Monday, December 5, 2016

Taking Stock: North Coast Business Scene -- November 2016

Raising funds for community projects and raising awareness of small business were a pair of themes for the month of November when it comes to city's commercial class.

The month got underway with the annual Rotary auction, the three day event which finds much success in getting the city's businesses involved in the fundraising project for local Rotary projects and services.

Arts and Crafters were also the focus for the mid month period with the annual Craft Fair at the Civic Centre taking place, a once a year opportunity to find just the right holiday gift.

Other business related notes on the month saw some attention for the nomination period for the Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement awards, a new head for CityWest, the final notes on the Hawkair story and another business putting its roots down in the Cow Bay area.

Some of our observations on the Commercial and economic scene in the region for September can be found below:

November

Rotarians kicked off November with three nights of great bargains, witty banter and the odd pun worth a pondering as the Annual Rotary Auction took to the stage at the Lester Centre for the Arts. The event which is heavily supported by local businesses by way of donations and participation in the Auction, was broadcast on Channel 10 and streamed live by CityWest . Money raised over the three days is directed towards a number of local programs and services that the Rotarians deliver in the region.

The work of the region's home based crafters and artisans was on display in November as the Annual Kaien Island Craft Fair took over the Prince Rupert Civic Centre to offer up a range of Christmas gift giving suggestions for local residents.

Local businesses in Prince Rupert put up a challenge to the massive attention delivered to the Black Friday sales, taking a unique approach of Plaid Friday to remind local residents of the importance of the small business sector to the community.

The final chapter of the Hawkair story was written in November, with word that the Terrace based airline had entered bankruptcy proceedings, the airline which had been struggling with the arrival of increased competition over the last few years, had previously suspended its service to Prince Rupert in 2015.

It's the run up to Awards Season on the North Coast, with the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce currently accepting nominations for its Business Excellence Awards.  The deadline for nominations is December 23rd, making for the first round of the road to the Awards show in March. Fifteen categories are available for potential nominations, you can review our notes on the process here.

The city owned communication company CityWest made news in November, announcing that a change is coming to Board room, with Chris Marett taking over as the new CEO as of December 1st. He takes over from departing CEO Don Holkestad who will bring his 37 years with the company to an end on December 31st.

Our final note on the month highlights the continued migration towards the city's Cow Bay District, with Kaien Business Essentials the latest of commercial ventures to make its way to the area, setting up shop in the old NIS building on 1st Avenue East.

You will be able to find the archive for Taking Stock as a part of our larger page dedicated to the commercial sector of the North Coast found here.

We imagine we probably have missed a few here or there, so if you know of a business having opened, or seen the Going out of business sign appear somewhere in the area, drop us a line at our email account of northcoastreviewpr@yahoo.ca

Or send us a short message through our twitter feed of @CharlesHays

BC Transit announces Extended Hours and Holiday service for Prince Rupert/Port Edward



Starting next week BC Transit on the North coast will be extending the hours of operation for bus service in the region to help late night shoppers and holiday celebrants make their rounds.

From December 12 to 17 and again from the 19th to 23rd the Transit system will be operating on the timetable usually found on Friday's ( see here ) with the extended hours running from Monday through Friday in the lead up to Christmas.

They will also be modifying their schedule during the Holiday Season with the following changes to take place:

December 24 -- Regular Service, No Service after 6:45 PM
December 25 -- No Service
December 26 -- No Service
December 31 -- Regular Service during the day, Free Service in the Evening
January 1 -- No Service

On New Year's Eve BC Transit and the City of Prince Rupert will be offering Free Transit starting at 6:45 PM and running until 3:30 on local Prince Rupert routes.

You can find updates on their holiday plans at the BC Transit website or you can contact the local office at 250-624-3342.

Busy weekend for CHSS Sports teams

It was a hectic weekend both home and away for a number of sports teams at Charles Hays Secondary, with volleyball coming to an end and basketball off to a quick start.

