Thursday, November 23, 2017

Terrace RCMP seeking suspects in armed robbery from today

The Terrace detachment of the RCMP is calling on the public for some assistance after a Thursday morning armed robbery in the 2900 block of Highway 16 East in Thornhill.

The call which came in at 7:20 AM advised that two masked men with handguns had been observed fleeing the scene on a Red ATV heading towards the Upper Thorhill area, with police observing them on Old Lakelse Drive.

The ATV was subsequently abandoned shortly after near Larch Avenue.

The trail went cold off of Larch Avenue in Terrace, as the RCMP continue
their search for two suspects in an early morning armed robbery in Thornhill.

The Terrace detachment is currently canvassing the immediate neighbourhoods of the robbery and where the ATV was abandoned, as well as to review any surveillance material available.

No other descriptions have been offered up at this time.

Should you have information of interest to the RCMP you are asked to call the Terrace detachment at 250-638-7400 or through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222 TIPS, through the Crimestoppers website or by Text at 274637 (CRIMES) and then adding TERRACE along with your information.

More background to the day's events in Terrace can be found here.

For more items related to Emergency Service personnel in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Internet Safety Awareness program for Parents goes tonight at Nisga'a Hall

The White Hatters are back in town and ready to share some more Internet Safety tips with parents from around the North Coast.

The Victoria based organization is offering a Free session of their popular computer literacy program tonight at 6:30 at the Nisga'a Hall. 

Theirs is a project designed to help parents to understand this new era of digital technology and mobile communications in an easy to understand presentation that is delivered with some humour to go along with the very serious message.

Beyond the introduction to what the Internet and Social media is all about for parents, the White Hatter will also share some ways to make sure that our sons and daughters are not engaging in high risk or undesirable behaviour online.

The White Hatter program has been used by SD52 in the past, most recently in the Spring of this year, to provide computer awareness for students and parents alike, some background on their past work in the community can be found here.

To get more information on tonight's presentation which is FREE to all contact Joyce at 250-600-1625. The evening is a presentation of the Prince Rupert Child and Youth Mental Health Action Team.

The White Hatters offered up a shout out to the community through their twitter feed today, offering a glimpse to the themes for this evening's session.

A bit of background on the White Hatter group can be reviewed here

For more items of note on Community Events in the community see our archive page.

Red Kettle volunteers needed as Christmas Season approaches

North Coast residents will soon be seeing the familiar Salvation Army Red Kettles popping up around Prince Rupert, as the annual fundraising campaign for the Christmas season begins to head into full motion.

The Salvation Army has issued the call for volunteers to staff the kettles once they take their place, taking to their Facebook page this week to provide some notes on the annual campaign.

In past years, local groups and businesses have made the annual Kettle Campaign a team event, seeking out those in their organization willing to donate a few hours towards the cause.

Likewise, individuals from around the region have heard the call and offered up their time for the fund raising campaign, which always resonates with those in the community.

If you can lend a hand you are asked to call Ken Copping at 250-624-6786 to learn more about how you or your group can become involved.

As we get closer to Christmas, a reminder of the annual hamper distribution through the Salvation Army, tomorrow marks the final day that you can have your name placed on that list.

You can review those notes on the program from our item of October 23 .

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

British Columbia's LNG competitiveness makes for debate in Legislature session

The debate over LNG development across British Columbia continues to make for an ongoing theme for the NDP government to address and much of the credit for keeping the topic on the front burner at the Legislature can go to Skeena MLA Ellis Ross.

As he has for much of this session, Mr. Ross has continued to gain some strong exposure for his work in the Legislature through his work on the energy files, with the Skeena MLA  recently the subject of a high profile review of resource issues last week in the National Post newspaper.

The topic of how competitive British Columbia remains when it comes to the global LNG industry made for a good portion of the afternoon Budget Estimates discussion of Monday this week at the Legislature. As Mr. Ross was once again the point man for the BC Liberal party on the issue, engaged in a lengthy discussion on the issues with Energy and Mines and Petroleum Minister Michelle Mungall.

As part of his line of questions, Mr. Ross noted that with a level of uncertainty when it comes to the NDP governments approach, some of the proponents of projects in the province are in need of answers, pointing towards the LNG Canada project in his own riding, as one project that needs to know what kind of measures the government may have in mind for the industry.

"Time is of the essence, especially for projects like LNG Canada, who want to announce an FID by 2018. That's when the next window of opportunity will be coming up for these multi-billion-dollar projects. So, can I ask, in relation to the previous answer, what the expected time lines are relating to these action items, whether it be a type of panel or a TOR or a report? And How soon can we act on those competitive measures?"

Towards those notes, the Minister noted that the government hopes to have "policy levers" to ensure British Columbia's competitiveness in place by the end of the calendar year, however any hopes for a public report on the issue, as requested by the Skeena MLA, will perhaps have to wait as some elements may be budget related.

"The short answer to that is: it depends. If they involve tax measures or any types of legislative measures, that would be a part of the budget process and released with the budget as well as with the legislative plan for the spring session. So it wouldn't be something available in January, for example. If our way forward is not either legislative- or taxation-based, then our intention would be to inform the public at this time."

