Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vacation calling... A wee bit of a break from blogging

Hello faithful followers of the blog.

As you read this early morning missive, the car has been loaded up and is pointing down the highway, destination anywhere as Bon Jovi might say.

Today, we commence a head start on the Labour Day weekend and the end of summer that it heralds, the GPS unit at the ready to lead wherever the data inputs provide for.

Depending on the travels ahead, we anticipate a return to our review of the developments of the North Coast around the 10th of September or so.

But hey, check back from time to time, we may just miss the place and make an early return (or the more likely possibility, we may just run out of vacation money).

Some of the following may, or may not reflect the travels ahead over the next two weeks or so...



. . .


Friday, August 23, 2013

Just pulled into port...

The Prince Rupert Port Authority had the camera pretty handy this morning when this luxury yacht pulled into Prince Rupert Harbour, offering up a snapshot through twitter, as the Vibrant Curiosity arrived at dock in Prince Rupert.

Reportedly owned by German Billionaire Reinhold Wurth (though not surprisingly, not much is revealed about the owner) the yacht has been travelling up and down the Pacific coast in this summer of 2013.

Frequently however, vessels such as the Vibrant Curiosity are chartered out, so you may or may not stumble across a Billionaire around town today.

For those wondering about the Vibrant Curiosity (and maybe it's owner), some research notes can be found below...

Vibrant Curiosity
Motor Yacht Vibrant Curiosity
Whose Boat? 280 foot super yacht turns heads in Lake Union
German Entrepreneur Christens Yacht as Workers Take Pay Cuts
German Billionaire Takes "Discreet" Possession of Megayacht

However, we believe that Bruce Springsteen offers up perhaps the best advice for local viewing...

Oh summer, are you really leaving us?

The signs of the fall are fast approaching, the School Notices are starting to arrive heralding the start of a new school year, the Prince Rupert Rampage have taken to the ice, in training for another year of CIHL hockey and the weather, well the weather of the last week has truly been at times quite inclined towards fall.

But this, this is the surest sign yet, that the summer is coming to an end...

Yes, the Sears Wish book has arrived, or is arriving at your door step over the next few days.

This edition marks the 61st publication of one of the more anticipated and probably most well thumbed publications for many Canadians.

Still, August may seem like a bit of a rush on the Christmas season and we're pretty sure that most of us aren't quite ready to let summer slip away, just yet anyways.

But, the thunk in your mailbox testifies that time is marching on for 2013!

For those needing a heads up, there are 123 shopping days until Christmas...

Terrace gets its moment in the Sun... The Vancouver Sun

The prospect of industrial growth is sending Journalists north to see what's on the cups of development and this time around it's the Vancouver Sun dispatching Gordon Hoekstra to check out the Northwest.

The Vancouver Sun journalist set up camp in the Terrace area to take stock of all the talk of development, the main review of his exploration being the Northwest Transmission Line,  a Run of River electric project, Rio Tinto's Alcan modernization project, mining projects and of course the exploratory work on the LNG files of the Northwest.

The majority of the  article examines the impact on the Terrace area of much of these developments.

The article offers up a sense of the anticipation in that community as some of the major industrial projects of the Northwest begin to take shape, with that community seemingly preparing to take advantage of its location and the interest in the Northwest that will be flowing through the Terrace area.

You can review the article here.

CEAA makes twin announcements for North Coast LNG projects

The media release office of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency was busy this week, with a pair of announcements regarding two LNG proposals for the North Coast.

The first deals with the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project, with the announcement that the deadline for Public Comments has been extended  to September 20, 2013.

As well as that extension of deadline the CEAA also revealed that the Agency is making funding available to support the participation of the public and of Aboriginal groups in the Federal Environmental Assessment of the Pacific Northwest LNG Project.  The deadline to submit an application for funding has also been extended to September 20, 2013.  Those individuals and groups how have already submitted an application do not need to re apply.

Background on the Participant Funding Program can be found here.

Details on the twin announcements regarding Pacific Northwest LNG can be found here.

The CEAA also released details regarding available funding for the Prince Rupert LNG project, with funding being made available for members of the public of Aboriginal groups to participate in the upcoming stage of the environment assessment.

Those wishing to participate in the process of Assessment for the Prince Rupert LNG project can make an application  to the Participant Funding Program. The deadline for application regarding this project is September 27th.

Background on the Participant Funding Program can be found here.

Details on the Prince Rupert LNG project Funding announcement can be found here.

Successful applicants and the amount of funding for both projects will be announced at a later date.

For a review of all of the proposed LNG projects on the North Coast we have a project by project breakdown available on our archives here, as well as an overall listing of items related to LNG development here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bad to Worse for Celebrity Millennium Cruises

The ill-fated journey's of the Celebrity Millennium will come to an end for the month of August and September, as the Alaska Cruise line that departs weekly out of Vancouver cancels all future sailings on the Alaska tour for 2013.

As we outlined on the blog on Tuesday, the Millennium has had a troubled August, with frequent breakdowns, leaving passengers to have less than the anticipated exploration of the Alaskan coast.

In early August, the Millennium broke down near Seward, Alaska, this past weekend the vessel had it's mechanical issues near Ketchikan, resulting in the vessel returning to port to try and remedy the propulsion troubles that have dogged its travels through the month.

As Ketchikan public radio station KRBD outlines, that return to port seemingly left a good portion of the passenger base less than satisfied, with some on board making emergency 911 calls to the Ketchikan Police Department late Tuesday night, seemingly fearful that a riot was about to break out.

The cruise line is downplaying the issue, suggesting it was a case of mis-communication on events involving the vessels mechanical troubles. As for the future for the passengers, they be leaving Ketchikan by chartered flights arranged by Celebrity, they will receive a full refund for their current cruise and vouchers towards a future trip.

The mishaps of the vessel have made for a constant flow of contributions to the Cruise Critic website.

As for the Millennium, Celebrity announced that it will be taken out of service for the remainder of the Alaska Cruise season, with repairs to be completed in time for it's next shift in cruise destinations to
a number of ports in Asia.

Other items of note on the troubled cruise itinerary and the impact that it had on Ketchikan can be found below.

KRBD -- Millennium done for the season, port shuffles ships
KRBD-- Millennium cruise canceled, passengers to fly out
Vancouver Province-- Alaskan cruise cancelled after ship runs into maintenance trouble after leaving Vancouver
USA Today-- Second cruise in a day canceled after power problem

Expanding focus on Trade with Asia has some seeking larger naval presence on West Coast

With two Gateways to Asia on the West Coast now, Canada has set its focus on Asian trade and expanding relationships with the countries of the Pacific Rim.

With that expanding presence across the Pacific, some defence planners are suggesting that the time has come for a larger military presence on the West Coast to take place, mainly by way of an increase in the  number of naval vessels tasked to West Coast duties.

And while the Federal Government doesn't seem inclined to increase the budget for the West Coast fleet, there are some suggestions that transferring assets from east to west coast, could help to re-balance the current allocation of naval resources for both Atlantic and Pacific fleets.

With Prince Rupert quickly becoming a major transportation hub on the Pacific Ocean, the desire for an increased Navy presence in the region continues to grow.

And while some would like to see a more permanent presence for the Navy on the North Coast, perhaps in the form of  an increased reliance on reserve vessels, most if not all of any possible additions to the Pacific coast fleet from the east, will more than likely be based out of CFB Esquimalt in Victoria.

The current make up of the Royal Canadian Navy, Pacific Fleet is as follows:

Maritime Forces Pacific
Maritime Forces Pacific Command Team

With the number of port calls increasing each year, the focus of Prince Rupert for the Royal Canadian Navy remains an ongoing theme, not only in the nature of possible Search and Rescue requirements, but as well as for border and coastal integrity with a growing number of port calls arriving in harbour.

An indication as to some of that interest can be found in a You Tube presentation from last year, following a tour by Rear Admiral Nigel S. Greenwood, of the Royal Canadian Navy, who provided some observations on the growing stature of the Port with the Navy.


Some background on the wide range of talking points about a Pacific focus to National Defence can be found below.

Victoria Times Colonist-- Shift warships from Halifax to CFB Esquimalt defence analysts urge
Halifax Chronicle Herald-- Navy could shift to Pacific
Ottawa Citizen-- Should the Royal Canadian Navy Transfer Warships...
CFAX-- Deploying Canada's naval resources
Atlantic Council-- Canada's ability to defend its shores will be vital in the coming years
The Ruxted Group-- Far Distant Ships: Looking at the future of Canada's Navy
David S. McDonough-- The Royal Canadian Navy in the Pacific - A look at capabilities

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

City Council puts Airport Regionalization issue further down the schedule

While they made quick work of the request for a loan authorization agreement of 7 million dollars for the Prince Rupert Airport Authority (see item here).

Prince Rupert City Council will give the larger issue of Airport Regionalization a little more thought.

As we outlined on the blog on Monday, the proposal that would see the City seek out financial assistance for the airport from neighbouring communities was one of the key items on their agenda for Monday night.

However when the time came for discussion on the topic, Councillor Anna Ashley put forward a motion to defer discussion to a later date. A delay in the conversation on the topic in order to provide Council with a chance to attend a workshop on the topic and expand their review of the various proposals that they have been provided for consideration.

The proposal was first introduced by Mayor Jack Mussallem on June 24th as part of his Mayor's report review.

At that time  he asked the City Manager Robert Long, to prepare a report on the subject.  however the Mayor was not in attendance at Monday evenings session, so his input on the options provided by staff could not be heard.

The bid to create a more Regional approach to the Airport's funding, could prove to be a fairly interesting topic of discussion heading into the fall, with the neighbouring communities no doubt keeping a watchful eye on the City of Prince Rupert's recommendations.

Councillor Ashley seemingly would like Council to have a full appreciation of the proposed options, before they take their quest to neighbouring communities.

Council's short review of the topic can be found on our City Council Timeline, the City's Video Archive will provide the conversation from the 1 hour thirty one minute to one hour thirty five minute mark of the August 19th video session.

You can review the report compiled by the City Manager here from pages 89 to 91 of the August 19th agenda.

Council next meets in public session on September 9th.

You car review our past items of interest on the Prince Rupert airport from our Air Transportation archive.

The Canucks are heading north

For three days in September, North Coast residents can truly claim that "we are all Canucks".

The Vancouver Canucks have announced that the NHL team will be making a special team visit to the North Coast, spending three days on the North Coast from September 7th to 10th.

The journey north will see the Canucks visit Prince Rupert's Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on Saturday September 7th at 2 PM,  participating in a traditional drum welcome from the Tsimshian First Nation.

Following that ceremony, the Canucks will take part in a fan meet and greet in partnership with radio station CFNR, which is offering up the opportunity for listeners to attend that session. (see details regarding the meet and greet here)

On Tuesday, the Canucks head to Old Masset on Haida Gwaii, where they will receive another official welcome at the Old Masset Community Hall.

The trip to the North Coast is part of a team activity at the West Coast Fishing Club, a team bonding experience that will prepare the Canucks for their 2012-14 season.

You can learn more about their trip north from this press release from the Canucks.

RCMP seek guidance of council on long board issue

One of the frequent topics of discussion around the Council chamber this summer has been the increasing amount of long boarders on the streets of the city, a few of which don't seem to have much in the way of concern for personal safety or civic minded behaviour.

To address that issue, the RCMP made a presentation to Monday's council session as Constable Maury Tyre provided an overview of the current situation in the city as well as offering up some thoughts for council to consider, as they seek to move the issue forward.

Forming his presentation as a way of seeking guidance from Council, the constable offered up a number of themes on safety for the long board enthusiasts, possible enforcement actions and the prospect that perhaps some streets in the city could feature a ban on such activities as long boarding and roller blading.

The full review of his presentation can be found on our City Council timeline, with the City Video Archive hosting his almost 20 minute review as well. The Constable's time with council runs from the 20 minute mark to the 38 minute mark.

The main thrust of his discussion was to seek out better communication with the long boarders, perhaps hosting a safety session and to engage with the School District to provide information on the quest for safety on the streets.

He did suggest that with the long board season almost at an end as the fall approaches, that much of the work ahead would be to plan for the Spring and a comprehensive approach to the issue.

Among some of the key points that he would like to see Council consider is whether they wish to have a complete ban of the long boards on city streets or perhaps seek out a combination of safety education and bylaw enforcement as an answer to Council concerns.

Towards the latte aspect he offered up the prospect of Council providing for an information campaign regarding potential fines for offences, with a warning period to introduce the concept, followed by a set date for enforcement of the fines, while he outlined that the current fine would be around 25 dollars, Councillor Carlick-Pearson expressed the thought that the amount may be too light and suggested an escalating scale of fines, with eventual confiscation for repeat offenders.

She also suggested that the monies collected from any such fine be put toward a fund that would provide for helmets for those in the community that can not afford them.

As for the prospect of road closures, the Constable recommended three main areas of concern, that being all of McBride, Second Avenue West from McBride to Park Avenue and all of Park Avenue.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson also suggested Smithers street as a possible street to consider, while Councillor Thorkelson recounted her concerns over long boarding on Sixth Avenue East and onto Drydock road.

Councillor Ashley, who had been championing the need for a civic approach to the issue also offered up her thoughts that perhaps the issue of long boarding at night should be reviewed by Council.

The report was received by Council with their thanks and the project was put forward to staff for further consideration and review by Council in the fall.

City authorizes agreement with Airport Authority for Airport rehabilitation

The Prince Rupert Airport Authority provided a bit of an eye opening report on the state of repair of the  infrastructure at YPR, with a lengthy list of concerns ranging from failing mechanical systems, serious concerns over seismic issues at the airport and the need for refurbishment of runway and roadways at the airport site.

We previewed the talking points for Council's Monday session with this blog post from Monday morning, which outlined the major points for consideration at the council session that night.

Rick Reed, provided the guided tour of the nooks and crannies of the Airport site, offering up a worrisome review of many of the airport's key mechanical processes, that should they fail could require the airport to close.

One of the key items of concern is the seismic nature of the airport building, which should a serious seismic event occur, could result in many injuries or potential fatalities should any incident occur on the North Coast.

You can review some of his talking points on the nature of the airport's many issues from our City Council Timeline, as well as review some of the comments from Council members on the topic.

The City's Video Archive also has the full presentation, including the slide show review that Mr. Reed provided to Council on Monday night. The presentation runs from 4:30 to the 20 minute mark.

The request of council was for a loan through the Municipal Finance Authority program that would see some 7 million dollars in refurbishment take place at the airport, in effect creating an entirely new structure for the region, with improved facilities and terminal infrastructure in place.

That loan agreement would not impact on Prince Rupert taxpayers, as the Airport Authority has plans to institute user fees to cover the cost of the twenty year repayment program for the 7 million dollar loan.

The template for development of YPR would seem to be a similar airport project at Boundary Bay airport, located southeast of Vancouver in Delta.

That airport was recently refurbished at a cost of approximately 5 million dollars.

Some background the Boundary Bay airport can be found below.

Boundary Bay Airport
Corporation of Delta

A number of City Council members spoke in favour of the loan arrangement, outlining the need to offer up a good impression of the city, with the airport sometimes being the first impression that visitors and would be investors would have of the region.

To gain an appreciation of that aspect of the airport's importance to the community, the Airport Authority has the video below, currently running on their website, which highlights both the community and the airport's role as a transportation conduit.

As events evolved at Council on Monday night, it would turn out that Council had already approved the funding arrangement in their Closed session of 5 PM, a development which was revealed at the tail end of the Public session of the council meeting.

An interesting bit of civic procedure that outlined how Council had already made their decision, before the public session and YPR presentation had already started.

A timeline of events which would seem to have made the Airport Authority presentation more of a project update, than that of a request for a loan.

Council began the process of approval of the arrangement with first, second and third readings of the bylaw authorizing the loan agreement in the public session and moving forward the prospect of a rejuvenated YPR.

Some of the media items on the Agreement can be found below:

Northern View-- Prince Rupert airport to borrow $7 million for renovations and repairs
CFTK-- Badly Needed Reno's Approved for Prince Rupert Airport

City Council Timeline, Monday, August 19 2013

All five Councillors were in attendance for the first regular council session since July 8th, however the workload would fall to them on the evening as the Mayor was not in attendance for this session.

A number of presentations took up the first portion of the evening's work, with the Airport Authority, Coast Guard and RCMP providing updates and information to Council.

In the case of the Airport Authority, a review of the current airport situation which is in dire need of replacement, with many of its mechanical and structural capabilities requiring immediate attention.

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 August 19, 2013 (when posted)

In Attendance August 19, 2013

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

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

Video Archive for August 19, 2013 
Audio Archive for August 19, 2013 (not available yet)

(0:00 - 4:30) Councillor Garon as chair, reviewed the various minutes of previous sessions over the last five weeks, with Council adopting the past minutes before moving forward with the August 19th session.

(4:30--20:00)  Presentation from Prince Rupert Airport Authority, with Rick Reed providing a review of the current situation and a request for a loan through the city to the MFA for a capital program to refurbish the Air Terminal building and associated infrastructure with the airport.  The refurbishment described as in dire need, as vital systems have failed and are beyond repair, he also outlined some considerable concerns over seismic issues for the facility and the possibility of fatalities if not addressed.

A number of Mechanical systems also need repairs in the Terminal building and should any of these systems fail before refurbishment, the Airport would have to close.

With a review of the Boundary Bay Airport as their template, the Airport Authority estimated that the cost of replacement for all concerns would be approximately 7 million dollars.  User fees will be used to pay back the loan, with no extra cost to the Prince Rupert taxpayer.

Councillor Ashley inquired of the City Manager, as to the process for borrowing under the MFA.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson thanked the delegation for their work on behalf of the region, she spoke as the need to upgrade the airport as essential to the community and suggested seeking other funding sources as well, as the partnering agreement. She then asked a question about the Boundary Bay airport and the difference in 2 million dollars in pricing.

The runway and access road offer up challenges for YPR as well, Councillor Carlick-Pearson again offered her support to the project.

Mrs. Marshall-Lutz outlined the time constraints that the Airport is facing in moving the project forward.

Councillor Garon, advised that Council would be addressing the funding of the project later in the meeting.

Councillor Kinney thanked the delegation as well, he also outlined his support for the refurbishment project as outlined.

With some final comments on the project, Council thanked the delegation for their presentation.

(20:00--38:00) Mr. Roger Gioraud, from the Canadian Coast Guard, who outlined the Coast Guard's plans to provide environmental remediation/salvage project for a site near Hartley Bay where a World War II vessel is resting at the bottom of the ocean there. The plan is to commence their operations in September, weather dependent through the fall.

He outlined the engagement with the First Nations communities of the region as part of the salvage project.

The goal of the project is for the safe and effective removal of oil and pollutants from the fuel tanks and cargo holds of the vessel USAT Brigadier General M. G. Zalinksi. Any ordinance that is in the holds of the ship will be left where it is.

An Incident Command Post will be set up in Prince Rupert, with a timeline of putting their team together by mid September.

There are risks involved in the operation, with the possibility of a marine spill, with a plan in place to address that issue should it take place.  The Department of National Defence will address any issues regarding the Ordinance that is aboard the sunken ship.

Councillor Garon inquired as to the nature of their timeline, starting in the Fall when the weather deteriorates on the North Coast, one of the aspects that they had to consider was the salmon season in the summer.

There will be a live view made available to follow the progress of the project. With the presentation at an end, Council moved on to the final presentation of the night.

(38:00- 1:02:30) Constable Maury Tyre, regarding the Long Boarding Situation in the city. The Constable provided an overview of the situation in the city and then outlined how the RCMP is approaching the issue. He then reviewed the City's Traffic bylaws regarding the situation, looking for a letter of direction from Council as to what they wish to see done when it comes to the Long Boards.

He then expanded on the options ahead, the long board ticketing would come to 25 dollars.

He reviewed some of the risks involved with long boards and traffic or street activity.

He reviewed some of the enforcement items in other communities, Victoria has total ban in place.  In North Vancouver, that municipality allows long boards to be viewed as bicycles on the streets, but with bans on some streets in the community and with proper safety equipment and procedures being used.

Constable Tyre recommended a ban for long boarding on McBride Street, 2nd Avenue West to Park Avenue and Park Avenue.

Make plans for an Education program for the Spring, partnering with community businesses, to offer information on safety precautions for those that wish to Long board.

As well approaching the Schools to provide information to the long boarders, by way of newsletters and handouts etc.

The RCMP would provide a press release to warn of the need to warn helmets, either for bicycles or long boards and issue warning tickets, with a cut off date when actual tickets would be part of the enforcement program.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson spoke against an all out ban and suggested regulation and fining as the process to follow. She suggested that the recommended 25 dollar fine is too light, preferring to see an escalating fine process leading to potential confiscation.

She suggested that the fines that are paid, could be put into a fund to provide helmets for those in the community that can't afford them. She also recommended that Smithers Street be considered as a street for the long board ban, owing to its intersection with Park Avenue.

Councillor Ashley agreed with Carlick-Pearson, looking for awareness and safety measures to be put in place. She has concerns over long boarding at night and suggested considering a ban on night boarding at night.

Councillor Kinney also agreed with the two Councillors, he wished to see a media campaign provided for the program as well as through the Schools.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson shared Councillor Ashley's concerns over the night aspect of long boarding. She then asked the City Manager who would enforce the bylaw, he advised that the RCMP would if asked.

Councillor Thorkelson thanked the Constable for his report and said Council should put some thought into how they wanted to approach the line to be drawn between the different  methods of items in use.

She also said that Council should ask Staff to look at what roads should be highlighted as not to be used for long boarding.

Councillor Thorkelson also recounted her knowledge of past incidents in the city has observed and recounted some personal knowledge of personal trauma of a friend who fell off a Skateboard and not wearing a helmet, suffering serious injury.

She also suggested that Council explore the prospect of tying in the need to buy a helmet, with the purchase of a skateboard or bicycle.

She asked that her suggestions be put by way of a motion for Staff to investigate further.

The motion was carried.

Reports and Recommendations

(1:02:30--1:03:30) Report from the City Planner on a Variance Permit application for Edward Avenue. Mr. Krekic outlined the nature of his report and that there were not comments or inquiries received by the public on the application.

The motion was carried

(1:03:30--1:04:30) Report from the City Planner on a Variance Permit application for 11th Avenue East. Mr. Krekic provide much of the same report on the second variance application.

The motion was carried.

(1:04:30--1:05:30) Report from the City Planner on a Variance Permit application for 8th Avenue East.
The same report was provided for the property in question.

The motion was carried

(1:05:30--1:20:00) Report from the City Planner on the City's Antennae policy -- He reviewed the past work on the policy, outlining the background that was used to create the proposed policy. He directed Council to the information presentation on the City's website, which offers more details on the process that was in place from consultations with the public.

He provided a map for council to review, outlining where antennae placement could or could not take place.

Councillor Ashley inquired as to what kind of process that those seeking to place antennae would have to follow. She inquired if this would impact on CityWest projects, such as the potential of wi-fi in some segments of the city.

The fee for application of an antennae placement would be 2,000 dollars.

Councillor Thorkelson inquired why someone would want to have a tower in a residential area, Mr. Krekic outlined that it would be mainly for coverage purposes. She followed up asking if it was mainly regarding cel towers, wondering what other purposes could be requiring antennae.

Mr. Krekic advised that the quest for more antennae placements would increase as technology continues to move forward.

(1:200-- 1:20:30 ) Report from the Manager of Public Works on Dust control on the waterfront near Pinnacle Pellet -- Council reviewed the report as presented by the City Manager who outlined the nature of the concern and how it was being addressed.

(1:20:30-- 1:27:00) Report from the Manager of Public Works on Intersection Paving-- Mr. Long advised that the Intersection paving program for this year has concluded . Councillor Thorkelson inquired as to an issue on the Pellet Plant and the air quality bylaw process in place.

She asked that the topic be reviewed by staff and the City's enforcement potential, he advised that the concern discussed earlier was the road dust in the area and not regarding the prospect of pellet dust from the facility.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson commented on the nature of Prince Rupert weather and the need to be discussing the issue of dust in the summer at this time.

Councillor Thorkelson again returned to her concerns over the need to monitor air quality and how the City may be able to deal with any dust problem from the Pinnacle Plant.

Councillor Ashley recalled the conversation that Council had with the Port regarding the pellet plant, and suggested that the City seek out clarification on how to regulate the potential dust issue.

The Motion was carried.

(1:27:00--1:28:00) Report from the Manager of Public Works regarding solar powered speed signs -- Mr. Long advised that within the week, there will be a enhanced flashing crossing put in place at 9th and McBride.

(1:28:00--1:329:30) Report from Acting Chief Financial Officer on the Appointment of election officers -- Advising that Robert Long and Tanya Ostrom would be assigned the duties of Election officers. Mr. Long then outlined some of the possible changes to the electoral process from the City's point of view.

(1:29:20--1:31:00) Report from the Acting Chief Financial Officer on the Monthly Financial report for June -- Councillor Thorkelson inquired about the nature of bus passes purchased and if there is a problem with bulk sales. Ms. Bomben advised that it was the Ministry of social services that accounted for the decline in purchases.

(1:31:00-1:35:30) Report from the City Manager on the Regionalization of the Prince Rupert Airport -- Mr. Long outlined the details of the the Report. Councillor Ashley asked for a quick overview of the various options ahead.  Ms. Bomben outlined the desire of the City to seek out cost sharing with neighbouring communities for funding of the airport. The City of Prince Rupert's tax base currently funds the airport to approximately 800,000 dollars, she outlined the various options for Council to consider.

Councillor Ashley suggested that the City hold a workshop to explore the different options, to gain more information. So as to make an informed decision on the proposal.

Correspondences for Action

(1:35:30 - 1:37:00 ) Proclamation request from Friendship declaring  September 9th as FASD Awareness Day in the City of Prince Rupert. Councillor Carlick-Pearson outlined some background on the nature of the request. Councillor Ashley added her thoughts on the theme and the importance of raising awareness on the issue.

Resolutions from Closed Council Meetings

(1:37:00-1:39:00 ) Ms. Bomben released details from the closed meeting of August 19th that the city had authorized that City Manager to sign the partnering agreement between the City of Prince Rupert and the Airport authority to provide them with the loan.

Council then gave first, second and third reading to the by law authorizing that agreement with the Prince Rupert Airport Authority.

Councillor Ashley spoke out in favour of the loan agreement and reinforced the funding nature of the loan which will be covered by user fees at the airport.

The motion was carried.

(1:39:00--1:39:30) Zoning amendment bylaw -- A recommendation for first and second reading on a bylaw  3334-2013 and set a public meeting for September 9th.

The motion was carried/

Report from the City Manager on Outstanding City Initiatives

(1:39:30 - 1:40:00)  Mr. Long had no items to report at this time, he would update Council in September.

Reports, Questions and Inquires from members of Council

(1:40:00 - 1:41:00) Councillor Ashley had a question for staff on the schedule ahead for UBCM and if Council had a plan for a workshop before they attend the meetings in Vancouver. Mr. Long would consult with the Mayor on the topic.

(1:41:00 - 1:42:00) Councillor Carlick-Pearson had a question on the dedication of a sports field and what the process for that dedication would be. She was advised that the Director of Recreation has been in contact with the people involved.

(1:42:00 - 1:45:30) Councillor Thorkelson gave a report on economic activity in the community, one which mainly focused on the troubles in the fishing industry. She expressed worries over Employment Insurance issues for the gill net fleet, she also suggested that the city call in the DFO to explain some of the issues of the summer. She did however see some positive developments from the processing of pink salmon in the community and the impact that it had on the community. She suggested that businesses in town must have felt some economic impact from that burst of activity over the summer.

She also outlined the nature of the collective agreement in place within the fishing industry in the community which will see an increase in processing in the winter time work in the region. Canadian fish has also agreed to an apprenticeship program for trades training for fish employment.

(1:45:30-- 1:47:00 ) Councillor Carlick-Pearson took time to thank those that were involved in the Snowbirds presentation in the city last week. Councillor Kinney added his thanks, pointing towards the work of Rotary in putting the presentation together for the community.

And on that note, Council adjourned their session.

You can access the City Council Review page for August 19th 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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

School District 52 prepares for a new school year

The weather of late, seems inclined to rush summer out of the way, a sure sign that the new school year is almost upon us once again.

And with August's days dwindling, School District 52 has started to outline the launch of the upcoming school year.

The School District begins the 2013-14 school year with a new, but familiar name at the top of the staffing list, as Sandra Jones takes over as Superintendent of Schools.

As we outlined on the blog in July,  she was named to the position in July, taking the place of Lynn Hauptman who has relocated to South East B. C.

When the schools reopen on September 3rd, a number of principals will take up new duties at different schools, prior to the school year ending in June, the School District announced a number of staff shifts for the 2013-14 school year.

Among those changes, Sheila Wells moving from Charles Hays to Ecole Roosevelt School, with Susan Kobza moving from Ecole Roosevelt School, to take up duties with Pacific Coast School.

Rounding out the summer of change at the schools, Sandy Pond has shifted from Pacific Coast School to become principal of Charles Hays, joining her at CHSS and taking up  duties as Vice-Principal  is Carla Rourke.  That leaves Vice-Principal Kevin Leach as the lone holdover in upper administration at Charles Hays for this school year.

Ken Minette continues on as Principal of Prince Rupert Middle School, but has added on the duties of Director of Instruction, he will take on those tasks on a part time basis.

As for the launch for the 2013-14 school year, registration will take place starting on August 26th,  for those new to the District or those have moved to a new school area.  All elementary school offices will be open from August 26th to August 30th from 9 AM to 12 Noon.

Likewise registration for new students will be taking place at Charles Hays Secondary School Prince Rupert Middle School and Pacific Coast School from August 26th to August 30th.

Schools will open on Tuesday, September 3rd according to the following schedule.

All Elementary Schools for Grades 1 to 5, will have a two hour opening from 10 AM to Noon for the first day of school. Families of Kindergarten students will be notified of start dates and times by their schools.

Prince Rupert Middle School has divided up the launch of the first day of school, with Grade 7 and 8 students attending from 10:30 AM to Noon, while Grade 6 students are to attend from 1 PM to 3 PM.

Charles Hays Secondary has also split up the first day of school Grade 9 and 10 are to attend at 9:45 AM, while Grade 11 and 12 students are to arrive at 1 PM.

Pacific Coast School will hold it's first day of school from 10 AM to Noon for all Grades.

Regular Classroom Instruction for all schools will begin on Wednesday, September 4th.

With the opening of school, the various transportation methods are once again on schedule, a full review of the Ferry and Bus schedules as well as more details on the opening of school can be found from this information sheet from the School District.

A stand alone guide to the Regular Bus Schedule for the District can be found here.

The first meeting of Board of Education for School District 52 is set for September 20th at 7 PM.

You can review items of interest on School District 52 from our archive page.

Cruise ship Millennium suffers mechanical problems in Ketchikan

The 2013 Cruise season has offered up a few challenges for the Celebrity Cruise line, as their cruise vessel the Millennium has suffered some high profile mechanical issues through August.

Earlier this month propulsion problems, left Celebrity Millennium passengers cooling their heels in Seward, stuck in the Alaskan community for three days while repairs were made to the vessel.

Over the weekend, propulsion problems once again struck the Millennium, this time as it was leaving Ketchikan, sending the vessel back to port, which while beneficial to Ketchikan merchants, isn't exactly what the 2,000 passengers had in mind when the signed on for their Alaskan cruise.

Parts of the current cruise itinerary have been cancelled in the wake of the propulsion problems and with Millennium still in dock on Monday, it was a full day of port calls in the community, with five cruise ships vying for the four cruise berths available in the community.

The Millennium is scheduled to end its cruise in Seward on August 23rd, providing it can eventually get there.

KRBD public radio in Ketchikan offers up some background on both the troubles of the Millennium and how Ketchikan handled the over abundance of visitors on a very busy Monday.

The Celebrity line has one port call in Prince Rupert this year, when the Celebrity Century makes a port call on September 23rd, with 1,800 visitors anticipated on that day.

That visit will mark the end of the 2013 Cruise Season for Prince Rupert and the North coast.

Update: Things get a little worse for those booking passage on the Celebrity Millennium, the vessel was  pulled from service, with cruises cancelled for August 23rd and 30th, as well as trips planned for September 6th and 13th.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rampage open 2013 season on October 5th, with a visit from Quesnel

Fans of the Prince Rupert Rampage will want to mark October 5th on the calendar, as that's the nigh that the puck drops on the 2013-14 CIHL season, as the Rampage play host to the Quesnel Kangaroos for opening night.

The CIHL had to do some quick revisions in the last week, as we outlined on the blog last week, the Hazelton Wolverines (who were replacing the previously departed Omenica Ice) made a last minute exit of their own from the CIHL for the 2013-14 season, requiring a rework of the schedule for the leagues remaining eight teams.

When all was finished up the nine home dates for the Rampage will provide for a heavy dose of Steelhead, as the Smithers squad, a perennial powerhouse in the CIHL makes three trips west down Highway 16 this year. Smithers will play the Rampage at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on November 23rd and January 11th and 12th, the 12th bringing the regular season to an end.

Along the way the Rampage will host the Kitimat Ice Demons on October 12th, November 2nd and December 7th.

The Houston Luckies come to town on November 30th, while the Terrace River Kings make their only appearance at the Jim on January 3rd.

The Rampage hit the road for extended periods of time in October, with games in Terrace and Houston through the last two weeks of the month.

With November another offering up another long and challenging road trip, as the Rampage tour Williams Lake, Quesnel and then Kitimat before returning home.

December sees them on the road twice with games in Terrace on the 14th and Kitimat on the 28th.

The final road game of the regular season finds the Rampage travelling once again to Terrace,  marking their third trip into that city this year.

The Rampage tweeted out the schedule on Friday, providing this handy graphic for fans to consult as the season moves along.

You can review all of our Rampage and CIHL items from our archive page, the 2013-14 season can be found here.

For those looking for a look back at the 2012-13 our past posts can be found here.

On August 21st, The Northern View had this article on the schedule release

CIHL News 2013-14

Our archive of news from the Central Interior Hockey League for the 2013-14 season with particular note given to the Prince Rupert Rampage.

Our Schedule and Game Summaries page can be found here.

For those looking for Rampage information, the team provides notes of their developments from their facebook page and twitter feed.

North Coast Review Items

August 8-- Rampage make preparations for August Training camp
July 23-- Rampage and fans open their hearts and wallets
March 11-- Coy Cup 2014 Begins in Williams Lake Tonight
March 4-- Steelheads claim CIHL title, Coy Cup next on their schedule
February 4-- Not a fond farewell for the Ramapge from a Terrace fan
February 4-- Rampage season comes to an end, as River Kings comeback to claim playoff series
February 3-- Prince Rupert Rampage eliminated from CIHL playoffs
January 31-- Rampage look to bring River Kings season to an end this weekend
January 27-- Rampage take semi-final lead with thriller at the Jim
January 25-- Rampage ready to skate into second season
January 16-- Prince Rupert Rampage and Prince Rupert Port Authority team up again to help Salvation Army
January 13-- Rampage end regular season on winning note, prepare for playoff showdown with Terrace
January 10-- Rampage to put wrap on regular season with weekend series with Smithers
January 6-- River Kings Sweep Rampage in Home and Home series
January 2-- Rampage launch January homestretch with home and home series with the River Kings
December 30-- Ice Demons solidify playoff changes with Saturday night win over Rampage
December 28-- Rampage take to the road in return to CIHL action
December 17-- Terrace River Kings bring Rampage winning streak to an end with an exclamation point
December 13-- Drive for Five takes Prince Rupert Rampage into Terrace Saturday night
December 10-- Rampage run up streak to four
December 7-- Rampage looking for fourth win in a row tonight 
December 2-- Rampage extend winning streak to three in a row
November 29-- Rampage look to make it three in a row this Saturday
November 29-- A Sunday skate with the Rampage for a good cause
November 26-- Rampage find Overtime to their liking for second week in a row
November 22-- Rampage look to add to month of woe for visiting Smithers on Saturday night
November 18-- Rampage grab must win in OT thriller in Kitimat
November 15-- Ice Demons win appeal, regain two lost points in the standings
November 15-- Rampage return to the road for Saturday showdown in Kitimat
November 13-- A Rough weekend on the Road for the Rampage
November 8-- Rampage embark on Interior road trip
November 7-- Rampage awarded victory from Saturday night over Kitimat suspension issue
November 3-- Ice Demons complete comeback to snatch two points from Rampage
November 2-- Rampage back at home, with Kitimat in town Saturday night
October 29-- Rough road trip for Rampage
October 25-- Rampage head for Houston, looking to build on last week's road success
October 22-- Rampage claim first points of the year, with hard earned road win in Terrace
October 18-- Rampage take to the road seeking firs win of the season
October 14-- Tough loss for Rampage in tightly contested game
October 11-- Rampage ramping up for Saturday showdown with Kitimat
October 8-- Rampage drop home opener in third period setback
October 5-- Port renews commitment to Rampage and Salvation Army
October 4-- Rampage set to launch 2013-13 season with home opener on Saturday night
September 21-- Rampage to face off against Steelheads in Challenge Cup Final
September 18-- Challenge Cup puck drop set for Friday night
September 17-- The challenges of hockey in the CIHL
August 19-- Rampage open 2013 season on October 5th, with visit from Quesnel
August 15-- First sign of a Rampage return, as CIHL face further change
July 18-- Prince Rupert Rampage to feature new look for 2013-14 season

Other developments can be found below from regional sources

August 27-- Prince Rupert Rampage preparing for new season
August 20-- Prince Rupert Rampage to host Ice Demons at home opener on October 4
August 1-- Luckies fold, only four teams make CIHL playoffs in 2014-15 season
March 3-- Steelheads capture third straight CIHL championship
March 3-- Steelheads Champs again!
February 26-- Stamps fall in tight CIHL final opener
February 24-- River Kings' championship dreams dashed
February 19-- Stamps reach CIHL playoff final
February 13-- River Kings need a win on Saturday
February 4-- See you in Smithers - The Terrace River Kings are heading to the CIHL Western Conference championships
Jan 28-- Prince Rupert Rampage defeat Terrace River Kings in game one of playoff series
Jan 27-- CIHL: Rampage, Luckies score playoff upsets
Jan 23-- Terr Standard-- River Kings are hot heading into the playoffs
Jan 22-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage preparing for playoff push
Jan 15-- Terr Standard-- River Kings first in division
Jan 15--N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage split series with Smithers Steelheads
Jan 13-- CFTK-- Steelheads Playoffs (video)
Jan 8-- Terr Standard-- River Kings sweep Rampage to stay on top of CIHL standings
Jan 8- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage lose to River Kings in shootout
Dec 18-- Terr Standard-- How's the view up there? River King sitting at first in the west
Dec 18-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage blow out by Terrace River Kings
Dec 16-- CFTK-- River Kings Grab West Division Lead
Dec 11-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage pick up fourth straight win against Kitimat Ice Demons
Dec 10-- Terr Standard-- River Kings split two games on the road
Dec 9-- CFTK-- Rampage Upset Ice Demons, River Kings Split in Cariboo
Dec 5-- Terrace Standard-- Is the River Kings' reign finally here?
Dec 3-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage make it three wins in a row
Dec 2-- CFTK-- River Kings Sweep Weekend Games, Ice Demons First in West
Nov 27-- N View--  Prince Rupert Rampage defeat Smithers Steelheads in overtime
Nov 25--CFTK--  Steelheads snap losing skid
Nov 23-- Terrace Standard-- Terrace River Kings battle Smithers and Houston this weekend
Nov 20-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage win in overtime
Nov 17-- CFTK-- Struggling Smithers Steelheads Continue Losing Streak
Nov 15-- CFTK-- Luckies try to Hold First Place in West
Nov 12-- CFTK-- Houston Luckies Number One in West
Nov 8-- CFTK-- Ice Demons Appeal Forfeiture
Nov 8-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage awarded win after Demons play suspended player
Nov 6-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage drop hard-fought game to Kitimat Ice Demons
Nov 3-- WL Tribune -- Stamps put together perfect weekend, recapture first in division
Nov 2-- Terrace Standard--  River Kings smash Demons
Oct 30--N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage drop two games to Houston Luckies
Oct 29-- WL Tribune-- Williams Lake to host Coy Cup
Oct 28-- WL Tribune-- Kangaroos edge Stamps to take over first in division
Oct 25-- Kitimat Ice Demons drop two in a row on the road (N Connector pg 16)
Oct 24-- WL Tribune-- Fight night
Oct 23-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage win in Terrace
Oct 23-- WL Tribune-- Coy Cup fundraiser meeting goes tonight
Oct 23-- WL Tribune-- Stamps take three of four points
Oct 21-- CFTK-- CIHL: Luckies, Steelheads Sweep Weekend Games, Rampage Win for First Time
Oct 19-- Terr Standard--  River Kings face off against Rampage tonight
Oct 16-- WL Tribune-- Stamps split set with River Kings
Oct 16-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage fall to Kitimat Ice Demons
Oct 11-- CFTK-- Steelheads, River Kings Play Home Openers This Weekend
Oct 11-- Terrace Standard-- River Kings fall to Demons in season opener
Oct 11-- HQ Bulkley V-- Smithers home-opener tonight
Oct 9-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage drop season opener to Quesnel Kangaroos
Oct 8-- CFTK-- Rampage First Game (video)
Oct 7-- WL Tribune-- Stamps open season with 9-6 win over Tomahawks
Oct 7-- CFTK-- Ice Demons Open with Back-to-Back Home Ice Wins
Oct 4-- CFTK --  Prince Rupert Port Authority Renews Sponsorship of the Rupert Rampage
Oct 4--  N Conn (e edition pg 19) -- CIHL season opener sees rivals face off
Oct 3-- WL Tribune-- Stamps to host Tomahawks in opener
Sept 30-- Terrace Standard-- River Kings fall flat at Challenge Cup
Sept 25-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage fall short in Challenge Cup Final
Sept 23-- CFTK--  Rampage Challenge (video)
Sept 23-- CFTK-- Steelheads Win Challenge Cup
Sept 18-- N View-- Prince Rupert Kings remember Dave Pickett
September 17-- CFTK-- Terrace River Kings ask for community's help
September 17-- CFTK-- Save the River Kings (video)
September 16--Terrace Standard-- Save the River Kings campaign afoot
September 5-- WL Tribune-- Stampeders tryouts underway at CMRC
September 4-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage continue open tryouts
August 23-- N View-- Prince Rupert Rampage look ahead to 2013-14 CIHL season
August 21-- CFTK-- PR Rampage Training (video)
August 21-- N View-- CIHL releases schedule for Prince Rupert Rampage

Items from the 2012-13 season can be found here.

Prince Rupert Airport to be discussed at Council Monday night

The future, both immediate and long term for the Prince Rupert Airport will be the subject of a fair amount of discussion at Prince Rupert City Council on Monday night.

And early indications suggest, that user fees could possibly be on the horizon for travellers out of Prince Rupert's Digby Island airport.

The short term will feature review and discussion by Prince Rupert Council, regarding a loan to the Airport Authority for some upgrades to the Airport's infrastructure, with a runway paving project, terminal upgrade and improvement to the road to the Digby Island Airport Ferry all on the to do list for YPR.

Prince Rupert Airport Authority President Maureen Macarenko will outline the airport's plan for upgrades to the Digby Island facility when she makes a presentation to Council this evening.

She makes her presentation at the beginning of the council session, later in the same session, Council will give consideration to the Bylaw that could authorize the loan Agreement with the Airport Authority.

A process that would require the use of an Alternative Approval Process, or by way of referendum to approve the proposal, before submitting it to the province for approval.

The basic overview of the project is as follows:

The runway portion of the planned airfield rehabilitation project will require that the Airport authority to only have to pay 5% of that project, as the balance of the cost is paid for by the Government of Canada.

However, some of the other aspects of the overall plan will require large scale funding, with the Airport Authority making it's case for the financial planning.

The budgeting for the entire capital project for the airport was detailed in Monday's agenda, among the key numbers Airfield surfaces $600,000, Airport Access Road $600,000, Airport Terminal and ancillary buildings $5,100,00, Contingency $700,000 all for a total of $7,000,000.

The financing cost based over a  twenty year Debenture Financing plan, would see the 7,000,000 dollars borrowed, with annual repayments of $488,500.

The City report suggests that there should be no property tax increase involved in the project as the Airport Authority intends to place a user fee to all travellers to pay for the rehabilitation project, the amount of that proposed user fee was not disclosed in the course of the report for council.

It highlights the age of the airport and the need of renovation to meet projected growth in the region (growth that at the moment they don't believe the airport could handle) as well as to bring the facilities into safe working order.

The nature of the loan and what the Airport hopes to do with the money is explained in a fair amount of detail as part of the Agenda Package for Monday's council session, you can look over the facts and figures here from pages 93-98 of the Agenda.

And while council considers the short term infrastructure requirements for the airport, the longer term future for the facility will also be the subject of some discussion tonight as well.

With Council looking to move forward its desire to see the airport designated as a regional operation, with the City looking for neighbouring communities to share in the cost of operations.

The Agenda once again provides a fair amount of background on that proposal, outlining the cost of operations that stretch beyond the terminal building, with the Airport Ferry and it's dock also a major financial burden that the city at the moment faces alone and clearly would like to share.

Towards the goal of a more balanced financial approach to the airport, Council will be considering a number of options this evening, some of which the local communities that the City is seeking to bring on board may be a little hesitant to take on.

The first option is to add a user fee to the airline ticket that directly attached fee for service. The estimated fee for service, based on 2012 passenger numbers would be approximately 14 dollars per passenger.

The City's report however, does acknowledge that such a fee may deter people from using the airport, perhaps giving travellers cause to use the Terrace airport, or to not fly at all.

Option two would see the City negotiate a service fee with the Regional District which would be recovered through property taxation, which would see the Regional District remit an amount to the City of Prince Rupert to share the cost of airport access.

While option three would have the City enter into a cost sharing agreement with the neighbouring communities based on budgeted annual costs.

The share of the cost would be based on the most recent Stats Canada census shared proportionally among all communities.

One imagines that the "neighbouring communities" most likely would prefer to see the city pick a solution that would leave their taxation base alone, making the discussion paper a rather interesting exercise, but one that is probably going to be a bit controversial moving forward.

The report also suggests an alternative method of cost sharing, one that would have the Regional District take over the Airport Ferry, its docks and the road to the airport.

The goal of that from the City's point of view being, that the airport would truly be established as being regional infrastructure with regional benefit.

The full review of the Regionalization discussion paper prepared by City Manager Robert Long and Deputy Corporate Administrator Corinne Bomben can be found from this link to the Agenda pages 89 to 91