The Charles Hays Rainmaker Volleyball squad put the spike into the 2016 season with a fifteenth place finish in Abbotsford at the provincial finals, as the Senior Girls took on some of the toughest teams in High School Volleyball.

A look at the results can be found here, while a large volume of photos and videos from the tournament are available on the CHSS twitter feed.

With the Volleyball season now done for the year, attention remains on the court but shifts to the basketball squads, and for a first weekend of stiff competition some strong success was found.

The Senior Boys opened their 2016-17 campaign with a pair of exhibition games with Brookswood Secondary from Langley, with the Rainmakers and Bobcats putting on a good show for those that stopped by the CHSS Gym on Saturday and Sunday.

The Rainmakers claimed victories in both games, the first by a fairly impressive margin of 85-48 in the Saturday night showcase. While the second game of the two game series on Sunday afternoon made for a frantic finish, with the Bobcats surging back in the final minute but coming up a point short of Charles Hays with the home side claiming the 55-54 victory.

The Senior Boys embark on their own road trip at the end of the week, they are North Vancouver bound for the annual No Regrets Tournament in the Lower Mainland.

The Senior Girls were also in action over the weekend picking up a pair of wins against Caledonia in Terrace, with the Rainmakers on the winning side of 64-45 and 72-54 contests.

Kevin Sawka's Junior Boys were eight hours down the highway in Prince George, taking part in a season opening showcase in the Central Interior. The Junior Rainmakers swept all four games on the weekend, marking a 61-40 victory in their final of four games over the weekend.

Another key victory came on Saturday with a come from behind 61-57 victory over Prince George Secondary. On Friday they had a tough battle with that same PG Secondary squad earning a hard fought 52-48 win.

The Rainmakers opened their series in Prince George with a 66-45 victory over Duchess Park.

A full overview of the weekend sports (as well as some photos from the Little Mermaid for Theatre fans) can be found on the CHSS twitter feed.

More notes on sports at Charles Hays can be found on our archive page here.

City makes progress on proposed Funding Agreements with community groups

Prince Rupert City Council is getting closer to changing the way that it approaches some of the funding for Community Group organizations in the city, providing a notice to the public of its plans to enter into a new form of funding agreement with two of the larger groups that annually receiving operating money from the City.

The notice tucked away in the back pages of Friday's flyer delivery in the Northern Connector, outlines some basic information for what will be a three year term for community funding for both the Prince Rupert Performing Arts Centre and the Northern British Columbia Museum Society.

In the case of the Arts Centre funding, if approved, the agreement will provide for the sum of 125,000 dollars per year for each year of the three year term.

For the Museum Society, the new agreement, once again if approved, will deliver 126,000 dollars per year for the Museum of Northern BC and additional 15,000 dollars per year for the Kwinitsa Station Museum, that funding will also be for each year of the three year term of the Agreement.

The new arrangement is to make for an alternative from the current process of yearly applications when it comes to the annual Community Enhancement Grants.

The larger list of would-be applicants both large and small, is something which the City is still considering as we head towards the end of December. A review of how the city distributed Community Grant money for 2015 was released in June of this year.

The shift in the approach for the larger grant recipients is something the City says it is hoping to establish in order to provide greater certainty for both the City and the Societies, particularly when it comes to annual budget development.

Back in October, Councillor Cunningham raised some issues related to the pace of the ongoing negotiations towards that goal. The conversation which took place towards the end of the October 24th session included comments from Mayor Lee Brain, who noted at that time some of the challenges of those negotiations, highlighting for Council what the City was looking to accomplish with its planned change from the way the annual process was conducted in the past.

Councillor Thorkelson  as well has had some thoughts of her own on the issue Community Grants speaking to the need for a more equitable process back in September.

In their notice from the December 2nd paper, the City notes that any inquiries related to the proposed changes should be addressed to the City's Corporate Administrator, Mr. Rory Mandryk by 4 PM on Friday, December 9th.

