Friday, February 24, 2012

Infrastructure money arrives for Prince Rupert

Money from both federal and provincial coffers is making its way towards Prince Rupert, with a number of high profile infrastructure projects the recipient.

This week brought a flurry of advisories for the region as both federal and provincial sources outlined their spending plans for the North Coast.

On Thursday, Ed Fast, the Federal Conservative International Trade and Asia-Pacific Gateway Minister, outlined the scope of 650,130 of federal money that is destined for the city to install a secondary sewage pumping station, which will allow the city to relocate a sewer pipeline way from the Hays Creek stream.

The money that is earmarked for this project is to be taken from the Federal Government's Gas Tax Fund.

Northern View-- Ed Fast promises enough money to cover next phase of project...
CFTK-- Fast Rupert Announcement (video)
CFTK-- Government of Canada contributing 15 Million to Gateway development

While he was in Prince Rupert the Minister also outlined the 15 million dollar investment into the Port of Prince Rupert's Railway Corridor project on Ridley Island. It is the Federal Government's share of the project which previously had tallied up 30 million from CN and the Port, while the Province of BC previously committed its share of 15 million to the project.

Construction on the corridor is expected to begin later this year with a completion timetable to have the project complete by 2014.

Northern View-- Trade Minister promises last of needed funding to build Ridley railway corridor
CFTK-- Government of Canada Contributing 15 Million to Gateway Development in Prince Rupert

Earlier in the week the Province of British Columbia delivered its budget with Finance Minister Kevin Falcon outlining the Provinces spending plans for Northern infrastructure, including the extension of a tax initiative designed to provide a fair and competitive environment. First introduced in 2004 it has provided around 1.3 million dollars annually to the City of Prince Rupert between 2004 - 2008, with inflation based increases in the years that followed that period, originally designed to expire in 2009 with this weeks announcement it has been made a permanent fixture.

The Northern View-- Port Authority happy with budget decision to make tax-breaks for ports permanent
CFTK-- Prince Rupert Port Applauds BC Budget

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Derailment closes CN line at Telkwa

A derailment on the CN line near Telkwa on Tuesday afternoon has taken 46 coal cars off the tracks and closed the line between Prince Rupert and Prince George until at least midnight tonight.

The train which was bound for the Ridley Terminals, left the tracks around 2 PM on Tuesday, no injuries were reported and there is no environmental risk according to CN.

CN issued this statement to its website outlining the scope of the derailment.

CN Rail workers are currently on the scene of the derailment to determine the cause and effect the clean up, the line closure will affect both freight and container shipments to the Port of Prince Rupert as well as passenger services through Wednesday.

Opinion 250-- CN hopes to re-open line by midnight
CFTK-- Houston Train Derail (video)
CBC Twitter feed-- Major derailment knocks 46 coal cars off the tracks

Update (Feb 23):  CN advised on their website that the site was cleared as of 0330 AM PST on Thursday, with only minimal delays anticipated as service resumed.

Snowpack levels make for concerns for spring floods

It may be a bit too early to tell just yet, but the Northwest may be in for another interesting year of flood levels, perhaps to bring back memories of a few years back when rivers of the Northwest overflowed their banks at record levels.

The Rivers forecast centre posted a look ahead to the spring melt months and with near record amounts of snow currently atop Northwest mountains, the prospect of flooding in the Northwest is something that the centre has its eye on.

The current level of the snowpack is at 139 percent of normal, as a reference for Northwest residents, the snowpack was at 153 percent of normal in 2006-07, which was the year of the major flooding of the Skeena River, leading to major issues along the Highway 16 corridor.

Weather over the next few months will be the determining factor as to the risk of flooding, higher temperatures will speed up the snow melt and precipitation levels through the spring could provide additional concerns for forecasters.

The Terrace Standard explains the various factors being taken into account by the Rivers Forecast Centre as it watches the snowpack and the effect that it may have on communities at ground level.

A town by any other name should smell so sweet...

According to a professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, confusion between the two Princes, George and Rupert is seemingly holding the former back from its destiny.

Simon Gibson an Business Instructor a the U of FV sent an email to the Mayor of Prince George as well as a number of councillors of that city, outlining how their city should seriously consider changing its name, re-branding the place if you will.

To help get any prospective PG think tank in motion, Gibson offered up the less than inspiring options of Capital North, City of the North, and City of Northern Empire.

All interesting choices, but really not featuring much pizazz, nor imagination.

