Monday, February 1, 2021

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

All but three floors are fronted by scaffolding at the Digby Tower
renovation work is underway at the long vacant apartment building

See update below:

Prince Rupert's second tallest building is in the midst of some renovation, with Marcan Construction having taken on some work at the Sherbrooke Avenue Tower, with scaffolding currently inching its way up the outside of the long vacant east side apartment building.

So far there has been no official announcement from the developer about the work, related to what the finished product may look like, or where it may fit into when it comes to offering some solutions to the city's housing stock situation.

The work ahead for the Digby Tower was noted back in December in a year end message from Mayor Lee Brain, who outlined that potential housing solution, as well as a range of other housing themes either in motion or in the proposal stage.

Housing has long been a theme of discussion for City Council, though to date the results when it comes to actual in the ground foundations has been disappointly low, while a number of the items on the list above seemed to have stalled in recent months.

The housing situation in Prince Rupert has been exacerbated in recent years through the loss of housing stock owing to a number of fires, or through renovations to existing buildings and the evictions that have followed. 

The topic of the renoviction trend one of the more worrisome things for local residents desperately trying to find accommodation.

As the Mayor notes with the prospect of a growing workforce related to Port activities, housing will clearly consume a large focus for the year ahead and that was a theme that Councillor Nick Adey touched on at last week's Council session.

Coun. Nick Adey spoke
to housing at last week's
Council Session 
"It sort of moves to lead to undertake ways to ensure that the housing supply that Prince Rupert can offer, can support the expansion that arises as a result of the Port expanding. I just think you know,  that all levels of government we need to really see those things in lock step. You know, you can't have an expansion on one hand and not address what that implies on the issue of housing, I offer that just as a comment"

Following the Councillors observations, the Mayor noted that Council had moved forward on housing themes at the Monday session, noting of their work on the Tax incentives that they will offer towards development.

"We did a good portion of our part tonight by passing that ... Tax Incentive Bylaw so that we can start moving toward with development in the downtown, particularly with multi-family"

Mr. Brain also made note of his New Year's address and  how it highlighted the city's work on Housing and Child care, themes which he identified as the top priorities for Council.

The Mayor added that he may provide a housing update for the community at a future council session, something that will be welcome for sure; providing that it offers up some details as to expectations and not just what Council hopes may come to pass towards addressing one of the larges issues in the community.

You can review the comments from last week's council session from the Video archive starting at the 50 minute mark of the Monday council meeting.

Update: On Tuesday, February 2nd, Mayor Brain made note of the Digby Towers activity, outlining that an out of town investor from Victoria had purchased the long dormant apartment building last year; with plans to hopefully add 60 more units of housing options for the community by years end.

For more notes on Housing see our Archive page here.

A wider overview of Council Discussion themes can be explored here.


  1. The city keeps talking about shortage of housing in the community yet lets 30 to 40 grows ops start up in residential areas all over the city.

    The properties will be rendered uninhabitable without major renovation. This is something the mayor should address along with the possible project updates at the next meeting.

    1. Well, not sure your volume of grow ops in residential areas is verifiable, but it is clear there is an issue there to be explored. Hopefully Council members may ask some questions on those themes and how to get from proposed housing to housing under construction.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion