Monday, December 31, 2012

The BC Jobs Fair roadmap seemingly ends at Terrace

Once again, when it comes to the provincial government offering up some of its BC Jobs Plan for residents of the Northwest, the pavement seems to end in Terrace.

We previously wondered aloud about the BC Jobs Fair itinerary back when the BC Jobs Fair first made its road trip west of Prince George in November, a trek that brought the travelling Jobs Fair to Burns Lake and Terrace.

Now we just have to wonder if the province thinks that Prince Rupert is so awash in employment opportunity, that a Jobs Fair roadshow just isn't required here.

Or maybe, they just don't have an up to date road map in Victoria, one that shows that Highway 16 is paved now, normally cleared of snow and makes it all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

The Province has announced a second wave of travelling Jobs Fairs for 2013 and Terrace will once again play host to a visit on the 22 community tour, with the caravan arriving on March 21st, just one stop in the tour of the province that will cost about 500,000 dollars in total.

It marks the second time that the Jobs Fair has called in that community in the last  months. This time Smithers will also be a featured community on the next listing of destinations, playing host to the Job Fair on March 19th.

The BC Jobs Fairs are actually quite impressive things, they match up job seekers with potential employers and/or educational institutions to better their job prospects. Those that attended the Terrace and Burns Lakes sessions in November had nothing but good things to say about the stop there.

Burns Lake Jobs Fair
Terrace Jobs Fair 1
Terrace Jobs Fair 2

However, for residents and would be information seekers of Prince Rupert and Port Edward, it would appear that it's time once again to gas up the car, hop the Greyhound, or figure out the VIA schedule and head east.

The omission of such communities as Prince Rupert (really, twice in Terrace??) could provide a cynic with cause to think, that with a provincial election in the offing for May, the Liberal government is scheduling these job fairs in riding's where they think perhaps electoral success might be found.

It's too bad the Legislature has been shuttered over the fall and winter, as it might be an interesting question to pose to the government representatives in the Leg, just why their Jobs for BC Jobs Fair program seems to keep skipping the region with one of the highest of unemployment rates.

Come to think of it, closed or open, that's a question that maybe our MLA (and his potential political heirs), not to mention Mayor and City Council may wish to ask of the provincial government.

Prince George Citizen-- Job Fair to make stop in Prince George
Opinion 250-- New Tour for Government's Job Fairs
CFTK-- More BC Jobs Fairs Planned for Northwest

Rumbles to the south, rumbles to the north

The seismic plates shifted again, all be it subtly over the weekend as a pair of temblors rattled across the North Pacific fault lines.

The first one a 3.9 shudder off the coast of Vancouver Island about 263 km southwest of Tofino, it took place at just after 6 PM on Sunday evening, small in nature it did not cause much in the way of disruption to anyone on Vancouver Island.

The second noticeable tremor took place at 3:30 in the morning, a 3.9 temblor on the Alaska-Yukon border area, which again did not cause any damage, but perhaps rattled a few nerves in the early morning hours.

The pair of low key tremors, just a reminder of the always active nature of the fault lines in the region. They are latest of such events, framed within the scope of the large earthquake on Haida Gwaii back in October.

Our archive of seismic events can be found here.

Idle No More Movement continues with protests across Northwest

The last weekend of 2013 saw flash mob protests from the Idle No More movement take place across the Northwest.

Tied into other protests in other parts of Canada, the Northwest versions centred on shopping malls in both Terrace and Prince Rupert, where drummers and marchers chanted and spoke out on their opposition to the Federal Governments Bill C-45, which has spawned many protests among First Nations residents and others, since it was introduced in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

The Northwest protests began on Friday in Terrace, where a crowd, mainly organized through social media like facebook and twitter gathered at the Skeena Mall, the protest in Terrace lasted an hour or so, as participants travelled through the mall in a large number to lend their support to the Idle No More efforts.

The Terrace Standard offered up this review of Friday's protest,  while CFTK had reports here and here  and here (video) on the Terrace event.

Social media also had some offerings, providing some review of events of the day. A few of the tweets on Twitter from the Terrace protest can be found here and here.

Sunday saw the protest move to Prince Rupert, where again, drummers and other participants gathered at the Royal Bank entrance to the Mall at 2 PM, before proceeding through the Mall's upper and lower entrances.

Sunday's protest march had reports of somewhere towards 200-300 participants at its peak, as protesters mixed with post holiday shoppers to the mall. Sunday's turnout was significantly larger than the last Idle No More protest held in the city back on December 21st.

The Northern View had this report on the Sunday protest, and social media, which has been used extensively in Prince Rupert as well to organize the events, once again provided a window into the Sunday protest, with tweets from some of those in attendance.

Both outgoing MLA Gary Coons and Joanna Larson, who is seeking the NDP candidacy on the North Coast took part in the protest at the Rupert Square and then offered up their submissions to social media.

The impressions of the Prince Rupert protests, from a range of views can be found here, herehere and here.

Below we have some background on the cross country Idle More Protests, offering up a variety of opinion on the protests that have taken place, covering the spectrum of discussion on the topic.

CBC-- Idle No More protests irritating to some, inspiring to others
CBC-- First Nations protest idles Highway 19, blocks railway
CBC-- Via trains moving again after rail blockade
CBC-- Idle No More protest aim to disrupt Boxing Day shoppers
CBC-- Hunger-striking chief calls for action amidst health concerns
CTV News-- Trains moving again after Idle No More blockade shuts rail line
National Post-- Canada, First Nations heading in 'dangerous direction' as Idle No More hunger strike continues: Former PM Joe Clark
National Post-- Health Minister, B. C. chief urge Theresa Spence to end hunger strike as Idle No More Protests continue
National Post-- Inevitable puffery and horse manure surrounds hunger strike while real Aboriginal problems forgotten
National Post-- How the Idle No More movement started and where it might go from here
Toronto Sun-- Flash mob puts spotlight on aboriginal issues
Toronto Sun-- Idle No More is "just the start" of First Nations action: Atleo
Toronto Sun-- Time to break First Nations' cycle of misery
Winnipeg Free Press-- Idle No More rally planned for Portage and Main
The Tyee-- "This is our future we have to fight for" : Idle No More movement launches weekend of protests
Vancouver Observer-- Harper government bills that enraged First Nations and sparked Idle No More

Friday, December 28, 2012

MLA raises concerns over potential Ridley Terminals Sale

The outgoing MLA for the North Coast, Gary Coons, is raising his concerns once again over the proposed sale of Ridley Terminals Incorporated into private hands.

Coons, who has long been active on the RTI file, once suggested, back in 2005, that a co-op option be considered for the coal handling facility.

 A suggestion that it would seem is very much of the past, when it comes to the future for one of Prince Rupert's largest employers.

As we outlined on the North Coast Review earlier this month, the Conservative government surprised many by their announcement that RTI was up for sale.

The Vancouver Observer reviewed the concerns of the local MLA and provides some more background on the story and highlights some of the potential investors in any privatized RTI.

Among those potential investors, some of the companies that in the past expressed an interest back when the Liberals first proposed the privatization plan.

