If you missed the Third Avenue pop-up market on Friday it’s understandable.
Pop-up events are temporary by nature. They’re meant to harness the element of surprise.
But if you’re not paying attention, you can miss them entirely.
On Friday, the City of Prince Rupert held its first pop-up event, timing it with the launch of Phase 2 for Redesign Rupert.
Mayor Lee Brain is on the steering committee, so as the municipal election approaches, he continues to push his vision of a revitalized city.
But how much of Redesign is just lipstick?
It took 18 months to figure out what the community prioritizes for revitalization.
In that time, Third Avenue continued to see the closure of retail shops and a restaurant. While a couple of shops began to occupy empty storefronts, they use makeshift signs that give off the temporary pop-up vibe.
Why pay and fill out a city permit for a quality sign if your shop is just testing the waters to see if it can survive on a street that has the feel of a ghost town?
The number one priority of Phase 2 is to revitalize the downtown core. There’s no surprise there, only that it took this long for it to become a priority.
There are 44 commercial listings, as of the end of August. Twenty of those listings are in the downtown area and nine are on Third Avenue West. Some of these properties have been unoccupied for years requiring a lot of renovations, and some have a shocking price tag of over half a million dollars.
Yet, these listings don’t include some the buildings that have been empty and vacant for years, such as the familiar facades of the old Dairy Queen and the old theatre. What is happening there?
The pop-up event on Friday was the most life Third Avenue has seen since Seafest, and the most action we’ve seen from the Redesign Rupert campaign yet.
Even if it’s temporary, the pop-up idea is acting as a defibrillator — a straight shock to the heart of downtown to keep it going until a long-term plan takes action.