Saturday, January 28, 2012

Highway 16 closed due to High Avalanche Risk

Avalanche Control
Highway 16 Both directions - Closed in both directions from Prince Rupert to 35 km west of Terrace at Extew River Bridge (105.9 km) due to High Avalanche Hazard. Estimated time of opening Sun Jan 29 at 6:00 pm. ...

Travellers heading west from Terrace or East from Prince Rupert we're making plans for an extended stay in each community on Saturday night, as the Ministry of Highways closed the only east-west road connection between the two communities due to a high Avalanche risk.

The closure which took effect at 8 pm was in place for the region from Prince Rupert to 35 kilometres west of Terrace at the Extew River Bridge. The highway will remain closed until at least 6 pm on Sunday as avalanche technicians investigate the stability of the snow pack in that region and take remedial measures as required.

The high avalanche risk comes after a lengthy cold snap on the North coast, which provided for large accumulations of snow in regional mountain areas, with the cold snap making way for heavy rain and warmer temperatures of the last few days, the conditions became unstable along the highway 16 corridor.

Among those stranded on either side of the road closure were the Smithers Steelheads in Prince Rupert for a hockey game on Saturday night, while a number of Prince Rupert students from Charles Hays Secondary were waiting in Smithers for the road to open at Terrace.

The latest updates on the road situation can be found at the Drive BC website.

Update:  The Northern View posted this article on the avalanche at 1 am on Sunday morning

Highway re-opened in the early evening hours of Sunday, around 7 PM.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Norovirus outbreak has Northern Health watching the region

An outbreak of gastrointestinal illness in a number of locations in Norther B. C. has Northern health officials keeping a watchful eye on health care facilities across the region.

Three outbreaks of the virus have been reported one at a school in Houston and two others at elderly care facilities in Smithers and Haida Gwaii.

Symptoms of the norovirus include sudden nausea, chills, abdominal cramps. vomiting and / or diarrhea.

The Northern Health website offers up these suggestions on how to protect yourself from the Norovirus

Queen Charlotte Islands Observer-- Highly contagious illness closes QC hospital to visitors
Houston Today --Norovirus hits Northern B. C.

Evacuation alert issued in Bulkley-Nechako District

Rising waters of the Bulkley Valley have resulted in a partial evacuation order for a portion of the Regional District of Bulkley - Nechako.

The evacuation alert, issued yesterday was in effect for the Bourgon Road area east of Telkwa.

Residents in other low lying parts of the region were advised to prepare an emergency supply kit in case they too were asked to evacuate on short notice.

Regional District of Bulkley Nechako -- Evacuation Alert

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nancy and Gunther Golina saluted in Vancouver Sun story

Prince Rupert's Wildlife Rehabilitation Shelter received a pretty impressive review in the Vancouver Sun  last week, as a Yukon based writer Ann MacDonald, recounted here experience with Nancy and Gunther Golina.

MacDonald, who was on a stop over in the city was pointed in their direction by a fellow visitor from Haida Gwaii, driving out to the east side shelter she discovered how much work the couple, who have been operating the shelter for 23 years, put into the care of wildlife in the region and the support they receive from local residents.

You can review the comprehensive account of their work in Prince Rupert here.

Cash for Cans?

The success of the Port of Prince Rupert has not escaped the gaze of American politicians, with levels dropping (and unemployment rising) at some key Western US ports, the backlash against Canadian competition has continued on, with a review from the American Federal Maritime Commission still working towards its final deliberations.

While that study continues on into the evaluation phase, one former chairman is offering up her solution to the concerns of the US port stakeholders, that being a Modified Harbour Maintenance Tax to be assessed on all freight from foreign sources that enters the USA.

With the US economy still struggling and unemployment a concern heading into an election year, the prospect of job protection may very well prove to be too enticing a solution even if it becomes the opening shot in a renewed trade war with Canada.

The suggestion from Ms. Bentley is providing for some fodder for debate on the topic of free trade between Canada and the US, an issue which could have ramifications for the Port of Prince Rupert's container operations in the years to come.

