February 1, 2010 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

General Purposes Committee





Monday, February 1, 2010


Anderson Room

Richmond City Hall


Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie, Chair

Councillor Linda Barnes

Councillor Derek Dang

Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Ken Johnston

Councillor Bill McNulty

Councillor Harold Steves

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.









It was moved and seconded



That the minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on Monday, January 18, 2010, be adopted as circulated.











Prohibition on the Sale of Rabbits in Pet Stores

(File Ref. No.:) (REDMS No. 2772185)



In reply to queries from Committee, Jodie Shebib, Acting Manager, Parks Programs, advised that should the proposed bylaws be approved, they would be implemented in early April 2010 and be advertised twice in local papers prior to their adoption.



A representative of PJs Pets, accompanied by Ernest Ang, representing Pet Habitat, stated that neutering rabbits is not cost effective and suggested that rabbits be registered and equipped with microchips like puppies.  The representative of PJs Pets was of the opinion that the microchip system would not only educate future rabbit owners, but would also provide owner contact information should the rabbits be abandoned.



Discussion ensued and Committee questioned (i) who would catch the abandoned rabbits; and (ii) how abandoned rabbits offspring would be microchiped.



Mr. Ang agreed that neutering rabbits is a good notion and remarked that pet stores should have future rabbit owners commit on paper to neutering their pets.



In response to queries from Committee, the representative of PJs Pets advised that (i) her pet store sells approximately 170 rabbits per year;  (ii) on average rabbits cost $54 to $59;  and (iii) neutering a rabbit costs approximately $200.



Mr. Ang commented that if Richmond residents wish to buy rabbits, they could always simply drive to another municipality and do so.  He also stated that a solution is needed to address the issues related to abandoned rabbits, but believed that people should still have the option to purchase a rabbit if they so wish.



Christie Lagally, volunteer at the Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS), was in favour of the proposed bylaw to ban the sale of rabbits in pet stores.  Ms. Lagally noted that although the Society sympathizes with the business owners, the income generated on their part from the sale of rabbits has created multiple problems for the Society.  The Society spends thousands of dollars caring for abandoned rabbits and the Society should not bear these growing costs.  Ms. Lagally stated that often when rabbits are surrendered to the Society, owners supply pet store receipts and these records are available to Council for information. 



In response to queries from Committee, Ms. Lagally remarked that (i) neutering rabbits could potentially work however, RAPS supports the ban of the sale of rabbits as it is a step towards the ban of all animals in retail outlets; (ii) when surrendering a rabbit, owners often reply that the rabbit was purchased because “it was cute”; and (iii) neutered, veterinary-checked rabbits may be adopted from RAPS for a nominal fee of approximately $50.



In reply to a query from Committee, Ms. Shebib advised that the City of Kelowna currently has a ban in place.



Discussion ensued and Committee questioned whether there was an organization that would lobby the provincial government to implement a province-wide ban.



Olga Betts, President of the Vancouver Rabbit Rescue Society, remarked that a provincial-wide ban would be ideal.



Discussion ensued regarding the effective date of the proposed bylaws should they be approved.



It was moved and seconded



That Business Regulation Bylaw No. 7538, Amendment Bylaw No. 8566 (Attachment 1) be introduced and given first, second and third reading to ban the sale of rabbits in Richmond pet stores, provided that it be implemented one month from adoption.



The question on the motion was not called as discussion ensued and the following was noted:




the cost of adopting a rabbit from RAPS is lower than purchasing one and the rabbits are already neutered; and




Richmond’s position on the sale of rabbits should be communicated to the City of Vancouver, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), and the Province,



In reply to a query from Committee, Glenn McLaughlin, Chief Licence Inspector & Risk Manager, advised that the City would have no control over the sale of rabbits through newspaper advertisements.