As it is, the suggestion probably won't be high on the agenda for Prince George City council, which has any number of issues to deal with these days.

A name change is more than likely something that won't see much traction, beyond the history of the city and the attachment that residents of the city may have to their name, the cost alone of changing over the name to something new probably won't resonate very well with tax payers.

Still, in the grip of a Prince George winter, a little wishful thinking probably can't hurt, maybe they can grab Honolulu, it may even bring in some additional tourist traffic.

Though we suspect they would be a little annoyed if they arrived anywhere between November and March...

CBC Northern British Columbia-- A New Name for Prince George?
Opinion 250 -- Business Teacher Suggests P. G. Change it's name

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gateway Pipeline controversy receives an airing in Prince Rupert

The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, subject of a bit of discontent for some segments of the North coast population base was the main focus of a two day session of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel held at Prince Rupert's Chances convention centre.

Coming a week after a high profile protest march through the city by opponents to the Northern Gateway project, an event that has now become  a viral event on YouTube, if nothing else the Enbridge corporation would learn after the weekend sessions that their opponents on the north coast are well organized and have recruited a sizable collective to express their determination to block any prospect of a pipeline across Northern British Columbia

The two days of session on Friday and Saturday provided for a number of presentations on the project, the vast majority of them against the plan by Enbridge energy to ship bitumen through Kitimat, via a pipeline from Alberta's tar sands to the coastal community.

The main thrust of the Prince Rupert interventions was the prospect of oil tankers plying the north coast, whether calling in Kitimat or,  as in an idea floated earlier in the week by Enbridge through Prince Rupert, with a good number of the presentations provided by members of the local fishing union UFAWU, led by city councillor Joy Thorkelson.

As well as the city councillor, presentations were made by local NDP politicians, Gary Coons the local provincial MLA and Nathan Cullen, the federal NDP Member of Parliament and current NDP leadership contender. The latter making good use of the forum to reinforce his environmental profile on the larger stage.

Enbridge's participation for the most part was limited to observation and to receiving the oral presentations against their plan, which by the end of the first day alone, probably left their team to more than likely realize that they weren't going to win over their audience on their talking points.

Controversy seemed to dog these sessions even before they began, Mr. Cullen made much about the attempts to limit the participation in the debate, a theme that some took up as an attempt to muzzle the MP, which probably is not quite correct owing more to the need for time management of the panel review, but the impression that he somehow had seen his participation reduced seems to have become the conventional theme post discussion.

Even before the sessions opened up a microphone, one would be participating group had pulled out of the proceedings, with the Lax Kw'alaams Band announcing that they would not participate in the proceedings.

Once the actual two day sessions were underway, more controversy arrived, this time in the form of a mis-step by the moderators of the discussion, who made a rather serious error in having a First Nations participant, a drummer dressed in traditional regalia from Metlakatla barred from the proceedings, that after the participant had objected to the the course of discussion on Mr. Cullen's speaking time, reportedly shouting in frustration before leaving.

Over a period of time in the proceedings the drummer was allowed to return, but that original expulsion seemed to taint the remainder of the proceedings, with many of the participants making reference to it prior to their own presentations on the theme of the sessions.

As the session came to an end on Saturday, it would be an understatement that the general impression of the presentations was that there was no support for the project among those who had lined up to speak over the two days.

Something that one imagines should not come as a huge surprise to Enbridge, which if it didn't know by now, will have quickly learned after this weekend that the hill to push that rock up is going to be a rather steep one.

After but one session of the tour of protest, Enbridge is already hearing echoes of a debate from the past, that of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, which in name was approved but in reality has still yet to ever actually make it past much of the planning stage, some three decades later.

It's perhaps a similar battle ahead for the folks at Enbridge, as outlined in the Globe and Mail by Tom Flannagan, who once was a power broker within the old Reform party and now sits in Calgary as an observer, commentator and educator on Western Canadian issues.

On the topic of the Northern Gateway, Flanagan sees many similarities between the Mackenzie Valley debate and the current topic of concern across northern British Columbia.

Flanagan was not alone in his observations of the current state of debate, the Los Angeles Times featured this article in its weekend edition, with a prominent spot on its opening page to the paper's website.  The article looks at the Northern Gateway as a form of defiance against the U. S. and its foot dragging over the Keystone pipeline, it touches on the controversial nature of the Northern Gateway in British Columbia, but it's not the full focus of the article, which offers up more than a few controversial themes of its own.

As for the local and national reviews, for the most part the sense of controversy and strong opposition to the project was the main thrust of the majority of the articles and media contributions, the majority of which you can examine below.

