Friday, November 27, 2015

Hays 2.0 gets splashy launch on City website

(from City of PR website)
The City of Prince Rupert has launched its rather ambitious visionary look at the path for the future for the community, providing an information presentation for the city's website revealing the background to Hays 2.0 on Thursday morning.

The on line project a companion piece to a degree for this week's press coverage in the city's weekly newspaper, a burst of sudden interest in municipal affairs by Black Press which provided the print version of the theme, complete with an editorial from the publisher.

The City's Internet portal perhaps offering an alternative for those that don't like to get ink on their fingers, or the need to squint at smallish typefaces.

The City website version does expand on the print version, providing as it does a full colour review of the five elements of the plan which does a lot of forward ruminating about where we'll all be in 2030.

Though it may be the first visionary statement that comes from a muncipality with a disclaimer ... something normally associated with the offerings that you might find on speculative investment notices.

(From City of PR website)
As for the content of Hays 2.0 it starts with a portrait of the man of the last century and a bit of history as to his vision, shifting from there to what the 2015-16 Council has planned for the years to come.

Focusing on five major elements of their plan, with such areas as becoming a Global community, a sustainable city, engaging in partnerships with First Nations, and the twin themes of Re:Build and Re:Design.

It opens with the Port and its importance to the community and those areas of global trade where the city is hoping to make its mark, with mentions of both the potential (but not the current troubles) of Watson Island and the prospect of development for the city's Lot 444 area.

Some background to the efforts of the Port Corporation, DP World which operates Fairview Container Terminal and CN Rail which provides the transportation network that makes the port work all get a shout out in the presentation, complete with maps.

The vision continues on into a review of the opportunities Prince Rupert may find  through geography and its proximity to the Northwest Passage of the Arctic areas, suggesting that there may be further trade possibilities to be found through that potential shift in the transportation of global trade.

The Tsimshian Access plans get another
shout out as part of Hays 2.0
(from City of PR website)
Alaska gets a significant amount of space in the presentation as well, with another review of the frequently suggested theme of relocating the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal to Lax Kw'alaams.

From there, the Tsimshian Peninsula Access plans get a return to our conversation, as it has through previous installations of City Council over the years.

This time the review features a proposed network of roads that would link the Lax Kw'alaams community with Metlakatla, the airport and Prince Rupert.

That project is suggested as one which would open up new opportunities for the Alaskans to realize more efficiencies from their Ferry system, which in turn would increase tourism and economic benefits for the region.

As part of their overview on their Alaska initiatives, the city includes its desire to look towards initiating communication between the two Federal governments to foster mutually beneficial policies.

The twelve page presentation wraps up with four final themes, the first a quest for meaningful partnerships with neighbouring First nation communities, something the City has targeted as one of its key priorities.

The document adds the City's support towards initiatives that relate to the improvement of relationships with First Nations, with the City joining in on the call for "a national inquiry into missing and murdered women", as well as "the execution of the recommendations of the truth and reconciliation commission".

The City's plans to rebuild its infrastructure make up the second of the concluding items from Hays 2.0 with the city noting that through it's Re:Build Rupert program it intends to allocate additional funding towards infrastructure renewal projects and asset management in the year ahead.

The city is also set to explore an 18 month engagement process called Re:Design Rupert, where topics such as housing, downtown revitalization, recreation, waterfront access and economic development to name a few will be discussed. More on that initiative is expected to be unveiled in January of 2016.

The final note from Hays 2.0 puts a focus on the concept of the Sustainable City, with plans to work towards making Prince Rupert a community which showcases a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.  One of the plans it would appear is to move forward in 2016 on the redevelopment of the McKay Street Park area, with the City looking towards making it into what is called an engaging neighbourhood space.

The twelve pages of a re-dedication to the 1910 ambitions of Charles M. Hays is an intriguing look at where this Council plans to take the community, though it will be interesting to see if all six Council members are on board with the far reaching goals of the proposal, that is should they ever discuss the program in Council chambers.

As well, we imagine as the second year of this Council's four year mandate comes around in 2016, more current and challenging issues will begin to dominate much of their thoughts.

With real time concerns perhaps intruding on the forward vision, as the here and now requirements of running the city continue to provide for the need for some creative thinking on their feet, not to mention the ability to handle any surprises that are sure to come Council's way.

To a fashion, the presentation calls to mind the old Jetson's TV show, offering us all an opportunity to marvel at what may be the future, though one without the flying cars we guess, as we didn't see one in the twelve page report.

However, as the community has learned a few times in the past, situations can change and developments can come along at a pretty fast pace to alter the best intentioned planning, requiring a an ability to shift focus for the city in a pretty dramatic fashion.

As many Rupertites who did not leave the city through the last two troubled decades know very well, it wasn't too long ago following the closure of the Pulp Mill, where there were some very real concerns when it came to the financial issues facing the community.

To move forward on an ambitious blue print such as Hays 2.0 will require significant access to funding and a consultation with and commitment from the taxpayers to allocate money towards many of City Council's forward thinking goals.

Much of the plan as outlined, will depend for the most part on the expansion of the population base, something that won't happen until there is a significant increase in employment opportunities in the region, the latter probably more dependent on Port related initiatives than anything else.

Still, like Charles M. Hays, it's always good to have a dream and to make plans for the future, you can examine this Council's reborn version of the 1910 concepts of the railway tycoon from the full online presentation here

For more items related to City Council initiatives and discussions see our Council Archive page here.

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