The Civic Appreciation Award was given to long-time Prince Rupert resident, Phuong Nguyen, for never missing a community event and always catching Prince Rupert life in a snap. The award was supposed to be given out on Canada Day but unfortunately Nguyen was unable to attend due to work. Council finally got a chance at Monday night’s meeting to present him with the honour. (photo courtesy of the City of Prince Rupert)

COUNCIL: City of Prince Rupert planning to consider borrowing money, new RCMP online crime reporting

More: Maclean’s Magazine crime stats not surprising but misleading: RCMP, Nyugen gets ceremony

The city is expected to incur a debt in 2020 while they continue the second phase of the water project, which is the replacement of the Woodworth Lake Dam. Council will be asked to consider a borrowing bylaw in 2020 to fund the remainder of the project.

Debt is anticipated to be repaid through future Legacy Inc. dividends (a non-general revenues fund).

Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben stated that funding for the dam is planned to come from the 2016 grant, a dividend from Legacy and debt.

“I want to feel that the debt that we’re incurring is a natural part of the budgeting cycle and that it’s not unnecessarily straining the budget into a new form. Is this more or less within the bounds of manageable?” Councillor Nick Adey asked Bomben.

Bomben said it was in fact manageable because of revenue generated from the Watson Island property which is being directed to Capital projects.

“It is contemplated that there won’t be any extra increase to water fees to cover off the debt for the water dam and additionally we anticipate that in the future the water treatment plant, we may need to get debt for as well. It is contemplated that the dividends from Legacy Inc. generated off of Watson Island would service that debt,” Bomben explained.

READ MORE: City of Prince Rupert announces $22M for water treatment project

Maclean’s Magazine crime stats not surprising but misleading, RCMP

The Prince Rupert RCMP S.SGT. Pascal Baldinger met with council Monday to provide an update on the RCMP’s activities. The update also comes following a recent report released by Maclean’s Magazine claiming Prince Rupert was among the top 20 most dangerous places to live in Canada.

“There’s no surprises with the stats. It’s been in the same trend, since the last few years,” Baldinger said. “However, it is misleading because it doesn’t capture the number of offenses where the victim and the offender are known to one another compared to stranger-on-stranger offenses.”

Baldinger explained that offenses in Prince Rupert are mainly interactions where offenders are known to the victim.

One individual linked to nine separate break-and-enters in Prince Rupert in 2018 caused the property crime statistics to increase.

“Because the stats are based on 100,000 people, it looks like we have a lot of property crime, which is in fact quite low. Overall, we have a small population in Prince Rupert that we deal with and if we have one or two stats, that increase that’ll spike some of these statistics for us,” Baldinger said.

Next year’s crime severity index for Prince Rupert will also be affected due to a change in the way Statistics Canada has police report on crime. Previously, when complaints were received, it was possible to report them to StatsCan as unsubstantiated meaning they are unable to confirm or deny that offenses actually occurred. Since January 2019 scoring of unsubstantiated was removed, resulting in an increase of number of founded offenses.

Starting in the new year, residents will be able to report crime online through an app or through the online website. The online crime reporting system is for any files that police do not have to go in person to attend, which is expected to take a lot of unnecessary paper work off their plate and free up their time for more serious crime.

“So if somebody’s bicycle is stolen in their backyard, and the value is under $5,000 with no suspects, no witnesses, or no video, but just the serial number they can just go on to the website, they type in all the information and they get a police file number and just to track it,” Baldinger explained.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert ranks in top 20 of magazine’s ‘Canada’s Most Dangerous Places’ list

Funding for storefronts

The City of Prince Rupert passed a resolution to apply for a $20,000 grant to the Business Facade Improvement program funded through Northern Development Initiative Trust. The programs provides annual grant funding for municipalities and regional districts to enhance economic development by encouraging private sector investment in businesses to improve their storefronts.

Nguyen gets ceremony

In July, the Civic Appreciation Award was given to long-time Prince Rupert resident, Phuong Nguyen, for never missing a community event and always catching Prince Rupert life in a snap. The award was supposed to be given out on Canada Day but unfortunately Nguyen was unable to attend due to work. Council finally got a chance at Monday night’s meeting to present him with the honour.

READ AND WATCH MORE: Ian Lihou receives Prince Rupert Civic Recognition Award


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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