Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ambitious plan will see Charles M. Hays Statue loom large over the city!

A larger than life figure, Charles Melville Hays watches over Prince Rupert
A much, much larger version of the iconic statue is planned for high
above the city, set to be place on Mount Hays.

An ambitious project to celebrate the impact of Charles M Hays on the history of the North Coast has been put together by a local group, with a concept that will forever intertwine the image of Hays with the city that came out of his dream of a Pacific port linked by a national railway to the population heart of the nation

Plans have quickly advanced for development of a statue, measuring some 132 feet in height (40 metres), to be placed atop Mount Hays, situated in the area of the old gondola shed. The image, to be based on the existing statue in front of City Hall, will have the likeness of Hays gazing out over the city and towards the sea, indicative of his grand vision for the port city back in 1910.

Reaching out to local groups to participate is also key for the organizing committee which is being set up under the banner of Remembering Charles Hays. The first steps for the project began late last year, with an eye towards securing grant funding related to the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, with plans to also seek out corporate funding from some of the region's industrial players.

Included in the statue plans will be an interpretive centre to be built at the base of Mount Hays, directly below the statue, it will include a range of Hays related memorabilia dealing with his persona life and tragic demise aboard the Titanic, as well as items focusing on the founding of Prince Rupert and the selection of the city as the terminus of the Grand Trunk Railway.  As part of that development a paved parking area will be developed for tour buses and cars, as well as an outdoor picnic for the use of visitors and local residents alike.

Lighting for the giant statue will be wind generated, with generating modules stretching across the mountain side, connected to a bank of high capacity batteries located in the base of the statue. A luminescent canopy has been designed to arch over the Hays statue, directing the light in a direction that will make the likeness of Hays visible from the harbour and city below, but won't provide for any light pollution on the mountain top.

From High Atop Mount Hays, Charles M Hays will soon
be gazing across the town and the port he envisioned

uture plans related to the project include revisiting the prospect of a modern gondola lift in much the same path of the old one that once took residents and visitors up to the old chalet location. That however is something that is somewhat down the road and will require further access to a range of grant opportunities.

Operating as the Charles M Hays Foundation, the Remembering Charles Hays project is just one of a number of ideas that have been bounced around by the steering committee, with some thought being given to approaching both School District 52 and Northwest Community College to create a local history program to keep alive the grand vision that Hays had for the region and instruct the youth of today about the community's roots.

Observation Deck areas are also part of the larger plan for the project, with two large decks to be located about 150 metres below the base of the statue on the east and west sides of it. They will be connected as part of an expanded mountain trail development proposal that would provide more access to the mountain for recreational users in the community.

Local residents will soon be recruited to put in motion what is being described as a pivotal Legacy project for the community. Those with an interest in being involved can participate through the ongoing fundraising team, or you can volunteer to provide assistance in putting together the exhibits that will be placed in the interpretive centre. Towards that theme, organizers will also soon be issuing a call for those in the community with any historical items related to the Hays plan to offer it to the interpretive centre once they move their plans forward.

Starting Monday morning, more background will be provided through a media conference to be held at the Kwinitsa station stage area at Mariners Park. That location was selected as it is in the direct line of sight from where the statue will look down upon the city. At that time, an exhibit will be unveiled to provide the full visual look to how the statue will take its place above the city. A few sneak previews of that presentation are available on the project page which you can review here.

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