Urgent Water Conservation Measures Feb 4th Due to Water Plant Upgrades

Passing along the message from the City’s Website.

For the construction of the City’s new Bainbridge Water Treatment Plant, a temporary water supply shut down is required for a large water main connection.

City crews need to cut into the main water supply pipe to the City and install a series of valves and fittings for the new plant.  The work will take place on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, from 9:00 AM to 11:30 PM. 

We are asking all residents to minimize water use during this crucial time. We will meet our minimum water needs and fire protection from our 5 water reservoirs.

The new Bainbridge Water Treatment Plant upgrade project will be completed Spring 2015.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your efforts to conserve water use during this critical time.

Thank you,

Brian Mousley
Utilities Superintendent
City of Port Alberni

Phone: 250-720-2849

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Medals, Water, and lots of Planning

Well, another week, another batch of learning and new experiences.  Some highlights:

Medals for Wrestlers!

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Gold and silver medals presented to female wrestlers at the event.

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The kids warming up on the two big mats at the ADSS gym.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday I had the privilege of representing City Council and the City of Port Alberni along with Councillor Ron Paulson and former Mayor Ken McRae at the 42nd Annual Alberni Invitiational wrestling tournament.  It is most definitely the highlight of my work on City council so far.  Being surrounded by the youth of the community in our fabulous ADSS campus with the support of their friends and family was really great.  My kids are always so excited to have any reason to go to ADSS.  They keep asking me if they will go there when they are in High School.  I assure them they will and then a little part of me wishes I could go back to school with them!

Two points Jade

Jade was a quick study after Wrestling… but Josh is agile I’m sure there will be rematch maybe even in a future wrestling event at a local school! :D

Obviously both ADSS the building  and ADSS the people are inspiring.  My kids certainly think so.  I can only assume other kids feel the same way and that is a huge asset for our community.

 Strategic Planning gets off the ground along with 5yr Plan.

The Council started its Strategic Planning process last Monday with the help of our excellent in-house expert facilitator Theresa Kingston.

My visual metaphors for the City.

My visual metaphors for the City.

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The situational analysis chart… what are our known knowns and known unknowns?

IMG_5439

The start of a wish list?

We are about half way through.  We will be finishing it off this coming Monday before we swing right into the Budget process.

You can see the full schedule and working papers for this years Budget and Five Year Financial Plan on the website. Bookmark that link! It will grow to include all of the department reports and other information you will need to know if you want to give feedback for budgeting.

Hot Topics!

Port Authority and Kiters:

This… is awesome…. and it’s one of many awesome pictures at the popular local wind sports website Bigwavedave.ca.  It’s a real potential boon for our City as hundreds of water sport enthusiasts are ready and willing to come to Port Alberni in the summer to enjoy our hot weather and afternoon breezes.

Flying high over the Harbour!

Flying high over the Harbour!

 

Unfortunately, there are also safety concerns.  The Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) raised those concerns this past week and may ban kiteboarding from the Centennial Pier.  There were some passionate words spoken by members of the public at the Council meeting last night to go along with a strong outcry on social media from local and out of town kiters.

The good news is there is dialogue both between the PAPA and water users, and the City and PAPA as well.  The Centennial Pier is PAPA property and they have responsibility to ensure our harbour is safe and accessible for all users on the water.  I hope the user groups and authority can all work together to ensure the harbour is used to its peak potential and I know the City will play a part in that when needed.

Watershed:

The watershed continues to be an area of concern for both me and the council as a whole.  I brought forward a motion proposing to pause all activity in the City of Port Alberni Bainbridge and China Creek watershed until such time that a Watershed Management Plan was in place.

Council decided not to pass this motion, to take from the summary of the meeting.  “Council’s focus is  on continuing to build a positive relationship with forest companies and engaging in ongoing discussions regarding protection of the watershed.”  I know my fellow councillors share my concerns and that their patience is not infinite.  In the meantime, I continue gathering information.  Here are some links I’ve gathered from government and industry sources.

“Forest activities are industrial in scale and will generate sediment.  The amount can be minimized but not eliminated.”
Island Health Medical Health Officer 
“Removal of vegetation and steep slopes can contribute to increased erosion and sedimentation of the reservoir, resulting in diminished water quality.”

