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.

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.

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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, and send it to me too please just so I know

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.



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!


Posted in Politics, The Good Life | Comments Off

Council Live Blog June 23rd!

Newest update will be at top.

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

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

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.

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

Come to Council tonight! – Plywood Site Decision – Live Blog

The live blog will have the latest update at the top tonight.

10:51 – I asked the following:
“I found when I looked at the environmental assessment for the plywood site that it appeared that the majority of the contamination was under the water lot, which is Port Authority land, not City. Does that affect how much liability the City has for cleanup? If any cleanup was going to be undertaken is PAPA or the crown prepared to help with that cost?

And Would just like to ask, a question of process to councillor Kerr through the Mayor. Was your intention when you made your motion in the course of the Plywood Site motion, to table?
If it was to table… Then that takes precedence and the advice of the other councillors was incorrect and potentially preempted Councillor Kerr’s motion. It seems to me if that was shut down incorrectly then the vote has the appearance of being invalid.
This is a matter of process. “

10:50 – question asked about plywood site access. Answer is logging trucks will no longer use the plywood drive access.

10:47 – and now questions. From first. Question on how many bids and what bids were on Zamboni. Also challenged Council process on Councillor Kerr when she is supposed to have been able to move to table a motion.

10:40 – Kerr covers a whole bunch of items…

10:39 – Solda talks about Gyro meeting at McLean mill. And kudos to the uptown businesses that are redoing their storefronts.

10:38 – Councillor Washington talks about donations that McLean Mill is receiving. Plus Our Town is coming.

10:35 – now McLeman on RD and recycling costs and changes in what recycling takes.

10:36 – mayors report – on FCM – watching reaction of other councillors as he talks about meetings in Ottawa with Trudeau and other leaders. Federal funding for EC DEV on the island. Mentions that FCM should maybe have another councillor. Also pumps up ACDC.

10:26 – moving through reports.

10:25 – engineer report on Bainbridge water energy recovery equipment. It is a micro hydro potential. 14 year pay back. Great project! (That payback is likely at current hydro rates… As hydro prices rise, payback time will decrease)

10:10 – now onto travel expenditure report. This is an important issue. There are 3 different documents on travel expenses. They vote to have a special council meeting on it. (That was easier than having a special meeting on the beach issue… Just saying)

10:05 – going fast though other business.

10:01: – making an amendment to the 5 yr plan so that Bainbridge water plant can be upgraded with new treatment requirements.

10:00PM – council votes to extend the time for the meeting.

9:56 – on dry creek loan etc. McLeman brings up concern of debt. Chopra points out this wouldn’t be happening without grants. Chopra brings up interesting point that paper mill might be responsible for some remediation of the river if there are historic changes found. Loan is approved.

Other items are being received as usual.

9:48 – Resilient cities report… Received.

9:44 – 2 person responder. McLeman asked what savings there were. Report received.

9:35 – paramedicine project. Solda asks for Douglas explanation. Council passes.

9:30 – next up Hupacasath request for washrooms at sunset market. Approved.

9:25 – to say there is disappointment in the crowd that there want even a motion to table the motion… Would be an understatement.

9:22 – All but Kerr and Douglas vote in favour to sign the lease.

9:22 – Chopra says they have done work. Wants vote recorded. Kerr says if CAE didn’t work out could PAPA put coal storage there? (No have final say)

9:20 – Douglas supports CAE and spoke with in Niagara. Is very concerned with public consultation process. Brings up issues where hearings were done even when it was not required. Cities are spending millions and billions to redevelop the waterfront. In order to succeed as a transitioning community.. We have to get buyin. Quotes from a letter about public consultation. He will vote either to defeat or table the motion.

9:12 – Kerr wants to be clear. If CAE is not successful. I don’t want to see log sort but can the Port Authority do a log sort. PAPA comes up and states it has no interest in running a log sort. Primary purpose is to facilitate shipping. McLeman asks about log sort on docks. PAPA says it’s not a log sort. Cole asks if logs could be loaded from lot A. no. Cole asks about profits… What is the word for asking a question That benefits the person asking…. Sets up on centennial pier and how great it is.

9:11 – Chopra gives compliment hopes councillors move.

9:09 – McLeman asks when it would start. Within 12 months we would do site preparation. (McLeman says – “doesn’t take much to get much to get to $500,000″).

(councillors Solda and Cole passing notes to each other and smiling….)
9:05 – Douglas asks about WFP discussions on the land. Could you accommodate more space for recreational space. CAE: that would restrict the size of vessels. A further incursion… (Sounds like a no). Would have to look at impact on projects and business plan. Douglas asks if they could be a good neighbour with beach.

