I don’t really want to see almost any public sector ownership of the local economy, but again is this really the case of the PRPA having public ownership of the local economy? The tenants to fill their retail spaces will be private, they would just be the landlord. The city will still be able to collect taxes on this land, more than they are now if they become developed. You are forgetting that by expanding Cow Bay this will only increase traffic to the entire Cow Bay area, which is great for the established local businesses already down there. In addition, with the completion of this Cow Bay development (and the public spaces the Port wants to make), Rupert will have a bonafide “touristy” area that they can heavily market.
The residents are begging for expanded shopping, more public spaces and access to the waterfront…this plan by the PRPA fully addresses almost all of those wants and needs.
As for your other questions, I want the city to have no part in an alternative energy project and I absolutely want to see CityWest sold by the city before it loses anymore value. The City in the end will have already heavily lost in regards to CityWest.[/quote]
We share an abhorrence of the City investing in the private sector. They should be focusing on public infrastructure and services. And I agree with you that a retail complex owned and financed by the Port, which really means by the federal government, would be well received by many shoppers and visitors.
While the proposed retail complex looks really attractive and so on, I think that it should raise some very difficult issues for Mayor Brain and his council.
The Port can say that it will help out the cruise ship business, but is that why the Port wants to become a retail landlord? It seems to be a revitalization project for Prince Rupert as a community more than anything, and the plan provides for “mixed use”, which I took from the presentation to include office space that would have nothing to do with cruise ships or the Port’s primary functions as a federal agency.
Would City bylaws apply? From what I’ve heard the previous council was open to selling the parking lot to the Port so that it could be redeveloped, but they wanted the Port to agree that City bylaws would apply. Bylaws generally don’t apply to Port lands but case law suggests that when a port authority starts operating outside of its’ jurisdiction by building shops and restaurants (and parks I might add), it may no longer be exempt from City bylaws.
What happens to the existing downtown and its’ landlords and businesses and the taxes they pay? They would have trouble competing with a new development in Cow Bay. Even a private redevelopment like Capital Mall would pale in comparison to whatever a federal agency like the Port could build with public funds.
Candidates talked about supporting small business, and the need to encourage redevelopment of downtown has been an off and on talking point. A problem for the elected Mayor and council is that whatever private revitalization they try to encourage, say through bylaws and tax incentives, can be blown out of the water by a major, publicly funded retail development by the Port, headed by a board and executive that no one gets to vote for.
I agree with the comment about how the Port, as a good corporate citizen, should fund a park to provide waterfront access. That’s clearly a major concern of residents. It’s surprising that the Port has not responded.
I would add, though, that as a good corporate citizen the Port should consider how their proposed retail / ‘mixed use’ development will impact local businesses and parts of downtown that are under the City’s jurisdiction, and whatever plans the City has for that area.
What the Port is talking about would be very nice for shoppers and some adjacent Cow Bay businesses no doubt, but it could also be a disaster for a downtown that already faces serious challenges. Does that matter?[/quote]
Cow Bay already exists as a separate “downtown” shopping area, I don’t see any issue with expanding Cow Bay further. Downtown is the way it is because property owners have let their buildings erode and decay. If I am a new business, I would want to locate in Cow Bay as well over Downtown…until the Downtown property owners can come together and FIX their buildings, they will continue to have issues and scare away investment.
Cow Bay properties are always well maintained and taken care of, and business seems to thrive as soon as you gross McBride to Cow Bay. Why is this level of care not on the minds of the downtown business owners? I know times are tough for some (and some have done a good job of revitalizing their buildings like Moby Dick, Tim Hortons, Pacific Inn, Inn on the Harbour, PR Hotel ect), but there is no excuse for dirty buildings covered in moss/mold, gutters growing trees/grass, dirty awnings, burnt out lights, businesses with improper or no signage and exterior walls/doors with paint peeling off. There is no excuse for that!