As a result of the discussion, Committee agreed that the following be added to the recommendation:



It was moved and seconded




That a letter be sent to Vancouver, Surrey, and Delta regarding Richmond's bylaw;




That staff be directed to consider ways to work with the Richmond Animal Protection Society to communicate to the public regarding rabbits available for adoption; and




That a resolution be forwarded to UBCM and the Lower Mainland LocalGovernment Association regarding the proposed bylaw.












(File Ref. No.: ) (REDMS No. 2803514)



In response to queries from Committee, Howard Blank, Vice President, Communications, Entertainment, and Responsible Gaming, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, advised that (i) food will also be available at the proposed new site; (ii) the proposed relocation is to accommodate a future new VIP salon;  and (iii) the proposed application is fully permitted under the Corporation’s licences.




It was moved and seconded



That the application from Great Canadian Casinos Inc., doing business as River Rock Casino Resort, for a Liquor Primary Licence at 8888 River Road Unit #105, to offer liquor service be supported, and a letter be sent to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch advising that:




Council recommends the issuance of the proposed license based on the community responses  received and that the operation will not have a significant negative impact on the community.




Council’s comments on the prescribed review criteria are as follows:





The establishment is located on the ground floor of a 7 storey parking structure and Canada Line transit station.  To the north is the River Rock Hotel and Casino.  To the west and east are commercial buildings housing light industrial uses and to the south is a bus loop and commercial buildings.





The proximity to other social or recreational facilities and public buildings was considered as no schools or parks are within a 500-metre radius.





The application for a 200 person capacity operation with liquor service hours from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Monday to Sunday from where the game of poker is offered to patrons will not pose a significant negative impact on the community based on the lack of responses from the residents and businesses in the area.





The number and market focus or clientele of liquor primary licence establishments within a reasonable distance of the proposed location was considered.





There are no concerns regarding additional noise, traffic or parking in the area if the application is approved. 





The zoning of the establishment, Casino Hotel Commercial (ZC17) – Bridgeport Village (City Centre), was reviewed and conforms to the regulations.





The 2008 population figure of 42,600 for the City Centre area with a projected growth to                 90,000 by 2031 and relevant socio-economic information was considered.





The impact on the community if the application is approved was considered.




As the operation of a licensed establishment may affect nearby residents the City gathered the views of the residents as follows:





As per City Policy, residents, property owners and businesses within a 100 metre radius of the subject property were contacted by letter detailing the application and were provided with instructions on how community comments or concerns could be submitted.





In addition, signage was posted at the subject property and three public notices were published in a local newspaper.  This signage and notice provided information on the application and instructions on how community comments or concerns could be submitted.




Council’s comments and recommendations respecting the views of the residents are as follows:





Since there was no public responses received from residents within a 100-metre radius, Council considers that the application is acceptable to the majority of the residents in the nearby area.







Temporary Request For Extended Hours of Service for Liquor Primary Licence

(File Ref. No.:) (REDMS No. 2806917)



It was moved and seconded



That Council provide a no objection comment to LCLB on the temporary increase of hours to liquor service on the Liquor Primary Licence held by Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel as the increase in hours will not have an impact on residential areas and traffic and noise in the area will not be adversely affected.











Additional Hotel Room Tax and Future Local Tourism Funding

(File Ref. No.:  08-4150-03-01/2010-Vol 01) (REDMS No. 2802682)



Neonila Lilova, Manager, Economic Development, provided background information and stated that staff are not requesting Council to take a position on which model to support as the Province has not identified one preferred model.



In reply to a query from Committee, Ms. Lilova noted that a final proposal from the Province is anticipated to come forward in the Spring.



Tracy Lakeman, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Richmond, in principle was in favour of the staff recommendations and noted that the Tourism Richmond Board of Directors has not met to discuss or formulate an opinion on this matter as (i) the Province has not stated its final position; (ii) the hotel community has not stated its position on which funding structure is preferred; and (iii) the agreement currently in place between the City of Richmond and Tourism Richmond is working very well.



