PORT HARDY—Council gave approval last week for the usual set of requests from the Filomi Days Committee, but Deputy Mayor Debbie Huddlestan added one of her own: more volunteers, please.
Port Hardy’s annual community bash will take place on July 19-20 this year and approval was given for a $10,000 donation to fund the fireworks finale in addition to approval for road closures, Port-o-Potties and the use of Carrot Park for the event.
But the acting mayor urged more people to get involved with planning the event by attending committee meetings at the local Chamber of Commerce.
“Filomi Days is meeting every Tuesday,” she said. “I’d like to encourage anybody that knows anybody that would like to help out (to attend).
“I think we need to pull together this year to pull off our celebration. It’s a lot of fun actually to do but it does take a lot of local volunteers.”
The theme for this year’s weekend will be ‘Fish ON’.
Councillor John Tidbury told council that he would soon be looking for direction on accepting a report from the Marine Planning Partnership at the regional level.
He explained that the Regional District of Mount Waddington had received a report from the planners and that a vote was expected on the RD’s position. As a representative of Port Hardy at the regional table, he asked for input as to council’s position but was candid as to his own opinions.
“I am not a fan of this report,” he told council. “I believe there was not enough individuals involved in making the report. My greatest fear is that somewhere down the line this report will be pulled from the shelf again by some consultant and it’ll be made into law.”
The MaPP initiative describes itself as “a partnership between the Province of British Columbia and 18 member First Nations that is planning for marine uses and long-term ocean health on B.C.’s North Pacific Coast.”
Council’s behind-closed-doors sessions will be a little more transparent after staff met with Ombudsperson Kim Carter on her recent North Island visit.
Council approved a staff recommendation on its in-camera sessions such that an announcement be made in the public portion of the meeting.
Council adopted the resolution “That in undertaking a council meeting that is to be closed to the public, council first declares by resolution passed in an open public council meeting that:
1. the meeting is closed to the public; and
2. the basis for which the meeting is to be closed to the public
and further, that in stating the basis for which the meeting is to be closed to the public, council provides as much detail as possible without undermining the reason for closing the meeting in the first place.”
In plainer speak, if council decides that something should be discussed in private, they should announce that an in-camera meeting will take place and give an idea as to the reason for the meeting.
Director of Corporate and Development Services Jeff Long gave the example of discussing employees. “I used the example of myself in the staff report,” he said. “If you were going to discuss my contract for example; there’s no problem with saying what you’re doing, you just don’t want to go overboard with it. That takes it a bit further that what we would typically do, which is to say that we’re going to do it accordance with Section 91a of the (community) charter which deals with personal information about an employee.”
Long said that staff and councillors had discussed private meetings with the Ombudsperson. “She said that in-camera meetings really are problem areas for local government so we have to be careful,” he explained. “One of the things that stuck out in my mind in reviewing their report was that we should be as clear as possible in our resolutions about why we’re having the discussions in-camera without overstepping the bounds of keeping it of a confidential nature.”
Council gave first, second and third readings to a pair of bylaws in light of recent changes.
First up was Bylaw 1027-2014, A Bylaw to Authorize and Provide for the Collection of Garbage and Recyclable Materials, which, Long explained, was necessary because of recent changes to recycling.
“This bylaw has been drafted for the purposes of dealing, of course, with changes in our service related to recycling,” he explained. “In addition to making that adjustment we’re doing some housekeeping and bringing it forward for council’s approval.”
Housekeeping was also behind the addition of Bylaw 1028-2014, A Bylaw to Amend Council Procedure Bylaw No.03-2009 to Address Various Housekeeping Matters.
Long explained that with the recent passing of Mayor Bev Parnham staff were prompted to examine some of the language in the original bylaw to account for the position of Deputy Mayor in office. As part of that reexamination, staff took the opportunity to address several other matters that emerged.
Both bylaws were accepted by council.