Live Blog May 26 Council Meeting

I will be live blogging the Council meeting again tonight. You can download the Agenda here. The big topics will again be Canal Beach and the Bulldogs. The Mayor is away in Ontario so Dan Washington will apparently be acting Mayor, though he will have to recuse himself from the Canal Beach discussion.

It should be on Shaw tonight as well. See you at 7PM!

And we are off!

First public speaker:
It’s time for change from industry to a public access. Ask that the log boom be moved from the viewscape and for better access for the waterspouts. The big pipe should be cut up and sold for scrap. Clean up and use the pilings in front to be used by swimmers and small boats. The next door waterfront portion should be for change rooms, rentals, food, etc. these would support family outings and tourism. What are water sample results currently? “What is the City but people”. The beach serves hat stated goal on council chamber wall.

Second public speaker:

Small business in town.n if I have a bad year, can I come to you and ask for half my taxes? And half my gas? Can I do this too? Is this only for McLean mill and Bulldogs?

Third public speaker:

In all discussion about beach. No one has talked about argyle beach, old Esso property. Right next to Quay. Lovely little beach. Boat launch… Could be changed to have a walkway. Could have grass on top. Closer to home and Quay. Support proposal by Port and Alberni Engineering. Talked to engineer, there is no view from the beach and pilings are an eyesore and could be removed at no charge.

Fourth speaker:

Talking about bulldogs. Council has really combed through the budget past few years. Know that the bulldogs are in a hard spot. Why do bulldogs need ice break for two seasons. If they are in an upswing, then only one should be sufficient.

Delegation on Canal Beach – Malcolm Meninga

Taxes, population growth, and lost opportunities.

We are blessed to live where we are. Why is Port Alberni stagnating while other communities on South Island are growing. We have declined 13% while others have grown significantly.

Why? Similar industries… But it is because others have grasped the future. Changing industry. Making community desirable. Quality of life is the key to growth. We have to have a reason to attract people here. It’s always jobs jobs jobs and begging industry and giving tax concessions while residential taxes skyrocket. It is declining, because there is no desire to be here. Other cities have taken on waterfront enhancement to draw people in. We have infrastructure built for 25,000. With population of 17,000. We could grow back to 25,000 with no additional infrastructure.

Strategic Plan says to “acquire waterfront land as it comes available.” We are doing that with left hand but right hand doesn’t realize what is happening.

“Providing enhanced opportunities for public input” is in the strategic plan but not taken on.

In Campbell River, the mill closed down and the population still grew. We have to look to the future, mills and heavy industry is not the future, it guarantees stagnation. We have to support industry but they are not the future and we can’t rely on them. The numbers are clear.

VIHA is largest employer in port Alberni but most of the employees don’t live here. We must copy and emulate what others do. Not doing so, not planning for the future and building as others have done is ensuring property taxes will rise.

We are doomed to stagnation if we don’t take the necessary steps and bring real diversity into the community.

Hira Chopra brings up the covenant and the industrial jobs that have come through APD. “If we keep it industrial we don’t have to do anything with the contamination”.

Very quick speakers, so I haven’t been able to capture everything, but suffice to say that Cole, Solda, Kerr, and Chopra supported the status quo.

Councillor Cole excuses himself and Councillor Kerr takes over as acting Mayor.

Next delegation: Mr. knezivich of the Port Authority. Comment on the previous delegation, we are doing a lot to improve the waterfront and have done a lot lately.

We have identified an opportunity to build ship building with Canadian Alberni Engineering. What was once a vibrant sector in Port Alberni industry can be again. Lot A and B were identified as the only lands suitable.

Lease: PAPA and CAE will provide expanded parking on lot b, a new stairway for public use. Will have a separation zone to facilitate public use and will have a buffer.

