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October 27, 2017 8:30 pm

Mid- Term Report Card for Mayor and Council

Monday, October 31, 2016 @ 6:05 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Plenty has  happened since  Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall  and  the current Council were elected to office .  November 15th will mark the halfway point of this team’s mandate,  and  that makes it perfect timing for a mid-term report card.

When he announced he was  entering the race to be Mayor of Prince George, Lyn Hall said  “I want to make sure that we have a council that’s connected with the community,”  adding that his style  is to be “More inclusive, more engaging, more communication – and that’s what I would like to see the new council direction look like.”

There has been plenty of consultation,  from the development of the  TalkTober  community engagement  sessions to the City’s outreach for input on everything from  park use  and development to  budgets.  However,  there was one matter  which was not put before  Prince George  residents and it was  one which  caused the most controversy.  The renaming of Fort George Park  to Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park was a move that caught  residents off guard and angered many and  Mayor  Hall  admits  more  should have been done “Certainly when you  talk about consultation, we could have done a better job  on the consultation piece with the park.”

Putting that one  issue  aside, the City of Prince George has seen plenty  of  positive activity which garnered public support  since  Hall and  Council settled in.  “I am very proud of the Riverbend Project” says Mayor Hall “I’m extremely proud of that.”  The Seniors  residence  says Hall,  fulfills  a  call  he  says he heard “loud and clear” during the  election campaign  for  quality  seniors housing.    He believes  the Riverbend project helped get the  ball rolling for other development investment in the City “It was a catalyst for other developers in Prince George to have confidence in investing here and we have seen that over and over again in the past year and a half.”

The development  activity  has already surpassed  permit values for the first 9 months of the  previous 2 years.   Values as of the end of September , are at about $115 million  with  commercial and residential  activity  throughout the City.   Mayor Hall says there has also been significant investment in the downtown by  young entrepreneurs in projects such as Nancy O’s,  the Crossroads Brewery,  HomeWorks  moving back into the downtown, “These are private  sector investments that not only show confidence in the City but in the downtown.”  He says there is a new office building being built  on George Street ( next to the Copper Pig)  and that  residents can expect “a couple more things happening downtown.”

Mayor Hall says  the increased development  may be, in part,  a result of the positive exposure Prince George  got during the Canada Winter Games, a two week event which  seemed to change the  mood and attitude  about  Prince George  not only  among  developers, but among  the residents of the City as well.

One of the  major  marks the current Mayor and Council have made is on the  cleaning up of neighbourhoods and the downtown through their remedial action process. Derelict properties have been ordered  demolished or cleaned up.    “We started  that in about 2013 with the Willow Inn (under previous Council direction)  and then this Council  looked  at a couple of properties on George Street,  the Lombardi Trailer Park,  the Connaught Inn.  We’ve seen  great things happen as a result of that.”  The  suspension of the Connaught Inn business license has  seen  RCMP calls for service to that area drop by 67% in the three months  since that license was  suspended. “I think it just sends a message that we as a City and Council, are prepared to  make moves like this to  tidy up not only downtown but take a look at derelict properties throughout our city.”  It’s an effort  other communities in the Province  have wanted to learn more about as many face the same issues and Mayor Hall delivered  details on the Prince George approach to  the  remedial action  progress to the  recent Union of B.C. Municipalities convention .

Mayor Hall says  he has no disappointments  on how things  have been going for the first half  of his mandate  “We came out of the 2015 Canada Winter Games wanting to use that as a springboard   to doing a number  of things in this City and I think that has come to fruition, so I have no real disappointments  at all.” There is still work to be  done  and  two years left to  do it before the next election and possible changes.

There  are still  Items on the “to do” list  says  Mayor Hall, “I think we are going  to continue to  redevelop  downtown through  affordable and student housing,   that’s  still a huge priority of ours.  The remedial action continues  to be a priority.  I would love to see seniors housing  in the Hart, I would like us to  start to take a look at the development of  river  access.”  He says  there needs to be some examination on how  the City can improve  access to river frontage and  have a conversation about future development along the rivers.

So, how would Mayor Lyn Hall grade  his team’s work  for a mid-term report card?  “That’s pretty tough,  because  I think we’ve done  a very good  job.  I would  give  us a B plus to an A  on things we have done,  so things we  have set our mind to, that’s the kind of grade I would give.  We have things that  are still in the  hopper,  such as  the license plate recognition program for downtown  and we’ve got a tremendous amount of work to do on that.  We need to do more communication,  we’ve done a considerable amount already, but there’s more to do.  I guess the reflection of the grade is how I feel about what we’ve accomplished and where  we are today.”



I am happy with the current city council they have made several improvements and strides in the right direction but like anything else there are always things can be improved on but for some taxpayers it is never enough. That being said this taxpayer has some questions for the city council and mayor

I am happy the council is not wasting so much money downtown I would be much happier if they concentrated on other areas in the downtown that apparently nobody wants to talk about or acknowledge exists and that is the problem of homeless and wandering groups of natives. I don’t know many people who want to see this side of society downtown but nobody it seems that neither the band or city council want to address this issue this would go a long way to improving the downtown if this was at least openly discussed but everybody it appears is afraid of offending somebody

By law enforcement. I talk about this often because it is virtually non existent in this city you do not see any bylaw vehicles driving around you see lots of city trucks but nothing that says bylaw enforcement. You can get away with just about anything in the city as it seems the city relays on the goodwill of its citizens to report offenders and that seems to be working so well for bylaw enforcement.

Garbage removal I love it as it is a great idea but every year my garbage bill goes up and what do we get for it in return? The garbage system is good but why is it going up every year it seems that there is something broken within the system whether it be mismanagement or broken equipment Isn’t it about time that this get fixed right instead of me seeing my garbage bill going up year after year after we have been told that it would save money for us the taxpayer? Seems someone needs to do some explaining to us taxpayers as to why our garbage system isn’t saving us money don’t you think?

Lastly this is a good news story as far as I’m concerned road maintenance, line marking and snow removal have improved tenfold. As long as this is maintained I will be very happy with the maintenance of area roads. There will always be those who are and never will be happy but as a taxpayer of this city I am for one very happy with this aspect.

Ad hoc evaluations provide some overview.

Results oriented cities, however, should be evaluated a bit more systematically with a yearly report card. An Annual report, depending on how it is structured, can provide some of that.

I do not believe the CPG annual report is of much help to the average citizen.

The City of Bellingham provides its evaluation report under the following headings

• Trends
• Economic Growth and Competitiveness
• Healthy and Sustainable Environment
• Improved Mobility
• Innovative, Vibrant, and Caring Community Neighborhoods
• Government
• Community
• Performance Results by Departments with each department having its own evaluation.

What headings should we have if we were to develop an evaluation report for the City Council as well as Administration?

I think Mr.Hall and the rest of doen a much better job that the last two combined.

    I do not think that is the way to compare Councils. I also think that Council sets direction and the Administration implements the actions to support the directions.

    So, the measurement should be, as sparrow posted, a measure of the actions by administration that support the directions set. The other measurement should be the long term objectives of the City which are reflected in part by the OCP as well as other goals which go beyond the current Council. In other words, how does the direction of the current council fit with that of past councils, especially the immediately preceding one, as well as the directions “promised” to the electorate during the past election.

    We have very little planning in PG which sets a course and sticks to it unless there are changing external as well as internal conditions which suggest a different course would be a better one to take.

    I think we have to remember that it was the last Council which bit the bullet and upped the roads as well as the snow control budget. The current council and administration are reaping the benefit.

    The question which needs to be asked is still “are we getting value for the dollars spent”. Even after the KPMG fiasco, we still do not have that answer since that study was a complete disaster and we have not learned ho to assess value for dollar yet.

      For me the jury is still out on snow control. We have not had major back to back storms like the December snowmageddon a few years ago. The city still has the same game plan of keeping the equipment in the barn till 5 or 6 inches is on the ground and to have heavy focus on the CBD.

      They are spending a bunch of money on weather and road sensors in a couple of areas of town which will not inform them that first storm will drop a foot or more and another one 18 hours behind will do the same. When the current plan revolves around a 96 hour cycle to complete all work it is easy to see how we could be up to our wheel wells in washboard again.

      The city also decided to borrow $6million to buy new equipment based on some consultants report that spoke to the age of the city fleet. I have looked on the city site but can’t find it as I sure would like to read the report. The only reported equipment breakdown in snowmageddon was with the big snowblower, one on the newest pieces of equipment, as they had to wait a day or two for a part to be flown in.

A good place to start an evaluation of how the current mayor and council is doing would be to look at the goals and objectives they set out for themselves and if they measure up.

From the city website:

Council’s vision “To be a high functioning, focused, effective, efficient, responsive, productive and accountable Council.”

Council’s mission “To provide high quality services and good governance for the City of Prince George within available resources.”

And most telling of all would be Council’s priorities and the corporate plan 2016-2018 that can be found here.


In this document can be found many words like:


These buzz words may suggest that something may happen to help them achieve the goals they have set out but there is nothing that is measureable and no timelines for when the citizens might see action taken on any one item from the list.

A name or two should also be attached to each action item as the person or persons responsible to ensure progress is being made. Then we as taxpayers can see how much(or little) is being done and if some members of council are not pulling their weight.

Based on the above the midterm grade: C-

    I have been trying to find measurable on the City web site but could not find anything other than the March 21, 2016 CityWorks audit by ESRI of the status of the implementation of that computerized tool. Looks like that has a way to go as in 2 to 3 years at best before the paper has shifted to computer-based data.

    Of course, there are many other City operations which do not need the geo-based data in order to create measurable for the goals in the Corporate Plan.

