Friday, February 10, 2017

Waterfront landmark looks for a little TLC and a new chance to serve

Prince Rupert City Council will be seeking a grant opportunity to
conduct further study on the status of the old CNR/VIA Rail station on the waterfront

City Council is moving forward with plans to apply for provincial grant funding that will allow the city to conduct some studies on the state of the old CNR/VIA rail station on the city's waterfront.

The structure (pictured above) is currently in a rather run down condition, located on the eastern fringe of the city's Rotary Waterfront park.

As we noted as part of our preview of City Council on Monday, the grant opportunity is part of British Columbia's Canada's 150th celebrations, with the city seeking funding as part of Conserving Historical sites category.

Veronika Stewart, the City's communications director outlined some of the background on the grant application for Council at the Monday session, noting that cost to the city should they find success in their application would be 20,000 dollars.

The assessment would be broken down into a two phase approach with 9,000 required for the first assessment segment of the two part process, the remaining money to be used dependent on the findings of that preliminary work.

Council members had a few questions related to the grant quest, with councillor Gurvinder Randhawa focusing on the city's contribution if successful, inquiring if the city had the required 20,000 dollars available should they be successful in their grant request.

Corinne Bomben the City's Financial Officer provided some background on that theme, noting that if the city received the grant, the required funding from the city would come out of this years budget process which has yet to be considered by council to this point.

Councillor Cunningham inquired if there were other grants available for future refurbishment if the city were successful in their funding quest.

Ms. Stewart noted that following up on other grant opportunities is the path the city would like to follow should the building be found to be still in a state that would allow for future development.

Some background on the Grant application can be reviewed from the Council Agenda package for the February 6th Council session, the information is available on page 8 of the documentation.

You can review the full discussion of the topic by Council from the City's You Tube Video archive, starting at the 53 minute mark.

Should the city find that the building is indeed salvageable, it could make for the centrepiece of development for the Rotary Waterfront Park area.

That area was one of a number of locations around the city that the Ontario based urban planning company the Planning Partnership explored during their November visit to Prince Rupert, with the urban planners providing a number of  recommendations for future civic development in number of locations around the city.

During their week long visit to the community, they introduced a concept of that area being turned into a community point known as Rupert's Landing, making use of the heritage building on the waterfront would seem to be a natural part of moving that concept forward.

Making the city's waterfront a more social space was one of the
areas investigated by the Planning Partnership in November

(Photo Mayor Lee Brain Facebook page)

In the past, proposals for the waterfront building have included such options as an office building, restaurant and commercial space listed among some of the possibilities.

However, many of those plans failed to come to fruition over the years, as the ambitious development plans were placed on a back burner as the city's economy continued to struggle.

The deadline for applications to the fund is February 10th, City Council did not outline when any decision by the province would be made related to their request for funding from the grant program.

For more items related to City Council discussions see our Council archive page.

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