole – is there one action that we could take that would be a best move for our dollars?

Cicon – Engineering would like to have direction from Council on where it would like to move. Report is a broad report detailing network and development, education, and health.

Engineer mentions a spine down 10th Avenue but emphasizes there needs to be direction from Council.

McLeman – asks what it cost.

Cicon – first line of the report $20,000

McLeman – Says there should be a group of cyclists to create recommendations to make it more cycle friendly. We have to sit down as council with cyclists and do it. Accept the report and then take the next step.

Chopra – Has concern that they are approving the report without knowing.

Manager – City needs to have this report in hopper in order to use document for application for grant funding to actually do any recommendations.

Chopra – concerned that there were no public reps. on report creation.

Kerr notes, Bill Brown, John Mayba and David Gilbert were members of public that provided input.

Kerr – maybe we really need to do some stuff now… 1983 would have been good too. Build into bylaws for new buildings having bike space provided. Asks for report on city facilities that have, or not, bike parking.

Manager – zoning bylaw would be where biking requirements would be put. Parks and Rec will provide info on existing facilities.

Washington – Johnson and River Road are provincial highways so Minister should be informed.

Solda – countdowns would definitely be useful for some high traffic areas. Sidewalks are an ongoing issue, asks Cicon when sidewalks are meant to be repaired and maintained.

Cicon – we can focus on let downs, wheelchair ramping, for corners at intersections on sidewalks. Various parts of the City do not have sidewalks that would be good for walking. Currently sidewalks are done only as needed. Not much sidewalk budget.

Solda – Notes that 10 years ago there was push to get sidewalks along empty Johnston side. Cut due to cutbacks. Trails – would be good to have connection from one side of town to the other. Speaks in favour of more let downs for accessibility.

Benches – need to install more along major corridors.

Cicon – bus benches (not necessarily on bus route) can be requested by public. They are placed for maximum practical and advertising potential.

Solda – Had meeting with Transport Minister, talked about new Redford bridge.

Manager – New bridge will only have shoulders for bike and walk. Will also be trail system under bridge along River,

Solda – also asks about Carbon and Gas tax whether it can be used.

Manager – Yes – Cicon – ICBC as well.

McLeman asks if City can pass bylaw to allow bikes on sidewalks (comment: NO. UGGH, there is a reason why wheeled transport is not on sidewalks, it is dangerous. We have the widest roads in the country, let’s use them!)

Cicon – notes that the “hardcore” cyclists were definitely consulted.

Council moves to adopt the report.

20:00 – The Active Transportation Plan! Bike and walking paths!

19:58 – Council approves some variances to development plan for a property on Ian Ave.

19:56 – Council receives 2013 Comprehensive Annual Finance report and also Financial Information for 2013.

19:55 – Council receives the Annual Report. No substantive questions or comments from public or council.

19:45 – Cycling Bill Brown – letter received on Bike paths. Rob Cole says we need to figure out what plan is more so than just adopt it. Lots of other plans that demand work too… They receive the letter.

19:43 – issues brought to council About Victoria Quay. Noise issues and other complaints.

19:38 – Rob Cole speaks not in favour of the City being on a committee instead be more supportive of sports fishing in general. McLeman suggests, with Chopra, that a City rep be on the committee so that the City has a better idea. City passes a motion to request that Councillor Cole be put on committee (round table) for local sockeye fishery.

19:37 – August 30th Heritage society will be doing a truck and heritage stuff day at the old Arena (beside the Curling rink)

19:35 – the Esso property might provide some opportunity to include pedestrian. Manager notes that the Harbour road there is a private road, not city owned, so all four partners (WFP, City, PAPA, Catalyst) would need to involved and on same page. Motion carried to talk to Discovery Centre.

19:35 – Discovery Centre request – to make the walking space from Quay to Discovery Centre lighthouse more friendly for pedestrians.

19:30 – after a question from Chopra, Manager notes that the Community Forest is a for-profit venture that gives 100% to the City as sole owner. McLeman notes that the legacy committee was formed to take all funds received and invest into a project that benefits the entire Valley. The Council has passed the motion to change the community forest committee from a Select (temporary) to a Standing (permanent) committee.

