It was a packed council meeting at City Hall on Monday Dec. 9, with not enough chairs to accommodate everyone inside the council chambers. A summary of discussions is below:
Bowling alley closure
Terrace residents are pushing city council to keep the community’s only bowling alley open.
The City of Terrace purchased the property from the Mumford family back in July to allow the city to expand its operations in the future, though the intended use has not yet been announced. The city leased the property back to the family so it could operate until May 31, 2020 then the business will have to pack up their pins and close its doors.
With months left to go before the bowling lanes close, local bowler Christine Olson approached council with signatures to let them know what closing the bowling lanes will mean for the community. The building’s closure would likely mean Terrace bowlers could not compete in bowling in the BC Senior Games.
“How can just ignore a group of 300-plus people who bowl, compete not only provincially but nationally, and our youth and adults with developmental disabilities?” Olson told council. “I want you to think of this building as a community.”
Council accepted the report for information. Coun. James Cordeiro said the city was open to entertaining proposals from a third party to operate the facility.
Anne Hill of the North West Watch gave a presentation to council noting the advocacy group’s concerns around the Skeena LNG micro-facility proposal at the Skeena Industrial Development Park (SIDP).
Hill raised questions she felt were still unanswered, including whether having an LNG processing facility near the airport was safe, if transporting the product by truck through Terrace was safe, and if the plant could expand in the future.
“Since there is no good provincially-led public process, the North West Watch again is relying on the City of Terrace to advocate for our concerns,” Hill says.
Council received the report for information. Coun. James Cordeiro then made a motion for council to reiterate its support to develop industry at the industrial park, and that they support the Qinhuangdao Economic and Technological Development Zone’s (QETDZ) vision for manufacturing product there.
“If Top Speed Energy passes the regulatory hurdles presented by the BC Oil and Gas Commission, that we would support that facility being built there,” Cordeiro says. “I see no reason why we wouldn’t support a project that is exactly what that whole land is designed to facilitate.”
The motion passed with four in favour and three opposed, but not before Coun. Sean Bujtas questioned whether or not it was necessary.
Social work students Tiana Walker and Courtney Costain at Coast Mountain College presented the annual 2019 homeless count to council.
For the 2019 survey, the students counted 71 people who identified as homeless in Terrace between April 7 and 8. In 2018 the students counted 96 people who were found homeless on April 18, a 28 per cent increase in the number of homeless people counted over the past four years’ averages.
“There are likely more people experiencing homelessness than included in the report. The numbers appear to be down from last year, but this is not because of a decrease in homelessness in our city,” says Costain.
Council thanked the presenters and received the report for information.
Seniors housing fund
The City of Terrace passed recommendations around the city’s application to the Union of BC Municipalities for a $20,000 grant to finance a broad housing needs assessment.
If approved, the City of Terrace would partner with the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine to complete the housing needs assessment in the city and Electoral Areas C and E.
The RDKS will consider a similar resolution at their upcoming board meeting on Dec. 13.
Councillor called out
During question period, long-time resident and angling advocate Jim Culp went to the podium to express his disappointment with Coun. Cordeiro’s motion to reiterate the city’s support for Top Speed Energy’s Skeena LNG micro-facility at the SIDP.
“For you to somehow portray people as though they don’t know what’s going on. There’s different kinds of industry, there’s good industry and there’s bad industry,” Culp says.
“A respectful motion would be to address all of those questions, and at some time, some place, somehow, a delegation from the council could meet with Anne Hill and myself to talk about these things. This may be the biggest industrial project in the history of Terrace, it might be a small LNG project, but it’s huge for the people that live here.
“This project will have an impact on climate change, like it or not. And if you’re not prepared to address it, it’s going to turn into a nasty battle in this community.”
Council repealed the city’s chauffeur regulation and licensing bylaw, which regulates who can drive, operate or be in charge of a vehicle carrying passengers for hire within the city.
Due to provincial regulatory changes, municipal bylaws that regulate and issue chauffeur licenses are no longer in effect in British Columbia.
Before, the City of Terrace bylaw gave Terrace RCMP the authority to issue and cancel permits. Now, the provincial Passenger Transportation Board has the sole authority to issue these licenses.
Garden Society update
The Green Thumb Garden Society (GTGS) presented an update to city council on their activities at the city’s community gardens on Apsley Street and Evergreen Street.
The gardens are currently used by 44 gardeners and five volunteers, with private and community plots, a food sharing table program and a greenhouse.
GTGS president Katharine Puchala noted Skeena Sawmills’ recent donation of a sea can, or a shipping container, to replace much of the organization’s aging garden sheds.