Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Time to put a toe into the waters of 2014, with the Rotary Club Polar Bear Swim

Rupertites are making ready to dive into what has become a Prince Rupert tradition, as the Prince Rupert Rotary Club welcomes in 2014 with their Polar Bear Swim.

The quick dash into the water of Prince Rupert Harbour takes place on New Years Day at 1 PM.  With events on Rushbrook Floats once again welcoming participants both in costume and those in but their finest of swim wear, as they usher in a brand New Year.

Rotarians will be on the Floats and surrounding area ready to offer up some hot chocolate and hot dogs for those taking part or watching from the shore.

Included in this years festivities will be awards for the best of those that take to the somewhat less than tropical waters of the North Coast, with Gift Cards to be awarded for best team costume and best costume.

Some photos of last year's Polar Bear Swim can be found from the Rotary Club of Prince Rupert archives.

You can find out more about the Rotary Club of Prince Rupert including any updates on this years Polar Bear Swim from their website and Facebook page

If your New Year's Resolution is to go for a run, the Rupert Runners can accommodate you!

Once those New Year's Eve cobwebs have been banished from your head, the opportunity to Bring in the New Year with a burst of energy and fresh air will be but a few hours away.

For those that want to start the New Year off on the right foot (or the left, depending on your running style) The Rupert Runners remind you of their Resolution Run, scheduled for New Years Day starting at the noon Hour.

The 5 Km Run or Walk launches from the Foot of Dry Dock Road and George Hills Way, with the starting point to be in front of the Canadian Fish Cannery on the east side of the Prince Rupert Waterfront.

The Weather forecast for Wednesday's trot around town offers up the prospect of rain and a southerly wind through the day.

The always popular run, kicks off the Rupert Runners season, with a number of other running events in the planning stages for 2014, including the Cannery Road Race, Crest Glory Days, Prince Rupert Half Marathon and Skeena River Relay.

For more information on Wednesday's run and what the Rupert Runners have to offer for potential members check out their website or call 250-624-9541

Kitsault Energy kick starts quest for Natural Gas Export Licence

One more would be LNG development has moved on to the next stage of their planning rather quickly it would seem, possibly so as to not get left behind in what has been the Great 2013 Northwest LNG Rush.

Reports yesterday have Kitsault Energy applying to the National Energy Board, seeking a licence from federal regulators to export 20 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year. Destined to be shipped from a proposed terminal to be developed in the abandoned mining community northeast of Prince Rupert.

The first of the account of the latest move by Kitsault Energy was reported by the Financial Post on Monday.

LNG player Kitsault Energy applies for export permit

Their application however, has not yet been officially listed on the National Energy Board Schedule of current applications.

Kitsault Energy first expanded on the plan to turn the abandoned mining community into an energy hub almost one year ago, with a surprise redirection of the proposed fate for the area, which at one point seemed destined to service the eco-tourism industry.

The lure of LNG development seemingly has put those plans on a shelf, with an eye to the buzz on the gas industry and its future in British Columbia.

Though of late, much of the Kitsault message of developing their proposed terminal has been overshadowed by the recent string of announcement from the major players of the moment.  With such corporations as Petronas, BG Group, Mobil and CNOCC the giant Chinese energy company grabbing the majority of the news cycle with their various proposals for the region.

At the moment, unlike many of the other NEB applications, the Kitsault proposal does not hold any gas reserves and supply arrangements for the proposed plant have yet to be concluded. Those will be two of many key elements to be addressed for the Kitsault proposal to move forward.

More on the Kitsault proposal can be found from their website.

You can review some of the past items on the Kitsault plans (and all other proposed developments) from our archives.

Western Michigan Broncos win Great Lakes Invitational Tournament

It was pond hockey on a grand scale this weekend past in Detroit as Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers played host to the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament, the high profile US college hockey tournament that usually sets up shop at the Joe Louis Arena.

This year the tournament went outdoors, as part of the lead up to the Winter Classic of New Years Day between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs, set for the famed Big House of the University of Michigan.

Friday and Saturday however was the outdoor showcase for Michigan hockey, as the University of Western Michigan Broncos took the top prize with wins both Friday and Saturday on the frozen field of Comerica.

For Prince Rupert's Frank Slubowski the tournament experience for the most part was viewed from the Bronco's bench, as head coach Andy Murray decided to reward the Bronco's Lukas Hafner with the start on Friday.

With his win that night, Lafner was the choice for the Saturday championship game as well.

That was a coaching decision that clearly went well for Murray, as Lafner was named Tournament MVP for his performances in both games of the weekend.

It may signal a shift in thinking for the Broncos head coach, who may now make more use of Lafner heading down the home stretch of the NCAA season and the quest for a placement in the Frozen Four college championships.

Lafner has answered the call with confidence over the last few months, giving Murray much to think about regarding his goaltending assignments moving into 2014.

Still, trying to decide between a hot rookie goaltender and a contender from last year for the Hobey Baker awards is a problem that most would probably want to have.

Boxscores of the weekend games can be found below

WMU 1, Michigan Tech 0
WMU 3, Michigan 2 (OT)

You can review some of the items of interest from the Tournament below.

WMU hockey wins Great Lakes Invitational with gritty 1-0 win over Michigan Tech at Comerica Park
3 Things I took away from Western Michigan winning the GLI at Comerica Park
Andy Murray savors WMU"s GLI championship
WMU hockey defeats Michigan Tch 1-0 in OT to win GLI Championship at Comerica Park
Broncos claim Great Lakes Invitational Championship
Michigan Tech, Western Michigan make GLI final
Western clips Michigan in OT on Josh Pitt's end-to-end rush
Pitt's OT winner pushes WMU into GLI Championship
WMU hockey defeats No. 3 Michigan, 3-2, at Comerica Park with Josh Pitt's last-minute OT goal
Great Lakes Invitational openers need extra innings at Comerica Park
WMU's Andy Murray, a Detroit Tigers fan, calls playing outdoors at Comerica Park 'pretty neat'
WMU hockey team enjoys program's first outdoor game, atmosphere at Comerica Park
WMU hockey coach Andy Murray, Michigan's Red Berenson bring different experiences to outdoor GLI games
Bronco Hockey Heads Outdoors to the GLI

The Broncos next return to NCAA action  next weekend when they take on NCHC rival Miami of Ohio on January 10 and 11.

You can catch up on past items about Frank Slubowski's journey in the NCAA from our archive page.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Prince Rupert couple killed in Highway 16 collision near Houston

The motor vehicle incident which we outlined late last night has had tragic connections with the North Coast.

The incident which took place west of Houston, involved a Ford pick up truck and an SUV, with the result of the late Sunday night collision leaving two Prince Rupert residents pronounced dead by first responders at the scene.

The incident which took place shortly after 10 PM, had the SUV travelling westbound, reportedly lose control and  then T bone the pick up truck which was heading eastbound.

The passengers in the pick up truck were taken to Bulkley Valley District Hospital with serious, but non life threatening injuries.

Bulkley Valley RCMP officers from Smithers and Houston are conducting the investigation, the initial reports suggesting that fog and icy road conditions were factors in the incident.

The highway was closed overnight as accident investigators worked to determine the nature of the accident, reopening to travel late Monday morning.

Update: Bulkley Valley RCMP and the Coroners Service have now released the names of the couple who passed away.

Other Items on the Sunday evening incident.

Vancouver Sun-- Prince Rupert couple killed in collision on Highway 16
Vancouver Province-- Prince Rupert couple killed in Highway 16 crash
CFNR-- Highway 16 crash kills Prince Rupert couple
HQ Prince George-- RCMP investigating fatal crash on Highway 16
Opinion 250-- Two people die in Houston Vehicle Crash
Global BC-- Couple on their way home to Prince Rupert die in car accident on Highway 16
CKPG-- Prince Rupert Couple Killed in Crash

Ice Demons solidify playoff chances with Saturday night win over Rampage

If the Prince Rupert Rampage plan on making a push for the playoffs, it's going to have to be by way of a New Year's resolution, Saturday night the Rampage put the wrap on December suffering a 7-4 loss to the Kitimat Ice Demons in front of 580 fans at the Tamitik Arena.

The Rampage matched the Ice Demons goal for goal in the first, as Greg Sheppard picked up the first Rampage goal of the night at 2:20 of the first period with an assist going to Justin Fontaine, that marker  would even up the tally one minute after the Ice Demons had taken the lead in the opening frame.

The 1-1 score would hold until two minutes of the second period, when Kitimat took the lead again, only to be marked at 3:14 of the second by the Rampage with a Josh Kierce goal, assisted once again by Fontaine.

The Ice Demons found their stride in the second however, picking up two more goals, taking a 4-2 lead into the third period. Laving the Rampage but twenty minutes to work on a comeback.

Prince Rupert came out fast in the final period, chipping away at the lead with  Jared Meers goal at 3:05, assisted by Justin Fontaine once again, picking up his third point on the night.

The Ice Demons took that one back at 6:34, only to see the Rampage once again storm the Kitimat end of the ice for what would be their final goal of the night at 7:49, as Jared Andreeson picked up the fourth marker for the Rampage with assists going to Greg Sheppard and Travis Helland.

The Ice Demons iced the game away with two more goals, thirty seconds apart at the thirteen minute mark. Securing the 7-4 victory and jumping further up the CIHL West standings into a first place tie with Terrace while they did.

Prince Rupert's Warren Hansen took the loss in the Rampage nets, making 38 saves on 45 shots, while the Rampage directed 28 shots at Kitimat's Brett Vilness, finding the range on four of them on the night.

For the most part the game was a fairly peaceful affair, with only six penalties called on the night, four of them assessed to the Rampage.

The summary of the night's action can be found here.

With the loss, the Rampage remain in last place in the West, two points behind the Houston Luckies in fourth, but having played two games more so far in the CIHL season.

To make a run for the playoffs, the Rampage will need to make a run on the table and hope for a little assistance to leap over the Luckies for a fourth place finish.

Towards that goal, Prince Rupert has four games left on their schedule. The Rampage make their January push starting on Friday night when they host the first of a back to back series agains the River Kings, puck drop Friday night is at 8 PM at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

The Rampage take to the road on Saturday for the book end game at the Terrace Arena.

You can review our past items on the Rampage from our Scores/Results page and our CIHL News archives.

The Wheelhouse Brews up a bounty of hops for the new year

Prince Rupert's newest addition to the commercial scene opened its doors over the holidays, with the Wheelhouse Brewing Company welcoming customers to their location just above the Atlin Terminal on December 20th.

The new brewery, which came about through the planning of James Witzke, Kent Orton and Craig Outhet,  is part of an explosion of smaller, craft based breweries to be found across Canada of late.

Offering up an local alternative and in the case of Wheelhouse Brewing, a sense of something just a little bit different for the city and its beer aficionados.

The Prince Rupert based craft brewery which has been a much anticipated destination for the city's entertainment and social life, has been busy over the last ten days preparing some of their finest stock, just in time for many a Rupertite's New Year's celebration.

While you can stop in for quick ale and take in the ambiance in the way of a nod to Prince Rupert's seafaring life, you can also take home some of the house ales for your own celebrations of Tuesday evening and the arrival of a New Year.

Among some of the selections that have come through the brewery lines so far are Gillnetter Golden Ale, Flagship Pale Ale and Blacksmith Brown.