Northern View-- Former FMC Commissioner supports imposing fee on cargo entering US from Rupert port
Northern View-- Industry and Government weigh in on 'unfair' advantage of Prince Rupert Port
DC Velocity-- The brewing battle over the HMT
Lloyd's List-- Call to tax all US bound freight

Tragedy strikes Burns Lake

Friday night provided the worst of nightmares for families in Burns Lake, a massive fire and explosion at the Babine Lake Forest Products operations, sent more than half the workforce of 30 on duty to various hospitals around the province and left two members of the workforce still listed as missing by the weekends end.

The fire which lit up the night sky in the region started in the early evening, quickly spreading to many parts of the sprawling industrial area, a complex that was the key industrial employer of the region.

Emergency services were called in from as far as Vanderhoof and Smithers as fire, rescue and ambulance resources tried to cope with the overwhelming number of badly injured workers, at one point Northern Health had issued a Code Orange for the region.

Efforts were hampered by poor weather conditions as a blizzard at the time made roads east and west of the community treacherous, adding to the travel time required to get the injured to hospitals in communities along Highway 16 as far as Prince George.

The search for the two remaining missing men is on hold while authorities wait for the site to stabilize before entering into it for a rescue or recovery effort, likewise any investigation into the cause of the blast will have to wait until the area is safe to enter.

The scenes of chaos and horror that Friday night brought have been recounted by those that escaped the mill as the fire quickly spread, the account of events has been reported both in local media and across Canada, some of those reports can be found below.

Regional News items

Lakes District News-- Premier offers Burns Lake words of hope, strength and faith
Lakes District News-- 'Chaos reigned supreme' at Burns Lake mill explosion
Lakes District News-- Explosion at Babine Forest Products
Lakes District News-- Support centre opened at Margaret Patrick Memorial Hall
Lakes District News-- Babine secured
Opinion 250-- Officials wait for clearance to investigate Mill Disaster
Opinion 250-- Burns Lake Community Meeting Tonight
Opinion 250-- Our Prayers Go Out to The People of Burns Lake
Opinion 250-- Union Rallies to Assist Burns Lake Workers and their Families
Opinion 250-- Three More Burns Lake Victims Leave Hospital, Two Missing Identified
Opinion 250-- Premier Visits Burns Lake
Opinion 250-- Burns Lake Mill Site Too Unstable To Search for Missing Workers
Opinion 250-- RCMP Head Mill Investigation As Fire Victims Fight for their Lives
Opinion 250-- Worksafe Prepares to Probe Mill Remains as Residents Rally
Opinion 250-- Two Confirmed Missing in Wake of Sawmill Blast and Fire
Opinion 250-- Premier Clark Addresses Babine FP Disaster
Opinion 250-- Search Continues For Missing Mill Workers
Opinion 250-- Number of Missing Uncertain in Babine FP Blast
Opinion 250-- Six Ambulances Arrive at PG's University Hospital with Victims from Babine Forest blast
Opinion 250-- Almost 30 injured in Burns Lake Mill Blast
Opinion 250-- Burns Lake Mayor Calls for Community to Pull Together
Opinion 250-- Burns Lake Explosion... Three Believed Missing
Opinion 250-- Northern Health Mobilizes Resources to Deal With Burns Lake Disaster
Opinion 250-- Explosion Rocks Burns Lake Babine Forest Products Mill
CFTK-- Community Rallies in Aftermath of Sawmill Explosion in Burns Lake
CFTK-- Two Missing, 19 injured in Sawmill Explosion inn Burns Lake

National News Items

Vancouver Province-- Burns Lake prays for a miracle
Vancouver Province-- Repercussions to rattle region
Vancouver Province-- Burns Lake will never be the same
Vancouver Province-- Three sawmill workers in Burns Lake blast flown to Vancouver
Vancouver Province-- Burns Lake lumber mill employee claims 'nothing was done' about gas leak reports
Vancouver Province-- Son of Burns Lake elder missing in lumber mill blast
Vancouver Province-- 19 injured, 2 missing in mill fire
Vancouver Province-- Lights went out... everything went orange'
Vancouver Province-- Blast and fire at lumber mill near Burns Lake (photos)
Vancouver Sun-- Two workers missing, 19 injured after Burns Lake mill explosion (with video)
Vancouver Sun-- Mill workers heard desperate pleas of 'save us' over radio
Vancouver Sun-- Witness says Burns Lake sawmill explosion could have been prevented
Globe and Mail-- Sawmill fire tears the heart from B. C. village
Globe and Mail-- "Everything was burning" worker says after B. C. Sawmill explosion
Globe and Mail-- Town faces big loss after sawmill explosion
Globe and Mail-- Two B. C. mill workers unaccounted for
National Post-- B. C. Mill explosion near Burns Lake leaves 19 injured, many unaccounted for
CBC News-- Missing workers in B.C. mill blast ID'd
CBC News-- 2 missing after B. C. Mill explosion

Friday, January 20, 2012

A shot across the tracks for VIA's Skeena?