Though it would seem that they don't want to make for much of a burden for Mr. Mandryk when it comes to fielding any questions. Other than the notice in the back section of the Friday paper, which may or may not get read, there has been no mention of the proposed agreement in any of the city's other communication services.

The City website makes no mention of it in either of the sections dedicated towards News Releases or Notices, nor does the City's own Facebook page draw attention to the topic.

And two of Council's more prolific users of social media have not to this point, brought the topic to the attention of the public either.  When it comes to making use of social media both the Mayor and Councillor Blair Mirau are quick to make note of some of their past council initiatives and other social activities mostly through their Facebook pages.

However, any observations on this new Grants theme, or even a note related to the opportunity for residents to share thoughts with the city on this new proposal, are not as of yet to be found on either the Mayor's Facebook portal, or that of Councillor Mirau.

City Council has only one public session left before they take a break for the holidays, that council meeting is coming up on December 12th. And while the agenda for that meeting won't be posted to the city website until later this week, one imagines that considering some of the concerns that both  Councillor's Cunningham and Thorkelson have raised in the past, Council will provide some clarity on what the plan is moving forward.

The public Council forum would provide a helpful venue for some further background for the public and an opportunity for City Council members to put their thoughts on the record, outlining for the community as to how this new proposal might work and what impact it will have on the city and taxpayers.

In the mean time with the December 9th inquiries deadline looming, if anyone is inclined to learn more about what the City's plan might be, or may have some comments to offer up on a proposal for which little is yet known, Mr. Mandryk can be reached at rory.mandryk@princerupert.ca or by fax at 250-627-0999.

More items of note related to City Council discussions can be found on our archive page.

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending December 4, 2016


Our weekly review of the listings of the local real estate agents, tracking those properties which appear to be driving the local price structure for the North Coast.

Every Monday, we look over the listing prices of the past seven days and outline the Top 10 asking prices in the area, providing a snap shot as to where the Real Estate market may be trending on a week to week basis.

The listings below are purely for information purposes, for further background on the properties recorded, see our links page for access to the individual real estate listings.

The Archive for our weekly review can be found here.

Our list of the top ten priced homes for the week ending December 4, 2016 is below:


Prince Rupert Real Estate West Side week ending December 4  2016

Prince Rupert Real Estate East Side week ending December 4  2016

There were no changes to our listings of ten for the last week, leaving the east/west balance to remain with three properties found east of McBride, while 7 properties make up the listings found to the west of the divide.

The pricing remains constant from last week as well, with the lower range shifting upwards to a value of $455,800, while our top end from the last week remains pegged at $829,000.

Below find our findings as of the Week ending December 4, 2016

2280 Graham Avenue                   $829,000  --  Remax
1805 Graham Avenue                   $575,000  --  Royal Lepage
2062 Atlin Avenue                        $548,000 --   Remax
1725 West Second Avenue           $530,000 --   Royal Lepage
1724 Graham Avenue                   $515,000 --   Remax
1253 Conrad Street                       $499,000 --   Royal Lepage
1311-1313 Sloan                           $489,000 --   Royal Lepage
1325 7th Avenue East                   $489,000 --   Remax
129 Kootenay Place                      $459,000  --  Remax
2000 Seal Cove Circle                  $455,800  --  Royal Lepage


For more items related to Real Estate see our archive page here.

For background on Housing issues in the region see our past items here.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Winter's here ... First dusting of Snow for the North Coast overnight and into Sunday

Some overnight snow has made driveway shovelling the first item on Sunday's to do list, with a couple of inches of the frozen crystals falling in the post midnight period.

Few real problems appear to have been found in the city to this point and highway conditions to the east for the most part appear to be fine as we head towards the noon hour.

City crews and those working the highways around Prince Rupert and Port Edward were out through the morning to ensure that the major routes were cleared and sanded if required.

Drive BC is reporting occasional patches of compact snow and Slush for
sections of Highway 16 between Terrace and Prince Rupert



The string of Highway cameras located between Port Edward and Terrace provide a glimpse of what may be ahead for travellers heading between Prince Rupert and points east bound this afternoon.