Though we're pretty sure if you were to make a quick stop at the Wheelhouse for a chat with the owners/brew masters/dishwashers,  much more than a thumbnail guide will be outlined for you. Giving you a much better idea as to what's available for your New Year's celebrations and what may be planned  for the location for the New Year.

To put the cap on 2013 the hours of operation will be Noon to 5 PM on Monday and Tuesday.

You can learn more about the Wheelhouse Brewing Company from their Facebook page and twitter feed, both of which feature some background on the project, as well as some photos of the progress along the way to the opening of last week.

The arrival of Wheelhouse Brewing has already paid dividends for the brands they offer, with some local dining establishments making plans to provide the local brewery offerings as part of their drink menu selections.

No doubt the trio of owners have plans for a Grand opening to be arranged for the New Year, the last few weeks offering them the chance to work out the surprises that such ventures provide for in the breaking in period.

While it may have taken a little longer than the owners (and would be patrons) may have wished for to launch the great adventure, with the doors and the taps now open, the unique Prince Rupert destination should find 2014 to be a rewarding and prosperous experience.

You can find the Wheelhouse Brewing Company at 217 1st Avenue East (at Manson Way) , they can be contacted at 250-624-2739.

Some items of note from the recent past on the progress of the brewery can be found below

Canadian Beer News-- Wheelhouse Brewing Now Open in Prince Rupert, BC
CFTK (December)-- Prince Rupert Wheelhouse Opens (video)
N View (August)-- City delays push back Prince Rupert brewery opening
Northword (May) -- At the Wheel: Prince Rupert gets a brewery
N View (March) Prince Rupert brewery targeting a spring opening

You can find out more about recent commercial sector developments from our archive page

Vehicle incident west of Houston late Sunday night, leaves Highway 16 CLOSED through the morning

Update: Highway 16 was re-opened to traffic at 9 AM, however Environment Canada has issued a Freezing Rain Warning for the region through until Noon.

A vehicle incident late Sunday evening has resulted in the closure of Highway 16 in both directions west of Houston.

Emergency responders and Highways crews were called to the stretch of highway between Houston and Telkwa just before 11 PM on Sunday, to attend to the scene.

Conditions on Highway 16 in that region at the time were listed as Compact Snow with slushy sections, few details have been released at this time as to the nature of the incident.

However as the investigation commences, it has resulted Drive BC issuing an advisory that the estimated time of re-opening for the highway will be sometime between Noon and 2 PM.

Updates on the latest status of the highway can be found on the Drive BC website or through their twitter feed

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Blog Watching, Week Ending December 29, 2013

As part of a weekly feature on the blog, every Sunday we offer up this weeks recap of the top five items viewed over the course of the last seven days.

Included in the countdown, we will provide links to the articles in question, offering up with one click of the mouse, those items of the week that you may have missed.

This week, with fewer posts to review compared to regular weeks and perhaps a bit of extra time for browsing past items offered the chance for an archival review for some. With readers looking to March and April, as well as to more recent items of the week just passed for their snapshot of our offerings. From minor hockey to CityWest, the five items of note of the last seven days are below.

The top item of the week:

Terrace Minor Midget Hockey Players make their case by video,  A trek back to March and the Midget Zones between Terrace and Kitimat proved to spark some interest over the holiday week   (posted March 13)

That item was followed by:

The Green Party picks up on Councillor Thorkelson's theme,  Concerns over the fishery found the Green Party of Canada speaking along the same lines as the Prince Rupert councillor on the need for provincial management of the fishery ( posted April 2 )

Wind and Rain Warning issued for North Coast/Haida Gwaii, with the weather proving to be a little unpredictable, the Environment Canada forecast for Christmas found more than a bit of attention (posted December 24)

CityWest downsizes... the size of its telephone directories, the new and significantly smaller CityWest phone books caught some eyes over the last week  (posted December 3)

Merry Christmas to all and to all a soon to be good night, the latest updates on Santa's schedule once again proved to be a popular item for Christmas Eve (posted December 24)

You can find our Blog watching featured posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, a handy way to catch up to the week that was, at a leisurely weekend pace.

The Permanent link to the feature can be found above our Blog Archive section, found on the right hand side of the title page.

For those looking for updates to items as they are posted to the blog, don't forget about our email alert access.

A daily review of the latest items on the blog can be delivered to your email in box, simply by entering your email address into the information bar, items posted to the blog will be delivered to your e-mail account each day.

You can find the link to that feature on the upper, right hand side of the blog.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rampage take to the road in return to CIHL action

The Christmas Dinners and Boxing Day gatherings complete, the Prince Rupert Rampage will be back to a focus on hockey this weekend. Hitting the road today, looking to see if Santa left a little something for them at the Kitimat Arena for a post Christmas Day surprise.

The Rampage take on their division rivals the Kitimat Ice Demons tonight, making a return to the ice after what was a fourteen day break for the Prince Rupert squad which last saw action on December 10th. That final game before the break a tough one for the Rampage,  who were walloped by the Terrace River Kings by a score of 10-1.

The loss which brought to an end a fairly impressive four game winning streak by the Rampage also dropped the team back into last spot in the CIHL West. With a record of 5 and 8 the Rampage hold ten points, two below the Houston Luckies and five behind the Ice Demons.

With time running down on the CIHL schedule for 2013-14, every point is an important one and with playoffs not too far down the line, each game takes on added significance for post season aspirations.

Whether the two week break is a blessing or a curse, will play out this evening at the end of Highway 37 South.

Puck drop for the Rampage and Ice Demons is 8 PM.

Tonight's game, one of three on the CIHL schedule, marks the last game of 2013 for the Rampage as the turn of the calendar heralds the home stretch of the CIHL season.

After tonight's trek to Kitimat, Prince Rupert next sees action at home at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on Friday, January 3rd when Terrace comes to town, the first of a back to back weekend for the two teams.

