One hundred and three years ago, Prince Rupert’s biggest advocate, the man with a vision so large and so grandiose, the Prince Rupert funding trip he embarked upon killed him.
At 2:20 a.m on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner Titanic sank in the North Atlantic. On board the doomed ship was Charles Melville Hays, who was returning from Jolly Old England where he had been searching for funding to turn Prince Rupert into the world’s next great port city.
Some time tomorrow morning, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain will be announcing his grand new vision for our little city perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Only three short years ago, Brain was furiously tapping on a keyboard as an IT guy at School District No. 52.
Tomorrow, he will be tapping out the gameplan for this city through the next several decades.
What’s most interesting with this city’s young, vibrant, new mayor is his rapid education in real-world governance.
It is apparent he has quickly realized the phrase “opposition is easy, governing is hard” is not only an axiom, but a reality.
Not so very long ago, as a staunch supporter of NDP North Coast MLA Jen Rice, Brain was fully part of the environmental idealogues.
Only about a year into his mayorship, that seems to have mellowed.
Three years ago, he was railing against climate change. Now, he’s planning for it.
As Hays 2.0 plans are unveiled for all to see, note the ambition to position Prince Rupert as a major hub for the Northwest Passage — when and if the ice cap melts. He has embraced industrial development and realized jobs and growth are necessary as outlined in the Re:Build and Re:Design portion of the gamechanging plans.
Now, before anyone starts taking big swigs out of the jug of kool-aid being offered, Brain while refreshingly proposing big ideas, is also being pragmatic, another indication of his new education.
Money. It all comes down to money and he knows it.
Where will the coin come from to pay for these plans?
Grandiose, forward-thinking plans all are well and good, but without the finances to back them, they are just dreams, not reality.
Like Charles M. Hays, Mayor Lee Brain will need to secure funding sources before any of these big plans have hope to come to fruition.
So, as Mayor Brain embarks on finding that funding from government and industry, let’s just hope he chooses better travel arrangements than Mr. Hays.