Now Mr. English of CAE presents:

Just moved to Port Alberni and CAE. Have long term plan. CAE is a subsidiary of large Canadian company. Main reason for investment here was because of industrial road. They have challenged to bring total employment to 120 in company. CAE evaluated a number of options for expansion. Lease of A and B are best option. Mr. Menninga made a number of very valid points. There needs the right balance of industrial and other uses. Official Community Plan could use an update.

Will immediately build a large span crane to serve existing small vessel on Lot A. Facilities currently are congested. We have added 5 new in last to stable employment of 25. Goal is to be able to compete for federal projects, BC Hydro, and LNG. Mr. English comes from Navy background.

We believe this is achievable.

McLeman: We unfortunately don’t have the lease public, thought we would.

Manager: terms of lease – property taxes would be collected. It is a lease. Not sold. Market value rent, $1200 and working up. City retains lease of water. Investment milestones. If there is no activity in first year, it reverts to the city. If there is not $1 million invested in 2 years, reverts to City. If inactive for 2 years, reverts to City. There will be a buffer on lot A to separate from lot C beach. Parking and stairs will be built to be used by industry workers and park. Tenant will be responsible for environmental issues that occur above and beyond existing issues.

Knizevich: Log booms will be moved out of the way so beach is accessible always.

Chopra brings up environmental problem: make sure City does not pay for any environmental issues.

Solda: there are public that do not trust port Authority. Why are we not going direct to rent to Engineering.

Knezivich, I believe we have been very transparent. Surprised at that sentiment. We are trying to eradicate that image. We are as a middle man, because we are in a great opportunity to foster relationship, have waterfront leases and relationship to APD. We have all the experience, it may not appear logical, but it is practical.

Solda: what are taxes going to be.

Manager: it will depend on the value of the structures erected. So we can’t put a number on that. It should be considerably more than rent.

CAE manager: First building will be 12,000 sqft. Second will be 30,000sqft. In that area.

Solda: what are water lot leases?

Manager: City has leased the water in front of the waterfront property since MB donated the property. Includes the foreshore and the water.

Solda: what is plan b for CAE

CAE: looking at facility on harbour road already leased on Harbour Road. But would require substantial renovation. Also are starting to bottleneck for new work so expanding existing space near Quay is problematic. Third option is out of town but would go to plan b on Harbour road first.

Solda: the port has a lot of other property, why are they not using it.

Knezivich: we have others, being used for lumber, logs, all increasing. We are starting to load from dockside. We see our terminal lacking space. The other space in port is not suitable. We need more space, not more. We are trying to find solutions on how to revitalize old 1964 land.

Solda: contamination

Manager: there is contamination that is not “mobile”. It would not be the responsibility of PAPA or CAE but others introduced would.

Solda: dry dock?

CAE: no plans for dry dock. Long term plan is floating dry dock. 5-25 years. Environmental assessment would be significant.

Solda what jobs?

CAE: we currently have 25 regular employees. Bring in other skilled folks as needed. Goal is to Reach 120 union employees within 5 years. There are yard workers, and qualified red seal tradespeople and management.

Solda: press release from PAPA said something was signed sealed and delivered.

Knenezevich: there is no signed sealed and delivered. That was done by David Wiwchar (the peak) and wasn’t correct. We apologize for that miscommunication.

Cole: is CAE using local jobs and union?

CAE: Marine workers are laid off and hired as needed and most are union jobs. We are finishing up collective agreement with them.

Chopra: if everything goes well – when will construction start?

CAE: it depends – within 3 months, site prep. First structure will be prefab. 7-8 months, December of this year they would try to have a hovercraft contract in there.

McLeman: Mayor is in Ontario for FCM and talking to CAE CEO in Ontario. Are we going to have a glass wall to watch?

CAE: it’s not all that interesting. Vessels will be under cover. Only time that is really interesting is docking and undocking to water.

And the delegations are complete.

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Council received letters from Public and motion to respond to letter thanking for input.

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And that completes Canal Beach issue, Councillor Washington come back to take chair as acting Mayor.

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Council considers and approves helping Hupacasath with portable toilets for the night market at Victoria Quay.

