City supports NWCC name change, plans to host Watson Island open house

Highlights from City of Prince Rupert council meeting on Oct. 16, 2017

What’s in a name

After a presentation from Northwest Community College, council moved to write a letter in support of changing the college’s name to Coast Mountain College.

Sarah Zimmerman, the director of communications and public relations for the college, argued that the new name would better reflect their “place-based learning” and courses. She said that the college’s president likes to point out that NWCC is not in the North, and that the name doesn’t accurately reflect the temperate climate.

For international students, it could be misleading. Zimmerman described an agreement NWCC was negotiating with a Scandinavian university to allow exchanges and transfers, only to have it fall through because community college credits are not accepted abroad as the equivalent to two years of university.

Dropping “community” from the name would attract more enrolment from international students, boosting class numbers so that programs with low enrolment don’t get cancelled.

Councillor Blair Mirau said he was in support of the name change, “but heard through the grapevine that the school district here is not in favour.”

Mirau asked Zimmerman if the School Board received the same presentation.

“I’m a little bit at a loss at where this opposition is coming from,” Mirau said.

Zimmerman requested to meet with the school district at the most recent board meeting but she was denied.

More housing?

Council moved two bylaw amendments, one to restructure the home at 160 Van Arsdol Street and the second to build a three-unit apartment complex at 1034 1st Avenue West.

The proposed apartment on 1st Avenue West applied for a variance to maximum height because of the uneven elevation. City planner Zeno Krekic presented the building plans, which will include three residential units and covered parking.

“I look at this development and think it’s a great thing to improve what is currently there,” Councillor Wade Niesh said. “I would like to see what the neighbours have to say. If you look from across the street, it really won’t impact anyone. There’s no ocean view that will be impacted.”

Both requests will move forward to public notification for feedback from the community.

There was also an application to vary yard setback allowances for the house at 508 8th Avenue East will proceed to final consideration.

City ready to talk about Watson

Mayor Lee Brain announced that the city will host an open house for Watson Island in November with the time and date to be released later.

It will “be an opportunity to have the public come hear about all the progress that’s been made on Watson Island,” he said.

Funds for Redesign Rupert

The $150,000 rural fund Prince Rupert received from the B.C. government will go toward the second phase of Redesign Rupert. Council applied for the funds in May, and was expecting them to come sooner.

Brain said that the first phase of the project was a great success with nearly 2,000 engagements with the community.

“We’re looking forward to seeing that get off the ground in the next couple of months,” Brain said.

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