July 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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