Saturday, November 30, 2013

Environment Canada issues Special Weather Statement for North Coast/Haida Gwaii

There's a significant change in the weather for British Columbia arriving this weekend, with Sunday the day where it all begins to shift.

With the change will come colder temperatures and possibly snow for a number of locations up and down the coast and into the Interior regions.

As the current front of the Pacific begins to prepare give way to one from the Arctic, Environment Canada issued a Special Weather Statement on Saturday afternoon.

Addressing it to a wide swath of British Columbia, including Haida Gwaii, as well as for both inland and coastal sections of the North Coast.

A major change in the weather pattern is expected to begin on Sunday. A Pacific front producing rainy and mild conditions to the British Columbia coast will give way to an Arctic front resulting in significant cooling. 

The Pacific front will move across the North Coast tonight and continue to spread steady rain over the South Coast through Sunday. The snow levels will drop over the North Coast overnight and gradually decrease over the South Coast on Monday as the Arctic air approaches. 

Flurries and gusty winds will develop as the Arctic front passes the North Coast Sunday night and reaches the South Coast late Monday. By Tuesday the Arctic air will settle across the region and remain through the end of the week. 

Monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment Canada at The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as warnings may be required or extended.

You can follow the progress of the arriving Arctic front and review the forecasts ahead associated from it, through the forecast pages of the Environment Canada website

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rampage look to make it three in a row this Saturday

The Prince Rupert Rampage are catching fire when it matters most, making a run at climbing the standings of the CIHL West after two consecutive wins in a row.

The Rampage look to add one more win to that streak this weekend, when they take on the Houston Luckies on Saturday night at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

Prince Rupert's offence has found it's groove in recent games with recent victories over Kitimat on November 16th and last weekend when the Smithers Steelheads came to town. The Rampage goal totals of 11 over two games, matching their efforts of the four games previous.

The parade to the net in recent weeks has been led by Craig Munro, Kory Movald and Jordan Weir, they are the top three scorers for the Rampage as they head into this weekends match up.

For entertainment value, the last two games have offered more than a hockey fan could hope for. Featuring end to end play, some physical work in both ends and on the boards, lots of scoring and for those that like the sudden death aspect of the game, two overtime thrillers that ended on the right note for the hometown squad.

The Rampage will be looking to continue on with that theme, though perhaps for a change, without
having to punch in for some overtime.

The odds for success on the weekend may be in their favour, as the Luckies arrive in town looking for their first road win of the year.

All of their 12 points in the standings have come on Houston's home ice, the Rampage will be looking to extending the Houston squads road woes when they take to the ice Saturday night.

With their recent winning streak, the Rampage have pulled themselves into the thick of a placement for the CIHL playoff run. While still hold down the bottom spot of the West division, Prince Rupert is only one point behind the Terrace River Kings, six off the pace against the third place Luckies.

The only thing working against the Rampage at the moment is that they have played more games than both the teams that they are chasing. Houston has played nine games so far in the CIHL schedule, while the River Kings have the most room for error, having only played seven through to this weekend.

That makes Saturday night another pivotal match up for Prince Rupert, who need to keep to their winning ways to keep pace in the division.

Puck drop at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre is 8 PM.

One other Rampage note for the weekend, Sunday is the team's Annual Skate with the Rampage day, where for a donation to the Salvation Army Food Bank, the teams fans can take to the Civic Centre ice with the team.

You can find a preview of that event here, the Skate with the Rampage starts at 3 PM on Sunday.

There is more information on the Rampage from our CIHL News archive, you can find out more on results and summaries of recent Rampage games from our Schedule/Results page.

UNBC Timberwolves head to the Okanagan for weekend play

The men's and women's basketball program at the University of Northern British Columbia take to the road this weekend, with a pair of games in Kelowna against the University of British Columbia-Okanagan.

The Timberwolves take on the Heat on both Friday and Saturday evenings.

Of note for residents of the North Coast is former Prince Rupert Rainmaker Sarah Robin, who is in her fourth year of play for the Timberwolves.

This weekend's action is live streamed through the UNBC website.

Notes on the weekend play can be found below:

Mercedes rules UNBC court
UNBC men could reach .500 mark in Kelowna

Game times for the weekend in the Okanagan are as follows:

Friday, November 29

Women's Timbervwolves vs Okanagan 6:00 PM
Men's Timberwolves vs Okanagan 8:00 PM

Saturday, November 30

Women's Timberwolves vs Okanagan 5:00 PM
Men's Timberwolves vs Okanagan 7:00 PM

More background on the Timberwolves program can be found here.

You can find out more about the former Rainmaker from our archives.

Reports say that CNOOC has submitted its application for Grassy Point LNG to NEB

The Chinese energy giant CNOOC, which recently made news with its agreement with the province on the Grassy Point site, is apparently making quick work on its plans to move that project forward.

In an item in Today's National Post, the news service reports that he energy company has submitted its plans to the National Energy Board, seeking permission to export 24 million tonnes of gas per year from it's proposed terminal at Grassy Point.

As of yet, no official documentation on that application has been posted to the NEB website.

Should CNOOC/Nexen receive approval for the project, the first shipments out of Grassy Point could occur between 2021 and 2023.

You can review some background on the Grassy Point project and other proposed developments in the region from our archives.

Update: CNOOC/Nexen Application can now be reviewed from the NEB data base (enter Filing ID number A55578 in search engine under Regulatory Documents section here).

The Province of British Columbia also highlights the nature of their application through this media release on the government website.

Other media reports on the application:

Wall Street Journal-- CNOOC seeks to Ship LNG from Canada's Pacific Coast
Reuters-- CNOOC applies to Canada regulators for LNG export licence
Globe and Mail-- CNOOC heads group seeking to export B. C. liquefied natural gas

Highway 16 Closed between Prince George and Vanderhoof (road now reduced to single lane traffic)

Update: Highway re-opened to two way traffic.