19:25 – delegations all done. Now doing some more housekeeping for the Community Forest.

19:22 – McLeman speaks favourably of the committee. Gives local control of our forests. Notes the ministry doesn’t like him saying the city would like more, but the city does. It is a success for the City. Chopra reiterates that it is a success… Makes the city money.

19:20 – Handing over 2 cheques $150,000 to clear last of the debt of startup fund and $350,000 dividend revenue.
19:18 – Jim Sears – 5 year cut period is now done and starting on an inventory to assess the resources and see what harvest option are. Continuing on trail building program. Taylor Block has old growth high up. Have put out RFP for both Taylor and Sproat blocks. Also working with ADSS.

19:17- Next up Community Forest report
19:16 – Council accepts the report.
19:13 – McLeman asks why we have an auditor. Auditor explains it is part of the law and that they test as best they can to ensure the books are solid.
19:11 – Cash has increased slightly as well as funds (reserves etc) managed by municipal finance has decreased slightly. Community Forest provides 1.5 Million in assets value.
19:10 – Chopra makes comment that balance looks good. Revenues are healthy and expenses are not rising fast.
19:08 – Grants were 10% of revenue! taxes were 58% protective services (police and fire) decreased substantially but were still 25%, largest increase was in environmental development ($200,000) and Rec and Cuiture ($150,000)
19:07 – Revenues increased 12% (on grants and taxes) expenses increased only 1%
19:05 – Surplus of 4 Million
19:03 – Audited Financials report (the fun stuff first!)

Posted in Environment | Leave a comment

Gas Fracking, LNG and what Councillors should, and likely do know.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.43.51 AMOne thing that really bugs me about politicians is when they fein ignorance to avoid dealing with a topic. At last nights City Council meeting there was a letter addressed to council from a resident of Burnaby that had gotten that Council to pass a motion recommending the Provincial government impose a moratorium on Natural Gas Fracking. This has been done in other jurisdictions including counties in New York State and California, the United Kingdom (which was then overturned) and Newfoundland. There is a comprehensive list here.

Councillor Kerr spoke strongly in favour of passing such a motion because of the information she had gathered and heard on the topic. Fracking for unconventional “tight” gas has been a huge issue for many years now all over North America. Concerns have been raised in the media ever since the first fracking was done in Texas and North Dakota.

The information is very much ‘out there’.

Despite this, Councillors McLeman, Solda and Cole claimed they didn’t have enough information to make a determination at this point on the motion. For some reason they ignored the information provided by Councillor Kerr (which she has spoken about a few times). Councillor McLeman said he wasn’t sure if fracking was used for things like the Liquified Natural Gas that is being proposed down the Inlet.

Perhaps I am being too strong, but I don’t really think so. Liquified Natural Gas is just Natural Gas that has been cooled. It comes from anywhere Natural Gas is produced. The majority of new gas now being produced in British Columbia is coming from “unconventional” gas from fracking operations and all new gas will be from these unconventional reserves. Independent reports from geoscientists say that 50,000 new fracking wells will be needed in order to satisfy demand from the 7 proposed LNG facilities (not including Port Alberni).

This graphs shows the reality very clearly. Old conventional natural gas is in blue.  It is declining.
Slide3-600

New unconventional gas is in green (Horn River Shale Gas) and red (Montney Shale Gas). It is rising. This is all fracking.

I personally think the three Councillors claimed lack of information has more to do with their automatic support of LNG more so than their lack of knowledge about fracking but hopefully this information settles any doubt.

Fracking is very bad. The BC Oil and Gas Commission has already investigated minor earthquakes from fracking in NE BC.   All of the LNG that is slated to come online can and will only happen if it comes from fracking unless the moratorium on gas exploration is lifted around Haida Gwaii (which it won’t).

Based on the evidence, Council should have agreed to what was a very reasonable request to encourage the BC government to consider a moratorium.  Perhaps future councils will do so.

Posted in Environment, Politics | Leave a comment

June 14 – Council live blog – Big Agenda!

We are getting started! Most recent on top.

And we are done.
10:08 – Washington asks about Nomination and election timing. Hartwell says all info is on the website.

10:07 – Kerr notice of motion to have AVICC do a info session on fracking.

