Monday, October 19, 2009

Council Agenda for October 19th, 2009

Tonight's meeting has lots of interesting items on the agenda. We're actually starting a little early with a council committee of the whole to discuss what the philosophy towards infill development in older neighbourhoods should be in the MDP.

It's also a once yearly meeting called the Organizational Meeting where we approve the schedule of meetings for the year and the appointments to the various committees and boards that council members sit on. We'll do all that first and then continue with the regular meeting agenda below. I've made some comments on a few items of interest - you can see them in yellow like this.



3.1 Council receive the minutes of the Minutes of the City Council Meeting Held October 5, 2009


5.1 Mr. B. Manz, Manager, Aquatera Utilities Inc. re: Solid Waste Franchise Fee and Utility Bylaw

6.1 Bylaw C-1100-147, to Amend the Land Use Bylaw – Schedule “B” Signs to allow a billboard sign on City property at the Pete Eager Fire Station located at Lot 1, Plan 012- 1228

Council give Bylaw C-1100-147, to Amend the Land Use Bylaw, second reading.
Council give Bylaw C-1100-147, to Amend the Land Use Bylaw, third reading.
There may be some opposition to this change. The current sign bylaw doesn't allow for billboard signs on city property and this amendment would make a special allowance for a billboard - only on this specific site mind you. I'm not sure there's a compelling reason to allow it.


9.1 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Event Committee – September 30, & October 8, 2009
Council receive the minutes of the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Event Committee meetings held September 30, and October 8, 2009.

9.2 General Government Services Committee – October 7, 2009
Council receive the minutes of the General Government Services Committee meeting held October 7, 2009.

9.2.1 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Event Funding
Council approve additional funding in the amount of $32,500 allocated from the Recreation and Community Development Program Budget, for the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay Event.
We are waiting for word on some grant applications we've submitted to the province. In the mean time administration wants to make sure we have the money in place for the Nov 6th event. They are suggesting we cover it internally in part by using funds that were budgeted for the operation of the new community gyms. We had budgeted for 12 months operating but with the gyms opening in September we'll only to pay for about 4 months. If the grants come in after the event all the better.

9.2.2 Marketing of Former Germain Park Property
Council direct Administration assign a market price for the former Germain Park Property and market the property for sale, and report back at a future Committee meeting.
I'll be voting against this motion. If this was passed it would see the land go up for sale with absolutely no conditions to encourage development. My greatest concern is that we see something positive happen on the site - SOON. Worst case scenario; Selling the land this way could lead to an absentee landowner from out of the city buying it and sitting on it until the market improves in hopes of flipping it for a quick profit. That's no help to our downtown and if we can't improve downtown I don't see why we would sell it.

For more information you can see the whole Germain Park timeline here but simply put I think this is a bad idea, we can do better.

9.2.3 Request to Cancel Tax Penalty
Council deny the request to cancel the July, 2009 tax penalty of $174.97 on Lot 56, Block 2, Plan 0720778.

9.2.4 Borrowing Bylaw C-1200
Council give first reading to Borrowing Bylaw C-1200, in the amount of $2,092,000.00 for Reconstruction of the Prairie Art Gallery.
Total project cost is estimated to be $9,957,000 with the balance broken out like this: $1,280,000 from insurance, $5,585,000 from provincial grants and $1,000,000 from outside parties (the Prairie Gallery organization).

9.2.5 Temporary Borrowing Bylaw C-1236
Council give three readings to Borrowing Bylaw C-1236, in the amount of $2,000,000.00 to meet current expenditures.
This is something the city does every year to manage our cash flow. It's basically a line of credit that covers any small gaps that may occur between when our cash investments mature and when we need money - it very rarely gets used.

9.2.6 Cancellation of Regularly Scheduled Meetings
Council cancel the November 3, 2009 Public Works Committee meeting and the November 4, 2009 General Government Services Committee meeting.
Many of us will be in Calgary for the AUMA convention this week so there wouldn't be enough people to have the meetings. I'll be flying down late Monday and coming back Thursday so I can be here for the Olympic Torch on Friday morning.