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Council votes to send a letter requesting that the free fares for seniors on BC Ferry be reinstated. Councillor McLeman notes the big routes make money… He’s not cool with subsidizing small island ferries.

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Community Forest Association:

McLeman pitches the Community forest and AGM on Thursday night.

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Solda brings up PRIMECorp provincial records management:
Manager: Levy will be $40,000. It is not accommodated for in our budget yet. Hopeful that this will be able to fit within budget given way our RCMP detachment is staffed. These levies we’re not known before the last budget process. There will be 3% per officer increase for next year.

Solda brings up BC Transit: Conditions on buses are not good in summer. Very hot. Heard complaints. Have spoken with local bus company and try to ensure that the AC is working and riders are happy.

McLeman: Telus is going to spend $4 Million in town. Would like to say thanks and know what it is for.

Manager, it is for 4G/LTE.

McLeman is wondering what 4G/LTE is… Half joking…

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And now, the Bulldogs.

Council is voting on the motion as it was in last meeting to reduce ice fees.

Chopra speaks in favour. Bulldogs are looking for relief. If we don’t give them break they will go. It will be hard for City to sell that ice time if bulldogs are gone. This will keep city employees on payroll as well. $25,000 is not a big deal. This is an asset and we should give them a break.

Solda explains what the AV committee decided. Bulldogs are investigation relationship with ACRD to provide support and to make up some of costs in kind. The bulldogs are going to get the $25,000 from ACRD (60% from City) they will have to clear trails, doing recycling awareness work. They will be contracted for that work.

McLeman: there was no opposition to support from Bulldogs at ACRD. McLeman wants to know if sponsors are coming and will come to get money into Bulldogs.

Banton from bulldogs: we had 80% what needed from sponsors in April. Has stalled out as City discussions have progressed. Should be able to move forward once City gives OK to reduce uncertainty.

Solda: there is a difference in rate for users of ice. What is the difference? How much do other groups use the arena?

Manager calls on Scott Kenny: Rates. Minor hockey prime time is $88/hr adults, primetime $100… Others $130. Bulldogs pay $100-$110. With the rate reduction is it below minor hockey? Yes. Is it below other communities Junior A? Yes.

Looking at 2 seasons, not 3 seasons forward. Then City would renegotiate after that time.

Solda: How would it affect budget if we reduced the prices for all other user groups.

Kenny: it would be suicidal for the multiplex. Hockey team pays a significant amount. Would not want to make it that much harder for facility to operate.

Solda: what economic benefits are there to the community. What are the spectator totals? What are they going to do for user groups to benefit them that don’t get break.

Assistant GM Bulldogs:

Players have to understand value of community. Helps them succeed at NCAA. There are players coming to summer camps that are now fighting for spots on the team.
Others:
Canada Day Parade
August hockey school
PAPA Our town event
Golf tournament
Bread of Life donations at hockey game
Bulldogs in local schools, reading, teacher assistant. twice a week 2-3 hours
Dads night out.
Remembrance Day ceremony.
Parks and Rec partnership
4 winter wonderland events
Guns and Hoses hockey game
Delivered 800 Teddy Bears
And there are others….

Kerr: as a former landlord understand the need to keep that tenant

Cole: players are great role models. Happy that ACRD is helping. Glad that city staff is recommending.

Banton: estimate $750,000 into community. Well over million people. Over 6-7000 different people come to the games. 7000 volunteer hours 50-60 volunteers.

Washington: did we build the arena for a Junior A team?

Kenny: no. Facility for many reasons. It was built for Junior A standard. But not only that.

Solda: could Bulldogs go with a one year lease.

Banton: need to provide stability. Business needs stability. 2 years is important milestone to give assurance to players and sponsors.

The motion is carried to give the break to the Bulldogs. All voted in favour.

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On signage?

McLeman – would flashing or big signs on top of buildings keep businesses open?

Planner Smith – It is currently not permitted.

