A recently formed Advocacy Group in Prince Rupert has spoken out following Saturday's declaration of a Local State of Emergency, with People for Public Infrastructure calling for local politicians and MLA Rice to speak in a public forum towards the ongoing challenges for the city's water infrastructure.
The organization issued a statement shortly after Saturday's Declaration, with spokesman Tom Kertes taking the lead for the group in speaking to the current situation in the city, Mr Kertes noting of their wish to see a city run public forum to the issue.
“Today's emergency declaration reflects what residents and businesses have known for years. It's not news that our public water system is in urgent need of repair.
That's why we need to all work together to fix it.
Calling for more provincial support to ensure that we can fix the immediate crisis makes sense. But the city can't stop there. Local government has waited too long to publicly engage city residents on the development of a comprehensive plan that addresses the needs of our public water system.
In light of today's emergency declaration, one thing that many local politicians, at all levels of government, can do is revisit their decisions to not attend the planned Community Forum on the the water system, scheduled for January 21.
Let's talk alternatives and plans together, so we can get this fixed for the long-term"
The advocacy group's statement notes of the status of the invitation list to their proposed forum of January 2023, noting of the mixed response to the request to date.
People for Public Infrastructure has already invited the mayor, the entire city council, the local MLA, and the local MP to speak on alternatives and plans for fixing the water system at the forum.
So far, only four local politicians have replied, with all declining to speak on a panel at the forum. (One city councilor said they would attend the forum but would not speak on a panel and another said they may attend but did not commit.) The intent of the forum is to bring all voices to one table, so alternatives and plans can be developed in the open.
“Given that we are now in a local state of emergency, it seems like a good time for local politicians to speak directly to residents about solutions, alternatives, and plans for fixing the issue. That's why we invited them to our forum. Local politicians should reconsider and attend.
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