Travel on Highway 16 between Prince George and Vanderhoof has come to a halt, as the RCMP and Highway officials deal with a serious vehicle incident, which has resulted in fatalities.

The incident took place 39 kilometres west of Prince George, shortly before 9 AM.

It currently is in the assessment and investigation phase, no timetable as to when the road will be re-opened has been released as of yet.

Highway officials anticipate providing a further update later in the morning.

You can get the latest information from Drive BC from their website or twitter feed

Prince George media outlets have more on the incident.

Prince George Free Press-- Two dead in three vehicle crash near Isle Pierre
CKPG TV-- Fatal Crash near Isle Pierre Turnoff
Prince George Citizen-- Two People killed in collision
Opinion 250-- Double Fatal Closes Hwy 16 West

Exchange of ideas on crime and prevention takes place in Prince George

Mayors and the heads of detachments of the RCMP from across Northern British Columbia gathered in Prince George on Thursday, prepared to discuss the impact that crime has on their communities and what steps that they have taken that might be used in other communities to reduce the problems.

As we outlined on the blog last week, the one day session was the creation of Prince George Shari Green, who felt that northern communities which have had the highest of crime rates in recent years, might be able to share their experiences to come up with a common strategy to tackle the pressing issue.

Prince George Mayor Shari Green
As though to provide some material to discuss, while the municipal leaders and police representatives were discussing crime, Prince George RCMP were dealing with two high profile incidents out on the streets not too far from the meeting place.

The first a report of a man brandishing a gun outside of a hotel in the downtown core of the city and in a second disturbing incident of the morning, the need for Prince George RCMP to institute a school lock down owing to a man who had fled police.

Of interest perhaps to the north coast representatives, the suspect involved in that second incident was a thirty two year old resident of Prince Rupert.

As for the information sharing session, no strategy has been revealed from the conversations of the day. Though the participants did learn that a blue a ribbon panel will be visiting a number of northern BC communities in the new year, as part of the consultative process in developing a crime reduction strategy.

Following the session, Chief Superintendent Rod Booth, the District Commander for the RCMP's E Division observed that he was glad to see the region's mayors come together to discuss the issues.

Explaining that police can't tackle the problem of crime alone and that it will take a collaborative process to address the many issues facing northern communities.

Some background on Thursday's meeting can be found below:

Opinion 250-- Chief Superintendent Says Northern Crime Session a Positive one
CKPG-- Cities Around Prince George also have High Crime Rates (video)
CKPG-- Mayors, Police, Province unite against crime

A chance for the hometown fans to follow Frank Slubowski

The University of Western Michigan Broncos are off to South Bend, Indiana  this weekend, taking part in the famed Shillelagh Tournament, put on by the University of Notre Dame. The tournament which took a two year hiatus, returns with four teams taking to the ice at the Compton Ice Arena in Notre Dame, Indiana.

For those on the North Coast following the university career of Prince Rupert's Frank Slubowski, this weekend offers up an opportunity to take in the tournament action and maybe see how the Rupertite is doing in the Bronco nets.

According to the Universtiy of Western Michigan hockey program, the weekend tournament will be made available online from Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish website has this link available for tournament action, which will start at 1 PM Prince Rupert time.

The Broncos see action in two games this weekend:

The first a match up with Northeastern with a 1 PM (Pacific time) puck drop on Friday afternoon.

They next see action on Saturday, when they will play either the host Notre Dame Fighting Irish or Chargers from Alabama Huntsville, the time for that game has yet to be set, depending on results from Friday's action.

Updates to the tournament broadcast schedule can be found on the UWM hockey website. (factor in the three hour time zone shift for pacific broadcast times). (Game time and streaming of Saturday's game is set for 1:05 PM Pacific)

Some previews of the weekend tournament can be found below.

Western Michigan University Bronco Hockey game notes
WMU Hockey Heads to the Shillelagh Tournament
Hockey Tournament Time

Update:  Results of weekend play

Broncos and Huskies tie 1-1, NU Wins shootout 1-0

Mr. Cullen, Mr. Hamilton would like to see you after class...

Some interesting reading out the weekly newspaper this week, as  Northern View Publisher Todd Hamilton tackles what he believes are the spelling challenges of Nathan Cullen, the NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

The observation on how to properly spell the word licence, comes in the form of a combination editorial.

One part political commentary and one part tales from the check out lines of local supermarkets (the latter which strangely enough left us humming this little ditty all day long)

As for the political side of this weeks editorial, Mr. Hamilton takes issue with a recent household mailer sent out by Mr. Cullen.  Offering up for our review a fairly snarky observation, which goes under the working title of Cullen or Sullen?

The focus of his concern, Mr. Cullen's use of the American spelling of the word as license. As opposed to Mr. Hamilton's preference, that of the Queen's version of the word as licence.

Interestingly enough, it is the only actual mention thus far in the paper, of the proposal that Mr. Cullen  outlines from his Social License, oops, our bad, Social Licence pamphlet

A scan of the weekly paper's search engine (Using either Social License or Social Licence just to be sure), finds no other mention of the pamphlet, or Mr. Cullen's introduction of the topic into the Northwest news stream

To paraphrase Mr. Hamilton's commentary, "Regardless of what one might think of Nathan's opinion...", 

Perhaps with that in mind, the project should be covered as news, in addition to fodder for another editorial outburst.

For those that may be inclined to learn more about what the project is all about, we invite you to look back to our post of November 21st

There you will find an outline of the plan and some of the impact that it may have on the region.

As for Mr. Hamilton's studious work when it comes to spell checking.

We have a feeling that over the next few weeks, supporters of Mr. Cullen will be reading their copies of the Northern View with extra attention, attentive to each and every word that is published.

As they say, those that live in glass houses...

Rotary Christmas Tree sale one week away

Fresh off their successful Rotary telethon, which brought in over 56,000 dollars for Rotary projects, the city's Rotarians will be looking for community support next week as they kick off their annual Rotary Christmas tree sale.

