(File photo)

Council asked to authorize over $1-million loan for RCMP detachment

City council preview for Feb. 25 meeting also includes request to rezone Neptune Inn

City council is returning for its last regular meeting of the month. Here’s a preview of what’s to come.

$1,150,000 loan for RCMP upgrades

Council will be asked to authorize the borrowing of $1,150,000 from the Municipal Finance Authority to upgrade the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment cell block.

READ MORE: City struggles to meet RCMP demands to improve facilities

According to Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben’s recommendation, the borrowed money would also be used for the purchase and installation of six open office modules at the public works office complex.

Council approved the two projects through the use of short-term borrowing in its 2018 budget and the resolution before them Monday is required by the MFA as one of the loan application documents.

If authorized and approved, repayment would be made over five years with no provisions for renewal.

Neptune Motor Inn revitalization

City council will also hear a recommendation from the planning department to rezone the property at 1051 Chamberlin Ave., commonly referred to as the Neptune Motor Inn, to commercial zoning.

The recommendation comes at the request of James Warburton, submitted in a letter to mayor and council on Feb. 4.

Warburton is in the process of purchasing the property with the intent of returning it to its original purpose, as traveller accommodation with a restaurant.

In June 2017, the property was rezoned for +55 senior housing due to a decline in stays. However, owner Macro Properties never actualized their vision of senior housing and the property has been vacant for five years.

READ MORE: Hilltop Lodge gains Prince Rupert council approval

According to Warburton the senior housing was never actualized because of the location, which is at the edge of Prince Rupert in a light industrial district not serviced by BC Transit.

Further, Warburton’s letter reads that provincial funding for new subsidized seniors housing, such as the Harbourview Apartments at the former Anchor Inn, have made rents at the Neptune non-competitive.

READ MORE: Former Anchor Inn to be home to 46 low-income units

“Our market research indicates that Prince Rupert has seen an increase in tourism as well as a forecasted sustainable increase in industrial development, thus increasing a demand for travel accommodation,” the letter reads.

READ MORE: Neptune closure increases housing pressures

City Planner Zeno Krekic recommends that council approves Warburton’s request, subject to him applying and receiving a zoning amendment to permit the proposed use, and payment of all legal costs associated.

“In the long term, this property is best suited for light industrial uses,” Krekic’s recommendation reads. “In the short term and to avoid ‘better than vacant’ attribute allowing it to revert to its original use will suffice.

CN Rail Station Heritage Building redevelopment

In an effort to improve waterfront areas, the city is looking to bring life back to the CN heritage building at the Rotary Waterfront Park.

The derelict building, once the Grand Trunk railway terminus, is a shadow of the city’s past. Plans for the building have been included in the city’s Redesign Rupert initiative.

Council will be asked to approve a grant application to NDIT’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure fund to turn the building into a commercial space. The grant would be for $250,000.

The rehabilitation project is estimated to cost $4.2 million. The city is applying for additional funds through other grant opportunities.



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

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