Sunday, June 30, 2013

Federal Minister enters into the Nishga Girl controversy

The Nisgha Girl may not be coming home after all, as last minute discussions and letters fly around the nation's capital all over the decision of the Canadian Museum of Civilization to remove the west coast boat from its exhibits.

Jason Kenney, the Federal Minister of Citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism is just the latest to  put forward his thoughts on the topic of the Nisgha Girl, and its safe to say he's not impressed at how it all has been handled.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this month, the Museum of Civilization found itself in the eye of a bit of hurricane over its efforts to reconfigure the nature of the museum, its decision to remove the Nisgha Girl, the most public of controversial decisions in the last few months at the Museum.

Since their announcement, the fall out for the museum has been quick and for the most part has provided for a reaction that has expressed profound disappointment at how the Museum has handled the situation and indeed, even the suggestion of removing the exhibit has provided for a  most robust response from many directions.

The Federal Minister entered the discussion by way of a letter to the Museum's President Mark O'Neill, as Kenney expressed his disappointment at the decision and the nature as to how it all has been handled by the National Capital museum.

Adding more controversy to the Museum's decision is the fact that  as the Minister points out, it comes on the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Government's apology for the Internment of Canadians of Japanese ancestry during the second world war.

Kenney also stressed the importance that the vessel has to the First Nations community, as it reflects the history of the First Nations people who sailed on it.

While the Federal Government stresses that it does acknowledge the Museum's independence on decisions regarding exhibits, one might suspect that the letter to the museum is somehow a bit of "helpful" advice on the topic.

With the latest development, the saga of the Nishga Girl may yet have one more act.

Museum officials will meet in Winnipeg on July 8th with Chief Harry Nyce and his wife Deanna who donated the boat to the Museum,  attending that meeting as well will be Ken Noma, the President of the National Association of Japanese Canadians. The hope is to come up with what the Museum calls "a mutually satisfactory resolution".

Indications leading up to that meeting might suggest that the boat, which is currently in storage may not make that trip to Prince Rupert after all, as there is apparently some discussion at the moment that may yet find the boat returned to exhibit at the national museum.

The Ottawa Citizen was the first media outlet to break the Nisgha Girl story earlier this month, they follow it up with this update, which highlights the evolving nature of the controversy and points to the possible outcome.

We imagine we will learn more, once that July 8th meeting takes place.

By then perhaps, we'll have a definitive answer as to what port the Nishga Girl will be calling home.

Sports: Prince Rupert FC Soccer Club

Our archive of items about the Rupert FC Soccer Club.


June 24 -- PRFC take second, lead Seafest wrap-up
June 9 -- Prince Rupert Football Club wins Kitsegukla tournament for third straight year
May 27 -- Prince Rupert Football Club preparing for busy tournament season


September 3-- Lack of teams force Prince Rupert Football Club to cancel Labour Day tournament
August 26-- Prince Rupert Football Club ready to host the Northwest's best
August 13-- Prince Rupert Football Club falter in Riverboat Days final
July 22-- Prince Rupert Football Club wins Kitwanga tournament
May 28-- Prince Rupert Football Club champions of Annual may tournament


September 11-- Lack of teams cancels soccer tournament
August 14-- Prince Rupert Football Club places second in tournament
July 31-- Prince Rupert FC capture fourth tournament title (N View e edition pg A9)

MP seeks protection for Northwest rivers

Nathan Cullen, the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley is looking to put more strenuous safeguards in place on the Rivers of the Northwest.

In an appearance at Prince Rupert's Rotary Waterfront Park earlier this week, Mr. Cullen put forward his proposal for a Private Member's Bill, that would protect the full lengths of three major rivers of the Northwest, the Skeena, Nass and Stikine.

With the newly elected North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice by his side, Mr. Cullen outlined his concerns over the existing legislation and how he would like to strengthen aspects of it.

Calling the current policy of the Conservative government as misguided, Cullen's Private Members Bill would  put protection of those rivers (and others which Canadians can submit to his website) back into the Navigable Waters Protection Act.



The NDP MP and Opposition House Leader highlighted the work done on the Sacred Headwaters of last year as an indication as to what residents of the Northwest could accomplish in their bid to protect the water resources of the region.

The Private Members Bill was submitted just before the House adjourned for the summer, it is now in rotation for debate by MP's later in the parliamentary session.

However, it should be pointed out that Private Members bills regularly appear on the Parliamentary listings, but few ever find their way through the process to be adopted and gain Royal Assent.

Still, the motion to put the bill forward into discussion at Parliament will serve to make the topic one of debate, drawing attention to the concerns of Northwest residents and could provide for further adjustments to the Government's legislation.

You can review more of Mr. Cullen's position on the subject from this press release from his office.

CFTK-- Cullen Bill Protects Three Major Northwest Rivers
CFTK-- Cullen Prince Rupert presentation (video)
Northern View-- MP launches campaign to protect northwest rivers

Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect for Smithers, Bulkley Valley and the Lakes

Visitors to North Coast inland areas may find that the afternoon brings the possibility of severe weather, with word to keep a watch on the skies for any change in conditions.

Towards that advisory, Environment Canada issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch early Sunday morning for inland areas of the North Coast.

The Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect for the Bulkley Valley and the Lakes District, as well as for an area near Smithers and northwest.

Conditions were reported as favourable for thunderstorms to develop this afternoon. Some of these storms may become severe with potential to produce heavy downpours, large hail and strong wind gusts.

The Thunderstorm Watch also extends to points east of the Lakes District and into the Prince George region.

Terrace and Prince Rupert are listed at having a risk of thunderstorms into the afternoon.

You can find out more about the conditions and any further expansion of the advisories from the Environment Canada website.

Highway 16 closed near New Hazelton due to collision

Travel along Highway 16 east and west of New Hazelton was stopped early Sunday morning as RCMP responded to a vehicle collision on the highway.

The incident took place 2 kilometres east of New Hazetlton near
Ross Lake Provincial Park, no details on the nature of that collision have been released as of yet.

However as a result of the incident, the highway has been closed in both directions.

No timeline has been provided by Drive BC as to when the highway is anticipated to be re-opened to travel.

Updates on the status of Highway 16 can be found from the Drive BC website.