National Post-- First Nations reject alternate Northern Gateway route
CFTK-- Joint Review Panel Day 2 (Video)
CFTK-- Joint Review Panel Day 1 (Video)
CFTK-- Local speakers Take the panel at Saturday's JRP Hearings
The Northern View-- What was said at the Rupert Enbridge hearings
CFTK-- Conservative MP Slams Cullen, RD Rejects Enbridge
Vancouver Observer-- Oil Executive son's testimony at Prince Rupert Northern Gateway ...
Opinion 250-- Joint Review Panel Invited to Taste and Experience Coastal Life
Opinion 250-- Queen Charlotte Regional District Opposes Enbridge Pipeline Project
CBC Northern BC-- Enbridge hearings resume in Prince Rupert
CFTK-- Terrace Council and Enbridge Opposition (Video)
The Northern View--intervenors 'muzzled' at Enbridge hearings in Prince Rupert
CFTK-- Cullen, Enbridge Spar at JRP Hearings in Prince Rupert
CFTK-- First Nation Boycotts JRP Hearings in Prince Rupert
Queen Charlotte Islands Observer-- MP Cullen talks about the land at Enbridge panel hearing
The Northern View-- Run down of 1st day of Prince Rupert hearings on Enbridge pipeline
Marketwire-- Pipeline tensions: Frustration mounts at Review hearings...
Opinion 250-- Enbridge hearings tense in Prince Rupert
CBC Northern BC-- Municipalities consider position on Enbridge pipeline
The Republic-- Enbridge re-examining options on Northern Gateway pipeline route
The Northern View-- Joint Review Panel won't limit speaker's time at Prince Rupert hearings
The Northern View-- Lax Kw'alaams is boycotting Enbridge hearings in Prince Rupert
Vancouver Observer-- Enbridge trying to "silence" speakers at oil sands pipeline hearings: MLA
The Northern View-- MP calls Enbridge request 'suspicious and shameful'
The Northern View-- Enbridge seeking time limit on non-Aboriginal speakers at Prince Rupert hearings
Vancouver Observer-- Nation building: how the Enbridge pipeline issue unified Northern B. C.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Layoffs loom for NWCC

Facing a budget deficit of up to two million dollars, the region's community college has begun the process of determining where to cut costs and save money, taking suggestions from college employees, students and the community, while at the same time seemingly contemplating a plan to embark on a round of layoffs that could affect all campus locations across the Northwest.

The internal discussion on how best to address the budget deficit and  achieve the provincially mandated balanced budget began in January, when word of the need to address the college finances was first released.

From there the college opened up a suggestion box of sorts online, accepting ideas on how the college could achieve its financial goals, a process which brought a wide variety of thoughts, some practical others probably a little out there.

Regardless, as those suggestions were still arriving, the college began the process of what will be layoffs across the Northwest.

While little has been heard in Prince Rupert from the media on the pending layoffs, the story has become one of the top trending ones elsewhere, with the bulk of the reporting on the looming layoffs and cost cutting projects  coming out of the Terrace area, with both the Terrace Standard and CFTK TV providing much in the way of background on the issue.

Some of their findings, as well as other items from other media outlets in the Northwest can be found below.

Terrace Standard-- MLA questions college cuts
Terrace Standard-- College plans to axe more than 30 jobs
Terrace Standard-- College determines laayoff numbers
Terrace Standard-- Union wants college layoff plans stopped
Terrace Standard-- College cuts: Layoffs happening to restore college's financial health
Terrace Standard-- Students rallying against cuts at the college
Terrace Standard-- College layoff notices coming this month
Terrace Standard-- Union, students want gov't to protect college
Terrace Standard-- College layoffs on the horizon
Terrace Standard-- College deficit could now be $2 million
Terrace Standard-- College faces budget crunch

CFTK-- Emotions Run High at NWCC Education Council Meeting
CFTK-- College Cuts Meeting (February 10) (video)
CFTK-- NWCC Says 31.5 Positions need to be Cut to Balance Budget
CFTK-- College Cuts (February 9) (video)
CFTK-- NWCC Students Rally Against tuition hikes
CFTK-- NWCC Student Rally (video)
CFTK-- College Students to Rally Today
CFTK-- NWCC President Warns of Tough Decisions Ahead
CFTK-- NWCC Layoffs (January 27) (video)
CFTK-- Union Leader Visits Terrace to Discuss NWCC Budget Crisis

The Northern View-- Prince Rupert's NWCC campus to host student rally
CBC Radio Daybreak North-- Northern Colleges struggle with budgets
Opinion 250-- More than 30 jobs on the cutting block at NWCC
Opinion 2500- Job cuts looming at NWCC

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

53rd All Native Tournament comes to an end

Edition number 53 of the All Native Tournament wrapped up over the weekend, the final results providing for some entertaining basketball, with Intermediate final going up to the final shot of the game to decide a winner.

