A community workshop to redesign the city is suggesting the downtown core be condensed to create a more vibrant hub in Prince Rupert.
Redesign Rupert, a civic engagement project to develop and implement strategies for economic diversification and community resilience, hosted a community design workshop to inform the Prince Rupert 2030 plan from July 9-12.
The group works in partnership with the city, Community Futures Pacific Northwest, the Port of Prince Rupert, DP World, Ridley Terminals, and Ray-Mont Logistics. Other participants came from sectors such as health, education, not-for-profits and First Nations.
“It’s a rare opportunity to have so many community leaders in the room to develop an actionable plan for change. The workshop was truly a unique experience as the calibre of experts helping us shape the future of Prince Rupert was beyond anything we’ve done so far as a community. We are looking forward to hitting the ground running with some tangible projects in the coming months. [We] will be updating the community as soon as those start to take shape,” Mayor Lee Brain said.
The four-day workshop was facilitated by former Vancouver city planner Larry Beasley, who has also worked on projects in Moscow, Toronto and Dallas.
The four-day event began with a discussion on the challenges facing the community. The main points brought up were fragmentation of social services and amenities with no real vibrant hubs and cores around the city.
With the Port estimating to create 1,500-2,000 new jobs in the next decade, raising the population to as many as 20,000 people, housing was also a main point on the agenda.
Day 2 was dream day — a day for the participants to imagine the best possible Rupert. Day 3 was back to reality as they refined their strategies for reinventing Rupert.
Some solutions were to create more urban living spaces in the downtown area for the one-third of newcomers who prefer alternatives to single-family housing. The group also plans to take advantage of Rupert’s beautiful scenery by maximizing viewpoints that face the mountains and overlook the ocean, so residents can feel more connected to nature.
The biggest topic was to cluster the downtown into a smaller area, dividing Rupert’s main area into three sections: midtown; the heritage area; and the downtown core.
Another hot topic was waterfront access with talks of sprucing up the heritage building by the Rotary Waterfront Park and moving all the ferries, with exception of the Port Hardy and Alaska ferry terminals, to the area.
None of the plans are set in stone as the city and Redesign Rupert plan to sit down with landowners to get their feedback on proposed changes.
“We’re all on the same team, we are all in the same process, we’re all moving forward together,” Brain said.
The Prince Rupert 2030 plan is expected to be delivered in early 2020.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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