What does it mean to negotiate?
In a successful negotiation there must be some sort of compromise that may taste awful, but can be swallowed by each party nonetheless.
In the case of CN’s fence blocking a 100-metre stretch of a dingy beach near the Lightering Dock, and the City of Prince Rupert trying to persuade them to remove the fence in time for the 39th Seafest, what compromise does CN need to make?
The property they’ve blocked off is theirs, and if the beach is, in fact, contaminated (most likely because of the city sewage outflow nearby) the company has a lawsuit to lose, and more bad PR, if someone becomes sick or injured on their site.
The city has no cards to play, unless they offer CN a partnership they can’t refuse.
The mayor can tug at CN’s 2017 theme “Partnering with Our Neighbours,” which he will likely do when he goes to Ottawa this week.
CN’s North Coast neighbours — the community — are ticked off right now. They want this small token sample of a beach and they don’t care how dirty or contaminated it is.
That leaves us with, who is liable?
When the Exstew recreation site almost closed, due to CN’s fears of responsibility, the province stepped in.
Is the city ready to take that on?
They already had to delegate rebuilding Rushbrook Trail to the trail society due to liability concerns over falling rocks.
The countdown is on, it’s a little more than two weeks before Seafest and the city needs to find something it can offer CN that would be enticing enough for them to provide this coastal community with the waterfront access it yearns.
Negotiation is a two-way street.
The good folks in the white building on Third Ave. must bring something to the negotiating table other than righteous indignation.