“Lessons from the Future” by the Forest Practices Board and UBC researchers in 2003 (specifically mentioning the Port Alberni and Nanaimo watersheds).

“The auditor general [of british columbia] estimated that adding filtration systems to municipalities outside of Vancouver and Victoria would cost $700 million in capital costs and $30 million annually.”
Threats to Sources of Drinking Water and Aquatic Ecosystems Health in Canada” (Environment Canada)
“Timber harvest can increase water yield, suspended solids and temperature in streams. In general, total runoff increases with forest disturbance due to reduced interception and transpiration by the forest canopy.”
From the Ministry of Agriculture of Alberta talking to landowners there:
“The trees intercept rain and dissipate rainfall energy, reducing the volume and energy of rain reaching the forest floor. Water on the forest floor moves within the litter cover layer which slows water movement. This allows more water to infiltrate the soil, leaving less water to contribute to surface runoff.”

Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homeless

That’s a mouthful!  But it’s also a very important and positive group imageworking hard in our city to keep people off the street and help our most disadvantaged.

As rep for the City at the CSI table I participated in the first plenary session that will result in an updated plan of action for ending homelessness in our community.

LGLA seminars.

That’s all for now!  This week is The Local Government Leadership Academy Elected Officials Seminar in Parksville!  3 days! It is really our last big initiation training as councillors.  We will have a chance to meet councillors and directors from the surrounding communities on Vancouver Island and learn about how to do our jobs and communicate together effectively.  I will likely post pictures and comments on Facebook at least if not twitter.

 

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Happy New Year – Busy Behind the Scenes! – Jan 12 Meeting

I hope everyone had a restful and rewarding holiday season.

It has been a long time since I updated the blog, and I apologize for that.  Suffice to say, with the training sessions, the first real council meeting, new meeting schedules, “official picture” sessions, coffees, dinners… and then work, and family.  It all got a tad busy.  But that’s OK, that’s how it’s supposed to be.  My intention with this blog remains to have it be a regular place people can come to see what I’ve been doing on Council and what Council and the City is doing in general.  And that’s what it’s going to be.  So lets get started!

January Training, Meeting, Planning!

And this is just the official stuff so far.. :)

And this is just the official stuff so far.. :)

Predictably, I’ve taken to technology to help me keep my head on straight.  You can see my calendar is pretty full this month, and that’s just the official stuff that has been scheduled so far.  There will be more as the month goes on.  We have our first Council meeting of the year on Monday (agenda here!) more on that below.

You’ll notice also on Monday we will be having a review of the Financial Statements with the City manager as we get ready to get into our Strategic Planning process (starting on the 19th!) and eventually Budgeting for 2015.  The schedule for all of that, including the public meetings, is all in this week’s Agenda!

Next I’ll be attending the Advisory Planning Committee meeting on Thursday the 15th at noon   (just changed to) Thursday January 22nd.   Those meetings *are* open to the public.  They take place in the Committee room at City Hall (across the hall from Council Chambers).   The December meeting was very interesting.  There was talk about the new building that will replace the Somass on lower Argyle.  It looks fantastic.  There was also talk about a few derelict buildings that are on the City’s radar, seniors facilities and the state of the old ADSS lands.

We also have meetings scheduled with Tseshaht and Nuu-chah-nulth this month which will be very important and will hopefully set a very positive course for the next 4 years.

The biggest block of time on the Calendar though will be dedicated to the  “Elected Officials Seminars” being put on by the Local Government Leadership Academy and hosted by the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities for all elected officials on the Island.  Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 9.26.58 AM

This, I am told, is going to delve into the work councillors and regional directors do between and in cooperation with communites in the area among other more general topics to do with leadership and the work of councillors.  There are a number of really interesting speakers and different topics for attendees to take in.  You can see the agenda here (or click the image).  There is so much demand for it that there are two intakes. I believe most of council for Port Alberni is in the 1st seminar series which runs from Tuesday evening through Thursday.

And then the ongoing business….

