Friday, May 14, 2021

Prince Rupert to seek out grant funding for Active Transportation program

The City of Prince Rupert will be looking to access some funding through the Northern Development Initiative Trust towards some work on a much discussed Active Transportation plan for the community.

As we noted on Wednesday the topic of the grant was to be one of two items on the Agenda for a Special Council session for that afternoon, with the Council members to receive a report from Rob Buchan, one of the city's contract planners with iPlan.

In his report to Council, Mr. Buchan observed the following:

"I don't have a lot to say, this is a short report, we just very recently saw the opportunity for funding for Active Transportation it is contingent on the City doing a broader  Transportation/Master Transportation Plan. Now the OCP does call for that and involved with that as well, we would be able to do  the parking strategy which council is very much aware, is one of the challenges that we need to resolve quickly so we can enable development to proceed seamlessly and without impediment."

Towards the timeline of the proposed grant application, Mr. Buchan noted that the deadline was coming up on May 25th, with an application roughed out but now awaiting a Council resolution in support.

"We need to have a Council resolution that gives support to the application and acknowledges that we would basically manage the process ... we think that by the time that this is approved and by the time we have completed an RFP process we could actually have this come out of next years budget, so we wouldn't need a budget amendment for this year,  we could have all the preparatory work ready to go so the beginning of January we could issue a contract ... and be done within the window that is allowed for this. And your know maybe between now and then we find additional grant funding to do this work"

The verbal report did not make mention of the amount of the grant (which would be up to 20 thousand dollars) or the cost of a larger Transportation Study, which in the documentation provided in the Agenda for the Special Session was estimated at between 50 and 70 thousand dollars.

Mayor Brain recounted some of Council's past discussions on the topic, and offering his support for some forward momentum towards seeking the funding.

"I think I remember us having a conversation either a year or two ago and Councillor Adey actually brought this point pretty pointedly that we need to move forward with an Active Transportation Plan. And now that the OCP is completed I think it was natural that the next steps would be this process, so I'm definitely in favour of us  getting some grant funding for that"

For their part, the Council members offered up no comments, or discussion on the topic under consideration, voting to approve the request to seek out the grant funding.

One item of note from the conversation on the day is the indication that the contract planners from iPlan may be on the local scene for the foreseeable future. 

Originally hired at the time of the Mayor's 2030 vision presentation of December 2019, their initial focus was to be towards  work on the city's Official Community Plan work.

However,  Rob and Chris Buchan from iPlan have since also taken on much of the work that was once the domain for the former civic planner Zeno Krekic.

Now that the OCP work is approved and the iPlan team is discussing projects that will be taking the community into 2022, it would appear that iPlan has become the city's planning department, though one that is based out of town. 

And if that is indeed the case, Council should probably make that designation official and advise the residents of Prince Rupert of the civic vision towards how it will be handling planning issues moving forward.

The City has yet to post the video of the Special Session to their You Tube page, once they do we'll update our notes.

You can review further notes on past Council Discussion themes here.

For more items of interest related to civic planning  in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

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