"This is a big deal in terms of the $350,000 to help, but probably bigger is the province affirming the value of this connection; that it is not just a benefit to Prince Rupert but to all of B.C. That is the message we have been trying to get out." – Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond outlining his thoughts on the provincial contribution towards repairs to the Alaska Ferry Dock.
It’s at least a one million dollar project so far, and still has work to be done, but Prince Rupert at least won’t have to bear the entire burden of the cost of repairs for the Alaska Ferry Dock. The city received some financial relief on the project today, after Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon arrived in the city today with a cheque to offset some of the cost.
According to the Transportation Minister, his arrival is the result of a conversation between himself and the Mayor back in April, in which the Mayor was seeking assistance for the project. Today he said he was quick to agree to participate, with only the necessary paperwork standing in the way and delaying the announcement today.
It was an event that we ruminated over in a previous Podunkian posting as we commented on the Premiers last visit to disperse some cash for a spirit park, and we are glad to see that the government acted out on our bout of wishful thinking.
Falcon and Mayor Herb Pond held their photo op and press conference at the BC Ferries Terminal today, featuring one of those over sized cheques, this one providing 350,000 dollars for Prince Rupert as it continues to cover the cost of the repairs required.
The saga which once started out as budget expense at city hall for 250,000 dollars has skyrocketed in cost as the need for repairs grew immediate, reaching the 1 million dollar mark recently, with more work required in the fall.
For a little refresher course we have some Podunkian archival material that will highlight some of the past items regarding the saga of the Alaska Ferry dock.
April 2008-- Photos and cash for a favourite town
April 2008-- Standing firmly on the dock with Herb
April 2008-- Council heads back to business tonight
April 2008-- Fairview area set for busy construction season
April 2008-- We'll need piles of cash to rebuild the pilings...
The Northern View had details on the story posted on their website today, including video of the money exchange…
Government chips in $350,000 for Alaska Ferry dock
By Shaun Thomas
By Shaun Thomas
The Northern View
Published: July 09, 2008 12:00 PM
Updated: July 09, 2008 1:25 PM
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon came to Prince Rupert on July 9 bearing a cheque for $350,000 to help cover the costs of repairing the Alaska Ferry dock, which had been rendered inoperable earlier this year.
While B.C. Ferries and CN jumped on board to find an interim solution, the City spent an estimated $1 million to make quick repairs. Falcon said he heard about the issue from Mayor Herb Pond and was quick to offer the province's support.
"When Herb came up to me and asked for assistance, I think my answer was yes on the spot, but we had to go through a little formality of an application. We had the application in the office two weeks later and I approved it very shortly thereafter," he said.
"I realize it is outside of the normal scope of things that the province would look at, but it’s really important for coastal communities and I agreed with him on the spot...There are a lot of people that come through here that spend a lot of money in Prince Rupert and the surrounding communities and it is really an extension of the B.C. Highway System into the heart of Alaska. Because of that there is a real financial benefit to us making these decision."
Noting that the exact final cost for the dock repairs remains unknown, with more work scheduled for the fall, Pond says the contribution from the province is important on a number of levels.
"This is a big deal in terms of the $350,000 to help, but probably bigger is the province affirming the value of this connection; that it is not just a benefit to Prince Rupert but to all of B.C. That is the message we have been trying to get out."
"I think the Minister appreciated the spirit of Prince Rupert, that we were going to go ahead with this project on our own with confidence that others would follow with financial contributions," he added.