Monday, November 30, 2015

Taking Stock: North Coast Business Scene -- November 2015

Our second instalment of the Taking Stock feature finds a few new openings to make mention of, while a couple of fairly significant closures announced this month in the city will also have an impact on the local economy and reduce options for residents.

While the number of changes to the commercial district are small, there have been a few additions to the roster over the last thirty days, with food options, a new clothing outlet and pet supplies leading the way.


For the month of November, the restaurant scene once provided for some of the changes to the storefronts of the downtown area.

A new restaurant has opened its doors in the old Herby's location at Sixth Street and 2nd Avenue West, with a new offering called Jessica's welcoming customers through November.

As well, the much anticipated opening of Pizza Hut has taken place, with the Third Avenue restaurant offering what seems to be the latest approach to quick turnaround dining, with only a take out option available.

Prince Rupert Pet Owners have another option in town when it comes to supplies, as Pet Valu opened its doors in the lower level of the Rupert Square Mall, located just before the entrance downstairs to Home Hardware.

Remax Coast Realty hosted an Open House this month, showing off their new location in the heart of the Third Avenue Commercial area, providing their realty services to the community from the 500 block of the city's downtown core.

The Cow Bay District has gained one more destination shop, as The LeBlanc Boutique opened its doors this month located at 413 3rd Avenue East in the Cow Bay area of the city.

An Ocean Pacific Air has added to their fleet of seaplanes servicing the community, bringing in a new float plane for service out of the Seal Cove Airport.

On the departures side of the scale, Hawkair announced plans to suspend its service to the city through the winter and spring, taking one more travel option away from residents of the North Coast.

And while not a commercial business, the closure of the canning lines at the Canadian Fish Company will have a significant impact on the workers there, with a still to be determined number of them set to lose their jobs, something which will surely have some effect on the city's retail businesses.

You will be able to find the archive for Taking Stock as a part of our larger page dedicated to the commercial sector of the North Coast found here.

We imagine we probably have missed a few here or there, so if you know of a business having opened, or seen the Going out of business sign appear somewhere in the area, drop us a line at our email account of

Or send us a short message through our twitter feed of @CharlesHays

Northern Savings seeks CEO through executive search company

An Ontario job search firm
is handling Northern Savings
quest for a new CEO
As we learned in October, Northern Savings, the Prince Rupert based financial services organization recently wrapped up a major Strategic review of its operations.

Among the results of that project was the need to eliminate a department, reduce exposure to any risk outside of the Northwest and in a move which provided the most impact to the North Coast, the announcement of the  layoff of a number of workers based in the city.

Despite the developments of a very busy October, the financial services company is looking to the future now, pushing forward with its search for a new CEO.

Towards that goal, Northern Savings has turned to an Ontario based executive search group to conduct the quest, making use of Burlington, Ontario based Booker and Associates to handle the job search requirements 

With the first step of the process finding the executive search organization posting a fairly comprehensive  executive job search information package on their website.

The document outlines the range of responsibilities that the position requires, as well as a focus on the organizational skills and ability to provide strategic planning, Innovation and Organizational culture that the Credit Union is looking for.

Applicants are asked to consider the vision statement of the Credit Union to gain an understanding as to the direction that Northern Savings has charted for itself, building on the concept of neighbours helping neighbours to build sustainable communities.

Prince Rupert based Northern Savings
is increasing its efforts to find a
new CEO for the financial institution
With the successful applicant to help deliver their mission of strengthening our members, organization and communities through cooperative financial services.

As well, the prospectus for any potential CEO includes a look at the need to work collaboratively with the Board to define the organization's vision and future strategy.

In a nod towards the recent decisions from October at the Credit Union, the information package notes that the Northern Savings has been through trying times in 2015.

Adding however, that those challenges have been overcome and the Board is excited to engage a new CEO who can bring energy and excitement to work with the Board to pursue the new vision.

No timeline is indicated in the Executive Search information statement as to when Northern Savings will make a decision on the top position hire.

You can find more items relate to the city's commercial sector from our archive page here.

For the Alaska Ferry, Everything Old ... is new Again!

Transportation items
claimed a key spot in the
Hays 2.0 plan last week

(from City of PR website)
Last week the City introduced its forward looking blue print Hays 2.0,  highlighting some of the key developments of the future that City Council sees for Prince Rupert heading towards the year 2030.

The project which has been advertised in full over the last five days, offers up a number of interesting themes for Prince Rupert residents to consider, though some may think that perhaps a few of the items are a little out of the scope of a municipal government.

Areas such as trade through the Northwest Passage, or some form of civic role when it comes to an International Affairs approach to Alaska/Canadian relations and trade issues related to the state to the north of us.

While fascinating topics for discussion over a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, we're not quite sold that there's a need for the City to worry itself about issues that perhaps are more suited to senior levels of government.

More importantly, we wonder whether those lofty issues resonate much with the city's residents and taxpayers, who for the most part probably just  want to see the roads paved and maybe have their ever increasing tax load reduced.

The Alaska Marine Highway System
was a key component of the
Hays 2.0 project release last week
However, one item which has a more direct impact on Prince Rupert and one worth a bit of a look, is through the Hays 2.0  focus when it comes to the State of Alaska's Transportation system and a possible shift of ports to Lax Kw'alaams.

That is a theme is that has just a bit of history to it, having been mentioned  any number of times in the past and capturing the imagination every time.

The concept of using Lax Kw'alaams as a port of entry, has been a recurring theme over the decades, mentioned by Alaska state planners, and followed up by a list of Prince Rupert Mayors since the days of Peter Lester.

A Juneau Empire article from 2000 notes some of that frequent attention,  reviewing then Mayor Don Scott's concepts during his term of office of at the time. Included in that review was Mr. Scott's plan featuring the use of two bridges to provide links, one to Metlakatla from Digby Island and the other providing access to Digby Island to Prince Rupert.

Six years later Mayor Herb Pond was touting the prospect of the Gateway Shuttle, a transportation plan which would again connect Ketchikan with Lax Kw'alaams shaving travel time on the water and replacing it with more time on the highway.

Once again, the main focus of some of those discussion was Mayor Pond's ongoing interest in securing a Fixed link to the Digby Island airport area.

Earlier this year Mayor Brain himself even revisited the prospect of Lax Kw'alaams as a port entry north of Prince Rupert for the AMHS.

Making it part of his presentation during a visit to the Alaska capital on March 17th, providing some background for a state Transportation committee on the plans that he had in mind for the North Coast.

And while we prepare to dust off the blue prints once again to the many proposed connectors north and west, there are a few things for the City to keep in mind when it comes to the current situation for the Alaska Marine Highway System.

The first, the nature of the fifty year lease negotiated in 2014 between the State of Alaska and Canada and how that may affect the discussion, as well as what kind of an impact moving the terminal that far from the city might have on the local Prince Rupert economy.

When it comes to the AMHS service to and from Prince Rupert, those that regularly check our Transportation archive page will have made note of some of the growing challenges that the Alaskans are facing these days.

At the moment, the two that have the most impact on Prince Rupert involve the still stalled status of their Fairview Terminal rebuild, a story now one year old and one which has yet to find any form of resolution.

The other major issue involves the current state of the oil revenue dependent Alaska economy which is playing havoc with their state Transportation planning.

When it comes to the latter, it's an issue that Prince Rupert, nor British Columbia or Canada has any control over, like the Americans, the decline in resource revenues could have impacts of their own on many plans from all levels of government south of the A/B line.

However, the Terminal rebuild project is something that the City could help return to the front burner.

Perhaps by way of the City once again engaging the Federal representative Nathan Cullen and North Coast  MLA  Jennifer Rice in the issue, seeking their assistance to find a solution to the ongoing controversy and finally at least moving that vital infrastructure project forward.

Yes, that's kind of a short term plan and not the thing of a fifteen or twenty year vision, but it at least is an attainable goal, one that would serve to resolve an ongoing irritant and deliver a result which would have an immediate impact on the region.

Real Estate Tracker, week ending November 29, 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 November 29 is below:

Prince Rupert Real Estate
West Side Nov 29 2015
Prince Rupert Real Estate
East Side Nov 29 2015

November ends as it started when it comes  to movement on our listing of the top ten highest priced homes in the city, with no changes to report either up or down, over the last seven days.

The high end overall remains marked by a 2nd Avenue West Avenue entry, with a property listing on Summit holding down the 10th position on the week.

While there have been some new additions made to the lower range priced homes, when it comes to movement at the upper end, the last thirty days have been glacial like when it comes to any indication
that new properties are cracking the low point of the top ten at the 469,000 mark.

Below find our findings as of the Week ending November 29, 2015

1942-46 2nd Avenue W                 $659,000  --  Royal Lepage
527 4th Avenue East                      $650,000  --  Remax
160 Van Arsdol Street                    $649,900   -- Remax
2126 Graham Avenue                    $595,000  -- Royal Lepage
331 - 11th Avenue East                  $575,000  -- Royal Lepage
1724 Graham Avenue                    $558,000  -- Royal Lepage
210 Heron Road                            $509,000  -- Royal Lepage
1229 Conrad Street                       $525,000  --  Royal Lepage
100 Alpine Drive                          $479,900  --  Royal Lepage
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, November 29, 2015

Blog Watching, week ending November 29, 2015

A marine incident off the southern coast of Haida Gwaii dominated our information cycle this week, with a large number of readers checking out the latest items related to the MV North Star, a vessel suffering engine troubles and reported as adrift.

Originally the situation had required the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard, however as the overnight period moved forward the engine situation was resolved, with the vessel operating on her own power and resuming its trip south.

Air Transportation also featured in the news this week, with Prince Rupert residents learning that service on one of its two scheduled airline services was to be suspended at least until June, with Hawkair making a major announcement on service reductions this week.

The potash supplier Canpotex returned to the news cycle for at least twenty four hours, as readers found some interest in our notes on the latest thoughts on shipment terminals from the Saskatchewan based company.

Our look at the progress of two former PRMHA players currently in the KIJHL also found a large audience, as did our look at the City of Prince Rupert's new vision for the years ahead, delivered through their Hays 2.0 presentation.

However, the lead off item which found the largest audience of the week, was focused on the MV North Star and the vessels troubles off the shores of Haida Gwaii.

Cargo vessel adrift south of Haida Gwaii, Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid, two tugs responding -- From the first word that the vessel MV North Star had lost its power to the final notes that all was well, our notes on the evolving situation rattled off the most views of the week. (posted November 24, 2015)

That article was followed by:

Hawkair indicates plans to reduce service to Prince Rupert over winter months   -- Our two items related to the now confirmed suspension of service found a wide audience this week, from our initial story making note of the rumblings (see above), to our follow up item that confirmed and outlined the next steps in the situation and possible impact on the North Coast  (posted November 25, 2015)

Canpotex eyeing 2016 decision on export terminal options  -- The Saskatchewan based potash producer Canpotex was taking a bit of a glimpse into the future this week and once again made mention that one option for its shipment expansion plans includes a possible terminal in Prince Rupert   (posted  November 23, 2015)

Repole, Ward hitting their strides in the KIJHL --  We grabbed a look at the stats reviews for a pair of Prince Rupert Minor Hockey grads playing in British Columbia's Jr. B circuit the KIJHL (posted November 26, 2015)

Hays 2.0 gets splashy launch on City Website  -- The City of Prince Rupert released a fairly ambitious look at the future on Wednesday, developing a twelve page report called Hays 2.0 that outlines some of the areas of focus that the Mayor and Council believe the city should be pursuing (posted November 27, 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, November 28, 2015

UFAWU outlines job loss strategy for Chamber of Commerce

The topic of lost jobs and community action was the theme for discussion at the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce this week, as union officials representing shore workers at Prince Rupert's Canadian Fish Company spoke to the business community at a Wednesday Chamber event.

As part of their presentation, UFAWU officials provided a review of the moves they have put in motion to address the issue of job losses at the Oceanside cannery and to seek the support of the business community in their efforts. 

Providing for the Chamber members a particular focus on their plan to seek the assistance of the Federal government, looking for Ottawa to develop  new community-friendly fisheries policies, key to that goal is the union's desire to have the Department of Fisheries and Oceans apply three east coast policies to British Columbia.

Among those three points of the east coast program that they outlined for the Chamber were:

Adjacency: the principle of adjacency would see fish caught on the north coast processed on the north coast.

Fleet Separation: a policy that prevents processing companies from owning licenses and quotas.

Owner-operator: a policy that says that a fishing license or quota must be fished by the owner. 

As the union explains it, these three policies would insure that northern fish could not be sent to the Lower Mainland or to China for processing.

UFAWU officials have also noted how these moves would invigorate the industry in rural coastal communities. Providing the opportunity for year around deliveries of the various species means year around work for shore workers.

According to the union, Fleet separation and owner operator policies would also mean better prices for fishermen as the companies would have to compete for fish. With the concept of fleet separation and owner operator policies meaning that there would be better prices for fishermen as the companies would have to compete for fish.

The National President for UFAWU-Unifor will be
in Prince Rupert on Thursday to update local
workers on the union's plans regarding job losses at Canfisco
Later in the week, the Fraser Street Union Hall advised the membership that the National President of UFAWU-Unifor, Kim Olsen, will be coming to Prince Rupert next week.

Mr. Olsen will meet with North Coast shore workers and provide an update to the membership regarding what is happening with the Union's plans to fight back against the announced shut down of the canning operations.

That gathering will take place on Thursday, December 3, at 2pm  at Fishermen's Hall.

More background on the union's efforts to take their message to Ottawa and Victoria can be found from the Prince Rupert local's Facebook page.

You can learn more about the closure plans from Canadian Fish and the response from local union officials and regional politicians from our archive page here.

Friday, November 27, 2015

RCMP investigating damage and theft to Telemetry Station equipment near Lelu Island

Prince Rupert RCMP
seek the help of the
public in a case
of theft and damage
The Prince Rupert RCMP is seeking the assistance of the public in a case related to the damage and theft to some equipment at a Telemetry Station located near Lelu Island.

The incident which appears to date back to late September, involves the theft of two solar panels and two batteries as well as damage sustained by the Telemetry Station unit itself.

The value of the damage is estimated to be over the 5,000 dollar range, should you have any information related to the incident you are asked to contact the Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-627-0700 or through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

You can review the full statement from the RCMP here.

It was not disclosed in the statement who was the owner of the equipment, or what the function of it was at the location at the entrance of the Porpoise Channel near Lelu Island, an area that has been the subject of much study related to the proposed development of an LNG terminal in that area.

The incident in question took place in late September
with equipment stolen and damaged near Lelu Island
For more items related to Northwest Emergency Services files see our archive page here.

Transportation Minister Stone to deliver Highway 16 options in near future

Following this weeks Highway of Tears symposium held in Smithers, the Province's Transportation and Highways Minister Todd Stone provided some hints as to the immediate steps that he has in mind to address the many issues raised, not only at the symposium but over the last few years.

With suggestions that the province may provide some assistance to volunteer van drivers between the isolated communities of the Northwest, as well as expand the use of the Northern Health Medical bus for transportation options.

“This transportation symposium was an important step in finding solutions that work for the people in these communities, and I’m pleased to say, a lot of good work came out of this day-long collaboration,” ...“We’re now going to turn the discussions into action and to work on a plan that provides an effective model for transportation along the highway as quickly as possible.” -- Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone on this week's Highway 16 symposium

And while a statement by the Transportation Minister seems to suggest that there appears to have been some constructive discussion and exchange of ideas on the theme of the many issues related to the Highway corridor, there is still one large issue to be resolved that of the options of transportation available in the region.

And that appears to be one area where the Minister remains intransigent when it comes to the concept of introducing a shuttle bus along the Highway 16 corridor,  a theme that is an often made recommendation, and one that on Thursday Mr. Stone again stated was "a non-starter".

That most likely won't sit well with North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who has made the shuttle option the key element of her frequent comments and questions on the issue in the Legislature.

Ms. Rice has been busy this week with a string of media appearances related to Highway 16 issues, making note of the lack of an official invitation to the symposium, though she did attend the event anyways as an observer.

So far however, she has not issued a statement or comment related to Minister Stones comments of Thursday through any of her usual platforms of her website, twitter feed or Facebook page.

Though in comments to the Canadian Press on Thursday, the MLA noted that she was disappointed that Stone continues to reject a regional shuttle bus, observing that "people have been calling for that for quite a long time", adding that "we spend more money on twinning highway."

As for Mr. Stone, while many across the Northwest have made their case for the need of a shuttle bus for the region, the Transportation Minister has yet to articulate why, other than what appears to be a rather tone deaf example of political stubbornness ( a growing trait of the Liberals of late), he is so against the notion, or why it remains something that he considers a 'non-starter'.

Perhaps he could expand on his reasons why he's so against the plan, when he delivers his updated transportation ideas in the days to come.

Some background on the Smithers symposium can be found below:

B. C. Transportation minister says changes coming to Highway of Tears
Stone says changes to Highway of Tears coming
Smithers Highway of Tears gathering: another roadblock or road to bus line?
Mixed reactions from Tuesday's Transportation Symposium
Minister promises action after Smithers symposium on Highway of Tears
Mixed reaction to Highway 16 Transportation Symposium
Todd Stone says he didn't attend Highway of Tears meetings, because he didn't want them politicized (audio)
Spoke and hub transit model bay be workable for Highway of Tears, says Rustad
Smithers Transportation Symposium being called a Success by Minister
Stone on Highway Transportation (video)
Highway 16 Symposium reaction (video)

You can review more of Ms. Rice's work on the Highway 16 issues from our Legislature Archive.

Hawkair decision leaves much up in the air for the community.

A familiar sight at YPR will be missing for the next six
months as Hawkair suspends service to Prince Rupert

(photo from Hawkair website)

Yesterday's confirmation of the suspension of service for Hawkair out of Prince Rupert airport leaves a few questions up in the air  for residents of the North Coast, particularly when it comes to air service for the community and the potential impact on the airport operations as well.

As we've been following over the last few days, the first indication that something was up with the city's second airline came through some twitter comments relayed through the Hawkair website on Wednesday.  Those were followed by yesterdays statement from the airline providing more details to their business plan ahead when it comes to flights in and out of Prince Rupert.

In that statement Hawkair outlined the soft nature of the off season for the North Coast which it would seem runs from at least December through to June or July, with passenger levels not at the point where the airline believes that the run is feasible.

For those months it appears that the airline intends to reallocate the aircraft used on the Prince Rupert run, for flight operations between Terrace, Prince George and Kelowna, which would suggest will be a more profitable route for Hawkair.

That shift in assets does leave a question in mind for the spring perhaps, when Hawkair has said it will consider a return to Prince Rupert for the summer schedule.

As North Coast residents might be correct in wondering why Hawkair would then turn around and abandon a route such as the Prince George-Kelowna option that they will have been nurturing for six months, doing so at the height of the summer travel season.

Still, travellers from the North Coast will be hopeful that they see Hawkair back in town when June arrives and summer travel plans are in motion.

As for Prince Rupert, first and foremost there is the impact of the loss of jobs in the community, with Hawkair set to issue lay off notices for the station agents that worked out of the Highliner Inn offices.

Considering the current nature of the employment situation in the community, any job loss whether small in number such as with Hawkair, or the larger setback of earlier this month at Canadian Fish is not a good indication for the local economy.

With the suspension of Hawkair service to Prince Rupert
Flight movements and passenger levels will drop

Then there's the question of the impact of the suspension of the flight schedule on the Prince Rupert Airport, both when it comes to passenger levels and on revenues to be received both from the airline landing fees and through passenger movements.

With a major renovation project currently underway, and a larger more expansive vision being considered, an impact could be felt on the repayment schedule for the loan for those renovations, not to mention the optics of having one of your major tenants decide to move out, even before the renovations are completed.

Perhaps even more worrisome for the airport and future passenger levels, is the prospect of those that formerly made use of Hawkair, now having to find alternative options now for their travel needs.

With Air Canada seats at times rather hard to get (particularly if you're using the air miles options) the Terrace airport and its larger selection of flight options, may prove to be a temptation that steals away even more passengers than it already has from the Prince Rupert facility.

Prince Rupert is not the first community where Hawkair has suspended flights, recently the company ended its service to the Smithers area, with those Bulkley Valley residents that enjoy flying with the airline now making their way to the Terrace airport.

As for Thursday's confirmation of the suspended service to Prince Rupert, the City has not yet issued any form of a statement on the Hawkair decision through the city website, nor has the Mayor made mention of it through his frequently active Facebook page.

Which means to this point we do not have any indication if the City had received any advance notice of the Hawkair plans, or if they had attempted to work out some incentives or other accommodations to keep the service at YPR active on a year round basis.

As well, no indication has been provided yet as to just how large a financial impact the six month vacancy at the Prince Rupert Airport will have on the airports long term plans, or what steps they may have in mind to seek out alternative air options.

For more items related to transportation issues across the Northwest see our archive page here.

Rampage return to ice with lengthy Cariboo road trip

It's probably the two dates most dreaded on the CIHL calendar, not so much for the destinations, but for the amount of time required on a bus to get there.

The vast geography that makes up the CIHL gets its most visual example this weekend as the Prince Rupert Rampage make that long, long ride into the Cariboo, with two games in less than 24 hours set for Saturday and Sunday.

A gruelling pace that will take the team into two of the toughest arenas in the league, as part of the weekend showdown with the two top teams of the eastern division.

The Rhinos head into Williams Lake on Saturday night looking to shake 20 days of rust off after a significant break from CIHL action, which last saw them on the schedule back on November 7th.

 Despite that time away from the on ice battles however, the Rampage remain atop the West Division Standings, currently leading the pack of Northwest competitors by one point

And while practice time is always welcome, the challenge will be large to return to the hard hitting game action as they take on the Mustangs on Saturday evening.

The Stampeders lead the league to this point of the season with a 7 and 2 record featuring one of the CIHL's strongest offensive units and a team that is playing with significant discipline through the first two months of the season.

Things won't get any easier on Sunday afternoon, and a short turn around period from the night before, with the Rampage in Quesnel for a 1 PM start as they work their way back to the North Coast.

That contest will be one that the Kangaroos may have made note of, as they look to exact some revenge from the season opening loss they suffered at the Jim against the Rampage on October 4th.

With both teams hosting fairly high penalty minute totals, the afternoon drive home back to Rupert may be delayed by a bit, depending on what kind of flow and attitude the game may deliver.

Once back in Rupert, the team will again take to the road for a trip to Terrace next up on the agenda, with the team again on the bus for a Friday, December 4th match up with the River Kings at the Terrace Ice Arena.

The next home date for the Rampage comes up on December 12th when they host the Smithers Steelheads at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

You can find more on the Rampage from our scores and results page, while notes on the team and the rest of the CIHL  can be reviewed on our Rampage Archive page here.

Hays 2.0 gets splashy launch on City website

(from City of PR website)
The City of Prince Rupert has launched its rather ambitious visionary look at the path for the future for the community, providing an information presentation for the city's website revealing the background to Hays 2.0 on Thursday morning.

The on line project a companion piece to a degree for this week's press coverage in the city's weekly newspaper, a burst of sudden interest in municipal affairs by Black Press which provided the print version of the theme, complete with an editorial from the publisher.

The City's Internet portal perhaps offering an alternative for those that don't like to get ink on their fingers, or the need to squint at smallish typefaces.

The City website version does expand on the print version, providing as it does a full colour review of the five elements of the plan which does a lot of forward ruminating about where we'll all be in 2030.

Though it may be the first visionary statement that comes from a muncipality with a disclaimer ... something normally associated with the offerings that you might find on speculative investment notices.

(From City of PR website)
As for the content of Hays 2.0 it starts with a portrait of the man of the last century and a bit of history as to his vision, shifting from there to what the 2015-16 Council has planned for the years to come.

Focusing on five major elements of their plan, with such areas as becoming a Global community, a sustainable city, engaging in partnerships with First Nations, and the twin themes of Re:Build and Re:Design.

It opens with the Port and its importance to the community and those areas of global trade where the city is hoping to make its mark, with mentions of both the potential (but not the current troubles) of Watson Island and the prospect of development for the city's Lot 444 area.

Some background to the efforts of the Port Corporation, DP World which operates Fairview Container Terminal and CN Rail which provides the transportation network that makes the port work all get a shout out in the presentation, complete with maps.

The vision continues on into a review of the opportunities Prince Rupert may find  through geography and its proximity to the Northwest Passage of the Arctic areas, suggesting that there may be further trade possibilities to be found through that potential shift in the transportation of global trade.

The Tsimshian Access plans get another
shout out as part of Hays 2.0
(from City of PR website)
Alaska gets a significant amount of space in the presentation as well, with another review of the frequently suggested theme of relocating the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal to Lax Kw'alaams.

From there, the Tsimshian Peninsula Access plans get a return to our conversation, as it has through previous installations of City Council over the years.

This time the review features a proposed network of roads that would link the Lax Kw'alaams community with Metlakatla, the airport and Prince Rupert.

That project is suggested as one which would open up new opportunities for the Alaskans to realize more efficiencies from their Ferry system, which in turn would increase tourism and economic benefits for the region.

As part of their overview on their Alaska initiatives, the city includes its desire to look towards initiating communication between the two Federal governments to foster mutually beneficial policies.

The twelve page presentation wraps up with four final themes, the first a quest for meaningful partnerships with neighbouring First nation communities, something the City has targeted as one of its key priorities.

The document adds the City's support towards initiatives that relate to the improvement of relationships with First Nations, with the City joining in on the call for "a national inquiry into missing and murdered women", as well as "the execution of the recommendations of the truth and reconciliation commission".

The City's plans to rebuild its infrastructure make up the second of the concluding items from Hays 2.0 with the city noting that through it's Re:Build Rupert program it intends to allocate additional funding towards infrastructure renewal projects and asset management in the year ahead.

The city is also set to explore an 18 month engagement process called Re:Design Rupert, where topics such as housing, downtown revitalization, recreation, waterfront access and economic development to name a few will be discussed. More on that initiative is expected to be unveiled in January of 2016.

The final note from Hays 2.0 puts a focus on the concept of the Sustainable City, with plans to work towards making Prince Rupert a community which showcases a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.  One of the plans it would appear is to move forward in 2016 on the redevelopment of the McKay Street Park area, with the City looking towards making it into what is called an engaging neighbourhood space.

The twelve pages of a re-dedication to the 1910 ambitions of Charles M. Hays is an intriguing look at where this Council plans to take the community, though it will be interesting to see if all six Council members are on board with the far reaching goals of the proposal, that is should they ever discuss the program in Council chambers.

As well, we imagine as the second year of this Council's four year mandate comes around in 2016, more current and challenging issues will begin to dominate much of their thoughts.

With real time concerns perhaps intruding on the forward vision, as the here and now requirements of running the city continue to provide for the need for some creative thinking on their feet, not to mention the ability to handle any surprises that are sure to come Council's way.

To a fashion, the presentation calls to mind the old Jetson's TV show, offering us all an opportunity to marvel at what may be the future, though one without the flying cars we guess, as we didn't see one in the twelve page report.

However, as the community has learned a few times in the past, situations can change and developments can come along at a pretty fast pace to alter the best intentioned planning, requiring a an ability to shift focus for the city in a pretty dramatic fashion.

As many Rupertites who did not leave the city through the last two troubled decades know very well, it wasn't too long ago following the closure of the Pulp Mill, where there were some very real concerns when it came to the financial issues facing the community.

To move forward on an ambitious blue print such as Hays 2.0 will require significant access to funding and a consultation with and commitment from the taxpayers to allocate money towards many of City Council's forward thinking goals.

Much of the plan as outlined, will depend for the most part on the expansion of the population base, something that won't happen until there is a significant increase in employment opportunities in the region, the latter probably more dependent on Port related initiatives than anything else.

Still, like Charles M. Hays, it's always good to have a dream and to make plans for the future, you can examine this Council's reborn version of the 1910 concepts of the railway tycoon from the full online presentation here

For more items related to City Council initiatives and discussions see our Council Archive page here.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Recreation Director outlines report details and request for increased fees for Recreation Services

Council discussed recreation issues
on Monday evening, moving forward
with fee increases for 2016.
At Monday evening's City Council session, Willa Thorpe the City of Prince Rupert's Director of Recreation and Community Services provided Prince Rupert City Council with an extensive review of the plan ahead when it comes to the deliver of recreation services over the next five years.

From her introduction of the topic and review of he report, Council then engaged in a lively discussion of recreation issues, the topic taking up almost half of Monday's one hour council session.

Ms. Thorpe opened up the discussion by outlining a number of findings from a 2014 report into Recreation services, which provided her department with a number of items to bring to the attention of Council for further consideration.

Among the twin themes from her presentation was the need to amalgamate the current fee structure, a process which will see an increase in fees to use recreation facilities in the city by about a dollar for adults, while lowering the overall impact on seniors and reinforcing the option for parents in need to access programs available through the Recreation centre.

As well, the need for long term capital expenditure planning was explained, with the Recreation Department looking for the city to allocate five percent of fees towards a Reserve Fund for future capital work when it comes to ongoing maintenance or future expansion of the facilities.

Members of Council offered up a number of observations on the theme, with the majority finding the prospect of the amalgamated fees and increases an acceptable trade off,  in order to see the Recreation  facilities provide an increased contribution to the financing of the operations.

Through the discussion a number of council members noted that if recreation facility users don't pay a little more now, the possibility of having to cut hours, or programs would be something that the City would have to consider in the future.

And while Councillor Randhawa made some valid points as he outlined a number of concerns that he had when it came to impacts of any increases on youth in the community, he was the only one in attendance on Monday to vote against the motion to increase the fees over the next five years.

Many of the other Council members reminded him and those watching the proceedings at Council chambers, or at home, of the assistance programs for those in need that the City have to offer at the Recreation Centre.

Once Council delivers the final adoption of the bylaw, most likely at its next meeting of December 7th, the rate increase would then go into effect as of July 1st, 2016

The decision to move forward with the five percent increase in admissions and fees related revenue, marks the second time that council has increased fees in the last year.

Last November, City Council voted to increase fees and charges by 10 percent for 2015.

The full range of the twenty four minute discussion on the recreation plans can be reviewed below from this video provided to the City's You Tube channel.

More background on Monday's discussion can be found on our City Council Timeline feature.

The full report to Council is also available through the Agenda package from Monday's Council session, you can review those notes here from pages 104- 125.

For more items from Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page here.

BC Minister Fassbender tours Terrace area to speak on funding initiatives

BC Liberal Government Minister
Peter Fassbender was in
Terrace on Tuesday
Peter Fassbender, the province's Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development wrapped up a tour of a part of the Northwest on Tuesday, taking time to recycle some of the news out of Victoria when it comes to recent funding for a number of community development initiatives.

In a media release following the Minister's stop in Terrace on Tuesday, the province noted that Grants of one million dollars have been distributed around the Northwest to help communities update their bylaws and official community plans, as well as to update their local infrastructure needs to prepare for economic growth.

Among the various programs put in place through the program, the hiring of planning interns by municipalities was highlighted as one of the elements that have been used to offer support to communities.

Prince Rupert was one of the municipalities across the region to take advantage of that option that was offered by the province. The funding for the intern program across the region was delivered through the Northern Development Initiative Trust which is based in Prince George.

Mayor Lee Brain offered up his support for the provincial initiative, making note of how the City is making us of the provincial assistance when it comes to its Re:Build Rupert infrastructure program.

“The City of Prince Rupert has been diligently working on identifying priority items within our current infrastructure deficit and to address it, we are launching an infrastructure renewal program called 'Rebuild Rupert'. This funding will enable us to continue to build an effective management strategy for infrastructure assets that will help to ensure that our local residents and businesses have the services they need to prosper and succeed.” -- Mayor Lee Brain on provincial funding related to infrastructure needs.

The provincial contribution to the Prince Rupert plans was not broken down as part of the overall amount of  the 700,000 dollars plus distributed to this point across the Northwest.

More items related to Provincial government issues and initiatives can be found on our Legislature Archive page.

Notes on infrastructure issues for Prince Rupert can be found from our council files here.

Rio Tinto offers a glimpse inside the newly modernized Kitimat aluminum operations

It's one of the largest of industrial operations in the Northwest and with the modernization project for the Kitimat operations for Rio Tinto now complete, the company is offering us all a tour, and we don't even have to leave the comfort of our homes, classrooms, or offices.

To celebrate the new smelter operations, Rio Tinto has released an eleven minute industrial video which not only traces a bit of the history of Kitimat and Alcan,  but shifts to the modern era with a look at the many dams and water generation requirements for the smelter operations examined.

The final portion of the video presentation takes us into the new era for Rio Tinto, explaining the nature of the modernization and then offering up a glimpse at the process of creating aluminum and getting the product to world markets.

All you want to know about the process of making aluminum and more can be reviewed below, making for a fairly fascinating look at one of the key elements of the Northwest economy.

You can find more items on Rio Tinto's impact on the Northwest from our archive page.

Rupertites involved in Sports away from the North Coast 2015-16

Our ongoing archive of notes on those athletes that have left the North Coast to attend university or play in leagues in other locations in North America.

Below is a listing of the current athletes that we know of to this point that have taken their talents to other locales, we will offer up any items of note about them as we come across them.

We'll update the listings as we become aware of other athletes who have made the next step in the athletic plans.

2015-16 Season


Thomson Rivers University (CIS)

Team Website

Kyler Eckess
Perry Terrell

TRU Wolfpack Athletic news Items 2015-16

November 10 -- Eckess, Terrell elevate at TRU

VIU Mariners (CIS)
Celina Guadagni 

Team Website

UVIU Athletic News Items 2015-16

October 18 -- PacWest Season underway


Orlik Opole (Polish League)

Team Website (in Polish)
Team Facebook page (in Polish)

Frank Slubowski

Orlik Opole news items 2015-16

September 21 -- Slubowski fits right in in Poland
September 16 -- September brings start to Slubowski's Polish Pro Hockey adventure  NCR
August 5 -- Prince Rupert hockey product Frank Slubowski signs in Poland


Junior Hockey

November 26

KIJHL (Junior B)

November 26 --Repole, Ward hitting their strides in the KIJHL  NCR

100 Mile House Wranglers 
Brady Ward

Team Website

Osoyoos Coyotes 
Judd Repole

Team Website

Our Archive of items from 2014-15 can be found here

Repole, Ward hitting their strides in KIJHL

Two former PRMHA players are settling in a few months into the KIJHL schedule as Judd Repole and Brady Ward find their place on their respective rosters.

The 100 Mile House Wranglers are getting some solid results from BradyWard as the former Rupertite finds himself in among the top ten scoring leaders on the Wranglers roster.

With 25 games played so far in the 2015-16 season, Ward has 6 goals and 4 assists for 10 points on the year to this point, two of the goals on the power play and two of his six goals game winning markers.

Further on into the Southern Okanagan, Judd Repole is picking up his pace for the Osyoos Coyotes, finding his way into the top ten Coyotes on the ice when it comes to points on the scoreboard.

With 19 games payed so far, Repole an assistant captain on the squad, has 4 goals and 9 assists on the year for 13 points, two of his four goals making for game winners.

The two former PRMHA grads  have a fair bit of Northwest company as they travel the roads of the Junior B  KIHL.

In addition to Ward, the Wranglers feature five other players from this corner of the province, with Nick Nordstrom  and Kyle Lindstrom hailing from Terrace, while Smithers is represented by Stephen Egan, Michael Lynch and Brendan Moore.

Down Osoyoos way, Terrace is well represented on the roster, with Colin Bell, Hunter Johnson, Carter Shannon and Colton Braid all perhaps able to share stories of the Rep Hockey days of the Northwest with Prince Rupert's Repole.

You can follow the two Rupert players on their journey and learn more about other Prince Rupert athletes playing away from the Northwest from our archive page here.

The Hardest working reporter in Northwest television

CFTK's Prince Rupert based reporter
Christa Dao has been carrying much of
the reporting load for the station
over the last few recent months
Even the most casual viewer of the TV 7 suppertime broadcast must be thinking that of late there has been significant slant on items from the North Coast.

Night after night Prince Rupert it seems, is the main attraction from the news flow of the Terrace based television station, as Christa Dao the TV 7 reporter based in Prince Rupert gets a large chunk of the nightly news line up.

We're not sure if the recent string of major cuts by Bell Media across Canada is part of the reason, or if its just the cyclical nature of news migration from smaller markets like Terrace, Prince Rupert and Smithers, where folks like to be on the move before winter hits.

However despite the apparent gaps in their reporter roster, TV7 has not as of yet, replaced any of those reporters who have departed the company in recent months. Something which leaves the news flow from the station's outposts to be the domain of Christa Dao.

This has made much of the 6 PM newscast for the most part, All Chrsita, All the time for now, with only the occasional break in the reports from CFTK TV news anchors in between to slow down the flow of information from the western news bureau.

That's some good news for Prince Rupert, which in the past has at times found its stories not quite as frequently featured by the Terrace based station.

However, we imagine the lengthy run in the spotlight for Rupert will at some point come to an end.

Beyond the lack of information from their communities, folks in Terrace, Kitimat and Smithers might find those snow free January shots a bit much to take night, after night, after night.

Something which may speed up the process of hiring reinforcements.

You can review some of that focus on North Coast issues here.

For more items related to media developments in the region see our archive page here.