Coast Mountain College’s multipurpose room was abuzz April 30 with a series of masters student presentations aimed at harnessing social innovation to create a more resilient Prince Rupert.
The event was organized by Ecotrust Canada’s North Coast Innovation Lab (NCIL) to explore topics of downtown revitalization, local food production and distribution, restorative ocean aquaculture, and employment/social enterprise.
“The NCIL exists to support innovative projects and initiatives that contribute to a more resilient Prince Rupert, with an eye to local economic development,” says Ecotrust Canada Project Manager Nathan Randall. “By bringing people together to share ideas and perspectives, and by working together to find solutions to community challenges, businesses, organizations and individuals can co-create the Prince Rupert they desire.”
The public event featured presentations from masters student project coordinators Denise Gonzalez (Redesign Rupert), Morgan Sage (Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society), Taylor Reidlinger (Coastal Shellfish Corporation), and Jordan MacDonald (Hecate Strait Employment Development Society).
Reidlinger highlighted strong professional networks, and learning by doing, as important factors for getting innovative projects off the ground.
“I have an amazing network of support here, with decades – if not centuries – of combined local knowledge and experience,” Reidlinger says. “We will never have all the information needed to create something perfect; yet if we value progress over perfection and act now, while being sensitive to what we are effecting, we will achieve positive progress nonetheless.”
More than 40 community members attended the evening event, including Blair Mirau, City Councilor and CEO of Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society, who is one of the NCIL’s four current partner organizations, growing fresh produce at Rupert Lawn and Garden for local distribution.
“Not only did this event’s turnout show there is an appetite for innovation, all of the project coordinators proved that the collaboration and progress is already happening in Prince Rupert,” Mirau says. “We are improving this community from within.”
The four NCIL student Project Coordinators are set to continue their work until September 2019. For more information about the NCIL and these initiatives contact Nathan Randall at email@example.com.