And while the Rotary forest  beside City Furniture on 3rd Avenue West (across from the Belmont) may look a little barren this week...

In seven days it will be stocked full of Christmas tree options of all descriptions and sizes.

The Rotary Christmas Tree Sale runs from December 7th through to the 21st or until stock lasts.

The Hours of operation for the Tree Sale are:

Monday to Friday
4:30--6:30 PM

Noon--6:00 PM

2:00-5:00 PM

Former Prince Rupert teacher takes the reins of NDP's Kamloops-South Thompson Constituency

A name from Prince Rupert's past, is making news in NDP circles in the Interior region of the province this week.

Peter Northcott, a well known former teacher with School District 52, left Prince Rupert eight years ago, moving to Kamloops with his wife. Yesterday it was announced that the now retired teacher, has taken on a new challenge, named as President of the Kamloops-South Thompson NDP Constituency Association.

Northcott has been fairly active in political life in the Interior, particularly during the course of the most recent electoral campaign. Where he could be regularly found showing the NDP flag  through a variety of letters to the editor of the various Kamloops papers.

Premier shows neither candour nor accountability
B. C. Liberals suffer 'bilous attacks'
NDP candidates offer genuine, practical alternatives

With his new post, he will be looking to rebuild and re-energize the NDP in the region, a challenge  which he spoke to the Kamloops Daily News regarding.

It could be a formidable task ahead for the new President.

The NDP's candidate Tom Friedman, finished significantly behind the Liberal's Todd Stone in the May election, with Mr. Stone, now the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, picking up 57.5 percent of the vote compared to Mr. Friedman's 35 percent.

Over the last decade, the Kamloops-South Thompson riding has been a Liberal bastion, previous to Mr. Stone, the riding was held by Kevin Krueger and before him Claude Richmond.

A Sunday skate with the Rampage for a good cause

In what has become an annual tradition in recent years, the Prince Rupert Rampage will take to their blades on Sunday, offering up a chance for their fans to meet some of their favourite players, go for a skate and raise some donations for the Prince Rupert Salvation Army Food Bank.

The Annual Skate with the Rampage is set for Sunday afternoon, with members of the CIHL team taking to the ice with their fans from 3 PM to 4:30.

The hour and a half session offers up the chance for fans meet the players, grab a few autographs and maybe a photo or two.

The day's event also promises refreshment and much more.

Admission to the Sunday skate is by donation to the Food Bank. You can find out any late breaking details about Sunday's plans from the Prince Rupert Rampage Facebook page and twitter feed.

Sunday's Skate with the Rampage is sponsored by a number of Prince Rupert businesses, including the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Canada Safeway, Overwaitea, The Northern View, Tim Horton's and Stuck on Designs.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

VIA Rail makes alternative travel plans to and from Prince Rupert through December 1

Rail travellers will be hopping aboard a bus for the next few days, as VIA Rail has had to cancel it's scheduled train service to and from Prince Rupert from November 29th to December 1st.

Stating only that it is due to operational reasons, Via Rail Trains Five and Six which normally run on the Prince Rupert to Jasper run, will be replaced by bus transportation for the next three days.

Passengers with passage on Via Train Number Five departing from Jasper on November 29th will be travelling by bus from Prince George to Prince Rupert, with a stop at Terrace.

The westbound bus will leave Prince George following the trains regular schedule of an 8 AM departure.

For passengers who were planning on taking Via Train Number Six on December 1st, the bus transportation will depart from the Prince Rupert Via station, with stops planned for Terrace and Smithers.

For more information on the changes you can consult the VIA website or contact VIA rail at 1-888-842-7245.

Other information and updates may be found on their twitter feed.

Details of Thursday's schedule change can be found from this travel advisory.

One week until curtain call for Beauty and the Beast

One of the most anticipated of dates on the local theatre calendar is but a week away, as Alison O'Toole's Drama Department at Charles Hays Secondary School presents Beauty and the Beast.

Since the start of auditions in September, up to these last few rehearsals, the cast and crew have been working over their lines, finding their zone and making ready to take the stage in seven days.

Work on the props and background scenery has been a collective work at the high school, while a number of the school's most talented of  musicians work out the tunes to the challenging show from Disney.

Three months of work under the supervision of Artistic Director O'Toole, that all comes together one week from tonight, as the latest from Charles Hays takes to the stage at the Lester Centre.

The three months of work all coming down to two nights and a Saturday matinee, three shows that will tell the most familiar of tales, bringing the characters to life and putting the talented and always well prepared cast, crew and musicians to their test.

This year's performance features a cast of 31 performers, 11 students in the orchestra and a number of workers behind the scenes all working together to bring the show to the stage from December 5 to 7.

Showtimes for Beauty and the Beast are as follows:

Thursday, December 5 --- 7:30 PM
Friday, December 6-- 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 7-- 2 PM

The Northern View provided a good glimpse into the work involved in the production last week, you can review it here.

The annual performance from the highly regarded Charles Hays program always proves to be one of the hottest tickets in town, with seats getting snapped up rather quickly.

Tickets for Beauty and the Beast are available in advance at the Lester Centre box office or at Cooks Jewellers.

Admission prices for the three shows are 10 dollars for seniors and students, 15 dollars for adults.

For those that wait until show time to purchase tickets there will be a surcharge of 2 dollars for tickets purchased at the door.

The search continues for a new Economic Development Officer

It's been almost one month now that Derek Baker cleaned out his office and moved across 3rd Avenue West, to take up duties with Pacific Northwest LNG,

And with the Economic Development office still empty (though Mr. Baker is still listed as the contact person on the city website) , the city is continuing with its search for a new economic Development Officer.

Advertising for the the position at the PREDC office has commenced over the last few days, providing for an outline as to the many challenges that the position will offer to the successful candidate.

While the City hasn't posted the high profile job opportunity on it's own website as of yet, they did take out an ad in the local paper to highlight the available position and what is required to make the cut.

