Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Prince Rupert's Housing focus since 2014 election; much discussion, few solutions

Prince Rupert City Council has been discussing affordable housing concerns
in the City for the last three years, they return to the topic once again
at tonight's City Council session.

This week observes the third year anniversary of the current City Council collective having taken to office, with Mayor Lee Brain and the six serving Councillors having earned the endorsement of the voters on November 15th of 2014.

And since that day that the voters made their choice, one of the major issues that has come up again and again and again, has been how to address the many concerns related to all forms of housing in the community.

The theme of housing had been an issue in the city even before that election of November 2014, with affordable housing having been a recurring theme for some of the candidates during the municipal election campaign

The increasingly dire housing situation was of particular concern for both Barry Cunningham and Joy Thorkelson who carried that torch the highest during the run up to the 2014 vote.

While the City Council has tackled any number of challenges and introduced new concepts and visions since taking office, Housing has remained a theme of much discussion over these last three years of Council's four year mandate.

But as the Tent City protest currently underway at the City Hall Fountain lawn indicates, it's an ongoing theme which hasn't provided for much success.

As they settle in for what could be a long night this evening, should council wish to find a guiding principle for their work ahead, they should perhaps post in a prominent position in the Council Chamber, the words of Councillor Cunningham on housing themes from October of 2015,

"we're just spinning its wheels and the tires are going to wear out and go flat pretty soon" 

His thoughts of the time, provide for not only a very current review of where this Council is at on the issue, but as well, offers a reminder as to the need to focus on ways to solve the ongoing affordable housing situation.

Looking at the results of their discussions two years later, one imagines there's not much tread left on those tires, if they haven't indeed gone flat.

As we heard again from that same Council member on the need for progress but one month ago ... affordable housing is a "situation that we have to wrap our heads around and get more help"

As a bit of background towards all that talk since 2014, we offer up a review of the work of City Council, as well as that of MLA Jennifer Rice in Victoria over the last three years. 

Below is a review of those instances when affordable housing made for a topic of note at either Prince Rupert City Hall,  or in the British Columbia Legislature.

Prior to the 2014 vote

Barry Cunningham to stress Port and Housing as campaign issues
Daybreak North puts the talk into Election Talking Points
Council candidate Pedersen has a few thoughts on energy and more
Councillors Cunningham and Thorkelson to host Open House on November 1st
Pamphlets will be the path to the voters door for Ray Pedersen
Challengers take the reins at Prince Rupert Mayoralty Forum
Council candidates seek to turn Tuesday's election forum appearance into votes
Barry Cunningham outlines his 'common sense' approach to Council candidacy
Joy Thorkelson stresses need for Depth and Balance on Council

City Hall Discussions post election day November 2014


October 20 -- Affordable housing results continue to elude Prince Rupert city Council
October 19 -- Councillor Thorkelson seeks solutions for homeless residents as wetter, colder weather approaches

July 4 -- A Seniors Housing option for the Anchor Inn?

June 29 -- Council praises Metlakatla Development Corporation's Elders/Seniors Housing initiative as a template for other developers

June 20 -- Council moves two Senior's Housing proposals further ahead

May 12 -- Most on City Council show enthusiasm for renovation plans for old Neptune Inn

April 21 -- City to consider old King Edward School site for Senior's Housing proposal at Monday's meeting

January 11 -- Council moves forward with Neptune Inn plan for Senior's Housing
January 6 -- Details on proposed Seniors Housing project for Neptune site to be reviewed by Council


November 23 -- Five North Coast projects included in BC Government's affordable housing announcement from Tuesday

July 2016 -- City Council adds Seniors Housing requirement and  development timeline covenants to Graham Avenue Land Sale

March 29 -- City's Housing Committee gets closer to deliver Report to Province

March 9 -- Kanata School land zoning issue is deferred once again, set to return for March 21 session

January 13 -- Affordable housing continues to dominate Council discussions at start of year


December 10 -- Housing Committee hopes to pick up the pace on housing issues in the New Year
December 9 -- Kanata School zoning review to be delayed until January
December 9 -- Despite some opposition during Public Hearing process, Council approves zoning change for Stiles Place Development

November 13 -- Senior's Housing plans in south could provide blue print for Prince Rupert
November 11 -- Mayor Brain hopeful of progress on affordable housing situation in 2016
November 10 -- Rich Coleman's Affordable Housing tour takes him to Penticton
November 5 -- Housing lessons for Prince Rupert? Province heralds new affordable housing development in Victoria

October 28 -- Housing update highlights funding issues and cross subsidization concepts
October 7 -- Same goals, different approaches for council members on the issue of affordable housing in Prince Rupert