As result of the road closure, Greyhound service west of New Hazelton has been disrupted with the Sunday schedule now a number of hours behind schedule. Those waiting for bus arrivals and departures should contact the Greyhound office in their community for further updates.

Update:  As of 8:15 AM Travel has once again resumed on Highway 16, traffic is moving reduced to a single lane with alternating traffic.

As of 8:40 AM, Travel had been re-opened in both directions through New Hazelton.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Long weekend sun and heat seekers need to chart a course eastbound

It's a damp start to the Canada Day weekend this Friday night, as rain moved onto the North Coast at the dinner hour and appears to be set to stay at least until Monday.

For those looking for Sun and some heat, the long weekend travel plans may require a bit of a road trip, with the further east you travel providing for warmth and sunshine at a more sustained level.

Should you make it to the sunnier climes, Environment Canada has some advice for you, having issued a Special Weather Statement for the Canada Day weekend, with Hot temperatures anticipated for southern and Central locations of the province.

A High pressure ridge is expected to set up shop over the Canada  Day weekend with temperatures rising as the weekend moves on towards Tuesday, in some locales in the Okanagan the anticipated Highs could be near the 40 degree range.

It's anticipated that many British Columbia communities will be setting temperature records as the weekend moves back into the work week.

You can review the Forecast for the North Coast here,  It is a preview that will provide for significantly cooler temps and more wet conditions than those elsewhere in the province.

Summer Counter Attack Program launched with Canada Day weekend

The long weekend that has arrived will find many Northwest residents taking to the roads, anxious to get to a destination for summer fun and relaxation, yet for a worrying number of motorists that Canada Day trip could end in injury or worse, in death.

And as motorists take to the highways, they should be aware that RCMP Traffic Safety Units will be paying extra attention, as ICBC, the Provincial Government and the RCMP launch their Summer Counter Attack Program.

This weekend heralds the start of what the RCMP calls a full force approach this summer, designed to target those foolish enough to get behind the wheel while impaired, putting their lives and the lives of other in danger.

With sobering statistics that in British Columbia on Canada Day alone, an average of three people are killed and 155 injured in 601 crashes every year in the province. Two of the three fatalities were those that involved impaired drivers.

For North Central BC, the overall statistics show that an average of 8 people are injured in 40 crashes each year.

With that in mind ICBC and the Provincial Government are looking to deliver the message of caution on the roads and zero tolerance when it comes to impaired driving on the roads. The RCMP will be watching over the weekend, looking to ensure that road safety remains a priority for holiday weekend travellers.

You can learn more about the Summer CounterAttack program and the road checks that begin this weekend from this release from ICBC.

Crab Fishers hold downtown protest over DFO crab fishery closure

A number of crab fishermen, who recently had their season cut short by a Department of Fisheries and Oceans closure announcement held a protest Friday morning in front of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Office on 2nd Avenue West.

The protest which began at 9 AM consisted of crab fishermen  and their supporters, expressing their concerns over that announcement, with speeches and discussions with passers by taking place in front of the DFO building.

In a press release, the Area A Crab Fishermen's Association vowed "to shut down the DFO building in Prince Rupert on Friday, June 28 to protest the decision"

The Crab Association is seeking to have the DFO decision reversed.

Estimates had the crowd attending the protest to be numbered at around 40-50 or so participants.

Some Background on the events leading to today's protest can be found from this news release from the Area A crab organization.

Members of the RCMP were in attendance to keep a watch on developments.

At the time of this posting, the protest was still underway.

Update:  The CBC's Daybreak North's George Baker took to twitter with this snapshot of the morning protest.

Further Media reports on the DFO decision and updates on today's protest can be found below:

July 8-- Vancouver Province-- B. C. crab fishermen boiling at DFO closure order
CFTK-- Prince Rupert Fishermen Blockade (video)
CFTK-- Crab Fishermen Picket DFO Office in Prince Rupert
Victoria Times Colonist-- Crab closure angers northern B. C. fishermen
Vancouver Province-- Crab fishermen blockade DFO office in Prince Rupert
Vancouver Sun-- B. C. North Coast Crab Fishermen fear economic disaster from unexpected closure
Northern View--  DFO cites lack of data for crab fishery closure, but crab association cries foul

Thursday, June 27, 2013

East side power outage caused by motor vehicle accident

Power in parts of the east side of the city went out at approximately 2:20 on Thursday afternoon, the result of a motor vehicle incident in the Frederick and 11th Avenue East region of the east side.

The length of the  power outage lasted over three and a half hours, stretching into the dinner hour,  no doubt changing more than a few dinner plans for the evening.

BC Hydro had the power restored to most of the affected area by 5:45 Thursday evening.

RONA closes three BC locations, Prince Rupert location not on the list

A shake up with one of Canada's major building supply and hardware retail outlets, will find stores closing across the nation, but Prince Rupert's RONA location will be spared the need for a going out of business sign.

Quebec based RONA is in the midst of reorganization and on Thursday began to shed yet more staff and made the decision to close a number of what it called non profitable stores across the nation.

In total the chain announced that it will eliminate 125 administrative positions, end sponsorship deals with the CFL, Olympic team and a number of NHL teams.

In addition to those cuts, the Hardware chain has announced the closure of 11 unprofitable stores in Ontario and British Columbia.  In this province, stores in Kamloops, Abbotsford and Duncan.

In the competitive building supply and hardware industry, Prince Rupert is home to both Rona and Home Hardware locations in the city.

Kamloops News-- Rona to close Versatile Drive store
Cowichan News Leader--  RONA closing its Cowichan Commons store come October
CBC-- Rona to shut 11 stores, cut 925 staff
National Post -- Rona steps up restructuring plans with Ontario and B. C. Store closures
Globe and Mail-- Rona closing 11 stores in Ontario, B. C., cutting more jobs

Fishing vessel incident on North Coast claims one life

An incident off the waters of Lax Kw'alaams on Tuesday evening has claimed the life of a worker on a fishing vessel on the North Coast.

The RCMP and B. C. Coroners service were the original lead investigators into the early hours of the reported incident, however WorkSafe BC appears to have taken charge of the investigation moving forward

No name, or hometown of the individual involved in the incident has been released at this time.

