FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Apart from some changes to the Fort St. John Tourism Board, including the approval of a development plan for the Board, it was by-and-large a quiet city council meeting on Tuesday – the last regular meeting before next Saturday’s municipal election.
There were two proclamations made at the meeting by Mayor Lori Ackerman. Mayor Ackerman proclaimed October 24th as World Polio Day in the City of Fort St. John, and the week of October 7th – 13th was also proclaimed Natural Gas Week in the City, mirroring a provincewide proclamation by Lieutenant-Governor Janet Austin.
Interestingly, natural gas has been on the minds of nearly all B.C. residents except those in the Peace Region after Enbridge’s 36” main natural gas pipeline that connects the Peace Region with the North and South Coasts exploded late Tuesday north of Prince George, causing natural gas utility FortisBC to ask all customers to curtail their natural gas consumption until the line is repaired.
Councillors also reviewed their own report outlining the expenses councillors had filed during the third quarter of the year for travel and local events. Councillors Christiansen, Evans, Klassen, and Hansen all tallied travel expenses in the same ballpark, ranging from $11,372.65 for councillor Hansen to $16,824.53 for councillor Christiansen. Councillor Stewart incurred just $6,779.36 in expenses, mayor Ackerman’s expenses totalled $23,323.83, and councillor Trevor Bolin filed no expenses during the quarter. The full report can be found below.
Councillors also approved long-term borrowing for five Local Area Service road upgrades in the City. The five LAS projects are: 104th Ave. between 101st and 102nd Streets, 98th Ave. between 102nd and 104th Streets, 104th St. between 97th and 98th Avenues, 87th Ave. west of 107th Street, and the 86th St. frontage road between 91st and 93rd Avenues.
Council awarded the tender for the Consultation and Design of the Centennial Park Festival Plaza to EDS Group Inc., from Spruce Grove, Alberta, for $22,224.00 plus GST. EDS was the lowest of the three bidders for the tender, with other bids from Calgary-based IBI Groups and Fort St. John-based Gridline Projects Ltd. totalling $25,730 and $30,000 respectively. EBS was given an evaluation of 90.25/100 by city staff, while IBI was rated 87.75 and Gridline only achieved a rating of 41.75. The tender for the Festival Plaza design and consultation was issued at the end of August.
Council also voted in favour of the first three readings for five permissive tax exemption bylaws, which are annual bylaws that allow the City to forgive property taxes that are owed by religious institutions and local non-profit organizations. The five permissive tax exemption bylaws were read for the Canadian Red Cross’ lease agreement, the North Peace Gymnastics Association, the Fort St. John Curling Club, the Fort St. John Association for Community Living, and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Lastly, Council also voted in favour of adopting three bylaws after no residents came out to speak against the bylaws at a public meeting on Tuesday evening. The three bylaws will result in an amendment to the Official Community Plan bylaw, resulting in slight changes to the development of the Parkwood southlands neighbourhood plan. The second bylaw will bring the section of the City’s recreational cannabis bylaw into compliance with provincial laws on cannabis production on ARL lands, while the third will cause the laneway east of 90th St. to be permanently closed to traffic, in order to allow for the construction of the city’s Fire Department training grounds.