Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Prosperity the hope, as Prince Rupert and Port Edward sign agreement

Mayors Pond and Bjorndal sign off on the recently concluded
agreement, while City of Prince Rupert City Manager Robert Buchan
and Port Edward Interim CAO Elsie Lemke look on
(Photo from City of PR)

An agreement that has been in the works for a while, finally came to fruition on Tuesday, as the City of Prince Rupert and the District of Port Edward mayors affixed their signatures to a Shared Prosperity Agreement.

The notes towards the project were first indicated at the State of the City event of last summer hosted by then Mayor Lee Brain, who brought Port Edward Mayor Knut Bjorndal up to the stage to share some comments towards the project.

Mr. Brain has departed from the political scene, but Mr. Bjorndal noted of the successful conclusion to the work earlier this month, advising his residents that a singing ceremony was on the horizon.

Today, the I's were dotted the t's crossed and the agreement was put into motion by the Port Edward Mayor and Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond, who took office in the October 2022 election.

In comments to go along with the official announcement, Mayor Bjorndal observed of what he sees as a bright future for both communities.

This agreement was a long time in coming. There is a bright future for our communities in working closely together on the challenges we both face. We are connected together as never before and need a united voice to becoming the prosperous communities our present and future residents are entitled to.”

For his part, Mayor Pond observed of the need for the two communities to work together.

“This is a big step forward for our two communities. We both understand and share the same challenges of providing for isolated Northern communities. As neighbours it’s important that we work together to better the position of the region as a whole.”

Among the elements of the agreement:

The Agreement includes the introduction of parameters for negotiating a Shared Service Agreement, commitment to provide long term fire service mutual aid, as well as commitment to a continued water supply to Watson Island. 

The latter two Agreements having additional formal terms that were signed off on in May of 2022.

The Agreement also commits to working together on shared regional interests like attracting housing, recreation, tourism, infrastructure renewal, highway considerations, land use planning, and attraction and retention of workers. 

It also commits to a jointly considered appointment to the Prince Rupert Port Authority Board of Directors.

The renewed commitment towards togetherness brings the City of Prince Rupert a fair distance from four years ago, when the two communities weren't even on the same book, let alone the same page, when it came to communal relations.

The amplified rhetoric of the times, putting both council's on edge. 

With the agreement today, those tensions now appear well in the past, as both communities look to the future.

While the Port Edward Council noted the success of the agreement earlier this month, Prince Rupert Council members did not mention the pending conclusion to the process through their first month of meetings.

More notes on Prince Rupert Council themes can be found here.

The same for Port Edward is available here.


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