Saturday, February 21, 2009

All your emergency services under four walls and one roof

Just because he wants to sell a fire truck doesn't mean he isn't thinking of the fire department in these challenging financial times.

Mayor Jack Mussallem provided some napkin sketch ideas for the future of Prince Rupert's emergency services last week, in an appearance at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon and high among his priorities it seems will be a new structure to house the fire service, the RCMP detachment, BC Ambulance Service and Marine Rescue, all to be found in a centrally located area of the city.

It's not the first time that a joint structure has been bounced around, but as the years have gone by not much progress has been made on the idea and the existing structures continue to age and see their usefulness begin to dwindle.

The Mayor touched on a number of items in his first major address to a local group outlining many points of interest from Sun Wave's lack of progress to potential new positioning statements for the city's tourism sector.

The Northern View was first to outline his thoughts with an online report on Wednesday, focusing mainly on the emergency services plans, the Daily News followed up with an item in Thursday's paper.

Mussallem shares his thoughts at Chamber luncheon
The Daily News
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Page one

Prince Rupert might have a one stop shop for its entire emergency needs.

In a speech during yesterday's Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Mayor Jack Mussallem said he was considering placing the fire department, the RCMP the paramedics and even the marine emergency response team in one building.

"We could have one emergency services centre. Very loosely the idea would be that on one side we could have the Fire Department, on the opposite side you could have the RCMP, on another side you could have the Marine Rescue and on the other side perhaps you could facilitate the B. C. Ambulance Service. Finding a central location is paramount.”

Mussallem, gave his first speech to the Chamber and noted that the city is looking at several different ways to improve finances in Prince Rupert.

While most of his speech was a repetition of things he has talked about before, such as the current state of the city’s infrastructure and the request for proposal that is about to go out for the Tsimshian Access Project, the Mayor did speak about new initiatives.

One would be to invite the chamber president to senior staff meetings to keep the chamber more informed on city initiatives. He also let it be known that in the Prince Rupert you are seven times more likely to have a water line failure than any other Canadian community.

The Mayor also updated the chamber on the conditions down at Watson Island, which he said were still under contention.

"We have received in writing that the SunWave Paper group has no intention in producing pulp from the mill," said Mussallem.

It wasn't all doom and gloom served with the afternoon coffee. There were positive messages as well from the city leader, hoping that the city can make good on promoting itself.

Among the ideas the city is working on is a way on selling Prince Rupert as commerce location. "It could be anything from 'Shop Prince Rupert' to 'Golf Prince Rupert' or even 'Gamble Prince Rupert,'" said Mussallem, who was clearly aware that nee his speech was being given inside the Chances Gaming Centre.

"Living in Prince Rupert is a gamble so we might as well promote it," joked Mussallem.

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