Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Council to seek answers from ICBC on service options for Prince Rupert

With Prince Rupert's last remaining auto body shop closing its doors, Prince Rupert City Council will be seeking some answers from ICBC as to what plans that the Government's Insurance Corporation has to serve the community.

Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa raised the topic towards the end of Monday's City Council session, observing on the closure of Joe's Auto body on Saskatoon Avenue, the last of the auto body shops in the community and a location that had served double duty in recent years as the ICBC Claims Centre.

"I think that people are asking questions here. 

So we used to have an ICBC office here where you could take your car and get an estimate and take your car to the body shop.

And then they shut down their office here and you would take your car to the body shop but now I hear that the body shop is shutting down too, so people now have to go to Terrace ...

So people want to know because they're paying insurance, so can we write a letter to ICBC to their next steps ... or to hear what kind of options people of Prince Rupert have now"

Mayor Pond picked up on the topic,  noting the direction for staff to take up with ICBC.

"The Direction towards staff is, to get a hold of ICBC and find out what their plans are to provide service to the people of Prince Rupert, now that we've lost the one and only remaining body shop. 

But not so much the body shop but they were the claims Centre now for ICBC, so if you could find out for all of us that would be great"

Mr. Pond then instructed City Manager Dr. Rob Buchan to contact ICBC seeking some further information.

The discussion of the concerning situation can be reviewed through the City's Video Archive at the one hour forty five minute mark.

While Mr. Buchan is contacting ICBC to see what they may have to say towards the topic, he may want to call on North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice to serve as the city's advocate with the insurance corporation.  

Having her perhaps make use her office to press upon ICBC of the need to provide full service to the community.

As well, perhaps an internal memo could be forwarded to the Director of Economic Development, asking Paul Venditelli to explore why the city continues to find stresses to its commercial and service core and continues to lose vital services.

As anyone with a vehicle knows, finding space with local mechanics for any kind of car repair requires flexibility for scheduling and lengthy waits.

And wth no auto body services locally now, as was pointed out at Council on Monday, residents face the need to travel to Terrace for those requirements. 

Not too many years ago, Prince Rupert had a good variety of options for mechanics, auto body repair and car sales.

As the last few years have evolved, we have edge closer to the status of one horse town and in some cases a No Horse town.

Services such as mechanics and auto body repair should be on City Council's radar if they hope to see the community grow.

In our current situation, the fewer options there are, or no options as it is,  could be the deciding factor for someone considering moving to the region.

Looking to  see what steps the city may be able to make use of to find a way attract some of those missing services and commercial entities should be some of the focus for City Council for the year ahead.

More on Monday's Council Session can be reviewed here.

A look at our Commercial sector is available here.

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