Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Council hears of a string of concerns from the McKay street area

Monday's City Council session opened with a public opportunity for residents to provide comment on the Budget Process and while no one stepped forward to offer guidance on the City's financial plan for 2016, when the open microphone opportunity was shifted to other concerns as part of the Committee of the Whole process the line up of speakers started to form.

Concerns related to sports fishing and alternative energy issues provided the bookend for the public comment session, but the bulk of the forty four minutes of public concern was centred on issues related to the west side McKay Street area and the downtown part of the city.

Three participants raised a stream of issues for Council to give consideration about, with the focus mainly on concerns about the spread of drugs in the community and the violence that is related to it, as well as a number of traffic issues throughout the city that made up the bulk of the notes for the attention of Council.

A lot of the discussion involved concerns over how conditions may get worse should LNG development ever move into full swing, one contributor outlined her thoughts on the City's Hays 2.0 vision plan and how the pace of development could change the community and force some to leave it owing to housing and social issues, including family violence, broken families and other concerns that those with limited incomes are struggling with at this time.

Crime was also another concern for some of the participants with worries over drug trafficking in the community and the growing violence that seems associated with that problem, some attention was also directed to incidents that take place in the downtown area.

All of the items that were raised by those in attendance should be of some concern for Council, which has plans for the McKay Street park area but may be a little out of the loop on the issues of concern for the people that actually live in the area surrounding that space. Creating an urban oasis may be a nice idea, but if the residents of the area are fearful for their neighbourhood, it would seem that  some of Council's priorities may need to be readdressed.

The issues of crime and traffic issues are items that Council should raise in a public forum with the Officer in Charge of the Prince Rupert Detachment.

In years past, Council would regularly have the RCMP come to a public session of Council and provide an update on issues and take questions from the City's Councillors, those engagements have not taken place for a couple of years now and perhaps this might mark a timely moment to return to that opportunity to connect with city's detachment.

It's a process that takes place in neighbouring communities, Terrace Council regularly reviews Quarterly reports during public council sessions and at times hears presentations from the detachment and offers feedback to the detachment from area residents.

As well, the Terrace Detachment is very engaged in providing constant information to the public, offering a regular update to the public on some of their work in the community, that might be something that Council could request of the local RCMP, providing the community with a regular account of some of the issues that face both local residents and members of the local detachment.

The McKay Street area is surely not the only area of the city where residents have concerns about many of those same issues, the fact that those residents felt the need to bring them to the attention of Council however does suggest that it is an area of the city that the City needs to put some immediate focus on.

You can review the full presentation to Council from the City's You Tube Archive, the concerns from residents can be found at the 13 minute mark.

More background on Monday's Council session can be found on Council Timeline feature.

For more items related to Prince Rupert City Council see our Council Archive page here.

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