While VIA Rail has plans to improve service on its Windsor to Quebec City corridor, those service improvements may mean that the rest of the country sees service reductions or even out right elimination of VIA Rail runs.

That according to a Bloomberg report posted to their website yesterday.

The report suggests that part of VIA Rail may be sold off as the government looks to cut down the cost of running the money losing passenger rail company. Among the considerations for future service is a significant reduction in service and/or the privatization of the network.

Among some of the items from the briefing note that Bloomberg accessed, one particular discussion point will be of interest to those that have travelled on the Skeena run between Jasper and Prince Rupert.

“Potential service level reductions could include: reduced frequencies on the western and eastern transcontinental service; reduced frequencies to certain remote areas; and, removing regional services in rural areas that are well served by other public modes and highways,” staff say in the note.

VIA has not expanded much on the plan as reported by Bloomberg, but one doesn't have to grab a map of Canada to figure out that the Skeena Run could be one of the lines to suffer some kind of cutback, service reduction or out right elimination.

Vancouver Sun-- Feds mull VIA sell off
CBC-- VIA Rail said to be partially up for sale
Maclean's-- Ottawa may privatize part of VIA Rail
CTV-- Officials suggest slashing VIA Rail service, partial sale

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cold snap settles in on North coast

Good for tobogganing, not so much for driving, household and commercial pipes and your heating bills.

A January cold snap took hold of the North coast and points inland this week, bringing temperatures down to the -20 regions, with daytime highs on a few occasions of no more than -14.

A dump of snow over the weekend previous gave locals a chance to recapture their shovelling skills and re-learn some winter driving skills that were challenged by road conditions that at times had the RCMP closing down a portion of McBride on Friday owing to the combination of snow and slick road conditions.

As the week moved forward the now gave way to very cold temperatures, which left plumbers around town quite busy and no doubt counting the cash in a rapid fashion.

The Arctic outflows began to ebb away by Thursday, with more normal temperature ranges anticipated by Monday morning.

Some reviews of the cold temperatures can be found below

CJFW-- Another Dangerously Cold Morning Across the Northwest
CBC Northern BC-- Northern B. C. gets a cold snap
CFTK TV 7-- Bitter Cold Grips Northwest
CFTK TV 7-- Deep Freeze
CFTK TV7-- Highway Complaints

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

RCMP investigate east side robbery

Prince Rupert RCMP are seeking the assistance of the public regarding a robbery at Maverick Food Mart on Monday evening.

The 11th Avenue East store was held up by a balaclava clad suspect at 10pm, brandishing a knife he demanded cash from the till and fled on foot.

RCMP members responded to the call and conducted a search of the immediate area but were unable to locate the suspect.

The suspect was completely dressed in black at the time of the armed robbery and escaped with an undetermined amount of money, should anyone have information on this crime they are asked to contact the RCMP at 250-627-0700

The Northern View relayed details from the Prince Rupert Detachment of the RCMP with this post to their website.

CFTK TV 7-- Maverick Foods Robbery

West Jet considers expansion plans

The next few months could determine if Prince Rupert gains more competition in the airline industry as West Jet continues on with its plans to develop a regional airline service.

Prince Rupert was first mentioned as a possible destination last year when West Jet first floated the idea of a service to stream traffic to its fleet of 737's to larger markets, Monday provided a bit more background on the airlines plans and the timeline they are looking at.

Vancouver Sun-- West Jet eyes starting new regional airline
Canadian Business-- West Jet considering launching short haul regional airline as early as 2013
National Post-- West Jet considers launching short haul airline
Globe and Mail-- West Jet plan a new threat to Air Canada

Increased shipping through Prince Rupert benefits Prince George

With throughput at the Port of Prince Rupert's container port continuing to grow, the benefits are being felt eight hours to the east in Prince George which just completed expansion of a container handling yard in that city.