10:02 – Douglas proposes a visioning exercise with public for strategic planning and vision of city going forward. Will happen in September with council meeting first to decide what it looks like. McLeman says some councillors might not be there in August. Chopra says with election coming up it might not be good timing.

Motion carried to have the council meeting on it in late August or early September.

9:56 – Solda suggests that there be a meeting with community and uptown merchants on safety issues.

Council will be looking at new garbage bins for lower Johnston Rd.

Council will undertake public campaign to get residents to mow their boulevards.

Council is going to get a report on bylaw enforcement files.

The lease funds from the PAPA lease on canal beach lot a and b is going to be directed to funding improvements for harbour quay. McLeman notes that the Quay looks a little tired.

9:55 – no questions from public today.

9:50 – councillor reports.
Washington thanks community for our town attendance.
Cole gives a fishing report. Good for economy.
Solda notes that AVICC is bringing up watershed issues.
Kerr mentions that the women’s business network did a great job organizing the Canada day parade.
McLeman notes tomorrow 2PM dedicating beaver creek water pump.
Chopra hopes for resolution of union contract negotiations taking place.

9:37 – Heritage Commission report.

Manager reports. Taking a serious look at the whole heritage collection and how to get it out to public more. Thinking about what is the base business for the heritage network.

Cole asks about prioritizing items and whether there are things we can sell. Can’t save everything forever.

Manager: we are getting a handle on what is most significant. We do have a regional vision.

9:33 – Engineering

Cole asks how water is doing? Do we need restrictions yet.

Cicon says water levels are same as they were last year at this time. Lizard and Bainbridge lakes and China creek intake all same as last year this time.

Cole asks about snowpack.

Cicon notes that bc River service said snowpack is 36% of normal. So water level could go down quicker than normal but will be seen and be able to take action.

9:30 – planning dept report.

Nothing big,,,

9:22 – fire department report.

Washington notes that ladder truck #2 is out of service. Chief notes that the parts out of service. So is challenging but will get done.

Campfires are still allowed in the city and around region. Has been in contact with BC forest. They anticipate a campfire ban this week.

Fire season is pretty advanced. 2 weeks ahead of schedule. They are talking about whether city firefighters might be called upon if local forest firefighters are pulled to interior.

Douglas asks about retrieval technique developed for Centennial pier. FD has designed a cargo net type thing that works well and is built locally. Will be able to pull people out of the water onto pier in heavy seas (windy weather) without others needing to go into the water.

9:17 – Pot Belly pigs allowed in City?

Planner: This was a request from a resident.

Chopra says it is a slippery slope! How many animals will there be!

Council receives the motion, no action.

9:12 – Bainbridge treatment plan upgrade.

Chopra asks if the city has experience with the contractor that has been selected. Cicon says they are familiar with their work and they are somewhat local (in Nanaimo). They are low bidder as well. Chopra asks if there is a guarantee or warranty on anything. Cicon says there is a warranty on the product that is bought. And there is a holdback for when work is completed.
McLeman asks if this is project we could use wood from McLean Mill.

Cicon indicates that yes we will use McLean mill wood.

Cole asks what the holdback is. Cicon says builders Lean Act is 60 days. Also a warranty holdback for a year.

Washington asks are we doing this because of VIHA. Yes. Drinking water quality. Cicon notes it is a significant new capability.

Solda congratulates.

Council passes.

9:05 – Secondary suites
Planner is recommending that they adopt an amendment that would allow more incremental changes to homes that would recognize secondary suites with more minimal standard. Will help city make sure existing suites have basic compliance. Make it easier for people.

Chopra and Solda speak in favour. Solda notes that we do have a lot of illegal suites… If there are a lot found, it will affect their taxes and their insurance.

Kerr notes that previous recommendation brought up concerns from homeless and disadvantaged about lack of suites. Planner says hope is that this will get more people legal.

9:00 – 127 votes for Canal Beach in the name the beach contest. That name wins. Also votes for “Douglas beach”.

Solda recommends including a historic explanation of why it is called “Canal”.

McLeman recommends that as they put their signage up that they put in signage warning of no lifeguards and of possible dangers in water.

