Highrisers on Third Avenue or boutique storefronts; community pavilions or boardwalks at the waterfront; a lunch joint or a float plane watchtower at Seal Cove – it’s all possible through the City of Prince Rupert’s and ReDesign Rupert’s new public engagement initiative announced Tuesday, Oct. 11.
A $75,000 funding announcement through a grant by Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) has enabled the city to hire Planning Partnership – a Canadian design firm with experience in Toronto, Ottawa and Fredericton – to revamp Third Avenue, city-owned waterfront lots and Seal Cove.
Starting the week of Nov. 21, a team of designers will be visiting Prince Rupert to meet with stakeholders, conduct a public talk at the Lester Centre, and hold an event planned for that week to gather public input.
The designers will also be working from data collected by ReDesign Rupert, whose team has engaged with 1,200 residents and attended 18 events so far this year.
“We’ll have the designers coming up and everybody in the community is going to get a chance to participate on what they want Third Avenue to look like, what they want the economy of Third Avenue to look like in the future, how we want our waterfront to look, and what are the big opportunities at Seal Cove?” said Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain at a city council meeting on Oct. 11.
“It’s one of those pieces where we really need to start to dream big about the community and get people engaged, and have some fun too.”
In a statement from the city, city officials identified these three areas as places people are passionate about redesigning, and after consultations have taken place, a suite of policies will need to be adopted to introduce the design aesthetics, financing will need to be secured and businesses on Third Avenue and affected areas will be asked to buy in to the initiative.
A ReBuild Rupert sidewalk rehabilitation project began one year ago to replace aging sidewalks on Third Avenue downtown and construction will be ongoing over the next four years to complete the entire street.
Last December, Mayor Brain noted that any re-development of the downtown core would need to accommodate for “the capacity and safety of Highway 16 and city streets … with increasing car and truck traffic routed through the downtown of the city” as Fairview Container Terminal expands, prior to a new container examination facility possibly being built at the former J.S. McMillan Fisheries’ cannery site, as has been discussed by port officials in the past.
“ReDesign Rupert was established to engage residents around a community-led vision for the future of Prince Rupert. Having the community involved in creating designs for key community spaces is definitely part of that work,” said Mayor Brain.
More immediately, a ReDesign Rupert Recharge event is planned for Oct. 22 at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for residents to discuss shaping Prince Rupert in the future. A pancake breakfast, door prizes and kids’ activities will also be included.