Following that the Rampage put a wrap on the 2013-14 regular season with two games with Smithers, with the Steelheads in town on the 11th and 12th.

All of it a five game stretch that will tell Rampage fans much about what the post season may, or may not look like by the time mid January rolls around.

For a full review of the Rampage results thus far we have two destinations available, our Results page here and our Rampage/CIHL archive here.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wind and Rain Warning Issued for North Coast/Haida Gwaii

Update: Warnings were lifted Wednesday morning

It will be a blustery Christmas Eve on the North Coast and Haida Gwaii, with Environment Canada issuing a Wind Warning for both regions overnight.

Southeast Winds of up to 100 km/h have been forecast for the North Coast, Central Coast and Haida Gwaii.

Heavy Rains will come along with the Pacific Frontal system, bringing from 70 to 100 mm of rainfall for the North Coast and inland sections, with the Central Coast also forecast to receive up to 100 mm through Wednesday and into Thursday.

You can review the full Warning here.

Keeping an eye on Road Conditions will be important over Christmas as well, you can access up to date road conditions from Drive BC through their website and twitter feed.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a soon to be good night

Barring anything of an important nature, we'll be taking a break from the blog for a few days, with but a dedicated stream of Santa updates to guide one through Christmas Eve.

You can follow along with the jolly old elf along his travels by way of the NORAD Santa Tracker, with Santa and his squadron of reindeer having covered a fair portion of the world already.

(Christmas Eve viewing tip: Using google seems to deliver the best of the video options)

To all a Merry and Safe Christmas and Holiday season.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Weather Warnings issued for North Coast Inland for Sunday

UPDATE: 4:30 PM Drive BC issues a Do Not travel unless necessary advisory for Highway 16 for the Moricetown to Houston region.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Sunday, to accompany the Snowfall Warning issued last night for inland ares of the North Coast.

The Snowfall warning is calling for 20 to 20 cm of snow in inland areas through the day today, with the snow expected to changeover to rain in the Terrace-Kitimat region this afternoon.

However, with that changeover there is the risk of freezing rain later today and tonight, should that occur, Environment Canada reminds travellers of the region that travel could become treacherous during that changeover period.

You can review the full weather statement and alerts here.

Highway 16 was closed earlier today west of Fraser Lake around 7 AM owing to vehicle incident in the region..

The Highway was reopened to traffic at 10 AM

For updated Road Conditions consult with the Drive BC website or twitter feed for any changes to Northwest roads.

Blog Watching, Week ending December 22, 2013

As part of a weekly feature on the blog, every Sunday we offer up this weeks recap of the top five items viewed over the course of the last seven days.

Included in the countdown, we will provide links to the articles in question, offering up with one click of the mouse, those items of the week that you may have missed.

This week, readers of the blog once again found the state of some of the roads in the city of interest, as they did the latest news from CityWest of its exit from the cel phone business. The recent forum on a community based fishery continues to attract attention and the announcement of developments in the LNG industry also attracted readers through the last five days. Wrapping up our top five of the week was our archive of information on the recent travels of the Charles Hays Rainmakers to a tournament in the Lower mainland, the review begins below.

The top item of the week:

Rupertites submit three roads to BCAA's Worst Roads Survey, The vote totals were rather small, but interest continues to be high in learning where Rupert's motorists found the most troublesome road conditions in the city   (posted December 10)

That item was followed by:

CityWest to transition out of the cellular business,  This weeks announcement that CityWest will be partnering with Telus for cellular service delivery found a large audience of readers seeking our more information ( posted December 13 )

A community-based fishery the goal of organizers of a community forum next week-- Our preview of last month's community forum on the fishery continues to hold an audience, with new readers looking for background on the event (posted November 27)

Two Prince Rupert area LNG projects receive NEB approval with export licences-- The latest steps forward for the North Coast's prospective LNG industry found audience appeal as visitors to our portal looked to Monday's item for more details (posted December 16)

Rainmakers North Shore Bound for weekend tournament,    Prince Rupert's basketball fans continued to make frequent return visits to our anchor page dedicated to Rainmaker results from their trip to the Lower Mainland  (posted December 11)

You can find our Blog watching featured posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, a handy way to catch up to the week that was, at a leisurely weekend pace.

The Permanent link to the feature can be found above our Blog Archive section, found on the right hand side of the title page.

For those looking for updates to items as they are posted to the blog, don't forget about our email alert access.

A daily review of the latest items on the blog can be delivered to your email in box, simply by entering your email address into the information bar, items posted to the blog will be delivered to your e-mail account each day.

You can find the link to that feature on the upper, right hand side of the blog.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Small but energetic crowd takes to Court House Lawn to protest Northern Gateway Decision

Their numbers were small, approximately thirty in number. But for those that took to the sidewalk in front of the Prince Rupert Courthouse in a cool Noon hour drizzle on Friday, the message was clear.

Thursday's announcement from the Joint Review Panel on the Northern Gateway has not changed a thing for those that oppose any thoughts of shipping raw bitumen out of the North Coast.

Prince Rupert's noon hour protest was led by UFAWU's Joy Thorkelson, who offered up many of her same points from Thursday regarding Northern Gateway and the need to bring the community together in order to make their voices heard.

Significantly smaller than some of the rallies of earlier this year during the JRP hearings in the city, Friday's protest for the most part was made up of members of UFAWU and from environmental groups in the city.

The theme of the protest that lasted a little bit over an hour or so, was that Friday was just the beginning of their efforts to send a message to the Federal Government.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, the Joint Review Panel delivered its Final report after two and a half years of hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

Providing a recommendation that the project move forward, but with 209 conditions that will have to be met. That report is now in the hands of the Federal Government, which has 180 days to accept or reject it, or send it back for further consideration.

The Prince Rupert protest of Friday, was the first public demonstration on that decision in the Northwest since yesterday's announcement.

You can review some of the history of the Joint Review Panel's work and the reaction to the process from  both across British Columbia and in Prince Rupert from our archive page on the theme.

Pacific NorthWest LNG cuts a ribbon and opens a new chapter for the North Coast

"This project has the potential to bring hundreds of jobs to the Northwest and be a long-term engine for economic growth in this region. By opening this community office Pacific NorthWest LNG is making it easier for residents to learn more about the project and get involved." --- Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development, attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for Pacific NorthWest LNG's community office on Friday. 

What many hope heralds a new era for the North Coast found it's first tangible sign of progress on Friday, as Pacific NorthWest LNG, opened the doors to it's downtown Prince Rupert Community Office. A location where local residents can track the latest developments of the  9 to 11 billion dollar proposed mega project for Lelu Island.

Rich Coleman, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development was on hand to help assist with the ribbon cutting ceremony, joining him on the ceremonial cutting line were Mayor Jack Mussallem of Prince Rupert, Mayor Dave MacDonald of Port Edward and Mr.  Greg Kist the President of Pacific NorthWest LNG.

The theme of many of the remarks made prior to the ribbon cutting was of the potential that the project brings to the North Coast, with residents now able to learn more about what the Petronas/Progress project may bring to the region.

Whether it's  an interest in the overall scope of the development, or a question regarding employment opportunities during the construction, or operational phase. Access to answers will be as close as a walk through the doors of the Third Avenue storefront office.

"We are optimistic about the prospect of LNG development for our community. Pacific NorthWest LNG is proving they want to invest long-term in the Prince Rupert region by building a positive relationship with our community now."-- Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem

 "We want to make sure our residents are first in line for LNG jobs and this community office will be a great resource for anyone interested to find out more about employment opportunities." -- Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald

Located at 105- 3rd Avenue West, the community office will feature displays that outline the LNG process and offer up background on contracting and employment opportunities regarding the project. As well interested North Coast residents can take advantage of the electronic access to the company's project website that has been set up in the office.

It  marks the arrival of the first Community engagement office in the region, with the Petronas/Progress project just one of three confirmed LNG developments currently being proposed for the Prince Rupert/Port Edward region.

Being first gives you a certain amount of bragging rights, and Greg Kist, the President of Pacific NorthWest LNG provided a thumbnail sketch of what his company hopes to achieve with the opening of their office on Friday.

"Today's official opening of our community office is representative of our commitment to the communities, including First Nations, in northwest British Columbia. Starting in the new year, residents and businesses will be able to use the office as a place to gather more information on our project, have their questions answered and discuss potential employment opportunities in the construction and operational phases of our project."

The Pacific NorthWest LNG office will open for it's full time hours in the New Year, with plans to be open four days a week in Prince Rupert, with one day set aside for community engagement in Port Edward.

You can learn more about their project and it's progress from their website.

More background on today's official opening can be found here.

We have  a wider overview of all of the proposed LNG developments for the North Coast, available on our LNG archive page of the blog.

Ridley Terminals sponsors Community Day at the Civic Centre on Saturday

Ridley Terminals is providing a pre Christmas treat on Saturday, as the Civic Centre, Swimming Pool, Auditorium and Civic Centre theatre will be free for use, from 1 until 4 PM.

As part of the family fun afternoon, there will be complimentary hot dogs and hot chocolate for those that participates.

The Free Community Day is the latest community minded event that RTI has provided funding for.

RTI last provided free access to the recreation facilities during a similar event at the Civic Centre complex over the summer months.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Joint Review Panel approves Northern Gateway but with 209 conditions, sparking debate across Northwest BC

As a regulatory tribunal, our role was to conduct a fair and accessible process that allowed those who participated to be respected and to have their views taken seriously. The ultimate purpose was to obtain the most accurate information available on all aspects of a proposed project. Our task was to design and implement a rigorous process that would result in recommendations to the Governor in Council based on a thorough and independent analysis of all aspects of the project.--- Final Portion of the conclusion from the Joint Review Panel Report into the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, Delivered December 19th, 2013.

After close to two and half years of study, the Final Report of  the Joint Review Panel on the Northern Gateway Pipeline was delivered on Thursday. Released through the Calgary offices of the National Energy Board, the document offers up two volumes of findings for Federal Government review.

The result of their work brings forward an extensive collection of material, evidence and comment, the first portion providing some background on their journey across Alberta and British Columbia, part of  a volume known as Connections.

The second, a volume called Considerations, provides a more detailed account of the panels work on consultations, steeped in the many items of note raised during the lengthy hearing process.

Included among the work of Volume 2, is the all important Appendix 1 (pages 364-398).

Those were the destination pages for most reviewers of yesterdays release, the takeaway portion of the document where the 209 conditions can be found.  

They are the key points which will have to be met by Enbridge, in order to move forward their plan to transit Alberta bitumen to a shipping terminal to be built in Kitimat, British Columbia.

As the press conference outlining the release of the report was taking place, the clock was started on the Federal response to the report.

In effect providing the Conservative government of Stephen Harper 180 days to accept the report, reject it, or return it seeking change.

Still to be heard as well, Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberal caucus on whether Enbridge will meet the Liberal's much discussed "five conditions".  That conversation perhaps will have to wait for another day, while all await the delivery of the Federal intentions regarding the JRP document.

For now, the review is in, the decision rendered and the debate, well the debate will carry on.

