Monday, February 26, 2018

Au Revoir ReDesign Rupert?

A once highly touted project from the  Mayor and City Council seems to have been  put on the back burner, or have faded from view of late, with the ReDesign Rupert initiative gaining somewhat less in the way of discussion in recent months from Prince Rupert's elected officials, a group which is now two months into their final year of their four year term.

After a couple of years of urban planning, consultation sessions and community engagement events, it appears that the ReDesign Rupert program has run its course, with not even a fond farewell from the City Council that commissioned it.

Described on the City website as an 18 month engagement process when it was launched in 2016, the goal was described as one that would look to develop a "culture of participation in the city".

The Redesign Rupert project was announced by Mayor Lee Brain and City Council in the early days of the current administration, with the City then flush in cash for such projects,with funding delivered through it's Legacy Corporation mechanism.

The urban vision project was led by the Community Development Institute at the University of Northern British Columbia  and was designed to engage the community in providing commentary on how they visualized what Prince Rupert will look like in the years to come.

How that all worked out however is still somewhat unknown, with little in the way of public updates from Council on the work of the Redesign Rupert program for a fair bit of time now, and the two information portals that once highlighted the programs progress now dormant, in once case seemingly abandoned.

This link to Redesign Rupert, which once offered a wide overview of the program's plans and initiatives has since been removed from its former host site, though the link to the original website continues to be highlighted by the City of Prince Rupert.

The Redesign Rupert website has been removed from service,
the urban vision planning program was launched in the summer of 2015

As well, the Redesign Rupert Facebook page, which also provided for one of the main conduits of information,  has not had an update made since August of 2017, with what would seem to be the final initiative of the program, an event that celebrated a downtown Window Art show.

The last real significant shout out from the City when it comes to the work of the program was delivered  following a community session from October of 2016 called Rupert Recharge.

As part of their contribution to that event, the CDI provided this final report on the findings in December 2016 event.

The Rupert Recharge event of October 2016, was the largest of the initatives
through the Redesign Rupert program
(photo from Redesign Rupert Facebook page)

That Rupert Recharge event, having offered a number of door prizes and other attractions for participants, resulted in a good sized crowd and provided for some suggestions from community participants for further follow up.

Following the event, City Council expressed some enthusiasm for the development of Action groups to further take the notes from that Rupert Recharge session and expand on them.

Though what the success of those action groups has been since the end of 2016 and if they continue function as planned today, is something that also seems to be lost in the flow of information from the City.

While the launch of the Redesign Rupert brand made for some early enthusiasm in the community, some of the work of the Community Development Institute seemed to get overshadowed over the course of the last few years, particularly as the Mayor and Council took up other interests to promote.

Part of that reduced footprint perhaps coming as the City brought in other elements to its visualizations for development of the city.  Providing for a process which  appeared at times to deliver a bounty of views and ideas that didn't seem to have any real process to tie them together for the community in a cohesive vision of a path ahead.

When it comes to showcasing the achievements of all those programs, the city's own archive of information seems to have come to an end at February of 2017.

The last document included on the City website through its Updates page is that of the Waterfront and Downtown Design concepts from February of last year, submitted by an Ontario planning firm called the Planning Partnerships.

From that point, the city's information portal offers no further background to outline the work of the Redesign Rupert project, or many of the other planning initiatives of recent years,  with little in the way of follow up as to what the next steps toward any action, if any, are in mind for the urban vision projects.

With the clock now ticking on the last few months for this current City Council, the opportunities will begin to dwindle for Mayor Brain and his Council to provide any further details, or outline what the community has taken away from the Redesign Rupert exercise, as well as to offer up a review for the public as to whether the community received all that it had hoped for from it's investment.

You can review our archive of notes related to the program here.

For more items of interest related to Prince Rupert City Council see our Council Discussion page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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