Saturday, March 25, 2017

3.2 magnitude temblor recorded along Alaska panhandle

The shifting of the plates along the Pacific fault lines slipped a bit just northwest of Prince Rupert this morning, with a 3.2 temblor recorded 90 kilometres West of Craig, Alaska on the panhandle.

Craig is 305 kilometres West-Northwest of Prince Rupert, today's seismic shift had a depth of 8.5 kilometres.

The small scale event which occurred at 8:02 this morning was not strong enough to generate any form of Tsunami alerts, nor has there been any indication that it was noticed in the Craig area, or that any damage was noted there.

The event is at the lower end of a string of recent moderate earth movements registered off of Vancouver Island, though it is the first of note to be recorded in proximity to the North Coast in a number of months.

For more items related to Seismic events see our archive page here.

Earth Hour 2017 looks to regain momentum in Northwest

Can Earth Hour get its mojo back?

That's a question for the environmental movement tonight as the annual call to power down arrives this evening between 8:30 and 9:30 PM.

A few short years ago, the lights were being switched of with enthusiasm around the world, the global event having caught the imagination of the public thanks to its novelty and a pretty good advertising push.

And while many locations across the continents continue to expand on their efforts, others are starting to drift off when it comes to engagement to the theme

As the project heads into its 11th year of observation in British Columbia, the participation trend has been delivering mixed results in the Northwest over recent years.

In 2015 Prince Rupert and Port Edward had recorded energy savings on Earth Hour of 2.3 Percent.

Two years previous, in 2013, the two communities had delivered energy savings of 4.1 percent

Some notes on past Prince Rupert observations of the hour can be found below:

2016 -- Organizers hoping for a boost in Earth Hour participation levels for 2016
2014 -- Earth Hour 2014 and its hour of powering down arrives tonight
2013 -- Rupertites prepare to power down for an hour, as Earth Hour approaches
2012 -- Prince Rupert trends middle of the pack in Earth Hour involvement

Launched in Australia in 2007, the program hosted by the World Wildlife Fund was created to raise awareness of the effects of climate change, the project has used some of the world's major attractions as a symbol of awareness, with such locations as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Empire State Building in New York and Sydney Opera House extinguishing their lighting systems to help spread the word.

Across Canada public and private buildings and attractions have shared in that message, Niagara Falls shuts off the lights for the hour, while in British Columbia, the decorative lights that frame the Legislature in Victoria go dark.

The Province of British Columbia took note of Earth Hour on Thursday, outlining what measures it was taking for the hour and offering links to the WWF efforts and the province's Climate Leadership plan.

However, heading into today and with less than ten hours to go, there was still no reminder this year from the City of Prince Rupert, with no mentions of Earth Hour or background notes offered through the city website or the social media sites of Facebook and Twitter that they offer to the public.

The theme has even managed to fly under the radar of Mayor Lee Brain, who has noted his strong commitment to the environment in the past.

So far, neither his twitter feed, or Facebook page which is a frequently used social media stream that makes mention of many local initiatives, has yet to deliver the call to action for those who follow the page.

Even the very pro-environment MLA for the region, recently endorsed by an environmental group, has missed the chance to urge for energy conservation, with no mentions of Earth Hour yet for Jennifer Rice's Facebook page or twitter feed.

Also making for an interesting note on the theme of dwindling interest, the push for participation in Earth Hour seems to have slipped by the province's energy provider BC Hydro, with no mention listed on their website highlighting tonight's request to power down.

The host organizer of the project however is keeping the faith, with the WWF website featuring a number of items of note.

You can review more from the WWF about tonight's plans here.

The WWF also has what it calls a Starter kit, offering up options for social media involvement and other ways to share word of the hour dedicated to powering down.