Work Safe BC was called into the investigation and Thursday revealed some details of the incident.  Early information provided by the agency, reportedly outlined how a worker becoming entangled in machinery aboard a boat which was in operating in waters near the north coast community.

As part of their investigation, Work Safe has sent an engineer, safety officer and investigator to the scene to examine all of the factors that may have contributed to the death.

Update: The RCMP outlined further details on the incident with this News release issued on Friday, June 28th

Vancouver Sun-- Fisherman dies after getting entangled in net off B. C. coast
Northern View-- Abbotsford man identified as victi of fatal fishing boat accident near Lax Kw'alaams
CFNR-- WorkSafe BC investigating fishing vessel fatality

CityWest offers up a rumour rebuttal at City Council session

Senior members of the CityWest team made the trek down Third Avenue on Monday evening, providing another update on the city owned communications company.  But for those looking for a cheque in their hands, Monday would be a disappointing night.

CityWest's CEO Don Holkestad, fronted the three man group and did all of the talking as part of the twelve minute review of recent events with CityWest. It provided for a bit of history, a bit of forward thinking and a desire to combat the ever popular world of what Mr. Holkestad called Prince Rumour, as the CEO looked to counter some of the currently popular discussion points around the community when it comes to CityWest.

Included in the CEO's twelve minute presentation was a section completely devoted to addressing a number of rumours about the company in the community. (38:30 --40:30 on the video archive).

On that theme, Mr. Holkestad used his visual presentation to its fullest, with Rumour  and Fact screens popping up as part of the review, that as he then explained how in the CityWest view, those community concerns, or rumours as CityWest might say, were misguided.

The presentation appears to be much the same that CityWest provided to the Chamber of Commerce last week, when Mr. Holkestad updated the city's business community.

Monday night was also the second time this year that the City's communications company appeared at City Council addressing what it called misinformation, picking up where they left off when they last held a session on April 24th.

Towards that theme of review, part of the presentation was a Rumours v Fact slide show that Mr. Holkestad provided for Council, the key points for CityWest were:
Rumour: 20 Million write down, CityWest lost value

Fact: 20 Million dollar write down was just an adjustment for accounting and banking purposes only. CityWest has grown in value due to investments in our cable portfolio. 

Rumour: The City of Prince Rupert subsidizes CityWest

Fact: The City of Prince Rupert does not and has not subsidized CityWest, according to Mr. Holkestad it never has. No City taxes flow to CityWest they are completely self funded. $60 million in dividend distribution to the City since inception. Since 2005 CityWest has contributed the following to the community: $25 million in  wages and benefits, $6.5 million in taxes, dividends and debt repayment to the City. $164,000 in local donations. Plus millions in local purchasing.

Rumour: City West is getting out of the wireless business  

Fact: CityWest has met with all of the major providers and detailed business plans were developed. In the end there was not enough value to move ahead. CityWest continues to look at other options and has a consultant working on this issue.

Rumour: Citizens of Prince Rupert pay for network upgrades outside of Prince Rupert.

Fact: Citizens of Prince Rupert do not pay for those upgrades. CityWest finances these upgrades internally or through bank debt. E.g. the purchase of Monarch Cable was financed through bank debt.

Rumour: Areas outside of Rupert are getting newer technology than Prince Rupert.

Fact: All new builds will be Fibre to the home as it is the newest technology. Fibre is another technology that CityWest uses to connect our customers. We can offer our customers all services on our current technology and continue to drive fibre deeper into the network as the need arises.

It was apparently a rather enthralled group of Council members taking in the update, so impressed by the audio visual review that during the course of the presentation, all of the CityWest talking points went unchallenged.

Nothing it seems struck council as worthy of review, expansion or clarification.  Council members did not inquire as to how the CityWest points were compiled, nor did anyone ask what resources CityWest had used for their answers and the discussion points they had provided.

Much like the last time CityWest appeared at Council in April, the session came to an end with yet another very short question period. With only one of the six members of Council in attendance asking a question, and even that, an inquiry from Councillor Thorkelson on dividends seemed rather half hearted.

As for an answer to her question, the CityWest CEO offered up a bit of deflection, advising that while the company strives to provide a return, it has any number of challenges from day to day, calling the work that they have to do a balancing act.

In the end, there was no indication as to when, or even if,  a dividend would soon be provided to the City.

And with that one gentle question, without follow up,  that was that.

No other Council member apparently could think of anything to talk about.

This despite their apparent anger of not too long ago, when CityWest declared that there would be no pre budget dividend this year to cushion the financial challenges that the city faces.

Following that April announcement, many of this council expressed their shock and surprise at the surprise development.

Then again, if you never ask any questions, it's not hard to understand why you would be shocked and/or surprised.

Even though they were provided with a heads up by staff last week that the CityWest execs were returning to council chambers, they apparently had nothing prepared for Monday, or following the presentation found nothing of interest, to put forward to the three executives at the table.

It's not as if our Council members are shy, given the time and opportunity they do like to talk. Though in many instances they tend to get sidetracked with lengthy reviews of things far removed from the Civic overview.

It's instructive to make note that while the Council couldn't seemingly devote more than one and one half minutes of inquiry to the company that they are owners of, later on in the Monday council session, on a topic of the fishery, the Mayor and Councillor Thorkelson regaled the chamber with a seven minute review of fishery issues and their thoughts on the season ahead.

Which while no doubt helpful for those that may have an interest in the fishery or enjoy fish tales around a campfire, sort of highlights the disconnect that this council seems to find itself engaged in of late, especially on issues of importance to their own bottom line.

Surely Council may have noticed that CityWest is constantly a topic of discussion not only in Council Chambers, but in the community as a whole. In fact, if the CEO of a company has to address rumours twice in one week, it's safe to say that the company is the subject of much interest.

Yet when they had the opportunity to seek out further information from the CEO, CFO and Marketing Director, all but one member took a pass. Even Councillor Thorkelson, normally on many issues the most engaged member of this council, couldn't find much else to discuss at the end of it all.

From the City's Council archives, you can review the CityWest talking points from the 36 minute to forty six minute  thirty second mark of the video archive,

The follow up question, such as it was, takes up less than the remaining one and half minutes and that includes the Mayor's thanks to CityWest for their update.

