Amanda Brown is the Community Liaison Assistant at the Community Development Institute based in Prince Rupert.

Redesigning the city’s legacy

The highs and lows of an industry town is a familiar narrative in northern B.C. and one that Prince Rupert plans to avoid.

The highs and lows of an industry town is a familiar narrative in northern B.C. and one that Prince Rupert plans to avoid.

The Community Development Institute (CDI) hosted an open house at the Community Futures’ office early February to launch its 18-month public engagement process to prepare the city for a major industrial boom — without the bust.

Redesign Rupert is in partnership with the City, Community Futures of the Pacific Northwest and the project has also received funding from industry. The co-director of CDI, Marleen Morris, came to Prince Rupert for the launch from Prince George, where the head office is based.

“We see that (having industry involved in the process) as a real strength because that means that people care enough about making a future happen that they’re putting resources into it. It actually enhances the partnership,” Morris said.

CDI is a research institute at the University of Northern British Columbia and works with communities in the province with a resource based economy. The institute engages with community members to improve living conditions and to help establish a more diverse economy that can weather the ever changing world markets.

“What we are going to be doing is looking for opportunities to diversify and grow the economy and build social networks, capacity and resilience,” Morris said.

The institute was established in 2004 and since then it has been involved with more than 40 communities on over 70 projects.

One of the Redesign Rupert partners, Community Futures, an organization that encourages new businesses in the community, sees this an opportunity to get an informed outside perspective on how to create a legacy for the city.

“We’re still in control of our own destiny,” said the general manager, John Farrell, at the open house. “We needed a third party that at one part holds the trust of the community. CDI has a track record of doing this work with other small communities.”

In the first phase of the project, CDI held small group meetings with about 20 stakeholders and community leaders. In March, Morris will return to Prince Rupert and proceed with the interviews involving First Nations, business, industry government and community organizations to discuss what opportunities the city already possesses. In April, CDI plans to do a community mapping process where they will work with the public to flesh out the current state of the city’s assets and build from there.

A similar process was done in Clearwater. CDI worked with the community for three years to determine what its assets were and how it could develop opportunities to make the area thrive.

Clearwater focused on being age-friendly for its residents and as a tourist destination. Businesses focused on being more wheel chair accessible with automatic door openings, the city built wider walkways, a new transportation network and restaurants printed bigger font on their menus.

“In three years they leveraged more than $1.5 million dollars into looking at seniors’ initiatives,” Morris said.

Redesign Rupert is an 18-month contract, but Morris said that doesn’t mean it will end there. “We’ll be here to help the transition for as long as it takes.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dogs are matched with the person, not the person matched to the dog – Prince Rupert SPCA

Prince Rupert SPCA does their due diligence in adopting dogs to suitable human companions

Photo Gallery: Memorial totem pole raising in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole stands in memory of Prince Rupert carvers mother on Second Ave. West

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

Memorial totem pole raised in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole was a two year project led by local carver Lyle Campbell

Heart of our city – Fighting for the road to recovery

World champion kick-boxer wins at Trinity House recovery program

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read