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City of Prince Rupert wants to be a part of waterfront access discussions

Chief financial officer Corrine Bomben and councillor Barry Cunnningham look on as Prince Rupert Port Authority vice-president of trade development and public affairs Shaun Stevenson provides an update on port activities. - Shaun Thomas photo
Chief financial officer Corrine Bomben and councillor Barry Cunnningham look on as Prince Rupert Port Authority vice-president of trade development and public affairs Shaun Stevenson provides an update on port activities.
— image credit: Shaun Thomas photo

When Pinnacle Renewable Resources and the Prince Rupert Port Authority discuss plans for waterfront access, the City of Prince Rupert wants to have a seat at the table.

Council made the motion to write to both groups with the request following a meeting that included port authority vice-president of trade development and public affairs Shaun Stevenson providing an update on port activities to council, after which talk in council chambers immediately turned to the waterfront. Saying that those at the port recognize the importance of the waterfront to residents, Stevenson told council talks are happening on a number of fronts to improve access both east and west of Kwinitsa Station.

"We continue to work with the city to purchase those [waterfront] lands ... we're eager to finish the purchase of the lands that will move forward the Cow Bay Development Plan that frankly, the community owns," he said, referring to plans for the area unveiled in 2012.

"We are also talking with CN about land ownership for mid-harbour waterfront access ... we think there are some things that can be done on those lands while ensuring the safety of the operation as a rail yard is preserved."

But Barry Cunningham, in his first meeting after being elected to council, said talking about waterfront access plans with Pinnacle Renewable Resources simply wasn't good enough.

"It's like you want to give access to the community, but you don't want to talk to the community about it ... it's like Pinnacle is working with the port authority, but there is no mention of the community," he said.

"This is one area where the port could really step up instead of just offering more window dressing."

Stevenson responded by saying this was anything but window dressing and the port was firmly committed to improving access, including working with the Prince Rupert Rotary Club to examine the feasibility of reopening the Rushbrook Trail.

The city will await a response from both companies about the request to be included in any discussions about the waterfront, and Mayor Jack Mussallem said he believes it would be best if the city could appoint either a councillor or a member of the public to attend.

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