Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Mayor Reviews and Previews

The start of the new year brings many a message from politicians, a review of the year just past and a hopeful look to the new one just begun.

From the Queen


To the Prime Minister


And the Premier

. .

Of course, the Premier has had a spot of trouble with some of her recent public appearances, but that's a topic for another day we imagine.

For the moment however, let's head back to the theme of these messages of forward looking statements.

All weigh in with their thoughts on the path we've travelled and the one that still may be ahead.

The same thing happens on the local front, though it's more of an oral declaration to the local newspaper than anything else.

Mayor Jack Mussallem offered his reflections on the year just passed and cast a gaze towards how he thinks 2013 might move along.

Among the items of passing note to the Mayor, an interesting take on Industrial events, pointing to the success of the Industrial sector in 2012 and the Port of Prince Rupert in particular and how it has become the main engine of growth for the community. The Mayor observing that there is a sense of optimism in the community with expansion plans on the horizon.

Of course one must take the Mayor's words of optimism and weigh them with the recent moves by City Council on the Port File, which seem to be morphing into more of a watchdog role of late, rather than a supporter or at the least, a facilitator of Industrial Growth which might help create employment and provide for added civic revenue.

NCR-- Councillors Thorkelson and Rice with the LNG cross examination
NCR-- Can't we all just get along?
NCR-- The Mayor vents council's frustrations with Port Authority and partners
NCR-- City Council members ask many questions of Port representatives over Pinnacle Pellet Project
NCR-- Presentation Day at City Council
NCR-- Council calls on Port Authority to explain Pinnacle Pellet Approval

The Mayor also reviewed his previous pride in the growth of the commercial sector, the much anticipated arrival of Wal Mart (which replaced the departing Zellers), expansion and relocation of Shoppers to the Rupert Square and the appearance of such things as Chad's Smoke shop on 2nd Avenue, a tobacco shop in the Mall and the new Dollarama all it seems portend as signs of the city's return to commercial strength.

NCR-- City sees commercial growth from port activity
NCR-- Mayor finds positive signs in new business arrivals

In the meantime, to the East, the Terrace commercial sector continues to attract new business (and consolidate one that once called Prince Rupert home) to it's once deserted downtown mall and still remains the region's main shopping destination it seems.

NCR-- Shopping treks to Terrace still seem likely

The year end review also offered up the hope that the Watson Island issue will finally be resolved with the land sold off to investors (and we imagine all the legal deliberations finally will come to an end).

NCR-- A light on the Watson Island horizon?
NCR-- Let's call the whole thing off...

Still, it might be nice if the city provided a more comprehensive review of that file than a passing note in the newspaper, letting the city's residents know the running tally on such things a legal fees, remediation costs and if in the end, the sale price will provide the City with any tangible financial benefit when all of the drama is said and done.

The City took some credit for the work done on the cessation of train whistling, making conditions better for residents in certain areas of the community.

NCR-- Train keeps a comin'

Interestingly enough, in his year end recap of achievement and forward thinking, the Mayor neglected to mention that one major infrastructure item on the City's agenda that needs to find some kind of resolution, that being the Emergency Services building requirements for the RCMP and Fire Department.

That issue recently got kicked down the road until the spring, which while helpful for topic avoidance, a decision that doesn't bring us any closer to finding out what direction the city might be heading towards on that file.

NCR-- City Council kicks the emergency services debate down the road until March
NCR-- Discussion begins on emergency services replacement building

And the final note from the Mayor, was an interesting heads up for the Port (who he had earlier mentioned as our main success of 2012)

In a parting comment, the Mayor advises that the City will be "watching with interest on what is proposed for development in 2013" adding "that they will ensure that the "wood pellet plant adheres to the strict guidelines for dust and noise when it's in operation"

Those final thoughts from 2012 leave us to imagine that when it came to New Year's Resolutions, the conversation of Council may have been along the lines of a stay the course kind of approach for the year ahead, or if nothing else, a declaration that hey we're not changing.

Something that suggests many more council sessions for 2013 where City Council will find opportunity to vent on its frustrations with the scope of development on the north coast.

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