The new public kayak float is expected to be finished in May 2018. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Council briefs: public kayak float opening soon, and small businesses face big challenges

Prince Rupert city council held a meeting on May 14

Public kayak floats

By the end of the week, the new public kayak float in Cow Bay Marina will be complete with a ramp and stairs. While the float is not open yet, Cow Bay Marina manager Robin Beattie said dozens of people have been using the new access to the harbour already.

Once open, the float will be free to use to launch kayaks and canoes.

WATCH: Kayaking to daffodils on Dodge Cove

Small business, big challenge

Three recent graduates of the Simon Fraser University MBA program presented their final project, focusing on the recruitment and retention of the labour force in Prince Rupert, on May 14.

Kristi Farrell, Chris Armstrong and Karen Sawatzky spoke of the employment gap in the service sector, caused in part by higher paying jobs in industry and the ageing workforce. They requested the creation of an action task force between businesses and communities, and to make their study available to other organizations.

Councillor Blair Mirau, who recently presented the Small Business Advisory Committee report to council, thanked the presenters and said, “The recruitment and retention of skilled labour was consistently identified as the number one concern that small businesses have in Prince Rupert.”

Mirau said city council is scheduled for a workshop with the Small Business Advisory Committee on May 29. He said the committee would like the presenters’ feedback on the city’s new business website, princerupert.ecdev.org, which was launched after their study was complete.

“It’s really about strategy,” Farrell said. She and her husband bought property in Prince Rupert so they could provide long-term affordable housing to staff, which is another issue that impacts the workforce.

“You have to be involved in all aspects of somebody’s life. You have to promote your community,” Farrell said, by connecting new employees to churches, groups and resources.

2017 finances audited

Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben reported the financial assets, liabilities and operating funds from 2017. The city’s water project appeared in both the assets and liabilities section of her report as Phase I increased general receivables by $1.8 million through grants for the project. Phase II was highlighted as deferred revenue as $1.4 million of grant funds will be put toward the next steps.

Outstanding debts include half a million each for the landfill closure and upgrades to the cruise ship dock and airport. Altogether the surplus funds total approximately $2.3 million from the general fund, water, sewer and solid waste funds.

Bomben also said the March variance report shows operating and utility revenues for the city are on track and within budget.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert mayor outlines visions, challenges in Hays 2.0 presentation

Letter to Nathan Cullen

MP Nathan Cullen requested a letter from Prince Rupert City Council to support bringing public transportation to the federal government. With the closure of Greyhound’s Northern B.C. bus routes at the end of the month, mayors in the north have been meeting about services on a provincial level.

A friendly amendment was made after Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa asked for VIA Rail passenger trains to be given priority on the tracks.



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

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