Friday, February 3, 2017

City to hear of grant opportunity related to former VIA/CNR Rail station at Rotary Waterfront Park

It could be a chance to turn an abandoned and crumbling building of bricks into a waterfront showcase for the residents of Prince Rupert.

Monday's City Council session will hear some background on a funding opportunity through the Province of British Columbia. One that might offer the opportunity for some refurbishment work on the former CNR/VIA Rail station that sits on the Prince Rupert Waterfront at Rotary Park.

The Agenda for the Monday session makes note of the Provincial Fund which is designed to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation, highlighting how the City might be able to take advantage of the grant opportunity.

It's a project that would give the City of Prince Rupert a chance to celebrate a building that calls back to the city's ties to the railway that not only helped to build a nation, but also served as the catalyst for Prince Rupert's development. As an additional bonus, it would add another element of the city's historic past to the Waterfront Park area and help to make it a welcoming destination for visitors and residents alike.

As those who have lived in the region over the years know, the CNR building which has been abandoned for decades, has fallen into a fair amount of dis-repair.  It has made for a much discussed issue for residents, with  many in the community noting that the building is very much more of an eyesore, than it is a tourist attraction at the moment.

The City of Prince Rupert will consider a request to pursue
Grant opportunities that could see the old CNR/Via building
on the waterfront refurbished

The recent history of the vacant building over the last ten years or so has been one of a list of any number of potential plans, all designed to turn it into a focal point on the waterfront.

Though owing to any number of factors as the years passed by, none of those grand ambitions ever came to fruition.

The Agenda item for Monday features a report from Mr. Rory Mandryk, the City's Corporate Administrator who outlines for the Council members what would be involved to move the grant application forward.

The Background to the application highlights the current status of the building and how the City may wish to approach the grant opportunity.

The CNR station is an iconic building and Federal heritage site that reaches back in the City's history as the Grand Trunk railway terminus. The building is currently in disrepair, and has sat vacant on the waterfront for many years. Revitalization of the City's waterfront has long been a priority of the Official Community Plan.

Additionally, refurbishment of the CNR station was included in the Redesign Rupert public design consultation recently completed by the Planning Partnership. A two-phased approach to understanding the structural and architectural needs of the building would be a first step towards the eventual restoration of this legacy building for public and/or commercial use.

The grant program offers up to $100,000 per project request, while it's noted that the actual grant funding portion is not to exceed 80% of the overall cost.

The Corporate Administrator's report also outlines the process that the City would follow should  Council approve of the request to move forward with the application.

The application will request $100,000 in funds for a two-phased assessment. The first phase would include a structural, seismic, and architectural assessment, as well as municipal servicing, mechanical and electrical needs. 

Phase II will include structural and electrical design services, with a deliverable of detailed designs for the building refurbishment.

Execution of Phase II of the project will be contingent upon the feasibility of building refurbishment, identified by the assessments included in Phase I. Following the commission of the assessment and designs, the City will be better positioned to seek opportunities for additional grant funds/investment to restore this important heritage feature.

As for the potential cost for the City, the report provides a breakdown of what kind of time, effort and money the city will have to provide for to move the proposed initiative ahead.

The project cost will be staff time and 20% ($20,000) of the overall cost of the proposed engineering work. An estimate of $46,800 for Phase I, and $49,600 for Phase II was provided by a local firm. This project would be conditional upon receipt of the Canada 150 grant funds. 

It is noted that should the City conduct Phase I of the project and find that the remediation of the building is not feasible, the cost to City for Phase I will be $9,360. Should the City proceed with Phase II to obtain detailed design drawings, the total project cost would be an estimated $20,000.

You can review the full report that will be delivered to Council on Monday night from the City's Agenda package for the February 6th session.

Members of City Council will have opportunity to discuss the issue and make any recommendations as part of Monday evenings Council proceedings.

For more items related to items of interest from the City of Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

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