Looking at a town in transition…

This past week I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with someone who is new in town and much of the conversation had to do with where Prince Rupert is at, where it is going and where it has come from.

This past week I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with someone who is new in town and much of the conversation had to do with where Prince Rupert is at, where it is going and where it has come from.

To someone who has just recently arrived in town, there are certainly signs of a town that is struggling. Looking at the empty storefronts in the downtown core certainly doesn’t paint the most flattering picture, and the condition of some of the buildings and housing in town is another indicator that things may not be where they need to be. It’s something I’ve heard not only from random visitors to the community but from some family members as well.

But people who are just new to town or who are just visiting may not know the whole story, and once people hear more of the story their initial impressions often change.

Prince Rupert is, in my view, a town that is in transition. And truth be told, it has been in transition for some time and for most of the five years I have been here.

It’s a community that is turning the corner from a resource-dependent community to a gateway to the Asian markets. And as strong as the community was when lumber and fish were king, I am certain the community will be stronger still once the true impact of the growth in the Asia-Pacific comes to light. The impact of this growth is already being felt in communities like Terrace, Kitwanga and Mackenzie where mills have or are looking to  re-open based on the demand for lumber. It’s being felt around the province and as the gateway Prince Rupert stands to benefit the most in the years to come as more and more shippers look for more and more services and logistical support from Prince Rupert.

But the key there really is “in the years to come”. It’s already well underway, with the hours in the ILWU on the rise and companies like Kristoff Trucking, Ridley Terminals and more growing their staff levels, which adds significantly to the cashflow in Prince Rupert. But this is just the beginning.

As I said, the town has been in transition really since I moved here and I don’t doubt that will be the case five years from now. It’s a long transition given what is needed, but I can’t wait to see how much more positive change will come between now and then and in the decades ahead.

Not only will those storefronts be filled, I have no doubt there will be may new ones to boot.