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REPORTING · 14th April 2010
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council held their regular meeting on Monday, April 12th. Mayor Joanne Monaghan called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. All Councillors were in attendance.

Staff Sergeant Steve Corp took the stand for the Monthly Policing Report. He announced the grade five students from Saint Anthony’s and the Boy Scout Troop were given a tour of the detachment. St Anthony’s and Roy Wilcox had 69 graduating DARE students. Restorative Justice had a new file.

The Crime statistic for the month of March included an increase in the threats against person and mischief to property. Motor Vehicle Act tickets doubled, increasing by 30. Councillor Mario Feldhoff and Councillor Rob Goffinet inquired about prisoner statistics for the month.

Ray and Laura Mackenzie stepped up to talk about retiring in Kitimat. They were drawn back by the cleanliness of Kitimat. He was distressed with garbage on Lahakus and this has been cleaned up. They retired to Kitimat and have lived here for six months of the last couple of years.

He expressed he was drawn by the price of real estate. They had lived in Prince Rupert and wanted to move up to the coast. Another draw was the medical facilities, the doctors, dentists, chiropractors. The sports facilities were a draw as well. The community layout, the small size of the community, transit availability and the low crime rate were also draws. He expressed the number of churches was a bonus. The only negative was the lack of a regular movie theatre.

He was worried if retirees move to Kitimat, they would impact the schools. He was happy to be in Kitimat.

Mark Zielinski stepped up next representing the Kitimat Fire Fighters. He thanked Council for taking a serious interest in the budget proposals for the Fire Department. He thanked Monaghan for supporting the Fire Department and the Council for the decisions during the budget process.

Next was Peter King dressed in Olympic garb. He explained one of the people he met at the Olympics was a developer from China. The developer suggested the Chinese businesses were looking at Canada as a gateway to the United States. “Kitimat has natural hinterlands that could be used for all numbers of factories and shipping facilities,” said King.

He said there were four things they would need. A gate way to US Markets, Trade Free Zones, Large Hinterlands and 10 year tax breaks. He gave each of the Councillors a stuffed Olympic mascot, Quatchi. King said he would be happy to share the information. Councillor Randy Halyk expressed the free trade zone factories were not sustainable and the factories were turned off by a minimum wage. King expressed there were millions if not billions of dollars capable of coming to Canada for the free trade.

Mary John was next. She said when she went into business, she knew what the competition was. She could not understand why anyone would pay to use the gym if they could use the gym for free funded by taxpayers money. She understood and appreciated what the Council did but there were people in Kitimat who were impacted by Eurcan’s closure who did not work for the company.

John suggested opening facilities for free once a week to the people of Kitimat. She also suggested people could donate their Eurocan passes to people who were impacted. She expressed this would not cost the district because the facilities are funded.

She expressed business was down by 51% right after the announcement. The next months were better but still not perfect. She reminded Council if 6 ladies can no longer go to her gym, this is 10% of her revenue.

She requested compensation for the loss of business by free advertisement in Kitimat Facilities or reimbursement for giving women from Eurocan a subsidy. Goffinet thanked her for expressing her concern and said people froze discretionary spending. He was pleased she looked at how they could work on this together.

Halyk stated gyms come and go. He said Council does not wish to lose small business and not make it hard for them. Feldhoff suggested going to Advisory Recreation Commission. John said she had already come from them.

John Kennedy took the stand next to speak about the Alcan Anderson Creek Shooting Society. He said they were working on expanding the Fire Mountain Range and soke about the changes they were making to it. He asked the Council for $6000 which will be matched by Western Development Recreational Infrastructure Grant for a total of $12,000. Most of the project was already funded through other means. Halyk raised a noise concern about Cablecar but Kennedy responded there would not be a noise increase.

Bob McLeod was next. He wanted to get the support of the Council in obtaining lost funding for Kitimat Emergency Program. He explained there has been some movement from the Provincial Government in the funding, and Emergency Management BC would make funding available for emergency social services training. He went through other funding sources which have been cut as well.

He expressed he was concerned about losing volunteers because more will be pushed upon them and they will need to train more volunteers and this will become a vicious cycle of training. He figured the larger population would not have a problem. He thanked Council for letting him present.

Municipal Manager Trafford Hall stepped up to present on the Eurocan Viability Study. While he got ready, Council moved on. Councillor Richard McLaren had a Notice of Motion to consult the public on the 2010-2014 financial plan.

When the Council finally moved on to final adoption of the financial plan later in the meeting, Hall suggested having a special meeting this week for the budget and bring it back to council at next week's regular meeting. Feldhoff motioned to table final adoption of the motion until McLaren’s motion is passed.

McLaren explained why he made the motion he did. He suggested they have plenty of time between now and May 15th to discuss this with the public. Hall suggested having it on Thursday. The tabling motion was carried.

They moved on to Eurocan Viability Study. Hall expressed the report was now on their website.

He explained they have a business proposal which would benefit the forestry industy and create jobs. It is still a work in progress and they need participants to assist in buying the mill.

He explained the history of the viability study and explained; if the mill is not viable, it will fail. The study looked at the market, existing and alternate products, assets and liability, Environment, fiber supply, labour supply and how the mill would operate.

The previous mill was successful because they received chips from successful sawmills from West Fraser. However, it would fail without the supply. The new business model would run on regional pulp log fiber with one machine running at first.

Hall explained if both high value and pulp logs were being removed to feed two industries it would reduce the cost of removing the logs from the bush. This would reduce the cost of the high value wood by about $30. The new model would be a stand alone operation which would rejuvenate the logging industry in the North Coast.

The next step is to create a high level business plan they can take to investors and secure the fiber supply. Hall explained what is being generated for the moment is not sufficient. They also want to restart the mill before it decays any further. “We will either be successful or we won’t be successful and that will take place in a matter of weeks and months,” said Hall.

He expects 250 jobs at the mill and 100s more in the bush. It will require the support of everyone. He expects this plan to work. He concluded his presentation.

Feldhoff was concerned West Fraser has given the group until April 30th and wanted to know if they were willing to extend the deadline. Hall said West Fraser is working with them. Anything further was in camera. Halyk suggested the log exports could be countered by having sawmills in the region.

Council moved fully into bylaws now with the Fire pit Bylaw Adjustment. Councillor Mario Feldhoff wished to amend the bylaw by removing a clause which requires fires to be out by 11:30 pm. He thought this was due to the sun not setting until around 11 in the summer. He said they already had bylaws for noise. Councillor Bob Corless pointed out this was due to wood smoke creating a problem after 11:30. Halyk pointed out the smell of wood burning can also come from people trying to heat their homes. The amendment was carried with Corless and Goffinet opposed. Corless was also opposed to three readings of the motion.

The next bylaw was to ban commercial cardboard from the landfill. It was given one reading. This was carried.

Under communications, a letter from Ben Christie concerning the Eurocan recreation pass was received for information. The request for funding the $6000 for the shooting range was also carried.

Into new business. Feldhoff moved to forward the motions to the Advisory Recreation Commission. This was carried although Martin Gould had something to say. Feldhoff then motioned to petition the Provincial Government for training the public safety volunteers. They would have to request it as a late resolution. This was carried.

Halyk wished to pull something from the information only package. He was saddened to learn two groups who were working for the better of Kitimat did not attend Nathan Cullen’s discussion on economic development because the NDP was not their party. He encouraged people to work together.

Finally, Halyk then made a Notice of Motion to have home based business licenses apply only to non retail businesses. With no further business, the public left and Kitimat City Council went in camera.