9:04 – Cole asks about market and confirms support.

9:02 – Solda asks about investment value. First phase would be 2-3 million (first year). 2nd phase brings it up to $6 Million. Solda asks about why now. CAE: Other options are not useful for the federal contracts on table now. Those aren’t only opportunities, but are more long term.

8:56 – Chopra asks about property tax revenue. Chopra speaks in favour. Brings up Community plan and covenants as reasons. People will come if jobs are here. Will receive $1200 plus tax. The PAPA is leaving the fence where it is even though it is on lot A. No one will invest on 5 year lease. Other towns are competing. Squamish, Victoria… Are we open for business or not. Speaks strongly in favour. Let’s move forward.

8:45 – Douglas asks what industrial is. Answer: Watson, says CAE is pre-approved. Others would have to be approved first. The Port Authority could act on their own if they wanted to, including a dry land sort. And points out any $500,000 investment, including only the infrastructure improvements, would qualify. (Ie. It would not necessarily be industrial development)

8:39 – McLeman supports the jobs. The one year principle is important. My concern is jobs. Trying to get benefit of workers. Do not want to see one year window, another log sort. Except the existing one.

8:34 – Watson details the out clauses. $500,000 total in land would include infrastructure. Contamination appears to not be mobile.
Cole is speaking strongly in favour of PAPA lease. We do talk about being open but we aren’t doing that. We have done consultation. We could use our skilled labour. We need to support them. We want a sustainable expansion of our harbour.

Darn I just lost some of the play by play, sorry. Both speakers spoke passiontately in favour of expanded public input.

8:20 – Sandra Gentleman/Canal Beach. Pitches AC/DC event and asks that council wait until the event is over so they can see the potential and potential congestion before final decision is made.

8:17 – Budget rental car owner. We should vote down this beach issue. Need food production, water, housing, and energy. We should focus on local food production. Energy privatization is going the way of Alberta, we need public energy in the city we should be self sufficient. There are other ways to bring along long term development.

8:15 – Denis Sauve asks about environmental concerns and who will pay for cleanup if it goes to beach access. He signed the petition. Next speaker – a forest firefighter speaking in favour of the recreational development. Locking into a 25 year plan for $1200 a month is not a big source of revenue for opportunity for more public discussion and full consideration.

Want Port Alberni to flourish, want to use existing PAPA land and Port Alberni is already a very affordable place and there needs to be something other than industry. People can’t afford a place on Sproat lake. Want more time to think it through.

8:10 – and now, the Lease on the Plywood Site. The public will be allowed to speak.

8:05 – a whole bunch of letters are received for various issues including support for expanded canal beach, sustainable development, site C, island timberlands concerns, Worksafe bc, VIHA and Cancer society on skin cancer, ministers letters, and one on fracking concerns. Chopra speaks on Worksafe and praises city on its handling of WSBC issues. McLeman shares some scepticism about the bill holdom letter. Kerr expresses shared concern on the fracking issue, clean natural gas is anything but clean, and on ISland Timberlands. “If you were proud about what you do (in the forest) you would not ask for confidentiality” ouch.

8:03 – BC Transit informs council there is no further expansion planned for Port Alberni for now.

8:02 – receives a letter from what might be a mining interest inviting them to a meeting at the UBCM next time around. Not too clear who it is… Received.

8:00 – on other correspondence: city has been working on issues brought up by Ian Thomas including some on Jack purdy’s party. Also on closing the Quay for the show and shine on August 8. Manager Kenny mentions that the merchants are generally supportive. Council moves and agrees.

7:57 – council receives some late emails about the issue including one that suggests putting off the decision until after the election. And done, Washington is back.

7:55 – now onto correspondence, Washington excuses himself due to plywood site topics.

7:50 – Chopra asks if there is any revenue to the City. Shaw says Nanaimo and Vancouver have a commercial agreement. But the revenue will not be much, more benefit from general access. Shaw needs permission to be on City property. Shaw needs assurance on how it works. McLeman brings up public concern about wifi electronic emissions effects. Shaw believes going with Wifi will be safest option, safer than cell. Cole asks about blocking access to certain sites.. Shaw says it is very difficult to do technology. Solda asks what Shaw gets out of it. Shaw says it’s all about offering best experience and good competitive advantage. It is about retention and advantage over 3G. Solda brings up concerns about RF again (a member of the public distributed information to all the councillors just before the meeting began).

Done. Information received, no decision at this time.