The Ridley Users Group, which is made up of coal producers and shippers have put together a proposal. Not their first time in a quest for the Prince Rupert terminal, back when the Liberals were shopping RTI they suggested the co-op project that Mr. Coons endorsed.  They are apparently back and hopeful that the second time is the charm.

However, they aren't alone in their interest.

According to the Observer other potential buyers include the Toronto based, Brookfield Asset Management and the US multi national Kinder Morgan.

We imagine, that as valuable an asset as RTI might be, that there will be many more on the short list before any decisions are made.

You can review the full article from the Vancouver Observer here.

Our archive of RTI related items, as always can be found here.

In the Hazelton's, a reminder of the dangers of hitchhiking

The RCMP in the Hazelton's are investigating an incident that underscores the dangerous nature of hitch hiking, especially in the current atmosphere of concern surrounding Highway 16 or the Highway of Tears as it has become known as.

A Kispiox resident escaped a frightening incident on Monday afternoon,  having hitched a ride with a motorist, the woman became concerned over his behaviour and asked to be let out of the car.

He refused to pull over, and began heading in a direction other than where she had intended to go. That left the young woman with no option in her mind but to jump through the window of the moving van, taking her chance when the motorist slowed down at a bridge crossing.

RCMP are seeking more information on the situation, the vehicle is a red minivan, the driver a heavy set, Caucasian male, with grey hair, age of 40 to 50. He was last seen wearing a jean jacket and was wearing dark brown glasses.

At the time of the incident the minivan was last seen driving towards Highway 16.

If anyone has any information, they are asked to contact the New Hazelton RCMP or Crimestoppers.

Terrace Standard-- Police seek northwestern BC minivan driver
CBC-- Hitchhiker leaps to safety from moving van
Opinion 250-- Young Woman Jumps through window in Hitchhiking incident
Vancouver Province-- Female Hitchhiker leaps to safety from red minivan
CFTK-- Kispiox Hitchhiker Escapes Frightening Situation

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wolf interactions on the rise

It's been a busy few weeks for Conservation Officers and members of the RCMP as reports of wolf incidents are on the rise and the some times drastic measures required to take care of the problem continue on.

Since the reports of more brazen wolf interactions with humans and their pets first started in November, there have been three incidents of note that have captured the notice of residents of Prince Rupert.

The unfortunate shooting of and subsequent death of a family pet, a wolf/dog cross in McClymont park back on December.

From there a Conservation Officer arrived, tracking one particular wolf that had become less hesitant when in the range of humans or their pets, having apparently become habituated to the area, that one was put down by the Conservation Officer on December 18th.

At the time, it was believed that with the dispatch of the one troublesome wolf, the number of sightings would decrease, but that has not been the case.

Leading to the latest incident of December 23rd, when RCMP officers shot a wolf on the east side of the city, near Camarillo Lane and Frederick Street.

Over the last two months, there have been over 70 calls to the Conservation department reporting wolf sightings, with a number of other calls directed to the RCMP.

The topic even became an item of discussion at the November 26th City council meeting, with the advice from City staff that any reports of wolf sightings should be directed to the Conservation service at 1-877-952-7277 or if a more imminent concern to contact the RCMP.

We reviewed the issue of the numerous wolf reports of the last two months on December 20th, judging by the ongoing nature of events some seven days later, we imagine this will be an issue of note for residents through the remainder of the winter months.

A Boxing Day Bump in the night for Victoria

The Lower Mainland and Victoria region felt a twinge from the seismic plates on Boxing Day evening as a 3.9 magnitude earthquake rattled a few dishes and nerves around 10:30 on Wednesday night.

No damage was reported from the small temblor, which did however serve as a reminder to the more populated portion of the province that they do sit upon a major seismic zone on the Pacific rim.

Centred in the Strait of Georgia, just North of Victoria, the quake lasted about 20 seconds in some parts of the region

Reports on the Wednesday evening temblor can be found below, past events along the West coast can be found in our archives.

Vancouver Province-- M3.9 earthquake in Strait of Georgia shakes south coast

Monday, December 24, 2012

Kitimat LNG project gains major investor

An early Christmas present for those in Kitimat looking to see the LNG industry develop in the region, as Chevron announced that they had taken on 50 per cent of a Kitimat LNG project and the proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline.

The Chevron interests in the project come as part of their acquisition of the the interests of both Encanca and EOG in the Kitimat LNG project.

Chevron which has a number of projects in LNG development world wide, took over the assets of the two smaller players, at a 1.3 billion dollar value.

Included in the investment was a 50 per cent share of petroleum and natural gas rights in British Columbia. They will be joining in with Apache Canada in the development of the Kitimat LNG plant.

Both Ecnana and EOG had been struggling to market the project, many observers believe that Chevron's confidence in the project signals a positive trend for the Kitimat development and with their investment the prospect of the Kitimat project becomes that much more assured.

The Chevron announcement today is just the latest in what seems to be a gold rush like run to develop LNG infrastructure on the North Coast, earlier in the month Petronas announced their own terminal development plans for Prince Rupert's Lelu Island, while BG Gas has also indicated plans to develop a terminal project for the same region of the Ridley Island area.

There are more details on the Apache/Chevron joint venture project on the corporate website.

You can examine all of our archive material on LNG development for the North coast here.

The reviews and background on the Chevron announcement of today can be found below.

December 27-- Chevron LNG (video)
December 27-- Chevron Hopes to Converse with First Nations on proposed LNG
December 24-- Chevron Kitimat LNG (video) 
December 24-- Chevron's 50% stake in Kitimat LNG boosts Canada's Natural Gas Prospects
December 24-- Chevron to buy half of Kitimat LNG project
December 24-- Chevron buys 50% stake in Kitimat LNG terminal
December 24-- Kitimat LNG closer to reality as Chevron buys out Encana, EOG
December 24-- Chevron buys Encana, EOG Stake in Kitimat LNG Terminal
December 24-- Chevron Buys stake in Kitimat LNG Project

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fairview Terminal featured in CN Marketing video

As they used to say on the old Dick Clark show American Bandstand, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

Canadian National has launched a new theme for its marketing plan, using the term "redefining transportation time" as its catch phrase in a new marketing video released recently.

With a lively beat and some fascinating graphics, the railway trumpets the use of Prince Rupert as its gateway to Asia, the main focus of the Prince Rupert moment in the CN sun, being the reduced dwell time between ship arrival and container departure eastbound.

The video begins with a shot of a container ship arriving at Fairview, features a helpful map showing the crossing time between Asia and Prince Rupert and from there your cargo is off to eastern Canada.

You can view the video from the CN website.

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Arctic blast for Christmas

The last few days have served notice that the North Coast is set to enjoy a bit of a blast of winter, with cold temperatures and occasional snow to make the next few days an interesting experience.

And while Rupertites may grumble a bit about the less than usual temperature ranges, the high pressure system and Arctic blast that will bring us the cold temperatures, will make things even more frozen once you move beyond Rainbow Summit.

Environment Canada has issued an Arctic Outflow Warning for the Inland sections of the North Coast. Where strong northeasterly winds associated with an Arctic front over the North Coast will produce windchill values of -20 to -25 degrees into early next week.