Considering Council's rather lukewarm interest in their presentation, it's probably no wonder that the information flow to the public seems rather limited from the City owned communication company.

Monday provided for all appearances the visual of a group just sitting through yet another lecture, with Council members barely engaged, let alone offering up a follow up on any number of potential items of concern. And judging by that lack of participation by Council members, little in the way of interest in oversight of one of the City's largest investments.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

City Council Timeline, Monday, June 24 2013

With what passes for a full council these days (the recently resigned Councillor Rice's seat to remain empty until filled by a by election to come), Council settled in for a two hour session on Monday evening.

A session that tackled a number of issues and concerns, as well as featuring a number of presentations along the way. Among those presentations were updates from the MP for the region Nathan Cullen, a review of the latest developments from CityWest from CEO Don Holkestad and an update of the City of Prince Rupert's Boundary Expansion plan from City Planner Tony Krekic.

The timeline of all of the council the proceedings can be found in red below, tied in with the City Council video and audio feeds archived below.

Further information such as minutes and permanent placement in the  audio and video archives can be found as they are posted to the city Website.

Minutes from June 24, 2013 (when posted)

In Attendance June 24, 2013

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

Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Resigned her position on June 10th.

Video Archive for June 24, 2013 
Audio Archive for June 10, 2013 

(0:00 - 1:00) The Mayor opened up the night's proceedings with a Committee of the Whole meeting, his first task to seek out comments from the public gallery, a request that found none inclined to participate in on Monday evening.

(1:00 - 34:00) From there, the Mayor invited the region's MP Nathan Cullen to provide an update on developments across the riding and his thoughts on events in Ottawa and the impact they may have on the North Coast.

With a quick update on the world of diaper changing for twin babies, Mr. Cullen outlined his take on the nature of the recent Parliament. His thoughts on developments across the riding and wrapped up his presentation with an account from the Community Dinner.

From there the Mayor opened the floor to questions from Council, with Councillor Garon taking advantage of that opening to discuss the overwhelming nature of the scale of LNG development at the moment. Asking the MP if there is funding available for any assistance to communities in similar situations.

He outlined that there isn't to his knowledge any program available for a city to participate in the process, expressing his sympathy to the bombardment of information that the City has to weigh through on the process.

He offered his counsel on the topic that the City should focus on the economic development aspect of such projects, seeking to maximize the benefits for local jobs, drawing a parallel to some of the concerns that the Kitimat council is facing regarding their development issues in regard to work camps.

He also suggested that the City form an alliance with the region's First Nations, suggesting that it makes sense to him for the City to seek out that alliance. He did advise Council that he would investigate further for Council as to whether any other possible funding is available.

Councillor Garon expressed her frustrations that the City could not at the moment afford anyone on staff to assist Council in their concerns over the LNG development plans.

Councillor Ashley, expressed the theme that Regional District also had similar concerns over the lack of resources to handle the LNG prospects. She then turned her attention to a question on infra structure funding and if there was anything new on the horizon, looking for an update on developments on the Federal level.

The MP expressed his disappointment in the nature of the Federal Government's approach to funding, comparing it to something along the lines of a bad NHL contract.

He outlined his thoughts at how Federal politics and optics intervenes in the nature of providing useful funding to the local level and its requirements. He said he didn't wish to be too discouraging, but that he hadn't heard many good things about the current proposals in place.

Councillor Thorkelson then provided for some points of interest for the MP, following up on Councillor Garon's comments on the LNG plants and the growing number of them, voicing her frustrations with the process in place. She expressed her concerns over the air shed, the water shed and the impact that development may have owing to chemical releases from the industrial processes that are planned.

She outlined her thoughts on the nature of the need for a holistic approach to the development and how the City could use someone in place to provide for that more complete overview.

She expressed the impression that there are too many proposals at the moment and that the city can't handle the volume of the projects that are currently arriving on their door step. Her second point, was on the topic of Ridley Terminals and she inquired of the MP what he knew of the latest developments in the proposed sale of that Terminal

On Ridley he outlined that he hasn't heard why the Government is planning to sell Ridley Terminals, offering up some thoughts that maybe the Federal Government needed the money, or maybe they didn't believe that the Federal Government should be in the Coal Terminal business.

He did observe that the opposition is looking at the possibility of trying to stop the sale, looking for some community input on the steps that could be made to change the Federal Government's mind on the sale.

He then turned back to the LNG process and suggested that perhaps the time was now here for a more comprehensive National Energy Strategy that might address some of the concerns that the Council had outlined as frustrating them at this time.

He pointed to similar concerns in Northeastern BC and in the Fort McMurray region as indicating that there is need for a more comprehensive plan.

He again, also touched on the need for some of the key communities and council's along the proposed routes should work together with each other and follow some of the approaches that the First Nations in the region are using. Some of which could serve to address the concerns that the Councillors had outlined to him tonight.

(34:00 - 36:00) After Mr. Cullen's presentation Council moved on to the Regular Council meeting. At which point Council moved on to adopt the agenda and variety of minutes in front of it.

(36:00-- 48:00) Presentation from Mr. Don Holkestad and a delegation from CityWest including Chris Marett the CFO and Donovan Dias, the Director of Sales and Marketing, at council on Monday to provide an update on the latest developments from the city owned communications company.

Mr. Holkestad observed on one of Mr. Cullen's thoughts on how the region is starting to recover from tough times, a sentiment that he said he shared with the MP. With that he began his overview of developments with the company of recent times.

He reviewed some of his background with the company and with the aid of a slide show, provided a bit of a recent history lesson on the company in the community, touching on the purchase of Monarch Cablevision and the fibre optic link to Terrace.

He chose to address some rumours in the community outlining the nature of the current value of the company, and that the City of Prince Rupert does not subsidize the company, highlighting the money that CityWest has returned to the community over the years.

He tackled the topic of their plans for the wireless business, currently using a consultant to address that issue. As well as other themes of such as the addition to fibre connections not only in Prince rupert but in other service areas of the Northwest.

He highlighted the "firsts" that CityWest took pride in over the years. Included in that discussion was their belief that CityWest provides the fastest Internet connection in the northwest

He addressed the bandwidth issue, solving the problem with an 800 gigabyte transport network and the 11 million dollar investment in a fibre backbone, expanding that further to Prince George. Improvements done during tough financial times but indicative of CityWest's forward thinking.

