Monday, January 4, 2021

Mayor's New Years Eve Declaration featured a number of previously undeclared Council actions in 2020

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain offered up greetings to the residents of the city on New Years Eve, with a Social Media post that offered up a range of City Council highlights and achievements from the year just ended.

The document was one which shared some thoughts on the work accomplished, and in the Spirit of recycling the shiny Christmas wrapping of the season, the Mayor's review included many of the year's past announcements on themes of infrastructure, housing initiatives, downtown vision planning. 

As well, Mayor Brain made note of the ongoing roll out of the city's work on the Official Community Plan, success on finally finding a home for the RCMP,  and much more.

It was also noticeable for a number of items which perhaps residents had not heard much about, considering how a few of them they had not been introduced publicly, or in some cases even mentioned in passing through the public forum of City Council meetings through 2020.

Among some of the accounts of 2020 as relayed by the Mayor that could used a bit more in detail from City Council include:

While the news of success for the long delayed new detachment for the city's police officers and staff, Council may want to expand on the "creative deal' that brought it all together, as well as to share more background on what is described as the innovative wastewater treatment solution being studied.

The developer awareness event was one which Council did mention when in the planning stages, but once held, there were no further updates provided for the public. 

With little to be heard towards outlining how many developers participated, what information they were given, what impressions that they may have had from their visit and how much the exercise cost the city.

Not surprising was the amount of attention that Housing items claimed as part of the mayors focus for his year end statement, that considering how the quest for housing in Prince Rupert has become one of the most controversial topics that Council faced in the last 365 days.   

And  a fair bit of the Mayor's New Year's Eve greetings explored the housing question,  with a few items to catch the eye among the listing of housing plans in progress, or in planning.

Those included:

The housing policy is one that could use some additional exposure from City Council explaining how the donation of land plans will work and what those partnerships mentioned offer the community.

That last item was one which we noted in late December, but it is an initiative that Council has not discussed in public session as of yet, providing for little detail as to how Council decided that would be the next location for a new sudbivision development.

The redesign of the Waterfront also claimed some significant focus from the New Year's Eve review, though perhaps council could explore further the need for a relocation of the Airport ferry at this time, considering how there is still a rather limited number of flights available to and from Prince Rupert.

As well, Council may wish to share more background on the renovation plans for the CN building and how the see the development coming along in the years ahead.

The City's ongoing plans for development of Watson Island continue to frame some of Council's discussion themes, however Council has not provided for any form of extensive overview for a few years now of the current status of the Industrial site. 

Council while pointing to the success they feel they have had on that while, hav yet to provided for any sense of how much financial return they have received, nor a list of any tenants other the Pembina that they have secured from the extensive investment in repurposed pulp mill lands.

As we noted at the end of December, the 2020 Council year was one that provided for many success stories and some challenges, but one thing that stood out was the lack of community engagement that the year provided for. 

Hopefully 2021 will see more information relayed to city residents through the Public Council session; a forum where the city's elected officials can ask questions on our behalf and seek out answers of questions that the public might have for them, if they knew about some of the initiatives that are  underway.

The Full Social Media review from Mayor Brain can be found here.

You can explore more notes on City Council Discussion themes from our archive page here.

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