The cold weather, while bringing very cold windchill values of -17 on Saturday night for Prince Rupert, most likely reduces the chances of a large volume of snow for the coastal sections over the short term.

There is the chance of flurries through to Saturday, and on to Sunday where the opportunity for what Environment Canada calls periods of snow will arrive just before Christmas Eve on Monday.

All of which may make travel eastbound interesting at times and for those that may be heading out to test out some new ski wear, or take a turn on a frozen lake, bundling up would seem to be something to keep in mind in the short term.

We return to above freezing temperatures by Christmas Day, with highs progressing towards 3 degrees by  Thursday.

You can keep up to date on any changes to the forecast from the Environment Canada website and for those travelling along Highway 16 over the holidays, Drive BC has updates regularly as well as Highway camera footage of conditions on their website.

Anyone seen the CEO?

An interesting change on the CityWest website, one that suggests that perhaps change has again taken place at the local telephone and cablevision provider.

If one takes a quick look at the Management page of the CityWest website, you'll find that the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Bill Craig, no longer seems to have a presence on the page (nor a title), an interesting disappearance from the listings of the top management team at CityWest.

Instead, Don Holkestad is now listed as CEO, leaving us to wonder where Mr. Craig fits into the picture, if indeed he does anymore.

He joined CityWest a little over a year ago, arriving with an impressive resume in communications with stops in Toronto and Bermuda to name a few past destinations. There was much talk of change in his introduction to the community with a declaration that with a fresh set of eyes, that some of the disorganization that he found might be cleared up,

The impression at the time that he, as the CEO was looking forward with  the company, perhaps looking at new ways to provide service to the community.

That was in June of 2011 and now with just over a year of his direction, it would seem, if the augurs are correct, that his voice isn't the one holding the Board of Directors interest anymore.

When we last heard from Mr. Craig at the October 22nd City Council Session.  He was part of the CityWest delegation at City Council delivering the annual address, a rather easy going affair for the CityWest team, as City Council's members had few questions of substance on anything resembling financial matters.

Instead, on that evening, Council concerned themselves with the more pedestrian of items such as a wish for better cel phone connections on Highway 16 to Terrace, questions on whether e billing was to soon be made available and a wish for better bandwidth for local gaming enthusiasts.

Talk of such things as the dividend that City is supposed to receive from CityWest, or expenses related to the expansion towards the east, or indeed anything to do with financials, apparently were for a different venue or time.

Not even the topic of the recently settled labour dispute came up for discussion, leaving the public uninformed as to the terms of the resolution of that dispute and at what cost to the taxpayer.

We offered up some background on that appearance in a past North Coast Review item and if the City ever updates their City Council archives for that session on their video and audio offerings, you could take in the report yourself from the City's Archive pages.

Should the October 22nd council session ever be posted to those portals, the CityWest segment starts around the 1 hour 14 minute section.

For a company with a rather ambitious expansion plan, City Councillors who we gather are supposed to represent the city's taxpayers as our proxy as shareholders, had few questions that might reveal where the company is, what its future portends and if we are receiving a decent return on our investment.

That is what makes the missing marquee player on the management page an interesting item of absence.

From the bold declaration of a year ago of changing some of the culture at CityWest, to banishment from the website, seems like an indication that maybe not everyone was on the same page as Mr. Craig.

CityWest always seems to operate with a bit of mystery for the local populace, a conundrum of a company that while in the world of communications, rarely actually communicates very well with its customers/shareholders.

Hopefully, when Council returns in the New Year, we will learn a bit more about what may be going on down on Third Avenue West.

If there has been a City West Shuffle, what were the reasons behind it and where is the company  heading towards from here?

Providing the public with a bit of background on developments and if there are any additional expenses coming our way, would be some helpful background for the shareholders/taxpayers.

Even better would be the prospect of some actual communication with us, as to what yet another change in direction for the company may mean for the future..

We have a number of items on past events at CityWest available for review in our archives section, it may shortly require an update though, if the missing placeholder on the CityWest website is any indication.

Update: Some interesting observations on the subject, touching on a few of the same points above and expanding on others, can be found through this posting on the local online forum htmf. A posting that no doubt will allow for a lively debate on what seems at times as the number one discussion topic for the city's population.

Small "Idle No More" Protest at Court House

Prince Rupert, like many communities across Canada today played host to a gathering designed to create awareness of concerns over the Conservative government's omnibus budget legislation Bill C-45,   and in particular its inclusion of Aboriginal issues, the legislation was recently passed by the Senate and will most likely become law in the New Year.

The small gathering of local citizens took to the Provincial Courthouse lawn on Friday afternoon, braving a cold wind to listen to speeches, express their concerns over the Federal Governments legislation and wave signs proclaiming the need to defend Democracy.

By the usual standards of past protests in the city, the Friday gathering was on the small side, holding mainly close to the sidewalk on McBride through the mid afternoon period of 2 PM on until just after 3.

The Idle No More theme has been building over the last few weeks, mainly through websites and social media, with larger protests across the country planned for today, some of which were more effective than others.

Among the listing of protest activities were such things a blockades in Alberta of  a road leading to the Alberta oilsands and a march at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, as well as other gatherings in large cities across the country.

One of the events of today, a rolling protest at the Winnipeg airport probably detracted from their cause, owing to the inconvenience that they provided for travellers on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

In Saskatoon, protestors took a page from the Occupy movement, as they made their case at a city shopping centre, where over 2,000 protestors in flash mob form, held hands and danced to the beat of drums and First Nations singing, all amidst the throng of Christmas shoppers.

The theme for the day was awareness and whether in a larger gathering or a small one, the message of concern over the Conservatives legislation was heard from coast to coast to coast.

Among the concerns over that legislation is the impression that it clears the way for development of traditional land without consultation of Aboriginal residents and weakens environmental protection in Canada. First Nations groups say that they were not properly consulted regarding the legislation, adding the Bill to the growing file of concerns that they have with the Federal Government.

The Prince Rupert protest was one of a number in Northwest BC, CFTK had details of the Idle No More gatherings from Prince Rupert to Burns Lake.

Further reports and background on the cross Canada Idle No More protests of Friday, can be found below.

CFTK-- Idle No More Prince Rupert (video)
CBC-- Idle No More stages national day of protest
CBC-- Idle No More protest movement hits B. C.
CBC-- First Nations Chief says Idle No More fuelled by frustration
CBC-- A people's movement that is Idle No More
CBC-- Idle No More Protests hit Calgary and Southern Alberta
CBC-- Idle No More movement wants 'honest look' at treaties
CTV-- Idle No More rallies held across Canada as movement grows
APTN-- Idle No More rumbles from Cairo to Ottawa, Prince Albert to Los Angeles
APTN-- 'This is deadly serious,' says Atleo as Idle No More flexes muscles once again
APTN-- Five First Nations block tarsands highway in the name of Idle Now More...
Huffington Post--  Alberta Highway 63 Blockade Near Fort McMurray by First Nations Movement
Huffington Post-- Idle No More vs. Bill C-45 Wave of support for Idle No More grows across Canada and beyond
The Tyee-- 'This is our future we have to fight for'" Idle No More movement launches weekend of protests
Toronto Star-- Idle No More movement sets social media ablaze
National Post-- "We Believe Our future is at stake"
National Post-- "Idle No More: Hunger-striking Attawapiskat chief vows to 'die' for her people as aboriginal protests spread
Vancouver Sun-- Idle No More supporters vow resistance to federal government is just beginning
Vancouver Sun-- On eve of Idle No More protest, hunger striking First Nation Chief pushes Harper to lead change
Vancouver Sun-- Grassroots movement at heart of protests
Macleans-- Idle No More: More than protest is needed for progress
Macleans-- Where #IdleNoMore began
Guardian UK-- Canada's First Nations protest heralds a new alliance

There's cruise season and then there is THE CRUISE SEASON

The newly arrived phone book for Prince Rupert and Port Edward offers up much in the way of useful information and among the entries in this years publication, on page 17 for those following along at home, is a handy schedule of the eight cruise ship visits planned for 2013.

A vessel call that starts on June 9th and will wrap up on September 23rd. Providing for a total of 5,980 guests.

As most Rupertites know the Cruise Industry of late seems to have been of the boom and bust style of economic development, with the local enthusiasts of the cruise industry, as well as the local Cruise Task Force currently seeking to improve on our fortunes and rebuild the industry once again, hoping to find our place in the lucrative Alaska Cruise Season.

To give us an idea though as to the kind of struggle ahead, compare our eight cruise visits for 2013 to the recently released preview of the Ketchikan Cruise season.

Our neighbours to the north are on track for what Ketchikan cruise officials call a record numbers in 2013. With projections calling for close to 950,000 passengers to disembark at Ketchikan in the year to come.

Overall, Ketchikan is anticipating some 473 port calls for 2013, up significantly from the 434 port calls of 2012.

The first ship that will call on Ketchikan will arrive on April 27th, the last vessel will pull away from the Ketchikan Cruise Dock on September 27th. 

And in a scenario that the Prince Rupert Cruise Task Force planners can only dream of, May 10th will provide for a most congested day for our neighbours to the north, with three ships calling  on the port that day.

As we have heard for a few years now, there remains quite a bit of work to do on the Prince Rupert side of the tourism plan to try and attract just a few of those 473 ships, vessels that may very well be sailing by our front door, barely aware that we're here.

Prince Rupert most likely won't see those kind of numbers in the near future, the slow and steady approach to rebuilding relationships seems to be a time consuming process. And the need to provide a full and varied schedule for the guests at times must seem quite daunting for local tourism players.

Still, the numbers from the north give us some indication as to the kind of impact that the cruise industry can have on a community, once they find a welcoming spot to pull ashore.

You can review our past items of note on the Cruise industry in Prince Rupert from our archives.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wolf anxiety

As always seems the case this time of the year, the number of wolf sightings around the city seems to have become the topic of the day around Prince Rupert, in this case a topic of the day almost every day.

The latest spurt of discussion on the topic partly owing to a police incident of last week and now with word that Conservation Officers have arrived in the city and already dealt with one particular troublesome one.

Emotions boiled over a last week in the wake of a police officer shooting a household pet, a mixed dog/wolf that had apparently escaped the house late into the evening and chased some deer through the McClymont park area.

Clearly a tragic case for the pet owners and for the officer involved, though in the current atmosphere of concern over wolves in the area, it's not hard to understand how such a terrible occurrence could happen.

The dog which had the appearance of a wolf, was running unleashed and deemed a threat by police. In the current atmosphere, with a segment of the population demanding that something be done about the "wolf problem", things like this are perhaps inevitable.

With the volume of sightings reported to both the RCMP and Conservation BC, a Conservation Officer arrived this week to take stock of the situation and deal with the issue.

Residents in a number of areas of the city had called the Conservation Department to complain of the volume of wolf sightings in the city, with the largest number of complaints coming from the east side of the city, along 6th, 7th and 11th Avenue East.

It was reported on Wednesday, that the Conservation Officer shot a wolf in the Park Avenue Area, he believes that it was the one wolf that seemed the most habituated in the area and hopes that the number of interactions between residents and wolves will now be reduced.

There are many reasons for the seemingly growing wolf population in the region, a large deer population, a feral cat problem that for the moment isn't going to be solved in any tangible way and even more than a few local residents who inexplicably leave food outside for wild animals.

All go to add to the problems. All seem to build on the anxiety that appears to arrive on our doorstep each year around this time.

Some of the solutions are actually within control of the city's residents, nature will most likely take care of the rest.

The Northern View-- Conservation Officer shoots wolf in Prince Rupert, expects sightings will decrease
The Northern View-- Owners confirm dog shot in Prince Rupert was wolf-dog hybrid
CFTK-- Wolf-Dog Shot by Police in Prince Rupert

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A light on the Watson Island horizon?

There could soon be some good news finally leeching out of Watson Island, as it would appear that the City of Prince Rupert has found success at the court house on the ongoing battle with Sun Wave, gaining a positive outcome from the courts on Sun Wave's quest for a Certificate of Pending Litigation.

On Tuesday evening, an enterprising citizen journalist provided a very thorough review of the judgment in favour of the City, posting his thoughts and a link to the Courthouse documents to the local chat forum hackingthemainframe, that may offer the city's long suffering residents some hope that the long Watson story may soon be at an end.

His analysis, helps the casual observer to read between the legal mumble jumble, delivering to us the bottom line, that one legal problem seems to have been settled at least.

Though as we are cautioned in his forum posting, there will still be some financial matters that the City seemingly will have to settle with Sun Wave.

Still, the denial of the Certificate of Pending Litigation at least removes that legal stumbling block to the never ending saga and would suggest that things will be moving forward, hopefully with much speed.

Still to be heard is what impact that the Court decision will have on the development plans for Watson Island, a consortium known as Watco (Watson Island Development Corporation) has an ambitious redevelopment plan for the site, which would include a much needed environmental remediation project, which has been delayed for far too long.

Hopefully, the City which exerts much caution when it comes to discussing Sun Wave and Watson Island, will share some of the details on the latest developments with the populace.

Providing us with a timeline as to where things are and when, at long last we may be clear of the financial drain that Watson Island has become over the years.

Media updates on the Watson Island developments can be found below, a full review of the Watson Island file can be found in our archives.

Northern View-- Supreme Court lifts CPLs from Watson Island, allowing the City of Prince Rupert to sell the land
CFTK TV-- Watson Island Update (video)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A string of small reminders for Haida Gwaii

Tuesday morning provided another reminder for Haida Gwaii that the earth has yet to settle down it seems from October's large 7.1 earthquake, as a 4.3 temblor rolled along the fault line just west of the Islands, taking place just before the noon hour.

The epicentre of today's event was located 182 km south of Masset, 247 km South, Southwest of Prince Rupert.

Nowhere near as strong as the October 27th quake that shook residents of the Islands and North Coast, but seemingly another aftershock of that major event, one of a number of minor quakes that have been rolling up and down the West coast of North and South America in the last few months.

No word of damage was reported from Haida Gwaii and probably most didn't even notice the subtle shuffling of the plates below, such has been the frequency of the events since late October.