The WWF has put up a number of videos to set the tone for tonight's efforts, providing background on the issue of climate change and a look at events from past years.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Prince Rupert Seawolves finish second in Tier 4 Championship in Fernie

Prince Rupert Peewee Seawolves mined silver in Fernie
at Tier 4 Provincial tournament

(photo from PRMHA)

The Prince Rupert Seawolves gave it a good long run, but in the end a nemesis from earlier in the week once again had the better of the North Coast representatives, as the North Okanagan Knights topped the Prince Rupert squad by a score of 7 to 2 in the Tier 4 Peewee Tournament final.

The Seawolves who claim Silver from the competition, had a successful run through the five days of tournament play, suffering only one loss through the schedule a Monday defeat to the eventual champs.

Other than that early setback, the Peewee squad compiled an impressive record of Four wins, one loss and one tie for their six tournament games, the nine points taking them to second place at the end of the preliminary round, setting the stage for Thursday nights final.

The North Okanagan Knights are
the 2017 Tier 4 Peewee champs
topping Prince Rupert Seawolves
in the tournament final
The strength and depth of the Okanagan team was once again the factor in the final match up of the week, though the Seawolves clearly had regrouped from their Monday match up, offering up a strong challenge to the champs.

However, in the end it was experience and access to more competition that perhaps offered up the one intangible that the Rupert squad had to face.

The Okanagan program and larger population base of the region offers the Knights a bit of an advantage when it comes to tournament time and ability to bring in a championship in the winner take all final.

Tournament officials have not released any scoring summaries to this point from the final game, or from the week of play in Fernie.

The North Okanagan team finished the tournament undefeated, the final standings from the 2017 Championship can be found below:

You can explore the results and other notes from the tournament week from our review page here.

For more items of interest related to Minor hockey in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Former Pro at Prince Rupert Golf Course tees it up in Nelson, BC

The arrival of spring and a new golf season on the North Coast will bring a change in the club house at the Prince Rupert Golf Course, as the Course heads into the upcoming season still searching for a club pro for the eighteen hole community facility.

Dave Belling, who had served as the club pro at the 9th Avenue West clubhouse, left the Prince Rupert Golf Course and the community earlier this year.

Mr. Belling's time on the North Coast covered a year and a half, joining the Prince Rupert course in July of 2015, he resigned his position in February of this year, indicating that he had a better opportunity at hand.

His travels have taken him to the Kootenays, with the Granite Pointe Golf Club in Nelson recently announcing his hiring to the position of General Manager of the Nelson club.

Mr. Belling introduced himself to that community through the Granite Pointe Facebook page, where he outlined his duties at the course and offers an invitation to its members, as well as area residents to drop into the golf shop to hear more about the plans for 2017.

Since his departure, the Prince Rupert Golf Course has been seeking a new pro for the club.

However with it getting late in the recruiting season for such positions, the local facility may have to head into the spring and summer without finding a suitable applicant.

The facility currently lists a Golf Shop Supervisor as in place to oversee the operations of the club house, though the ability to provide lessons and organize tournaments will have to be addressed by the Golf Course Board.

As the Course moves towards the more pleasant weather of the spring and summer, they have new rates in place for the 2016-17 season, the schedule of rates covers a range of options from daily fees for nine or eighteen holes to season memberships.

A look at the hours of operation for the course and the Pro Shop can also be found here.

The Prince Rupert Golf  Society receives funding from the City of Prince Rupert, last year the Society received two instalments of funding, with $93,000 provided for operational uses, while the city also delivered $49,861 towards capital requirements for the Society.

The final numbers related to 2017 Community Grant funding from the City of Prince Rupert and what amount the Golf Society will receive will be provided by the City in late June.

You can find more background on the Prince Rupert course from their website and Facebook page.

For notes of interest on the Golf scene in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Wildlife interpretation display proposed for Prince Rupert

Conservation Officer Gareth Scrivner
delivered a presentation to council
on Monday exploring the potential for a
wildlife interpretive display for the city
It's a project that is still very much in the early stages, but if enough stakeholders can be assembled and funding sources found, a new attraction may soon come to the Prince Rupert area, as part of a proposal to put a wildlife interpretive display in place in the city.