Reaction to the decision has been collected from the national media

Vancouver Sun-- Federal review panel gives green light to Northern Gateway pipeline
Vancouver Sun-- NEB's Northern Gateway approval is Act II in the Theatre of the Absurd
Vancouver Sun-- Business Groups herald recommendation to build Northern Gateway
Vancouver Sun-- Environmentalists pledge renewed fight to stop Northern Gateway pipeline
Vancouver Sun-- Northern Gateway project likely doomed
Vancouver Province-- 10 things you need to know after a federal review panel OK'd the Northern Gateway pipeline project
Vancouver Province-- Federal Panel green-lights Northern Gateway pipeline, with 209 conditions
Vancouver Province-- Northern Gateway pipeline will never be built, says national NDP leader
24 Hours Vancouver-- Federal Panel approves Northern Gateway pipeline
24 Hours Vancouver-- Pipeline opponents allege B. C. concerns ignored by feds
CBC British Columbia-- Northern Gateway pipeline recommended for federal approval, with conditions
CBC British Columbia-- Northern Gateway pipeline recommendation draws mixed reaction
CBC British Columbia-- Northern Gateway pipeline project: 6 things to know
Maclean's-- One hurdle cleared, many to go for Northern Gateway
National Post-- Northern Gateway pipeline approval driven by science not emotion
National Post-- Ruling discredits radical opposition in B. C. to $6.5 billion Northern Gateway Pipeline
National Post-- Northern Gateway pipeline approved by panel with 209 conditions
Globe and Mail-- Panel's approval for Northern Gateway sets stage for PM's pipeline battle
Globe and Mail-- Pipeline will spur massive demonstrations, opponents warn
Globe and Mail-- Northern Gateway: A long way yet to cross the Pacific
The Tyee-- What Does the Northern Gateway Approval Really Mean?
Vancouver Observer-- Northern Gateway pipeline approved by JRP, despite massive opposition in BC
Vancouver Observer-- Yinka Dene Alliance leader looks to legal challenge to block proposed Enbridge pipeline
Georgia Straight-- Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline gets green light from Joint Review Panel
Georgia Straight-- B. C. NDP says Christy Clark must stop Enbridge pipeline from being built
Georgia Straight-- B. C. First Nations Leader dismisses conditions attached to Enbridge pipeline decision

And from across the Northwest

Northern Sentinel--- JRP ruling in favour of pipeline draws strong reaction in Kitimat
Terrace Standard-- Review panel missed the point, says Terrace Mayor
Terrace Standard-- Enbridge pipeline will hit wall in B. C., critics say
Terrace Standard-- Cullen 'disappointed' by panel's decision to recommend pipeline
Terrace Standard-- Panel's recommendation on Northern Gateway 'not surprising', say environmental groups
Terrace Standard-- Panel gives thumbs up to Northern Gateway pipeline
CBC Daybreak North-- Opponents of Northern Gateway prepare to fight with protests and poetry as Join Review Panel makes its recommendations
CBC Daybreak North-- Northern Gateway pipeline recommendations to be released today
CFNR-- JRP Supports Northern Gateway with 209 Conditions
CFTK-- Cullen Reaction (video)
CFTK-- Monaghan Reaction (video)
CFTK-- KEDA Reaction (video)
CFTK-- JRP Austin Reaction (video)
CFTK-- Skuce JRP Reaction (video)
CFTK-- Prince Rupert Enbridge Reaction (video)
CFTK-- United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union Voice Opposition to JRP's Final Recommendation
CFTK-- Kitimat to Maintain Neutral Stance on Northern Gateway -- For Now
CFTK-- JRP Says Yes to Northern Gateway -- Subject to 209 Conditions
CFTK-- Conditions won't Ease Concerns: Friends of Wild Salmon
CFTK-- Province Sticks to 5 Pipeline conditions

On the Northwest political front, the delivery of the JRP's decision Thursday has provided for no shortage of reaction from any number of political types in the Northwest.

Among them was NDP MLA Jennifer Rice, who was quick to her twitter feed yesterday, expressing her fears for democracy, just ten minutes after the decision was announced.

Not to be outdone on the theme of political will, was the resolve of Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen.

He issued a statement shortly following the announcement, advising that  he and those who follow his political beliefs "will continue to refuse Mr. Harper's vision for Canada as a northern petro-state..."

Prince Rupert City Councillor and UFAWU representative Joy Thorkelson, was perhaps the most outspoken of all of Thursday's commentators. Providing a wide range of talking points from outside of the Fisherman's Hall in downtown Prince Rupert on Thursday.

Stating that the decision of Thursday "is not in the interests of Canada to have this pipeline, that its the interests of a few wealthy people, the one precent ( and that) the First Nations and the workers are going to unite to prevent this from going ahead."

Theirs were among some of the most colourful of political comment on the day, setting the tone for what many expect will be some rancorous debate, both in Victoria and in Ottawa.

Rather than an end to the process,  Thursday's announcement, much like the run up to it that we outlined Wednesday on the blog, is but the prologue to what is shaping up to be a very lengthy Opera of the North.

While Enbridge reviews the 209 conditions and awaits further instruction from the Federal Government, lawyers for those opposing the pipeline project will no doubt be working on the large volume of court challenges expected to come along the way now that Thursday's decision has been delivered.

One of the first public displays of opposition is set to come Friday in Prince Rupert.

Local members of UFAWU led by Joy Thorkelson, along with MLA Rice are expected to be joined by others in opposition to the project, all taking part in the protest rally set for the Noon hour at the Prince Rupert Court House.

An indication, that we haven't heard the last on the topic, with much, much more on the theme in the months and more than likely, the years to come.

A Very Chad Estrada Christmas Special

He's back!

Chad Estrada, Prince Rupert's bon vivant man about town and long established entertainer extraordinaire, makes his much anticipated return to the spotlight Friday night.

He, the observer of all things Prince Rupert, will be hosting an evening of song, music and comedy. Sharing the night with a large cast of local entertainers to bring another of his famous revues to the Tom Rooney Playhouse.

Estrada, the man Johnny LaRue is rumoured to have once said was an entertainer's entertainer, brings his  rapier wit and comedic timing, mixed with his cool cat musical stylings to the stage at the Tom Rooney with a show time of 7:30 PM.