That pretty much rounds out the schedule for January.  At least for now.  Last month at the ACRD Transportation Committee meeting I was tasked to gather data about our current Highway 4 between Port Alberni and Coombs.  I’ll be providing that to the next Transportation Committee meeting next Friday.  New word from the ministry on whether the Horne Lake Connector is happening will hopefully come soon.  We had a good meeting with Ministry officials last month and expect more this month.

January 12 Agenda!

Note, when I go through the Agenda please understand this isn’t a final say, no decisions are pre-set here.  As Councillor I am duty bound to keep an open mind and come to a conclusion at the table in the public meeting at City Council after all the information is out and open to the public.  So the comments here are just ones of interest… conversation starters… for time and space I will not address every point in the Agenda and the ones I highlight should not be considered preferential.  This is just meant as a way to get more information out there for you, the citizens of Port Alberni, to chew on.  Hopefully by doing that, we will all contribute to the City’s work being a little more accessible and transparent.

The Agenda for  Council on January 12th is packed full.  I have contributed a number of motions to the agenda including one to do with our watershed, one on sign bylaws for future elections, one to investigate a wheelchair accessible street level pedestrian bridge across Rogers Creek and reintroducing the ban on pesticides in the City.  Councillor Minions is also bringing forward a motion to considering banning smoking in public places in the City.

There are lots of other interesting topics in the Agenda as well now that I’ve gone through it all!

NDP MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim Scott Fraser will be our first delegation of the New Year.   I look forward to hearing from him and working with him in the future.

John Mayba will be presenting his proposal once again for construction of a Roger Creek pedestrian and cycling bridge.

And finally, the Maritime Heritage Society will be presenting to us their ongoing work.

From the Correspondence for Action:

The Alberni Curling club is wondering about using and/or upgrading the big sign on 10th Avenue for more community notices…  and the Young Professionals would like to install a commemorative pillar on Kingsway and Argyle near the Train Station.

Informational Correspondence and Reports

IMG_5407

Plans for the new Uchuklesaht Cultural Centre

There is an interesting letter from the BC Environmental Assessment agency about the Raven Coal mine proposal.   It’s good that the City has a committee ready to go, (the Committee will be formally approved later in the meeting) when or if the company gets to the review period.

The City is still trying to get proper tax payment from UVic for the former Teleglobe property (that was fully taxable) that houses their Neptune project.

There is going to be some really great info about the Uchuklesaht building on Argyle (at right)!  It looks really quite amazing!

 

New Committees!

The new Standing Advisory Committees on Food Security and Climate Change, Seniors issues,  Youth issues, and McLean Mill are all being created this meeting.  This is could be a big turning point for our City as we start to address all of these major and interwoven issues head on.  Exciting times!

The new Website.

Have you checked out the new website yet?  It looks quite beautiful, and I think it’s a big improvement over the past one.  There are still some pretty major issues around viewing it from a mobile device, which I find quite concerning.  But these things can be fixed in time and I am sure they will be.  There is a ton of information on there now that was much more difficult or impossible to find on the old site.  So it’s definitely a big improvement.

In Camera Work… Sssshhh.

And finally, there is a report being given by the City Clerk on changes to how the City releases information that was embargoed under in-camera work but has since been made public and is no longer needed to be in-camera.

In-camera (which basically means, not in public) meetings are always a bone of contention for citizens.  I’ve long had problems with how the City and many other organizations use and sometimes abuse in-camera meetings.

There is actually a very small list of things that *must* be dealt with by City council privately.  It is under Section 90 of the Community Charter.

There are only 4 times when a meeting *must* be closed.

  • (2) A part of a council meeting must be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered relates to one or more of the following:
    • (a) a request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, if the council is designated as head of the local public body for the purposes of that Act in relation to the matter;
    • (b) the consideration of information received and held in confidence relating to negotiations between the municipality and a provincial government or the federal government or both, or between a provincial government or the federal government or both and a third party;
    • (c) a matter that is being investigated under the Ombudsperson Act of which the municipality has been notified under section 14 [Ombudsperson to notify authority] of that Act;
    • (d) a matter that, under another enactment, is such that the public must be excluded from the meeting.
    • (e) a review of a proposed final performance audit report for the purpose of providing comments to the auditor general on the proposed report under section 23 (2) of the Auditor General for Local Government Act.