Manager: sign bylaw refers to zoning bylaw. No changes are being planned or considered. If council wants to review the full sign and zoning bylaw to address signage. But for now, sign bylaw must be amended so that it can be in sync with zoning.

McLeman: Small business is driver of economy, ” no sign is sign of no business “. Perhaps we should have a new motion to look at signing.

Planner: picking location of business is key. Signage is part of that. At this stage, stage doesn’t want to make major changes, but if Council wants to make changes, Council can direct staff and staff would do that and consult business community and public about signage.

Kerr: do we have a lot of complaints or concerns about sign bylaw?

Planner: not many. Only Ford dealership was most recent, but over history, not much complaints or amendments or variances. This could be indication of bylaws worth.

Chopra: maybe after we do housekeeping motion, perhaps we could pass a motion to look at sign bylaw as McLeman noted.

Council approves the housekeeping motion.

McLeman moves to consult businesses and find out if sign bylaw is working. And motion is carried.

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Waterworks Bylaw – to raise rates 10%

Kerr asks for delay (table) so as to have more time to look over.

Motion to table is defeated.

Solda: We have an aging infrastructure. We must pay for it now, if don’t do major work will be major costs in future as things fail.

Kerr: we have different levels of water use. If we use more, it gets cheaper, that doesn’t make sense. The rates need to be adjusted,

Manager: the increase will allow us to pay for waterworks upgrades that are required for safe water. Council can request that staff bring back the option to have an increasing rate for increasing use. This is what province wants as well, previous councils have voted not to have rates.

Solda: Farmland needs a lot of water as well.

Kerr: We need to encourage to conserve.

Manager: no residential customer gets to block two (lower rate). Only commercial and industrial pay the lower rate because they use a very large amount. So there is only effective rate for all residents.

Bylaw passes, Kerr is against.

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Council then passes unanimously the sewage bylaw rate increase of 10%.

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Name the Beach contest

Voting boxes will be at City Hall and Echo.

Council approves the contest.

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New business – “Main Artery” owners, will be using as branch business. Will be open 7 days a week in summer and little less in winter.

Solda: will city do any work to help them move in.

Kenny: no. Though another lease has been moved (farmers market storage) to accommodate the new business.

Council approves.

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Bob and Vicki Lee Farmers Market lease for storage space for the market.

Solda why is difference in price? ($272 vs. $168)

Kenny: Based on square footage. City likes to do work itself based on negative experience with outside contractors. Should cost city around $3000 for renovations for the business in previous motion.

Solda: How many tendered for the spot?

Kenny: We only received one response other than the existing Lees.

Motion passed.

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Council is going to enter in an agreement for Dry Creek community garden with YPAV. Motion carried.

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City will provide water connection to PAPA Centennial wharf.

Solda: what is explanation of ICET?

Manager: City will give receipts of work to PAPA to be remitted to ICE T for funding grant.

Solda: PAPA can’t sit on it, ICE T is running out.

Cole: we need more amenities at the Pier.

Chopra: why is PAPA asking for city for money. We should not give them $50,000. PAPA knows cost, has a budget.

Manager: PAPA has gone over budget. City has not contributed anything at this point to the pier. He recommends funding it as City contribution and as goal of revitalizing the harbour.

Solda: why can’t City put in funding request to ICE T. There are many thing that need to be done. Clock Tower has to be fixed/ replaced, sidewalks, etc. washrooms. Let’s make a big picture and apply for our own money to do it.

McLeman: I agree with Solda. Let’s get our own grant for ICE T for the Quay.

Manager: PAPA already has ICE T grant. This work would be done and would be part of that grant to use the grant.

Motion passes to grant $50,000 to PAPA.

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Engineer presents on Dry Creek project.

Washington: short term borrowing?

Manager: short term borrowing can be accessed quickly. Then converted to long term.

Chopra: why do we have to borrow the total amount now. Why not borrow the minimum?

Manager: it won’t be until 2015 that we pay interest.