He touched on their growth potential and how they are winning over customers in all of their markets in the Northwest. As well as what enhancements they have in place and what they plan for the future for Internet connection in the region. Including a Wi-fi hot spot planned for the campground.

He reviewed what would be some of their mission statements moving the company forward and what they hope to offer to their customers.

He reviewed some of the aspects of what it takes for a company the size of CityWest to provide services to the various regions, showcasing their recent efforts in laying fibre cable to Kitimat from Terrace.

Councillor Thorkelson asked as to the nature of the CityWest business plan and what are the prospects of dividend delivery to the City of Prince Rupert.

Mr. Holkestad thanked her for her comments and outlined that the nature of the company's day to day operations are always a balancing act and they are striving to be as profitable as possible for the city.

While he accented the need to deliver service, he returned to the theme of the nature of the balancing act that the Company must accept in pursuit of that service delivery, though in the course of that answer, he did not provide any form of timeline as to any dividend delivery for the City.

That would be the only question that Council had of CityWest, the Mayor thanked Mr. Hokestad  for his presentation, with the hope that by addressing "rumours" he hadn't started some other ones and with that Council moved on to other issues.

Petitions and Delegations

(48:00 - 49:00 ) City of Prince Rupert Annual Report for 2012   The Mayor asked for public comment or questions on the Annual Report and with no member of the public approaching for comment, moved on down the agenda.

(49:00- 51:00 -- Reports and Recommendations, a Report from the Acting Chief Financial Officer,  recommending approval or providing for further amendments on the Annual Report.  Council approved the 2012 Annual Report. Councillor Ashley thanked staff for their work on the Annual Report. Councillor Thorkelson offered her thoughts on the Annual Report and what it has to offer for the public and outlined how it provides a good overview of the City's proceedings.

(51:00 - 1:10:00) Report from the City Planner on the Municipal Boundary Expansion. The Mayor outlined the nature of the three parts from the report, that would see the City continue on with it's examination of the Boundary expansion proposal. The City Planner provided a review of his findings, the feedback received from those that took part in the process and offering up the direction he would like to see the City pursue on the topic.

Following the presentation, further discussion took place on the next moves on the process, with Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson offering up her concerns over the proposed expansion plans.

Particularly viewed in the scope of ongoing land claim negotiations with Metlakatla. Those negotiations at the moment were a particular concern, as she expressed her thoughts over any overlaps of that the city expansion project may have on those lands in question.

She reinforced to Council that she was in favour of the City's expansion proposals, but not in those areas that are currently under review from the land claims process.

Councillor Thorkelson, expressed her opinion that Councillor Carlick-Pearson had raised an important point on the process, but that the City should approach the next phase carefully but that it would be possible to negotiate a different kind of agreement that would be innovative and meet all the city's needs.

She observed that it would be better for the City to move the process forward so as to have some semblance of control over future development in the region, calling to mind the current nature of development in the region such as that with the Port,  that the City has little say in at the moment.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson expressed her frustrations with ongoing impressions in the media, that the City is constantly seeking a fight whether it be with the Port, or with Metlakatla.

Councillor Ashley reinforced some of Councillor Carlick-Pearsons' thoughts on the topic of the expansion proposal, suggesting that this was more of an information gathering process at the moment, providing the City with a chance to weigh the pros and cons of the proposal. Stressing that no one on Council wants to interfere with any treaty negotiations,  but rather look for mutual areas of concern.

The Mayor stressed that this wasn't a land grab, but rather a chance to put land into reserve for future use.

Councillor Kinney shared his agreement with the other councillors, but advised that the city was going to grow and that the City needed more land. He suggested taking things slower and listening to the First Nations as they move forward.

Councillor Ashley then revised the three points up for discussion on the motion. Seeking for council to have a chance to discuss the proposal before it was sent off to the province.

Council then voted to move ahead with caution on the proposed expansion project, with Councillor Carlick-Perason voting against the proposal as it was outlined at this time.

(1:10:00 - 1:13:00 ) Report from the Acting Chief Financial Officer, on the Statement of Financial Information. The City Manager outlined the nature of the Report on where the city has spent its money. Councillor Garon advised that her name had been spelled wrong and then inquired as to  the nature of a discrepancy in amounts on taxable benefits. Which was addressed by the CFO, the motion was adopted.

(1:13:00 - 1:17:00) Report from the Acting Chief Financial Officer on the Monthly Department Report, a recommendation to receive the report for information purposes.   A review of the various city departments and their fiscal results. The Motion to receive the report was approved. Regarding the drop in 911 revenues as more residents use cel phones over land lines, Councillor Garon asked if it were possible to access the 911 revenue from cel phone users.  She also inquired over Transit fee results and the drop in revenue from that area.

(1:17:00 - 1:18:00) Report from the City Administrator regarding the Acting Mayors schedule. Report was accepted.

(1:18:00 - 1:21:00) Report from the Corporate Administrator on a By-election. The City Manager outlined the nature of the report and what Council needs to consider from it. Recommending that Council consider the issue at the August meeting, with the prospect of a fall by election in October. Councillor Ashley suggested it made more sense to hold the election in the fall, Councillor Carlick-Pearson inquired as to the nature of the cost of a By-election. The City Manager advised that the difference in cost structure would be examined in the future.

(1:21:00- 1:26:30) Report from the Engineering Co-oridinator regarding funding from the Rotary Club for a sign at the Highway Pull out on Park Avenue. Council to consider and approve the funding from the Rotary contribution. Council adopted the motion. Councillor Thorkelson spoke to the topic of the way finding sign and some concerns over the pull out location and potential problems that could come from those issues.

The Engineering coordinator then offered up some background on the nature of the pull out and what efforts could be put in place there. Councillor Ashley then thanked Rotary for their contribution. Councillor Garon then weighed in on the topic suggesting that if the problem is still of a concern later on, that Council could approach the Ministry of Transportation for a proper washroom facility at that location.

(1:26:30 - 1:30:00 ) Committee and Board Appointments - City Council then revised their listing of those councillors involved in various committees and boards that Council serves on. The City manager outlined the nature of the report, the Mayor read out the various committees to be reviewed. Council divided up the workload moving ahead for this council year.

(1:30:00- 1:32:00) Memo concerning the hosting of the Southeast conference in 2015 - Council has been asked to express their interest in hosting the Conference of Southeast Alaska communities, government and organizations in Prince Rupert in 2016.  Prince Rupert and Whitehorse are also members of the conference. The motion was passed by Council.

(1:32:00 - 1:33:30) Proclamation Request from the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural services Society to declare the week of June 24th-28th Diversity Week in the City of Prince Rupert. The motion was adopted.

(1:33:30 - 1:34:00Resolutions from Closed Meetings

The City Manager outlined two resolutions from the meeting, appointing Tim MacDonald to the Library Board for two years. As well, as the appointment of a Deputy Corporate Administrator.

Report from the City Manager on Outstanding City Initiatives

(1:34:00- 1:35:00 ) The City Manager advised that he was becoming more familiar with his tasks since arriving and was working on a number of files, the nature of which he outlined in the pervious in camera session.

Reports, Questions and Inquires from members of Council

(1:35:00-1:37:00) Councillor Ashley passed along a request  from Regional Government, that the city forward their request for funding assistance on the major projects concerns, as the Regional Government has similar concerns about the nature of the increase in LNG related development plans. She also suggested the Council give thought to following along the lines of Nathan Cullen's recommendation for more consultation among local groups.

(1:37:00 - 1:38:30) Councillor Carlick-Pearson also inquired if the City had inquired about the possibility of having a bus route put in place out to Ridley Island and if it's feasible to provide for a bus for workers to the work site there. Councillor Thorkelson reviewed some past conversations on that topic and how at that time it wasn't feasible, she suggested some of the answers to those questions could be found in those past reviews.

(1:38:30 -  1:40:00) Councillor Garon and the City Manager added some background to Councillor Ashley's thoughts on the ability of consultation on development issues.

(1:40:00 - 1:47:30 ) Councillor Thorkelson thanked the Mayor for his attendance at a recent media meeting with the members of the local fishing fleet advising that those efforts resulted in a change in the structure for the costs of the fishermen involved. The Mayor also wondered if the City, Port Ed and Regional District may wish to register their concerns with the UBCM. Councillor Thorkelson did say that she believed that Council should talk with the new provincial government over fishery issues on the North coast and the impact they have on the local population. The Mayor and Councillor Thorkelson then discussed the nature of this years sockeye run and current fishing issues in the community at the moment.

(1:47:30- 1:49:30) Councillor Ashley then updated Council on some thoughts of Regional District on the need to have priorities for regional advocacy and working together and the need to not wait to the last minute before deciding who they want to see and what topics that council wishes to talk on. She was hoping for more of a joint strategy for the next UBCM session.

(1:49:30- 2:04:00 The Mayors Report

The Mayor participated in a discussion with other Mayors of Canadian communities on the Crime Severity Index

Participated in discussions with representatives Canadian National on the growth and potential for the Northwestern route. And availability of railway initiated programs for communities, in particular the prospect o a three way split on the Rotary waterfront area for some enhancement to that area.

He attended the Open House for the Pacific Northwest LNG project on Lelu Island. He pointed to the prospect of employment opportunities that could be available in the community once the terminal is in operation.

The Mayor attended the 75/50 Club and Seafest Seniors Tea. Councillor Nelson Kinney was the MC for the event.

The Mayor hosted a group of Grade Three french immersion students at City hall for a discussion on municipal government.

The Mayor and Councillor's Carlick-Pearson and Ashley hosted an open house on the Prince Rupert Boundary Expansion proposal.

The Mayor participated in a conference on the proposed Alaska Marine Highway vessels.

He met with the new chief operating officer for our region of Northern Health.

He attended a Webinar on construction camps and their impact on communities.

He attended the SD52 annual service and retirement awards, as well as the recognition awards for Charles Hays Secondary.

On behalf of the City The Mayor thanked all of the volunteers for their efforts at the recent Seafest celebrations.

He attended the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce meeting, the CEO of CityWest provided an update on the company's developments.

The City hosted a delegation from Southeast Alaska and Ketchikan Gateway Borough, who participated in the Seafest celebrations as well as learning more about some of the industrial developments in the region from a number of organizations in the community.

The Mayor along with two members of the RCMP greeted those passengers that visited the community at the recent cruise ship visit of the MS Regatta.

He provided a welcome to the Board of Directors of Eco Trust Canada who were visiting the area.

He and Councillor Garon attended the Port Authority's Annual Public Meeting to hear more on the port's developments of the last year.

The Mayor attended the Graduation ceremonies of Pacific Coast School.

He participated in the 15th annual Aboriginal Day in Prince Rupert.

He attended a workshop put on by the BG group on the theme of marine related issues.

He outlined a notice that Prince Rupert is going to be featured on Global TV's Small towns  feature on the Sunday morning News, Prince Rupert will be the subject city on June 30th. He advised that Global is looking for contributions of photos from local residents. Submissions can be made to the

The Mayor advised that the Seafarer's facility was to be open for a public tour on Tuesday morning.

The Mayor called on the City Manager Robert Long to outline for Council consideration a report on possible regionalization of the Prince Rupert Airport services. Looking to reinforce that those outlying regions of the area use the airport  and to have that fact reflected in the report.

He also asked for a review of possible uses of wood chips at the landfill to be used as a covering material and as a cost saving measure.

The Mayor then turned the meeting over to Councillor Thorkelson, who discussed the topic of the Nishga Girl being sent back by the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. She outlined her disappointment in that development and asked for the support of Council to send a letter to the Museum seeking to have the exhibit remain at the national museum as part of a permanent display.

The Mayor offered up the comment that in his opinion that it was rather insulting that the item wasn't of value at the museum anymore. Suggesting that any letter that is written should reflect that in a forceful manner.

Councillor Thorkelson also suggested that the City enlist the assistance of Port Edward and Regional District on that matter.

That motion was passed.

Councillor Garon called attention to an oversight on attendance at the May 29th Open House on Boundary expansion, advising the Mayor that she and Councillor Kinney were also in attendance at that public session.

With that the Mayor brought the session to a close.

You can access the City Council Review page for June 24th here, where a number of items regarding the council session, including media coverage of it can be found.

