Thursday, April 13, 2023

Councillor Barry Cunningham takes up the cause of the Ice House Gallery with Council statements

The Ice House Gallery and its leasing situation with the
Prince Rupert Port Authority made for some comments from
City Councillor Barry Cunningham on Tuesday evening

Prince Rupert City Councillor Barry Cunningham has put himself into the conversation of the fate of a local Artists space on the Prince Rupert waterfronts, with the city councillor speaking out in support of the Ice House Gallery and its current rental situation with the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

The topic came out of a correspondence for the City Council Constent Agenda, a letter to Council from Prince Rupert resident and Cruise Ship Volunteer Judy Warren, who provided a few themes for discussion upon the lead up to the 2023 Cruise Ship season in the city.

A letter to Prince Rupert City Council with some thoughts on the
upcoming Cruise Ship season
(click to enlarge)

Ms. Warren's passing mention of the Ice House location in the Atlin Terminal, made for the main takeaway for Councillor Cunningham, who expanded on the current controversy over an expiring lease and how he viewed the nature of the Port's handling of  the topic.

Speaking of the unique experiences currently offered in the Cow Bay Area, the councillor relayed some of Ms. Warrens' themes on what Prince Rupert has to offer for tourists. 

Mr. Cunningham then made use of the public pulpit that the Council chamber offers, speaking out and in effect calling out the Port Authority towards the fate of the Ice House Gallery.

"One of those businesses that a lot of people really like is the Ice house. 

It's kind of a Catch 22 the Port does a lot of good things, giving seed money to different organizations, but here they are possibly shutting down the Ice House,  for the fact that it's going up for bid for whoever wants to Bid on it and this Co-op of artists might not be able to match the price they want for it, so they'll have to shut down.

So here's an organization that's a grass roots organization, that promotes art within the community to be sold to local people, as well as the cruise ship industry and it is an attraction

And so you've got the Port on one hand saying we'll help you here and on the other hand they're going to shut down one of the few outlets that local artists get to showcase their work and everything.

And I really think, that as a good corporate citizen, the Port should be looking at something like that and encouraging it and not discouraging it.

Now I don't know if the rumours are true or not, but they seem to be rampant throughout town that this is going to close down, or it's not necessarily going to close down, its going to be put up to be bid on, or for suggestion.

So if that is the case, I hope the Port reconsiders this, because a lot of people really enjoy that place and I think that it's very important for not just tourism but encouraging local artists to promote their products and things like this.

So you know again, I'm hoping that this just isn't a dollar and cents thing. 

Because if it is, again the Port showing its true colours. 

Even though every time we turn around they're promoting how good they are and so if they want to promote exactly how good they are as a community entity they should be looking after the grass roots as well"

For a bit of background to the issue, we outlined the Current status of the situation back in March, the Port at the time explaining the leasing situation as follows:

"The lease for the space that the Ice House Gallery currently occupies is expiring later this year and the Prince Rupert Port Authority intends to engage in an open-bid process for a tenant in that location. 

The Ice House Gallery is aware and has been engaged with us; we expect they will consider submitting a bid if they have a desire to continue operating in the space. 

Once the process is open, any interested parties will be encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest for consideration." -- PRPA's  Manager of Corporate Communications,  Katherine Voigt in March on the status of the Atlin Terminal lease for the Ice House Gallery

More notes on Tuesday's Council Session can be explored through our Council Archive page.

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