Prince Rupert council in brief: May 8, 2017 meeting

City passes 2016 audit, Workforce attraction supported, Hilltop Lodge seniors housing moves along

City passes 2016 audit

After reviewing the city’s financial statements and testing a sample of transactions, Steve Kietzmann, an accountant for Carlyle Shepherd &Co., concluded that the city’s financial position for 2016 are in order.

“There’s a lot going on in the City of Prince Rupert’s financial statements. I know you’ve got issues with Watson Island and landfills, as a lot of regional districts and cities do, so those are areas we pay particular attention to during out audit process,” Kietzmann said

Among the city’s assets were a $1.1 million land inventory held for resale to recognize development costs at Watson Island, a $900,000 net increase of repayments from loans to Prince Rupert Airport Authority, an increase of $2.5 million from the purchase and construction of new infrastructure assets and approximately $700,000 in net income increases from investment in CityWest. Liabilities include an increase of $1.5 million in accounts payable from contractor work and accrued wages paid in January, $700,000 in closure and expansion costs at the landfill cell and $600,000 in debenture debt repayments including those made for the cruise ship dock and airport upgrade.

The closing cash balance to Prince Rupert Legacy Inc. at the end of 2016 was $13,924,622 after an approximate $1.2 million loan to the airport authority. $500,000 was spent by the city for planning for major projects.

Hilltop Lodge moves along

Prince Rupert city council gave second reading to the re-zoning bylaw associated with the proposal by Macro Properties to convert the former Neptune Motel to a seniors housing complex at 1051 Chamberlin Avenue.

Macro Properties held an information session on April 5 about the project, but city planner Zeno Krekic noted it was not well attended by potential seniors looking to relocate.

Some concerns brought up by staff also included that the location is in a light industrial area and situated near a vehicle parts store, the closest bus stop is 500 metres away and the nearest corner store one kilometre away. Macro Properties stated that it was looking into getting a shuttle vehicle or service by taxi to service the residences.

“I’m not too concerned about transit because it’s not a supported living facility. Some will qualify for HandiDART (ride share) service, some can walk to the bus stop, some will have their own cars. I am concerned about land use or potential for conflict,” Coun. Blair Mirau said.

Krekic replied that freezing surrounding property wouldn’t be proper due to the area’s zoning already being light industrial and essentially the complex is intruding on that space.

“Unfortunately the proponent doesn’t have a choice in the matter as to where the location of this is and it sounds like they’re trying to do everything they can to help the accessibility of it … That’s a building that they own and it happens to be in that location so there’s not much the proponent can do. They don’t want an empty building sitting and rotting in this community like others do, so we want something that’s going to be of value to this community – a cheap rent rate which is affordable for seniors,” said Mayor Lee Brain.

The reading was passed by all and a public hearing has been set for June 12 at 7 p.m.