In fact, Earthquakes Canada has listed three other earthquakes of similar magnitude, from December 15th to 17th.

You can review the recent seismic activity from our archive section and for up to date results from seismic activity you can check the USGS website which offers comprehensive information on the shifting plates of the world.

Councillors Thorkelson and Rice with the LNG cross examination

The changing nature of the industrial base for the North Coast, seems to be dividing the region into the pro-development and re-think development camps, with Councillors Rice and Thorkelson for the most part seemingly in the re-think it camp.

That much at least seemed evident at the most recent City Council session where there were twin presentations from two of the proponents of LNG development for the North Coast.

Both Petronas and Spectra Gas appeared in front of Council on December 10th, sharing the latest details and time lines of their plans for the region.

Petronas the Malaysian Energy giant recently announced it's desire to construct and operate an LNG shipment terminal on Lelu Island, a much talked about project that would create jobs both during the construction and operational phases.

Spectra Gas is putting forward it's plan to construct a pipeline from the Northeast gas fields of British Columbia to a terminal to be constructed near Prince Rupert by the BG group, which previously appeared in front of Council to outline their terminal plans, a project which would be different from the proposed Petronas project.

Before all of that development gets moving however there will be any number of public consultations, environmental reviews and such and to give the folks at Petronas a heads up on that path, Councillor Thorkelson was quick to the microphone to ask a few questions of the Malaysian company representative, suggesting at one point, that she didn't believe that the Petronas' proposal as outlined to council would survive the process ahead of it.

Councillor Rice, who currently is campaigning for the NDP nomination for the North Coast, offered up her thoughts to the Spectra representative, post presentation. Asking a number of questions regarding the planned routes to Prince Rupert and the impact that they may have on the environment, as well as Spectra's experience in such matters. She was joined at one point by Councillor Ashley, who also inquired about the path of the pipeline and some of the obstacles of nature that it may face.

Of the night's presentations however, Councillor Thorkelson seemed the most skeptical of the Petronas plan, repeatedly asking if the company had given thought to other locations for a terminal, particularly locations to the north of Prince Rupert, expressing her belief that the present location of Lelu Island would be a problematic thing, owing to its location in the Skeena estuary and the impact it may have on the environment there.

You can review Councillor Thorkelson's near cross examination from the City's video archive, the Petronas presentation begins at the 2:15 minute mark, Ms. Thorkelson's question period picks up at the 25 minute spot.  (***note video archive no longer holds the December 10th session, however the audio archive for the December 10th council session is available)

Petronas didn't offer many further details for her on the nature of their site selection, however the Councillor's suggestion of alternative sites doesn't seem to be on their horizon any time in the future, with Petronas clearly expressing a preference for the Lelu Island option.

The less strident interest by Councillors Rice and Ashley in the Spectra Gas pipeline proposal can also be found on the City Video archive, starting at 29 minutes,  while the Councillors take to the microphone at 43 minutes or so

Further along in the council session and in matters unrelated to LNG development, Councillor Thorkelson seemed to grow frustrated with the tone of the discussion on the topic of civic finances, particularly in the fallout of the tabling of the Police station issue.

Offering up a rather tongue in cheek thought, steeped seemingly from the end of a very lengthy council session, that the city will be in a better financial shape when "all those LNG plants are pouring money into our pockets."

A statement that seems just a tad on the downhill side of sarcasm.

The timeline of her frustrated aside can be found at the 2 hour 23 minute mark.

The tone of the recent debate at Council about a variety of development proposals from the Pinnacle Pellet Plant,  the Container Port Expansion  and on now to the recent questioning of the LNG proponents, would appear to suggest that some on Council are perhaps feeling a little marginalized when it comes to all of the development plans being bounced around the region of late.

And while they haven't declared publicly their thoughts, one way or the other, on the fast moving wave of development options for the region.

It would seem that some on Council at least, are not quite as enamoured of the handling of some of these proposed developments on the waterfront, as many of the residents of the city may be.

Glad tidings to you wherever you are (except perhaps the SD 52 office)

One gets the impression that perhaps instead of Christmas Cards in December, the School District and the Prince Rupert District Teachers Union exchange lumps of coal in the gift giving season, such seems the level of distrust and disillusionment surrounding education in Prince Rupert these days.

While students across the District prepare for their Christmas concerts in this season of goodwill, the two sides in what seems like the longest parade of labour angst in the province continue on along their path, the latest salvo the symbolic motion of non-confidence recently issued by the PRDTU.

In their motion, the Teachers Union pointed to the ongoing presence of Dave Stigant as one of their main concerns of School District financing not being directed to more useful purposes. Mr. Stigant, a consultant with School District 52 has been in his position dating back to the controversial and for the most part unexplained departure of Eric Mercer back in 2009.

As we recounted earlier this month, he arrived back at the School District after SD52 contacted Gary Doi in the Okanagan for advice on staffing requirements.

At the time, Mr. Doi forwarded the name of Mr. Stigant as a temporary Superintendent to bridge the departure of Mr. Mercer, prior to submitting the name of the current superintendent Lynn Hauptman to fill the post on a permanent basis.

Yet three years later, Mr. Stigant seemingly still holds much sway over local educational matters, called upon to assist the School District in the growing file of grievances launched by the Teachers' Union. A task for which he receives fairly significant compensation, money that the Teacher's Union suggests could be better re-routed towards education in the community.

Those grievances are proving to be a costly expense for the School District, an expense that the PRDTU suggests could better be spent on students, rather than the ongoing skirmishes with the District's teachers.

Included in those grievances, the infamous Yertle the Turtle debate, which briefly put the Prince Rupert School District in the international spotlight, perhaps not for all the best reasons.

Other issues of concern that led to the latest motion of non confidence include severance packages for past administration, and the perspective from the union, that the School District is exhibiting a level of disrespect to teachers.

The head of the PRDTU Joanna Larson, who is currently seeking the nomination for the NDP for the North Coast riding, expressed frustration on behalf of her membership over the approach that the School District is taking with the local teachers and the tumultuous relationship between the teachers and the Board of Education.

To that end, one should look no further than to Ms. Larson's twitter feed which expressed disappointment at news of  the re-election of Tina last as the Chair of the Board.

The latest flare up on the educational labour front has not escaped the notice of the Vancouver Sun's Janet Steffenhagen, who has catalogued much of the previous drama surrounding the departure of Eric Mercer in her Vancouver Sun educational forum.

Her archives make for a helpful guide to some of the background that stretches back some four years now.

Heavy cost of education consultants in Prince Rupert

The Northern View also provided a pair of local reviews here and here on the latest development in the ongoing troubles between teachers and administration.

We're not sure what to make of it all, clearly there would seem to be a large volume of issues that need to be addressed on the local education front.

One thing seems certain however from all of this late December drama, the concept of letting Auld Acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind, just won't be on the agenda when the New Year arrives.

Monday, December 17, 2012

City council kicks the emergency services building debate down the road until March

The lengthy city council meeting of December 10th didn't leave much appetite for debate it seems when the topic of the replacement for the fire hall and RCMP detachment came up.  Council chose to address the issue for but four minutes, of the nearly three hour council session.

