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UPDATE: Prince Rupert Port Authority holds open house on Cow Bay Development

The meeting room at the Crest was filled last night as the Prince Rupert Port Authority hosted an open house to show the proposed development plan for the Cow Bay area.

"We estimate there were about 75 people in attendance last night, which we were very pleased about," said Prince Rupert Port Authority spokesperson Michael Gurney.

The plan includes new buildings for shops located across from Atlin Terminal, where the parking lot is currently located, and on the grassy area located at the corner of 1st Avenue East and Cow Bay Road. Beside Atlin Terminal, where the old fish plant was located, plans call for another new building and a large covered area accommodate community gatherings, cruise passengers and other functions.

The road through Cow Bay itself is also being redesigned to allow more of a pedestrian focus. The plan is for thinner, curbless streets with planted trees separating the road from the pedestrian sidewalk.

But the major changes proposed aren't just on land, but on the water as well. Off of Atlin dock is, which currently houses boats from West Coast Launch and some larger boats that call on Prince Rupert, plans call for a significant number of new moorage spaces that would allow more personal watercraft to call on Prince Rupert as well as an extension of the dock itself to the far end of Northland Cruise dock. Acting as a breakwater to protect the new spaces, the proposal calls for a publicly accessible pier stretching into the harbour.

According to Gurney, response to the proposed development was positive and well informed.

"Some of the comments we received were about waterfront access, and people recognized that as more terminals develop there is a need to ensure public waterfront access...One resident said this was 'a huge step in the right direction," he said.

"Other comments were about pedestrian access. One person said they loved the public spaces with more pedestrian walkability, which they felt was important and we obviously agree with based on the boards...Others commented that it was attractive to tourists and resident alike. So it would be good for the economy as we try to attract people to come spend time and money in Prince Rupert, but would benefit resident as well. We had some people say it would be a nice place to go and have coffee while watching the sunset."

With the open house now complete Gurney said the port authority will be launching the environmental assessment for the project, though a date when that get underway has yet to be determined.

"We're very excited to see where this all leads because it is a community inspired vision," he said.

"Our team was really pleased to hear that the vision reflects the unique character of Prince Rupert. Even though the architect was informed by other communities, like Granville Island and Gibsons, the design, layout and flow of traffic reflects how Prince Rupert works and flows in terms of our history, culture and community."

More on the development, including a virtual tour, can be found on the Prince Rupert Port Authority's website.

Look for more on this story later.

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