Bevan Hamilton / The Northern View                                 Construction crews have been working hard on the Atlin Terminal parking lot over the past week, as the Port of Prince Rupert gives it a facelift.

Bevan Hamilton / The Northern View Construction crews have been working hard on the Atlin Terminal parking lot over the past week, as the Port of Prince Rupert gives it a facelift.

Gallery moving, yes, but not kicked out

Ice House Gallery looking for new home with port offices expanding

The Port of Prince Rupert is moving forward on its Cow Bay Master Plan with the facelift of the parking area in Cow Bay across from Atlin Terminal.

“When complete in a few weeks, it will include a walkway along the base of Eagle Bluff, lighting, new foliage, outdoor seating and parking stalls,” Michael Gurney, port manager of corporate communications, said.

“The work being done is made in an effort to enhance pedestrian use and tourist activities in Cow Bay, and will result in approximately six fewer parking spaces, which will “augment safety by improving sight lines near the lot’s entrance.”

Gurney said the project is scheduled for completion before the first cruise vessel visit of the season on Friday, May 19.

Additionally, the port’s corporate offices will expand further throughout Atlin Terminal, with the Ice House Gallery moving to a new location this fall when its lease expires. The port is helping the gallery’s North Coast Artist’s Co-operative in trying to find a new space for the many works of art displayed at the Ice House.

Marvin Kristoff, director with the co-operative, said while he appreciates the support, despite public perception, the gallery is not being “kicked out,” but viewing their move as a new opportunity.

“I speak for the directors here, where we understand it’s just a business decision and we’re being asked to move, yes … but we hear people making a petition and all this stuff and as a board member I’m telling people not that’s not the case at all,” Kristoff said.

The director added that the co-operative has narrowed down their options to a site they like, but are in the midst of negotiating the finer details. They have reviewed four different potential spaces they could use.

One space is relatively the same size as what they currently have, which he said is “a huge bonus because we certainly don’t want to downsize.”

“At first we were certainly dejected when we heard about it, but they gave us six months notice so that’s plenty of time … We’ve changed our tune to the fact that it’s an exciting time for us to start fresh or rebrand. We’re supposed to be artists, we’re supposed to be positive and have a good outlook on life and we’re coming around. We’ve been here 14 years, so let’s figure out the next 14 years and what we’re going to do.”

Kristoff and the team will be able to stay until the end of the cruise ship season, including the Oct. 1 arrival of the Norwegian Jewel, bringing a 2017 record 2,376 passengers.

“These are people we don’t see in the gallery everyday. They may only come once every two or three years, but they’ve got support behind us. At the same time, it’s just a decision between a landlord and tenant type of thing,” Kristoff said.

Gurney said that the associated construction work is a way to enhance residents and visitors’ quality of life in the area.

“All of these initiatives are part of the port’s plans to foster commercial activity – and enhance publicly accessible port lands. We’re pleased to be advancing developments that allow residents and visitors to experience and enjoy the Prince Rupert waterfront,” he said.