Despite being new to City Hall, Coun. Barry Cunningham is pulling no punches around council chambers and shining a light on some very valid questions about the work of his counterparts to date.
Last Monday, after a lengthy discourse on Westview Terminal and the noise associated with it, Coun. Cunningham quite candidly discussed a introductory meeting he had been invited to attend by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. The sense he got, said Cunningham, was that the port was very open to meeting with Prince Rupert city council to discuss some of the concerns they have about development in the region. And it wasn’t until after Cunningham’s report and comment about the two groups acting “like two kids in the playground” that council passed a motion to direct staff to arrange a meeting with the top brass at the port.
While it would be easy to commend council for taking such an action, the reality is that any meeting like this should have been held six or seven years ago when Fairview Terminal opened its doors and began to boom. It also should not have been, nor should it now be a meeting — given the importance of port development to the economy of Prince Rupert and the quality of life of its residents, this needs to be an ongoing dialogue. In this case, the more that can be reported out the better.
Those who have read this space over the past several years know the issues between the Prince Rupert Port Authority and the City of Prince Rupert are nothing new. But between industrial development, taxation the loss of waterfront and so much more associated with new development, there is no reason city council should not have been sitting down with the Prince Rupert Port Authority for months or years on end to represent the voice of the people of Prince Rupert. Asking for a simple update to council is not enough.
Leaders and representatives need to be proactive, not reactive. It’s something that newly elected Coun. Cunningham seems to understand better than some.