In response to Mr. Ross's inquiries on competitiveness, Ms. Mungall provided a snapshot of the process in motion at this time.

In our discussion with the federal government, we're looking at, specifically, policy levers that are in the federal jurisdiction, namely, within the Ministry of Finance and Natural Resources Canada — NRCan, as most people will call it. 

We're working directly with very senior officials in those two ministries. I'll just name some of the policy areas that we're looking at — the fabricated industrial steel component, so the FISC duties, as well as the capital cost allowance. Those are the two main things and the most immediate, in terms of who's most immediate to FID, or final investment decision. 

As the member alluded to, LNG Canada…. That's definitely, in their case, the situation. We're also looking at other import duties. For example, and the member brought this up last time, the floating import duties, as well, for smaller potential LNG developments like Steelhead, which has now been renamed Kwispaa."

As part of her review of the government to government discussions on resources, Ms. Mungall also made note of the Skeena MLA's past experience when it comes to knowledge of the LNG industry in the Northwest, offering up the prospect of exploring some of his themes in the future.

"At this stage, our government-to-government talks, as well as our engagement with industry and First Nations communities and non-Indigenous communities as well as associations… They're at a confidential stage right now and for the reason I said earlier — that we don't want to be tipping off our competitors in terms of what we want to be doing here in British Columbia, what needs to be going on here in British Columbia. 

But I really want to extend an invitation to the member opposite. I truly value his years of experience on the LNG file from a community perspective, as a community leader. If he has anything that he really wants to make sure is in my filing cabinet, in my mind, about what some of the things are that we need to be considering, I would really appreciate it. Either a letter or we can have a formal meeting or even a conversation over coffee in the dining room. I would really appreciate that opportunity.

During the course of the thirty minute exchange on LNG and energy issues the Skeena MLA made a number of inquiries of the Minister, including questions related to First Nations consultations when it comes to LNG issues and what the government's thoughts on hydraulic fracking may be.

As well Mr. Ross explored such themes on carbon taxes and pipeline development to name a few.

You can review the full exchange from the Legislature Record here, starting at the 14:40 point.

The Video archive also features a replay of the discussion, you can access it from the Chamber Video for Monday afternoon, starting at 2:40 PM

You can review some of the previous themes on LNG and other issues raised by the Skeena MLA from our archive page here.

For a wider overview of notes from British Columbia politics see our political portal D'Arcy McGee.

A Celebration of the Multi-cultural diversity of Prince Rupert set for Sunday

The Highliner Plaza Hotel will be the cross roads of the world for the North Coast this weekend, as the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Service Society hosts a celebration of the region's Multicultural Diversity.

The event takes place Sunday at the 1st Avenue West hotel's exhibition hall from 1 to 4 PM and will feature multicultural performances, traditional foods and much more. 

The three hour celebration offers a chance for residents of the region to experience the growing multicultural community and explore more about their traditions from their former homelands.

The afternoon will also give you a chance to learn more about the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Service Society.  The local agency which offers a range of services for newcomers to the nation and the region

Based out of their offices on First Avenue East, among some of the projects that the organization delivers are Adult literacy programs, assistance in job searches and a number of other supports for those that have chosen to make the Prince Rupert region their new home.

You can find out more about their work from their Facebook page here.

For more items related to Community Events on the North Coast see our archive page.

The Bus Stops Where? Growing commentary and concerns over Prince Rupert's absence from Highway 16 shuttle program

The MLA is on the bus! North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
was on hand last week 
as BC Transit introduced the addition of a
Hazelton connection to the Highway 16shuttle bus 

Last week's announcement out of Terrace hailing the introduction of the latest leg of the Highway 16 Shuttle transportation program has not gone un-noticed by residents of the North Coast,  with a number of residents of the region weighing in through Social media with questions as to why Prince Rupert remains off the BC Transit destination board.

During last Friday's announcement, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice who was on hand to represent the Provincial Government, didn't have much to say about why Prince Rupert still has yet to sign onto the program, instead focusing on some of the history of the quest to bring the shuttle bus program into service through the last number of years.

The absence of the last major community from along the Highway 16 corridor did remain a bit of a puzzle for Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc, who offered up some hope that her counterparts on the North Coast would one day make the connection complete, providing shuttle bus service from Prince Rupert, through to Prince George and serving all of the communities in between.

"I hope that there's an opportunity to expand the service, I know that there's people here from Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert had the largest turnout during the consultation process of connecting the service from Terrace to Prince Rupert and (I'm) hoping that leg will continue" -- Mayor Carol Leclerc of Terrace on the new BC Transit service in the Northwest

Prince Rupert had the largest
participation rate in Hwy 16
shuttle consultations
As Ms. Leclerc noted in her comments, there had been a strong turnout of participants when the BC Transit tour reached this city.