It was moved and seconded



That a letter be sent to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts and UBCM, providing comments on current local tourism funding scenarios, as outlined in the attached staff report dated January 18, 2010.







Richmond Sport Hosting Grant Program

(File Ref. No.:) (REDMS No. 2802531)



Mike Romas, Manager, Sport Hosting, spoke of how the proposed Sport Hosting Grant Program fits in with the Sport Hosting Strategy that was presented at the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Committee on January 26, 2010 and summarized the proposed Grant program’s objectives.



Cathryn Volkering Carlile, General Manager – Community Services, noted that under the proposed Grant program, an application is adjudicated by the Sport Hosting Task Force which includes representatives from Tourism Richmond, Richmond Sport Council, the Richmond Olympic Oval Corporation, and the City of Richmond.  A staff report outlining the Task Force’s recommendation is then brought before Council for consideration.  In reply to a query from Committee, Ms. Carlile advised that a monthly staff report addressing recommended grants would be brought before the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Committee.



Discussion ensued and it was noted that the proposed program be reviewed in Fall 2010 to provide information related to the budget and its adequacies.



In reply to queries from Committee, Mr. Romas advised that:




the proposed financial figures were reached after consulting with stakeholders and investigating financial figures of other communities that offer a similar program; and




Richmond branding on a promotional poster could satisfy the ‘Cultural Benefit’ of the proposed assessment criteria.



Councillor E. Halsey-Brandt left the meeting (5:08 p.m.).



Mr. Romas spoke of the proposed program’s budget and noted that funds would be allocated towards branding, advertising campaigns, website development, salaries, and other general operating costs.



He noted that staff have worked with the Richmond Sport Council and other key community stakeholders and researched Richmond’s sport hosting history.



Discussion ensued and Committee expressed concerns related to the proposed Grant program’s eligibility criteria and application assessment criteria.



Mr. Romas advised that the application form has yet to be developed and staff would work closely with key stakeholders in an effort to ensure the application is simple and user-friendly.  He also noted that the proposed grant model eligibility criteria is based around the City’s existing grant program.



Councillor E. Halsey-Brandt returned to the meeting (5:13 p.m.).



In response to a query from Committee, Ms. Carlile advised that staff do not have the authority to allocate sport hosting grant funds unless Council were to delegate that authority.



Bart Given, Director of Marketing and Communications, Sport BC, was in favour of the proposed sport hosting grant program and noted that it would be a great initiative.  He commented on recent grant cutbacks and noted that the proposed program would provide sports groups with additional funding.



Ms. Lakeman, Tourism Richmond, spoke in support of the proposed sport hosting grant program.



Jim Lamond, Chair, Richmond Sport Council (RSC), and Roger Barnes, member of RSC, did not support the proposed grant policy and requested that the staff report be referred back in order for staff to consult with the RSC regarding the application form and eligibility criteria.  Mr. Barnes stated that the conditions and requirements as currently set out in the proposed program are cumbersome, and as a result, smaller event organizers may be deterred from applying.  Mr. Barnes spoke of the City of Kamloops’ application form and believed that the proposed program should also foster small events in an effort to help organizations grow and gain sport-hosting experience.



Discussion ensued and in response to Committee comments, Ms. Carlile advised that if Council desired, a tiered funding system could be set, whereby applications under a particular figure would have a simpler application and process.  Ms. Carlile stated that large events should still go through the proposed process.



It was moved and seconded



That the “Richmond Sport Hosting Grant Program” staff report be referred back to staff to look at:




the overall budget for the program, including the potential carry over from year to year;




a periodic review of the program’s effectiveness;




the application process and criteria and the possibility of a graduated approach based on the grant amount; and




the Task Force being authorized to approve and implement the funding requests subject to the ability of an applicant to appeal a Task Force decision to Council through the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Committee.












It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (5:51 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, February 1, 2010.



Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie


Hanieh Floujeh

Acting Executive Assistant

City Clerk’s Office