As we recount in our timeline of the council session, City council chose to defer any decisions and/or discussion it seems on the issue until at least March of 2013. (see our timeline review here, City Council video archive from the 2 hour 10 minute to 2 hour 14 minute mark when posted to the City Website.

City Financial Officer Dan Rodin offered up five recommendations for Council, seeking adoption of the following resolutions.

1) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that the existing Fire Hall and Police station have exceeded their useful life 

2) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that it will be more economical and operationally more effective and efficient, to construct new buildings, rather than to begin major renovations to the existing buildings 

3) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that the City will need to commit a significant portion of any new tax revenue receivable, as a result of new heavy industry development to financing a fire hall and police station 

4) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that there are construction and operational savings achievable through the construction of a joint use building, that these savings must be weighed against the incremental cost of acquiring and developing a suitably large parcel of property, the loss of future municipal tax revenues and the ability for the city to pay the annual financing cost of a joint use building. It therefore appears unlikely that the City will generate any significant savings by building a joint use facility. 

5) That the City approve the use of the properties located at the intersection of McBride and Sixth East as the two sites for a new police detachment and fire hall and that the children's park be relocated to the tennis court site at Sixth and McBride prior to construction of either building.

And while that may have made for interesting reading, Council decided to back a motion from Councillor Garon to defer the topic until March or April, suggesting that the city had more pressing issues to deal with at the moment, including the attempted sale of Watson Island and the ongoing concerns over the city's financial picture.

The Mayor eventually settled on a date of March 1st to review the issue once again, only Councillor Thorkelson voted against the motion to table the issue until March.

The topic of replacement structures for both the RCMP and the Prince Rupert Fire/Rescue Department has been ongoing issue for the last few years or so, with a number of community meetings held to discuss the  proposals with the public held over the recent spring and summer.

Despite all that consultation and with recommendations in hand from city staff,  Council still it seems would rather wait just a little bit longer, before tackling one of the toughest issues that they'll have to face it seems.

This latest turn of events on the project could make the emergency services buildings issue yet another long winding kind of soap opera, something that seems to be getting more and more common of late from this particular Council.

While there are clearly financial issues to be addressed by Council, the need has been made time and time again for replacement structures for both services. Simply moving it further down the agenda road doesn't do much to address the issue and suggests that Council is taking a head in the sand approach on it all, showing residents that little has been accomplished in the last few years that the issue has been of note to the community.

Council however, may yet have the issue forced upon them for deliberation, the RCMP having laid the groundwork in the past three years, as the Northern View recounted for us back in September of 2011, with the delivery of an annual letter to the province advising that the city has failed to meet its obligations.

The City by its deferral, may have now forced the RCMP and the Province to take charge of the issue, moving forward on their own timeline and having a building constructed of their own design, sending the bill to the city.

Update: Shaun Thomas of the Northern View weighed in on the debate with an editorial posted to the Northern View of December 19th, outlining how the residents of Prince Rupert deserve more from their Council

Ice Demons top Rampage in Kitimat

The road is proving to be a lonely ride for the Prince Rupert Rampage as the CIHL squad dropped yet another road game this time to the Kitimat Ice Demons by a score of 4-2.

The loss marks the seventh road loss of the year on eight road games so far, part of a season which saw the Rampage spend a good portion of the early season travelling the highways of the CIHL.

Friday night's loss saw the Rampage fall behind in the first period as Kitimat scored two unanswered goals before Prince Rupert could count their first marker of the night, a short handed unassisted goal by Devin Palmer at 13:10 of the first.

Kitimat added two more goals in the second period, taking a 4-1 lead, a score which held until Tyler Ostrom scored the final goal of the night for the Rampage, an unassisted score at 14:53 of the third.

Compared to some recent contests for the Rampage, Friday night was a rather calm affair, with only 10 Rampage infractions for a total of 28 minutes, most of that accumulated by Justin Fontaine in a second period on ice incident. Kitimat had but 10 minutes of penalties on five infractions through the game.

Keano Wilson held the fort down through the night for the Rampage, facing 56 shots through the sixty minutes of play, the Rampage countered with 27 shots on Brett Vilness in the Ice Demon net, two of which found their way into the twine.

The CIHL now takes a break for Christmas with no games scheduled for this upcoming weekend, the Rampage next see action on Saturday, December 29th when the Terrace River Kings return to town.

Prince Rupert has five games remaining in the 2012-13 CIHL season, all but one of them at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

You can review all our Rampage coverage from our Rampage Archives.

City Council Timeline December 10:

Presentations, Presentations, Presentations, a busy night for Council as a number of presentations were scheduled for the December 10th session, a look at the Petronas LNG development for Lelu Island, an update from Spectra Energy regarding their planned pipeline project to Prince Rupert and an LNG terminal planned by BG.  Council also heard an update on the Emergency Services Buildings, just part of a full agenda of items for review.

North Coast Review City Council Report December 10, 2012

Minutes from December 10 2012 (when posted to City Website)

Readers of the blog can follow along through the City's video and audio archives of the most recent session.

Video Archive for December 10, 2012 (when posted to city website)
Audio Archive for December 10, 2012 (when posted to city website)

Timeline of the video of the discussion on the night can be found in red below.

Regular City Council Business  (0:30--2:15)

Mayor Mussallem Opens Council session, adoption of minutes of November 26th sessions.

Presentations to Council

Progress Energy/Petronas presentation (2:15--28:40) outlining the planned development of an LNG Terminal on Lelu Island. A recap of some of the material provided during the open houses in Port Edward and Prince Rupert last month. Pacific Northwest LNG, is the name of the project planned for the Northwest, as part of the presentation to Council Petronas spokesperson provided some background on Petronas and its imprint on the world energy stage, as well as an update on the recent approval of the Federal Government that will allow for the takeover of Progress Energy by Petronas. A review of the scope of the project, Operations safety Requirements and the projections of throughput per year upon completion.

Questions followed from Council with Councillor Thorkelson the lone participant of the question period asking about such things as; whether had Petronas looked at other locations other than Lelu Island, suggesting that they may have a difficult time of seeking approval by moving into the Skeena estuary, owing to fishery and environmental issues. Offering the opinion that by targeting Lelu there may be some that find it to be a less favoured location. Petronas re-affirmed that after their research that Lelu Island was the preferred site for them for development.

Spectra Energy Presentation (29.00--47:00)  An update on Spectra's pipeline plans from the Northeast gas fields to Prince Rupert, part of a partnership with BG which plans on developing an LNG terminal in Prince Rupert. They focus mainly on the pipeline aspect of the project, the routes that are planned, what they provide in communities along the way as far as employment, incidental investment, local spending and taxes in those communities. In addition they outline the recent expansion of their network and the safety priorities that they attach to those projects that have been completed in a number of BC communities. They provide an overview as to where they see the LNG market and where the future for British Columbia gas may be, that seemingly to be overseas. The presentation closes with a review of Spectra's history and how they hope to build on that with BC to ship natural gas through Prince Rupert.

