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2006 Agendas & Minutes

October 16, 2006 Minutes

City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

General Purposes Committee



Monday, October 16th, 2006


Anderson Room
Richmond City Hall


Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie, Chair
Councillor Linda Barnes
Councillor Cynthia Chen
Councillor Derek Dang
Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt
Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt
Councillor Bill McNulty
Councillor Harold Steves


Councillor Rob Howard

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:01 p.m.








It was moved and seconded



That the minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on Monday, October 2nd, 2006 and on Tuesday, October 10th, 2006, be adopted as circulated.












(Report:  Sept. 25/06, File No.:  12-8060-20-8139) (REDMS No. 1813200, 2030960)



Discussion took place among Committee members and the Director of Transportation, Victor Wei, and the Manager, Business Liaison, Amarjeet Rattan, on the rationale for recommending the elimination of the cap on the number of Class A and Class N taxicabs permitted in the City.



Also addressed was the question of whether Richmond’s disabled community was being adequately served by local taxicab companies.



In response to the questions asked, advice was given that:




because of the thoroughness of the review process undertaken by the Provincial Passenger Transportation Board with respect to applications received for taxicab licences, staff were of the opinion that the City need not continue with its limit on the number of Class A and Class N taxicab licences which would be permitted in Richmond




with respect to the provision of service, there was a perception among such stakeholders as Tourism Richmond and a number of hotels in the City, that additional taxicabs would be beneficial to the City, and that removal of the restriction would help taxicabs to serve all sectors of the City




with respect to the potential for new taxicab companies coming into the City, existing companies in Richmond had currently applied for new licences over and above the limit allowed in the City’s Business Licence Bylaw.



Also addressed was the question of potential compensation to the existing licence holders and whether conflict between taxicab drivers would reoccur as had taken place a number of years ago.  In response, advice was given that the results of survey undertaken by staff of those municipalities which did not have a cap, found that the majority of these municipalities were not experiencing any problems.



Frances Clark, accompanied by Ella Huang, representing the Disability Resource Centre, spoke about the problems being experienced by the City’s disabled population with respect to the minimal service being provided by Kimber Cabs.  She stated that a letter of complaint had been filed with the Passenger Transportation Board about the lack of service on the part of Kimber Cabs, and questioning why this company should be allowed to retain its Class N licences.  Ms. Clark spoke about the poor maintenance of the taxicabs and the inadequate safety equipment within these vehicles to safely secure wheelchair-bound passengers.  She also spoke about the needs of the disabled to have access to taxicabs in order to maintain a degree of independence within their lives, and the difficulties which disabled individuals experienced when trying to obtain the services of an accessible taxi during the evening hours.



Ms. Clark then provided information on the difficulties experienced by a number of delegates at a recent Disabled Women’s Conference when Kimber Cabs refused to provide service to and from the airport to the hotel conference site because the hotel had a contract with Richmond Taxicabs and not Kimber Cabs to provide service.  She noted that Richmond Taxicabs only had one accessible vehicle.  In concluding her presentation, Ms. Clark questioned whether the City had any control over the issuance of licences to Kimber Cabs when that company was not providing the service for which it had originally been licenced.



Ms. Ella Huang talked further about the lack of safety equipment in Kimber Cab vehicles, and commented that it seemed that the only way to guarantee an accessible taxicab through Kimber Cabs was to make arrangements in advance for such a vehicle.  She also stated that the customer service provided by Kimber Cabs drivers was poor, and that the drivers did not seem to care if the passenger was properly secured before starting out.  Ms. Huang stated that the taxi service which was to have been provided for people with disabilities should be upheld.



Mr. Ken Jang, of Jang Cheung Lee Chu Law Corporation, accompanied by Paramjit Randhawa, CEO of Richmond Taxi, advised that his client was opposed to the complete removal of the restriction of the number of Class A and Class N licences permitted in the City.  He stated that while his client was asking the City to approve additional cabs, there was concern that removal of the restriction entirely would ‘open the floodgates’.  Mr. Jang further stated that allowing the Passenger Transportation Board to determine the number of taxicab licences for the City could result in problems over which the City would have no control.  He also suggested, with reference to the provision of poor service, that the City should be able to address these problems with the taxi company concerned.  He stated that his client would welcome opportunities to work with the City if problems arose, and to work with residents to ensure that good service was provided by its taxicab drivers.



Mr. Randhawa advised that his company currently had two accessible vehicles, however, of the four licences which had recently been approved by the Passenger Transportation Board, two would be for accessible vehicles for the disabled.  He added that his drivers were happy to provide service to the disabled, and that his drivers never refused any request for service.



Discussion then took place among Committee members and the delegation on:




whether as taxicab vehicles were replaced, Richmond Taxicabs would consider replacing these vehicles with vehicles which were capable of accommodating wheelchairs, if this could be accomplished without having to obtain Class N licences




the provision of taxicab service to the disabled




the conflict between Richmond Taxicab and Coral Cabs




driver training requirements for Class N vehicles, and how assurance could be provided to the City, if additional Class N licences were obtained, that proper training had been provided to the taxicab drivers to ensure the safety of passengers




the number of taxicab licences applied for by Richmond Taxicab and the number approved by the Passenger Transportation Board.



Also addressed during the discussion with the delegation was the lack of service provided by Kimber Cabs to Richmond’s disabled community.



The Chair thanked the delegation for their presentation, and they then left the table.



Discussion then ensued among Committee members and staff on the process followed by the Passenger Transportation Board (i) to monitor and ensure that the taxicab licences were being used as intended; and (ii) in the event that a letter of complaint was received about a particular taxicab company.  Also discussed were the options which were available to the City if complaints were received about a taxicab company, such as not renewing the business licence for that firm.