As always, consult with the official minutes from the City, when posted to the website for further review.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Severe Thunderstorm watch in effect for North Coast Inland areas

The warm and humid weather of the last few days on the North Coast may about to be coming to an end, but not before perhaps a show from Mother Nature.

The Dark and threatening skies to the North and East of Prince Rupert, provided for bursts of Thunder and occasional flashes of Lightning, a somewhat rare event for the coastal portion of the region.

The system began to rattle around the coastal regions of the North Coast around 3:30 PM on Monday afternoon, further inland a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was put into effect by Environment Canada.

The Watch outlined that conditions are favourable for the development of Thunderstorms on the North Coast Inland regions,  storms capable of providing for large hail, heavy downpours and damaging gusts of wind.

The forecast for Prince Rupert and area calls for periods of rain through Monday night into Tuesday morning,  while Terrace and inland areas could see much in the way of thunder, lightning and rain, as much as 25 mm of it by the time the weather system has moved through the region.

You can track developments from the Environment Canada website, the Prince Rupert forecast can be found here, the Terrace/Kitimat forecast here and further to the east, where the Thunderstorm watch continues the Smithers forecast can be found here.

Rotary Club of Prince Rupert to provide a "Welcome" sign at Park Avenue Pullout

For travellers along Park Avenue, a quick sense of bearings for travel through the City of Prince Rupert will soon be found by way of a wayfinding sign, to be constructed at the newly created Park Avenue pullout, located just across from the Park Avenue Campground towards the Fairview Ferry Terminals.

Tonight's council session will reveal that funding for the new welcome sign will be provided through a generous donation from the Prince Rupert Rotary Club.

The sign planned for the pull out, would be 64 inches wide and appears to feature a large version of the current tourist street map of the city and would be topped with a welcome to travellers from the Rotary Club.

The sketch provided to the City of what the sign may look like can be found at the top of this post.

The topic of the pull out and the need for signage was a popular talking point for Council at past sessions, with the notes on tonight's agenda, it would appear that any number of concerns that City Council may have had over the construction of the pull out have now been put to rest.

Most importantly of course being, that there will be no cost to the city, whether on pull out maintenance or with the construction and funding of the new sign.

You can review the "welcome" news for Council from the agenda to tonight's session, the review takes place on pages 66 to 69.

Council to review options on By-election question

With the resignation of Councillor Jennifer Rice on June 10th (history fans can review that letter by clicking on the letter left), Prince Rupert City Council now has to decide how to move forward with the process regarding her seat on Council.

Towards that decision, Council will hear from the Corporate Administrator Robert Grodecki at tonight's Council meeting.

In the Regular Council session he will outline the direction and process ahead for Council, with a recommendation that Council appoint a Chief Elections Officer on either July 8th, or August 19th of this year.

That would meet the stipulations of the Local Government Act Legislation that calls for an election as soon as reasonably possible after the vacancy occurs. Setting in motion the process of replacing now former Councillor Rice, who was elected the MLA for the North Coast in May's provincial election.

Among the information provided by Mr. Grodecki to council, is an estimate that the cost of holding the by election will be somewhere between $15,000  and $25,000 dollars.

With the introduction of  the By-Election recommendation at tonight's, City staff is seeking further direction from City Council on the issue.

You can review his report to Council from the Regular Council Agenda, it begins on Page 64

City Council Preview for June 24th

With the resignation of Jennifer Rice from City Council at the June 10th session, there will be an empty seat until further notice around Council chambers, as Council continues on with the work of municipal governance through the summer, shortened calendar as it will be.

The final City council meeting of June is set for Monday evening at 7 PM, though as is the case of late Council will once again meet first in Closed session at 5 PM, where it seems the more interesting things tend to be taking place.

The synopsis of the closed session outlines that Council members will look at three items of note, that can't be share in a public setting.

Those items involve the examination of an individual being considered for employment,  as well, Council will host yet another discussion on the status of Watson Island, which if apparently done in public, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the Municipality.

Once they have taken care of those talking points in private, the regular Council session for this evening seems a little less mysterious.

There are two sessions in public forum this evening, the Committee of the Whole session, where residents can offer up comment on items of concern to them as part of the proceedings.

From that, Council then moves on to the Regular Council session, you can review those Agenda items here, clicking on the boxes at the right hand side of the City's document to examine a topic in detail.

As for the Regular Public session, there's the usual housekeeping requirements of minutes from past sessions,  as well as a presentations.

Monday Council receives another  update from the city owned communications company CityWest, as CEO, Don Holkestad will provide an overview on CityWest Developments.

Mr. Holkestad recently spoke at the Chamber of Commerce, to discuss operations and answer questions about how they operate  CityWest within the City of Prince Rupert.

Following his presentation Council will then seek public comment on the 2012 Annual Report.

Council then will receive a number of reports for consideration. With the public comment on the Annual Report held previous, Council will then by resolution either approve the 2012 Annual Report or provide further direction to Staff  regarding any potential amendments. Details on the Report can be found on (Page 11 of the Agenda.)

That will be followed by a Report from the City Planner and Corporate Administrator, who will outline a number of recommendations on that theme, setting the table for community engagement over the summer on the topic with an eye towards approaching the province with their proposals when summer ends. You can review the report starting on (Page 12 of the Agenda.)

Council then receives a report on the 2012 Statement of Financial Information (Page 16 of the Agenda)

The Acting Chief Financial Officer will also provide the May 2013 Monthly Department Report (Page 56 of the Agenda)

The Corporate Administrator will outline the new amended Acting Mayor Schedule (Page 62 of the Agenda).

The Corporate Administrator will outline recommendations regarding a By-election for the now vacant seat of Jennifer Rice. (Details on his report can be found on Page 64 of the Agenda)

The Engineering Coordinator will provide an update on the Park Avenue Pullout recommending that Council approve the Rotary Club contribution to providing for a community sign at the pull out. Page 66 of the Agenda

The Mayor will outline some background on hosting the Southeast Conference of 2014 (Page 70 of the Agenda)

And Council will consider a correspondence for Action from the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society. (Page 71 of the Agenda)

Resolutions from Closed Meetings, Bylaw items, a report from the City Manager on Outstanding initiatives and any reports, questions and inquiries from members of Council wraps up the Regular Council Meeting for the night.