Questions followed the presentation with Councillor Rice leading off to inquire about Spectra's expertise in running pipelines under water, with particular attention to two of the three routes planned that will operate under water. She also inquires as to how much pipeline would be required to run underwater.  Councillor Ashley also asked questions about the underwater portion of the pipeline and issues with temperature change. Spectra has few concerns over that aspect of the project.

City's Emergency Response to the October earthquake (47:00--1:09:00)

A review as to how the City handled the earthquake response from the Haida Gwaii earthquake of October 27th. With the event so fast moving, there was little time to respond, the City Fire Department and Emergency Response did not wait for any direction from Emergency Response out of Terrace.  Contact local partners, such as the Port, RCMP, setting up an EOC out of City Hall.

Not a full evacuation, and with the event just a watch for Prince Rupert, they set up a reception centre at the Civic Centre which was utilized by about 100 residents. Main focus was to deal with the low lying areas as the priority from the event. In the Fire Chief's opinion it all went well, with no real concerns, Emergency Operations Centre was in use for about two hours when they determined that things had settled down and that nothing was happening.

Recommendations include:

People go to the City website for contact information with PEP.

A map that outlines low lying areas could be inserted into local phone book.

Provincial government has already taken steps to rectify their information delivery process to the public.

Texting seemed to work best for communication, cel phone service was tied up, land lines worked best that night. Had to call in extra dispatchers to handle calls to the Fire Station that night. Recommend residents review how best to survive an event in the 72 hours after the event.

Questions from Council followed the presentation.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson recommended posting information on Chanel Ten. CityWest is currently working out a plan to inform the public through the Cable system.

Councillor Garon asked about sirens in the community and if that is something to consider.  Cost, monitoring requirements to be considered.

Councillor Ashley complimented the Chief on his presentation material and added that in addition to the internet access, that residents be told to listen to the CBC for further information when these events strike.  Can the City consider an insert to the phone book about what is required for those 72 hours after an event.

Councillor Thorkelson expressed concerns about the information delivery in place when these events happen, in particular relayed concerns over the incident at the Hospital where residents have arrived to reach higher ground, creating a congested situation in and out of the Hospital. Councillor Thorkelson is opposed to sirens, suggesting that they may cause more panic than provide clear information on an event.

Councillor Kinney spoke in favour of sirens, expressing concerns over power outages and how that would knock out Internet, phone and radio broadcasts.

Councillor Ashley expressed concerns over social media rumours and how they tended to make the situation worse.

Councillor Rice also expressed concern over information delivery, with conflicting messages that night from the provincial earthquake centre and the tsunami centre. Wondered where to access the most reliable information when it comes to local emergency situations. She also expressed her frustration with out of town media that was relaying information that may have been incorrect, wonders if the city should have been tweeting and delivering information by social media out of City Hall.

Officially the City gets its information out of PEP the Provincial service, making them the best source of the latest information. City Manager suggested that it wouldn't be the best use of resources to have staff in place to respond by twitter and face book and such.

City Waterfront East Plan (1:09:00--2:07:30)

City Planner Tony Krekic provided an update on the latest developments with the conclusion of his report on Waterfront Development from Atlin Terminal to the East. Reviewed the process of the Plan, the recent open houses, consultation sessions and Public Information sessions.

Summary for council is just a guide as to what can be found on the city website which features a more expanded scope for the project.

Cow Bay part of the main focus for many. Some parts of Cow Bay and Seal Cove are impacted by contaminated soil which will reduce the options on a financial basis.  Some of the suggestions included, a marina, trails which require civic champions, a road extending Third Avenue would be more of a city issue to be prioritized by council.

Plan was originally to be sourced out, but owing to immediacy of work required and a lack of grants it was instead undertaken by staff, with a team of four assisting the City Planner in the project.

The Recommendations are in five parts.

1) To review and amend the Quality of Life Official community plan, to recognize access to waterfront as one of the essential quality of life elements and strengthen the policies related to access to the waterfront.

2) Review and Amend Quality of Life Official community plan  and Zoning Bylaw to demonstrate that provincial and municipal land use regulations do not apply to Port of Prince Rupert Authority and CN lands. The CN lands are those specifically that include trackage, not the lands that CN owns in the city as fee simple lands.

3) Review and amend Zoning Bylaw C5 Marine Commercial Zone, with the intent to include some light industrial uses and any other components for the purpose of clarity

4) Review and Amend the Zoning Bylaw and Cow Bay BPA to expand the Cow Bay Development Permit Area, the additional area will be generally along Dry Dock Road and up hill of George Hills Way.

5) Review and Amend the Cow Bay Permit Area to accommodate new construction, subject to Port of Prince Rupert electing to comply to city regulations on Atlin Uplands project, this work should be done promptly, however if the Port of Prince Rupert elects not to comply to this work, it can be delayed until a new project is on the horizon.

Questions from Council followed the presentation, with the Mayor asking about point number four and if those property owners in the Dry Dock Road and George Hills region had been advised as to that prospect. None of the property owners responded to public information sessions but by email.

 Councillor Thorkelson led off the inquiries of Mr. Krekic seeking clarification on a number of items regarding reviewing and amending Zoning bylaws and such. All of the recommendations will have to go through the regular amending process including public consultation.

Councillor Rice had a few comments, expressing her enthusiasm for the vision aspect of the project and looking for ways to moving it forward. Seeking more time to digest the report and the additional information that comes with it, looks to table the motion of approval until that has been done.

Councillor Ashley sought clarification on the tabling motion, and suggested that council move forward on the report.

Mayor Mussallem asked questions of Councillor Rice as to the length of her required reading time, she suggested a month or two months.

Councillor Ashley then returned to questioning the City Planner on some of the facets of the report. In particular she had questions regarding zoning regulations related to jurisdiction over PRPA lands and their plans for them.

Councillor Garon expressed her support for the plan and offered her approval of it.

Councillor Thorkelson moved that council dedicate one meeting in January to more thoroughly discuss the report, owing to its importance to the community plan. She also issued a motion to table the discussion to January for further examination on the changes to the plan and zoning bylaws.

With Councillors Rice and Thorkelson seeking tabling of the motion, the Mayor then advised that will take place with a meeting planned sometime for January for a full discussion on his recommendations.

Councillor Garon asked as to the timeline of public comment to come on the recommendations.

Councillor Rice, voted in favour of tabling the motion and seeking more time for further examination.

Councillor Ashley voted against tabling the motion, suggesting that by delaying the recommendations that they are just adding another layer of deliberation.

Mr. Howie, clarified the timeline for the recommendations, with more consultation with user groups.

The motion to table failed and the process continued on.

And with the motion to table the discussion a failure, Councillor Thorkelson then weighed in with her  concerns and objections to some of the points of his recommendations, expressing her hope that fish plants may return to that area and some of the facets of the plan may offer problems for their development.

Councillor Ashley asked questions regarding grand father clauses for existing businesses within the Cow Bay development area.

Councillor Garon shared her remembrances of the public sessions and reminded council that the inclusion of active fish plants was part of the consideration at the time.

Councillor Thorkelson returned to the theme of the waterfront and what the city wanted to do with it in the Cow Bay Development area in particular again on the theme of fish plant development and again suggested that the city needed to support the commercial fishery. She also once again expressed her preference for a separate meeting on the issues, and then moved forward relaying her concerns over the  recommendations regarding the Port and CN lands of the waterfront and the impact on zoning that they may have on the process. Stressing how she believes that the Port and CN should meet with the city to discuss what is acceptable development on the waterfront.