Prince Rupert City Council received a first look at what the project might look like on Monday, when Terrace based Conservation Officer Gareth Scrivner appeared in front of council to make a twenty minute presentation on the theme.

Making use of a number of information slides, Mr. Scrivner provided some background as to how he envisions such an interpretive display coming together.

Perhaps with an eye towards the volume of tourists that arrive in the Cow Bay area each year he suggested that the display might be most suited for placement somewhere in the Atlin Terminal area.

His initial thoughts present the project as one which could be in the form of a small gallery type of display with photos, videos and educational text that outlined the themes of wildlife and conservation.

Mr. Scrivner also noted that should the idea catch the imagination of the community, that theme could be expanded to offer more sophisticated and interactive options depending on the amount of financial resources that they could bring together.

Observing for Council that one of his duties as a Conservation Officer is to engage the community in discussion and provide more information on issues of wildlife interaction, Scrivner portrayed the proposed interpretive display as a community option that would help fill that need, as well as to offer an attraction for local residents and visitors to the community.

Among the partners he is looking to approach towards the project include the City of Prince Rupert, Local First Nations, UNBC, and local eco-tourism businesses and other interested members of the community.

The first phase of the project planning includes seeking out those other partners, forming a committee or working group and then to explore the options for available funding and other resources to move the display proposal forward.

Council members were generally quite enthusiastic and receptive to his proposal, with a number of them offering up suggestions and asking questions about how the project could  move forward.

Councillor Cunningham called it a phenomenal idea and asked about whether it would be a full time display or a seasonal project, he also inquired about areas of funding for the proposal and noted that there were a number of vacant spaces in the city, so the display didn't necessarily have to be placed in the Atlin Centre area.

And while he cautioned that he couldn't speak towards providing funding by the city, but did suggest that the City could offer some expertise in setting it up the proposed display concept.

Councillor Randhawa called it a great idea and asked if there was any kind of idea related to how much the project might cost.

Councillor Thorkelson also echoed the theme of the project being a good one, observing that there could also be options for cooperation with such agencies as the Department of Fisheries and other area stakeholders to expand the scope of the display project.

She also had some thoughts on how the proposal could move forward, noting that while city staff probably didn't want to stick handle the concept, there could be a number of members in the community that may be willing to step up to help get the project underway.

Mayor Brain also offered up the prospect of the city council taking the project under consideration, with further discussion planned to see if anyone on Council is interested in being involved.

The Mayor also outlined a few suggestions focused on the community, as to where the City might be able to help bring together some support to explore the proposal further.

You can take a look at what Officer has in mind from the video archive of Monday's Council session, the presentation to council starts at the nine minute point.

For more items related to Monday's City Council session see our Council Timeline feature here, a more expanded review of Mr. Scrivner's presentation is also available there..

Further background on Council discussion topics and other areas of interest about City Council can be reviewed on Council archive page.

CFNR expansion ambitions to be heard by CRTC on Monday

Terrace based CFNR has an ambitious expansion plan in mind, as the First Nations based broadcaster looks to increase its presence in the radio industry by introducing their programming sound through a new Vancouver radio station.

CFNR will appear in front of a CRTC application board on Monday, presenting their case as part of their application for an English and Aboriginal Type B Native FM radio station in Vancouver broadcasting at 106.3 on the FM band.

If successful the station would operate under the call letters of CKUR Vancouver, Identified as Vancouver Urban Aboriginal Radio.

The application calls for a music based service which would broadcast 126 hours of local programming each broadcast week, with programming to be presented in English, Salishan, Coast Salish and Halkomelem language.

The Synopsis from the CRTC related to CFNR's application to
operate a radio station to broadcast to the Lower mainland area

(click to enlarge)

The application documents that have been submitted for Monday's hearing include a Market Survey Report, which explores the nature of the Vancouver market and a breakdown of the registered First Nations population that are found in the Greater Vancouver region, as well as a profile of those Nations that the station would be seeking to provide services for.

