Tuesday, July 29, 2014

With Northwest Transmission Line now live, Northwest development proposals may spring to life

Considering the high profile that BC Hydro gave to the project when they first announced it and as progress was made in its construction, the turning of the switch that activated the Northwest Transmission Line appears to have come and gone with little in the way of public celebration.

The word that the NTL was now active came through a press release last week, the notice of the energizing of the transmission line, mentioned almost in passing as part of an information package for Prince Rupert Council.

The project started up in January of 2012 and features 1,100 transmission structures and 2,100 kilometres of wire starting north of Terrace and continuing up through Nass and then on towards Meziadin Junction  for some 344 kilometres.

The cost of the first phase of the project is 746 million dollars, with 310 million received from the Federal Green Infrastructure Fund and from Alta Gas.

Plans are in place for a  further 92 kilometre extension of the project north to Bob Quinn Lake.

The electrification northwards is anticipated to help service the growing mining and exploration industry which is developing in areas of the Nass and north beyond Stewart.

Some background on the Northwest Transmission Line can be found from the BC Hydro site, which has this blog item on the project.

For other items related to Hydro Electric developments in the Northwest see our Archive page

Past items related to mining activity in the region can be found here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Petronas seeks out some Federal incentive before final investment decision

At the moment, the one LNG proposal for the North Coast that appears to have the most momentum is that of the Pacific Northwest LNG project, a major industrial terminal development that is proposed for Lelu Island.

 Petronas the Malaysian based energy company has been a presence in the region since the prospects of terminal development first started to be drawn up. Since Pacific Northwest LNG opened their downtown office on Third Avenue, Prince Rupert has seen a string of other proposals from a wide range of proponent outlined for the region.

However, for many, the Pacific Northwest LNG proposal seems to be the one that is the most advanced along the Environmental review process and the Petronas project is the one that appears to have lined up the right amount of partners in investment, clients for product, pipeline providers and gas field deposits.

All of which would seem to offer up some sign that they are getting close to their final decision on the reported 11 billion dollar investment required for the Lelu Island project.

Before they get to that point however, it would seem that Petronas is waiting for a sign from Ottawa that their investment is welcome on the North Coast.

The Financial Post outlines the nature of discussions that will take place in Ottawa this week, as a consortium led by Petronas seeks to obtain capital cost allowances for LNG development. Changes to federal agreements that could provide for a significant jump in the amount of tax concessions and allowances that the LNG proponents could realize for any projects that may get underway.

The full article on the Petronas push for the Feds and the many aspects required before the Federal government can consider the changes can be found here.

It isn't the first time that Petronas officials have issued a cautionary note towards government officials in Canada.

During a high profile LNG summit in May, the CEO of Petronas warned of the potential to break investment models through any excessive tax regimens.

We highlighted some of those discussions from the May conference here.

Part of the frustration for the International investors for the range of British Columbia LNG proposals is the nature of Canadian bureaucracy and the unknown tax situation that they might face, should they decide to move forward with their investment plans.

While on the other side of the fiscal argument, both Provincial and Federal governments are looking to find some financial reward to their coffers from the accelerated level of development of Gas reserves and the placement of terminal facilities in British Columbia.

The province in particular has made much of the financial windfall that LNG could bring to the province, though it appears that their financial notes and those of the proponents of the industry may feature a bit of a difference of fair value.

The discussions and negotiations that seem to be taking place at the moment offer up a glimpse into the many factors that go into such high stakes investment decisions and how we for the most part are just observers to the process.

Somewhere we imagine, is the sweet spot of an agreement, whether both sides find it will probably in the end decide as to whether any of the North Coast LNG proposals ever make it to the construction phase.

You can review our extensive listings of items related to LNG development here, for a more detailed review of the Pacific Northwest proposal for the North Coast see our archive page here.

When it comes to the Watson Island proposal, few details yet to be delivered

Perhaps it's just a matter of asking the right question, or maybe with the first opportunity of a public forum, the City may volunteer a bit more background when it comes to the July 16 exclusivity agreement with a company that wishes to develop a small scale LNG terminal at Watson Island.

The topic does not appear on the Agenda of items for Tonight's Prince Rupert City Council session, but the evening could offer two opportunities for a bit of disclosure from the Mayor and Council if they are inclined.

The first through the Committee of the Whole session, which allows for public questions. Where perhaps an inquisitive citizen may pose a question that allows for the City to shed a bit of light on the plans of Watson Island LNG and what that company offered that made their proposal so tempting for the City of Prince Rupert.

If Rupertites remain shy during that public opportunity, there is always the Regular Council session where perhaps one of our six elected councillors may wish to act as our advocates in the quest for just a bit more information.

When it comes to the proposal and the exclusivity agreement that was first announced last week by way of a press release from the City, there really hasn't been much in the way of expansive review of what to expect moving forward.

The plans of WILNG as the proposed developer is called, seem fairly limited for the moment when it comes to their proposal for a small scale LNG development on the Watson Island site.

That small scale of project on its own might raise a few eyebrows, considering the cost recovery issues related to the large scale proposals already in the works for the region. Many might wonder how a small scale LNG project would generate enough revenue and provide for a high level of employment in an industry where it seems that large and expensive is the norm.

Perhaps Council might be able to advise if or when the proponents behind WILNG, are preparing to provide for an open house or public presentation on their proposal,  similar to many of the other LNG proponents that have done so.

A review which would better outline their project and what the region may anticipate from it.

The July 16th media announcement does seem to provide for the need of more information, particularly when it comes to such issues as a timeline of development, financial backing for the project, export contracts for the LNG when shipped or supply of gas to feed the terminal, just to name a few of the many questions that pop into mind when it comes to LNG.

Last week, the weekly paper reviewed that there may even be questions when it comes to access to the site by LNG ships, something that if not addressed, would probably bring the export terminal project to a fairly quick end.

From the City side of the discussion, other than the usual statement as to the goal of returning Watson Island to the tax rolls and its hoped for return as an active economic engine, there had been little in the way of an update on that file of many layers.

The Mayor touched on the ongoing legal proceedings regarding the site, but did not provide any timeline or update on progress on those issues.

Likewise, the City mentions that they are seeking assistance on the wish to remove some of the environmental problems from the site, yet again there is no particular listing of the steps they are taking to address the situation.

No mention of the results of any meetings with government officials, or even if Jennifer Rice, the region's NDP MLA has been enlisted lend a hand and to try and find some movement from the provincial government on the issue.

The media release of last week seems to have left us with more questions than answers when it comes to the developments from every one's favourite coffee shop topic of "what's going on with Watson Island".

Public sessions of Council and the opportunity for more information seem few and far between in the summer months, tonight's is the first gathering of our elected officials in three weeks, with the next one not scheduled until the third week of August.

If City Council is looking to engage the public in their approach to the issues of Watson Island, Council's session of tonight offers up the podium for a timely explanation of the City's side of the latest news from the island.

There are more items on the Watson Island file available on our archive page.

City Council Session, Monday, July 28, 2014

Our archive of items from the session can be found below.

Special session of City Council For Monday, July 28, 2014

Home page and archive of sessions can be found here.

Live Broadcast of session can be found here

North Coast Review - Preview of Regular Session for July 28, 2014

Agenda for the Regular Session of City Council for July 28, 2014 

Agenda for Public Hearing of July 28, 2014

Agenda for the Committee of the Whole Session for July 28, 2014

Notice of Special Session of Council for July 28, 2014
(Resolution to exclude the public)

Info to Council

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

Minutes of Regular Session of Council July 28, 2014  

Video Recording of July 28, 2014 

North Coast Review City Council Timeline July 28, 2014  

North Coast Review Items on the July 28, 2014 Session of Council

Land Inventory Review highlights need for proactive planning
Airport Ferry and Recreation facility usage and revenues up; Watson revenues down in June financial report
Council hears of Landfill expansion requirements
Council gets agitated over Atlin and Rushbrook Floats parking provisions
Mr. Krekic's DPA proposal heads back to the shelf

Media items from other sources for the July 28, 2014 Council session can be found in our Discussion Points from City Council feature

City Council Preview, Monday, July 28, 2014

The dog days of summer City Council style, with a lengthy break of July now coming to an end, Council sits in session Monday night with mostly a housekeeping agenda on the evening.

Council opens the 7 PM hour with a pair of Public Hearings on zoning issues, the background of which you can find from our blog item of last week.

This being the last meeting of the month, Council will also hold a Committee of the Whole session, which offers up the opportunity for residents to ask any questions of Council regarding issues of concern.

Reports make up the bulk of the Regular Agenda, with the Financial Report for June, notice of Civic Recognition Awards, as well as Reports on Atlin Pay Parking and Landfill concerns providing for the bulk of the review.

The night will also feature another presentation from City Planner Zeno Krekic, this one on the Land Base indicator inventory.

Bylaws and Development permits will also find space on the nights agenda.

The evening wraps up with any additional items of concern from Council members and the Mayor's Report.

Before they take to the Monday night session Council will once again take to behind closed doors, with  a Closed Session of Council to take place in the early evening.

The notice for the July 28 version of the Closed Session provides for a topic which offers up little as to the nature up for discussion, but provides for an item which Council feels cannot be discussed in open session.

That Council hereby declares that the meeting held at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 28, 2014 is to be closed to the public and that the basis of that closure is that the item(s) on the agenda of this meeting comply with the following closed meeting criteria specified in Section 90 of the Community Charter: 

90.1 (e) the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements, if the council considers that disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality. - Sale and/or Leasing of City property.

When Council is finished with its Closed Session business, they will then reconvene at 7 PM for the Public Hearing Session (see here) , followed by the Committee of the Whole Council session (see Agenda here).

The full listing of Monday night's Regular Council Agenda can be found here.

A guide to the night's content can be found below, the corresponding page number from the Agenda listed in red.

The session starts off with the regular adoption of agendas and minutes. Followed by Mr. Krekic's presentation on the Land Base Indicator Survey.

Council will hear a report from the Chief Financial Officer with the Monthly Financial Report for June (Page 10 of the Agenda)

The Corporate Administrator will then offer up some background on the Civic Recognition Awards, with the nomination period set for August (Page 16 of the Agenda)

The Engineering Department will provide a report on the topic of the Atlin Parking Lot, with the recommendation that Council remove the Pay Parking aspect of the lot and reinstate the 2 hour parking limit to the area.  (Page 26 of the Agenda)

The Engineering Department provides a second report for the evening, this one on the issues surrounding the Landfill Development, with a recommendation to council to approve an overage payment on the current Landfill Development Contract. (Page 28 of the Agenda)

The Landfill area also is the focus of a third presentation from the Engineering Department, with a report on the future of the Landfill site and a recommendation of approval to utilize 1.5 million dollars out of the Gas Tax Fund to go towards future Landfill Development (Page 30 of the Agenda)

Requests, Correspondences for Action and any resolutions to be made public from the Closed sessions of Council will be addressed next.

Followed by a trio of Bylaws for consideration on the night.

A Report from the City Planner regarding Rezoning to Allow A multiple Family Development on Ambrose Avenue  (page 37 of the Agenda)

A Report from the City Planner on a Zoning Bylaw to Amend and Adjust the Downtown Development Permit Area Boundary ( Page 48 of the Agenda)

And a Report from the City Planner regarding an application for a Development Variance Permit for a residence on 8th Avenue West (Page 52 of the Agenda)

Any Additional Items from Council Members is next on the night

The evening then wraps up with Reports, Questions and inquiries from Members of Council, as well as the Mayor's Report, which is then followed by adjournment.

Following tonight's session Council takes another three weeks away from the grind of municipal governance, next meeting in Regular public session on August 18th.

The Live broadcast of the City Council session can be found here, a video archive of past sessions is available here.

Our Archive of the July 28th session can be found here.

While our archive of all sessions of council this year is available here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blog Watching, Week ending July 27 2014

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

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

This week, a collision between a logging truck and a CN train results in a derailment on the main line and delays in transit for shipments for the Port of Prince Rupert.

As well, Port Edward looks for growth from LNG development, a major search between Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii for a missing boater.

Things wrap up with a look at convictions on Fisheries charges and police investigation in child pornography round out our most reviewed articles of the week.

Kicking off the top five items, of our week that was, the details of the  train/logging truck collision near Decker Lake.

Train/Logging truck collision results in derailment west of Burns Lake --   The CN mainline between Prince Rupert and Prince George was shut down through Friday into Saturday owing to a collision at a Decker Lake crossing (posted July 25, 2014)

That item was followed by:

Port Edward proposals point towards expanded Growth for the District --  A number of proposed developments are outlined for Port Edward with LNG terminal prospects in mind (posted July 22, 2014)

Search continues off Port Hardy for elderly man missing in small rowboat-- Details of the search for a man who set sail from Prince Rupert for Port Hardy in a rowboat and has been reported missing.  (posted July 21, 2014)

Three from North Coast convicted of Fisheries violations  -- A pair of incidents which date back to 2010 work their way through the courts to convictions for a number of North Coast residents   (posted July 21, 2014)

Prince Rupert RCMP arrest man on Child pornography charges -- The execution of a search warrant on the west side of the city results in charges related to Child pornography for a Prince Rupert resident (posted July 23, 2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Train/Logging truck collision results in derailment west of Burns Lake

A Friday morning incident between an eastbound CN Rail train and a logging truck near Decker Lake has resulted in a train derailment.

The result of which has left some twenty containers and a large volume of logs strewn across both tracks and a neighbouring field in the area.

Around 7 AM, Burns Lake RCMP responded to the collision between Burns Lake and Decker Lake near the Decker Lake Sawmill.

Upon arrival, they advised that beyond the damage to the train cars that have left the track, a small amount of diesel fuel had been leaking onto the tracks from the logging truck as a result of the collision.

RCMP photo of collision site
The driver of the logging truck was taken to Burns Lake Hospital for evaluation.

The incident took place on a private road and has not had an impact on travel along Highway 16,

However travel along the rail line between Decker Lake and Prince George has been shut down until further investigation takes place.

No information regarding the incident has been posted to the CN Information portal as of yet.

There has also, as of yet, been no advisory issued by the Transportation Safety Board regarding the Friday morning collision.

Media accounts of the incident can be found below:

Global BC--  Train derails after collision with a logging truck near Burns Lake
Moose FM-- Train collides with logging truck near Burns Lake
CFTK-- Truck-Train Collision Closes CN LIne West of Burns Lake
CFNR-- Train and Logging Truck crash near Burns Lake
CKPG TV-- Train and Logging Truck Collide Near Burns Lake
CBC-- Logging Truck crashes into CN Rail train near Burns Lake

Environmental Groups launch Skeena 2050 survey process

Two environmental groups are sending volunteers across the Northwest this summer, seeking opinion and information from area residents about the future of the region.

With a wide range of industrial projects from the Bullkley Valley through to the North Coast currently in the development or proposal stage, the survey provides an introduction of sorts for the two groups to start up a discussion with those that live in the Northwest.

The project which has been put together by the Skeena Wild Conservation Trust and Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition  appears to be designed to engage Northwest residents in some discussion points on development in the region.

Through the ongoing door to door campaign, residents from Houston to Prince Rupert will be offered the opportunity to provide answers to seven questions.

What's important to you and your family?

How do you get your voice included in decisions that affect you?

Do you feel the community and region are heading in the right direction>

Do you think there is a tipping point regarding development?

Do you eat food harvested from the surrounding land and waters?

Is there an outstanding land question in BC?

Considering the future, what do you want for this region?

You can review some of the feedback thus far from their work as of late June from this update page.

Those who may wish to participate but fear they may miss their opportunity can arrange for a visit by contacting the organizers by phone or text at 250-975-0963 or through a contact form on the  Skeena 250 website.

A video presentation that outlines what the process is all about can be found here

You can learn more about the initiative from the Skeena2050 website

North Coast MLA retains critics' roles under new NDP leader John Horgan

John Horgan, has put together his shadow cabinet team of  critics for the NDP opposition in Victoria and for North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, there won't be much of a learning curve required.

In a letter to Ms. Rice from Tuesday, Mr. Horgan outlined her appointment as Official Opposition Spokesperson for Northern and Rural Health and Deputy Spokesperson for Children and Family Development, both roles that the MLA had experience with under the leadership of Adrian Dix.

Mr. Horgan is splitting his collective of opposition members into two categories when it comes to their tasks in Victoria. A new approach to provide the NDP with a more direct approach to the policies and initiatives from Premier Christy Clark's government

Ms. Rice and thirteen other MLA's are being directed to what is called the Stronger Communities Team, while eighteen other MLA's, including Skeena's Robin Austin, have been placed in the Economic Sector of the Horgan shadow cabinet.

Mr. Austin is Mr. Horgan's selection as Official Spokesperson for Northern Economic Development.

In his correspondence to Ms. Rice, the NDP Leader outlines the expectations that come from a position in the shadow cabinet and touches on the focus that he intends to bring to Victoria in the fall when the Legislature resumes sitting in October.

As part of that focus, Horgan will be keeping a close watch on the handling of the LNG file, which the NDP believes the Liberal government of Christy Clark is mismanaging.

I expect you to spend the period leading to the fall legislative session reaching out to and meeting with individuals, businesses and organizations in your portfolio area. I recently completed a tour of the Interior. 

I was told repeatedly by business and community leaders that they feel ignored by a Premier and government entirely fixated on LNG development and unable to dea! with other problems or help other people. You know my opinion that LNG exports present an opportunity that the Premier and government are mismanaging. 

Equally concerning is the Premier's apparent inability to listen to or act for anyone else at the same time. This makes it imperative that we work to understand what is important to people in sectors and communities across the province and to advocate on their behalf in the legislature and beyond. -- John Horgan introducing his new shadow cabinet 

In his correspondence to MLA's, Mr. Horgan also provides a checklist of sorts for shadow cabinet members to follow, as they take up their duties in their role as critic.

The Shadow Cabinet has been meeting as part of a two day caucus in Vancouver this week, outlining their plan ahead for the Fall session and what key issues they intend to take to the BC Liberals.

More on what the NDP Leader and his shadow cabinet will be working on for the fall can be found in this media release from the NDP 

Some North Coast residents that might have been hoping for a higher profile for their MLA and with it an opportunity for a larger presence within the opposition ranks, will no doubt be a bit disappointed with the announcement of Tuesday.

Perhaps observing that even after two years of service in the Legislature, Ms. Rice has yet to be tasked with a higher profile portfolio that might have more resonance to the North Coast.  One that might have offered up the opportunity for her to deliver to the Legislature more of an overview to issues of importance to the region that she represents.

You can review Mr. Horgan's letter of confirmation to the North Coast MLA here.

For a full review of his shadow cabinet appointments see the mandate letters delivered to each NDP MLA here.

For more items of interest on developments from Victoria see our Legislature archive page.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prince Rupert Crime Stats improving, while Terrace spikes upwards

The latest review of the Crime Severity Information has been released by Statistics Canada and for the Prince Rupert detachment of the RCMP, the most recent numbers appear to indicate that the efforts of local members of the Force have found some success.

Of the four largest communities of the Northwest, the North Coast still has its issues to deal with, but progress has been made in reducing the impact of crime on the community.

Continuing a trend that has seen the numbers drop from 2009 when Prince Rupert's Severity Index ranking hit 209.

However while progress has been made, there is still much work to be done when it comes to Prince Rupert's placement on the Crime Severity Index.

Prince Rupert continues to remain on the high side compared to other communities in the region, though for now, we no longer lead the Northwest rankings.

Terrace, is now the community that stands out from the numbers of the most recent Stats Canada review.

That community has seen an increase in a number of categories and at the moment  would be the community with the most troublesome ranking of the region, with its Violent Crime Index even higher than that of Prince George in the Central Interior.

Those numbers place the Northwest city within the top 10 of Canadian communities that are dealing with both Violent Crime and Overall Crime Severity on a per capita basis.

For the Northwest the Index numbers look like this:

Crime Severity Index (all figures for municipal forces)

Terrace              153 (2013)   141 (2012)
Prince Rupert    143 (2013)   167 (2012)
Smithers            135 (2013)    113  (2012)
Kitimat                90 (2013)    97  (2012)

Violent Crime Severity Index

Terrace               174 (2013)  126 (2012)
Prince Rupert     155 (2013)  179 (2012)
Smithers              135 (2013)  119 (2012)
Kitimat                 90 (2013)    97 (2012)

Those numbers have provided for almost a 14 percent reduction on the Crime Severity Index recorded in Prince Rupert between 2013 and 2012.

When it comes to the Violent Crime Severity Index, Prince Rupert once again saw an impressive reduction in crimes of violence, compared to recent years of statistical review.

That however is not the situation for Terrace, which not only tops the listings for the Northwest, but for this year at least, sits among the upper levels for both BC and Canada.

The Breakdown for each Northwest Community can be found below:

Crime Severity 2013-- 153
Violent Crime Severity 2013-- 174 

Prince Rupert

Crime Severity 2013-- 143
Violent Crime Severity 2013-- 155 


Crime Severity 2013-- 153
Violent Crime Severity 2013-- 135 


Crime Severity 2013-- 90
Violent Crime Severity 2013-- 90

Data for the Prince Rupert Rural District was not available for the review.

When it comes to they range of crimes that affect Prince Rupert residents the statistics provide for a thorough review of the incidents recorded in the last year.

There were 3,050 incidents recorded in the last year, compared to the 2012 numbers of 3,615.

Of the recorded incidents, Criminal Code Violations totalled 2,761 while Violent Criminal Code incidents were noted at 482.

You can review the individual breakdown by crime Table  252-0081 found at the bottom of this item.

In 2013 377 adults were charged, while 48 youth were charged for offences in the last year.

Making for a total of 425 persons charged with offences in the 2013 survey year.

A further 178 youth were not charged in the last year, which marks an increase in that category from the 2012 number of 151.

As mentioned, British Columbia continues to find itself as a focus point when it comes to the statistical review of crime across Canada. With cities in both the Central Interior and Northern BC making up five of the the top twelve communities in Canada listed for Crime Severity in Canada.

In recent years, the communities of Quesnel, Williams Lake and Prince George have been ranked near the top of the Crime Severity Index, and that is a trend that continued in 2013.

With Williams Lake marked as the British Columbia community that seems to be the one requiring the most attention.

Crime Severity Overall (municipal forces only)

Williams Lake        216 (2013)   238 (2012)
Quesnel                  189 (2013)   216 (2012)
Terrace                   153 (2013)   141 (2012)
Prince Rupert         143 (2013)   167 (2012)
Prince George        137 (2013)  150 (2012)

Violent Crime Index (municipal forces only)

Williams Lake      223 (2013)  269 (2012)
Quesnel                203 (2013)  244 (2012)
Terrace                 174 (2013)  126 (2012)
Prince Rupert       155 (2013)  179 (2012)
Prince George      148 (2013)  166 (2012)

The breakdown for the entire province in the two categories can be found below, you can select the community of interest to you, by using the add/remove data button which will then sort the data

Incident based crime statistics for British Columbia (Table 252-0081)

Crime Severity Index for British Columbia (Table 252-0089)

The full Review of statistics and observations can be found here

Media attention to the annual review of statistics can be found below, we will add to the file as more items become available:

Prince George Citizen--  City crime score continues decline
Opinion 250-- Prince George Drops on Crime Severity Index
Opinion 250-- North District Communities High on Crime Severity

Amakusa Island arrives at Northland Terminal for repair work

Amakusa Island at Northland Dock --- NCR photo
Judging by the number of people that were hanging over the railing at the Atlin Terminal on Wednesday afternoon, for the next little while,  the Amakusa Island is going to be Prince Rupert's latest tourist attraction.

On Wednesday, the Prince Rupert Port Authority outlined the process of bringing the damaged vessel from anchorage off of Ridley Island, to its repair site at the Northland Terminal.

It's from that location that the coal carrier will be patched up by teams of divers and marine workers, making the vessel seaworthy for its journey back to Japan.

Those working on the ship will use metal plates to seal a tear in the outer hull, it's anticipated that the repairs will take two weeks to complete before the vessel will be able to set sail.

To transit the vessel through Prince Rupert harbour to dock, required the use of two tractor tugs from SMIT Marine and with a Marine Pilot on board to assist the vessel's master and crew.

The still visibly listing ship, is currently tied up at the cruise dock, making for a conversation piece and photo backdrop for local residents and visitors alike.

Work is taking place as those ashore watch and make comment from the Atlin Terminal as work continues on to repair the damage from the incident off of Ridley Island on July 14th.

Work will stop on the 29th of July when the ship will be moved to anchorage, so as to allow the Oceania Regatta cruise ship to take her berth at the Northland Cruise Dock.

According to the media release from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, inspections following the grounding confirmed that no environmental contamination occurred, though no government agency has as of yet, provided a public report on the nature of the incident.

The Transportation Safety Board dispatched a team to investigate the grounding, no updates have been provided from their work to this point.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prince Rupert RCMP arrest man on Child pornography charges

Wednesday afternoon, the Prince Rupert detachment of the RCMP released details regarding a number of charges recently made related to a Child pornography investigation in the city.

On July 3rd, members of the Prince Rupert RCMP Plain Clothes Unit executed a search warrant  for a Sloan Avenue residence on the city's west side.

As a result of the subsequent investigation, a Prince Rupert man has made his first appearance in court to face number of charges related to child pornography.

According to the RCMP media release from Wednesday, Facing charges of possession of child pornography, importing or distributing child pornography and making or publishing child pornography is 30 year old, Edmund White of Prince Rupert

As part of the media review of the case, Constable Matt Ericson of the RCMP, was quick to reassure local parents that at this time in their investigation, the RCMP does not believe that any local children have been victimized related to the current charges.

 "All of these offences are related to illegal Online activities and at this time, we have no reason to believe that any local children have been victimized. Electronic devices were seized during the search warrant and are currently being analyzed."

White was released from custody following his initial court appearance, with strict conditions governing his contact with children and related to his access to the Internet.

He will next appear in Court on July 30th.

As the investigation is still in its early stages, RCMP investigators continue to analyze the electronic devices that were seized as part of the search warrant.

The Prince Rupert detachment is asking that anyone that may have any further information regarding the incident, to contact the RCMP at 250-627-0700 or through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

You can review the full media release here.

For more items related to Emergency Service activities on the North Coast see our archive page.

Search called off for missing boater

Search officials at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria have brought to an end the search for a missing boater last seen on July 11th off of Haida Gwaii.

The man in his seventies, described as an experienced outdoors man was making his trip by rowboat having left Prince Rupert destined for Port Hardy.

The comprehensive search of waters between Haida Gwaii and Port Hardy was called off today, after
no sign of the missing boater was found despite the efforts of both air resources from Comox and surface vessels of the Coast Guard on the North Coast.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this week, the man was last seen when he left Aristazabal Island on July 11th, he was reported overdue on the 20th at which time the full scale search began.

The file has now been turned over to the Prince Rupert RCMP as a missing persons case.

Should anyone have information to assist in that investigation, they are asked to contact the Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-627-0700

Update: The Prince Rupert RCMP issued this media release  featuring more details on the missing person file. Included in the update is the identity of the missing boater who is Mr. Paul Clark of Victoria, British Columbia.

Media items of note on the latest developments can be found below:

Vancouver Sun-- Search called off for solo rower missing off BC's rugged north coast
AM 730-- Search called off on North Coast
CKNW-- Search called off on North Coast

NWCC receives funding for carbon neutral project

In its ongoing efforts to save on energy costs at public post-secondary institutions, the Province of British Columbia has been providing funding towards projects which reduce the carbon footprint that the large public institutions can leave across the province.

Towards that goal of lower carbon emissions, the details on another round of funding has just been announced with 20 post secondary institutions sharing in some 3.8 million dollars in capital projects dedicated to reducing energy costs.

For Northwest Community College, the share of the capital project funding has been directed towards an upgrade of their lighting infrastructure, designed to reduce energy consumption and operational costs.

You can learn more about the Provincial Energy Saving program from this media release from the Ministry of Advanced Education.

For past items of interest regarding Northwest Community College see our archive page.

Public Hearings planned for Monday regarding twin rezoning proposals

City Council's work load for Monday will be a little heavier than usual, as Council will hold two Public hearings on a pair of Zoning Amendments currently working their way through the process.

The first will involve a review of Bylaw 3349-2014 which amend the Bylaw and adjust the Downtown Development Permit Area. The change would bring several properties that were outside of the Downtown Permit Area at its time of development to within the permit area, while excluding some properties in the downtown area that are zoned for residential use.

The map below outlines the scope of some of the planned changes to the DPA.

During the Public hearing anyone who believes that they are affected by the proposed changes will have the opportunity to present their case to Council, those that cannot attend Monday's session can provide a written submission which must be received by the Corporate Administrator no later than by 4:30 on July 28th.

The full Notice of Public Hearing can be found here.

Background on the DPA rezoning proposal can be found here.

The second Public Hearing on the night will involve plans to rezone property on the east side of the city, a process which would rezone the property at the corner of 6th Avenue East and Ambrose from its current status of Two Family Residential to Multiple Family Residential.

The map below reviews the proposed area of development.

As in the case of the Downtown zoning proposal, anyone that has concerns or issues with the proposal can provide their comment to Council on Monday night, or if unable to attend they can submit their correspondence in writing to the Corporate Administrator by no later than 4:30 on July 28th.

The full Notice of Public hearing can be found here.

The Report to Council on the theme of the rezoning proposal can be found here.

For a review of some of our past items of interest from Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Port Edward proposals point path towards expanded Growth for the District

When it comes getting into place to reap the benefit of LNG growth in the region, Port Edward it would appear is clearly Open for Business.

For the moment, the District is looking to be the hot spot for the North Coast, set to make the most of the opportunities that may arrive with the development of LNG shipment facilities.

A number of land filings with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources offers up a glimpse of what growth may soon look like for the District.

With no fewer than four different proposals outlined in the last week providing for what would be a wide range of potential development for the District.

Much of which would clearly change the impression that many on the North Coast may have of Port Edward.

From Housing Developments to a Commercial strip mall, campground and Mobile Home park, the District is looking at a major shift in its focus, when you look over the range of proposals recently put forward for public comment.

Among the most recent proposals:

Expansion of a Mobile Home Park

An application by Stonecliff Properties for a grant of Crown land to allow the existing Manufactured Home Park to expand in the Port Edward area.

The detailed review of their plans would see the the total land purchase acquisition come to 14.90 hectares, all of it to the North of Evergreen Drive in the District. Stonecliff provides a short background to the proposed developed of the Petronas LNG site as the main thrust towards their plans to expand the existing mobile home park which Stonecliff purchased one year ago.

As part of the background to their plans, Stonecliff has outlined that all potentially vulnerable tenants will be protected by the company throughout the process to prevent any displacement of seniors or tenants on social or income assistance.

At the moment there is currently space for 65 homes in the park, though not all of that space is currently in use. The expanded park would provide for an additional 327 units to be constructed on the land if the purchase is approved.

Stonecliff estimates that the expanded park would be completely full within 20 months of its completion

The company makes its case in its prospectus for the Ministry. (see here)

Comments on that proposal will be received until August 28th, 2014.

Commercial Development for Skeena Drive Area

Catla Enterprises has filed their application to purchase a single parcel of land with a total area of 1.01 hectares. Which would provide opportunity to develop a new highway commercial node consisting of a   commercial strip mall featuring a restaurant, motel, laundromat all geared towards LNG construction workers anticipated to arrive in the region should LNG proposals go forward.

The application from Mr. Cameron Stolz, the Prince George based proponent of the Catla proposal points to the lack of services currently available in the Port Edward area.

The location of the proposed development would be at the corner of Skeena Drive and a future road to be named Wampler Way.

The commercial space would be some 5,000 square feet and feature a coffee shop, laundromat, liquor retail store and a convenience store on the south end of the property.

As well an 80 unit motel would be developed, along with a 60 seat restaurant.

The Catla prospectus outlines how the proponent has already been contacted by would be establishments, many of them looking to locate commercial properties on their proposed site.

You can review their full proposal here.

Comments for the Catla application will be received until August 28, 2014.

Campground Proposal for Port Edward

Catla provides a second application to acquire Crown Land, in this instance to provide for a Campground / RV Park development for the District which would be placed on 2.88 hectares.

The facility would feature 35 sites as well as washroom, shower and restroom facilities, included in the park development would be park area and green space allocations. The location again would be along the proposed road to be called Wampler Way and would be close to their proposed commercial development.

In their proposal Catla acknowledges that their proposal would not be the only campground project in the community, with Kinnikinnick campground already established in the District, however they suggest that the anticipated growth for the Port Edward region would make their proposal compatible with existing facilities for the region.

The campsite would be serviced through Municipal Water, Sewer, Electrical and Wi-Fi connections.

The complete proposal for the campground project can be found here.

Comments on the Campground proposal from Catla will be received until August 12, 2014.

Residential Housing Development 

The final of the four proposals recently submitted would provide for increased housing stock in the District of Port Edward.

Odyssey Homes provides for the third of the applications, making their request to purchase a parcel of land with a total area of 7.71 hectares.  The purpose of that land purchase outlined as to provide for development of a 63 lot single family residential subdivision.

In their prospectus for the development, Odyssey outlines how their subdivision would constructed and developed in four phases, the first starting in April of 2015 with completion by November of 2016. The middle phases would start in April of 2017 with completion by November 2020, while the Final phase of the development would commence in April of 2012 with completion timetable for November of 2022.

The primary access to the residential development would be from the proposed road of Wampler Way, with secondary access through Rainbow Drive and Evergreen Drive.

You can review the full extent of the proposal here.

Comments on the Odyssey Homes proposal will be received until August 28th, 2014.

Whether all, or any of the proposals outlined above ever come to pass remains to be seen. However, the interest in development in Port Edward is an indication of the growing impact that the many industrial projects is having on the region.

And for the moment, it would seem, at least judging by the flurry of applications for Port Edward, that the District is placing itself in a solid position to capitalize on some of those industrial projects should they received a positive financial investment decision.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Woodside seeks export permit for proposed LNG terminal at Grassy Point

Add Australia's Woodside Energy to the list of those actively moving forward their plans for an LNG presence on the North Coast.

According to the National Post, Woodside made its application to the National Energy Board on Friday, seeking permission to export 20 million tonnes of LNG for a period of 25 years from their proposed terminal location at Grassy Point.

Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman was quick to highlight the development as yet another milestone in LNG development in the province and today offered up comments as to what Woodside brings to the province when it comes to the province's LNG strategy.

“This is a company with experience operating natural gas projects around the world, and they have chosen British Columbia to invest in tomorrow’s energy potential. 

 “We look forward to working with Woodside to create jobs and economic prosperity in our province as part of a sole proponent agreement signed last year.”

As of today, the full filing has not yet been added to the inventory of listings at the National Energy Board.

When the Woodside filing is updated the listing will provide a short term blue print as to the process ahead for the Woodside application.

We have more on the background to the Woodside proposal for Grassy Point available on our archive page.

Three from North Coast convicted of Fisheries violations

It is an operation that dates back to 2010 and now has resulted in the conviction of three residents of the North Coast, all of whom had been charged with violations of the Fisheries Act in the region.

Last Friday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada provided more background on the investigation into the illegal sale of salmon to commercial fish buyers and processing facilities.

Incidents of which took place through a two month period in the summer of 2010 in the Lax Kw'alaams (Port Simpson) area of the North Coast.

In a pair of judgments this year, the most recent one of last month, the three were found guilty of the violations of the Fishery Act.

On June 23rd, Judge H. J. Seidemann III assessed Glen Robert Wesley the master of the Gill Netter HELEN H with a fine of 20,000 dollars for fishing for salmon during a closed time.  In addition to the fine, the Judge also ordered that Mr. Wesley be prohibited from participating in the commercial salmon fishery until September 30th 2014.

Earlier this year on April 24th with Judge Seidemann once again presiding, Carl Reginald Wilbur Sampson, the vessel master of the Gill netter PR 238 was found guilty of his charges and fined 4,500 dollars for selling fish illegally caught in contravention of the Fisheries Act Section 33.

Mr. Sampson's brother and co-accused, Gerald Gregory Sampson was also found guilty of the same offence and sentenced to two months of house arrest.

Four other individuals that were involved in other violations of the Fisheries Act at the time, are currently in various stages of court proceedings.

Larry Paike, the Director Conservation and Protection in thePacific Region spoke to the nature of illegal fishing and enforcement issues on the North Coast.

“One of the keys to protecting the future of fish stocks is effective enforcement to detect and deter illegal fishing activity,” ... “This case illustrates that, with assistance from the public and the commercial fishing industry, the illegal harvesting and sale of salmon caught and sold into legal commercial openings can be successfully detected and prosecuted.”   

 More on the special enforcement project from 2010 that led to the charges can be found from this news release from the Department of Fisheries.

As they continue their efforts to end illegal activity related to fisheries activities, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans continues to ask for the assistance of the public, those with information on any contravention of the Fisheries Act and Regulations is asked to contact DFO's reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.

For more items related to Fisheries issues see our archive page.

Search continues off Port Hardy for elderly man missing in small rowboat

Twin search assets dispatched out of 19 Wing Comox  by the Joint Rescue  Coordination Centre are back in the skies off of Northern Vancouver Island, searching for a man in his seventies who left Prince Rupert on a journey by rowboat to Port Hardy.

A Cormorant helicopter and Buffalo Rescue airplane are working a search area some 225 kilometres north of Port Hardy.

The rowboat and its lone occupant were last heard from on July 11th, near Aristazabal Island.

Since that time he has not checked in with his family and is now considered to be missing,  the search for the missing boater began on Saturday.

In addition to the air search, two coast guard vessels are searching the scene looking for indications of what may have happened to the man.

To assist those conducting the search, Joint Rescue Centre officials are calling on those travelling by boat in the area to contact them if they have crossed the path of the traveller since July 11th.

Anyone with information regarding his travels is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-627-0700 or Joint Rescue Coordination Centre at 1-800-567-5111

Some news items on the search can be found below:

CBC-- Solo rower missing north of Vancouver Island
CKNW-- Search continues for elderly boater north of Vancouver Island
Times Colonist-- Man, 70, in rowboat missing between Port Hardy, Prince Rupert

Update: On Wednesday, July 23rd the search for the missing boater was called off and the file handed over to the Prince Rupert RCMP as a missing person's file.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blog Watching, Week Ending July 20, 2014

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

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

This week,  the grounding of a coal ship in the approaches to Prince Rupert Harbour found the most viewers, followed by the latest developments related to Watson Island with a proposal for an LNG Terminal at the Industrial site.

Also of interest to our readers this week, the focus of the Beedie School of Business on Prince Rupert, City Council's ongoing interest in developments when it comes to the proposed LNG project for Lelu Island.

Details of the arrests of four Prince Rupert residents as part of a street level drug investigation in the Northwest rounded out the top five of the week.

Kicking off the top five items, of our week that was, the details of the grounding incident of the Amakusa Island

Bulk carrier re-floated after running aground in Prince Rupert Harbour --   Background on the grounding of the coal ship in the outer reach of Prince Rupert Harbour and the investigation that followed the incident (posted July 15, 2014)

That item was followed by:

City of Prince Rupert targets Watson Island for LNG development --  The City released a short announcement, outlining the latest developments when it comes to the Watson Island Industrial site (posted July 16, 2014 )

Beedie School of Business turns focus to Northwestern British Columbia -- With the Northwest looking towards economic expansion in the years to come, the Beedie School of Business outlined the scope of an Executive MBA program they hope to host in Prince Rupert. (posted July 15, 2014)

Is Prince Rupert Council Overstepping its Lelu Island Observations  --   A look back at some of the recent attention that Prince Rupert Council has provided to a project that is actually being developed in the District of Port Edward  (posted July 14, 2014)

Prince Rupert residents face charges after RCMP drug investigation -- Details of a three month investigation into street level drug activities in a number of Northwest Communities  (posted July 14, 2014)

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

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

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

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

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