Appearing with the legendary Estrada will be a vast sample of Prince Rupert's talent.

Scheduled to appear with Estrada for his Christmas Spectacular are:

The Christmas Jazz Quartet

CHSS Drama Class

The Rolling Tones

Rotary Community Choir

and the Harbour Theatre Players

Tickets are available for 12 dollars at the door, and will gain you a club membership.

Doors open at 7 PM for Friday's much anticipated showcase of talent.

Pacific NorthWest LNG to open storefront office Friday

The couches have been moved into location and the finishing touches are being put to the office and on Friday, Pacific Northwest LNG will be opening up it's Prince Rupert Community Office in the downtown core.

The storefront location can be found in the Capitol Mall Building on 3rd Avenue, in the spot once home to Studio Nine.

It's opening is just the latest step in setting up a North Coast presence for the LNG company that features a majority ownership stake by the Malaysian Energy giant Petronas.

The local office will be staffed by Derek Baker to start, the one time Economic Development Officer for Prince Rupert and Port Edward joined the Pacific Northwest LNG team last month and as the office opens up for business, it will be his job to provide the latest of developments on the plans for the LNG terminal to be built on Lelu Island.

The Opening day festivities run from 1 to 3 PM, with the official opening program set to get underway at 1:30 PM. The Friday session is billed as a ribbon cutting ceremony and holiday reception.

Once open for business the storefront will be open four days a week in Prince Rupert, as Tessa Gill from Pacific NorthWest LNG outlined to Council last week, the company also has plans to make its presence available in Port Edward once a week as well.

You can learn more about their LNG project from their website page.

We offered up this review of their most recent appearance in front of Prince Rupert City Council, you can also learn more about the range of LNG developments proposed for the Prince Rupert area from our archive page.

CityWest expands on Telus partnership with Open Letter to customers

As we outlined on the blog last Friday, CityWest is getting out of the cellular phone service, announcing partnership plans with Telus last week.

Towards a bit more information on that theme, the Prince Rupert based company has provided some background on the decision, by way of an Open Letter, through an advertisement placed in this weeks edition of the Northern View.

In the letter, CityWest CEO Don Holkestad outlines some of the key points regarding the decision, which he described as one that was very difficult for the company to make.

Among the points of note on the changing nature of CityWest's cellular service for the city:

The decision to exit the cellular service came after looking at ways that the company could have rejuvenated its cell business and improve service; however it recently became clear to the company that they would not be able to offer the latest in smart phone technology without a significant financial investment.

It was with improving service to their customers in mind, that CityWest decided to partner with Telus, with Holkestad outlining some of the aspects of the Telus partnership that they believe CityWest customers will find to their liking.

The Telus option for phones is now available in temporary space in CityWest's "flagship" store in downtown Prince Rupert, the Telus presence in the CityWest building is expected to be a temporary thing over the next few months, so as to provide customers with a convenient option when they switch.

As for the CityWest network, it's expected to remain in service over the next few months, however the day will soon come when the CityWest network is shut down, a date that has yet to be determined. However the CEO is encouraging customers to take advantage of the Telus options as soon as possible, so as not to be inconvenienced by the change in the future.

By exiting the cellular business, CityWest will now be able to focus their energies on developing some new products, the details of which they plan on announcing in 2014.

The letter wraps up with a bit of history over the achievements of CityWest since the 1990's and the pride that all employees take in advancing technology to its customers.

The final paragraph offering up the view of Don Holkestad that deciding to exit the cell business as being one of the most difficult business decisions that he has had to make, but one that he is confident of being the right decision for CityWests customers, for their employees and for their shareholder.

Interestingly enough, the Open Letter is not available on the CityWest website at the moment, so should you wish to view the document, you will have to look to page A27 of the Northern View of Wednesday night,

For those that perhaps have already banished the paper version to the recycling bin, you can use the papers' e edition (see here page A27) to view the digital version of it.

While you're browsing through it, the Telus notice of their new store opening in the CityWest offices can be found on page A12

A fine line to tread for North Coast LNG travellers?

The Vancouver Sun's Gordon Hoekstra has raised some interesting observations regarding the recent travel arrangements of municipal politicians on the North Coast and elsewhere in BC, particularly when it comes to the surge of interest in major projects in many parts of the province.

The Vancouver Sun journalist reviewed the recent trips of elected representatives of both Prince Rupert and Port Edward to overseas LNG destinations, using those trips as background to the larger issue of potential conflict of interest situations.

Using Mayor Mussallem's trip to Trinidad and Tobago and the journey to Malaysia of Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald as examples, the Vancouver based journalist offered up some thoughts on the optics of such journeys.

Reviewing the theme of conflict of interest and the lines that can be crossed and how these types of trips raise some alarm bells for political scientists.

For background for his piece Hoekstra, consulted two Political scientists, Max Cameron at UBC and Patrick Smith at SFU.

And from their review of the twin files, the consensus would seem to be that municipalities need to be cautious when accepting these research trips.

Perhaps going so far as to request the opportunity to choose which project they would like to see. As well as to ask to meet critics of the projects, in addition to meeting with company officials when they go on the whirlwind tours.

The article provides a number of points for all communities to consider when it comes to travel paid for by third parties, particularly as the major project euphoria continues to wash ashore in British Columbia.

For their part, both Mayor Mussallem and Ron Bedard, Port Edward's Chief Administration Officer were quoted in the story, offering their thoughts on the topic and outlining, how in their opinion and after legal review, neither trip was considered to be in conflict.

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

While the Vancouver Sun journalist and a collection of political scientists may have some concerns over the travel arrangements of municipal politicians, they are seemingly not concerns that have crossed the mind of anyone on Prince Rupert City Council.

As you'll see when you review the Mayor's presentation of October, few if any of the city's councillors had much of anything to say about the Mayor's trip, or the surprise nature of it.