8:53 – council considers whether they should make the community forest legacy committee a standing committee.

Watson questions why it would need to be standing if the legacy fund has been spent. Once legacy fund fills again then the committee reforms.

McLeman speaks strongly in favour to make it standing to make it less of a political football.

Council decides to put that off until the select committee makes their legacy funding recommendation.

8:48 – Council approves continuation of $1 per year lease on curling club.

8:41 – Active Transportation plan report.
McLeman says first 60% is stuff we already know.

If this is about bike riding and walking trails we should have a committee and ask them about what they needed. Don’t think we needed to spend the money on the report and don’t think we need all of the recommendations.

Solda says there are concerns about the costs.

Cole says same… Not sure if this is usable for our community. This is not cost effective.

8:37 – Annual Report from City manager received and released to public.
It is already on the website and copies are at city hall.
Includes financial statements, tax exemptions, progress report on strategic plan objectives, etc.
Manager Watson encourages public to check it out and get in contact with him on any concerns with the report and to also bring any concerns to next council.
Kerr asks how much it costs to create the book.
Aside from cost of paper and ink, just staff Time. Not much demand for it in print hopefully it is being seen online as it is more convenient.
Douglas notes that he has heard that the report is well received and admired by other communities.

8:35 – Council passes a bunch of bylaws.
- approving (housekeeping) changes to election bylaw for this election
- approving rec fee changes for 2014
- rescinding zoning amendment needed for Johnston road development. Planner says not much information given.

All changes passed.

8:28 – Council receives a whole bunch of informational correspondence. Interesting bit: Catalyst pays up $4 million tax bill. Solda recommends to refer tourism oriented small zone ideas to staff and have Carolyn Jasken invited to participate.

Chopra notes that Catalyst pays $3 million to City from $4 Million. Asks finance what Western Forest products pays? Manager says approximately $1 million.

McLeman makes note of letter of thanks about basketball championship. They do a great job and should be acknowledged more. Kerr says City Staff really stepped up during terrible weather.

8:26 – late item Alberni Valley Sproat Lake regatta. Council approves what is asked for. (Sorry didn’t catch what it actually requested as it wasn’t on the agenda)

8:23 – Bear Smart sign. Chopra asks what money what we have spent so far. Watson indicates not much, aside from changes to garbage collection.

Cole recommends talking to Chamber and adding bear to the sign they are looking to put back on.

8:18 – Letter is received requesting council support a moratorium on hydraulic fracking.

Kerr speaks passionately in favour. Would like to do more than just receive.

Solda would like to understand it more… I don’t know what fracking is. Cole asks for more information as well. McLeman hasn’t studied issue much either, would like to see comparison. LNG gas comes from fracking, or does it.

Council moves to receive, and McLeman recommends to get more info.

8:20 – Council passes motion to allow fall fair parade and salmon Fest promotions.

7:55 – Solda – why is there low ridership?
BCT – Reason is we are playing catchup… There was a drastic decrease in ridership when they changed the schedule. We must deliver service that public wants.
Solda – when will next survey be? People still unhappy with service
BCT – yes we will do more surveys. Doesn’t give time.
Solda – Holida and Sunday service is good. Would like to see more service (‘like Vancouver’) more frequency,
BCT – we could provide options… Adds, we do think there is truth to “Build it and they will come”. Squamish and Chilliwack are examples. Need to keep engaging with public.

Chopra – says there needs to be more upsell on passes. Have to make it worth it. If you want people to come back, you have to give them incentive. Even if it is just a break even.

McLeman – agrees with Chopra. Would like to see $2 adult cash fare, make the 10 tickets more affordable. Make it $15. People need a bargain. One free ride isn’t worth it. Disagrees with Squamish build it and it will come… Squamish got a new highway. “We don’t have our new highway yet”. Who makes these projections?

BCT – we make the projections, they are successful.

Solda – passes are beneficial. Hope they keep them. Seniors should remain a discounted fare.
Council passes motion modifying options.

Cash/discount fare – $2
Discount Pass – $25
Adult pass – $48
Book of 10 tickets – $15.75

Council passes Sunday/holiday 8 per day recommendation

Kerr asks about changing routing at hospital. Seniors are having to walk at hospital to get to old age home. Bus should go to seniors home for accessibility.