A review of how the station would offer up community support to the Vancouver area is also provided, along with an explanation as to how the CFNR Board functions and what plans the station would have to add to it should they be successful with their application.

The collection of documents also includes a number of Question and Response correspondences, where the radio station has addressed items of note from the regulator.

A map that is included as part of the application shows the range that the proposed CKUR signal would travel, centred in the immediate Vancouver area, expanding largely in directions to the West, East and South.

Pockets of the signal would reach into the northern part of Washington State while the Mid Island, coastal region of Vancouver Island would also be on the fringe of the radio station signal.

You can download the full application through the CRTC website here, the CFNR application is number four, click on the Application Number 2016-0013-0 to review their presentation.

The application and six other applications from across Canada, will be heard in Gatineau, Quebec on Monday starting at 6AM Pacific time.

One of those other applicants, First Peoples Radio based out of Winnipeg, is also seeking a broadcast licence for Vancouver, one of five licences that group is seeking as part of a proposed radio network.

The complete listings for Monday's hearing can be reviewed here.

The applicants will not be granted their licences as part of the hearing process, any approval will come later in the year when the CRTC has reviewed the applications and then announce their decision.

For those that have an interest in how the process takes place, the hearing will be streamed live through the CRTC website, once the hearing is underway the link to the proceedings will be made available at the bottom of their home page.

For more items related to the media on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Herring season heads towards home stretch; while questions remain about salmon season

The Canadian Fish Plant on George Hills Way has been a busy operation
through the month of March as the 2017 Herring season moves forward

Parking around the Canadian Fish Plant along George Hills Way is getting a little cramped these days as a fleet of transport trucks wait their turn to collect shipments of herring and herring roe for transit to the Lower mainland and on to Asia.

The North Coast herring season is making the turn into the home stretch as March makes its way into April, the number of landings becoming fewer and fewer at the giant fish plant on the city's eastern side.

The harvest from the waters of the North and Central coast will now be destined to make their way to Vancouver and for eventual shipment to Asian markets.

With the British Columbia product considered to be as one of near gold status in the fishing industry, particularly when it comes to the herring roe, a resource that is in high demand.

It's a long line up of trucks waiting their turn to pick up a load at the
loading dock at the Prince Rupert Operations of Canadian Fish

The herring season offers up a few extra hours for those at the high end of the labour pool board at the Prince Rupert plant, valuable for those that need as many hours as possible to qualify for Employment insurance in the fall.

Once the herring season winds down completely in early May, the plant will transform itself for salmon season, though that is a season which looks quite different than what was seen less than a few years ago when salmon canning operations were in place in Prince Rupert.

Recent changes to the George Hills Way plant have seen the canning lines removed and the amount of work for local shore workers decline as the plant shifts towards more of a fresh and frozen operation.

2017 will also be what is known as a contract year for the local workers at the two Canadian fish plant facilities in the community.

To prepare for those negotiations ahead, UFAWU-Unifor the union representing the workers recently held some preliminary meetings with the workers, as the union leadership looked to get an idea as to what the workers are seeking at the negotiating table this time around.

The current labour agreement between workers and the Canadian Fish Company will expire on April 15th, it's unknown as to when the first of the bargaining sessions will take place.

UFAWU-Unifor has made the concentration of ownership of the industry on the North Coast a key element of their response to the job declines at the Prince Rupert plant, calling for the Federal government to address the issue of adjacency for the fishing industry in British Columbia.

That is a call that has been echoed by both NDP MP Nathan Cullen, it was also topic that was raised in the Legislature earlier this month by NDP MLA Jennifer Rice.

In addition to the labour discussions, the 2017 fishing season is facing potential concerns over fish stock levels, with DFO noting this month that early returns are not offering a promising outlook for the fishing season ahead.

At the moment, it is still too early in the year to make a final decision as to whether there will be a salmon season, those determinations will come in the months to come, as the Federal fisheries department releases its salmon management plan for the year.

For more notes on the Fishing industry in British Columbia see our archive page here.