Monday, September 25, 2017

Conservation Services set bear trap in Omenica/Sloan area of the city

Prince Rupert's Bear Tracker Map has noted ten sightings since it was created

For the last week or so, the Conservation Service of British Columbia has been looking to lure a wandering bear in the city into a trap, with Conservation Officers having returned to the city at mid month to place the trap in the Omenica/Sloan section of the city.

That trap is response to a number of ongoing sightings reported to the Terrace based service and some close encounters that have made for a growing list of entries on community Facebook pages.

Last week, the City of Prince Rupert made note of the trap through a post to the Civic Facebook page.

In addition to the trap, the Conservation Service has provided some guidelines for residents to try and reduce the number of attractants for bears, who are now preparing for their annual hibernation cycle of the fall and winter months.

As we've outlined over the last few months, a stream of Facebook reports began to come in from the city's Southwest side in the early summer, with one local resident creating a Bear Tracking map to help those in the area to track the movements of the inquisitive Urusus.

With a bear on the loose, a Rupert resident creates a Bear Tracker
Bear reports from City's west side bring Conservation Service to town

The Conservation Officers recently had some success in tracking down a Keromode Bear that had taken to exploring some of the residential areas of Terrace, last week they successful tranquilized and removed that bear back to the wild.

Kermode Bear captured near Terrace (video)
Kermode Bear trapped in Terrace and relocated
Kermode bear still lingering around Terrace
Kermode prowls (video)

More notes related to Emergency Service Responders in the region can be found on our archive page.

Regional District seeks meetings with five government ministries at UBCM

As they settle in for the five days of political themes of the UBCM convention, members of North Coast Regional District have identified five cabinet portfolios where they will seek out some conversation on issues from the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

The RD representatives reviewed their appointments list for UBCM during their monthly gathering held on Monday, and from the six requests put in with the new government of John Horgan's NDP, they were granted five meetings,

Regional District officials will have to talk fast however if they want to make the best use of the fifteen minute sessions to make their points and raise their issues with the provincial ministers or their officials.

Among those Ministries that the Regional District team will meet and the themes they hope to engage in are:

Monday, September 25 -- 3 to 3:15 PM
Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Haida Gwaii Community Forest initiative

Tuesday, September 26 -- 9:20 to 9:35 AM
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
BC Ferries scheduling, fare increases, alternative service options

Tuesday, September 26 -- 1:40 to 1:55 PM
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
LNG in NCRD Region and North Coast OCP and Ministerial Order #M053

Thursday, September 28 -- 3:20 to 3:55 PM
Ministry of Citizen's Services
Cell phone network coverage on Haida Gwaii, critical infrastructure, emergency coordination position on Haida Gwaii

Thursday, September 28 -- 4:05 to 4:20 PM
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance and North Coast OCP  and Ministerial Order #M053

Sending regrets at not being able to fit the Regional District into their schedule was the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

More notes related to this years UBCM gathering in Vancouver can be found on our archive page.

Further notes on North Coast Regional District items is available here.

NDP government appears to cool towards Northwest Resource Benefits calls for increased revenues

A letter delivered to the North Coast Regional District last week, would seem to indicate that when it comes to the efforts of the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance, any hopes for a quick negotiation with the province and an announcement of cash flowing to the region is going to be a ways off yet.

In the correspondence to Regional leaders, Selina Robinson, the new NDP government's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the cabinet minister responsible for relations with municipal governments first congratulates the collective on bringing the many communities together on the issues related to their initiative.

She then takes aim at the theme of funding that has made for the heart of much of the RBA discussion and offers up a bit of provincial financial accounting that highlights how the region hasn't done all that badly under the current system,.

Reviewing for the RBA some recent provincial funding for projects across Northern British Columbia, taking time to note that the Northwest has received a larger share of per capita funding than other areas of the province.

"We all share in revenues generated provincially, as they are reinvested in health, education, housing, social services, transportation, natural resources, infrastructure and other broad critical services. We are pleased that local governments in the Northwest Region have been successful in obtaining funding from various infrastructure programs like the Building Canada Fund and the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. 

In fact, in terms of Provincial infrastructure received, the North Coast and Nechako economic development regions combined, which include all local governments that form the RBA, received higher per capita funding ($758) compared to the Northeast region ($473) and the Mainland/Southeast ($46). 

In addition, local governments, First Nations and non-profits in the Northwest are all eligible for the benefits of the Rural Dividend program, which supports community economic development and diversification. 

They have submitted applications that have been awarded funding of approximately $3 million in the first two program intakes and a number of applications in the third intake are now under review ( over $3.3 million submitted)"

And while she looks forward to future engagement with the  RBA, Ms. Robinson makes note of the responsibility of the province "to listen to and balance the needs of all areas of British Columbia" when it comes prioritizing initiatives and maintaining a "positive financial outlook"

The full correspondence that has seemingly caught the Regional leaders by surprise can be reviewed below:

The tone of the letter and indication that the process will take time before the Province delivers any additional stream of funding certainly makes for a different view from what Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and the RBA had indicated back in August.

"The provincial government will now determine which ministry and senior staff representatives will lead negotiations with the RBA ... The ministers are already familiar with the RBA issues, so we are confident that the right team will be put together quickly"

While the right team may be in place, the pace of resolution to the issues raised by the RBA would seem to be one of cautious review, rather than that of quickly signing any cheques.

Over the last year or so, Mayor Brain and many the city council members have been strong advocates for the Resource Benefits Alliance approach to seeking more financial resources from the province, with the Mayor serving as the co-chair of the organization over the summer.

Some of their work on the issues can be reviewed below:

August 18 -- Northwest Resource Benefits video highlights alliance talking points from Victoria trip
August 14 -- Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance members hail new government's engagement on revenue issues
July 20 -- Mayor Brain offers best wishes to Premier Horgan and MLA Rice
May 8 -- Prince Rupert City Council's election quiz
May 5 -- Resource Benefits Alliance hails NDP leader's support for better arrangement
May 5 -- North Central Government officials wrap up week of convention duties in Terrace today

In her correspondence to the Regional leaders, Ms. Robinson makes note of her time constraints of this weeks UBCM convention, and that she has delegated engagement on the theme to a Deputy Minister in the Finance Department, who will provide a debriefing for the government officials following the municipal government gathering.

If they hope to raise their concerns and seek some progress on the RBA initiative at this weeks UBCM sessions, the North Coast Regional District delegation will have to talk fast.

According to their list of meetings with provincial officials, they have but a fifteen meeting arranged with officials from the Ministry of Municipal affairs that has been scheduled for Thursday at 4:05 PM.

The letter from the Minister would seem to indicate a subtle shift in how the NDP, now that they will be the one's cutting the cheques, may be viewing the RBA push for an increase in funding for the region.

The topic of a better share for the municipalities was a major theme of the recent provincial election campaign for Jennifer Rice, who echoed many of the talking points from the leader of her party John Horgan when it came to support for the RBA's initiatives, a declaration that Prince Rupert council celebrated at the time.

"The BC NDP has always supported the principle of ensuring that resource-dependent communities benefit from economic development in their region.

That's why I am proud to say a BC NDP government will undertake negotiations with northwest communities to ensure that benefits from future economic development stays in those communities . As requested by the alliance, we will initiate those negotiations by September of 2017"

During the campaign the North Coast's incumbent MLA had responded to the questions from Council on the theme of the RBA, offering what appears to be some solid support for their efforts during the course of the election campaign.

May 3 -- April 24 Campaign Forum revisited
April 21 -- Radio debates set the scene for Monday's North Coast all Candidates meeting

With the latest correspondence dampening ambitions for the short term, City Council and Regional District officials might want to pencil in some meeting time with the region's elected MLA and ask her what's up with what seems to now be somewhat of a shift in opinion from the NDP government.

For more items related to the week long events of UBCM see our archive page here.

More background on City of Prince Rupert notes can be reviewed here, while our archive of notes from Regional District can be found here.

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending September 24, 2017

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 September 24, 2017 is below:

Prince Rupert Real Estate, East Side, Week ending September 24, 2017

Prince Rupert Real Estate, West Side, Week ending September 24, 2017

There was one change to the listings to report for the last seven days, as a west side property located on Second Avenue West returned to active status.

That Graham/Atlin Avenue area continues to be the part of town attracting the most interest, with over half of our listings of ten found on that side of the city.

Overall, the area west of McBride Street accounts for eight of of the the ten this week.

The east side of the city claims the remaining two spots, both located within the vicinity of Charles Hays Secondary, the latest found on Prince Rupert Boulevard.

With the latest results, the combined value this week of our ten high end listings jumps upwards to  $6,728,000

The lowest mark for the list of ten now sits at $529,000, while our top end from the last week is listed at $829,000.

Below find our findings as of the Week ending September 24, 2017

2280 Graham Avenue                   $829,000 --  Remax
1027 Borden Street                       $789,000 --  Realty Executives
1830 Graham Avenue                   $759,000 --  Realty Executive
1881 Graham Avenue                   $710,000 --  Remax
2230 Graham Avenue                   $689,000 --  Remax
1810 Graham Avenue                   $660,000 --  Remax
1942 Second Avenue West           $649,000 -- Remax
1232 Conrad Street                       $569,000 --  Realty Executives
226 Heron Road                            $545,000 --  Remax
1208 Beach Place                          $559,000 --  Remax

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, September 24, 2017

City of Prince Rupert Tax Sale set for Monday Morning

The annual sale of Properties as part of the City of Prince Rupert Tax Sale process takes place Monday morning at 10 AM in the chambers of the Third Avenue West City Hall building and the closer we have made it to the deadline seems to have spurred those that made the list to take action on their debt to the city.

On Wednesday, the Tax Property List numbered some 20 properties that were noted as still available, as we head towards the 10 AM Sale tomorrow there are but five properties remaining on that list for the auction.

Though this year, the number of respondents to the the Tax Sale Listing opportunities may be somewhat limited, especially when finding the information on the City website makes for a case of digging deep into the Financial section of that information source, with this years Tax Sale listings found here.

As of today -- one day before the Tax sale takes place, there has been no prominent Notice of the Tax Sale posted to the various online options that the city maintains.

Those portals range from the website, to a number of Facebook pages and twitter feeds that the City hosts, or those individual social media pages on civic notes hosted by our elected officials.

That lack of any expanded notice might make it hard for anyone in the community to know that the sale is taking place, let alone have the time to take the time to tour the city and view the available properties should they be interested.

Those that read the weekly paper from front to back would have found the listings this week, printed towards the back pages in among the employment ads, rentals and Legal Notices.

For those that may have already done their recycling for the week, the list of those properties and the background to the process as noted from the city website can be reviewed below:
(click on chart to enlarge)

What is known as the upset price is the minimum price that is acceptable and makes for the starting point in any bidding during the sale. The highest bid above the upset price will be accepted. The successful bidder must pay by cash or certified cheque at the time of purchase. An information sheet related to the Tax Sale is available from the Finance Department at City Hall.

As part of the Tax Sale process, the City's Financial Department makes note of the following advisories:

The municipality makes no representation express or implied as to the condition or quality of the properties being offered for sale. Prospective purchasers are urged to inspect the property and make all necessary inquires to municipal and other government departments, and in the case of strata lots to the strata corporation, to determine the existence of any bylaws, restrictions charges or other conditions which may affect the value or suitability of the property.

Even if the properties remain on the list for the day, it does not mean that the original owners will be losing their property immediately. Any purchase that is completed on Monday is not final, with the purchase subject to redemption by the original owner, who has until one year from this date, September 25, 2018 to resolve their issues with the City.

The purchase of a Tax Sale property is subject to real estate taxes under the Property Tax Act on the fair market value of the property at the end of the redemption period.

Should you have any questions related to the Tax Sale process, you can contact Rose Holkestad, at Prince Rupert City Hall, the number for inquiries is 250-627-0964

More items related to Taxes and other related issues at City Hall can be found on our archive pages.

Blog Watching: Week ending September 24, 2017

Politics - federal, provincial and municipal found some space among our five most read items of the week.

A number of topics raised by Skeena MLA Ellis Ross found some interest with our readers, as the Liberal MLA hit his stride early in the fall session in Victoria, having introduced themes on LNG and health care in the Northwest to the Legislature over the last seven days.

The Hereditary Chiefs of Lax Kw'alaams were back in the news, having issued a statement on recent moves towards an Oil Moratorium and creation of the Great Bear Rainforest. The timing of their contribution to the discussion coming as the Prime Minister was about to address the United Nations with a speech on Indigenous issues in Canada.

The Economic Development Officer for Prince Rupert offered up some comments to Global BC as the community faced the cancellation of yet another LNG project for the North Coast, with Paul Venditelli responding to the Aurora LNG cancellation and making note of some of the other economic development found in the region.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP, Nathan Cullen picked his horse in the NDP leadership race, directing his support to the campaign of Ontario MLA Jagmeet Singh.

And the focus turned to performance on the waterfront this week, with word of two global container lines making alternative shipping plans as Prince Rupert's Fairview Terminal faces some congestion issues.

The top story of the week however had a focus on health care in the Northwest, with Skeena MLA Ellis Ross raising issues of concern over the fate of the replacement for the Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace.