Solda asks about FN and Out to lake. She has a meeting with Tseshaht soon, and will bring that up.

7:53 – yet more transit

BCT recommends holiday service set to Sunday service level (8 trips per day on One route)

7:41 -More Transit

Ridership has dropped around 1-2% in past couple years. Last time fare was adjusted was in 2003. Usually fares are updated in 3-4 year cycle. Port Alberni has lower cash fare compared to other comparable places on average. Port Alberni is getting more revenue from passes than most. But is getting less revenue because of use of passes.

They Recommend increasing cash fare to $2 but having a single fare for all, no discounts for seniors/students. Discount monthly pass and Handydart would remain same.

Also recommends replacing family pass with an adult pass that allows free travel for children under 12 (instead of 4) to make simpler.

7:39 BC Transit Fares

Currently $1.75 for cash fare. $1.50 for seniors and students. There are cheaper ticket booklets and passes.

Unique to Alberni system there is a $7 day pass for up to 6 people in a family.

7:26 Transit Budgeting – Possible fare increase.
Bus revenue and data from fare box is collected every few days.

Schedules were reviewed in 2012 and changes were not well received and ridership fell drastically. Fixes have been implemented and there is good feedback but ridership has not completely rebounded.

Shows an interesting graph that Seems to show major use of the BC Pass bus, which I believe is available only to disabled, seniors, and low income. Interesting anecdotal evidence of our community poverty?

Says the ridership and revenue does look as though it will recover to 2012 levels by next year.

Peak rides and loads are on Income Assistance Day and Child Tax credit day.

The current fleet and size of buses does fit usage. There are some standees. No passups which is (sort of) a good thing (no max loading).

There is very little fare evasion and underpayment. Low use of student passes.

Would like to reduce types of day use passes. Consolidate passes into one to encourage more use and make simpler.

7:17 AV Bid Committee for U-18 Female National Hockey Championship. Looking for funding for big bond of $500. They have already received funding from ACRD. Chair and assistant speak eloquently to encourage Council to help this initiative.

The Bond is non-refundable. Councillor McLeman brings up fact that there are not as many kids in population. Advocate says Point of hosting is to encourage more girls in the community to participate in minor hockey and improve enrolment.

Chopra asks City Manager how fast this needs to be done and whether it would come out of the 2014 community investment program. It looks like there is enough funding, confirmed by Finance officer, and Council approves the request.

7:12 Dan Cebuliak(sp) – Calls for a town hall meeting to try to address all of the cities issues, watershed destruction, unemployment, homeless etc. 3000 unemployed. We should be taking care of our own. We need our own fresh food. There is only 3 days of food on the store shelves. We must have plan in case of emergency.

7:09 Jack Savard – Morality has to be basis of legislation but morality cannot be legislated. Speaks of Teachers Dispute. Challenges manager Ken Watson.

7:07 Speaker on McLaughlin ridge logging.

The lands are now being logged even though there have been attempts at agreements to protect watershed and habitat areas.

Speaker asks council to encourage Island Timberlands to reconsider a previous request 3yrs ago to stop activity until things can be discussed and a good resolution brought forward that protects the watershed.

7:05 Denis Sauve is up first.
- asking about trying to reschedule bylaw officer enforment.
- asking also about Canal Beach and the issues around hazards not visible in the water. Lots of people using the beach but there are concerns. People are diving off the concrete pier which could be dangerous. Suggests a public notice that there is no lifeguard and other public signage and once a section is confirmed clear underwater, rope it off so people know where it is safe.

Posted in Environment | Leave a comment

What Has Happened to our Recycling!?

If you are anything like my family you probably try to recycle as much as you can. It’s just the right thing to do right?

Well, we were horrified this week when about 95% of our recycling was turned away! We seem to have gone from accepting almost all materials for recycling at the curb side to accepting only some at curb side and some, most notably any kind of plastics bags, only at a depot (including Glass (non-deposit), plastic bags and wrap (but not all), and foam). When we went down to the depot to deal with everything that was ‘rejected’ they said that if the recycling was contained in a plastic recycling type garbage bag (which we do), they couldn’t take it anymore… so they just left it no matter what it had in it.