Results and local media coverage of the tournament can be found below.

Masters Division Final

Prince Rupert Coast Trojans  82 -- Greenville 71

Seniors Division Final

Skidegate 107 -- Ahousat 81

Women's Division Final

Nanaimo 69 -- Kitamaat 47

Intermediate Division Final

Ahousat   66 --- Lax Kwa'laams 65

CFNR-- All Native Results All Categories
CFTK-- All Native Winners (February 13)
CFTK-- All Native Competition (February10)
CFTK-- All Native Competition (February 9)
CFTK-- All Native Competition (February 7)
CFTK-- All Native Competition (February 6)
Northern View-- 53rd All-Native Basketball Tournament wraps up in Prince Rupert
Northern View-- Prince Rupert Masters and Nanaimo Women win at All Native Tournament
Northern View-- Nanaimo wins Women's Division
Northern View-- All Native Tournament starts Sunday in Prince Rupert

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And you get an LNG plant, and you get an LNG plant...

With Premier Christy Clark playing the role of Oprah, (and you get an LNG plant, and you get an LNG plant)  Prince Rupert is seemingly ready to join the pool of ready and able port cities looking to ship Liquefied Natural Gas to world markets.

So far around the Northwest, Kitimat has been in the lead in this competition, the Premier looking to place at least three or maybe more LNG distribution sites into the Northern end of Douglas Channel, one project is already well into the planning phase, setting up a base of operations on Haisla land in the Kitimat region.

Prince Rupert, seemingly not wishing to be left out on this potential gold rush of shipments to Asian markets and beyond is now on the shipment map.

This is not the first time that the prospect of an LNG export terminal for the Prince Rupert region has been suggested, going back to the mid 1980's there was talk of Dome Petroleum building such a shipment point on the north coast, more recently in 2006, West Pac Terminals floated the idea of a Natural Gas export terminal for Ridley Island.

Before Prince Rupert residents get too far ahead of themselves however, they might be best served to keep in mind the following quote from the folks of BG Group, the proponents of the latest Prince Rupert option.

"But though the company said its interest is real, it has no imminent construction plans."

Reviews of the Premier's plans and the potential  hurdles still ahead were found a plenty over the last few days, some of the highlights can be found below.

Northern View-- Prince Rupert Port Authority working with international LNG group
CFTK TV7 -- Prince Rupert considered for LNG Terminal
CBC-- Prince Rupert wants to be natural gas hub
CBC-- B. C. premier plans liquefied natural gas exports
Globe and Mail-- U. K. firm joins race to export gas from B. C.
Globe and Mail-- Clark stakes B. C's energy future on liquefied natural gas
Globe and Mail-- Energy regulator approves export licence for BC LNG
National Post-- The race to China
National Post-- Haisla Nation backed company secures LNG export licence
Vancouver Province-- B. C. government unveils new energy strategy to boost jobs, revenue
Vancouver Province-- Liberals shift energy focust to LNG
Vancouver Sun-- New policy favours natural gas industry
Vancouver Sun-- B. C. still faces hurdles in its plan to be a world player in the LNG market
The Tyee-- Who Pays Huge Power Bills for Clark's Gas Plants

Census Data shows Prince Rupert population decline continues

While local real estate agents and politicians may wish otherwise, no matter how you look up the numbers, the 2011 Census shows that the population of Prince Rupert continued to go down instead of up.

The data released on Wednesday shows that overall Prince Rupert's population dropped 2.4 percent in the five years between the 2006 and 2011 census reports.

It continues the downward trend of Prince Rupert's population which has seen the numbers trend downwards over the last decade.

In 2001, the Census reported that there 15,302 residents in the greater Prince Rupert region, so the number of the departed is rather significant and indicative of the economic malaise that has enveloped the region since that head count.

Prince Rupert's declining numbers as well as those of Williams lake were among those with the highest population declines, a trend running counter to the rest of the province for the most part.

While much has been made of the boom times to come for the region, at the moment, if the numbers are to be held as true (and there's no reason to doubt the accounting) it would seem that the boom times are still a ways off.