She then offered a motion to strike recommendations 2 and 4 of the report, at which point Councillor Ashley interjected, asking of the Mayor if not the motion was to adopt all five recommendations. A read back of the motion verified that and it was back to discussing the recommendations.

Councillor Thorkelson wondered if the recommendations would result in the City not being able to exert its influence on development in those lands held by the Port and CN.

Councillor Ashley then returned the discussion to the waterfront plan currently the subject of the recommendations and explained her reasons for voting to move forward with the motion to approve the recommendations.

Councillor Garon called for the approval of the motion, the vote was held, the motion to move forward with the five recommendations was passed.

Council Business

Community Enhancement Grants (2:07:30--2:10:30) Mr. Rodin reviewed his report and recommended that the current 2013 Community Enhancement Grants be approved at the same level as 2012. Council would not be taking on any additional groups. Councillor Garon asked if those that did not put in a request would be excluded, which Mr. Rodin affirmed. The motion was adopted to accept the recommendations.

Chief Financial Officer Report: Fire Hall / RCMP building projects (2:10:30--2:14:10)

Recommendation that the City adopt the following resolutions:

1) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that the existing Fire Hall and Police station have exceeded their useful life
2) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that it will be more economical and operationally more effective and efficient, to construct new buildings, rather than to begin major renovations to the existing buildings
3) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that the City will need to commit a significant portion of any new tax revenue receivable, as a result of new heavy industry development to financing a fire hall and police station
4) That the City of Prince Rupert recognizes that there are construction and operational savings achievable through the construction of a joint use building, that these savings must be weighed against the incremental cost of acquiring and developing a suitably large parcel of property, the loss of future municipal tax revenues and the ability for the city to pay the annual financing cost of a joint use building. It therefore appears unlikely that the City will generate any significant savings by building a joint use facility.
5)  That the City approve the use of the properties located at the intersection of McBride and Sixth East as the two sites for a new police detachment and fire hall and that the children's park be relocated to the tennis court site at Sixth and McBride prior to construction of either building.

Councillor Garon called for the recommendations to be tabled until January or February, or even March or April, owing to other issues such as trying to sell Watson Island and the city's financial concerns.

The motion to table was approved, with a tentative date of March 1st to review the recommendations, with Councillor Thorkelson in opposition.

Chief Financial Officer Report: 2013 Financial Plan and Capital Purchases (2:14:10--2:26:30)

Of note from the report: Most of the items will have no impact on the municipal tax levy, the exception being the roads department budget with a request for 500,000 dollars for 2013.
Councillors Ashley and Thorkelson had questions on some of the Capital projects, with an emphasis on the road department budget. The Mayor suggested that the Roads department provide a presentation as to their requirements, a suggestion backed by Councillor Garon. Councillor Thorkelson had questions on spending on the police station cell block and the requirements needed to fix the cell block, in light of the tabling of the new police station issue.

Chief Financial Officer Report: October 2012 Monthly Departmental Report (2:26:00-- 2:29:10)

Overall the city is not doing too badly, a few departments are going to be down such as the Recreation Department, expenditures are a bit under budget. Utility budget is coming along nicely, some projects are going to be rolled over into 2013, such as the street lighting project. Councillor Garon asked how much the city is saving with the  new lights, 40 per cent was the answer.

Feral Cats, Spay and Neuter program (2:29:10--2:43:40)

Request from the minutes of November 26th, to discuss and reconsider the Feral Cat spay neuter program and feeding station request. Also asked if Council would consider licencing cats. Councillor Ashley suggested that the city use the charitable flow through policy to help the out with the provision of tax receipts for the spay/neuter program. Councillor Carlick-Pearson asked for an explanation of the flow through policy.

That motion passed.

Councillor Garon asked that Council deny the funding to the SPCA for their spay neuter program. Councillor Ashley stated that the City doesn't have the money to fund the spay/neuter program. Councillor Thorkelson also spoke to the issue as well, expressing doubts as to the value of treating and then releasing feral cats back into the community. Councillor Carlick Pearson agreed to the denial of funding for the spay and neuter program, though she suggested that the proponents of the program approach council again next year to see if the city's financial picture has improved. Councillor Rice spoke out against the spay and neuter program as well, recounting her conversation with the past head of the SPCA and agreeing with other council members as to the financial aspects of it at this time.

The motion to deny the funding was passed.

Councillor Ashley offered a few more final thoughts on the topic, putting them to staff to look over and then bring them back to council for consideration in January.

Alice Kruta of the Cannery Row Animal Shelter addressed council on the issue, the Mayor advised her to have her supporters approach the City's charitable flow through program for their funding requirements.

By Laws (2:43:45--2:44:18)

2012 Amended Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw

City Managers Report (2:44:10--2:47:00)

Gord Howie advised on the lighting project at the Civic Centre parking lot and that City Hall will be closed from December 24th to 28th. Reopening the 2nd of January. The Province has an project designed to provide information to newcomers to communities, City staff is providing data to the province for it. Prince Rupert is the third community the province has approached for the program.

Reports and Inquiries, Items of Interest to Council (2:47:00--2:51:45)

Councillor Ashley on the development variance permit on Montgomery Road. Property owners have been advised to have the structure taken down within thirty days and offered other options to accommodate the wishes of all concerned.

Councillor Carlick Pearson offered her support to the project and looks forward to see what staff can come up with to resolve the issue.

Councillor Ashley said she too hoped that the issue would be resolved through compromise

Councillor Kinney asked that all be invited to Council to discuss the issue after staff has advised as to the options.

Councillor Garon had a question on the escalating cost to contractors and users of the landfill site, looking for a schedule of the costs at the landfill and for the airport ferry vehicle users. Mr. Rodin advised that the landfill fees were approved through the utilities budget three years ago, the ferry is not supposed to go up this year. Councillor Garon also observed that some items are being placed in the landfill that could be instead taken to the recycling centre.

Councillor Ashley advised that the new baler is being installed at the Recycling Centre.

Mayor's Report (2:52:30--2:57)

Attended a webinar about downtown revitalization with the  Economic Development Officer and members of the Prince Rupert Business community.

Participated with Councillor Thorkelson and Councillor Rice in the Montreal Massacre vigil.

Participated with Councillor Garon in a gathering hosted by Ridley Terminals Operations and their expansion plans.

Attended with Councillor Thorkelson at the West Coast Salmon Fishery review held by the Department of Fisheries, the Mayor asked questions of DFO as to how best improve the lot of those involved in the salmon industry. He advised that DFO advised that the low returns are anticipated for the upcoming years, declining to actively work on the issue of ocean ranching that the Mayor inquired about.

Airport traffic has increased over 2.5 percent

Attended the CUPE Local Christmas social, providing a greeting on behalf of the city.

The Mayor on behalf of the City expresses thanks to to those that helped with the ice chiller repairs at the Civic Centre, the new chiller will be installed at season's end.

Council adjourned, to then reconvene in an in camera session.