The times when it *may* be closed is much longer… I won’t reproduce the list here, but deals with the often repeated ‘Land, Labour, and Legal” but the operative word in Section 90 (1) as opposed to (2) above, is the word *may*.  That means it is up to the council to decide if the information should be withheld, even temporarily, from the public or not.  It is a very important issue that has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis because once you deal with the matter in public, it’s likely impossible to put the genie back in the bottle, so to speak.

I know both Staff and Council are thinking and working hard on this important issue of transparency and I’m sure it will keep coming up.

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Officially Sworn In – Work Begins – Results of Poll Questions

10801595_10152550419101314_6415423980032421343_nHi all,

It has been a busy couple weeks already since election night.  Council has been attending lots of training sessions to get oriented to the city staff and procedures and our General duties and there is lots more to come.  I’m going to keep writing on this page so you can know what’s happening as I go along on this journey with you and council.

The Swearing In Ceremony

I'm just glad I managed to pronounce "pe-cu-ni-ary" correctly!

I’m just glad I managed to pronounce “pe-cu-ni-ary” correctly!

It really hit home last night when we were led in by Inspector Richards in full red serge.  The Oath of Office that I pledge to you and all citizens of Port Alberni through the Justice of the Peace talks about ensuring that in all matters with council I act with integrity in the best interest of all citizens of Port Alberni, and without conflict.  It is so simple and common sense.  This is my number one goal and I believe our entire council truly has the best interests of the City in their hearts.


Committee Work Work Work!

… or is that committee, committee, commitee work! The main business of council last night was to announce and create committees. Every motion last night passed unanimously. I am pretty sure that won’t happen again until the next inaugural meeting in 4 years. :) Committee work is really the meat and bones of getting things done in the City so I’m really excited that I will be participating on a number of committees.

  1. Audit Committee: (3rd Monday every 3 months starting February 23)
    • This committee goes over the City’s books, expenses and general the funds moving in and out of the City.   
  2. Advisory Planning Commission: (Monthly – 3rd Thursday starting January 15)
    • This committee deals with zoning applications and other land use issues affecting the City.
  3. ACRD Transportation Committee: (Called on request)
    • This is a regional committee with many stakeholders involved that has been taking the lead in advocating for better transportation links to and from the City and region including lobbying for the Horne Lake Connector.
  4. Alberni Valley Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness:
    • This is a very important committee in our community dedicated to tackling homelessness and mental health issues affecting our residents and those in need.

Other councillors will be on these committees too of course but unfortunately I didn’t bring my copy of all of the appointments with me this morning so I won’t try to rely on my rather foggy memory, but I will post a picture of the list later today.

You can find the new schedules for more of the committees on last night’s agenda. The other very important appointment made was to the Regional District board.  Mayor Ruttan and Councillor McLeman will be representing the City there with the rest of Council acting as alternates.

There were also 4 new and very important standing committees created last night!

  • Food Security and Climate Change
  • Seniors Advisory
  • Youth Advisory
  • Mclean Mill Advisory

City Staff will be preparing the terms of reference and other details for those committees for Council in the coming weeks.

Here is the full listing of committees and appointments.  Of course they may be subject to change over time and please contact the City for the most up to date information.

Council Appointment List - 2014-2015(Dec1_14) Council Appointment List - 2014-2015(Dec1_14)2

 


Results of the Campaign Poll Questions!

And last but not least, I wanted to publish the results of the poll questions I asked during my campaign to visitors of this website.  I hope to continue to do that in future and to encourage the City to do so on its own web presence as well.  Everyone likes a poll!

Here are the results of the questions:

  1. “How do we cross Rogers Creek? (Cost are only estimates based on reports)”
    • Total Votes: 105
    • 11 (10.5%) – Straight and tall bridge strategy (est. $14 million)
    • 16 (15.2%) – Long dip and short bridge (est. $7 million)
    • 37 (35.2%) – Foot and bike bridge only ($?)
    • 41 (39.0%) – No Change
    • The non-binding City Election question ‘ “Are you in favour of a 10th Avenue crossing from the north end of 10th Avenue to the junction of Cherry Creek Road and Johnston Road for a cost of $5 million?”  Yes or No’ failed to pass by a vote of 2388 (41.3%) For and 3389 Against (58.6%). Total votes 5777.  So this seems to confirm the informal polling done here as well that there does not seem to be a strong appetite for expensive road infrastructure.  It might be good for the City to investigate whether residents would be willing to invest in a more affordable foot and bike bridge solution or if there simply is no point in pursuing another crossing at all.
  2. What is your #1 burning City issue? (in Alphabetical Order)
    • Total Votes: 70 (People could only vote for one)
    • 5 (7%) – 10th Avenue Crossing
    • 7 (10%) – Bicycle Lanes and Trails
    • 3 (4%) – Canal Beach
    • 0 – Climate Costs (CO2/Energy/Rebuilding)
    • 1 (1%) – Environmental Degradation In and Around the City
    • 4 (6%) – Fire Department
    • 11 (16%) – Industrial Job Creation
    • 5 (7%) – McLean Mill
    • 3 (4%) – New Pool
    • 1 (1%) – Pay of Councillors
    • 1 (1%) – Road Repairs
    • 2 (3%)- Small Business Growth
    • 20 (29%) – Tax Rates
    • 7 (10%) – Other (add a comment!)
    • There were a lot of choices and not a lot of votes so of course the results may be a little skewed.  However, I think it still sends a pretty big message.  People are very concerned about being able to live affordably and comfortably and work in our City.
  3. “I support a future vision of entire plywood mill site as expanded Beach Park for people”
    • Total Votes: 46
    • 33 (71.6%) – Yes
    • 13 (28.2%) – No
    • This is a very small sample size of course but it is still a strong result.  I do hope and believe the council will continue to work towards make the Canal Beach area better and better for City residents.  One of the first orders of business will be to address the motion left on the table by the last council on the signing of an indemnity agreement with WFP.
  4. “Can the City encourage CO2 and Energy reductions without raising taxes?”
    • Total Votes: 20
    • 14 – Yes
    • 6 – NoPerhaps this should be one big question for the new “Food Security and Climate Change Committee”?
  5. “Do you trust your local politicians?”
    • Total Votes: 31
    • 11 – Yes
    • 20 – No
    • A somewhat discouraging but perhaps a predictable result, and hopefully not personal.  Lets work on that! ;)
Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Politics | Comments Off

Thank You So Much! We did it! I’m In! Now the work begins.

I don’t think it will quite hit me until the first orientation meetings this week…. but I am extremely honoured and excited to have succeeded in this campaign.  I will be keeping this website and my Facebook page up so that you can continue to access me through it and find out about the issues happening in Port Alberni.  My own greatest pleasure is to give people information that they find useful, whether it is about computers and video projects at my work at VIU, weather info at Alberniweather.ca, or now city info as one of your councillors for Port Alberni, that will be my biggest goal and I am very excited to have the opportunity to do so,

So! With that in mind, here is the info of the day!

Election Results!

Click the link to see results from all communities in BC including the ACRD and Port Alberni.

2014 results part12014resuktspart2 Here are the results for Port Alberni. It was a very close race as was to be expected when you have 22 excellent candidates running for only six spots.

I am very excited to be working with what I think is an excellent team of councillors and Mayor.  And I want to thank John Douglas and Wendy Kerr especially for their great work in their time on council and as Mayor.

The road bridge question failed by 57% voting against. I Hope that means it is time to talk about a much more affordable and potentially beautiful foot and bike bridge instead!

Here are tACRD2014he results from the ACRD:

Congratulations to all the candidates who ran.

Also important is the referendum on the Sproat Lake Marine patrol, which City and all Valley residents participated in.  It passed easily.

And finally, the School District.

Sd70 results2014That’s it folks!  Those are your elected officials in the Alberni Valley that will represent you for the next 4 years.

I am very honoured to be one of those select few.  Please, stay engaged, keep asking and demanding questions.  Demand them of me and all of our elected officials. Democracy isn’t just voting on voting day.  It has to be a Full part of our lives every single day for it to work best.

Thanks you for sending me on this journey.  Four years from now, we will see if I’m still thanking you ;) but I know we will be in an even better place than we are now.

Happy Sunday Port Alberni!

 

Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Family, Peak Oil, Pictures, Politics, The Good Life, ToTheEditor | 1 Comment