With track extensions and an improved lumber capacity, the Prince George yard now can handle up to 700 containers a week, up from 30 just a year ago, along with that expansion the workforce in Prince George at the CN yard has grown as well, with 15 new employees hired on making a total of 47 employed at the yard.

Prince George HQ-- CN intermodal Expansion complete

Former PRMHA player recognized at US college level

An alumnus of the Prince Rupert Minor Hockey program, Frank Slubowski,  has been recognized US College Hockey,

Slubowski who plays in the CCHA, was recognized for his work over the weekend  after his Western Michigan University Broncos team swept the famed Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

WMU website-- Brown and Slubowski win CCHA Weekly Honors

Monday, January 16, 2012

City Council Report February 27, 2012

City Council session for Monday, February 13, 2012
Home page and archive of  sessions can be found here


Mayor Jack Mussallem -- Present
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Present
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present

News items of note from February 27, 2012 session

City Council Report February 13, 2012

City Council session for Monday, February 13, 2012
Home page and archive of  sessions can be found here


Mayor Jack Mussallem -- Present
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Present
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present (attended by phone)

News items of note from February 13, 2012 session

City Council Report January 23, 2012

City Council session for Monday, January 23, 2012
Home page and archive of  sessions can be found here


Mayor Jack Mussallem -- Present
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Present (attended by phone)
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present

Video Recording of January 23, 2012 (Not Available)

News items of note from January 23 session

City Council Report January 9, 2012

City Council session for Monday, January 9, 2012
Home page and archive of  sessions can be found here


Mayor Jack Mussallem -- Present
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Present
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Absent

News items of note from January 9 session

City Council Report December 12, 2011

City Council session for Monday, December 12, 2011
Home page archive for sessions can be found here.


Mayor Jack Mussallem -- Present
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present

Audio Recording of December 12, 2011 (Not Available)

News items of note from December 12 session

City Council Report December 5, 2011

Inaugural meeting of the 2011-12 sessions of City Council
Home page archive for sessions can be found here.

Agenda for December 5, 2011


Mayor Jack Mussallem -- Present
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Present
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present

Minutes of December 5, 2011

Audio Recording of December 5, 2011 (Not Available)

Video Recording of December 5, 2011

News items of note from December 5 session

City Council Archives 2011-12 council sessions

Our Archive of developments at Prince Rupert City Hall, providing the agendas, minutes, recordings and news items relating to developments with the City of Prince Rupert.

City Council meetings are streamed live and available from this link to the city website.

As part of our scorecard of City council meetings, we provide the attendance record of each member of council at the council gatherings, those listings are found below.

Total sessions 26 (as of most recent minutes December 10 2012)

Mayor Jack Mussallem  24 attended, absent for 2
Councillor Anna Ashley 25 attended, absent for 1
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson   19 attended, absent for 7
Councillor Gina Garon   24 attended, absent for 2
Councillor Nelson Kinney  21 attended, absent for 5
Councillor Jeniffer Rice  24 attended, absent for 2
Councillor Joy Thorkelson  23 attended, absent for 3

** January 19-- Councillor Ashley attended by phone
** January 23-- Councillor Carlick-Pearson attended by phone
** February 13-- Councillor Thorkelson attended by phone
** March 12-- Councillor Thorkelson attended by phone
** April 30-- Councillor Rice attended by phone 
** May 14-- Councillor Rice attended by phone
** August 20-- Council session was cancelled
** November 26--  Councillor Thorkelson attended by phone

Past meeting archives can be found from the following dates..

December 10 2012
December 3 2012 (Special Session, closed to public)
November 26 2012
November 13 2012
October 22 2012
October 9 2012
September 17, 2012
September 4, 2012
August 20 2012 (cancelled)
July 30 2012
July 9 2012
June 25 2012
June 18 2012
June 11 2012
May 28 2012
May 14 2012
May 7 2012
April 30 2012
April 23 2012
April 10 2012
March 26 2012
March 12 2012 
February 27 2012
February 13 2012
January 23 2012
January 9 2012
December 12 2011
December 5 2011