Beyond having to work closely with the CAO's of both Prince Rupert and Port Edward, those looking to apply for the position should have some of the following check marks on their resumes.

An understanding of business and land development issues, as well as a history of success in guiding items through the political and governmental channels at provincial and federal levels.

Experience in developing funding and partnership proposals, some proven negotiation skills and an ability to bring people together in pursuit of a common goal.

In addition to a combination of education, skills training and experience.

All of those qualities and achievements will be put to good use, as the new EDO works with the two Mayors, Municipal CAO's and Port Authority officials.

Just a sample of the many participants who they may have to consult with in the course of their duties.

The job is described as one that looks to enhance the many important alliances that Prince Rupert and Port Edward have built with other communities throughout the Northwest corridor.

Not mentioned of course in the prospectus for new employees, is the tight budget in which all of that will need to be accomplished with, particularly as Prince Rupert continues to find financial challenges on its doorstep.

And most importantly for the new EDO one of the key aspects of the new job will be finding a way to meet the demands of the variety of officials and their preferred courses of action that he or she will have to answer to.

The deadline for submissions is December 20th, a timeline that suggests we most likely won't know who takes on the challenge ahead until the new year.

Canada Jetlines puts Prince Rupert on its potential itinerary

They're not ready for take off from Digby Island Airport just yet.

But should they line up their investors, acquire their fleet of jets and take to the air, Canada Jetlines may make Prince Rupert one of the destinations on the route map in the next few years.

The Financial Post has revealed some of the details of the business plan which would clearly shake up the Canadian aviation industry, should they ever make it to the departure gate.

The airline which apparently has the moral support of the provincial government is seeking to raise more than 126 million dollars in financing to launch the airline which would fly under the name of "Jetlines"

Based out of Vancouver, the airline has a list of a number of potential destinations in Western Canada on its mind, markets that they have identified as under-served by the current airlines of the region.

Included on their prospects list are Prince George and Prince Rupert in Northern British Columbia.

The airline  also intends to eventually add international destinations such as Las Vegas and Cabos St. Lucas to their flight offerings.

Jetlines would make use of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, which if they do end up serving Prince Rupert would herald the return of Jet service to the North Coast

The plan is to offer a low cost, no frills style of airline to Western Canada, similar to Europe's Ryanair or Spirit airlines in the US.

Though it appears that they aren't alone in their quest, as there are other potential airlines of similar blue print apparently still in the development phase.

While they hope to take to the air by the fall of 2014, no official timetable as to when the first flight may take to the air has been announced as of yet.

So far, short of the short burst of media attention to their plans, the only other mention of the airline is through an online place holding. The prospective airline has reserved space on a YouTube page, but as of yet has not posted any material to their online portal.

You can review more of the possible major shift to the airline industry from this article in the Post.

Should Canadian Jetlines file its flight plan to Prince Rupert, they will become the third airline to service the north coast through YPR, joining Air Canada Jazz and Hawkair with flights out of the Digby Island airport. New low-cost air carrier to set up shop in Vancouver
Global BC-- New 'ultra low' airline hoping to launch in Vancouver
News 1130- Group hopes to launch ultra-low cost Canadian airline New discount airline prepares for launch in Vancouver Ultra Low Cost Airline (audio)
CKPG-- Budget Airline Takes off in Prince George (video)
Prince George Citizen-- Canada Jetlines could land in Prince George
Globe and Mail-- Western Discount carrier would launch with two planes and a Vancouver base

Rainmakers make ready for weekend of basketball

A weekend of high tempo high school basketball is on the way, as the Charles Hays Rainmakers prepare to host three Northwest Schools in their Shootout Tournament.

The Prince Rupert high school squad will see action three times over Friday and Saturday.

With Hazelton opening up the weekend with a tip off against the Rainmakers at 7:30 on Friday night.

Saturday, Charles Hays will play long time rival Caledonia at 11:45, a match which if history is any indication should be one of the showcase match ups of the weekend.

The Rainmakers then have a turn around with a match up with Mount Elizabeth of Kitimat at 1:30. PM.

All Games this weekend take place at the Charles Hays Secondary School Gymnasium on Prince Rupert Boulevard.

The 2 days of basketball offers up the first major test for the Rainmakers squad of the year, as they set course for another run for a zone championship and possible trip to the Provincials next March in Langley.

The full schedule of the weekend tournament can be found below:


Hazelton vs Charles Hays 7:30 PM


Hazelton vs Kitimat 10:00 AM
Caledonia vs Charles Hays 11:45 AM
Mount Elizabeth vs Charles Hay 1:30 PM
Caledonia vs Hazelton 3:15 PM

You can review some of our past items on Charles Hays Athletics from our archive page

24/7 Recycling depot transfer station put on the back burner until the Spring

As part of Monday night's City Council session, Mayor Jack Mussallem made a short commentary that the proposed 24 hour, Seven Day a week  transfer station, which was to be set up at the front of the Kaien Road Recycling Centre was going to be delayed until the first quarter of 2014.

The plan to provide Prince Rupert and area residents with recycling options on a 24 hour a day, 7 day week basis, has been something the community has been seeking for a number of years now.
In recent years many have outlined for the City and Regional District that the current hours of operation were not compatible with their daily schedules.

The project was given a boost back in August, when the Prince Rupert Port Authority provided an 18,000 dollar contribution towards it, through the Port's Community Fund.

For now at least, they'll have to make do with the current status of the recycling centre and its hours of operation.

The Mayor offered didn't offer up much more than a short comment that it was some kind of personnel issue that led to the delay, though it's anticipated that the project should be in place by March of 2014

You can review his announcement from the City Council Video Archive, the recycling issue comes up at the 43 minute mark.

Food for Overdue Fines coming to Prince Rupert Library

For tardy book returners in Prince Rupert, a one month amnesty is about to arrive at the Prince Rupert Library and all it will require of you is a donation of some non perishable food.