9.2.7 Strategic Priorities Chart
Council approve the Strategic Priorities Chart as revised.

9.2.8 Bylaw C-962P, to Amend the Procedure Bylaw – Deputy Mayor
Council give three readings to Bylaw C-962P to amend the Procedure Bylaw with respect to Deputy and Acting Mayor appointments.
This item came from Mayor Logan and it aims to change the system back to what it was before 2004. It used to be that after an election one Alderman was appointed to be Deputy Mayor and would fill that roll that for the whole 3 year term. Starting with the 2004 council we implemented a system where each Alderman serves as Deputy Mayor for a period of about 6 weeks through the year.

I think the 2004 change (to our current system) was positive for two reasons;
First and most importantly, it treats each Alderman equally - We are all elected to the same position and have the same number of votes and are supposed to have the same amount of influence on council decisions. Appointing one Alderman as Deputy Mayor elevates them to a position that infers a special status, different than the other people were supposedly elected to serve in the same position. Each council member holds the same position under the law and should be treated as equals.

Second, it works to minimize risk and clarifies what would happen in a scenario where both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are unable to fulfill their duties. Today if both the Mayor and the scheduled Deputy Mayor are unavailable then the next person in charge would the be Alderman who is next on the schedule of deputy mayors- simple. Under the back-in-the-day system if both those two are out what is council supposed to do? I guess we get together and have a meeting to decide and appoint someone to do the job. In an emergency I don't think this would run as smoothly as just moving to the next person on the list.

9.3 Protective Services Committee – October 13, 2009
Council receive the minutes of the Protective Services Committee meeting held October 13, 2009.

9.3.1 AUMA Resolution - STARS
Council forward a letter to the AUMA Board addressing questions from the Mayors’ Caucus and requesting AUMA urge the Government of Alberta, to leverage the success of the collaborative STARS model into the fully integrated health care system being developed for all Albertans.

9.3.2 Revisions to Parking Model (Montrose Area)
1. approve that pay by space machines be installed for public parking at the Montrose parking lot,
2. approve that the City formally request the Alberta Government to negotiate new terms pertaining to the lease of the parking spaces for Court House visitors,
3. establish the following fees for off-street parking leases:
a. $25/month for a non-energized surface stall,
b. $30/month for an energized surface stall,
c. $50/month for underground/covered parking stall
4. approve installation of parking meters on 99 Street between 99 and 101 Avenues,
5. direct Administration conduct a review of policies pertaining to parking fees charged to City employees and RCMP detachment personnel, and,
6. direct Administration work with the Downtown Parking Advisory Committee to develop recommendations to update the Downtown Parking Strategy.

9.4 Community Development Committee – October 13, 2009
Council receive the minutes of the Community Development Committee meeting held October 13, 2009.

9.4.1 Grande Prairie Storm Request for Additional Office Space at Crystal Centre
Council approve the Grande Prairie Storm request to place a temporary office trailer on the Crystal Centre plaza.
I'm supportive but uncomfortable about this. I attended at the committee meeting when this came forward and I said at the time that I'd prefer to see a better solution that would be more permanent. That could mean renovations to the building and could be costly but I think we need to know what the ultimate solution is before we approve an interim solution. Admin said they'd be coming forward with the ultimate solution in the next little while but I'd feel more comfortable approving something temporary if I knew how long it would actually need to be there.

9.4.2 Prairie Gallery Building Committee Meeting held October 1, 2009
Council authorize Teeple Architects submit applications for architectural awards, including the Governor General Award, for the Montrose Cultural Centre.

9.4.3 Affordable Housing RFP 21-431-09
Council approve Affordable Housing RFP 21-431-09 be awarded to the Grande Prairie Women’s Residence Association in the amount of $2,234,583.00 for the development of fifteen (15) affordable housing units.
This is for a second stage shelter at Odyssey House that has been in the works for a number of years. It would provide longer term accommodations for women escaping abusive relationships. Right now people can only stay at Odyssey House for a few months and after that they are on their own, often falling back in to bad situations because there's simply no where else to go, or because they don't have the skills or money to get a place of their own. The second stage shelter would provide living spaces where people could stay for 1 to 3 years. The money is 100% from a provincial housing grant.

9.4.4 Municipal Sustainability Housing Program and Capital Enhancement Program (Block Funding $2M) – Affordable Housing Plan
Council approve the 2009/10 Affordable Housing Plan in the amount of $2M.
A plan for money from another provincial housing grant program.

9.4.5 Elks Lodge #285, Association Five-Year Agreement Renewal
Council approve the Elks Lodge #285, Five-year Agreement Renewal.


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