Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mayor hails success of Placemaking conference and points to a new 2030 Sustainable City vision

Mayor Brain provided a review of
the weekend Placemaking conference
for members of City Council on Monday
The Mayor has made much use of his public political Facebook portal in recent days to highlight some of the notes from a weekend seminar and workshop series in the city hosted by the Transition Prince Rupert Society and sponsored in part by the City of Prince Rupert.

Last week the Mayor used that social media platform to preview the event and to offer up an opportunity for residents of the city to win a free pass to the workshop component on Saturday and Sunday.

On Monday, he delivered a follow up on the event to his social media platform, providing some background on how it all turned out following the final session of Sunday.

As we outlined on the blog back in December  the Transition Society of Prince Rupert brought in Mr. Mark Lakeman, a Portland, Oregon architect and urban designer who led the three days of urban development discussion.

The three day event which was titled Placemaking started on Friday evening with an information session from Portland's City Repairs Project and provided a glimpse into some of the efforts that the Portland group has taken on in the Oregon city to further the goals of a sustainable community.

A sample of some of the graphical presentation used
as part of a weekend conference in Prince Rupert on
developing urban areas 

The Mayor provided a short review of the weekend events at Monday's Council session, reinforcing some of those themes he had posted to his Facebook page over the last few days.

He estimated the attendance at the Friday public information session at the Lester Centre as numbering at a couple of hundred residents.

A collection of interested Rupertites who paid the fifteen dollar admission fee to learn more about the program in place in the Portland area, some in the audience perhaps curious to learn if Portlandia was transferable to Prince Rupert.

Among some of the discussion from the workshops over the weekend was what the future of the McKay Street park area might look like, should community development plans move forward there.

As well, a look at how to incorporate sustainability and living space concepts and redesign ideas into other areas cities made for a portion of the program, using what the Mayor described as a bottom up approach and moving from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

Options for the McKay Street Park area
were some of the ideas examined as part
of this weekend's peacemaking conference

(photo from Mayor Brain's Facebook page)

The Mayor also provided a head count of sorts regarding the weekend workshops, noting that it attracted 45 participants, among them members of City Council, city staff, as well as representatives of the other sponsorship groups and members of the public.

Not mentioned however during the course of his short summary of the three day event, was the cost to the City of Prince Rupert for the City's sponsorship of the three day event, nor how much it cost the city for each participant to attend the workshop.

As well, missing from the update was a number as to how many of those 45 participants that did attend the weekend events were from the city and whether city staff members, or other employees were provided reimbursement as part of their attendance outside of regular work hours to attend the weekend workshop sessions.

The topic of the weekend conference also does not appear to have come up in any of the public sessions of Council from last year, leading up to this past weekends event.

A situation which leaves unknown the the public as to how much discussion outside of the public council format was given to the sponsorship request and how many of the city's councillors voted to approve the sponsorship funding. Not to mention, that there is no reference as to where in the City budget that the cash for the sponsorship may have been allocated from.

Clearly however the weekend of information sessions had an impact on the Mayor, with Mayor Brain outlining to Council on Monday how he hopes to move forward from the energy of the weekend with plans to incorporate some of what was learned over the weekend into city policy.

At Monday's council session the Mayor put forward a notice of motion for  the next Council meeting of the 25th that would see the city start a 2030 Sustainable City Policy Working Group that will discuss policies around placemaking, green policies such as renewable energy, local food production, social enterprises and  items of that nature, as well as some of the items that Councillor Mirau learned at the Communities fit for Children meeting of last year.

The Mayor also noted how the 2030 Sustainable City Working Group could be tied into such city functions as the Official Community Plan, affordable housing issues and planning for Major Projects issues as well as such concepts as compositing, backyard hens, zero waste strategies that would make the city a more sustainable community and to help move the vision of the City's Hays 2.0 plan forward.

You can learn more about the Portland project from their City Repairs Facebook page, which outlines some of the initiatives currently in place in that community.

More on the Transition Society plans can be found from their website and Facebook page.

You can review more from the Monday Council session from our Council Timeline here.

More background on discussion points from Prince Rupert City Council can be found on our archive page.

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