Port Edward Turn off
Rainbow Summit area

Kwinitsa stretch
Kasiks area

The forecast for the remainder of the day calls for rain showers or a few flurries through the afternoon with a High of 3 and an overnight Low of 0, with the prospect of more showers or flurries through the evening and overnight period.

Monday appears to be a clear but cold day ahead with a High of 3 and a Low of -4.

Consider today as a training session however for what's to come.

You will want to keep the snow shovel close by, as the forecast looking towards the end of the week calls for periods of Snow for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Weather updates are available from the Environment Canada website, while updates on the driving conditions can be found from the Drive BC website.

You can also check out the Highway camera updates from our link here (it is also found on our right hand sidebar (see Notices and Advisories)  for quick reference)

Blog Watching: Week ending December 4, 2016


Municipal affairs was by far the area which attracted the most attention this week. With a large volume of readers reviewing our look at Monday's City Council session and the comments delivered by the public related to a controversial motion for Council on Pacific NorthWest LNG.

Also of note this week, our Friday item about One of the city's largest employers and how it became the focus of some major international news this week. That as DP World, the operators of the Fairview Container terminal announced a new partnership and investment vehicle with a major Quebec based pension fund.

The growth of the Cow Bay district was once again making news in the community, as Kaien Business Essentials migrated from it's five corners location to an area just up the hill from the Atlin Terminal, our notes on the shift east proved to be a popular item on the week.

Quite a few readers found some interest in news on the North coast employment front. With the Canadian Coast Guard recently launching a recruitment drive for the Prince Rupert Communication Centre, highlighting their interest in attracting members from area First Nations and coastal communities.

Federal politics also proved popular on the week, with electoral reform making for one of the main themes out of Ottawa over the last seven days. We took a look at the comments of MP Nathan Cullen, who served on the Electoral reform committee and spoke in the House of Commons to his frustration at how the Federal Government has responded to their work,

However, the top story of the week takes us back to Monday night at City Hall, where the City's council members heard some strong messages from those in attendance, who spoke to the theme of Council's Pacific NorthWest discussions of two weeks ago.

City Council's 'LNG conditions Wars' ... The Business Empire Strikes Back! -- City Council turned the microphone over to the public on Monday, with ten residents, including a number from the business community weighing in on Council's proposed motion related to Pacific NorthWest LNG (posted December 1, 2016)

That article was followed by:

Quebec based pension fund takes 45% share of DP World's Canadian Operations -- The DP World organization, which operates the city's Fairview Terminal has taken on a significant share of ownership from a Quebec based pension fund   (posted December 2, 2016)

Another local business makes the Cow Bay Shift -- The shift towards the eastern side of the downtown area continues to evolve, as Kaien Business Essentials becomes the latest of Prince Rupert businesses to put it's footprint into the Cow Bay Shopping District.   (posted November 30, 2016)

Canadian Coast Guard embarks on recruitment drive on North Coast -- A focus on First Nations and coastal community recruitment is the direction that the Canadian Coast Guard is taking with its latest call for applications for positions at Prince Rupert's Communication Centre.   ( posted November 28, 2016)

MP Nathan Cullen shows frustration with Liberal's approach to electoral reform -- After a summer and fall of consultation across the country, the prospect of electoral reform in Ottawa appears to be in a state of limbo, with the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley expressing his frustrations in the  House of Commons. (posted November 29, 2016)

You can find our Blog watching featured posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, a handy way to catch up to the week that was, at a leisurely weekend pace.

You can also review the full listings of the week just past from our Blog Archive index page found on the right hand side of the page.

For those looking for updates to items as they are posted to the blog, don't forget about our email alert access.

A daily review of the latest items on the blog can be delivered to your email in box, simply by entering your email address into the information bar, items posted to the blog will be delivered to your e-mail account each day.

You can find the link to that feature on the upper, right hand side of the blog. It can be found underneath the Follow the North Coast Review by Email indicator.

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching can be found here