Wednesday, July 31, 2013

City seeks submissions from Community Enhancement Grant applicants

Local Community Groups can start their paperwork, as the City of Prince Rupert opens up another year of Community Enhancement Grant consideration, this one for 2014.

The Grants (cash and in kind assistance) may not provide as much to work with as in the past.  As the nature of the City of Prince Rupert's financial situation as it was in the past year, required a scaling back of the money the City could make available to Community Groups.

A situation that was the subject of much debate through the winter and spring, a discussion that at one point had council suggesting that Community Groups also seek out funding from other sources for their requirements. (Northern View e edition Feb 13, 2013 page 11).

Through the year, Council also frequently called on some of the city's larger industries, with particular attention to the Prince Rupert Port Authority, to take more of an active interest in community affairs. suggesting that the large industrial groups in the city might wish to help cover some funding shortfalls for community services and community groups.

Still, with a new budget in place, the City does have money available for the  2014 Grant year process and applicants should get busy making sure that their paperwork is in order and processed before the September 6th application deadline.

The first step on the way to consideration is to submit a completed application form, available from Corporate Services at City Hall or through this link to their web portal.

The current form available to be downloaded from the City website is from last years application process, so perhaps a phone call to City Hall to confirm it is still a valid form might be the first step for any community group.

Applicants must complete the forms in full and provide supporting documentation to their submission. Requests that are incomplete may be rejected or returned to the applicants. Among the documentation required is a budget and Financial statement, applicants are reminded that individuals are not eligible for any funding from the City.

The planned schedule of consideration after the September 6th deadline for applicants, will be for consideration of the submissions and granting of any potential assistance to be awarded by December 31st.

Should you have any questions on the nature of the Grant process, you are asked to contact Candice Campbell, Executive Assistant at 250-627-0939.  Her e mail address at City Hall is

Update: The City has updated its website notice for the Community Enhancement Grants, you can find out more here.

Changes planned for Air Canada Jazz station positions in Prince Rupert

It's a story that started in a firestorm of a rumour that Air Canada Jazz was making plans to leave the Prince Rupert market, a fast moving bit of information, that the Prince Rupert Economic Development Corporation felt was so rampant in the community that it needed to be addressed, sending out a note on their twitter feed last week to advise that  cancellation of air service to the city wasn't the case.

The PREDC tweet outlined that Air Canada Jazz isn't leaving, they will however be changing making what the PREDC called "internal adjustments" as to how they do business here.

And that will apparently mean layoffs and/or restructuring for the local work force, after Air Canada Jazz won an arbitration case that clears the way for the airline to contract out station base positions in a small number of Air Canada Jazz served cities, including Prince Rupert, Sandspit and Smithers in the Northwest.

That contracting out provision, is just part of a larger range of changes for a number of other ground related positions in larger centres. Though many of those positions are along the lines on airline grooming and ramp positions, not in the face to face positions of the station agents.

The arbitrators award, issued on July 17th will serve to be included as part of a new collective agreement between the CAW2002 and Aircraft Services and Jazz Aviation LP.

A contract negotiation that was conducted over twenty days of face to face bargaining, which had been preceded by two days of mediation.

The arbitrator's decision provided much in the way of background to the dispute and addressed the issue of some of the financial challenges of the employer, in the face of growing competition in the airline industry.
At the same time the financial challenges of the employer are not to fall on deaf ears. The challenges laid out for Jazz by Air Canada are real and proven. The entry of Sky Regional as a serious threat to Jazz in competing for a portion of the regional landscape is real. The aviation landscape throughout North America is littered with airlines that have failed to recognize and adapt to the changing environment. --  A key line from Arbitrator Tom Hodges on the Air Canada Jazz/ CAW 20002 arbitration decision 
It would appear, that with the arbitration award, that Prince Rupert and a few other cities served by Air Canada Jazz will be the first to feel the impact of that changing environment.

The portion of the Arbitrators decision with the most impact on the Northwest, can be found on pages 13 and 14, passages which outline the scope of the contracting out provisions of Mr. Hodge's findings.

The union representing the airline workers CAW2002 issued this news release on the arbitration case and the impact it will have on the affected employees and communities.

No timeline was indicated as to when the contracting out will take place, nor if any of the locally based employees are being offered positions with the other Air Canada Jazz bases that are not going to be reconfigured.

What's interesting for the Northwest is that the Terrace Air Canada Jazz station will apparently not be affected by the change to a contracting out basis, as those at the other Northwest locations, perhaps a nod that with West Jet arriving in the fall, any indication of service adjustments may not be helpful in customer retention in a full on airline battle.

For Prince Rupert, the shake up in the local airline business model will see long serving employees perhaps having to leave their jobs, or if possible seek transfer elsewhere (we imagine they could apply for the new ones, though at a lower rate of pay as per the newly designed B pay scale option for new hires that the new positions in Prince Rupert would we imagine fall under).

Familiar and helpful faces for Prince Rupert travellers, who have provided service to the airport and the community, knowledgeable as they are to the unique nature of the YPR airport set up and the challenges it provides for transportation on the North Coast.

While the arbitrator makes a good case for the changing nature of the aviation industry, the fact that Air Canada Jazz is picking and choosing select cities, while maintaining current service arrangements in others does leave one wondering as to the nature of two tier aviation in the northwest (both for the employees and the customers).

Considering the City of Prince Rupert's interest in labour issues over the last few years, (Ridley Terminals privatization, fishery disputes,  etc), not to mention the wish to see YPR continue to remain relevant to travel in and out of the City, they may wish to inquire of, or better yet, have Air Canada Jazz representatives (who have yet to make any statement on the pending changes) come on up and explain the whole contracting out concept.

One can understand an industry wide changeover where all communities are treated equal in tough economic times, however the darts on the map visual that his change seems to implement is one that  raises a number of thoughts.

In particular, one question that strikes us as interesting is, why the Prince Rupert Airport and its customers, do not apparently require the same level of service and experience as do the residents of Terrace?

As we mentioned, Prince Rupert is not alone when it comes to the contracting out situation at the local airport, below is a report from Medicine Hat, Alberta outlining the situation in that community with world of the changing nature of the airline industry.

Medicine Hat News-- Layoffs affect six at airport

You can review our past items on Air Transportation items from this link to our Transportation archive

Monday, July 29, 2013

CityWest to increase land line charges for Prince Rupert

Sharp eyed CityWest customers will have already noticed that the cost of that telephone on your counter or table, tethered to your wall by a telephone line will soon cost you just a little bit more to have.

An advisory of a pending rate change is found in the text portion of your current telephone bill, an short note from CityWest that effective August 1st the cost of using your local land will be increased by eighty seven cents.

The change will take place on your September bill, though there is no outline to be found on the bill or the CityWest website, as to why the rate increase was required.

There is a helpful page however advising as to the many options available for payment of  your phone bills.

Even with the pending increase, the current level of stand alone telephone line service would seem to be on par or, in some cases even less, than what Telus is asking for in other parts of British Columbia and Alberta.

And for those looking to lessen the burden of communication services, CityWest advises on their website that using their bundling process of Internet, television and telephone will deliver savings to customers.

Interestingly enough, some of those combination of bundles do provide for lesser overall cost by two to four dollars a month, in locations other than Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

For instance a comparison of the Talk/Surf bundle has a price of 77 dollars a month in Prince Rupert and Port Edward, 75 dollars a month if you live in Kitimat or Terrace. A savings of 24 dollars a year for the neighbours to the east!

Watch and Talk will cost you 67 dollars per month in Prince Rupert, while in Terrace/Thornill or Kitimat that cost will be 63 dollars per month, a 48 dollar a saving per year to the east.

Which depending on the bundle local residents might subscribe to, would suggest that there may not be that much of a home town advantage for residents of the city that actually owns the company.

CityWest has made mention of the changing nature of local phone service over the last little while, outlining the current status of their overall business at both Chamber of commerce functions and during presentations to Prince Rupert City Council.

With the encroachment of competing cellular services, the number of local users using a land line has been reduced over the last number of years. A situation which provides for less revenue from that sector of the communications industry on the North Coast.

You can review our Communications Archives for more items of note on CityWest, including their recent presentations to City Council.

Major container line sees an industry slowdown coming

The Northern View this week was busy trying to chase down a rumour on the Cosco container ship line and its plans for the Port of Prince Rupert.

Seeking more information on the suggestion from some in the longshore industry, that Cosco Lines, with declining numbers this year, was perhaps planning to end its service to the Port of Prince Rupert.

A suggestion that the shipping line described as wrong, offering up the thought that whoever was providing the Northern View with their information, "has no idea what the hell they're talking about".

(You will have to seek out the Northern View's July 24th print edition, page A6, as no online version is currently available)

While Cosco was addressing the Prince Rupert speculation, the theme of challenging times in the container industry was getting a more full review in the international press. As another major shipping company was offering up notice, that the current struggles in the container shipping industry will continue on for the next few years.

Soren Skou, the CEO of the Maersk Line, one of the worlds largest container lines, provided an update to the Financial Times of England, outlining how Maersk believes that the container industry is in for a "new era" that will see growth in demand fall to half of the levels seen over the past twenty years.

The full review can be found here,  the main point from Maersk being that the industry will have to adapt to annual growth of only 4 to 5 percent in the years to come.

Those predicted levels indicate a slowdown is going to carry over, a situation that will be significantly different compared to the halcyon days of trade earlier this decade, when levels were booming at 10 percent growth.

Those surging numbers of the early 2000's changed with the arrival of the economic crisis of 2008 and recovery, if the Maersk observations are correct will not only be slow, but challenging for container lines worldwide.

Maersk officials are currently seeking to gain better returns from their container ships, by building a new line called Triple E (which we reviewed on the blog earlier this year), giant container vessels that Maersk believe will cut their costs by at least 30 percent.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority recently made note of the new vessels with a tweet through their twitter feed offering a link to the review of the new vessels .

At the moment, Maersk does not make a port call in Prince Rupert, currently calling on Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver.

Update: The Northern View item referenced above was added to their online archives, through their e edition for July 24  pg A6

Northwest cruise ship fails sanitation inspection in Alaska

A vessel well known for its stops at the Prince Rupert Cruise Terminal, has found itself in a bit of trouble with US authorities, that following a surprise sanitation inspection last month.

Following a surprise inspection in Skagway conducted on June 17th, The Silver Shadow, a vessel of the Silversea Cruise Lines received a failing score in sanitation, with more than 40 violations noted in a CDC report. 

The score for the Silver Shadow following its inspection was listed as 82, a mark below the acceptable level for the CDC. 

The Centre for Disease Control  has a benchmark of 85, which is the lowest mark acceptable for a satisfactory score on its inspection process.

KRBD the Alaska Public Radio Station in Ketchikan outlines the nature of the inspection and how it was initiated in this report.

Included in their review of the vessels report was this copy of the CDC report and a response from Silversea Cruise Line.

Silversea officials have advised that they have taken immediate measures to address the CDC concerns and implemented new procedures to ensure that the issues do not arise moving forward.

US officials will have a follow up inspection before the Silver Shadow leaves Alaskan waters at the end of August

The vessel which carries 380 passengers on each cruise, last called on Prince Rupert on July 19th. 

The Silver Shadow, only has two dates on the itinerary for Prince Rupert in the 2013 cruise season, according to the Prince Rupert Port Authority Cruise schedule for this year, the vessel will make its final port call in the city today.

Other reports on the inspection can be found below

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not millions, but a nice sum to tide one over through the summer

Somewhere in Prince Rupert a local 649 player, (or someone who purchased their ticket here) is holding a ticket that will make the end of summer a little bit more enjoyable.

While not in the millions of dollars, a Prince Rupert purchased ticket will provide for one of five lotto players to have won close to 50,000 dollars in last night's 649 draw.

The lucky ticket purchased in the city had five out of six numbers and the bonus number, joining players in Ontario and one other in Western Canada to a payday of 47,957.90

A nice little sum of money that may provide for a dandy end of summer trip, though we imagine, while they will enjoy their win fall, they like the other four players are wondering what if....  that other number dropped.

You can review the winning numbers from the BC Lotteries page

MLA's week: July 22-25, 2013

A snapshot of some of the talking points from the North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice during this week's proceedings of the Legislature.

For the final week of the summer session, the North Coast MLA had LNG development and health items on her talking points list for the Legislature this week.

Monday, MLA Rice reviewed some of her concerns over the nature of LNG development on the north coast, drawing comparisons to what she suggests was a flawed plan in Australia, which she believes is a path that the BC Liberals are taking regarding North Coast development.  We reviewed the day in the Legislature in more detail here, the key points of her presentation can be found below.

The bulk of her review of Monday, was based on the theme of more sustainable practices in building communities and planning for future growth as well as addressing the issue of climate change.

"In Australia three LNG plants were constructed by three different companies right beside each other. This has proven inefficient. Here in B.C. it appears we, too, similarly are going down this path. If we truly believe in sustainable natural resource development, we need to examine cumulative impacts of multiple developments. Land and marine use planning is critical to managing the sustainability of resources. That also means considering ecosystem and social values and not just gross domestic product values." -- MLA Jennifer Rice, speaking on LNG development in the Legislature on Monday

You can review her entire speech to the legislature from the Legislature Blues it starts at the 1115 mark on the right hand side.  You can view the presentation from the July 22nd morning session Video Archive at the 11:20 mark on the clock at bottom right.

On Wednesday, MLA Rice had an extended line of questioning for the Government's Health Minister Terry Lake, covering a wide range of topics on health items, from the number of doctor's in some communities, to pharma care issues and other topics of concern on the health file.

During the course of that discussion, she also tied in the proposed LNG development in the region, to issues of health care and infrastructure concerns on the North Coast. We offered up a more concise review of that twenty minute or so exchange here, the synopsis of the day's key discussion points can be found below.

While I recognize that this assessment was started before the government began promoting LNG in earnest, I was wondering if thoughts have been given to a similar assessment on how multiple LNG plants, as well as other expanded industrial activity, would affect the physical and the social health of the residents of northwest British Columbia. ...  I've had many people concerned about just the impacts of increasing industrial development in the northwest, particularly in Prince Rupert and Kitimat. I'm curious to know…. Do you think there might be a community outreach or similar outreach to that done in the northeast on the concerns of residents? Or would that fall under the Ministry of Environment, under environmental assessment? -- MLA Rice, at the Legislature on Wednesday

The MLA also touched on an issue close to the heart of her previous colleagues at Prince Rupert City Hall, seeking further information regarding the pressures of industrial development on local health systems and infrastructures. As we've outlined on the blog in the past, the growing file of Industrial issues is weighing heavily on the minds of Prince Rupert City Council, a theme that the MLA brought to the Legislature on Wednesday

Again, similarly, looking at the pressures from industrial development in the northwest, I'm curious to know if there will be any study or analysis done on the pressures on the health system, specifically — on hospitals, on health care providers — because of the influx of people. For example, in Prince Rupert, they're looking at building a camp for 3,000 people. I know, as a former city councillor, that the city is struggling to deal with current infrastructure issues as it is, let alone having an influx of that kind of population. -- MLA Rice, Wednesday at the legislature, speaking on issues of infrastructure challenges from increased industrial development

You can review her entire presentation from the Legislature Blues it starts just before the 1525 mark on the right hand side. You can review the video presentation from the July 24 afternoon session Video archive at the 15:25 mark on the clock bottom right.

With the end of the Thursday session, the summer session of the Legislature has now come to a close. The Legislature not expected to be in session again until the fall, or perhaps even the winter, depending on the Government's plans.

For the MLA and her NDP associates in the Legislature (and the Party), the months ahead offer up some time for reflection on the path the party wishes to take and if Adrian Dix, the current leader will remain in his post heading into that fall or winter session.

CBC-- B. C. Legislature wraps summer session as NDP contemplates future
Vancouver Province-- Legislature wraps as B. C. NDP looks to rebuild after devastating election loss
The Tyee-- Five Ways the BC NDP can Re-invent itself

You can review our past weekly reviews from our Legislature archive page.

There is more background on the North Coast MLA available from our Legislature home page.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

City Council Timeline, Thursday, July 25, 2013

Five minutes of public work and then it was off to an in camera (closed) session of council as the City's elected officials interrupted their summer break, to take care of a variance issue on 11th Avenue East.

The special session of Thursday afternoon was called on Wednesday, by way of a Special notice posted to the city's website.

Attendance was a tad sparse, Councillor Carlick-Pearson not in attendance and Councillor Ashley attending by phone, still Mayor Mussallem and Councillors Thorkelson, Garon and Kinney pushed forward with the one short item of note.

The five minutes of discussion for the most part involved the process of approval of a variance on a property on the east side, a short presentation from the City planner brought the topic to a vote and the approval was granted.

At that point the Mayor brought the public session to a close, though announcing that a closed session set to follow.

In this case, the usual notification (such as this one from July 8th) of an in camera or closed session and some kind of guideline as to what may be discussed, (a procedure which is normally provided) was not posted to the city's website or twitter feed.

Most probable explanation for straying from the normal procedures, perhaps involved the short time frame of the notice for the meeting and the shortage of staffing at City Hall, that in the wake of Corporate Administrator Rob Grodecki's departure last month.

The timeline of the council proceedings can be found in red below, tie 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 July 25, 2013 (when posted)

In Attendance July 25, 2013

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

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

Video Archive for July 25, 2013
Audio Archive for July 25, 2013 (not available yet)

(0:00- 1:30) The Mayor opened up the afternoon's proceedings with the adoption of the Agenda and then a discussion of a variance application.

(1:30-4:00) City Planner Tony Krekic outlined the nature of the application and his observations on the proposal, with the recommendation that it be adopted.

(4:00-5:00) Councillor Thorkelson had one inquiry on the nature of sidewalks on 11th and following that discussion the motion was passed.

(5:00-5:30) The Mayor then called for any other items of note for discussion and with none brought forward brought the Special public session to a close, calling for a three minute break before council met in an in camera session.

You can access the City Council Review page for July 25th 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.

City Council Session (Special Session) July 25, 2013

Special session of Council for July 25, 2013

Home page and archive of sessions can be found here.

Live Broadcast of session can be found here.

North Coast Preview of Special session for July 25, 2013

Agenda/Notice for Special session of Council for July 25, 2013

Info to Council

July 24, 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 Special Session of Council July 25, 2013 (not available yet)

Audio Recording of July 25, 2013  (not available yet)

Video Recording of July 25, 2013 

North Coast Review City Council Timeline July 25, 2013 

North Coast Reviews Items on July 8th Session of Council

News items from the July 8th Council session

Mayor to push province for resolution to Sun Wave saga

Mayor Jack Mussallem, his frustration growing it seems by the day with the nature of the ongoing tale of Watson Island and Sun Wave, is apparently at the point where he says "enough is enough", that at least from an article in Wednesday's Northern View.

The article (which you can read from the Northern Connector portal here page A2) highlights the nature of the City's concerns over the Sun Wave file, which as we outlined on the blog on July 15th made yet another appearance on the listings of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

The Northern View advised on Wednesday that Sun Wave has already filed a notice of appeal, a process which the Mayor says they are entitled to, but one which he would seem to have had his fill of, considering the length of time that it's taking to bring it all to an end.

And while the recent court decision is a sign of forward momentum, the pace of delivery from the burdens of the Sun Wave case is clearly weighing on the Mayor's mind.

In the Northern View article, the Mayor outlines that the City will be approaching the provincial government to take action.

The Mayor and City it  would seem will be looking to Coralee Oakes, the Minister who is overseeing the Local Government files, to make use of provisions of the Municipal Enabling and Validating Act to bring an end to the Sun Wave appeals.

Watson Island and Sun Wave is a topic that City Council has discussed a number of times in their past sessions ( a good number of them of the closed variety), the theme on seeking assistance from the provincial government explored both in February as we recorded on our City Council timeline (56 minutes mark) and again more recently in April 8  (60 minute mark.

The Mayor says the City will also raise the issue at the upcoming UBCM conference in September, putting forward a resolution to change legislation that will help other communities avoid the long running and financially draining drama that Prince Rupert has faced over the last few years.

You can refresh your memory on the lengthy files of Watson Island from our archives.

Dempsey Bob receives Officer of the Order of Canada appointment

A Northwest British Columbia resident, one who has received accolades from around the world for his work in carving, has been awarded one of the highest of civilian orders by the Governor General David Johnston.

Dempsey Bob, the world renowned Tlingit/Thaltan carver from Telegraph Creek, has been carving and teaching for over 40 years, his work showcased in museums and galleries across BC, Canada around the world. Sought out by many as a mentor and teacher, his work has showcased Northwest art for over four decades.

In June he gained one more notice of appreciation, as he was appointed as an officer of the Order of Canada, one of 34 Officers named, along with 40 members listed as appointed.

Recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to take place at a later date.

While remaining active in carving, Dempsey Bob currently is also a senior advisor to the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Arts, a position he has held since the School was created in 2006, part of the campus of Northwest Community College.

The college took justifiable pride in announcing his appointment to the Order of Canada with this press release, which outlines his importance and impact to the program at NWCC.

MLA Rice questions Minister on health and infrastructure issues related to LNG development

Jennifer Rice raised more questions on the theme of LNG development on Wednesday at the Legislature, as the North Coast NDP MLA made a string of inquiries of the Minister of Health, Dr. Terry Lake.

Speaking on wide range of topics, mainly on matters of health concerns for the North Coast and with it, questions on whether an assessment had been conducted by the government on the nature of physical and social health impacts on residents of the Northwest regarding the prospect of multiple LNG plants and other industrial activity for the region.

While I recognize that this assessment was started before the government began promoting LNG in earnest, I was wondering if thoughts have been given to a similar assessment on how multiple LNG plants, as well as other expanded industrial activity, would affect the physical and the social health of the residents of northwest British Columbia. ...  I've had many people concerned about just the impacts of increasing industrial development in the northwest, particularly in Prince Rupert and Kitimat. I'm curious to know…. Do you think there might be a community outreach or similar outreach to that done in the northeast on the concerns of residents? Or would that fall under the Ministry of Environment, under environmental assessment? -- MLA Rice, at the Legislature on Wednesday

The MLA also touched on an issue close to the heart of her previous colleagues at Prince Rupert City Hall, seeking further information regarding the pressures of industrial development on local health systems and infrastructures. As we've outlined on the blog in the past, the growing file of Industrial issues is weighing heavily on the minds of Prince Rupert City Council, a theme that the MLA brough to the Legislature on Wednesday

Again, similarly, looking at the pressures from industrial development in the northwest, I'm curious to know if there will be any study or analysis done on the pressures on the health system, specifically — on hospitals, on health care providers — because of the influx of people. For example, in Prince Rupert, they're looking at building a camp for 3,000 people. I know, as a former city councillor, that the city is struggling to deal with current infrastructure issues as it is, let alone having an influx of that kind of population. -- MLA Rice, Wednesday at the legislature, speaking on issues of infrastructure challenges from increased industrial development

Her LNG commentary, was part of a larger overview of questioning during the Wednesday session, where the North Coast MLA inquired on a number of matters on health care, Pharma Care issues and First Nations health concerns across the riding.

You can review her entire presentation and the responses from the Minister, all of which takes place from 3:35PM until 4:15PM of the Wednesday afternoon session, the minutes of the Legislature session can be found here.  (scroll down to 1525 on the right hand side)

The Video archive of the various exchanges can be accessed from the House Video archives

Rupert's take from Community Gaming $425,000

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation has released its annual report on Community Gaming statistics and for the City of Prince Rupert the 2012-13 share of the money generated at the Chances Gaming Centre will come in at $425,000, up from last years share of $404,000.

That money is delivered through Community Grants from the provincial government, distributed to local governments by way of Community Gaming Centre and Casino revenues in each host community.

The breakdown on the numbers from the floor show that Bingo revenue in Prince Rupert for 2012-13 was $1,060,000, based on the 136 available seats in the Bingo section of the Gaming Centre.

Visitors to the Chances Prince Rupert location clearly like the slots, as the slot machines at the Community Gaming Centre provided revenues of $7,168,000 for 2012-13.

The increase in the Community Grant figures destined for Prince Rupert, come despite a slight decrease in Total Community Revenues for the last year.

According to the Annual Report review revenue in Prince Rupert for 2012-13 was reported at $8,228,000, down from numbers in 2011-12 which saw $8,368,000 reported by BCLC.

Gaming revenue is determined by "net win" which is revenue after prizes are paid, the Bingo revenue is recorded as "sales", revenue before prizes are paid.

By comparison, to the east, Terrace's Gaming Centre provided revenues of $11,834,000 in 2012-13, compared to $10,900,000 in 2011-12.

That will translate into a grant of $626,000 to that City, up significantly from the 2011-12 numbers of $561,000.

Across British Columbia last year the province reports some 84.5 million dollars will be delivered to 31 Host Local Governments, money destined to fund local programs.

You can review the full report from the BCLC website

Jobs, Jobs, did they mention Jobs?

The rather enthusiastic welcome by some, to the prospect of LNG development on the North Coast is proving to be a major generator of statistical review.

Making for much discussion as to just how many and what kind of employment prospects could soon be available, if and/or when, some of the many proposed LNG plants make their appearance on the north coast  shoreline.

A report issued this week highlights the oncoming wave of potential job opportunities tied into the development of LNG infrastructure, though for a good many of the jobs some form of previous training and in some cases, specialized training will be required to step into the opening day lineup.

The findings are based on the working assumption that five LNG projects will gain eventual approval in the province.

The Report "B. C. Natural Gas Workforce Strategy and Action Plan" suggests that more than 75,000 full time workers will be required for the Labour Force related to LNG development and processing.

You can review the full report here.

Based on the prospect of those five projects, the breakdown on employment prospects is as follows.

2,400 to operate the LNG plants and 61,700 to drill, process and transport the gas to plants.

Prior to the five plants projected entering their operational phase, the construction work force could number over 60,000, 21,600 directly involved in the construction process, 41,900 working in industries that provide goods and services to the construction sector.

With such a surge of job opportunities anticipated by the provincial government, staffing positions and providing training will seemingly be a key aspect of future development.

Towards that the report calls for co-ordination with various school programs to provide local labour pools with the opportunity for training and opportunities to work on LNG related projects, as well information sessions will be planned to attempt to attract people from outside Northern British Columbia to work on the projects.

Some reviews (with varying levels of the totals of possible employment) of the report can be found below.

Vancouver Sun-- B. C's LNG export industry could provide 75,000 permanent jobs, report claims
Business in Vancouver -- Victoria natural gas workforce strategy highlights gaps in critical positions for LNG projects
CBC-- LNG to bring more than 100,000 jobs to B. C., says report
Global News BC-- Report says 135,000 jobs open for LNG in BC Five LNG export facilities could mean 75,000 permanent jobs

5.0 earthquake strikes off West Coast of Vancouver Island

Another shift of the plates of the West Coast, this one just northwest of Port Hardy as a 5.0 earthquake was reported at just before 6 AM this morning.

The quake took place on one of the two fault lines that intersect just south of Haida Gwaii, Friday morning's rumble was located 185 km North of the tip of Vancouver Island, west of Port Alice, B. C.

The quake was recorded to have a depth of 10 km or 6.2 miles.

No Tsunami Warning or watch was generated by the Friday morning event.

The most recent event previous to the earthquake this morning was on Haida Gwaii which recorded a 4.0 temblor on July 16th.

Reports on today's event can be found below

Thursday, July 25, 2013

10,000 visitors and counting for Port Interpretive Centre

Open but a little over a year and already the Port of Prince Rupert's Port Interpretive Centre appears to have become a must see destination for locals and visitors alike.

The Centre celebrated it's 10,000th visitor on Wednesday, as a local family the Amante's showed off the  sights of the hometown to their uncle from Rossland, BC.

The Port's President and CEO, Don Krusel celebrated the 10,000th visitor to the Centre with souvenirs for the Amante's, to commemorate their visit and herald the success of the Interpretive centre.

Opened in June of 2012, the local attraction outlines the nature of Port Development and offers up a vision of what it all may look like should visitors come back in a few years time seeking a progress report.

The Interpretive Centre features exhibits on the history of First Nations culture and trade in the region, the vision of Charles Hays for a northwest port and development of a city, the passage of time through World War II and its importance of the port and on to the current development of the Northwest's Pacific Gateway.

Located in the lower level of the Atlin Terminal, the Centre provides a hands on and interactive look at the Port. Offering a chance for some self exploration, or the opportunity to learn more through guided tours.

Featuring free admission, the Interpretive Centre is open seven days a week between 9 AM and 6:30 PM until August 31st,  the schedule of hours for the remainder of the year is available at the Centre's website.

Word of the attraction spreads quickly and while now well known in the community, it's also gaining some note among tourist destination sites.  The listing of Attractions in Prince Rupert currently ranks the Port Interpretive Centre at number 6 on the Must do list for visitors to Prince Rupert.

You can learn more about Wednesday's celebration here and you discover more about the Port Interpretive Centre here.

City Council to hold Special Council Meeting Thursday afternoon

It looks like Prince Rupert City Councils, siesta from civic governance will have an interruption after all, with notice of a Special session of City Council posted to the City's website on Wednesday afternoon, advising that the Special session will take place Thursday at 5 PM in Council chambers.

Council had originally voted to cancel it's July 29th session and not meet in regular session again until August 19th, however there was the advisory mentioned at the time, that they could gather in Council chambers if the need arose (and of course if a quorum can be found).

There's not much information on what has spurred Council on to gather, a short twitter note on the City's twitter feed advises that among some of the topics for the afternoon session will be Development Variance Permit: Prince Rupert RV Campground and for 930 11th Avenue East.

The usual package of Agenda notes for regular sessions has not been provided for on the City's website, so we'll all have to wait until 5 PM to see what else may come for discussion when Council members take their seats.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Prince Rupert Port Authority starts Marine procedures review

With the Port of Prince Rupert anticipating quick growth over the next decade, the need for planning and review of many of the port's processes is underway, with a variety of measures set to be put in place to move the Port forward as one of Canada's most important gateways.

As part of their ongoing efforts towards the goal of a safe harbour, the Prince Rupert Port Authority has started a review of its practices and procedures, seeking to identify, measure and create benchmarks of navigational risk for the Prince Rupert harbour.

Part of that process was a Marine Risk Analysis conducted last year for the Port by Det Norske Veritas, that report offers up some of the factors involved in considering future steps for Marine Safety at the Port, you can review the findings from that Risk Analysis here..

That analysis will serve as a background piece for the public and will be useful as a guide towards the goal of minimizing the risks as vessel traffic grows through the Port's various terminals.

Included in some of the measures under consideration are additional anchorage destinations, patrol boat escorts, tug availability and escorts.

Other possible considerations will include navigation corridors, "no-go zones", berth design requirements, radar coverage and navigational aid enhancements.

A full review of the Port's review of practices and policies can be found at the PRPA website.

The Port is seeking out the contributions from residents of Prince Rupert, welcoming feedback on questions of safe shipping measures for the North Coast, should you wish to contribute you can submit your questions or observations to the port at

A City name fit for a future King?

This will be no doubt our only post and comment on the newest member of the Royal family, well barring a Royal visit to the North Coast we imagine.

Though the graphic from the National Post all but jumped out at us and with no name delivered as of yet for the young son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Rupertites can hold out hope that Rupert will again be fashionable in high society...

Middle left hand side for local Royalists looking for a local connection.

For those looking to place a wager (somehow we doubt that Chances has a tote board for your use) here are the odds of all the names suggested for the Royal Heir to be...

Rupert checks in at 50 to 1 by the way.

Should the Royal Couple put the North Coast back on the map with a Prince Rupert, perhaps we'll have to send a baby gift after all,

Maybe the city seeking to find some extra cash in these financially troubled times, should put a wager down and try to cash in on some of the 1.8 million dollars in bets already made.

Should Rupert pay off, it could be as they say a win-win...

Update:  All bow to the city to the East... Mayor Mussallem can hold off on the baby gift collection,  the Royal baby's name will be known as George Alexander Louis...

So Prince George Mayor Shari Green can begin putting together the baby gifts we imagine

For those that found a bookmaker, George was listed at 2 to 1 odds, clearly we would have found a larger financial reward had Rupert prevailed...

Late Breaking Update:

Apparently residents of Prince Rupert can still hold out some hope of Royal glory one day ...

Remain calm and project patience Rupertites, patience...

North Coast MLA Rice speaks on LNG in Legislature

The topic was one of high interest during the north coast election campaign, and NDP MLA Jennifer Rice brought some of her thoughts on the topic of LNG development to the Legislature on Monday.

In the morning session of the Legislature proceedings, Ms. Rice spoke in debate on the theme of resource development and reviewed for the Legislature many of the points she had made during the election campaign.

She called for "real leadership" in resource management, seeking to build sustainable and healthy communities. Suggesting that the government look beyond an immediate return and instead examine the long term impact of decisions that are made.

On the topic of LNG, she outlined her concerns over the pace and nature of development, by drawing a comparison to the process of development in a part of Australia. A process which she says has been proven inefficient, suggesting that it was a path that British Columbia was about to travel down.

"In Australia three LNG plants were constructed by three different companies right beside each other. This has proven inefficient. Here in B.C. it appears we, too, similarly are going down this path. If we truly believe in sustainable natural resource development, we need to examine cumulative impacts of multiple developments. Land and marine use planning is critical to managing the sustainability of resources. That also means considering ecosystem and social values and not just gross domestic product values." -- MLA Jennifer Rice, speaking on LNG development in the Legislature on Monday

Going back to her theme on sustainable development, she offered up her belief that the province needs to examine the cumulative impacts of multiple developments, calling into question what she said was a process that fast tracks the projects as soon as possible, calling it a boom and bust approach that is devastating for rural and remote communities.

Her review of more sustainable development for the Legislature also introduced the approach and treatment by Government to First Nations and their territories, as well as the impact that development has on them.

Governments have apologized for the ways in which they have treated aboriginal peoples over times past, yet we continuously invite First Nations to participate in the very system we apologized for, one that stole their land and removed their rights. For surrendering forests for pipelines, lakes for tailing ponds and sacred headwaters for gas exploration, we offer in exchange a few dollars and what those in the developed world yield as a given right, such as quality education, good health care and decent housing. While we apologize for a system that has stripped First Nations of their natural resources and culture, we continuously invite them back into the same system.-- MLA Jennifer Rice, speaking Monday at the Legislature, on the impact of resource development and relations with First Nations

MLA Rice also outlined how, in her opinion, adopting more sustainable practices would help in building communities, planning for future growth in British Columbia and fight climate change.

The BCNDP  caucus posted her speech to their YouTube portal this week, you can review it below.
Her wide ranging overview of the topics can be found from the Legislature record, it is also archived on the Video Record (select House Video from the July 22nd morning session)  Ms. Rice's contribution runs from 11:20 to 11:25 AM on the house archive.

Scott Road incident highlights Council's port traffic concerns

It fortunately was an incident that only resulted in a container truck laying on its side at the Scott Road turn off to the Fairview Container Port.

However, Tuesday's container truck roll over on Park Avenue would seem to reinforce the concerns of some city councillors over the nature of truck traffic, the majority of it travelling through the city, bound for the container port.

Prior to their five week summer break, City Council discussed the current level of truck traffic travelling along McBride, 2nd Avenue West and Park Avenue on its way through the city, giving some thought to a suggestion that the city approach the Ministry of Highways to reduce the speed limit for the large trucks that travel through the city, sometimes in convoy's of three and four.

The proposal would be a measure to offer up safer streets in the downtown core, while the Port moves forward on its bypass routewhich will steer container traffic towards Ridley Island by way of a coastal road from Fairview to the south.

That however is a project that is still a bit away from being put in use, though progress on the planning of the connecting road continues, anticipated to be part of the Phase Two Expansion's second stage  with an original target of being in service by 2015.

Until then, caution on the roads will no doubt be of concern to city council, Tuesday's accident perhaps used as a way to reinforce the message of safety through the city.

You can review council's concerns from the July 8th session from our account of the meeting here.

Both Prince Rupert Fire Rescue and the RCMP responded to the Tuesday incident which took place around 9 AM,  no injuries were reported from the roll over, which at the moment has been attributed possibly to a load shift within the container.

The incident brought traffic to the container to a standstill until the accident scene could be cleared, the container still resting on its side, remained at the side of the road through the afternoon.

Media accounts of Tuesday's incident can be found below:

Northern View-- No injuries reported in overturned semi

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 out of 10 for Presentation!

As we mentioned on the blog yesterday, the City of Prince Rupert has trumpeted the arrival of mobile device accessibility for parts of the City's website and the always popular City Council sessions.

A rather welcome step along the technological highway and the delivery of information and presentation.

Yet, even with that much anticipated step into the future, compared to some other communities, alas Prince Rupert may still be but a black and white TV in a world of High Def devices.

While improving steadily, the Prince Rupert website and presentation of civic governance, still doesn't have quite the same resolution and information delivery as sites such as the City of Prince George or the City of Vancouver.

And when it comes to presentation and the goal of getting the community to watch the pursuit of good government local style, well in presentation, all should take a back seat to the City of Whitehorse, or to be more precise, community access television in that community.

Northwestel Community Television 9 in the Yukon capital is trying to attract viewers for Whitehorse City Council and towards that goal they have produced a coming attractions trailer, which on the scale of Coming Attractions trailers is clearly rating at 10 out of 10 on the scale of Awesome.

As the National Post points out in this review of the Whitehorse epic, the theme of Game of Thrones seems to work its magic and while perhaps over reaching in a world of variance development permits and backyard chickens (which probably are not the theme of a blockbuster), if presented with the right approach, as it it is in Whitehorse, it all could be quite riveting.

So, with an eye towards our neighbours to the north in Whitehorse, we have started thinking...

Just what might a Prince Rupert Council film trailer look like, if CityWest Channel 10 wanted to go Hollywood North?

What kind of a theme, or call out to past movies or television could we possibly see?

Some observers of the political scene at Council may pay homage to the classics, or perhaps to a more modern fable of civic government.

With the Watson Island situation so dominant over the years, perhaps a theme along a recent Leonardo DeCaprio feature might make a nice storyline.

Oh the options we imagine are endless, and here's where we'll turn it over to our loyal readers and civic observers, soliciting your suggestions, as to what such a trailer for Prince Rupert City Council could look like.

Your trailer suggestions, which you can make in the comments field below, could just snare CityWest a coveted Oscar or Emmy award nomination, or surely at least, a Canadian Screen Award...

Who knows, your suggestion, could make every second Monday night (subject to schedule change), Prince Rupert's destination TV night.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen adds his voice to Skeena fishery concerns

The MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, spoke out on the state of the North Coast Fishery yesterday, urging the Federal Government and Pacific Salmon Commission to take action to protect Canadian Fishermen and Canadian Fish stocks in a troubled salmon season.

Nathan Cullen, echoed concerns raised last week by a coalition of salmon conservation groups, suggesting that fishing to the north of the A-B line by Southeast Alaska fishermen, may be contributing to this season's anticipated low returns to the Skeena water system.

As we outlined on the blog last week, the coalition raised a red flag over fishing practices in Alaska, which they suggest is resulting in too many of the Canadian bound salmon  being caught by the Alaskans, before the fish can return to the Skeena.

The MP has called on the Federal Government to not only take action on this crisis, but to spend more money on actual science to try and better understand why the return numbers have dropped to the low levels anticipated for this summer's run.

He is looking for better monitoring in the future of the runs, in order  to determine if the Alaskan's taking a larger haul, is the cause of the latest Skeena troubles.

Alaska officials say that they have not heard any official complaints about fishing practices in Southeast Alaska and advise that they have no plans to change their fishing plan over the next six weeks of the Southeast Alaska salmon season.

Mr. Cullen was recently in Anchorage, Alaska attending a Pacific Northwest regional conference on the economy, energy and the environment, though there is no indication that the salmon troubles were discussed at that conference.

The MP has also been touring various parts of the riding over the last few days, most recently having spent time on Haida Gwaii and the Central Coast.

CFTK-- MP Nathan Cullen Calls on Feds to Aid in Skeena Sockeye Crisis
CFTK-- Cullen Skeena Sockeye (video)
CFTK-- Skeena Sockeye returns (video)

Business owners eligible for financial assistance for facade improvement

With the recent economic downturn, you don't have to look too far around the downtown area to see the evidence that  a few years off of store front image maintenance can leave things looking just a little worse for wear.

With the front display for many a business one of the most important aspects of any commercial operation, presenting a modern, up to date and welcoming front entrance could be one of the keys to increased customers and sales.

For those business owners in the Downtown or Cow Bay areas needing a little help, the opportunity to spruce up their introduction to the public has arrived by way of the Prince Rupert Facade Improvement Program.

The City of Prince Rupert introduced the program last week, with an outline of the program posted to the city website. The notice details the nature of the program and what it can provide to business owners by way a 25 per cent reimbursement grant of up to a maximum of $5,000 per building, dedicated to the improvement of the facades of existing buildings in the two target areas.

Projects that are eligible for the reimbursement by way of the one time grant, must have a minimum total cost of $4,000 to qualify and cannot exceed the maximum of $200,000.

The program is being administered through the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corporation.

The Project review and selection process will be conducted by a group of 3 to 5 members from the community and will be chaired by Derek Baker, the Prince Rupert Economic Development Officer.

Successful grant applicants have until December 31, 2013 to complete their facade improvement projects.

The Application Guide and Application Form are both available through links to the City of Prince Rupert website.

News items on the facade improvement program can be found below.

July 31-- Downtown business: on the rebound? (N View e edition page A3)

Monday, July 22, 2013

WestJet Encore selects Terrace for First Northwest entry point

The race to bring WestJet Encore to a Northwest airport is seemingly over, with word delivered today that the Western Canadian based airline will be flying out of the Terrace Airport.

The Northwest was shut out of the original destination sweepstakes earlier this year, when WestJet announced its new regional service, announcing 28 destinations across Canada.

Both Prince Rupert and Terrace airport officials made presentations last year, in the hope of luring the new regional carrier to one of the three gateways of the region.

The Terrace Standard jumped the gun on the announcement, posting an item on line early on Monday morning, an article which generated quite a bit of twitter buzz, before it was quickly taken down leading to a dead link to the paper's website.

Their enthusiasm was matched by the wider Black Press portal, which issued a twitter note to the WestJet welcoming, with a link that also led to the recently removed item.

CFNR joined in on the twitter frenzy over the WestJet mania with their own tweet, shortly before the official announcement, advising that the cost of flying would be 99 dollars, a cost that will be the introduction to WestJet service in the region.

All of the suspense and false starts came to an end at 12:45, when WestJet issued their official and longer lasting announcement.

WestJet and Terrace Airport officials confirmed in their press release that the Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop service would indeed be including the Northwest on the travel destination and arrivals boards.

Service will start on November 25th and feature two flights a day to start, with that introductory fare of 99 dollars.

Flights will depart from Vancouver at 11:40 am, arriving in Terrace at 1:22
An evening flight will leave Vancouver at 9:30 PM arriving in Terrace at 11:12 PM

Return Flights to Vancouver will start with a 6 AM morning flight, arriving in Vancouver at 7:30 AM
The Afternoon flight will depart at 1:55 PM arriving in Vancouver at 3:26PM

The rumour of a WestJet entry to the Terrace airport stretches back to last year, when local Terrace media outlets suggested that the airline had interest in that city's airport

WestJet began its Encore service in June a much anticipated arrival in the Canadian air passenger industry, one which many Canadians hope spurs on lower air fares to many destinations.

For Northwest residents, the arrival of WestJet provides one more travel option to Vancouver, though for Prince Rupert residents, that option will require a road trip inland to catch a flight.

The arrival of WestJet could and most likely will, have some impact on passenger levels going through YPR, the Prince Rupert airport, though most likely more so during the spring and summer months than in the winter.

With the official word finally issued the Terrace media began their delivery of their stories on the new addition to the flightplans of the Northwest

Terrace Standard-- WestJet adds Terrace this fall
CFNR-- WestJet Announces Terrace to Vancouver Service
CFTK-- West Jet Terrace (video)
CFTK-- WestJet to Begin Serving Terrace in November
Opinion 250-- WestJet launches Vancouver-Terrace flight

You can review our past Air Transportation items from our archives.