Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Councillor Cunningham renews call for development of Condos for Seniors

The Stiles Place condo proposal of 2014
one of a few proposed condos for potential use
of retiring seniors that never quite made it to the build stage

(From City of PR agenda packages of the time)

The quest for housing for home owning Seniors to downsize into has been an oft heard call at Prince Rupert City Council, but one which so far has delivered few results. 

Last week, Councillor Barry Cunningham brought it back to the top of the discussion list seeking some community feedback to the topic of development in the city.

The Councillor used his social media platform of Facebook on February 9th to reintroduce  the theme, one which was well received judging by the follow up comments that were delivered by his readers, many of them with some good suggestions for him to share with Council if he wishes.

The topic has been a daunting one for City Council over the years, as proposals were approved but in some cases never moved forward. The reasons varied from changing personal situations for the proponents, to the decisions of potential property developers who chose to leave this market for other communities.

Though in the last number of years, explanations as to the lack of development make for an element of the discussion on housing that rarely it seems gets a follow up from the Council members.

Still if there is a demand as the Councillor believes, one would think that it's only a matter of time before someone looks to fill the void that Council first took note of more than seven years ago.

This year the City took a new approach towards offering incentives towards housing in the community, with the recently approved Downtown Tax Incentive Bylaw program one possible program that may finally see some foundations make their way onto some land in the specified downtown areas with rental and condo developments rising on the city's skyline.

The need for all types of housing has been a theme that has dogged council since most of the current office holders joined the debate in 2014, as well as for those who joined four years later. 

Though in seven years, while there has been much in the way of discussion,  a number of those goals of the early days still remain unfulfilled to date.

Some of those past calls for development can be reviewed below, this list also a helpful guide to past projects that offered much promise but eventually were dashed without further comment, as well as to  those that made it to the finish line:


February 1 -- Work on Digby Tower a potential sign of some relief for the city's housing crunch; that as City Council makes note of housing as a priority for 2021


May 1  -- Location, Location, Location ... Mayor Brain makes the call for an expansion on housing in Prince Rupert  


November 14  -- A call for priority status for housing issues in Prince Rupert
November 7  -- Official Opening of Cedar Village charts path to December occupancy
October 24 -- New Operators of pair of Prince Rupert Seniors residences look to the future with growth in mind 
August 21 -- Observations on the state of downtown and lack of housing make for contribution to public comment period of Council session
May 15 -- For Chamberlin Avenue site, everything old will be new again ...
May 2 -- Neptune Inn zoning to go to Public Hearing May 13th
April 3 -- Park Avenue land back on the Prince Rupert real estate market
February 28 -- No Building for Old men (or Women) Neptune Inn building to revert to status as hotel accommodation 


August 7 -- Mayor Brain, Councillor Mirau offer housing response in wake of recent permissive tax exemption decision
August 3 -- Repurposed Anchor Inn to offer some relief for Prince Rupert's housing crunch
May 18 -- City's approach to housing leaving many gaps when it comes to affordable options
March 14 -- In Prince Rupert; Housing approvals don't always mean housing starts 
March 9 -- In final year of their mandate, City Council's list of Feuds continues to grow


November 17 -- Prince Rupert's Housing focus since 2014 election; much discussion, few solutions
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 developments 
June 26 -- Metlakatla's Elders/Seniors project to be main focus for Council tonight
June 20 -- Council moves two Seniors housing proposals further ahead
June 6 -- Hill Top Lodge for Seniors to go to Public Hearing on Monday
May 12 -- Most on City Council show enthusiasm for renovation plans for old Neptune Inn 
March 27 --  April date set for Public Information session on Neptune Inn conversion proposal
January 11 -- Council moves forward with Neptune Inn plan for Seniors housing
January 6 -- Details on proposed Seniors Housing project for Neptune site to bd reviewed by Council


November 18 -- Council delays decision on zoning request for Skyline Manor area pending further information 
August 8 -- Graham Avenue land sale gains a bit of out of town attention 
July 29 -- Drake Crescent housing development gains Council approval 
July 29 -- City Council adds Seniors Housing requirement and development timeline covenanats to Graham Avenue land sale 
July 18 -- City set to move on land issue off Graham after AAP results released 
March 9 -- Kanata School land zoning issue is deferred once again, set to return for March 21st session 
February 24 -- Drake Crescent zoning decision deferred until March session 
January 18 -- Zoning delay on Kanata lands has City seeking answers from City of Prince Rupert 
January 13 -- Affordable housing continues to dominate Council discussions at start of year


December 9 -- Kanata School and zoning review to be delayed until January
December 4 -- City to host Public hearing on Stiles Place condo development 
August 20 -- Councillors Thorkelson, Cunningham at odds with Mayor over Agenda addition and concerns on land use
August 20 -- Housing issues again dominate Council's attention, leading to some heated discussion
June 25 -- Proposed condo development offers dramatic shift to downtown housing options
July  20 -- First glimpse of proposed development for Bill Murray Way
July 23 -- Councillor Thorkelson outlines concerns related to Downtown condo proposal
July 23 -- Councillor Thorkelson to seek Public Information session on land use in Prince Rupert
July  20 -- First glimpse of proposed development for Bill Murray Way
July 8 -- Concerns over Graham Avenue road extension dominate Park Avenue Public hearing
July 2 -- Park Avenue Housing Development to get Second Public Hearing
June 25-- Proposed condo development offers dramatic shift to downtown housing options
June 12 -- Councillor Thorkelson looks to include Senior's housing in park Avenue Development Planning
May 16 -- Location, location, location! SD52 puts Kanata School property on the market 
May 4 -- Council's housing moves thus far trending to the upper end of the pricing spectrum 
April 17 -- Prince Rupert Council may have some fences to mend with the School District
March 5 -- Public Engagement on Prince Rupert housing issues expected by next month
February 25 -- City Council divides up the work for Two City Housing Committees
January 14 -- City puts in motion plan to develop Mayor's Select standing committee on Housing

Considering the list of previous proposals having fallen by the wayside and little real progress on the niche area of Seniors housing to be found to date, Mr. Cunningham's goal for options for Seniors residences still seems quite far off. 

Hopefully Council will see some success from the city's latest property tax exemption plan delivering on this desire to ensure that Seniors that wish to remain in the community have an option. 

Other that is, then to pack up and relocate to a community with suitable housing stock.

For further items of note on housing in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

A wider overview of past Council Discussion themes is available here.

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