Friday, January 27, 2017

Legacy Corporation Land plans turn gaze towards Watson Island

Are there plans in motion that may finally see some kind of forward momentum for the development of land on Watson Island?

Well, grab your compass and let's check out a map kids, as we follow some clues, just like a Prince Rupert version of Dora the Explorer, or Blue's Clues.

As 2017 took its first few tentative steps into a brand new year, we made note of some City business over the holiday period which featured a Public Notice from the City of Prince Rupert, advising of the City's plans to dispose of property, to be directed towards the city owned Legacy Corporation.

The notification which was not posted to the city's website or range of social media streams, was handled mainly through two advertisements which were placed in the back of the local paper on December 28th and January 4th.

The city's public notice providing for the terms of a City proposal to dispose of property by way of lease for a thirty year term commencing January 5th. Indicating that the land is to be subdivided by leasehold subdivision to Prince Rupert Legacy Corporation.

The notice included a short advisory that any comments related to the topic were to be in the hands of the city's corporate administrator by January 4th, making for a pretty short window of opportunity for any questions or comments that may have come from the community.

The only reference to the land that was in consideration for the property disposition, was from a listing of a number of Property Identification Numbers, with no map offered up for review, or further information provided in the way of background for interested residents.

Something that might have been helpful when it came to the city's quest for public feedback and could have worked towards the cause of community engagement.

As it turns out, if you have some time to put towards exploring the city's website, there is an instrument available to access more information related to those PID numbers.

And while the City doesn't promote the online tool very effectively, the mapping feature which is tucked away as part of the city's information portal, does help clear up some of the mystery when it comes to the lots flagged by the City in December.

You can take the city's program out for a spin and check out the properties in question through the link available here

By Clicking on the Bar Graph Icon found on the mapping page you can call up the PID Search engine.

From that point, simply enter the numbers listed from those newspaper notices (we've listed them below) click view on Map and you'll get an overview of the lots in question.

Lot 1 -- PID 004403703
Lot 2 -- PID 004402511
Lot 3 -- PID 004428650
Lot 4 -- PID 004428641

Once you enter the numbers into the search box you will find that the destination of those four PID's takes us out to the city limits and to a number of lots spread across the Watson Island Industrial site, a place that is the home of the political ghosts of Council's past and still a location that continues to make news even to this day.

As we've noted over the last few years, the flow of information to the public on anything to do with Watson Island has diminished a fair bit as the months have passed by.

With only a few exceptions, there have been few updates by the City on themes related to Watson Island, whether it be potential industrial development plans, or notes on the long running legal issues surrounding the site.

That approach to information sharing remains very much a theme that has continued on to this point into 2017 for the City.

As we wind down the first month of the year, there hasn't been much more out of City Hall related to the public notice from December, or what plans the City may have for the lots listed in the newspaper notifications.

Owing to the cancellation of the January 23rd Regular Council session, any opportunity for the city's council members to make mention of the topic, or for any potential comments from the public on the theme (or any other issues) were lost this month.

From that cancelled session, the city has also noted that it will be yet another twenty eight days, before the next opportunity for public comment to be made available, something which will come as part of the February 20th council meeting.

At the January 9th Council Session, Councillor Cunningham made note of his desire to see the City provide more updates to the public from a range of areas of civic control, suggesting that Council have department heads and other civic staff members appear in public session and offer up some background on what they have planned for the year ahead.

Perhaps as he moves forward with his initiative to share more information, Mr. Cunningham could add an update on Watson Island, as well as one on the work of the Legacy Fund as part of his ongoing checklist on civic updates for the year ahead.

With Watson Island seemingly the focus for the long term plans for the Legacy Corporation, it's somewhat puzzling that City Council wouldn't want to share news of what appears to be progress in returning that industrial site into a money generating asset for the community.

In addition to the prospect of delivering some potentially positive news for the folks at home when it comes to the deserted industrial site at Watson Island, celebrating the involvement of the Legacy Corporation which we rarely hear much about might have been worth a shout out.

The last that we heard word of Legacy, a civic instrument created in 2014 to maximize benefit for the city and the community, was back when energy giant Exxon/Mobil/Imperial Oil was exploring Tuck inlet for potential LNG development.

A few years have passed by since that initial announcement outlining the scope of the city's ambitions through the Legacy Corporation.

One imagines that it would certainly be of some interest for city residents if Council was to offer up some background on what became of that Tuck Inlet initiative.

As well, Council could outline some of the vision that the Legacy Corporation may have when it comes to Watson Island and what that involvement might offer to the community in the years ahead.

Some background on the Watson Island story can be found on our archive page here, while the short list of notes on Legacy Corporation can be examined here.

More items of note related to City Council can be reviewed from our Council Discussion page.

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