You can get a full rundown of what can and can’t be recycled or must go to a ACRD depot here.

If this is still the case in a few months time, this will certainly be an election issue and I pledge to do everything I can as councillor, recognizing it is a Provincial program and administered by the ACRD, to help fix it. I will be doing more research on this subject to figure out exactly what we can do, if anything. Perhaps Port Alberni and the Alberni Valley can go it alone? Perhaps we need to set up more transfer stations? I’m really not sure at this point but we need to find out. Also remember there are advantages to this program. #1, it’s free. We no longer pay for recycling pickup. But these bugs need to be ironed out. No value in free if the program itself is no good.

I would highly recommend emailing the ACRD (they have jurisdiction) about it. There were many concerns brought up about the new system before it began and now I think it is much worse than anyone thought it would be!


(the form *should* work now)
or do it by your own email (which is always most effective anyway!) to chairperson@acrd.bc.ca, john_douglas@portalberni.ca and send it to me too please just so I know contact@chrisalemany.ca

The form or emails above will send it to the ACRD chair and City Mayor so ACRD Directors and City Council knows that City residents are mad about this. I know Councillor McLeman and others have already expressed concern, as have many others all over the province. Tell them how unhappy you are about the change and hopefully the cry will be heard.

In this day and age, to not be able to recycle anything with the “Arrows” symbol on it, is simply unfathomable. This has been a big step backwards. We need these things to be more convenient not less.

Sincerely,

Chris

P.S. This will be my last post for a few weeks as I’m off on vacation in Ontario for a family reunion. I would like to wish everyone a happy Canada Day and hope all can get out and enjoy the City in these beautiful summer months! I’ll be back around July 11th and campaigning will kick into a higher gear then.

Take care!

Chris

Posted in Politics, The Good Life | Comments Off

Council Live Blog June 23rd!

Newest update will be at top.

And DONE, thanks all.
20:56:
Chopra asks if we can order someone to appear like Solda suggest… Solda, we are only inviting.
20:55:
Kerr asks about water main to pier… Watson says it will be done pretty soon.

20:52:
Solda invites Beaufort folks to come.
Solda bringing up more properties that need cleanup.

20:51:
Washington has questions for Fire Chief from a constituent on 2 person responder crew.
Fire Chief: All firefighters have the same standard. All firefighters are of varying experienced but are very skilled.

20:50:
Solda motion… “That council meet as soon as possible to discuss priorities on ICE-T”

Deakin and Douglas met with ICET to talk about what was needed to get funding. Time is short. September is time frame.

Question period:
- Denis Sauve – asking about parks and rec and parking issues. Would council be flexible with the hours for staff on bylaw covering evening so that that can be enforced while a police are very busy,
Also ask about liquor law – concerns about message liquor laws are sending. Is council going to recognize zoning? Seems as though farmers market is not a proper place for liquor.

-Charles Thomas – Want to make sure city aware they need to get parade arrangements ready.

20:43 ACRD Report
Solda and directors got tour of new water system.
July 19-20th 5000 people at lake expected for wake boarding event.
ACRD is renovating the big building on lower 3rd for the new recycling depot.
Went to rail meeting on Friday with ICF. McRae will make a report on Wednesday to ACRD. Will be asking him hard questions based on what she heard with RDN directors last week.
Also big 911 changes coming Wednesday.

McLeman: ACRD will be contributing some advertising money for the AV Bulldogs. Seems it would have been smarter for everyone to join in on the water system. Would have save ACRD and Cherry Creek a lot of money. Notice they also have a boil water advisory.

Washington: Salmon Festival #43 is a go.

Cole: lots of interest and great event at the AC/DC.
Also interesting Salmon Festival meeting with talk of moving to Harbour Quay,

Kerr: grand opening of new Sears. Also saw the CoOp big event! Also attended NIC graduation, great to see all the grads and congrats. Went to 20th anniversary Farmers Market on Saturday huge success.

