Monday, August 29, 2022

City's CN Waterfront project gains approving review from Tourism journalist, though local residents may have a few questions on its progress

A look at the outside of the CN Building renovation work

The current transformation of the CN Building to the new home for the Wheelhouse Brewing Company has gained some applause from the Tourism sector, that through the work of a journalist who recently toured the Northwest 

Tourism Prince Rupert recently shared a link to the story on the City's plans from the London Free Press

The theme of the article that praised the city's vision, was how Craft Brewers are playing a role in saving historic sites across the nation. The Prince Rupert initiative one that author Wayne Newton observed could inspire other municipalities.

As Tourism Prince Rupert noted back in June, Mr. Newton and a number of other members of the hospitality media sector were in Prince Rupert as part of a tour of the BC Ale Trail, which led to their exploration of the Waterfront plans for the local brewery.

While the Craft Beer Tourism sector and those who write about it eagerly await the first pint at the new location, updates on how the project is coming along haven't really provided much insight as to where the project is at the moment.

The announcement of the Wheelhouse  plans and estimate of the 5.3 million dollar cost for the renovations for the new home for the Brewing company came through an enthusiastic Social media note from Mayor Lee Brain back in December of 2021.

The ongoing work on the CN Waterfront building is included in the monthly Major Project Review for the Council's public sessions from the Director of Operations Richard Pucci.  

But for the most part those updates have consisted of just a short mention of the status on its completion process and not much more. 

Which seemingly as a check of our Council Session archive page shows: hasn't moved much beyond 15% which was the mark noted in January and most recently noted as the same rate at the August 22nd Council Session.

The Major Project Update from January had the
Waterfront project at 15% completion, the most recent
update for August had the project at that same rate of completion.

Mr. Pucci's monthly updates are also notable, in that there is little in the way of follow up questions by the Council members.

Something which could have provided further information information for the public on the project, its progress and costing as it continued to move forward.

Even the award of the Master Service Agreement this year for the project elicited little in the way of follow up questions as it related to the work ahead for the CN building renovation.

Scaffolding and Open Window areas mark the visuals for
the current state of the CN Building renovation project

While the pace of the work on the project seems glacial, the City does however continue to find success in accessing provincial funding for the work; most recently with the BC Gov't announcing in Mid August of another 1 million dollars for the project.

The project did get a mention as part of the Mayor's State of the City presentation of June, the Mayor making note of the delays, which he attributed to supply issues and materials acquisitions, that have changed the timeline from an October 2022 completion to sometime in 2023. 

That presentation however was mainly a review of the Mayor's talking points for the waterfront as part of his larger 2030 Vision planning document.

What may be required by the public, particularly with a municipal election on the horizon,  is for the current Council to make better use of the monthly Major Project Update process. 

Using that public forum to ask some questions of the Director of Operations towards the progress and relay any concerns that the public may have shared with them related to the work.

Time of course is running out for such kind of oversight by the elected officials, with just one meeting on September 19th and another on October 3rd before Prince Rupert residents go to the polling booth on October 15th.

More notes on the City's list of Major Projects can be reviewed here.

Further items of note from City Council can be explored from our Council Discussion page.

1 comment:

  1. How does a project timeline be that out of whack. The city might try to blame supply line hiccups and Covid. This project was accepted by council last fall. The problems with Covid and supply lines were a known when given the go ahead.

    Any time a job runs over the costs increase. Any project has fixed costs until completion. I am very concerned this is going to be another airport renovation fiasco. I think the budget on that more than doubled. Meanwhile we are scratching to do emergency repairs on McBride.

    Why doesn't the tourist journalist comment on the great drawn the 700 block 3rd Ave West is? A true tourist draw is the entire community! The entire community fails miserably!