Wednesday, September 30, 2015

First Nations leaders sign letter calling for Eagle Spirit energy corridor across their territories

The push forward by Eagle Spirit Energy to develop an oil pipeline to a proposed shipment terminal at Grassy Point received a bit of momentum this week.

As a number of elected and hereditary chiefs have signed on to a letter signalling their support for the proposed project, addressing their comments to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as Saskatchewan's Premier Brad Wall, Alberta's Premier Rachel Notley and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.

The letter, dated September 29th,  highlights a number of points related to the proposed oil pipeline, including the aspect of consultation that they say Eagle Spirit Energy has engaged in with the communities across Alberta and British Columbia.

Among the items that those who signed the document noted as key to their support were the responsive model for development that was developed that would provide appropriate consultation, enhanced land and marine environmental protections, and fair compensation for the Province of British Columbia, First Nations, and northern communities.

The letter also outlined how the energy corridor would provide economic access to resources from all of Canada's Western provinces, while offering revenue generation, employment, education and training opportunities for their communities and members.

Towards that process, some of the First Nations represented by the group have already signed exclusivity and benefits agreements, as well as non-disclosure agreements covering the traditional territories the pipelines would cross.

You can review the full document below (click to enlarge)

Page one of a correspondence
from supporters of the Eagle
Spirit Energy pipeline proposal 
Page two of a correspondence
from supporters of the Eagle
Spirit Energy pipeline proposal 

The full listing of the signatories to the document can be found from pages 2 to 7 following the text.

The letter to the politicians was described as historic in a media release from Eagle Spirit Energy, with Wesley Sam, the Chiefs' Council Representative for the First Nations on the Eagle Spirit Pipeline observing that, "it is the first time that First Nations have come together with a resolution like this".

Alex Campbell, noted in the media release as the Hereditary Chief of Lax Kw'alaams signed on from the North Coast, observing how the proposed project fits into the province of British Columbia's guidelines for pipeline development "We fully support Premier Clark's five conditions for a pipeline which include safeguarding our environment and meeting the legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights"

However, while the Hereditary Chief may be on board with Eagle Spirit Energy, there is still little indication that the elected Council in Lax Kw'alaams has changed its stance related to the project.

The last comments made public from Lax Kw'allams related to Eagle Spirit Energy came back in June, when Mayor Gary Reece speaking to the CBC program Daybreak North, outlined the position of his Council on the proposed pipeline and Terminal project to Grassy Point, noting that the proponents "would require the approval of the entire community and not just a few representatives."

Those comments produced a response from supporters of the Eagle Spirit Energy proposal , which seems to have suggested that the Mayor and Council were out of touch with their membership on the issue.

Since the summer, other than a letter to the editor of the weekly paper on June 10th, there has been no further update provided through the Lax Kw'alaams information flow suggesting that any change of mind related to the Eagle Spirit plan has been made.

You can review some of the background to the Eagle Spirit Energy proposal from our archive page here.

See our Lax Kw'alaams archive page, for an overview of the current state of discussion in in the First Nations Community on a range of energy proposals in the region.

Mayor Brain's Manifesto?

Mayor Lee Brain and some members
of Council met with Premier Clark
last week at UBCM
Hot on the heels of a rather enthusiastic endorsement of the leadership of Mayor Lee Brain from Premier Christy Clark last week at UBCM, comes a follow up review as to how the Mayor sees his job in the community and beyond.

Towards that theme, an interesting entry has appeared on Mayor Lee Brain's Facebook page over the last 24 hours, with the Mayor providing a clarification for the community it appears, as to how he sees his duties as Mayor of Prince Rupert.

The key passage of the six paragraph manifesto seems to address the theme of relationship building both in the community and beyond the city limits.

"As Mayor, you will see me with many different people, including people you may not like from institutions you may not agree with. This is the reality of my position, as your diplomat. Just because I’m building relationships with everyone, does not mean that I am succumbing to their interests at the expense of our community."

Those notes seem to be in response to a barb directed at the Mayor from a previous entry on his Facebook page, after  the Mayor had re-posted an item from the weekly newspaper which featured the visual of he and Premier Christy Clark, the two in the usual grip and grin photo opportunity from the recently concluded UBCM gathering.

The photo of the Mayor and Premier Clark appears to have caught the eye of Ken Lippett, who took to the Mayor's comment section of his Facebook page to offer up some political advice on appearing too chummy with the leader of the British Columbia Liberal party.

The item from Tuesday would appear to be the Mayor's rebuttal to Mr. Lippett and others in the community that may have similar advice for his political future. And with the prism of the Facebook culture (with its likes and thumbs up emoticons), the statement has found for a fair amount of support from those that enthusiastically follow the Mayor's work.

(Click the item below to enlarge)

The response to what appears to be a snarky, but slight political snipe though would seem to be a little bit of an over reaction. One that the Mayor had originally handled rather properly with a short concise comment on the original note, but somehow a few days later suddenly required a major statement.

From a Facebook comment, the Mayor seems to have take the incident as an opportunity to expand in rather grand detail on his vision of municipal governance and how to build relationships. Noting that a Mayor is the city's spokesperson on many issues when it comes to municipal affairs:

"First, I’ve been elected by you to represent our community. As your representative, I strive to be our collective best selves by being the most open, engaging and forthright Mayor possible. It is an official duty to be our spokesperson, and to carry out domestic and international diplomatic relations on our behalf."

As well, later on in his information statement, the Mayor observed as how he plans to move forward on that vision:

"I am working with all external stakeholders to help them understand the needs and perspectives on the ground. From this point forward, you will notice me bringing people together and helping mediate communications with those who may not see eye to eye for the benefit of all."

All of which makes for quite the manifesto for the future, considering it all appears to have been spurred on from one politically motivated comment on a Facebook page.

You can review more of those thoughts from the Mayor's preferred communication portal here.

For items related to developments at Prince Rupert City Hall see our archive page here.

Funding opportunities now available for Festival organizers across Northern BC

The lively Northwest Arts scene could see more festivals in the future, that should local organizers find success with a new program offered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.

The program called "Fabulous Festivals and Events" provides non-profit organizations with up to $2,500 in grant funding to support unique events and festivals throughout Northern British Columbia.

The main focus of the initiative is to support registered non-profit organizations that host home grown festivals and events that promote or strengthen the unique nature of the community. Organizers of the festival or event must demonstrate an economic benefit for the community, community support, engagement and inclusiveness, with the funding received to used to increase capacity of the event.

Prince Rupert events could soon
benefit from additional funding
opportunities with NDIT
There are a few conditions to the funding opportunity, events that don't meet the parameters for receiving support are those that are in their first year of operation or are fundraisers, events that are political in nature, or events that are replicated through the province or country and events that are directly organized by a local government.

The $2,500 in funding is available for each calendar year and applicants can apply again in the following year should they be approved in their initial approach.

You can find out more about the program from the Northern Development Initiative Trust website, included in the material available for download are an application guide, application form and reporting form.

You an also contact Northern Development at 250-561-2525 

Prince Rupert fares better than most Northwest communities in CFIB tax gap study

The numbers for the CFIB number crunchers no doubt are still on the high side, when it comes to what they would like to see as far as a tax gap burden across British Columbia goes.

But overall for the Northwest region, Prince Rupert's tax differential, is a lesser grab than most communities when it comes to the tax gap between residential and commercial rate payers.

However, before they pop the champagne corks over at Prince Rupert City Hall, it should still be noted that while not hosting the largest gap in the region, Prince Rupert can still be found much closer to the bottom of the list than to the top, ranked at 133rd place of the 160 communities reviewed for 2014 from the CFIB study.

The report known as the BC Property Tax Gap Report was released just prior to last week's UBCM gathering in Vancouver and takes a ten-year look at the disparities between residential and commercial property tax rates across the province, also known as the “tax gap”, something they explain quite well with the information piece below:

The gap review this year using taxation information from 2014, provides the latest measure of property tax fairness for small business, with the CFIB report highlighting which communities are more business friendly across the province.

The numbers for Prince Rupert (page 28)  note the Municipal residential rate for 2014 of 8.43 (Average of $1,607), while the Municipal Business rate is marked at 27.85 (Average of $5,312), making for the 2014 Municipal Tax Gap at 3.31

The One year change in the tax gap for Prince Rupert has seen an increase of 6.3 percent, while the five year change from 2009-14 which featured a decrease of 4.7.

Over the last ten years that change in the tax gap from  2001-14 was listed at 15.4 percent.

Over the course of the 10 year rankings, Prince Rupert was allocated a placement of 110 of the 160 communities surveyed over the last decade.

Port Edward was ranked at 86th for the year, while Stewart received the best score from the CFIB at 5th overall for 2014 when it comes to a low gap between business and residential.

The full chart for Northern British Columbia can be found below, highlighting Stewart's success at keeping that gap as low as possible, while Terrace gets a scolding for continuing to have the highest gap in place of all Northwest communities.

Terrace's numbers (page 28) delivered it the 160th place spot for 2014, based on a Municipal tax gap of 4.73. That rather large gap is a result of a Residential Tax Rate of 5.86 (Average of $1,378 in 2014), as opposed to the Business burden of 27.69 (Average of $6,515 for the same period).

The One year change in the tax gap for Terrace has seen an increase of 1.9 percent, while the five year change is noted at 22.7 percent

Over the last ten years that change in the tax gap from  20014-14 has set at 51.3 percent.

Over the course of the 10 year rankings, Terrace was allocated a placement of 141 of the 160 communities surveyed over the last decade.

The CFIB has offered up six suggestions for municipal governments to consider as they seek to have communities across British Columbia put a Cap on the Tax Gap,

1. Cap the property tax gap between businesses and residents at a maximum of 2 to 1. 

 2. Provide earlier property tax notices for commercial taxpayers. 

 3. Allow commercial taxpayers to remit taxes in monthly or quarterly installments. 

 4. Extend the homeowners’ grant to business owners occupying live/work spaces. 

 5. Close the gap without raising the business tax rate. 

 6. Move away from utilizing a flat tax rate for residential properties, as it can create large distortions in the tax gap when there are spikes in real estate prices.

You can take note of more background on those six key recommendations here.

For a more expansive look at the issues related to the Tax Gap see the full report from the CFIB available here.

For items related to Prince Rupert City Hall discussions on taxation and other issues see our archive page here.

Winter tire rules go into effect tomorrow

For those that have highway driving as part of their daily routine, it's that time of year again to make sure that you have proper winter driving tires on your vehicles.

As of October 1st and continuing until March 31st drivers across the province must obey winter tire and chain signs posted alongside highway.  Those sections of highways requiring winter tires or chains on board are marked with signs as indicated below:

Highway Signs indicate the need for Winter Tires and chains
when you travel along the province's highways this fall and winter

Those that drive passenger vehicles are reminded that chains on summer tires are not an acceptable substitute for winter tires on those highways that are indicated by winter tire signs.

Should anyone travel beyond the signs without the proper equipment, they could be turned around by RCMP, CVSE or other policing agencies and be subject to a fine.

You can learn more about the Winter Tires and Chains regulations here.

More information related to Winter Driving awareness can be found from the British Columbia Government website here.

Knowing the conditions ahead of you is also key aspect of any travel plans, with fall and winter conditions now ahead of us, you can access the latest road condition information from the Drive BC website or Drive Northwest BC twitter feed.

While weather conditions for your journey on the highways can be found at the Environment Canada website.

Fukasaku to return to Vancouver Aquarium's Chowder competition for 2015

The popular seafood chowder that Prince Rupert residents have come to know and enjoy is about to make a road trip once again, with word that for the second year in a row, Prince Rupert chef Dai Fukasaku will be taking his North Pacific creation to Vancouver.

Much like it was last year, the North Coast culinary classic will be up against some strong Vancouver competition as well as from other communities along Vancouver island.

The event (which is for those 19 years of age and above) takes place at the Vancouver Aquarium on November 18th, should you be in the Vancouver area and want to take in the event, tickets are on sale now and coast 60 dollars plus GST.

Proceeds going towards Ocean Wise, a Vancouver aquarium conservation program that is designed to educate consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood.
Prince Rupert chef Dai Fukasaku will be down in
Vancouver in November, making a return visit
to the Vancouver Aquariums Chowder Chowdown competition
(photo from Fukasaku website)

You can check out the competition for Chef Fukasaku and find out more about the November event here.

Should you wish to check out what North Coast diners can sample on daily basis, drop into Fukasaku at their Cow Bay location inside of the Seahorse Trading Company building in the Atlin Terminal.

More on what they have to offer and the preparations for the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown can be found on their Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Metlakatla and Prince Rupert Gas Transmission sign LNG pipeline project agreement

An agreement signed today between the Metlakatla First Nation and Prince Rupert Gas Transmission will provide a role for Metlakatla in the monitoring of the construction and operation of the Pacific NorthWest LNG liquefaction facility pipeline proposed for Lelu Island.

The specific terms of the agreement will remain confidential, but aspects of the project arrangements include access to employment for Metlakatla First Nation members, training and capacity development and an initial payment and annual payments for the life of the proposed pipeline project.

"Achieving this agreement with the Metlakatla First Nation is a major milestone for us, particularly since it has a significant interest in the Skeena estuary and wants to ensure that the environment around the Pacific NorthWest liquefaction facility is protected. The agreement is a strong indicator of the importance we place on engaging with First Nations to ensure their input on environmental and cultural impacts is genuinely incorporated into our project, and that they benefit from the construction and operation of the PRGT pipeline project," -- Dean Patry, president of Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, outlining some background to today's agreement with the Metlakatla First Nation

It's the second term sheet agreement that the Metlakatla First Nation has signed related to the Lelu Island terminal project, in mid December of 2014 they completed an arrangement with Pacific NorthWest LNG providing for benefits and conditions similar in nature to those delivered from today's announcement with Prince Rupert Gas Transmission.

Following today's announcement, Chief Harold Leighton expressed support for the project and the measures that the Metlakatla First Nation believe Prince Rupert Gas Transmission will take when it comes to the pipeline to Lelu Island.

"The pipeline project and the Pacific NorthWest facility will benefit our members for many years to come. We are confident that TransCanada will work diligently to ensure our way of life and the environment, and in particular Lelu Island, will not be negatively affected by the project."

Today's agreement with Metlakatla
is the eight arrangement reached for
Prince Rupert Gas Transmission related
to its pipeline plans across BC
The announcement from today heralds the latest in project agreements signed by Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, which had previously reached agreements with seven other First Nations across Northern British Columbia, including the Nisga'a Lisims Government, Gitanyow First Nation, Lake Babine Nation and Kitselas First Nation in the Northwest.

You can review more of the background from today's announcement here.

For more items of interest related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal plans see our archive page here.

Have Junk? Have a Trunk? The Civic Centre wants to hear from you

The popular giant Garage Sale that doesn't need a Garage is in the planning stages for Saturday, October 17th. With the Civic Centre ready to play host to Junk in the Trunk that weekend, a four hour shopping experience to do a little bargain seeking.

Now in it's third year, the popular giant garage sale provides North Coast residents a chance to make their usual Garage Sale rounds in one stop.

Those with an interest in being a vendor at next month's event can gain a parking stall for a twenty dollar table fee, while Food vendors looking to offer their culinary creations to the crowds can find a space for the day at 27.50 plus GST.

The twenty dollar table fees will go towards free swims for Prince Rupert families.

On Junk in the Trunk Day, table set up will start at 8 AM, one hour before the 9 AM start to the sale which will continue on through until 1 PM. And as any long time resident of the North Coast knows, the event (like many others) will go ahead Rain or Shine.

The Civic Centre parking lot will be hosting a giant
Community Garage Sale on October 17th with another edition
of the popular Junk in the Trunk event

You can find out more about how to register by calling the Civic Centre at 250-624-6707  or by email at

You can keep up to date on any late information when it comes to the Junk in the Trunk event by following the Recreation Department on their Facebook page.

String of Northwest debates to make up home stretch of 2015 Election campaign

These final couple of weeks of the Federal election campaign will find a number of the candidates in Skeena-Bulkley Valley making what amounts to a barnstorming tour of the Northwest and Haida Gwaii this week and next.

The dash to the electoral finish line finds most of the candidates pencilled in for a number of community debates set up for this week and into the early portion of October.

Tomorrow night four of the candidates will be at Smithers Della Herman Theatre for the All Candidates Forum in that community that event starts at 7 PM.

From the Bulkley Valley, most of the candidates will be heading west for a pair of events on Haida Gwaii on October 1st and 2nd with events scheduled for both the North and South Island, with the October 1st event taking place from 6 to 8 PM at the Haida Heritage Centre.

One night later the group will convene on the North Island, meeting October 2nd at the Howard Phillips Community Hall from 6 to 8 PM.

Conservative candidate Tyler Nesbitt won't be making the trip to Haida Gwaii, owing to a previous engagement.

Haida Gwaii to hold first ever all candidates debate

As we outlined on the blog last week, Prince Rupert hosts its debate night on October 7th, when the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce presents an opportunity to learn more about where the candidates in Skeena-Bulkley Valley stand on a number of local issues.

That event takes place at the Lester Centre starting at 6 PM.

The candidates, should be in top debating form by the time that they make their stop in Prince Rupert, with Terrace hosting their event one night earlier, on Tuesday, October 6th at the REM Lee Theatre.

Date set for Terrace federal election all candidates debate

The candidates have already worked out some of their talking points for the campaign, with the majority of them having toured the eastern half of the riding over the last week, with debates taking place in Burns Lake and Fort St. James in recent days.

You can review some of the talking points of the campaign to date from our Election 2015 archive page.

DFO wants your Salmon heads

Sport fishermen across the Northwest are being asked to submit Salmon heads to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Salmon Head Recovery program, a process which allows DFO to assess the health of salmon stocks in waters of the North Coast, Haida Gwaii as well as freshwater locations further inland.

However, DFO are only looking for specific salmon heads, those which feature a missing adipose fin located on the dorsal surface of the salmon, which contain a  coded wire tag, about 1mm in size that is laser etched with a unique number.

Those coded wire tags found in Coho and Chinook salmon allow for Canada to fulfill obligations for International Pacific Salmon Treaty initiatives as well as for information review for DFO in such areas as salmon abundance, distribution and survival, trends for planning for the next salmon season and for run timing in salt and fresh water areas.

On the North Coast, sports fishermen can deliver their salmon heads to the follow locations.

Port Edward --  Maverick Foods
Prince Rupert -- Bob's on the Rocks
Prince Rupert -- DFO main office 2nd Avenue West
Prince Rupert -- Dolly's Fish Market
Prince Rupert -- J and E Tackle
Prince Rupert -- J. O. Thomas and Associates
Prince Rupert -- Trayling's Tackle shop

The wider list for the Northwest and Haida Gwaii can be found here.

More background on the Salmon Sport Head Recovery program can be reviewed here.

More items related to fishing industry issues can be found from our archive page.

Robinson inquest begins in Prince Rupert

The coroner's inquest into the April 2014 deaths of Angie and Robert Robinson has begun at the Prince Rupert Courthouse, as Coroner Michael Egilson and the coroner's jury selected to review the details of the case began hearing the first of what will be a week of testimony.

The Coroner's jury will review the events of April and hear testimony from relatives and those in the community who knew both members of the Robinson family. The tragic nature of their deaths has already led to increased calls for better services and attention to issues that families with autistic children and other special needs face across the province.

One interested spectator in Monday's proceedings was North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who missed the first day of the fall session of the Legislature to be in attendance for the first day of the inquest.

The MLA has raised the Robinson's case in the Legislature a number of times in the past year in Victoria.

The coroner's jury will be tasked with examining the facts and background surrounding the Robinson's deaths.  The findings from their week in Prince Rupert will provide for recommendations for future consideration to help to prevent similar deaths stemming from social factors such as those in place in the case of the Robinson's.

The public inquest was announced in April of this year, some background related to the decision to hold it can be found here.

Through the week, we will recap some of the events from the inquest, using a range of media sources,  both local and provincial. Those observations from the inquest can be found below.

Follow Up stories on the inquest

MLA's Rice and Donaldson raise Robinson inquest results at the Legislature  NCR
Provincial Ministry receives bulk of Robinson Coroner's inquest recommendations  NCR
Coroner's inquest recommendations (video)
The system failed them
Week-long inquest hears tragic tale of Angie and Robert Robinson
Coroner's inquest delivers 25 recommendations after five days of review NCR
25 recommendations made in deaths of autistic boy and his mom


Murder-Suicide Inquest: Angie Robinson terrible choice leads to 24 recommendations for change
Coroner's inquest releases recommendations (audio)
BC Coroner's jury makes 25 recommendations in deaths of autistic boy and mom
B. C. mom who killed autistic son and herself lacked support, oversight by child services: Inquest inquiry
25 recommendations released after inquest into Prince Rupert murder-suicide


Coroner's Inquest jury to provide conclusions and recommendations (video)
Coroner's jury mulls evidence in deaths of autistic boy and mom from Prince Rupert
Why did a Prince Rupert mother kill her autistic son? (audio)


Murder-suicide inquest: Angie Robinson faced terrible choice
Day Four of Robinson Inquest (video)


Day Three of Robinson inquest (video)


Day Two of Robinson inquest in Prince Rupert (video)
Robert and Angie Robinson inquest reveals domestic abuse
Inquest testimony details incident that led to Mother's breaking point
Inquest hears from RCMP


Inquest begins into murder-suicide of mother and son with autism
Inquest testimony details struggles of family affected by autism
Inquest hears autism services lacking in Northern BC (audio)
Prince Rupert Coroner's Inquest Day One (video)

Update: Findings from the Coroner's Inquest posted to the Coroner's Office website Monday, October 5, 2015. 

Robert Robinson
Angie Robinson

Monday, September 28, 2015

Terrace River Kings looking at bid for 2016 Coy Cup

Hockey fans in the Northwest may not have to make plans for a lengthy road trip to take in this season's Coy Cup championship, that if the Terrace River Kings are successful in their bid to host the AA Senior Men's Championship next March.

The River Kings have presented a request for a letter of support from the City of Terrace towards their efforts, a request that the Terrace council will consider as part of their regular Council session this evening.

Ray Hallock of the River Kings will expand on the request and answer any questions from Council members when he makes a presentation to Terrace Council during this evening's session.

Should the River Kings find success with their quest to those the tournament, 4 teams from across the province would take part in the tournament, along with the River Kings who would be the host five team event over a week in March.

Last years tournament was held in Fort Nelson, with the River Kings, the CIHL champs, coming up a bit short, as the Coy Cup championship was eventually won by the Fort St. John Flyers

The River Kings are ready to hit the ice at full stride in their efforts to secure the Coy Cup for next year, with a committee already in place to begin tournament preparation should Terrace be selected as host community.

It's expected that BC Hockey will announce its host city for the 2016 Coy Cup sometime in early October.

The Prince Rupert Rampage will be starting their quest this weekend to become one of the teams to be playing on the ice at the Coy Cup wherever it is held in March.

The Rampage launch the 2015-16 CIHL season this weekend, with a Saturday match up with Williams Lake in town on Saturday night with a puck drop at 7 PM.

Sunday the Quesnel Kangaroos are in town for a 1 PM start with the Rampage.

You can follow the Rampage through the season from our archive page found here.

Legislature returns to work today as Fall Session is set to open

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice will be back in Victoria today, as the fall session of the British Columbia Legislature prepares to get to work on the fall agenda for the government of Premier Christy Clark.

Something we imagine will focus on some of the delivery points at the recent UBCM convention in Vancouver where the Premier outlined five areas where the province plans to lend assistance to communities across British Columbia.

A couple of which perhaps caught the attention of the Prince Rupert delegation, a group which had a front row seat to the Premier's speech. Mayor Brain and his council might have found much to be interested in when it came to her plans to lend assistance towards infrastructure issues, expansion of high speed Internet service and a promise of 75 million dollar dividend for smaller communities.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
will be back in the Legislature
this week as the fall session starts
Prince Rupert Council members most likely had their own list of items for the province to consider during their meetings with cabinet officials over the last week, perhaps focusing on infrastructure and housing concerns to name a few.

Themes that they hopefully have also updated Ms. Rice on, providing her with the opportunity to reinforce the Prince Rupert focused concerns during her Question Period time of the Legislature proceedings.

Another item that the North Coast MLA may be following up on is her request for more information on the province's airshed study into the Prince Rupert area, a report that is apparently complete but has as of yet been delivered to the public.

The Legislature resumes its work at 10 AM

You can review some of Ms. Rice's past efforts through the year from our archive page here.

Community Musical, Rock of Ages Auditions coming in October

Prince Rupert's Music and theatre community are tackling an interesting concept for their annual presentation set for April in 2016, with their inner Rock Star personnas ready to burst through with next year's production of Rock of Ages.

Auditions for the Community Musical production will be taking place on Sunday, October 4th and Monday the 5th, with both session taking place at the Lester Centre for the Arts.

The October 4th auditions are scheduled for 1 to 4 PM, while the Monday sessions will take place from 7 to 9 PM.

The Musical Comedy has been featured in both theatre and movie versions, the latter featuring Tom Cruise and Russell Brand.  At the moment the theatre production is making news, thanks to an extended run in Las Vegas.

The local version, which is being presented through a special arrangement with Samuel French, will see some five months of rehearsal and set development ahead before the project takes to the Lester Centre Stage from April 7th to 9th.

Ages for audition are from 14 years and up, those interested in making their presentation can contact Crystal Lorette at the Lester Centre to book an audition, you can call 250-627-8888 or contact Ms. Lorette at

Call backs will be made on October 6th at 7 PM

Real Estate Tracker, week ending September 27, 2015

Our weekly review of the listings of the local real estate agents, tracking those properties which appear to be driving the local price structure for the North Coast.

Every Monday, we look over the listing prices of the past seven days and outline the Top 10 asking prices in the area, providing a snap shot as to where the Real Estate market may be trending on a week to week basis.

The listings below are purely for information purposes, for further background on the properties recorded, see our links page for access to the individual real estate listings.

The Archive for our weekly review can be found here.

Our list of the top ten priced homes for the week ending September 27 is below:

Prince Rupert Real Estate
East Side September 27 2015

Prince Rupert Real Estate
West Side September 27 2015

There was no shift in the placements of the ten properties atop our listings of the last seven  days, with last week's notes getting a replay for another week.

As it was last Monday, the east side still trails the west, when it comes to the bulk of the entries from collection of the high end properties across the region.

With the majority of the listings found west of McBride Street, the majority of those centred around the Graham Avenue area.  On the east side of the city's main North/South artery road, three properties crack their way into the list of ten.

The high end overall remains marked by a 2nd Avenue West Avenue entry, with a property on Summit continuing to hold the tenth position on the week

Below find our findings as of the Week ending September 27, 2015

1942-46 2nd Avenue W                 $659,000  --  Royal Lepage
527 4th Avenue East                      $650,000  --  Remax
160 Van Arsdol Street--                 $649,900   -- Remax
2040 Graham Avenue --                 $595,000  -- Royal Lepage
2126 Graham Avenue --                 $595,000  -- Royal Lepage
2025 Graham Avenue --                 $559,000 -- Remax
1724 Graham Avenue                    $558,000  --  Royal Lepage
1229 Conrad Street --                     $525,000 -- Royal Lepage
896 Prince Rupert Boulevard --     $489,000 --  Remax
1125 Summit Avenue --                 $469,000 -- Remax

For more items related to Real Estate see our archive page here.

For background on Housing issues in the region see our past items here.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Blog Watching, week ending September 27, 2015

Lelu Island continued to be the focus of much of the news for the last seven days, with two items from the blog highlighting some of fractures between member Tsimshian communities in the region.

Also capturing the attention on the week for our readers, events related to the UBCM convention in Vancouver, with a pair of our UBCM items gaining notice and holding a spot in the top five articles for the week just finished.

Federal politics managed to elbow its way into the discussion as well, with our article  noting the arrival of Jeannie Parnell into the election campaign finding a wide audience. As the deadline for the final list of candidates was getting closer, Ms. Parnell was introduced by the Green Party as their candidate for the October 19th vote.

However, when it comes to the most read item of the week, it was our look at the recent developments on Lelu Island which attracted the most readers of the last seven days.

This time through news of some success for the Gitga'at First Nation as they continue on with their plans to seek a judicial review over issues of consultation when it comes to LNG proposals for Prince Rupert harbour.

Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams denied respondent status in Gitga'at petition for judicial review   -- A court decision in Victoria at the start of September, will keep the focus of a judicial review on the  theme of the Environmental review process and consultation over Lelu Island (posted September 24, 2015)

That article was followed by:

Photo days at UBCM  --  Municipal leaders from around the Northwest had time for some discussion and a photo with Premier Christy Clark at the UBCM convention this week. (posted September 24, 2015)

Gitxaala First Nation joins Metlakatla with response to Lax Kw'alaams -- Comments by the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation related to the topic of Lelu Island continue to gain attention from some of their other Tsimshian neighbours (posted  September 23, 2015)

Jeannie Parnell to seek House of Commons seat for Green Party in October election  -- The Green Party finally announce their candidate for the October 19th federal election. More on the campaign can be found on our archive page  (posted September 21, 2015)

UBCM convention makes for five days of discussion on municipal issues -- The annual convention for British Columbia's municipal leaders featured a number of items up for discussion, our preview of the event was a popular stop for the week of blogging, as was our archive of the UBCM Talking points through the week (posted September 22, 2015 )

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.

You can also review the full listings of the week just past from our Blog Archive index page found on the right hand side of the 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. Underneath the Follow the North Coast Review by Email indicator.

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching  can be found here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

School replacement plans on the mind of SD52 this year

The prospect of a pair of new schools for the District and a review of a recent Hold and Secure incident at Charles Hays Secondary School provided for a fair bit of the attention of the School District 52 Board at their most recent meeting of September 15th

The aging nature of two of the schools in the city was one item of interest presented at the first meeting of the new school year, a topic which will see School District 52 officials forwarding some school replacement cost estimates to the provincial government in the near future. 

The notes on potential school replacement were part of School District 52's listing of capital budget projections that were approved at their September 15th Board Meeting.

In total, four items made up the Capital budget notices for the Ministry of Education's reviews, among them:

A 24 million dollar estimate for the replacement of Prince Rupert Middle School.

An 11 million dollar estimate for the replacement of Conrad School.

Three million, eight hundred thousand dollars is the estimate for the School District's Board Office consolidation plan.

While the cost of replacing the School bus fleet for the city has been estimated at one hundred thousand dollars.

Prince Rupert Middle School
Conrad Street Elementary School

On other business, the School District also addressed the recent Hold and Secure situation at Charles Hays Secondary, noting some of their observations related to the September 11th incident.

Noting that the Hold and Secure protocol was implemented owing to a threat from outside of the school, with a student having approached a school counsellor about a person outside of the school environment. The Hold and Secure process was implemented while the RCMP located the person  of interest, with the School District noting that at no time were any students in the school considered in any danger.

The School and district staff will review their implementation of the protocol to allow for staff to identify any areas for improvement that could be put in place for future events.

School District officials also reviewed some of the new curriculum timeline for SD52 with Superintendent Sandra Jones providing some background on the process ahead for staff, students and parents.

As well, the School District Board approved 4 draft policies to be reviewed by partner groups for further comment, those policy reviews included:

Field Trip policy, Emergency Preparedness Policy, Volunteers Policy, Whistleblower Policy

The Board also approved 3 policies to replace existing guidelines for the District, among those changes are the Conflict of Interest policy, Trustee Remuneration and Expense Allowance Policy and Travel and Subsistence Allowance Policy.

The School District Board also removed one policy, the School Planning Councils Policy which is no longer a requirement of the School Act.

The Board also was provided a review of events at Camp Jupiter this summer, as the district's Occupational Therapist Sue Neilson outlined the nature of the program and the reception of it from students, parents and sponsors in the community.

The overview of the September 15th meeting can be found here.

For more items related to education on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mayor's vision and Prince Rupert's future noted in Premier Clark's UBCM address Friday

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark made special note of the
potential for economic development in Prince Rupert during her
closing address to the UBCM convention on Friday

(photo from BC Gov't website)

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain got a one minute shout out during Premier Clark's keynote address to the UBCM convention on Friday morning, as the Premier noted the enthusiasm that Prince Rupert is feeling with the prospect of future growth on the horizon.

Calling on the history of Charles Hays and his vision for the port city of 100 years ago, Ms. Clark noted that like Hays, Mayor Brain is focused on the future for the community, with a vision that emphasized how the community can achieve success.

"Lee Brain in Prince Rupert, Lee has an incredible vision.  Charles Hays who died on the Titanic in 1912, had a vision too.  And he wasn't able to complete it, his vision was to make Prince Rupert a port for the world, to open up the Northwest. 

Well Lee has taken on that vision, with gusto, so that he can make sure that  he realizes that future for Prince Rupert, that so many, so long ago may have already given up on. 

Because he knows, that when he sees his Chamber of Commerce grow by 46 per cent, it means that small businesses are coming and that small businesses are growing.  

And that is his vision and a vision of many leaders in the Northwest, a part of our province that has sat out economic growth for far too long"

Prince Rupert's delegation 
to the UBCM convention,
(right hand side)
 snared front row seats
for Premier Clark's 

closing address Friday
(photo from BC Gov't website)
The Premier's comments for Prince Rupert reflected much of her talking points of the full address, one of  looking to continue to see economic growth for the province and the opportunity to bring back former residents who are now returning home to take advantage of the possibilities being considered for their former home towns.

Towards that theme, the Premier announced the creation of what is called the Rural Dividend, a 75 million dollar project to be delivered over the course of three years.

Other items of note from her address included a focus on crime, with a re-dedication towards getting tough on criminals, with a focus on gang related activity.

Those themes and other notes for the UBCM delegates can be reviewed below:

Wildfire prevention funding increased, new approaches to forest enhancement
$90 million available for infrastructure in October
Communities to benefit from expanded high-speed Internet service
Up to $75-million Rural Dividend will help smaller communities
B. C. invests $5 million to further tackle crime

The speech which lasted a bit over a half hour, delivered a stream of points for delegates to take home with them.  You can review the full presentation from the Province's You Tube video feed.

For those looking for the Premier's comments on the North Coast, her notes directed towards Mayor Brain and on the prospects for the  future for the North Coast arrive at the 17 minute mark.

For a review of some of the talking points from the UBCM convention this year see our archive page here.

UBCM delegates hear concerns on how City Council's may be approaching Open government

A fascinating seminar took place at this weeks UBCM convention focusing on the mechanics of City Council's across the province, a conversation which may provide for a number of talking point for all delegates to bring back home with them when the municipal gathering ends today.

Wednesday's Vancouver Sun provided the background of a presentation by Vancouver lawyer Raymond Young, a founding member of the Vancouver law firm of Young Anderson which specializes in municipal law.

In his presentation, Mr. Young outlined for those in attendance that some of the current approaches of City Council members may be breaking the law, particularly those councils which work in a caucus format prior to their regular council duties.

Meetings outside of the normal Council routine appear to be the focus of his attention on the issue, though the main reproach was issued to those communities which seem to have evolved into a political party system for municipal matters.

Still, some of his thoughts might be transferable to other situations in smaller communities, where much of the council business seems to take place more and more in private sessions or informal settings.

In Prince Rupert, Council members in the past have frequently noted that they hold many internal workshops, committee meetings and such other discussion mechanisms as part of their normal range of municipal duties.

Vancouver Lawyer Raymond Young
offered up some interesting notes on
Civic matters to UBCM
delegates this week
It would be interesting to see what Mr. Young might make as to how some of those approaches fit into the concept of more open government, though we do get some glimpses as to his overview on municipal government from his presentation this week.

To the theme of discussions outside of normal council business, Young was noted in the Sun as expanding that sense of what might constitute a meeting outside of the normal routine of Council considerations.

Observations that could change the way many of British Columbia's elected officials think about their day to day engagement on issues.

"even when councillors email, text or call each other serially, or sequentially, they could be considered to be having a meeting. Even informal meetings such as a breakfast at a house can become an illegal meeting if the conversation turns from the weather to a city issue ... Maybe they’re talking about raising taxes a little bit so they can do this or that. It’s a nice breakfast and they go home and think, ‘Well, we accomplished something today, probably bring that up in council one day.’ That was a council meeting"

Mr. Young offered up the recommendation that the province needs to improve legislation when it comes to municipal governance, calling for some thought towards sanctions or enforcement options for those communities that violate Open Meeting laws.

That is a step that the province isn't quite ready to take yet, preferring to educate municipal leaders further on the theme, something that they believe the UBCM is working to address.

The full article is a fascinating look at the issue of Open government in the province and how at the municipal level, much of what takes place seemingly is going on outside of a regular open council session.

You can review the item from the Sun here.

For more items related to this week at UBCM see our Talking Points archive page here.