The project which will see the canned and packaged goods donated to the local Food Bank kicks off on Tuesday, December 3rd and will run through the Holiday season, coming to an end on Sunday, January 5th, 2014.

For each non-perishable item that is brought in to the Library, they will deduct 2 dollars off of any overdue fines.

For those that aren't sure if they have any overdue fines, you can contact the library at 250-627-1345.

The program is limited to only overdue library fines and does not include any other library fees that may be in place.

Of course, regular visitors to the library who keep their accounts in good standing, can still take part in the food bank project.

Rupertites who wish to participate can lend a hand over the holidays  by bringing in non-perishable goods during the library's hours of operation.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Terrace RCMP looking for 15 year old boy, who could possibly be in Prince Rupert

UPDATE: Terrace RCMP advised Friday that the missing youth had been location in Prince Rupert, thanking the public for their assistance.

A missing person file from the Terrace RCMP has Northwest detachments of the RCMP seeking the whereabouts of Terrell Watts, a fifteen year old male, who possibly could be in the Prince Rupert area.

The teenager was last seen in Terrace on October 28th at around 6PM, at the time he was wearing blue jeans, running shoes, a black jacket and sunglasses.

Wednesday afternoon the RCMP issued a call for the assistance of the public in locating the youth.

Should anyone have information regarding his case, they are asked to contact the Terrace RCMP at 250-638-7400 or through the CrimeStoppers Tipline at 1-800-222-TIPS.

If spotted in the Prince Rupert region, the local office of the RCMP can be contacted at 250-627-0700.

The Terrace Standard had this item on the search for Terrell Watts.

The RCMP has also posted this information to its website.

City Council to look over Schedule of sessions for 2014

Members of Prince Rupert City Council have some homework to take care of prior to their final session of 2013 taking place on December 9th.

Newly hired Corporate Administrator Rory Mandryk has submitted for their review, a template for their City Council sessions for 2014, seeking feedback and guidance at the next council session.

The blueprint for next year's public sessions of City Council would find council meeting only once in January, August, September and December in 2014, with two meetings a month in the remaining eight months of the year.
Making for a total of 20 public sessions held through 2014.

That would make for a reduction of two scheduled council meetings per year, for the City's Mayor, six councillors and staff members to make plans to attend.   

This past year, counting ahead to the final session of the year of December 9th, Council members had 22 meetings scheduled since January 14th

Though, in reality, they only sat at 21 of those scheduled sessions, as the council session for July 29th was cancelled this year.

You can learn more about his proposed schedule from the City Council Video Archive, the outline of the proposal can be found at the 49 minute mark.

Councillors will have the opportunity to offer up their thoughts on the proposal at the December 9th session. You can review the proposed schedule as part of the City Council Agenda from Monday evening, it can be found on page 20 of the package provided to the City's councillors. 

Not in the mix for discussion at this time, but something that Council may wish to direct some of its attention towards, is the large number of closed sessions that Council holds over the course of a year. 

Since January 2013, Prince Rupert City Council has held 27 sessions this year that have been closed to the public

And while a number of those clearly involved some delicate issues regarding Watson Island and its associated legal troubles, it's still a rather large number of sessions where the public is excluded.  

When you have a situation where you have more closed sessions, than open ones over the course of a year, the City may wish to look into perhaps if they could not be a little more open and transparent to the community.

RCMP seek assistance from the public regarding sexual assault

The Prince Rupert RCMP is seeking the help of the public regarding a disturbing incident of November 23rd

At approximately 7:40 that evening, a male complainant made contact with members of the Prince Rupert detachment regarding the incident, which saw him taken from the downtown core of the city, to an area near the Prince Rupert Cemetery, where he was sexually assaulted.

On Wednesday, the RCMP issued a media release to confirm the nature of the incident and to advise the public that they are conducting an active investigation into it.

As part of that investigation, the RCMP is seeking further information regarding four unidentified First Nations men, who were driving the sliver coloured, newer model pick-up truck that was used as transportation in the attack.

You can find more about the investigation from this media release, from the local detachment of the RCMP.

As that investigation moves forward, the RCMP is seeking the assistance of the public into the case file.

The RCMP is asking that anyone that may have any information on the events of November 23rd to come forward and provide their information to investigators.

Those that may have information are asked to contact the Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-627-0700 or by way of Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)

Councillor Carlick-Pearson expresses concern over weekend incidents

As part of the conversation on Monday night regarding Councillor Ashley's motion to seek out funding for crime and related social issues in the city, Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson relayed some worries of her own, regarding what she believes is the changing nature of the community.

In particular, she outlined her concern over the volume of "new people and foreigners" transiting in and out of the city and the impact  that situation could have on personal safety.

She also commented rather cryptically and without going into much detail, about a number of recent crimes committed in the community over the weekend.

You can review her various comments to Council and some of the discussion around them from the City's Video Archive, the conversation runs from the 58 minute to one hour and eight minute mark.

And while she suggested that the incidents were worrisome, she did say that she didn't want to alarm anyone.

Always a tricky process, especially when you don't provide much in the way of information regarding them.

In could be, that by providing such little background and context to those concerns in Council chambers, she may inadvertently raise the level of anxiety in the community.

Should there be issues of concern that Council is aware of, one might think that Council should ask for a public update on them, in Council Chambers from the local detachment of the RCMP.

If for no other reason, than to reassure the community that they are being addressed.

The Councillor's intent to warn parents in particular to keep their children safe and to be aware of their own personal surroundings, is of course a laudable thing to pursue.

However, the problem with not providing much in the way of background over those incidents she referenced, is that it allows the community to engage in wide ranging speculation, which in turn brings out suspicion and potentially creates divisions in the community.

If the Councillor wants a fairly good example as to how a bit of information can mushroom into a larger issue, she may wish to review this item that the Northern View posted to its website this week.

It offers up a disturbing account of what can only be described as a horrific and violent incident from the weekend, the details of which are relayed from the viewpoint of a family member of the victim.