    For instance, following the thread from Vision to Key Corporate Strategies specific to downtown civic facilities for the Economic Development component of the 2016-2018 Corporate Plan we have:
    • the Vision – create a growing economy,
    • the Goals – diversified economy,
    • Council focus areas – Integrate economic development priorities and strategies with City operations and functions,
    • Key Corporate Strategies – Program downtown civic facilities and spaces.

    As sparrow stated, the measurables are missing. A plan is great, but if one cannot evaluate how well the plan is doing, of what use is a plan? Not only that, but the citizens of this community need to be a key participant of that assessment process, including having a say of what the measurables should be since there can be many and since the value placed on each will depend on the users more than City administration and Council.

    BTW, I see none of that at Talktober. Perhaps I should have brought it up, but I sensed it was not the place to do so.

    A measurable for “program downtown civic facilities and spaces” for instance for the Civic Centre could be:
    Total annual
    • gross revenues
    • net revenues
    • percentage of net/gross …. The higher the percentage the more financially effective the operation after identifying a baseline, set annual goals to achieve.

    • space rental hours capacity
    • space rental hours rented
    • percentage of rented/capacity …… the higher the percentage the closer the facility operates to capacity. Due to logistics of space cleaning/conversion/maintenance, an actual operation capacity is likely in the 70% range. After identifying a baseline, set annual goals to achieve.

    There are many other measurable to consider such as
    • number of actual person.events attended per year
    • number of persons attending registered in a hotel
    • results of facility satisfaction opinion polls of people attending and organizations renting … after identifying a baseline, set annual goals to achieve.

    The City of Seattle has a web site specific to its progress towards goals it has set for the future.

    Perhaps when we get a new web site for PG one of these days, we will be surprised with a similar component on Prince George’s web site. :-)

I wish they would get spending under control. A lot of frivolous spending. Got to get the infrastructure fixed up and reliable again. Reduce the taxes as much as possible.

Sorry but I don’t see much of anything except increase in cost and worse service from our city.. They added a few high paying jobs to city hall and why ? haven’t heard a peep from them.. the change to Fort George park was ignorant and was just done.. not what we want wanted. they still don’t listen… then again.. none have listened to the citizens in a very long time.

Got to get the infrastructure fixed up and reliable again.

Reduce the taxes as much as possible.

Those are two statements which are likely incompatible.

It takes money to fix infrastructure. That is called an investment. If it is done properly, then the investment should pay off eventually in reducing normal tax increases or even stopping tax increases every now and then.

Ask anyone to rate themselves , you can be assured it will be a plus B or an A!

The city is enjoying sticking it to the taxpayer. Taxes arnt supposed to go up every year.

    Why not? The average person who works for an income receives annual increases.

    Now, perhaps if we had a 3%/year growth in population, and the City would hold the line with hiring additional staff and doing real infill projects to house those individuals rather than building more and more sprawling single family housing subdivisions, we could hold the line on tax increases to less than inflation once we are collecting enough money every year to have a sustainable infrastructure maintenance fund and once the province is finished downloading more and more provincial responsibilities onto municipalities so that they can keep income and sales taxes low.

    Until then, expect City taxes to keep on rising higher than inflation.

So how much has this city spent on cleaning up the the old trailer park and the building they tore down downtown? To my knowledge there hasn’t been a dime paid to the city for the trailer park? Guess an FOI is in order.

I also haven’t seen this city clean up other disasters such as the one out west by the Honda dealership where all the containers and broken down machinery is. There are hundreds of complaints in regards to that property. When I asked Ian Wells about it he said he couldn’t talk about it as it is in the matters of the court? Haven’t seen anything in the courts yet, has anyone else? This has been going on for a lot of years!

As for bylaws that department has been a joke for many years! Why did the city worker that lives down by Landsdowne not get the book thrown at him for hooking up to city water and sewer illegally?

Where is the so called accountability? Is there favouritism with this city?

Anyone can talk the talk but it appears this city does just that – talk.

    As long as the reporting out of progress is an ad hoc situation, and especially if credit is not given to previous councils for increasing taxes to improve road maintenance and snow clearing, it will appear that other than in one or two areas, nothing is being done that is in the direct control of the City.

    If there are measuarables that relate to the goals set by Council, and the people of this city have an input into those measurables since they measure what is important to us, the citizens, then the results of actions will be much more visible, at least to those who trust those measurables.

    But then, we live in times when governments in the western world are no longer trusted to the extent they once were. So, part of the question has to be does this Council believe that is an issue locally and, if so, what are they prepared to do about it?

    That should be a part of the Corporate Plan.

How about the Land below the graveyard owned by an elderly lady that the city took part of her property illegally. The city is in the wrong. They need to pay her out as she is sueing them. This is a red herring that will not go away. She is old, and they are waiting this out. Its wrong and the city needs to come clean on this.

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