Terrace City Hall

Terrace City Hall

Council briefs: Northwest Regional Airport seeks parking lot funding

RCMP volunteers, deferred tax sale among items discussed on July 13

Below is a summary of key discussions from the regular Terrace city council meeting July 13.

Airport parking lot upgrade

The Northwest Regional Airport Terrace-Kitimat is seeking additional funding to expand parking.

Dave Kumpolt, development manager for the airport, appeared before council seeking a resolution of support for applying for a grant from the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT). The NDIT is a provincial fund for northern infrastructure projects.

The parking expansion will be done in three phases over the next several years, Kumpolt said. Phase one will upgrade the long-term parking area, creating 460 paved stalls, new overhead LED lighting, new drainage, 7 electric vehicle chargers, a gated entry/exit system, and raised, covered walkways.

Because travelers will still need to use the long-term parking while it is being upgraded, phase one of construction will be done in three sub-phases: phase 1a will upgrade the west side of the lot, phase 1b will upgrade the east side, and phase 1c will upgrade the north side.

Kumpolt said the airport is seeking $125,000 from the NDIT to go toward phase 1, which will cost approximately $4.5 million.

Council agreed to make the resolution of support.

RCMP auxiliary volunteers

B.C.’s provincial government has asked whether the City of Terrace is interested in upgrading the status of auxiliary RCMP members at the Terrace RCMP detachment.

Auxiliary members are essentially volunteers who perform minor or limited RCMP duties and do not carry firearms.

The RCMP revamped its auxiliary program following an incident in 2015 when an auxiliary officer in Alberta was shot (and a regular RCMP member was killed).

After the revamp, auxiliary members are divided into three tiers. Tier one auxiliaries are not granted peace officer status and they perform administrative and public outreach duties. Tier one requires a commitment of 60 volunteer hours per year. Tier two auxiliaries have peace officer status and can perform more duties than tier one, such as patrols, traffic control and disaster response, as long as they are under the supervision of a regular member. Tier two requires a commitment of 120 volunteer hours per year. Tier three auxiliaries can ride along with regular members on general duty or while responding to calls, and they must commit to 180 volunteer hours per year.

While the RCMP laid out the three tiers, it’s up to the Province to decide which tiers are actually in place. Currently, auxiliaries in Terrace are capped at tier two, but the Province has asked the City if there is interest in allowing tier 3 auxiliaries here.

“Our answer is yes, really, we are interested,” said Heather Avison, the City’s chief administrative officer.

Council approved of Avison’s sentiment and voted to express interest to the Province.

Terrace currently has four auxiliaries, all at tier two, RCMP Inspector Jayson Lucash told council. Upgrading the auxiliaries to tier three will involve training and equipment costs of about $1200 to $1500 per auxiliary, Lucash said.

Avison said the City would be responsible for those costs but the City has already budgeted about $4,000 per year for the four RCMP auxiliaries.

Tax sale deferral

The City is preparing to defer an annual auction of properties with delinquent property taxes to allow for more flexibility during the pandemic and economic downturn.

Provincial legislation requires municipalities to auction off properties with delinquent taxes on the last Monday of each September, but normally the City avoids having to auction off properties by working with property owners to establish payment plans of outstanding taxes, said Lori Greenlaw, the City’s director of finance.

In order for a property to face tax sale, its property taxes must have gone unpaid for three years, explained Khalie Genereaux, the City’s deputy finance director, in an email to The Terrace Standard.

For example, 2018 property taxes go into arrears on January 1, 2019. The taxes remain in arrears for one year and, if still unpaid, would be considered delinquent on January 1, 2020. If the delinquent 2018 taxes continue to go unpaid, the property would then face tax sale in September 2020. In this example, 2017 would be the last year of taxes paid.

Because of the pandemic, the Province is allowing municipalities to defer 2020 tax sales for a year, and Terrace is planning to implement that because it will allow property owners more flexibility.

Council approved first, second and third readings of a bylaw enacting the postponement of the tax sale, and will decided whether to adopt the bylaw at a future council meeting.

New E.B. Horsman building

Progressive Ventures Ltd., a prominent Terrace property developer, is planning to install a pre-fabricated light industrial office building at 4813 Keith Ave.

The building will serve as the new home of E.B. Horsman & Son, an electrical supply franchise which currently has a Terrace location at 5000 Pohle Ave. The building will also have room for three other tenants.

The property is on the southwest corner of Keith Ave. and Molitor St., and is bordered on its south side by Pohle Ave. The developer will be required to do some offsite work around the border of the property, said City Planner Tara Irwin, including building or replacing sidewalks, drainage and landscaping.

City council indicated no opposition to a development permit for the project, which will not require rezoning or variance from the official community plan.

5011 Park Ave. temporary industrial use

5011 Park Ave., a warehouse behind Prevost RV & Marine and MacCarthy GM Terrace, is currently zoned for commercial use but city council discussed granting a temporary use permit to allow industrial use on the property for three years.

The property owner wants to allow Hercules SLR Inc., an industrial rigging service and sales company, to operate at the warehouse until the company can find a more permanent home, said Irwin. Hercules SLR will primarily service rigging for large-scale industrial operations near Kitimat such as the LNG Canada facility, Irwin said.

The Park Ave. property would be used as a home base for technicians who would travel out to the large-scale industrial projects, and as a repair shop for rigging (such as cables and chains).

The proposed temporary use permit contains numerous restrictions — such as limitations on hours of operation.

“The impact on the neighbourhood should be minimal,” Irwin said.

Any heavy industrial traffic would be required to access the site from Hwy 16, not from Park Ave., Irwin said.

Council indicated support for the temporary use permit.