Thursday, March 27, 2014

Prince Rupert to play host to 2015 Southeast Conference membership meeting

The annual gathering of Southeast Alaska communities will be making its way to Prince Rupert in 2015, as our city plays host to the three day conference that year.

Mayor Jack Mussallem informed council of Prince Rupert's hosting duties at Monday's City council meeting, a short mention as part of his Mayors Comments section of the council session.

The Southeast Conference is one of the major conferences of Alaska's Southeast region, it was last hosted by Prince Rupert back in 2008.

The conference, which is normally held at mid-September, brings a large number of delegates to the host community, to work on a wide ranging agenda of items of note for the panhandle region of the state.

The mission of Southeast Conference is to undertake and support activities that promote strong economies, healthy communities, and a quality environment in Southeast Alaska. -- The Mission statement for the Southeast Conference Annual Membership Meeting

For Prince Rupert, the hosting duties will provide another opportunity to strengthen links between the city and the member cities of the conference, as well as offer a glimpse for delegates into the economic changes taking place on the North Coast and how they could be of benefit to communities up along the Alaska coast.

With Prince Rupert now marked on the calendar for the 2015 session, one imagines that the prospect of the city of Prince Rupert cancelling their annual visit to Ketchikan for the Fourth of July weekend will probably not gain much traction.

That suggestion was made on Monday by Councillor Ashley, who offered up the  suggestion of a cancelled trip as a possible option as the City continues to work out its budget woes for 2014.

Most likely a good case could be made that with a major conference destined for Prince Rupert in 2015, skipping the annual visit to Ketchikan might send the wrong message to the neighbours.

Still, if Council is inclined to try and save some dollars on that trip, perhaps a scaling down of the delegation might be the right approach, while at the same time keeping the friendly ties between Prince Rupert and its northern neighbour intact.

Last years visit attracted a fair bit of attention based on the cost that was estimated to be at close to 6 thousand dollars.  A figure that may not be appreciated by Prince Rupert's taxpayers who it appears will be facing tax increases once again with the delivery of this year's budget.

Rather than the all hands on deck approach of past years, Council may wish to send a reduced delegation in the name of cost savings for 2014.

Perhaps Council could select participants for any slimmed down roster for the trip based on attendance at Council sessions leading up to July.

Putting those who are in council chambers the most through this first half of 2014, placed first in line to take advantage of the Alaska getaway.

We have more items on developments from City council available on our archive page.

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