Our review of the Mayor's LNG primer can be found here, the City Council Video Archive offers up the Mayor's review for Council from the October 15th session (it runs from the 36 minute mark through to the 45 minute mark)

At that session, only Councillor Thorkelson had a question for the Mayor and it wasn't about the trip, as much as it was  a review of her frustrations on the lack of information available to council on LNG development.

The provincial law that provides the guidelines on conflict of interest is through the British Columbia Community Charter, Division Six, which outlines a number of items of note on the theme.

A B. C. government official contacted by the Vancouver Sun for the Hoekstra article advised, that "ultimately it is the courts that would decide whether a council member had breached either of the provisions (conflict or gifts)."

Perhaps the theme of out of town travel ( particularly that which is paid by third parties) may be a topic that Council will wish to explore in the new year.

Seeking to clarify for the city's residents, just what the parameters on these types of trips may be.

And for good measure, offer up a guideline as to where the line between research and conflict may be found.

As Holiday season approaches civic and regional services will be scaled back

Once Christmas Eve rolls around next Tuesday, both the City of Prince Rupert and the Regional District will be reducing their work hours and services offered over the holiday period.

The City will be closing the doors to City Hall from 12 Noon on Christmas Eve, right through until Thursday morning January 2nd at 9:30 AM.

Over that period any payments received will be accepted up to and including January 2nd without a late penalty.

The Garbage cycle in the city will of course be affected by the numerous stat holidays and residents are advised to consult the Garbage pick up schedule in their phone books (page 7) or from the city website to determine how the schedule may change in your neighbourhood over the next two weeks.

Over at Regional District,  the Offices will be Closed from December 25th to January 1st, reopening for business on January 2nd.

For those that make trips to the Kaien Road Recycling Centre it's schedule will be modified over the holidays as well:

The Schedule of Operations will see the Recycling Centre Hours as follows:

Closed on December 25 and 26

Open from 8:30 to 4:30 on December 27th,

Open from 10 AM to 2 PM on December 28th

Closed on the 29th.

The Recycling Centre re-opens from 8:30 to 4:30 on December 30th and 31st

It will be closed on January 1st.

BC Transit also will shift to a holiday schedule as the holidays approach:

Extended Hours for December 20, 21 and 23 with buses running until 10 PM on routes 52, 52, 53 and 54.

Service ceases at 6:45 PM on Christmas Eve and will be cancelled on both Christmas and Boxing Days

Regular service resumes on December 27th.

Free New Years Eve service will be as follows:

In Prince Rupert buses wil be free from 6:45 PM to 3:30 AM

In Port Edward the service leaves Prince Rupert at 6:10 PM, 7:10 PM, 9:30 PM, 10:10 PM and every hour on the hour between 1 AM and 3 AM.

Service agains is cancelled on New Year's Day

Regular service resumes on January 2nd

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

CityWest announces closure of Kitimat storefront office

Christmas Eve will be closing time for CityWest's storefront office in Kitimat, as the Prince Rupert based communications company reconfigures its business plan for the Kitimat market.

In a media release this week, CityWest outlined the nature of the closure which will take place owing to the storefront not meeting the expectations of the company, particularly when it came to foot traffic and brand exposure.

The office, located at 174 5th Street in Kitimat will operate as usual for technicians and staff, however there will no longer be any customer access to the building.

According to the media release, the closure will allow CityWest to reorganize its Kitimat workforce. Current employment levels will remain the same though, as no job losses will take place as a result of the change of focus for the office.

Current customers will continue to be serviced through the telephone service option, while the new year will see CityWest introduce temporary selling booths in the community.

The company believes, that their roving approach to marketing will provide better interaction for residential and business customers in the community.

In addition to the plans to introduce more mobile marketing locations to keep the brand in the spotlight in the community,  CityWest plans a number of events for 2014 to highlight the offerings that the company provides to Kitimat.

You can review CityWest's Kitimat update here.

You can find more background on CityWest's footprint across Northwest BC from our archive page.

Slubowksi shares the duties in Broncos Minnesota trip

The University of Western Michigan Broncos picked up their first conference road trip win of the year last weekend.

As the Broncos faced off against the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The Friday night victory came by way of a 5-3 victory for the Broncos, a game which Prince Rupert's Frank Slubowski watched from the players bench.

Bronco head coach Andy Murray went with his rookie goal tender Lukas Hafner in the opening game of the two game series, resting Slubowski for Saturday night's finale.

However, Saturday night provided some problems for the PRMHA alumnus, as the Broncos quickly fell behind 2-0 in the first period. Something that gave Murray cause to turn to Lafner for the remainder of the Saturday night game, substituting him in the Bronco nets after the second goal, five shots and almost eighteen minutes of play.

It marks the second week in a row that the Prince Rupert goaltender has struggled in the Bronco nets.

And while the Broncos launched a comeback bid in the final two periods, they still ended up on the short side of the 4-3 decision.

Reviews of the action from last weekend can be found below:

Saturday-- WMU hockey falls to Minnesota-Duluth, 4-3, despite strong rally
Saturday-- Bronco Comeback Falls Short at Minnesota-Duluth
Friday-- WMU hockey earns first NCHC road win at Minnesota-Duluth
Friday-- Big Second period leads to 5-3 win over Minnesota-Duluth

The team will now enjoy the Christmas break, returning to action on December 27th as part of the massive hockey festivities surrounding the Winter Classic game at Ann Arbour, Michigan between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.

Western Michigan will be part of the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament.

For the Broncos part, the weekend of hockey celebration starts with an outdoor game at Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers, the Broncos take on Michigan on the 27th.

Saturday the 28th, they will play either Michigan State or Michigan Tech.

You can review our past items on Frank Slubowski's travels with WMU from our archive page