September 16 -- Homeless situation a topic of much interest at Monday's Council session
September 2 -- East Side residents to get first look at Kanata school property housing proposals next week

August 21 -- When it comes to forward momentum for development, Port Edward seems to be on a quicker pace
August 21 -- More LNG Go Plan math with Professor Krekic
August 20 -- Re: Think, Re: Build, Re: Design ... new mantras for a new Prince Rupert?
August 20 -- Housing issues again dominate Council's attention, leading to some heated discussion
August 20 -- Councillors Thorkelson, Cunningham at odds with Mayor over Agenda addition and concerns over land use

July 23 -- Councillor Thorkelson to seek Public Information session on land use in Prince Rupert
July 23 -- Kanata School lands rezoning sparks more discussion at Council
July 23 -- Councillor Thorkelson outlines concerns related to downtown condo proposal
July 5 -- Overnight fire on Third Avenue West consumes New Moon apartment building

June 23 -- City Questionnaire on Housing Needs to launch Thursday
June 12 -- Councillor Thorkelson shares the word: 'BC Housing is looking for units to purchase in Prince Rupert'
June 12 -- Former residents of Neptune Inn find housing for now
June 12 -- Councillor Thorkelson looks to include Senior's Housing in Park Avenue Development planning

May 27 -- Councillor Thorkelson expresses frustration over ongoing issues of homelessness in Prince Rupert
May 27 -- Housing survey set to move forward in weeks to come
May 13 -- Council members to attend Housing forum in Terrace
May 13 -- City to partner with local groups in Homelessness housing initiative
May  4 -- Council's housing moves thus far trending to the upper end of the pricing spectrum

April 10 -- Mayor updates Council on Housing Committee progress

March 5 -- Public engagement on Prince Rupert housing issues expected by next month
March 4 -- Housing plans aplenty for the NorthWest

February 25 -- City Council divides up the work for two City Housing Committees
February 20 -- Terms for Housing Committee to be examined at Monday's Council meeting
February 12 -- Council considers possible shift in Housing Commission plans
February 12 -- East side housing proposal faces a number of questions at City Council

January 14 -- City puts in motion plan to develop Mayor's Select standing committee on Housing


December 3 -- Mayor uses inaugural speech to preview approach ahead for Council

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
will also speak at tonight's
Prince Rupert Council session
MLA Rice on housing 


November 10 -- North Coast MLA to provide Housing update at Tuesday's Council session
November 9 -- In comments on Prince Rupert Tent City, MLA Rice points to Liberals; highlights NDP achievements and plans

March 1 -- MLA Rice examines many themes in busy Tuesday session at Legislature

April 24 -- Campaign Forum revisited
April 21 -- Radio debates set the scene for Monday's North Coast All Candidates meeting


September 20 -- Dear Mr. Minister ... MLA Rice takes Prince Rupert Housing concerns to Rich Coleman

June 6 -- Housing issues dominate inquiries at MLA Rice's office


January 14 -- Blanket housing plan just doesn't work


December 12 -- MLA Rice challenges Minister Rich Coleman's thoughts over rent controls
November  8 -- Prince Rupert Housing, Jobs and training among items raised by MLA Rice during Legislature session

The talking will continue tonight as City Council discusses the immediate concerns related to housing and the Tent city protest as part of their 7PM Council session.

Whether they come up with any solutions or offer an indication that some are close on the horizon will be of some interest to what could be a large audience.

If you can't make it downtown for the council session, it will be available for streaming on the city's website.

The latest notes of interest from the Tent City protest can be found on our archive page.

More notes on housing in the Northwest is available through our archive page here.


  1. Must be embarr-assing to write a piece blaming mayor/council/MLA for a prov govt issue and then literally the SAME DAY they announce new housing units. Kind of funny actually

  2. Since you're just going to flood each and every story that has been posted on housing today, here's the same reply from your other commentary ...

    Embarr-assing How exactly?

    The story correctly highlights that for all the Council talk, discussion groups and posturing on housing for three years, it took a collective of homeless people living in tents around the City Hall Fountain to get any kind of announcement or recognition.

    Suggest you are misplacing the corner where the embarrassment should rightly be placed.

    Even a few of the Council members have noted that this has taken far too long to act upon and it only seemed to move forward after Councillor Thorkelson raised the prospect of the upcoming winter one month ago.

    The announcement from the MLA (as well as the ones today for Terrace and Vernon BTW) is welcome AND Long Overdue

    Now, to see if we actually get some kind of results ... sooner rather than later