Purchasing new medical devices, building an accessible playground, and equipping search and rescue crews with a custom mobile command centre are just some of the ways the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s (PRPA) Community Investment Fund has impacted people across northwest B.C. over the past year.
“We believe that strong communities sustain us and as we grow as a trade gateway, we want the communities that enable that growth to directly benefit from its success through our Community Investment Fund,” said Brittany Pederson, Manager, Community Relations, Prince Rupert Port Authority.
Each year, PRPA dedicates a portion of its net income to the Community Investment Fund. Since 2011, over $14 million has been committed to more than 90 projects that support health, arts and culture, education, and recreation for residents of all ages and backgrounds.
To start off 2022, PRPA is putting out a call for new proposals that aim to enhance local communities in diverse ways. “We’re excited to see what types of projects are put forward and how the Community Investment Fund can continue to enrich the lives of the people who call the North Coast home,” said Pederson.
Groups interested in submitting a proposal must go through an application process. Information can be found at RupertPort.com/CIF. The deadline for 2022 submissions is February 13. Here is a look back on the projects announced in 2021.
Upgrades for northwest hospitals
Teaming with the North Coast Health Improvement Society, PRPA committed $100,000 to the full-scale renovation of the Cancer Care Unit at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital. The space was completely overhauled to better meet the current needs of staff and patients and provide more room to accommodate the growing number of patients needing care in the future.
At Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace, the Women’s Wellness Centre and Colposcopy Clinic is now equipped with a Hysteroscopy and Fluent Fluid Management System, saving patients from travelling outside the region for critical diagnostic and follow-up treatments. The specialized equipment was purchased with a $19,500 contribution to the Dr. REM Lee Hospital Foundation and helps serve people from communities as far west as Haida Gwaii, as far east as Burns Lake and as far north as the Yukon border.
Investing in community safety
Prince Rupert Ground Search and Rescue has transformed its ability to respond to emergencies with a new mobile command centre, purchased with a $125,300 Community Investment Fund contribution. Equipped with the communications devices necessary to coordinate a search and rescue operation, the mobile unit allows the team to stay connected with other organizations and respond to events more rapidly.
Revitalizing longtime landmarks
The Community Investment Fund contributed $280,500 to modernization projects at three different buildings that play an integral part in the community. The entrance and reception area at the Friendship House of Prince Rupert was completely renovated. The lobby space is now safer, more secure and inviting for the thousands of clients who access the cultural, educational, and recreational programs offered there.
PRPA contributed to the revitalization of the Chatham House Complex, which is home to the Museum of Northern BC, Gitxaala Education Centre, Gitxaala Environmental Stewardship, PAC 10 Tutoring, as well as art, dance, and yoga studios. The project has extended the iconic building’s lifespan by better protecting the structure and the world-renowned Indigenous art housed inside it from the elements.
The Lester Centre of the Arts now boasts the best digital sound system in northwest B.C.; PRPA teamed up with the Prince Rupert Performing Arts Society to upgrade the theatre’s original infrastructure that dated back to 1987. The new cutting-edge equipment not only drastically improves the quality of the sound but opens new doors for the wide range of productions that are presented at the venue.
PRPA committed $38,750 to two local projects that promote sustainability on both land and sea. A new greenhouse was built at Sunken Gardens, providing the Prince Rupert Garden Club with a place to teach community members about growing their own food. The vegetables harvested there are shared with other local groups that support food security in the city.
PRPA supported efforts to reduce ocean pollution by contributing to the purchase of six Seabins. These specially designed garbage skimmers were installed at several local marinas, where they collect debris floating in the water. The project was led by the Rainmakers Interact Club, a group of community-minded student volunteers from Charles Hays Secondary School, under the guidance of the Rotary Club of Prince Rupert.
Developing places to play
The new accessible playground at Lax Kxeen Elementary School is designed to accommodate people of all abilities. The Community Investment Fund committed $70,000 to the project, which features equipment and surfaces chosen with guidance from School District 52’s Occupational Therapist. The playground is suited to people with varying mobility issues, whether they use a wheelchair, walker, stroller, or cane.
PRPA invested $84,000 in a new pump track in the heart of Terrace, which has provided a new training ground for cyclists of all ages and experience levels. The asphalt path, which was developed through a partnership with the Terrace Off Road Cycling Association, features a series of bumps and banked corners, which riders can approach at their own pace on a bicycle, tricycle, scooter, or skateboard.