Prince Rupert Council: Monday, July 25

Topics covered during the Council Meeting held on Monday, July 25.

A multi-family residential development on Drake Crescent has gone ahead after city council passed a rezoning application from Kevin Stunder (DBA Aurora Resorts Inc.) to switch the area’s zoning designation from RM1 to RM3.

Stunder notified the public and council that a maximum of 80 units, consisting of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, would be built on the site, with an access road running through each end of Drake Crescent to improve traffic flow. Room for bench space and play space would also be available for residents on the site.

Underground and above-ground parking are also in the plans and Stunder has committed to either revitalizing a nearby trail that leads to 11th Avenue to Cow Bay or providing funds ($50 per lineal metre) to the city to develop that trail.

“Two-bedroom [units] seem to be in the most demand … There’s a high demand for rental as opposed to sale. Rental seems to be the driver at this point,” said Stunder.

Concept designs featured two buildings on the site and it was noted by council that the developer is voluntarily building the trail, without the city’s new multi-family residential guidelines in place designating him to do so.

After a public hearing was held, no opposition was recorded against the project and one resident came forward in support of the project after seeing similar developments by the proponent in Smithers.

The rezoning was passed unanimously by council with Coun. Nelson Kinney absent.

Council accepts June financial report

City council accepted the June 2016 Financial Variance Report from Corinne Bomben, chief financial officer. Bomben outlined the numbers, explaining that airport ferry revenue is down approximately $72,000 YTD thanks to the departure of Hawkair.

“The additional Air Canada express flight has partially offset this, but this was only introduced partway through the year whereas Hawkair, in previous years, was actually in effect from January all the way through [the year],” said Bomben.

Coun. Joy Thorkleson asked if the $80,527 Cow Bay Marina expenses were made up of mostly one-time startup costs compared to the $43,913 revenue gained from the marina, and Bomben confirmed that is the case.

June revenues from the marina were 1.5 times higher than May, with July and August expected to be the largest revenue generating months.

Revenues from the Rec Centre pool and arena were up approximately $15,000 and $17,000 YTD respectively over 2015, while the civic centre and community services were down approximately $44,000 and $2,000 YTD respectively from 2015.

One kilometre distance for liquor

A public hearing is scheduled to be held at the Monday, Aug. 22 council meeting after council gave first and second readings to regulate a one-kilometre distance rule between liquor establishments and to prevent grocery stores from carrying liquor.

“To me, it’s about supporting local businesses and keeping people employed whereas letting Safeway and Overwaitea (Save-On Foods) overrun the market – I think we’ve got enough stores as it is,” said Coun. Wade Niesh.

“We have enough of an alcohol problem here as it is and I don’t think we need to have it in stores to encourage those issues,” said Coun. Joy Thorkelson.

Coun. Blair Mirau was opposed to the bylaw explaining that council shouldn’t interfere with something the province has already studied and consulted with consumers by adding more red tape, and that more city time and resources should be put toward multi-family design guidelines and higher density development guidelines.

Council passed the readings unanimously with the exception of Mirau and Coun. Nelson Kinney was absent.