That account is perhaps, one of the incidents of which Councillor Carlick-Pearson was commenting on.

The difficulty with that article as posted by the paper, is that it provides little official information from the local detachment of the RCMP, other than confirmation of an investigation.

And while the RCMP clearly can't disclose much in the way of information on this incident, they perhaps should have offered up some reassurance and an indication to the community, as to the level of investigation that is currently underway into it.

Adding to the possible level of anxiety over that incident and the perception of other incidents in the community, are a number of incendiary comments made on line, in regard to that Northern View item.

A quick scan of the commentary feature of the paper, provides for much in the way of justifiable unvarnished anger. But with it a level of mis-information, as well as a number of  accusations and perceptions as to the overall nature of the community to burst out.

To avoid having any of that get too far out of control, perhaps Council may wish to invite representatives of the RCMP to address these perceptions of rampant crime in the community and update the city's residents on what measures are being put in place to ensure public safety.

Update:  The RCMP issued a media release at 2:12 on Wednesday, outlining details of one of the weekend incidents in Prince Rupert, you can learn more about that here.

Council to seek out funding to tackle crime and social issues surrounding special events

The issues of  crime and ways to approach some of the social problems of the community came up for discussion at Monday night's Council session.

The topic introduced as Councillor Anna Ashley sought approval for a pair of motions to City Council on Monday evening.

The Councillor as part of the preamble to her motion outlined the nature of potential funding that could be available to the city.  Highlighting how she would like to see the City formulate a plan to access the funding and address issues that surround some of the city's more high profile events.

And while she was concerned in particular about incidents that seem to spike during the All Native Tournament, she was quick to stress that the discussion could be held regarding many large community events.

Taking time to review the positive nature to the community of the annual basketball tournament of February and not wanting to have her intentions taken the wrong way. Councillor Ashley explained that she believes that the city could make use of the potential 1 million dollar in funding, so as to address the number of social issues that arise during these large community events.

A theme that Councillor Carlick-Pearson echoed in lending her support to the quest to learn more about the possible funding option, adding to the motion that the City should look into setting up a committee to review the various social issues of concern and to discuss strategies to address them.

The two motions, were adopted by Council, which turned the twin themes over to staff to explore further and to report back to council on.

You can review the discussion on the twin issues from the City's Video Archive, the conversation runs from the 54 minute to one hour and seven minute mark.

Concerns over Sixth Avenue Bridge have Mayor looking for alternate route

With the City Council learning from the Chief Financial Officer that it has had to defer repairs to the Sixth Avenue bridge until 2014, the Mayor has suggested that it may be prudent to have an alternative plan in place, should the city find that they need to close that bridge to traffic at some point.

Towards that thought, the Mayor outlined for Council on Monday night that perhaps they may wish to have city staff draw up an alternative route, which would see a road developed behind the Hays Cove Petro-Canada.

A proposed route which would move traffic down towards George Hills Way and then back up around the bridge by way of Drydock road.

While hoping that there will be no need for such a plan to be put into effect, Mayor Mussallem did provide some thoughts for Council that the need for repairs and refurbishments to the city's aging infra-structure remains a key issue for the city.

You can review his discussion on that theme from the City's Video Archive for November 25th, the Mayor's commentary on the bridge situation arrives at the 40 to 44 minute mark.

A community-based fishery the goal of organizers of a community forum next week

With fishermen and north coast communities facing unprecedented challenges to their industry, a community based group is seeking to look for answers to the many challenges that are already here, or looming on the horizon.

Towards that goal, Eco Trust Canada and the TBuck Suzuki Foundation are hosting a community forum on Wednesday, December 4th at 7 PM at Northwest Community College.

An evening designed to explore the prospects for a community-based fishery management and how it might apply on the North Coast.

Featured in the night will be two presentations:

One a talk by Arthur Bull, a Fisheries Policy Analyst with Ecotrust Canada, who will speak to lessons learned from community based management structures in other part of Canada and around the world.

The second, a presentation from Des Nobels of the TBuck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, who will review a report that shows the intrinsic value of fisheries to our communities.

In addition to the presentations, there will be a roundtable discussion on how community based fisheries management could provide the region with opportunities.

The evening is organized under the title of Charting Our Own Course and comes to Prince Rupert just as DFO is conducting its post-season review of fisheries issues.

Those that wish to learn more about the evening can contact Eco-Trust Canada at 250-624-4191 for more information.

Update: Some of the coverage of the session can be found below

Dec 5-- CFTK--  Fisheries Forum in Prince Rupert well Attended
Dec 5-- CFTK -- Prince Rupert Fishery (video)

City Council Timeline, Monday, November 25, 2013

Had he been in attendance, it would have been fairly easy introduction to civic politics for the city's newest Councillor Barry Cunningham, as City Council's Monday session provided for a little less than an hour and a half of work, a good portion of it taken up by presentations to council.

However, the sixth seat of Council remained empty (as well as Councillor Thorkelson's) on Monday evening, as Council embarked on their final session for November.

The November 25th gathering offered up a short listing of items as found on the weekly agenda.

In addition to the public forum on the night, November 25th featured another "closed session" of Council, just another in what is becoming a lengthy listing of closed door sessions for this Council.

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 below as they are posted to the city Website.

In Attendance November 25, 2013

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Present  
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Present 
Councillor Judy Carlick-Pearson-- Present
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Absent (not officially sworn in to office as of yet)
Councillor Gina Garon-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Absent 

Councillor Jennifer Rice-- Resigned her position on June 10th. (She was replaced by Councillor Barry Cunningham after a by-election on November 16th)

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

(0:00--10:00) Council's video feed appears to join in progress on a conversation between Council and advocates for animal welfare in the city. We arrive at the conversation as they wrap up some of their past history with animals. The conversation appears to be engaging the theme of the animal by-law regarding the number of dogs that a household can have in the community. Councillor Carlick-Pearson joined in on the conversation offering up her support to their cause and situation.

Councillor Ashley then entered the conversation outlining her thoughts on the topic and what approaches could be taken on the theme. She then asked for some thoughts of the couple addressing council, seeking some further background on their committee work in other communities in the past.

Councillor Kinney then stepped into the debate suggesting he would like to work with the couple, he was followed by Councillor Garon how reviewed some of the history of the bylaw. The couple wrapped up their presentation, by asking for a exemption to the current bylaw in place regarding the number of dogs one household can keep on their property.

The Mayor then counselled the City Manager to investigate the issue further and explore options that the City could proceed with to accommodate the issue raised and the request of exemption from the couple.

(10:00--17:30) The next item of business at the Committee of the Whole portion of the night was an opportunity for public comment from the gallery. One citizen offered up some comments on a book that they are introducing to the community (and providing copies to council of).

The book is called Book of Rainbows, a project run through the Hecate-Strait Development Centre, that highlights some of the anecdotes and stories of those that have chosen Prince Rupert to be their home. Council then took time out for a photo opportunity with the coordinators of the book.

Council then adjourned their Committee of the Whole session and returned to the Regular Council session of the night.

(17:30--19:00) Council adopted its variety of minutes and agendas of note for this session.

Petitions and Delegations

(19:00--40:00A delegation of the City's Recreation advisory Committee provided an update on their latest developments. Their first item of note being the advisory that they were still short one person on the volunteer committee, which they would like to see filled before the year is out.  They outlined the mandate of the committee and the five key purposes that they have been tasked to review. They also outlined some of the community engagement actions that they have taken on in recent months.

They currently are compiling information on users of the Community's recreation facility (and those that at the moment don't use the centre for whatever reason) looking to find ways to better engage the community with the recreation options that the city offers, they hope to have their report ready for review in the New Year.

They had a request of the city to provide a city based email address, for a centre point of contact for those looking to provide information to their work. As well as to possibly consider a by-law change to allow for sales of passes on an incentive basis. At the moment, the by-law restricts that option.

They also requested some technical assistance from the City's IT department to better promote their survey. Which comes with a cost to the city, the survey process which could then be used by other city departments for their use. They also wish to explore an online option for residents to access and pay for  recreation sign up programs through an online portal. The Mayor advised that procedure could be in place by January.

They also sought out a follow up meeting with the City Manager to go over some of their key requests.

There was a suggestion for  a day to be set aside for free access to the Civic Centre facilities, to help push the response to their survey process, using that as a way of bringing people into the facility to take part. The plan would be to use a free pass to the Recreation Centre as a grand prize, to be used as an incentive for participation.

Reports and Recommendations

(40:00--44:30 Report from the Chief Financial Officer --  Ms. Bomben then relayed the details of her report highlighting the financial picture from the monthly financial review (you can review the majority of her report from the Agenda package page number 8)

Councillor Garon had a few questions of the CFO regarding the report, included among her thoughts was an inquiry as to why there was a decline in revenues for the City transit system, for the most part the shortfall comes from not selling as many passes to the Ministry of Social Services.

The Councillor's second question was one of which projects had been deferred until a future date, one was the Sixth Avenue Bridge project which has been postponed until next year, the Mayor also advised that the 24/7 recycling depot project was also postponed.

The Mayor then recounted some of the history of the bridges and their maintenance for the City Manager, he then suggested that some kind of report might be draw up to develop a road running down Hays Creek to provide an alternative for the bridge should more issues arise from it.

Council then received the Chief Financial Officer's report for informational purposes

(44:30--48:00Report from the Building Inspector and the Corporate Manager over a nuisance property-- Council heard a report from the City Manager over the nature of dis-repair of a property on The Plaza, with a recommendation that it be declared a nuisance under the Community Charter and that the building be demolished within thirty days.

Councillor Ashley asked where the house was located in the city. Advised that it was located between 6th East and 7th Avenue East. The recommendation was moved and adopted.


(48:00--49:00 ) The Airport Loan Authorization Bylaw 3333, 2013 -- A recommendation to adopt the Bylaw. The amendment was adopted. Councillor Ashley outlined that while she was voting in favour of the bylaw, she was opposed to the process in which the decision was made.

(49:00--52:30) Council Procedure Amendment Bylaw 3337, 2013 --  The City's Corporate Administrator outlined the nature of the Bylaw and what it means, through discussions he determined that council meetings would meet on the second and fourth week of each month, unless Council chooses to change a meeting date. Councillor Ashley inquired as to the nature of a calendar that was provided as part of the Council review of the topic. That calendar in question won't be examined until the next Council session.

Council then adopted the motion.

Following the report, the Mayor asked if there were any questions for the City Manager from his report.

(52:30--54:30) City Managers Report-- Mr. Long then provided his review of his City Manager's report, he outlined the success that City workers had with the recent snowfall in the city, with some positive feedback received from their efforts, he advised that any other items will be introduced to Council at the next meeting.

Reports, Questions and Inquiries

(54:30--1:07:00)  Councillor Ashley provided an overview on a program for Crime Prevention funding-- Seeking for their comment on how they may wish to secure the funding of 1 million dollars, to augment a community approach some of the negative issues that could surround the All Native Basketball Tournament.

While she stressed that overall that is a positive event in the community, there have been issues that have developed around it each year. And that she believes that this funding could assist the city in addressing some of those issues.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson lent her support to seeking out the funding and suggested it could be expanded to other events that draw people to the community. She suggested that the city may wish to spark a committee to examine the issues around community events.

She outlined that over the recent weekend of the All-Native Qualifying tournament, a number of crimes took place and she believes that funding such as this as well as a committee structure in place could help provide support to the community.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson also addressed the changing nature of the city and how there are a number of issues that have developed in the community in recent years.

The Mayor offered up some guidelines to the two councillors as to how they may wish to approach the funding request, Councillor Carlick-Pearson then suggested that Councillor Ashley was prepared to offer up a pair of motions for consideration.

The first motion asking staff to access the application form for comment from Council for the next council session. Councillor Garon then suggested that the City seek out the assistance of the RCMP  as well as officials from Child and Family Service on the nature of the funding request.

Her second motion, then asked that Council seek to put together a committee of the various groups in the community that would have a stake in the issue, asking that Staff compile a list of those groups that should be included for consideration of the Committee on special events.

Councillor Garon then suggested that they could piggy back on the social services meeting held last year, as those participants may already be tapped into the issues of concern.

Councillor Carlick-Pearson then volunteered to help staff in compiling their list.

Councillor Ashley then followed up on the social services meeting theme, looking to use it as a base for reference. She then stressed that she didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea about her suggestions, that she was not targeting any one event, more that she was merely looking to protect those that may be the most vulnerable in the community.

The Mayor advised that he didn't think anyone would take the recommendation the wrong way and that is in the spirit of concern over those that are vulnerable in the community.

With that the second motion was adopted.

(1:07:00--1:07:30) Councillor Garon then followed up that issue with a question if the City was looking to regenerate that Social Services meeting group in the new year, she asked if another meeting could be organized.

(1:07:30--1:08:30) Councillor Carlick-Pearson then turned to theme of new people arriving in town and that there was a need to be more aware of personal situations, expressing concern over some recent events over the last week that she had been made aware of, particularly over the weekend just passed. Incidents that are worrisome, but she wasn't wanting to alarm the community, just that people should be aware where their kids are and to be safe.

(1:08:30--1:12:30) Councillor Garon then asked for an explanation of the recent payment from the Port Authority to the City--  Mr. Long then reviewed the financial aspects of last week's announcement, advising that the City and the Port have had discussions on the proper levels of taxation and recently came to a point where the Port has seen fit to make a partial payment of the property taxes in lieu.

He expressed his belief that city could anticipate a final payment sometime in the near future, with a payment reflective of the assessed values as part of the ongoing review process that will be in place.

Councillor Ashley then thanked staff for their efforts on the file as well as offer thanks to the Port for their partial payment. The Mayor echoed that theme and offered up the observation that the values were not as appropriate as they could be and to the credit to the port, they authorized the partial payment as opposed to waiting for the final process.

(1:12:30--1:20:00The Mayor's Report

The Mayor first thanked the City staff and former employees that helped out at the recent by-election process of last week. He saluted their work and assistance.

He also congratulated Barry Cunningham on his success, advising Council that he would be sworn in at the December session, in addition he acknowledged all of those that stood in candidacy for the council seat.

He outlined his participation in a conference call with officials from across the region regarding subsidized bus transportation service from community to community, to discuss information  and a framework regarding a process to meet with Provincial Ministry officials, perhaps with a meeting in January of 2014.

He attended the Prince Rupert Art Council gathering at the local theatre, which included a European film.

He attended a gathering held in Cow Bay regarding the marine environment and proposed development of Lelu Island, also in attendance was Councillor Thorkelson.

The Mayor updated Council on an introductory session held with companies associated with Nexen and their proposed Natural Gas Export project in the region. More information will be forthcoming also in attendance were Councillors Ashley, Carlick-Pearson and Kinney.

He attended a National Children's Day ceremony. He read the City's proclamation on families and children at that event.

He attended the annual employees appreciation luncheon that honours city workers and on behalf of the City provided his thanks for the work that city workers and senior staff that they provide to the community.

The Mayor was in attendance at an Open House held by Pacific Northwest LNG, and the BC Environmental office, to seek out more information on the proposed development on Lelu Island.

The Mayor attended the October meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, where he heard an update on Port related activities in the community, he also said he believed that the Port was planning on attending to City Council chambers perhaps in December.

He attended an appreciation event for the Prince Rupert Ambassadors of the 2013 cruise ship season.

He took part as a co-presenter in a British Columbia Healthy Communities webinar.

He took a tour of the Canadian Coast Guard Incident Command centre in Prince Rupert, regarding the removal of bunker fuel from the vessel in Grenville Channel.

The Mayor took part in the Northwest Regional Hospital District meeting.

The Mayor then relayed news that the Airport will be serviced with new aircraft for the Air Canada route  into the region.

The Mayor attended a Multi-cultural gathering, where copies of a new book, called Book of Rainbows, comprising stories of those that have moved was introduced.

The Mayor also advised of an event at Pilsbury House that he attended, providing some background on the celebrations held that day on the grounds.

And with that review, the Monday session of council came to an end.

You can access the City Council Review page for November 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.

Minutes Regular Council Session from November 25, 2013 

NDP weigh in with rebuke of Ferry plans by Government

“These drastic cuts to B.C. Ferries show the B.C. Liberals just don’t understand how critical ferry services are to people living on the North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii,” -- NDP North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, outlining her concerns over the recent announcement on Ferry service reductions.

The NDP has offered up a stinging rebuke of the provincial government's plan for BC Ferries, highlighting a theme that the government does not understand the critical nature of the ferry service to the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice outlined a number of the NDP's concerns regarding those changes, highlighting the interest that the announcement has raised in communities beyond those on the coast.

She also brought attention to the impact that she believes the cancellations and cut backs will have on already struggling coastal and rural communities, leaving those communities "to bear the brunt of what she calls the Liberal's failure to create a long term sustainable plan"

The complete listing of NDP talking points on the ferry service announcement can be found from the NDP's website.

Some of the NDP MLA's thoughts echo the commentary of the BC Ferries Advisory Committee, (a group that she served with as a municipal councillor) which has also been quick to find much to dislike about the Government's announcement of last week.

They reiterated their recent observations on the state of the Ferry system with a media release on Friday, highlighting that they believe the plan as drawn up by Transportation Minister Todd Stone is based on numbers that don't add up to a solution.

Residents of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii can offer up their thoughts next week, as we outlined on the blog yesterday, a number of public forums have been organized for Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert for comment on the plans as laid out by the province last week.

You can learn more about those public forums here.