Prince Rupert council in brief: June 12 meeting

Senior housing proposal heads to public hearing; Annual Report comments welcome; sky lanterns banned

Seniors housing proposal moves to public hearing

Prince Rupert city council gave second readings to two bylaw amendments and proceeded to public hearing on the seniors housing complex proposed for 700 Green Street by the Metlakatla Development Corporation (MDC).

Open to all residents 55-and-over, the 42-unit complex (which includes two separate two-storey rental buildings and 10 units of row housing) would be located at the former King Edward School site.

Council proceeded to public hearing for a development variance permit for the buildings’ heights that exceed bylaw maximum limits (for the ‘interesting architectural treatment’ of the roof).

“I have no problem with this. It’s an aesthetic thing, but the design enhancing it reflects the native culture of our area. I live two doors away from here and I don’t really think it’s going to have any effect for shadowing or anything,” said Coun. Barry Cunningham. “Overall the design is quite stunning.”

Council also instructed staff to ask for a covenant of allowing only seniors 55-and-older to use the units, as BC Housing funding for the project had that stipulation, and council used the age-55 cutoff for the Hilltop Lodge seniors housing project.

Thirty-three parking spots would be available, with 11 for handicap spaces for tenants.

Second readings were given to bylaw amendments Nos. 3411 and 3412, changing official community plan map designation from ‘Open Space and Parks’ to ‘Residential’ and re-zoned from ‘Public Facilities Zone’ (P1) to ‘Multiple Family Residential Zone’ (RM2).

A public hearing is scheduled for June 26 at 7 p.m. at City Hall prior to the regular council session.

Annual Report comment period open

City communications manager Veronika Stewart presented the 2016 Annual Report to council, highlighting a plethora of achievements and projects the city has undertaken in the past year.

Stewart noted that the city secured provincial re-paving funding for Highway 16 and Third Avenue, as well as millions of dollars in infrastructure grants for the replacement of Prince Rupert’s freshwater supply. The city also oversaw the middle stages of the Watson Island pulp mill dismantlement in 2016 and council passed temporary commercial sales restrictions of recreational marijuana, among other initiatives. Council approved the report at its meeting on Monday, June 12.

A public meeting has been scheduled during the Committee of the Whole session before regular council on June 26, 2017 at City Hall. The public can comment on the approved report, which features messages from the mayor and city manager, mayor and council profiles, a city organizational chart and department reports. View the full 2016 Annual Report at www.princerupert.ca or through the city’s Facebook page, City of Prince Rupert.

Sky lanterns banned

Prince Rupert council passed a bylaw amendment on June 12, banning sky lanterns from being lit and released in the city.

A report from Prince Rupert fire chief Dave Mckenzie states that sky lanterns have been known to cause unforeseen fires due to their uncontrolled flight paths and landings.

“Having these lanterns in our area are of concern, that if released in close proximity to the water, winds can turn around and blow them back inland and onto land before going out,” wrote Mckenzie.

The report also states the lanterns are banned in many U.S. states and locations in Canada and have caused home and forest fires in the past. People are also normally barred from releasing them within a 10-mile radius of an airport.

The amendment was passed by council, with Coun. Barry Cunningham voting against the motion saying that the practice is a tradition for some communities and it may have been possible to acquire permits for some areas near the water instead of an outright ban.

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