During their August 2016 stop in the region, 122 residents took part in the BC Transit consultation session for the shuttle program in Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

Despite that strong level of interest in the proposed service, officials from Prince Rupert and around the North Coast region have chosen not to take part in the shuttle program, which sees the Provincial government cover two thirds of the cost for the transportation service.

Last December, Mayor Brain and other regional leaders made note of how the current system of transportation options in the region, that delivered through the distribution of vouchers provided by the North Coast Transition Society is apparently their preferred answer to the issues of transportation beyond the Prince Rupert city limits.

However, if the the social media commentary on the issue is an indication, then there is some concern that the City, Regional District and other officials may not have read the community correctly when they made their decision.

Something which took place by way of announcement and without a public consultation of residents by local officials when it comes to those that might make the most use of the program.

Some of the many comments on the theme delivered through Social Media include:

"What about Haida Gwaii people coming off the ferry trying to get to Dr.s in Terrace Smithers or Prince George?" 

"What happened to prince Rupert ???????????? why are we left out ???"

"I wish something was available for people to travel not in crisis also , as Greyhound may be leaving the region. Many can't afford to leave town to visit friends and relatives at present. Greyhound out priced it's self."

"It's not just 'women in crisis' that need a bus service to Terrace. What about women that are not in crisis or the men of low income that would like to take a trip to Terrace to visit friends and relatives or other folks who don't own a vehicle. Greyhound is once a day. It leaves Rupert at 10am daily and does not arrive back until 8:15am the following day. This 'bus' that is now partnered with the Transition House, where can a person book to travel on it and how much is the fare and is it only for 'women in crisis?"

"Didn't Rupert have the highest uptake in BC Transit's engagement for this? I want to be able to go to Terrace, but the Greyhound is expensive/inconvenient, and the Train is unreliable. Also, to have the service to all communities along Highway 16, but have it stop short of Rupert seems like a huge oversight. I think this is something the city should fund, not only does it support our Regional peers, but also provides a more accessible option to all Rupertites."

"There's a lot of people who are medically not allowed to drive, eg. Although I am cleared to drive, my doctor thinks it would be risky for me to drive on the highway due to epilepsy, therefore without any transport I rely on other people to do anything outside of Rupert while not qualifying for any disability assistance. There must be other people: elders, people with diabetes, bad eyesight, etc. in the same boat? A cheap bus service to Terrace would really help give us more freedom to visit friends and family, go to kids' sports events etc."

As part of the commentary related to a Northern View article of last week, the Mayor offered up a review of the city's approach as part of the ongoing discussion, providing for the most part a copy and paste version of the original announcement of December 2016, to the newspaper's Facebook page.

However, Mayor Brain did not provide for any additional comments, or observations to address the concerns and observations that are currently being expressed on the topic.

You can review the stream of commentary on the absence of Prince Rupert from the program through the two social media portals here and here.

The issue of the need for more transportation options to and from Prince Rupert has even made it to the Unity/Tent City camp on the City Hall grounds. With organizers and participants in the housing protest which is now in its second week also taking note of the current lack of access to the provincial program.

Considering the themes that are percolating on the issue, the Mayor and his Council, as well as the other stakeholders in the current process may want to reassess the situation and make contact with North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, to see if they can work together to include Prince Rupert on the destination board.

As the province has made it more than clear since January of this year that the North Coast is welcome aboard the shuttle bus program at any time, it would seem that the onus now turns to the Mayor, City Council and their regional partners to decide if their initial decision truly reflects the desires of the public they represent.

You can follow the roll out of announcements on the Highway 16 Shuttle from our Transportation Archive page here.

All Native Qualifying tourney opens today; runs through to Saturday Finals

The chance to be Cinderella for Prince Rupert's Annual February Ball gets underway today, with players and a few of their fans from communities across British Columbia and Alaska in town for the All Native Basketball Tournament Qualifying Tournament.

24 teams had originally expressed interest in participating in the Qualifying event, however as the November 10th tournament entry deadline came closer a bit over half had decided to take a pass on their chance to play in February.

Eleven Teams are set to take to the court at the Russell Gamble Gymnasium,  with berths on the line for February's Big Show of the All Native Basketball Tournament.

With no Qualifying games for the Intermediate, or Master's Divisions, teams from two Division see action starting today.

The Women's  match-up's feature five competitors:

Hartley Bay
New Aiyansh

While Six teams are seeking the three placements for the Senior Men's, they include:

Hydaburg, Alaska
Metlakatla, Alaska

First action for the three day tournament tips off at 9:30 this morning in the Women's Division when Masset play Hartley Bay.

The Senior Men's Draw gets underway at 1 PM with Hydaburg Alaska, taking on Gitanyow.

The Path to the Saturday Finals looks as follows:

You can follow the action from the Civic Centre through the All Native Tournament Facebook page.

The 2018 Tournament, the 59th Annual edition, takes place from February 11 to 17 at the Russell Gamble Gym and Jim Ciccone Civic Centre facilities.

A review of some of the past years of ANBT action can be found on our archive page

As the Saturday finals bring the Qualifying tournament to an end, we will update those who move on to the Main event of February below: