The Special Events Society was working hard to make sure everyone was well fed on Saturday morning at Breakfast with Santa. Left to right: Lottie Anderson, Anne Whittles, Sue Neilson, Hazel Hill and Norma Hidber. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

IN OUR OPINION: Redesign the City of Prince Rupert

City gives Special Events Society and Arts Council the boot

Get ready for a busy new year City of Prince Rupert, you have four festivals to plan.

Most likely by yourself.

At least that’s how things will go if you continue to treat the volunteers at the Special Events Society like second-class citizens.

When the City of Prince Rupert was hard-pressed to fix a pothole, it was the Special Events Society that shouldered the burden to plan, organize and pull-off community events.

It was the Community Arts Council that used their free time to promote local artisans and do what they could to pump money back into the local economy when the City was asleep at the wheel for so many years in promoting Prince Rupert’s vibrant arts community.

And how does the City repay all this volunteered hard work?

They give them the boot.

It’s disrespectful, wrong and frankly, shocking.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert Special Events Society and Arts Council to vacate city hall office space

And how the City made the announcement. It was tone deaf and ill-conceived. If this was the City’s plan, finding these organizations a new place to continue their altruistic work should have been locked down before any grand plan announcement.

Not the “hey, we’re renovating downstairs for something else … oh, and by the way, you’re out.”

But they shouldn’t have been kicked out in the first place.

The new “tenants” of the renovated office space in the white halls on Third Ave., will be the City’s new Redesign Rupert offices.

The major drive of Redesign Rupert is to revitalize downtown Rupert — among other things. Wouldn’t it make sense then that the city could have a visible office in the downtown?

There just might be one or 22 empty storefronts that could house Redesign Rupert.

Redesign Rupert is a project to make the city a better place — yet the city kicks out the two groups who already make it a better place.

Enjoy Seafest? Thank Special Events. Winterfest? Special Events. Popped into the Kaien Island Craft Fair? You have the Arts Council to thank for organizing that one. To name a few.

Be very well aware, Redesign Rupert would still be in the theoretical stage had it not been for the input and organization of four corporate partners (Prince Rupert Port Authority, Ray-Mont, Ridley Terminals and DP World).

Housing Redesign Rupert in city hall appears to be a blatant tactic to highjack the process now that much of the initial groundwork has been completed. Or could it be the city wants them housed at city hall to further the misconception that Redesign Rupert was all due to the City’s money and hard work?

Only the naive and daft will believe that this isn’t a control grab by the City of Prince Rupert of the Redesign Rupert process, and an attempt to push out the corporate stakeholders.

A political chess game if you will.

And the first two pawns sacrificed were the Special Events Society and the Arts Council.

It’s time to redesign the City of Prince Rupert.

READ MORE IN OUR OPINION: It’s Christmas all year round in Giving Prince Rupert


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