The public comment period for the municipal name change for the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District (SQCRD) has begun and will last until April 29, 2016. The district has proposed to change its name to the ‘North Coast Regional District’ to follow in line with other geographical areas in B.C., which have mirrored their name based on how their location is known throughout the province. The deadline for stakeholder groups to comment on the change passed on Feb. 1, 2016, with support, endorsements, ‘no concern’, ‘no objection’ or no comment received from member committees, ministries, districts, cities, villages and band councils.
In June, a request to Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender will be sent to recommend the name change to cabinet. Upon a successful name change, regional district re-branding and media updates will occur in the fall and winter of 2016.
The Prince Rupert Public Library was front and centre once again in budget discussions for the SQCRD.
Directors Lee Brain and Nelson Kinney, representing the Electoral Area of the City of Prince Rupert, appealed to the board to help support the library and the Museum of Northern B.C. Brain and Kinney made the argument that both institutions are used regionally and would benefit from increased funding from the regional district. If the regional district helps fund the North Pacific Cannery, then the Museum of Northern B.C. should fall in that same conversation, the directors outlined.
While any funds directed toward the museum may be “substantially more helpful” than those directed to the library (with the Museum facing a complete shut-down without the funds, whereas the library has more flexibility than the Museum or Performing Arts Centre), a $10,000 contribution to the Museum would go a longer way in making sure the institution would survive, whereas the library would still need $100,000 – $200,000 more to maintain services. Kinney also advocated for funding for the Performing Arts Centre, which he felt was valuable regionally, and noted that it runs with only two employees and 100 volunteers.
Directors Karl Bergman (Electoral Area C) and Des Nobels (Electoral Area A) said their constituents have told them they have a hard time supporting the library or Performing Arts Centre based on frequency of use, whereas the Cannery has more value to them.
The board motioned to look at other funding options for the institutions throughout their budget process.