Prince Rupert forming committees to tackle housing, business growth

The City of Prince Rupert will be forming committees to address housing issues and expanding business in the community.

The City of Prince Rupert will be forming committees to address housing issues and expanding business in the community.

Coun. Barry Cunningham brought forward the motion to form a housing committee at the Jan. 12 council meeting.

“I think the only way we’re going to solve this problem is ourselves and regionally. The province and the feds are giving it a lot of lip service, but not a lot of substance,” he said.

“I want to get the ball rolling on this … I don’t think one housing committee is going to be able to address all of the issues at hand here. But the major issues are social housing, assisted housing and seniors housing,” Cunningham added.

Mayor Lee Brain suggested a select standing committee be created in order to move things forward as soon as possible. With the help of councillors, Brain will hand-select individuals for the group.

“I think this is the best structured approach and then we can branch into multiple directions,” Brain said.

The goal is to have the committee formed by early February, which will include Brain and any other city councillors who choose to join.

Then, Coun. Blair Mirau moved that council establish a small business task force.

“I think it’s time for us to make expanding our tax base a priority. I think the best way to do that is to solicit feedback from local businesses that deal with city hall on a regular basis and then really start to investigate some initiates that can encourage business growth and ultimately help take the tax burden off of residents and existing businesses,” he said.

Both resolutions received unanimous support from council, with Coun. Joy Thorkelson setting the proviso that the purpose, terms of reference and deliverables be set after the groups form.