The Rupert Square Mall will be making some changes to the facade facing Second Avenue West.

The Rupert Square Mall will be making some changes to the facade facing Second Avenue West.

Prince Rupert mall moving ahead with changes to facade

This spring Rupert Square Shopping Centre plans to update its signage and will begin by making changes to the Second Avenue side of the building.

This spring Rupert Square Shopping Centre plans to update its signage and will begin by making changes to the Second Avenue side of the building.

Two free standing signs on either side of the building will be removed and on the Second Avenue side, light boxes will be installed on the existing metal canopy for advertising banners.

“Instead of the current Pylon figures on 2nd Avenue, we feel that by having light boxes on the canopy on 2nd Avenue it will give the building and streetscape a face lift which is badly needed. This will give 2nd Avenue a better presence and lighting,” Connie Chow of Pollyco stated in a development permit application submitted to City Hall.

While the application received unanimous support from council, it did prompt discussion amongst council members about the mall.

“I’m wondering if what used to be a front door is just a decorative piece and are we mandated to keep it there?” asked Kathy Bedard.

City Planner Zeno Krekic said he’s had that same conversation with the mall owners before.

“It’s one of those situations where the retail outfit that’s now taking up the space has seen it as a bit of an issue in respect to stealing and carrying stuff out. I have visited the store and they have simply moved materials in front of the door. It isn’t boarded it up inside. Each conversation we have, I bring it up again because I think it’s an important piece for us that a front entrance has a front door,” Krekic told council.

But, he added, he also realizes the difficulties that exist.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson voiced her displeasure with the design, but said she was voting in favour because it was in sync with the regulations and if the City sets design guidelines, then council should live with them.

“But I hate this, I really do. I think it looks garish and I would think we should have some kind of system with awnings that would have been more pedestrian friendly. I’m just saying it’s not what I would like to see for Second Avenue. It looks like another strip mall,” Thorkelson said.

Responding Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne said she liked the design and was surprised by Thorkelson’s response.

“It appeals to me because I do like the lighting and I think it will be something that will be easy to keep clean. The gardens are there and people don’t walk through the gardens anyway as far as awnings go. I think they’ve done a great job and it’s a good first step,” Gordon-Payne said.

She also raised concerns about the $30,000 value of the application.

“I’m starting to wonder how many development permit things are going to come before us and if we should be raising the value at which point they need to come before council?” Gordon-Payne posed.

Krekic told council he’s had similar discussions recently with a group of local contractors, business owners, designers and volunteers that are looking at downtown revitalization and said he hopes to bring a suggestion to council later in May to possible raise the limit.

“Right now I’m canvassing other communities to see what they are doing,” he added.