McLeman: Forest safety council – changing to make it more “responsive”. Safety Council was created because there were 50 killed in forests two years in a row 2002… So far there has only been one in six months… Hope for more success. Toured small town that has all funds come from community forest and pay for many things with it. Had word that Catalyst is renewing sponsorship with Bulldogs. Went and looked at Upnit power, intake had some issues. Thanks to Probyn log for logs to McLean Mill.

Chopra: attended Maritime Society meeting.

Solda: over 1000 people… 600 people fed for free. Great community event. Congratulations to all who make local food possible.

20:25 Mayor Report
Thanks AC/DC event organizers for great event.
Did an interview with the new Island Health CEO about the paramedicine initiative.
Thank the young professionals for the community garden. Great work.
Meeting with ICE-T including Pat Deaking about grants potential coming soon.
Saw NIC grad, need more educational opportunities,
Meeting with Rob English from Canadian Alberni Engineering very positive.
Meeting about community planning will have another one in fall.
Meeting with southern rail, sounds positive. Sounds like late spring starting with southern portion going up to Courtenay in time and talked about what we all want… Rail back to Port Alberni.
Met with Premier at Premier’s dinner, at invitation of Catalyst.
WFP want to donate lumber or whatever they can to the beach project.

20:20: Corporate Services report
- new hire – new sports facilities supervisor (individual confirmed after temp period)

20:15: Economic Development report.
Solda notes that Alberta visitor saw Port Alberni commercial. Great stuff,
Deakin says City partnered with AV Tourism for TV time. Deakin also heard radio ad. TV spots are only 15 seconds. Radio a little longer. Definitely getting message out. TV ads are tourism focused, not as much on affordability but all messaging is good.

Deakin comment on Industrial Heritage Society. Recently EconManager was assigned responsibility to help increase profitability of mill and steam. Kevin Wright brought forward a plan to increase appeal and improvements. Proposals were generally well received by IHS. They are now in the new agreement. Gives community 20% discount on riding and using the train and mill. Hope is it will translate in locals using mill more and getting the word out more locally and with visitors. The Peak radio has exchanged a bunch of radio time and Nichelle portrait studios has exchanged photo time. Will be used across Island to promote the mill.

A strategic plan will start at the end of the current season.

Cole speaks in favour and congratulates in business project. Also asks about the airport improvements,

Deakin says AV committee concluded they would do a business case for a few approaches to improvements and would include Coulson group but also keep it wide open for all potential users and be more accessible for grants funding. He has talked to ICE-T and could be supportive. ACRD Board is discussing it on Wednesday.

Kerr asks about pop up real estate space at train station.
Deakin – there will be space given primarily in main lobby area of train station for sale of Canadiana, McLeman mill gifts, and food and drink (except during Art Rave). In 2015 there will hopefully be a dedicated retail space in the station. In what is now known as “baggage room”.

20:05: Parks and Rec report: Our Town is starting again! Blair park will be first. July 8.

Thanks to Gillian Shearwater and broom busters. Lots of very hard work. Lots of broom busted.

On parking in parks. It is hard to enforce and control. Don’t want them in the park. Big issue in spring when ground is soft. But always hard to enforce. They are talking with baseball association.

Solda brings up issue of litter after event (minor softball league mentioned)

19:55: RCMP report.
RCMP talks about Youth Camp in local school districts in July 1 week. There are 11 youth from Port Alberni participating. All together, 40 youth. RCMP is focusing on youth and youth in need. Seeing success with focusing on youth in need in the community, there will be a new school resource officer.

Traffic – complaints have risen with summer season. There will be more resources for season. Will also see bicycle, foot and boat patrols through summer.

Solda asks about busts in marijuana and drugs… RCMP indicates that there have been some successes and it is a continuing focus. Chopra brings up Moncton tragedy and thanks RCMP for their work. Cole also thanks. Kerr asks about parking on top of parks and rec facility. RCMP defers to parks and rec, not something they actively enforce.

19:50: Douglas asks if Council should remove the Raven coal meeting from the current status report for now and once the Raven project does refile it’s application then put it back into the council and rescheduled.

McLeman brings up ship pilots meeting on July 3rd at Council Chambers as it is related to coal, LNG, and transshipment.

Solda moves to remove the coal meeting from the status report until such time the company resubmits it’s application.