The Census numbers in three categories all trend downward in the last five years, the tracking of the five year trend goes as follows.

Prince Rupert Census Subdivision

2006  12,815
2011  12,509

Decline of  306

The full report can be found here

Census Metropolitan (Census agglomeration)

2006 13,392
2011  13,052

Decline of 340

The full report can be found here

Prince Rupert Population Centre

2006  12,128
2011  11,838

Decline of 290

The full report can be found here

Other population shifts in the region included a slight increase for Terrace and Smithers and the prospect of Kitimat's population decline continuing on, so much so that the community is almost at the point where they become statistically irrelevant for future census counts.


2006 11,320 
2011 11,486

An increase of 1.5 %


2006 5,217
2011 5,404

An increase of 3.6 %


2006  8,987
2011  8,335

A decline of 7.3%

Full reviews of other communities of the Northwest can be found by entering the community name in the dialogue box provide on the Statistics Canada website here.

National Post-- Census Canada 2011
Globe and Mail-- Census 2011
Vancouver Province-- 2011 Census
Vancouver Sun-- 2011 Census
CBC British Columbia-- B. C. Population outpaces national growth rate

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fraser Institute Rankings place most Prince Rupert schools towards the bottom

With the exception of the city's only Independent School, Annunciation, the reviews from the recent Fraser Institute School rankings make some interesting if not worrisome reading and offer up any number of questions for those digesting the numbers.

The controversial report, which raises the ire of both teachers and administrators alike at School District 52,  listed the elementary schools of Prince Rupert and where they placed amongst the provincial listing and for the most part, Prince Rupert's success rate in the survey was poor.

Annunciation, the city's only Independent school fared the best among all schools in the city, cracking the top 100 of the 860 schools surveyed, Annunciation's results placed it in a tie for 81st place, a rise of 14 places over the course of the last five years.

Its placement will of course renew the debate over the report findings, which many dismiss as not relevant to the socio economic situation that the public schools face, but on the theme of achievement, the numbers speak for themselves, the success rate of the Independent School highlights the standard of learning that has been achieved there, for that there shouldn't be any apologies required.

The public schools in the city were found further down the listings, the most successful of the schools was the now closed Westview which had a ranking of 655/860, followed by Pineridge 787/860,  Lax Keen 830/860 and Conrad 853/860. Results for Roosevelt Park were not provided, it is a school that has struggled in past Fraser Institute reviews.

While there clearly are some serious issues that face all public schools in the city, the fact that the local schools fare so poorly year after year indicates that perhaps there is a need to review the state of education in the city.

If past history is any indication, the School District won't have much to say about the report, pointing to the unfairness of ranking rich and poor neighbourhoods, Independent, private and public schools.

With results of a similar nature across the city, the foundation of education in the city seems to be in need of an overhaul, not something that parents will want to hear, considering the numerous times in the past where the School District has changed its direction and models.

But, considering the results, the system here clearly needs some kind of review, perhaps one a bit detached from the local scene.

Surely these results should be considered a red flag for the Provincial Government that things are not going well in education on the North Coast.  With School District 52 once again found in the lower reaches of the survey, it may be time for the Ministry of Education to take a more proactive look at what's happening in Prince Rupert's school system.

Funding issues, class size, teacher morale, administration overview, support staff concerns, lack of parental interest and yes socio-economic factors all no doubt contributed to the result scores, but just dismissing those results because you don't like them doesn't seem to be an approach that is working to the benefit of the students.

They may not want to talk about it at the School District level, but, the students would seem to be the ones that are being left behind amidst all the troubles of the area and if nothing else on the local and provincial agenda, that's something that all should be working to change as soon as possible.

The full review of the Fraser Institute report can be found here.

Somewhere between 100 and over 1000

Depending on which media source you obtained your information from, Saturday's Anti-Enbridge march either shut down the city or provided for a temporary traffic disruption, such was the varying degree of hyperbole that came post march.

The numbers involved in the protest that marched down one of the city's main streets ranged anywhere from the CBC's estimate of hundreds, to the excited declaration of a Public Relations  site that over 2,000 people took to the streets in protest.

Somewhere we imagine rests the true number, however regardless of the number we eventually settle on the organizational skills of the folks from Hartley Bay surely got their message across.

Protesters many of them dressed in maroon coloured hoodies proclaiming the message of no tankers for the north coast made the walk from the city's Mariner's Park to the Civic Centre, normally about a ten to fifteen minute walk at a brisk pace, no doubt slowed down as the protest proceeded down McBride Street.

