The City of Prince Rupert has announced that its public meeting on Hays 2.0 will be postponed until after the new year.
The Northern View met with Mayor Lee Brain on Nov. 7 to discuss the anticipated town hall on Hays 2.0, which was previously scheduled for Nov. 22.
“Hays 2.0 is a five-point vision for the community,” Brain said. “Really what it’s designed to do is be a model for how the community is to move forward into the 21st century.”
Those points include becoming a global community by establishing a national trade corridor, First Nations partnerships, initiatives such as Re:Build Rupert and Re:Design Rupert, and the plans for 2030 Sustainable City.
It’s been two years since Hays 2.0 was announced on Nov. 26, 2015. Since then the city has made partnerships for community improvement projects including the Rushbrook Trail upgrade, and McKay Street Park and Mariners Park.
Designers helped create a vision for the downtown and waterfront after receiving feedback from the community through nearly 2,000 engagements for Re:Design Rupert.
“We’ve done a whole bunch of prep work, but real tangible results on the ground as well to get this community up to speed. All of this has happened in just the last two years,” Brain said.
The mayor also highlights his Re:Build Rupert vision.
“The waterworks project is one of the hallmarks of the things that we’ve done,” Brain said of replacing the water system that is more than 100 years old.
This spring, the city began work to replace the dam at Woodworth Lake, part of a three-phase project to replace the dam and supply line.
Brain also mentioned paving the downtown core — although that was a pre-existing intiative with the province separate from Hays 2.0. “We’ve got the highways done, 3rd Avenue all the way down to Cow Bay done, preparing for the downtown revitalization. We’re replacing all of the sidewalks downtown as well, so that we can get at least some of that infrastructure ready for that.”
“We’ve also sorted some of our issues out, like we had a settlement with the port and we finally settled our PILT (Payments In Lieu of Taxes) settlement and we got a $5.4-million payment from them.”
The updated version of the outline, called the Hays 2.0 Blueprint, will explain exactly how the city plans to tackle the ambitious project.
On Dec. 6, the city will unveil some never-before-heard information on the former pulp mill site to the public.
The update on Watson Island will be held at Chances Casino at 4 p.m. Until now, the city has been unable to comment in detail about Watson Island, because of legal restrictions.
“We’re 95 per cent done the decommissioning of Watson Island now. The mill site has been probably the number one priority for us for this entire community, making sure that we’re going to be able to get this back on the tax roll so that we have a proposal coming up. We’re going to potentially build a small-scale propane facility,” Brain said.
In April, Pembina Pipelines signed a non-binding letter of intent with Prince Rupert Legacy Inc., a subsidiary of the city, to develop a propane terminal on Watson Island.
“That would basically be lease revenue for the community to finally be able to increase our revenue and start addressing these larger infrastructure projects. So that’s been the two big things we’ve been working on, Hays 2.0 and tearing down the mill, getting that site prepared to generate income and securing the city’s water supply infrastructure for the next 150 years.”
“A community is like a house. Right now our house has a really poor foundation, and there’s a lot of people in the community that really want nice paintings on the wall, they want a couch, they want things to look nice,” Brain said.
Many residents and even a city councillor, have complained about the derelict buildings that continue to lower the city’s appeal.
“We’re trying to balance the fact that we need to aesthetically improve the community’s look, but also the fact that the house’s infrastructure is our top priority and we need to take big chunks out of those issues. We’re going to cover in detail what those problems are, and the timeline of how we’re going to go about them.”
The public will be able to ask questions at the meeting.
“That’s why we want people to come, and finally be able to say everything that is going on and leave no stone unturned. It’s going to be an exciting night,” Brain said.