Hopes for LNG, concerns over hospital replacement among themes for Skeena MLA Ellis Ross -- Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has had a strong debut in the Fall Legislature sessions, his rebuttal to the Speech from the Throne hit a number of marks of interest for residents of the Northwest. Mr. Ross followed up on one theme in particular this week as well, putting significant focus on the status of the proposed replacement hospital for Terrace's Mills Memorial. (posted September 18, 2017)

That article was followed by:

Hereditary Chiefs of Lax Kw'alaams speak out again on Oil Tanker Moratorium and Great Bear Rainforest -- While many greeted the recent declaration of an Oil Tanker Moratorium and creation of the Great Bear Rainforest protected area, there are some First Nations leaders that have outlined their concerns with approach of the Federal and provincial governments. (posted September 21, 2017)

Economic Development Office looks to other projects "coming down the pipe" following Aurora LNG cancellation -- While there's been little comment from the elected officials in Prince Rupert on the recent string of cancelled LNG projects, the regions Economic Development officer did offer up some observations on the city's industrial status.   (posted September 18, 2017)

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP throws support to Jagmeet Singh in NDP leadership contest -- While he's not seeking the leadership himself, the MP representing Northwest BC is working hard to get his choice to the finish line in the Federal NDP leadership contest.  (posted September 20, 2017)

'Dwell Time" issues at Fairview to see containers diverted south --  A bit of tarnish for the Crown Jewel of the Port of Prince Rupert, as congestion issues send shipping lines to seek alternative options on a temporary basis. Our original item of Monday, was followed by this item on Friday, noting that a second container line Maersk, was following the lead of Cosco Lines.  (posted September 18, 2017)

You can find our weekly Blog watching feature posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, making for 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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

MLA's Week: September 18-21, 2017

Statements to the House and a defence of the approach that the NDP government is taking on the issue of the Site C Hydro electric development made for the themes for North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice this week.

Ms. Rice was to her duties early in the week with some spirited remarks on the Site C issue making for her first real opportunity to engage with the Liberal opposition on a major topic in the fall session.

Earlier in the week Ms Rice had also made note of the success of the Port of Prince Rupert and offered up her tribute to the work of Don Krusel the President and CEO of the Port who retired earlier this month.

Ms. Rice also had two statements of note related to the passing of two well known environmentalists in the province, sharing her personal experiences related to Twyla Roscovich and Bruce Hill with the Legislature.

Our look at the work week that just concluded, can be found below:

On the week, Ms Rice was listed three times in the accounts of the sessions of the Legislature from September 18 to 21.

The North Coast MLA started the week off on Monday morning, taking on observations from Liberal MLA Dan Davies who had chastised the governing Liberals for their handling of Site C Hydro electric project.

As she rose in response, the MLA provided for a number of government talking points on the theme, as she delivered her defence of the NDP's review of the project.

MLA Rice responds on Site C observations and themes of energy as part of Legislature discussion

Monday afternoon  Ms. Rice provided a tribute to the lives of two environmental leaders in the province who recently passed away, delivering statements and sharing memories on the lives of Twyla Roscovich and Bruce Hill.

North Coast MLA pays tribute to environmental leaders recently passed

On Tuesday afternoon, the North Coast MLA delivered an update on some of the recent events at the Port of Prince Rupert, including an account of the opening of the Fairview Container Terminal expansion project. As well, she presented a tribute to the work and vision of Port of Prince Rupert President and CEO Don Krusel, who retired earlier this month.

MLA shares success of port and pays tribute to Don Krusel with Legislature statement

In the last session of the Legislature, Ms. Rice was a member of the Committee on Children and Youth, however, that Committee and many others have yet to announce who will serve on them as the Fall session moves forward.

Some other notes on the week with a Northwest focus included:

Northwest MLA Ellis Ross also had a productive session at the Legislature this week, with the Skeena MLA engaging in a spirited discussion with Health Minister Adrian Dix on issues related to the proposed Mills Memorial Hospital replacement program.

Mills Memorial Hospital topic of Legislature discussion Wednesday

Another theme that may at some point become part of the Legislature discussion and of interest for the North Coast MLA comes from the Hereditary Chiefs of the Lax Kw'alaams.

This week they issued a statement calling attention to their concerns on a proposed Oil Tanker moratorium and providing some thoughts on the Great Bear Rainforest and any potential impact that it may have on their territory.

Hereditary Chiefs of Lax Kw'alaams speak out again on Oil Tanker Moratorium and Great Bear Rainforest

With the UBCM convention taking place in Vancouver from September 25 to 29, there will be no sessions of the Legislature during this coming week.

The Legislature will return to its work on Monday morning, October 12nd.

There is more background on the North Coast MLA available from our MLA's Week Archive as well as our General Archive on the Legislature.

A larger overview of provincial issues can be found on our political portal D'Arcy McGee