Contrary to the Vancouver Province's report, the city's RCMP however did not close off the downtown core, rather east west travel was disrupted at cross streets as the protest wound its way to the Civic Centre.

Likewise, while there were events scheduled at the Civic Centre through the afternoon and into the evening, to suggest that attendance was symbolic of massive support to the cause might be a tad dis-ingenuous.

In addition to the protest on Saturday, Prince Rupert is playing host to the annual All-Native Basketball Tournament, which regularly sees the numbers of those visiting the city increase by large numbers, while a good number of those participants may have sympathy with the cause, we're not sure that all were marching in lock step on Saturday.

They would however, no doubt find that the night's entertainment might be a good way to kick start their visit to the city.

The debate over oil tankers on the north coast is no doubt just beginning and credit will go to the organizers of the march on Saturday for making sure their side of the debate was heard.

At the end of the day, it was an impressive display of how to organize a protest, the message was put out there relayed by the media across the country, however some clearly did more research than others as to what was happening in the city on Saturday.

The reviews, factual and fanciful can be found below.

Vancouver Province-- Police close downtown Prince Rupert for pipeline protest
Vancouver Sun-- Community rally a full-court press against proposed pipeline
CFTK TV7-- Huge Rally in Prince Rupert against Northern Gateway
Marketwire-- More Than Two Thousand Citizens Say "No!" to Oil Tankers and Pipelines...
CKNW-- Prince Rupert rally protests Northern Gateway pipeline
Vancouver Observer-- Two Thousand protest Enbridge oilsands pipeline in Prince Rupert
CTV-- Pipeline opponents question environmental impact
CTVBC-- Canadian rocker and economist protest B. C. pipeline
CBC-- Hundreds rally against Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline
Northern View-- Gitga'at Nation hosts No Tankers Rally in Prince Rupert

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Anti Enbridge protest planned for Saturday

The push back against Enbridge's plans to develop a Northern Gateway pipeline and shipment terminal at Kitimat, comes to Prince Rupert on Saturday as a coalition of protesters take to the streets to show their opposition to the project.

The main arterial road in the city will be closed to traffic from 11 am to 12:15 on Saturday to allow an anticipated crowd of 2,000 plus to march from Mariner's Park to the Civic Centre, following the march a rally will take place at the city's Civic Centre, featuring a collection of speakers and musicians to lend their voices to the opposition.

Among those said to be attending the day long event (festivities continue on until midnight) are one time Social Credit cabinet minister, former talk show host and now environmental advocate Rafe Mair and Canadian rock musician Bif Naked, Dr. David Suzuki was scheduled to attend but health problems have reportedly given him cause to cancel his appearance.

The scope of the day's protest was outlined in a press release, which was made available on February 1st, the information package widely used by assorted media sources in the construction of their stories on the planned march.

The timing of the protest has provided for the largest possible pool of those to show their opposition, Saturday's protest march comes one day before the opening of Prince Rupert's annual sports and cultural event the All Native Basketball Tournament.

With a large number of visitors to the city having already arrived for the tournament, planning the protest march for the day before the opening of the games provides the organizers with the prospect of a large group of protesters, a visual that will no doubt be used by those in opposition to Enbridge to provide a strong visual backdrop to their protest.

The Northern View-- McBride closing Saturday afternoon, David Suzuki not coming 
CFTK-- Large crowd expected for Anti-Enbridge Rally in Prince Rupert
Opinion 250-- Organizers anticipating one of largest anti-Enbridge rallies

Big lotto win for the Bulkley Valley

Somewhere in the Bulkley Valley there is a very happy person, couple, family or group of people, winners of Friday's Lotto max jackpot of 16 million dollars plus.

The February 3rd draw of the weekly Lotto Max lottery had a potential jackpot of 50 million dollars.

The Bulkley Valley winners were one of three lucky winners on the night, the remaining two thirds of the three way split were residents of Quebec.

No details on which community in the Bulkley Valley-Stikine region is home to Canada's newest multi millionaires, but we imagine word will eventually make its way up and down the Highway 16 corridor.

Update: February 8 2012-- The winner of Friday's massive Lotto Max jackpot has come forward with Steve Martin claiming his prize at the BCLC headquarters in Richmond, as things turned out he lived a little further north of the Bulkley Valley,  Martin is a resident, maybe a former resident by now of Atlin in B. C.'s far Northwet corner.