Rupert seems to be in perpetual waiting mode, with major projects sometime off in the future, but little certainty as to whether or when they’ll go ahead. Approval decisions for LNG could take 2-3 years. Still no word about Canpotex.
It’s my impression as well that people are still moving away, as they did between 2006 and 2011 when the population declined by about 430. Rental vacancies are low right now, but that may be mostly due to construction at Ridley and for Pinnacle’s facility; that work will only last for so long. The real estate market is quite active, but prices are considerably below Terrace. How many buyers are current residents trading up? And are those who are selling better quality homes trading down or moving on? More likely the latter I suspect.
Two more well-established businesses have closed on 3rd, Mansons and McLean & Rudderham. While the Port’s efforts to expand shipping through here should be strongly supported, included by our civic leaders, what effect will the Port’s proposed office-retail development in Cow Bay have on the old downtown?
The Port is the public institution with the deepest pockets but it’s also unelected and there is lack of clarity as to when City bylaws apply to Port developments, as the controversy over the Pinnacle development illustrated. While I’m personally glad to see that project go ahead there is something unsettling about how many decisions here are made outside of democratic processes.
This is a place where commercial buildings burn down but are seldom replaced. There are a lot of vacant lots scattered around downtown. The City has also been quite proactive in demolishing rundown housing. There is something Detroit-like about that.
The City has a large investment in Citywest, which no longer pays dividends and cannot say when it will. Their CEO’'s line at recent council meetings was that trade-offs must be made between service and dividends. But the services he’s talking about are provided by the private sector most anywhere else, without $27 million in civic funds being tied up.
Meanwhile the City council had to cut a deal with the union - details of which have not been released and perhaps never will be - in order to balance its’ budget.
In April the Mayor warned that the City could be bankrupt in 13 months, due to the costs of Watson Island < cftktv.com/News/story.aspx?ID=1928319 >. He seemed to be somewhat confused about maintenance costs - costs are being set off by lease revenue - but checking through the Statements of Financial Information I see that from 2010 to last December the City paid the law firm handling the Watson Island litigation a total of $1,315,473. The lawyers appear to be doing a good job, but there is no doubt that Watson Island is a major drain on this place, with no end in sight.
There is a kind of gang culture in downtown and vandalism is an ongoing problem. I also notice when visiting other cities that they’re generally cleaner than this place has been in recent years. Take a walk through downtown on a Sunday afternoon and it’s quite noticeable. It must be a constant struggle for the City maintenance crew.
Service clubs are an important part of a community, because of their charitable work and the positive social life that they provide. The Kaien Island Lions is the latest to fall by the way side as noted in an article in today’s North Coast Review < northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … es-to.html >.
This place is unlikely to go bankrupt like Detroit, notwithstanding the Mayor’s dire predictions. Detroit wracked up a lot of debt, while municipalities in BC are required by law to balance their budgets. Taxes are increased and services are cut, but so long as a City can provide basic services it’s unlikely to go into Provincial administration, as Rupert and four other municipalities did in BC during the 1930s.
There are parallels, though, in that this place seems to still be in decline. It has never seemed able to re-invent itself - the contrast with Terrace after its’ two mills closed down is striking. We seem to be constantly waiting for the next big project, driven by money and initiative from somewhere else.[/quote]
While you point out all the negative, it is not quite as clear-cut as you make it.
Both Rudderham & Manson’s closing are because of their owners retiring out of the city. Not only that, but you fail to mention the opening of businesses in the last year (The Argosy, Stiles Seafood Grill, Fashon for Less).
Terrace GREATLY benefits from its geographical location between Prince Rupert & Kitimat…both cities that have much bigger industrial bases. I think it has much more to do with location than Terrace having some kind of secret formula that Rupert/Kitimat are missing.
I don’t feel the Rupert picture is quite a grim as you are making it seem.