7:45 – Councillors are starting to nod off…. (Not really, but the gentleman is fairly wordy). Shaw Wifi network was used to good effect in Calgary during flooding when other communications were disrupted. This is non exclusive, any other company can do the same at the same time and that is fine. Would provide both resident access and city staff access. Has done this type of thing with 40 municipalities.

7:33 – Shaw presentation on non exclusive access to wifi throughout the City and in municipal areas plus giving people access to that. Shaw is the major internet provider in Port Alverni. Have 70 businesses in Port Alberni that are broadcasting Shaw GoWifi. Have 30,000 location in western Canada.

Want to cover “3rd places” where a lot of people are in frequently and people look for connectivity like municipal buildings.

7:15 – Delegation on the use of firearms in the Ducks Unlimited area and estuary to control Canada Geese. Populations of Canada Geese are skyrocketing. They are not native to here but they have hybridized and are much more common and have created conflict with agriculture, parks, damaging natural estuaries and the like. DU bought the property in 2001. The introductions probably weren’t the best idea. DU will be and has been consulting with FN. There is hunting allowed in RD area, but not in city limits. Areas have be safe for hunting, proper distance from populated areas. DU rep asks from September to September. This is not open hunting. It is only with permission and in designated areas and with proper sight lines.

Council agrees to do what is suggested.

7:12 – Mayor asks if we should allow more speakers. Kerr makes the motion to allow more people. Cole seconds as long as there are new people. Chopra suggests asking for and against in order. McLeman asks if there will be the same opportunity to speak for all at the time of the motion on the contract.

They choose to do the latter. Item G1 will allow public input. You should come down here.

7:12 – I support the previous speaker (especially the first one). The jobs are at very low rental rate. What are the plans for the grassy area.

7:11 – business community, down at Canal Beach what we have. Lots A and B should be expanded to “Port Alberni”. “Port” is important. Russel industries can support. Dollars for tax revenue could be good. This is an opporturnity that shouldn’t be ignored.

7:10 – another member of the public brings up the contamination on the land.

7:07 – I managed to get up first on public input. My statement was below.

I highly recommend folks come to City Council tonight to either hear or be heard.  The decision tonight on the lease for the north end of the Plywood Site could last 25 years or more.

I will also be speaking to council tonight during the 3 minute input period.  For the record, here is my statement to Council tonight.


Chris Alemany – 3854 Sixth Avenue. Good evening councillors.

First, I’d like to ask the audience.

If there was enough time and space for people to speak, raise your hands if you would speak about the Plywood issue tonight?

Thank you.

Also, here in my hand I have a petition that was not initiated by me, but that I’ve signed and I’ve agreed to use my time here tonight to present to council. The petition statement is.

“I support a future vision of the entire plywood mill site as expanded Beach Park for people”

____ people have signed this petition.

Next I’d like to remind Council that the 2007 Waterfront study included public consultation. I have been reminded of this when I’ve asked for a public hearing on this issue. So what did that public consultation say?

Well, one question they asked was “What Land Uses at the Plywood Site south of APD Mill do you Support”.

They gave two general options… one full industrial use and one mixed use or full re-development of the site.

Only 12% supported full industrial use of the entire plywood site. 12%. All the rest supported some sort of redevelopment.

The largest agreed option at 44% stated: QUOTE
“Market condos stepping down over the shoreline slope at the south end of the site. Market water lots for a private marina development – serving both the upland condos and public. And a marina development to the south in association with First Nations.”

That is the option that got the most support.

The other options were all under the redevelopment heading evenly split around small or large boat storage with a vessel lift, a public boat ramp, and seawalk, and redeveloping the pier for a waterfront pub,fishing boats and other private craft.

No industrial use.

So again, 7 years ago, the public overwhelming supported redevelopment of the entire site for a mix of public, residential, and commercial use over heavy industry. Today we have another demonstration of that public support here in council chambers and in this petition. The Canal Beach vision is in line with those kinds of options.

Nowhere in the reports or the public consultation has it been recommended that Council enter into 25 year, open ended contracts with the Port Authority that would prevent any development other than industrial on the north side of the property.

I ask Council. Are you willing to listen to the public?

Thank You.

Here is the question I refer to in my statement and a picture of the redevelopment from that report.  You can find a link to the report and tons of other information on this issue on my Beach post here (or scroll down the page).  And a general statement about my feelings about our Working Harbour here.

See you at Council!
(I will also live blog it once I’m done talking)
Backup Plan Plywood Site waterfrontconsult2007plywood

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