Monday, August 21, 2023

Question on fate of Park Avenue Hotel project, just one of what could be larger list for Council to seek answers towards

Land along Park Avenue that was once slated
for a micro hotel residence for the city

Last week's Special Council Session and the focus on the two properties in the downtown area facing Demolition orders from the City, opened a window a bit towards another topic of note that City Council may want to provide an update on.  

That being the fate of a myriad of past commercial projects and housing developments that have yet to see a shovel of dirt or muskeg ... get turned, or a foundation put in.

The sidebar to the main theme of the demolition orders of last Wednesday, came from Councillor Barry Cunningham who noted of the suggestion from the representative of the property owner that a Prince Rupert investor and businessman Parm Sandhu, might serve as a go between for the City and Ms. Luong, when it came to the future for remains of the Rose's structure up for discussion on the night.

An image of the proposed hotel for Park Avenue approved in 2021

Mr. Cunningham, noted that Mr. Sandhu had in previous years  been to Council pushing forward his own plans for a development, that of a micro hotel on Park Avenue, a three storey sixty until hotel project approved by Council in 2021.

And as the Councillor pointed out, despite some accommodation by Council at the time towards the project, there has yet to be any sign of construction to show for it all.

The Councillor noting on August 16th,  that mostly the land that was proposed for development has since become overgrown with weeds and long grass.

"And you know with all due respect  to Mr. Sandhu ... he came before council approximately two years ago to get rezoning to start an apartment and the grass hasn't even been cut where he was going to do it. So if he's still working that project, I'd like to see where he's going to get the time to do this" -- Prince Rupert Councillor Barry Cunningham at the August 16 Special Council Session

The view of the land on Park looking to the East is one of mostly overgrown
shrubs, weeds and grass

Mr. Sandhu did not reply to the Councillor's concerns on Wednesday evening, but if Council wants to follow up on that project, they probably can put together a much larger list when it comes to updates towards some of the much discussed projects of recent years.

Many of them ones that were hailed as set to change the look of the city, only to fade from view as the years have moved along.

Much of the new look was part of the excitement for the Rupert 2030 Vision plan which among its features was to create a new Gateway to the downtown core at McBride and Third Avenue West.

Since that period of time, the only development so far is the current construction of the new detachment for the RCMP which originally was not part of the original design for the gateway initiative. 

The old DQ lot has been cleared, so hopefully that's a sign of progress on the north side of Third West, however, though there has not been much heard lately on the lot directly across the street.

Perhaps even of more importance for residents is the status of a number of once promising housing plans that all seem to have faded from the list of projects soon to dig into the ground.

Land along Drake Crescent once approved for a town house 
development looks much the same today as it did in 2021 when
the housing plan was approved.

Among a few of the many proposals over the years include, the Drake Crescent Townhouses, plans for housing adjacent to the BC Ferries Terminal along Park Avenue, as well as last years plans for Housing in the Seal Cove Quarry area

As well,  some of the more recent proposals for Social and affordable housing in the downtown area, seem to have not moved forward, though few updates have come along to advise as to their fate.

Another parcel of land that was up for development at one time, is the Kanata School land which still sits empty, the last proposal for some large scale apartment development was abandoned  some eight years ago, an unfortunate ending towards a proposal for housing that may have helped alleviate some of the current housing crisis in the city.

Since then, the land had been considered as a location for a new Middle School, though it seems that. the decision for the long delayed new middle school building is once again focused on the current site on Ninth West and is still something residents are awaiting some clarity towards from SD52 and the province..

Housing proved to be a key element of the 2022 Municipal election and continues to dominate the conversation as those looking for affordable housing continue to face challenges and frustrations.

Providing an up to date checklist for the community as to which projects may still have a shelf life and which have been abandoned for good; would at least serve as some kind of guideline for resident to measure the success of Council on delivering on some their more ambitious proposals over the last few years.

A review of some of the other conversation topics from the Special Council session can be explored here.

More notes on the Commercial sector can be reviewed here.

A look at the past in housing proposals can be examined here.

1 comment:

  1. Why single out one property there are properties all over town inhabitable with no demo orders. BC Housing has done the same with Mckay street.
    As the city has stated on their work around town post Covid everything takes more time.