Financial manager: it takes a few months to do the process. It makes more sense to do it once for one borrowing rather than go through process twice.

McLeman: We had gone a long time with no debt. What are we going to be leaving the next councillors.

Financial manager: These will be 20-30yr. It would be $50-6000 a year to service the debt.

Solda: when is Multiplex debt payed off?

Finance manager: next few years.

Solda: The flooded businesses are in need. It is an ongoing problem. Must be remediated.

Council passes the motion.

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On Graffiti.

Pat Deakin speaks on advantages of his recommendations to limit and penalize graffiti and strategies to acknowledge and reduce graffiti. Recommends a “band-aid” that other communities have used that is put over the graffiti initially to acknowledge it and show it will be fixed. (Solda doesn’t think it’s going to be worth it.)

Taxi drivers and other residents can be tapped as people who could make quick reports.

Recommends reimbursing uptown merchants. $120 for each kit. Does a lot for the amount. Kevin Wright learned that it will not work with a building that has been re-painted already. Removal kit removes both the graffiti and new paint so will have to address that. But system is good. There is a lot to learn from other communities.
Most communities are asking to have it removed within a few days.
Fines should be between $100-$5000.

Chopra: seems like a good idea. Public art would be a good idea as well (Solda said as well). And find places for youth to have an outlet as well.

McLeman: good report. Good graffiti kits. We should get two kits not just one. One for each area (north and south).

Kerr asks about a security camera in place at major issue.

Motion carries.

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Councillors move to go past 10PM.

I’m not going to be able to stay much longer… Big agenda.

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Bylaw Adjudication system.

Planner recommends that the Council change how bylaws are enforced. Big process.

Both Motion approved.

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Climate Action Revenue report

Received and approved.

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Deploying Encorp recycling bins.

Motion carried

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Status report…

Motion carried to received.

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RCMP Report received.

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Parks and Rec received.

Esso property: (beach mentioned before in public comment) we do have agreement in place to use the land. It is month to month lease. Esso goal is to dispose of property (at market value).

Staff doesn’t want to invest much. Cheapest fix right now is to have some stairs down to the beach.

McLeman: Spar tree went up yesterday at McLean mill. Raises concerns about new creek. Concerned that the water will go stagnant.

Kenny: creek is designed to carry more than what the current creek could. There will be water going through to keep fresh. It is a good contractor and good price and good work will be done.

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Econ Dev report.

Deakin: detail timeline on city own lots a b and c.
Report includes date by date decisions City made on the plywood site.

Hollies Golf course – 10 year anniversary video – set to Happy – 1000 views in 12 hours. Check it out!

Provincial girls Rugby lots of no vacancy signs at local hotels.

Deakin: City will be making a public effort over and above Facebook page to promote Port Alberni.

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Mayor’s report:

Yes there will be another Salmon Festival.

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RD report. They approved the GPS plan for the airport and will discuss the runway extension. It will take 2 years.

McLeman would like to have the runway done right away. He does not think all the hoops need to be hopped through. Should just get it done.

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Kerr Report – encourages all to support garage sale by community care society.

Went to water workshop. Was extremely good. Talked about speaker who worked for EnCana who talked very negatively about fracking. Jessica Ernst. Todd Butler.

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McLeman report – Probyn logging is donating logs to the Mill. Kevin Wright is doing promotional work.

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Cole, Solda, nothing to report.

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No questions from the public. (We are all falling asleep. ;))
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Council adopts motion to discuss penalizing tenants in arrears.

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Tax revitalization… For all commercial areas.

Councillors mentions that tenants (businesses) could be given help if their landlords are not willing.

Kerr asks if there has been much interest in uptown bylaw?

Clerk says none applied for.

Passed.

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Council passes motion to petition province and others to establish a community medicine pilot project.

McLeman: would like to table the motion so that Mayor Douglas can speak more to it.

Motion has been tabled.

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Solda: notices of motion.
Esso property? ICE T grants
Liquor license changes. How will that work?

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And we are done!

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