During the discussion, information was provided on the steps which could be taken to apply for a new taxicab licence through the Passenger Transportation Board.  Also addressed was the impact to the City resulting from other municipalities which did not have restrictions on the number of taxicab licences issued in their jurisdictions.  Questions were raised during the discussion about whether the City had the ability to withhold a business licence for a taxicab company if the service provided was not satisfactory.  Information was provided during the discussion that the City could not issue business licences for any additional taxicab licences because the current Business Licence Bylaw had a cap on the number of licences which could be issued for taxicabs.



Reference was made to Kimber Cabs, and discussion took place on whether the City would have a role in the action taken or not taken by the Passenger Transportation Board regarding this company. 



Also discussed were such issues as:




the requirements which were in place by which taxicab drivers could pick up and deposit passengers at the airport




whether taxicab rates would increase in the City as a result of the elimination of the licence restriction




the future importance of taxicabs in the City, especially with the implementation of the Canada Line




the differences between Class A, Class N and Class D licences




whether there would be any conflict between the various taxicab drivers if the restriction on taxicab licences was eliminated




how the City could acquire additional taxicabs and require the drivers of these vehicles to provide better service to the disabled community




whether the Passenger Transportation Board took Richmond’s best interests into consideration when approving taxicab licences




whether the City could advise the Passenger Transportation Board that it would like additional taxicab licences approved for Richmond Taxi, the majority of which would be for Class N licences to provide service to people with disabilities




the number of municipalities which did not have restrictions on the maximum number of Class A and Class N licences which could be issued, and the impact which this could be having on the City.



As a result of the discussion, the following motion was introduced:



It was moved and seconded




That staff review and report to Council on the licence fees levied for Class A and Class N taxicabs to ensure that the licence fees are collected on a cost-recovery basis.




That the matter of Business Licencing of Class A and Class N Taxicabs in Richmond be referred to staff to review:





the service and safety levels provided by Kimber Cabs;





the need for more taxis for those with disabilities in Richmond; and





the number of taxi cabs needed for Richmond, and the training required for people with and without disabilities;




That staff discuss with the Passenger Transportation Board:





the number of taxi cabs in Richmond, including the possible need for the further eleven as applied for by Richmond Cabs;





the service levels provided by, and training provided to, Kimber Cabs, and whether Kimber Cabs is providing service to the disabled as required by their existing Class N licence;





whether there is a need for additional taxi cabs for those with disabilities within Richmond; and





the number of taxi cabs  in other cities and how these cabs affect service in Richmond.




That business licences be approved for Richmond Taxi, based on two Class A and two Class N taxi cabs, as approved by the Passenger Transportation Board.












(Report:  Oct. 5/06, File No.:  01-0395-30-01/Vol 01) (REDMS No. 2018072, 2019715, 2017134, 1008943)



It was moved and seconded



That the report (dated October 5th, 2006, from the Manager, Purchasing & Risk), be forwarded to the staff group addressing Council’s referral of June 12, 2006 relating to the Parks Recreation and Cultural Services Master Plan,




“to assess the financial effectiveness of the current operating models to benchmark their efficiency and effectiveness and to potentially restructure or adopt new models to meet any shortfalls.” 



The question on the motion was not called, as discussion ensued among Committee members and the Manager, Purchasing & Risk, Glenn McLaughlin, on the provision of insurance for special events.



Reference was made to the 2005-2008 Action Plan for the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Master Plan, adopted by Council on June 12th, 2006, which indicated, among other things, that the issues surrounding special events and insurance needs were to be part of the analysis to be undertaken by staff on current operating models and the development of strategies to meet future community needs.  Advice was given that staff would be reporting to Committee on the financial assessment early in 2007, and that the provision of insurance would be addressed within that report.



Discussion also centred around the possibility of obtaining blanket coverage for all events held in the City by community associations and City sponsored events, however, advice was given that each event must be treated as a ‘stand alone’ event and required its own separate insurance.  Concern was voiced during the discussion that events, such as the Steveston Salmon Festival, could be cancelled because of high insurance costs.  The suggestion was then made that consideration should be given to the feasibility of the City providing a subsidy to cover a portion of the insurance costs to ensure that these events could continue.



The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.





(Report:  Oct. 3/06, File No.:  12-8060-20-8146) (REDMS No. 2026572, 2027267)



It was moved and seconded



That Bylaw No. 8146, which amends Business Licence Bylaw 7360 to create revised fee schedules and adds a fee for licence reprints, be introduced and given first, second and third readings.








(Report:  Oct. 3/06, File No.:  12-8060-20-8145) (REDMS No. 2017927, 2018015)



It was moved and seconded



That Bylaw No. 8145, which amends the licence year period of commercial decals issued under the Commercial Vehicle Bylaw 4716 and further amends the bylaw with minor reference updates, be introduced and given first, second and third readings. 












(File No. 01-0370-03-01; REDMS No. 2026690)




It was moved and seconded



That the General Purposes Committee receive the following information:





Executive Summary of Project Status Report (September, 2006); and





Project Cost Overview (dated September 29, 2006).



The question on the motion was not called, as discussion took place among Committee members and the Director, Major Projects, Greg Scott on:




the four week delay in pile installation and the resulting four week extension in the projected completion date, and how this time delay would be addressed




the various components which comprised the project cost overview




the progress update and key milestones which were achieved during the month of September.



The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.








It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (5:33 p.m.).








Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Monday, October 16th, 2006.



Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie

Fran J. Ashton
Executive Assistant, City Clerk’s Office


10/17/2006 5:14:17 PM