City Council Session June 24, 2013

Regular Session of City Council for Monday, June 24, 2013

Home page and archive of sessions can be found here.

Live Broadcast of session can be found here

North Coast Preview of Regular Session for June 24, 2013

Agenda for Regular Session of City Council for June 24, 2013

Agenda for Committee of the Whole Council Meeting for June 24, 2013

Notice of Special Council Meeting for June 24, 2013
(Resolution to Exclude the Public)

Info to Council

June 19, 2013
June 12, 2013

Note: Official Attendance and Minutes not posted to City Website yet

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Present
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Present
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present
Councillor Jennifer Rice-- (Resigned position on Council June 10)

Minutes of Regular Session of Council June 24, 2013

Audio Recording of June 24, 2013  (not available yet)

Video Recording of June 24, 2013 

North Coast Review City Council Timeline June 24, 2013 

North Coast Reviews Items on June 24th Session of Council

Northwest Airports focusing on the future
City Council puts a by-election on the Back Burner until October
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP seeks energy strategy for North Coast region
CityWest offers up a rumour rebuttal at City Council session

News items from the June 24th Council session

CFTK-- Ridley Bus Route (video)
Northern View-- Prince Rupert proceeding cautiously with boundary expansion as treaty talks continue
Northern View-- Prince Rupert city council tells MP they are 'overwhelmed' by LNG projects

Change on the horizon for Tourism Prince Rupert

A surprising story from the Northern Connector on Friday evening, as the Friday portal of the Northern View offered up details on the departure of Bruce Wishart from the offices of Tourism Prince Rupert.

Wishart who has been the main face of the local Tourism office for a number of years now will apparently leave his post upon completion of a number of unfinished projects. That as the Board of Directors embarks on what it calls a restructuring of the organization.

In addition to the departure of Wishart, it was announced that marketing director Monika Clifton will also be leaving the Tourism office, with her departure date listed as July 15th.

According to the Northern Connector story, Tourism Prince Rupert Chair Scott Farwell outlined that the changes are being made as the Board shifts the focus of the organization. With a restructuring of fixed wage costs designed to allow more money to be put towards marketing of Tourism.

Farwell also revealed that the Board was considering a couple of different options beyond the departure of high profile staff.

The announcement comes, just weeks after Tourism Prince Rupert released their annual guide for visitors as to what is available for visitors to the North Coast.

The timing of the departures may seem a little unusual what with Tourism season just underway, but for the most part, the summer season one of maintenance of the brand and keeping the Tourism theme active for the high traffic summer season.

The actual decision making on Tourism plans, focus on direction and creation of such resources as the Tourism Guide mentioned above, comes in the off season.

It's at that time we imagine whoever may be left at Tourism Prince Rupert will have received new marching orders from the Board.

Towards that change in direction, Tourism Prince Rupert is apparently going to take their time to review their options, consulting their members and the tourism operators on the Board, as to what direction they would like to see the organization move towards.

The story so far is not available on either the Northern View or Northern Connector websites, should you have lost, or already disposed of your Friday copy of the paper, you can click on the item below to review the background on the interesting developments of last week.

School District winds down deliberations for school year

The classes have almost emptied for the year, with just a few things left on the SD52 calendar for June.

The last few items of business, before the launch of summer vacation for the students, a bit of rest for the teachers and the search for a new Superintendent moves forward at the Board level.

With the summer beckoning, the SD52 Board met for their final session of the school year on June 11, outlining by Media release, what they believe were the Highlights of the Board Meeting.

While we wait for the official minutes to be released (May's meeting currently tops the archive page) you can review the thoughts of the Board through their Media release.

It provided an update on the Restitution project, a Camp Jupiter advisory and some background on the District Improvement Contract, currently in its 4th year of the Board's Five year plan.

Than contract is designed to reach the goal of the Board to "Ensure each student successfully completes their educational program with a sense of hope, purpose and control."

Towards the focus of that contract, Board Chair Tina Last received the report with a comment that the "signs of improvement are encouraging and we look forward to further success in the year ahead."

Not mentioned in their Highlights review of June 11th was what appears to have been a controversial motion from Trustee Marty Bowles.

He had put forward a number discussion topics on money saving suggestions that for the most part appear to have been dismissed at the June 11th meeting. Mr. Bowles was not in attendance at the June 11th session to expand on them or to comment on the Board's apparent dismissal of them.

The scope of his proposals was outlined in the Friday edition of the Northern Connector (see here, page nine).

Among the motions reviewed, Bowles had reportedly offered up suggestions regarding out of town conferences that SD Board members attend, limits to Professional Development Days for trustees, issues on the requirements for special needs students and giving the Board a more active role in the movement of administrators at the schools, a suggestion that the Board rejected, suggesting that the last item was the responsibility of the Superintendent of schools alone.

On the topic of Superintendents, in addition to putting a wrap on the deliberations for the 2012-13 school year, some housekeeping took place at the District level, as SD52 made sure somebody had the keys to the office for the summer.

At that final session, the Board of Education named Ms. Sandra Jones at the Acting Superintendent for the District effective on July 1st, outlining her background with the School District since her arrival in the community in 1982.

She accepts the Acting Superintendent role while the School District continues on with their quest for a full time Superintendent to take over from the departing Lynn Hauptman.

The School District did not outline in its press release if Ms. Jones, will be one of the prospects that their executive search group Make a Future is considering. Actually information on that search for a replacement for Ms. Hauptman seems to be rather slow in coming.

A quick scan of the Make A Future website suggests that perhaps they have completed their research on the topic of the SD52 Superintendent's position, as at the moment, the Make a Future careers section only features Teaching and support positions available in SD 52

The School District has not outlined by media release or any other form of communication, what direction they may have given to that search group as to what are the key aspects of local leadership they are looking for.

Leaving a number of questions for parents, teachers and current administration as to what the School District may be looking for.  And whether a combination of administrative experience and local knowledge would be preferable, as opposed to starting fresh with an outside hire with no connection to the current School District landscape.

An update from the School District on the progress of their search for a new superintendent would no doubt be quite welcome from all.

You can review our original item on that search for a new administrator from our May 21st post here.

Our archive of School District 52 items can be found here.