First public meeting on emergency building issue Monday night

The first of the monthly meetings on what to do about the city's aging emergency buildings begins 7:00 Monday Night at City Hall.

The city council will be holding the first of its series of public meetings to determine what the council should do about Prince Rupert’s aging RCMP headquarters and Fire Hall, tomorrow, Monday, March 5 in City Hall at 7:00 pm.

Monday night’s meeting will have presentations from city staff who will explain in detail why the council should be considering this issue, even as the city has many, many other infrastructure projects that need to be addressed. After their presentation, staff will answer questions on this subject from the council and the public.

During the council meeting last week, city staff presented the councilors with the format the meetings will take over the next several months.

The meeting will technically be a sitting of the Committee of the Whole, which is special council meeting where members of the public can ask the council questions, but in this case they will be able to question the presenters.

The mayor will start the meeting and council will approve the agenda, then the night’s presentations will begin. After they finish, council gets to ask their questions to the presenters first, then the floor will be opened for the public’s questions.

City Hall has had CityWest reprogram several phones which staff will monitor during the meeting to take questions from those who are watching the meeting from home on television or the internet. Those who call-in won’t be able to ask their questions themselves, but staff will relay them to the council chamber. Staff estimates the cost of having the phone bank “will not be significant.” Questions that are emailed in will be read out as well.

The rules for asking the presenters questions are fairly simple. People are allowed to ask pretty much anything about the project and staff will attempt to answer the questions, with a couple caveats:

Each meeting will be pertaining to a different aspect of the issue, so if someone asks a question that will be addressed in a future meeting, then the question will be recorded and saved until then.

If someone asks a question about something that has already been addressed in a past meeting (unlikely since this will be the first one), then they will be given a summary answer and pointed in the direction where they can get more information. All of the information presented during the hearings will be made available online.

If someone asks question that can’t be answered without doing some research, then the question will be responded to after the research is done.

After all the questions are answered the meeting will dismiss until the next one, which is scheduled for April 2. At the second meeting the city will discuss the pros and cons of various ways to solve the emergency building issue.