19:45: Esso Beach property – Council is directing staff to spend $2500 on wooden stairs. Chopra speaks in favour. Asks if Kenny can explain what Esso conditions were. Kenny says it is a 5 year lease with a 30 day cancellation (hmm…). It is quite likely Esso will do some digging and doing work around site for assessment, City will be spending as little as possible since there is not much that can be done. Solda indicates “it’s all good” glad for work on this, Cole echoes. Kenny says if City does move ahead long term there will be lots of potential but can only be done once a long term lease is secured once Esso is ready. The stairs will be limited to the gravelly beach closest to the marina. McLeman comments that City has been after it for a long time.

19:38: Changes are happening in some places at parks and rec. Most raising 2%. Seniors are still free for some. Minor hockey will be not rise so as to bring more in line with rest of Island.

19:35: we are now onto approving bylaws, most have already been discussed. Sewage connection, 5yr financial plan, parking fines, and election bylaws.
McLeman asks what the change is in election bylaw. City Manager Watson says it is due to Remembrance Day conflicting with traditional advance voting day. (Please vote! )

19:30: on new liquor rules. McLeman asks what are the big changes. Planner Smith says biggest one will be affecting grocery stores with “store within a store”. No new licenses will be issued, so the licenses that exists now, would have to relocate to a grocery store and because of how City zones liquor stores, those relocations would require a rezoning. There are other indications that some types of liquors that might be allowed in stores… There is a lot that they don’t know yet, regulations are not clear. McLeman asks about craft beer and wine (in and out of local) might be allowed at farmers markets (like at Spirit Square). Under current bylaws, Smith believes the vendors at farmers market could potentially sell craft beer and wine… Zoning would not prohibit it explicitly. McLeman asks if we should perhaps start” regulating morality” based on fact that we have and are always reminded we have alcohol problem in Valley and most liquor stores per capita. Smith indicates City staff could look into strategies, some of zoning would make it easier with others.

Solda asks if there is a difference with Cherry creek / Port Alberni Farmers Market, would bylaws be different out there so they could potentially circumvent limits in town? Solda asks if liquor stores could approach farmers market to sell. Smith: no. Only the original manufacturers of the craft beer and wine at least in current form of regulation. Solda asks who made the new laws: Smith indicates provincial mandate through John Yap. Solda also asks about 5km “thing”. Smith says liquor stores licensee can now relocate to other municipalities. He speculates that this might cause license holders to move from small towns like Port Alberni can go to a large centre like Vancouver.

Smith also indicates Council has directed staff that when a liquor store moves away, that the City immediately starts a rezoning process to change the zoning to something else.

Washington asks when this will be implemented. Smith, it’s all over the board now, some now, some next year.

Cole says we shouldn’t restrict too much on private business.

Chopra says this was done after good public input. Council does still have some power.

19:15: Council officially reduces the AV Bulldogs rental fee by 50%. Chopra asks about reduced amount in final two years and monthly payments currently. Scott Kenny indicates yes they will be paying monthly to keep current and this puts them on path to being debt free with City.
McLeman asks about increases over prior terms… Kenny says yes they were being increased 2% a year. McLeman asks if any service reductions have happened already due to reduction. Kenny says they have already made some changes in staffing and concession. Councillor Washington asks if there will be debt fully payed off from before. Kenny says yes, Debt will be cleared at end of this year. City is working to help reduce Bulldogs operating costs, in response to Cole question.

19:10: no delegations tonight!
Correspondence for action includes a gas tax agreement through UBCM to access Gas Tax Funds 2014-2024.

Also correspondence about Shaw Wifi and health effects, Jack and Wendy speak on it. Jack notes that 3G seems to be the biggest issue so no concerned about Wifi. Wendy brings up point that one day we did think that smoking was good for us. Chopra says it’s time to move along, have heard from both sides and we all have electronic devices.

19:03: First up: Jaques Savard – “we are experiencing a bit of mission creep” Emergency Vehicles are creeping into Code 3. It is annoyance to hear sirens.
Also, bullying in the RCMP. Accuses RCMP of bullying when talking about policing through education rather than bullying. In wake of Moncton, police need to be courteous, and compassionate and have public on their side.

Getting ready to go!

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment