Monday, February 29, 2016

North Coast MLA makes plans for Maternity Matters tour of BC

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
will be on the road through the
next three months consulting
British Columbians on maternity issues
Jennifer Rice will be taking to the road over the course of March and April travelling across the province to learn more about the challenges that mothers to be face in rural and remote communities of the province.

The North Coast MLA is launching the Maternity Matters Tour which gets underway this week when Ms. Rice holds sessions in the Bella Coola Valley from March 4th to 7th.

Later in the month she'll be heading into the Cariboo region, with stops planned in Quesnel, Clearwater and Ashcroft.

The main focus of her tour to hear from residents in rural and remote British Columbia to hear more of the challenges in accessing maternity care outside of larger centres and what issues face residents when it comes to care for their baby.

More trips are planned in April, May and June, though for the moment other than an April 22nd journey to Bella Bella, no other sessions are planned for the moment for the North Coast of Haida Gwaii.

You can review the MLA's itinerary and get more information on how to contact Ms. Rice from her media release announcing the tour.

For more items related to MLA Rice's work in Victoria see our archive page here.

Senior Boys Rainmakers claim Northwest Zones, Langley next stop as Provincials beckon

A weekend showdown in Terrace has delivered another banner for the Charles Hays Gym, with the Senior Boys Rainmakers taking two victories from the host Caledonia Kermodes, securing a Northwest Zones championship and charting a course for Langley in March at Provincials.

As they always seem to do, the two teams put on another showcase of basketball to bring the regional season to an end, with Charles Hays taking Game One by a score of 59 to 45, putting the pressure on the host Kermodes heading into Saturday's showdown finale.

The prospect of a double header loomed large at times in game two, with Caledonia putting up a strong bid to extend the series to a third game, however the Rainmakers offensive plan took flight and with some strong defensive play down the stretch Charles Hays secured a 55 to 50 victory, claiming the Northwest championship and the opportunity to extend their season by a few more weeks.

Northwest Zone Champs again, the Charles Hays Rainmakers claimed
the Regional championship this weekend in Terrace
Key to the championship weekend was the work of Justin McChesney selected as the weekend's MVP, and while it makes for an individual accolade, his selection highlights the solid team effort from the Rainmakers which delivered the twin victories.

Justin McChesney had another strong performance for the Rainmkaers,
recognized for his work on the weekend named as the Zones MVP.

With the Zones banner secured, the Rainmakers now set their sights on the big stage of Basketball in British Columbia and the March Provincials in Langley from March 9 to 12.

You can keep an eye on the plans ahead for that event from the AAA Championship website, the placement draw for Provincials to come prior to the opening matches of March 9th.

The Rainmakers however, won't be much of a surprise for those heading to Langley for the tournament. With a few trips south already under their belts, word on the threat from the North is already spreading.

In fact, a familiar face for Rainmaker fans is featured as part of the Tournament website, setting the scene for the four day tournament in March.

More on the Rainmakers at zones can be found on the CHSS Twitter feed.

You can review the Charles Hays season to this point from our archive page here.

CHSS Junior Boys find improvement through the weekend, but consolation round is their destination

The Charles Hays Junior Boys launched their quest for a Provincial Banner on Saturday with a tourney opening match up with Steveston-London.

Two teams that tournament organizers declared close in ranking, with the edge delivered to the Rainmakers heading into the tournament listed at fifteenth spot prior to tip off.

However the Lower Mainland squad took on that challenge of being the under dog at full speed, dealing the Rainmakers hopes a quick blow, taking the ice breaker to the tournament by a score of 66 to 43.

The loss moved the Rainmakers over to the consolation round at the tournament and to their credit, the Rainmakers bounced back from that early disappointment to put in two strong efforts in weekend play through Saturday night and Sunday.

in the second of two games on Saturday the Rainmakers kept things close with St. Thomas More, at times threatening to take the flow of play away from the Vancouver team. By the final whistle however, the Knights had pushed back the Rainmaker threat, claiming victory in the Day one night cap by a score of 40 to 30.

Sunday provided for the most entertaining match up of the tournament so far for Charles Hays, a back and forth game that saw both teams trade off leads through all four quarters. In the end, it came down to the very last play of the game, with the Rainmakers on the foul line looking to extend the game into overtime.

However the final shot of the game deflected just off the backboard and rim, skimming over the basket leaving the Kelowna squad with a 51 to 50 victory in a thriller of game, leaving Charles Hays still looking for their first win of the tournament.

The opportunity to crack the win side of the ledger comes up tonight at 7:30 when the Rainmakers take on DP Todd out of Prince George in an all Northern BC showdown.

More notes on the Rainmakers journey can be found from the CHSS Twitter feed.

Our Scoreboard from Provincials can be followed here.

For further background on Charles Hays sports see our archive page here.

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending February 28, 2016

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 February 28 is below:

Prince Rupert Real Estate
West Side February 28, 2016
Prince Rupert Real Estate
East Side February 28, 2016

Some change for the listings as February prepares to fade from our view, with one property on Heron Road putting up the Sold sign, while over on the west side of the City another property enters the listings of our ten.

For the most part,  the asking prices remained unchanged over the course of the week, while the bottom end of our list holds at the 459,500 dollar mark once again.

As for the geography of the market this week, the west side of the city continues to dominate the review for the week, with eight of the ten listings found west of McBride, the majority of those in the Graham Avenue area of the city.

Below find our findings as of the Week ending February 28, 2016

160 Van Arsdol Street                  $649,900   -- Remax
2040 Graham Avenue                   $595,000  -- Royal Lepage
333 - 11th Avenue East                $575,000  --  Royal Lepage
2085 Graham Avenue                   $550,000 --  Realty Executives
1724 Graham Avenue                   $545,000  -- Royal Lepage
1253 Conrad Street                       $497,000  --  Remax
1714 Sloan Avenue                       $485,000 --  Remax  (new)
1125 Summit Avenue                   $469,900  --  Remax
1735 Graham Avenue                   $469,000  --  Remax
100 Alpine Drive                          $459,500 --   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, February 28, 2016

Blog Watching, week ending February 28, 2016

While there's been no shortage of disappointing news of late on the theme of LNG development, one positive note appeared this week for those on the North Coast looking for a bit of progress.

Earlier this week the Australian energy company Woodside  outlined plans to hold an Open House in March, an announcement that found a fair bit of interest from readers this week.

And while AltaGas provided  for some of that disappointing review for LNG,, the Alberta company remained positive on its plans to move forward with a proposed propane export terminal, with this weeks financial update capturing a share of the attention from our offerings this week.

Basketball season on the North Coast has reached the championship stage and a number of Charles Hays Rainmaker teams were in the news this week, with both the Senior Girls and Junior Boys part of this weeks news cycle.

Bringing our top five items of the week to a close, was our update on an early Thursday morning fire on the Prince Rupert waterfront and the reward offered by the Metlakatla First Nation for information about a trio of suspected incidents of arson near the ferry dock.

However, the top item of the week comes the LNG files and the plans of the Australians.

Woodside Energy to host Open House on Grassy Point LNG proposal in March -- The Australian Energy company Woodside will host an Open House on March 10th to outline the latest developments when it comes to their proposed LNG terminal at Grassy Point (posted February 25, 2016)

That article was followed by:

Junior Boys draw Steveston-London Sharks in Provincials Opener --  Our item previewing the opening day match up for the 2016 Junior Boys Provincial Basketball tournament found a strong audience, as has our update page from this weekends event. (posted February 24, 2016 )

Alta Gas keeps focus on Propane Exports out of Ridley Island, while cancelling Douglas Channel LNG project -- One more proposed LNG project for the region has been put on the shelf, with AltaGas outlining the suspension of its plans for Kitimat, while reinforcing its plans for a proposed propane export terminal in Prince Rupert.  (posted February 25, 2016)

Rainmaker teams win one banner, come up just short of a second in weekend play - We started the week of looking back to last weekend's zone tournaments across the Northwest, where Charles Hays squads claimed one banner and came close on a second (posted  February 22, 2016 )

Metlakatla First Nation offers reward related to morning fire on waterfront  --  A case of suspected arson near the Metlakatla Ferry Dock on the Prince Rupert waterfront has the First Nation offering a 1,000 dollar reward for information  (posted February 25, 2016 )

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, February 27, 2016

Junior Boys Rainmakers at Provincials 2016

A Provincial banner is on the line in Langley starting this weekend as the best Junior High School basketball teams in the Province chart their course towards Tuesday's Championship game.

The Charles Hays Rainmakers are representing the Northwest, having claimed their Regional banner last weekend and then turning around and to prepare for Provincials which get underway today.

You can follow the progress of the Provincials through the Telus Junior Boys Provincial Tournament website.

Those that wish to tune into the play can subscribe to Stretch Internet pay per view portal, which has daily and tournament rates available.

The Charles Hays Junior Boys Rainmakers are in Langley for
Telus Junior Basketball Provincial Championships

The Rainmakers open up the Tournament at 1:00 today with their tournament icebreaker against Steveston-London Sharks.

Check back through the next four days, as we update the scores from the tournament action.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Charles Hays Rainmakers  39 vs Brookswood 49 

Monday, February 29, 2016
Charles Hays Rainmakers 51  vs DP Todd 44

Sunday, February 28, 2016
Charles Hays Rainmakers 50 vs Kelowna 51

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Charles Hays Rainmakers 30 vs  St. Thomas More Knights 40

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Charles Hays Rainmakers 43 vs Steveston-London Sharks 66 

You can follow more on the Rainmakers and get updates scores from the CHSS Twitter feed.

While background on Rainmaker Sports can be found here.

The Senior Boys Rainmaker squad is also in action this weekend looking to claim their own Zones banner with a two day Final in Terrace.

Charles Hays defeated Caledonia 59 to 45 in Game one on Friday Night.

Charles Hays topped Caledonia 55 to 50 in Saturday's match up,

With the two wins, the Rainmakers claim the NorthWest zones championship and now move on to the Provincials in Langley.

MLA's week, February 22-25, 2016

Prince Rupert didn't capture quite the same amount of interest this week as it did the week before, as the Legislature moved on to other issues beyond the state of water at some of the city's elementary schools.

The topic did receive a bit more exposure as North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice called for expanded testing of water in Northwest schools, taking one more run at Health Minister Terry Lake on the concerns over water in the region.

Ms. Rice also had some thoughts on the Provincial Government's treatment of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the Representative for Children and Youth, calling attention to a number of reports in recent months on the situation facing at risk children in the province and seeking a public statement  of support for Ms. Turpel-Lafond and the work of her office.

As we do at the end of each week of the Legislature session, we outline some of the main notes of interest from the North Coast MLA's work week.

Ms Rice was listed twice in the archive of participants for the seven sessions of the Legislature in the House, or for those listings related to her work on House Committees for the week of February 22-26.

On Monday afternoon, Ms. Rice returned to the theme of seeking answers related to the water situation in some Prince Rupert schools, seeking an expanded testing process for all schools of the Northwest.

MLA calls for expanded testing of water in Northwest schools

Monday morning found Ms. Rice seeking answers on the provincial government's treatment of the Representative for Children and Youth, asking the province to publicly declare support for the work of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafon and the work done through her office.

MLA Rice speaks out in support of Representative of Children and Youth

Ms Rice is also a member of the Committee on Children and Youth, however that Committee did not meet this week.

Members of the Legislature return to the Chamber on Monday morning.

There is more background on the North Coast MLA available from our MLA's Week Archive as well as our General Archive on the Legislature.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Senior Boys Rainmakers seek zones title this weekend

It's championship weekend for Northwest Hoops fans and Terrace is the destination for the Charles Hays Rainmakers, with a full week of practice setting the pace for the Makers' as they look to secure another shot at the AAA Provincial title in Langley in March.

The Rainmakers take to the court today as part of the two day zones competition, with some high tempo basketball sure to be featured through the weekend as the schools of the Northwest battle it out for that one regional berth in the March Provincials.

Charles Hays heads into Zones with another shout out from the Vancouver Province to add to the bulletin board, the final Provincial rankings before the regional tournament finds the Rainmakers holding on to their 8th place spot in British Columbia.

Charles Hays Senior Boys Rainmakers head into zones
still holding their place in the BC Top Ten listings

(click to expand)

This weekend is putting basketball in the spotlight for Charles Hays both in the Northwest and beyond.

Not only does the school have the Senior Boys looking to claim another banner for the CHSS gym, but the Junior Boys have their next goal in mind as well, with the Junior Rainmakers putting in the final preparations for tomorrow afternoons tip off for Telus Junior Basketball Championships in Langley.

As we outlined on the blog on Wednesday, the Junior Boys launch their quest for a provincial title with a match up against Steveston Saturday at 1PM.

You can track their path through that tournament from the Tournament website.

For updates on both of the Charles Hays teams through the weekend follow the CHSS Sports twitter feed.

For more background on Rainmakers sports see our archive page here.

Chamber of Commerce to host LNG Development event March 1st

Supporting responsible LNG development will be the theme of a Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce Luncheon on Tuesday at the North Coast Convention Centre.

Chamber organizers are looking for a large turnout of community members next week, hoping to attract those who may be curious to learn more about LNG and other industries proposed for the region.

From the luncheon information session, the Chamber is looking to build support in the region not only for LNG industry, but for other forms of development on the North Coast.

As part of the Tuesday event, the Chamber has assembled a roster of speakers from a number of areas of the community to share their thoughts on how the industry can benefit the community.

Among those scheduled to take part in the lunch time forum are:

Blair Mirau
Clifford White, Elected Chief, Gitxaala First Nation
Dave MacDonald, Mayor, District of Port Edward
Glen Edwards, President, ILWU Local 505
James Witzke, Tsimshian Environmental Stewardship Society

The Tuesday event takes place from 11:45 AM to 1:15 PM, tickets cost 25 dollars for members and Not-yet Members alike.

The Deadline for Reservations is 8AM of March 1st and reservations are required as No Tickets will be available at the door.

More on the Chamber event can be found here.

For a primer on some of the proposed LNG projects on the North Coast see our archive page here, a look at the industrial footprint in the region can also be found from Industrial archives here.

Curling Club hosting Mixed Bonspiel this weekend

The North Coast curling season is quickly winding down, but there are still a few high profile events to come before the brooms and rocks get put away for another year.

This weekend the Prince Rupert Curling Club is hosting the Mixed Bonspiel which takes place starting tonight through until Sunday.

Besides the action on the ice, the weekend features Door prizes for Friday and a Saturday night dinner catered by No. 1 catering.

23 teams have been registered for this weekend's Bonspiel making for a fairly competitive but fun three days of curling at the Seal Cove Club.

For updates on the Mixed Bonspiel see the Curling Club's Facebook page.

Once this weekend's last end has been completed, the Club will turn its attention to March's big event with the 65th Annual Marine Bonspiel to take place March 11 through 13.

For more items on curling in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Shawatlans Road to temporarily close through March for repairs

The City of Prince Rupert will be
working on a stretch of Shawatlans
Road through March
Work to stabilize the road bank along a section of Shawatlans Road will require the temporary closure of the road through periods of March.

The work which is scheduled to start next week, will take place in an area between Frederick Street and the turn off into the Wainwright Marine yard.

The City will also be working on the water supply line below the road bank as well as part of the project that is expected to last through to the end of the month.

That leaves residents looking to access the Industrial Park or Recycling Centre with the Highway 16 option for entry and exit from that part of the area.

A map of the construction zone can be found below, while more background on the Road closure can be found from the City's website here.

For more items related to the City of Prince Rupert's infrastructure projects see our archive page here.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Metlakatla First Nation offers reward related to morning fire on waterfront

Some of the damage from an
early morning fire on the
Prince Rupert waterfront

(photo courtesy Rachel Ryan,
Metlakatla First Nation

click to enlarge )
As we outlined earlier today on the blog, the Prince Rupert RCMP is currently investigating an early morning fire on the Prince Rupert waterfront, which saw three vehicles in total damaged as part of the blaze near the Metlakatla Ferry Dock.

The seriousness of the incident from this morning is such that the Metlakatla First Nation has offered a $1,000 dollar reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the fire in the early hours of February 25th.

As well, the Metlakatla First Nation provided more background to the incident, noting that two vans and a pick up truck were burned during the course of the incident, one of the vans belonging to Metlakatla elders.

If you have any information related to this incident or other acts of vandalism around the Metlakatla Ferry Dock area you are asked to contact the RCMP at 250-627-0700 or  at Crimestoppers toll free number of 1-800-222-8477.

More background on the Reward can be found from the Metlakatla First Nation website

For more items related to Emergency Services in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Prince Rupert RCMP investigating suspected arsons on waterfront

The Prince Rupert detachment of the RCMP is investigating the latest incident of damage caused to vehicles parked in the vicinity of the Metlakatla Ferry Dock on the Prince Rupert side of the harbour.

The most recent incident is a fire discovered in the early hours of this morning where two vehicles were set ablaze sometime around the 3 AM period, upon the arrival of the RCMP on the scene the Prince Rupert Fire Department was already in place to knock down the two fires.

The two vehicles sustained damage described as beyond repair, while a third vehicle nearby suffered extensive heat damage.

Another night of vandalism on the Prince Rupert waterfront with three
suspicious fires under investigation near the Metlakatla Ferry Dock

In November RCMP members investigated a vandalism spree in the same region, where six cars were damaged as part of that 2015 incident.

Anyone with any information on any of the incidents on the waterfront are asked to contact the Prince Rupert detachment of the RCMP at 250-627-0700 or through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

The full media release related to this mornings waterfront fires can be found here.

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

AltaGas keeps focus on Propane Exports out of Ridley Island, while cancelling Douglas Channel LNG project

Two items of interest for the Northwest were found in a lengthy media release from Alberta based AltaGas as part of their Fourth Quarter and Year End Results report.

As the Alberta company outlined its financial picture form a troubled year in Alberta's oil and gas sector, highlighting some of it's plans and advising investors as to some areas where change is being made or has already taken place.

On the good news front, the company once again highlighted its plans to ship propane out of the proposed terminal site on Ridley Island.

On propane exports, AltaGas signed a sublease and related agreements with Ridley Terminals Inc. (Ridley Terminals) to develop, build, own and operate the Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal located near Prince Rupert, British Columbia on a portion of lands leased by Ridley Terminals from the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

The facility will be designed to ship up to 1.2 million tonnes of propane per annum and will be built on a brownfield site with a history of industrial development, connections to existing rail lines, and an existing marine jetty with deep water access.

AltaGas is working towards reaching a final investment decision in 2016 with commercial propane exports targeted for 2018, subject to First Nations consultations and necessary approvals. On February 11, 2016, AltaGas filed an application with the National Energy Board for a 25-year propane export license.

However, for those on the North Coast hoping to see some progress with the launch of the LNG industry in the region, AltaGas had some disappointing news.

Noting that their proposed development for Kitimat was now putting a halt to the plans for the Douglas Channel LNG project owing to economic conditions.

The DC LNG Consortium, comprised of AltaGas Idemitsu Joint Venture Limited Partnership (AIJVLP), EDF Trading Limited (EDFT) and EXMAR NV (EXMAR), announced today its decision to halt development of the DC LNG project due to adverse economic conditions and worsening global energy price levels.

AltaGas announced on Thursday that development on
the Douglas ChannelLNG project was being halted
That proposed development was a smaller scale LNG project, which planned to make use of a floating terminal concept in the Kitimat area.

You can review what might have been  from our archive page here.

For a look at the proposed Propane Terminal for Ridley Island see our archive page for more background on that project.

The full media release from AtlaGas can be examined here.

Woodside Energy to host Open House on Grassy Point LNG proposal in March

Woodside Energy has plans
for an LNG Terminal
near Lax Kw'alaams
We haven't heard much in recent months when it comes to the proposed LNG development for Grassy Point, with the Australian energy company Woodside keeping their options pretty close to the vest for that area of the North Coast near Lax Kw'alaams.

That however does not mean that they haven't been following up on their plans for the proposed development, with the latest progress on the project set to be provided to the public in March.

Woodside Energy will share more information in a bit over two weeks, having scheduled an Open House for March 10th at the North Coast Convention Centre. Taking place in the Grizzly Room, from 4 until 8 PM, the supper time information session will also offer a Buffet Dinner between 4:30 and 6 PM. 

Residents who attend the Open House will be able to gain more background to the proposed development that would be implemented in two phases, with an initial production capacity calling for shipment capacity of between 6-15 million tonnes of LNG per annum, with the ability to increase overall capacity to to up to 20 million tonnes.

Before they can move forward with their application however, Woodside will require an environmental assessment certificate, the Open House and comment period is part of the process required to apply for that certificate.

Following the Open House, a thirty day period for the submission of comments towards the Draft Application will get underway.

Comments related to the Woodside Application can be directed to the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office website as of March 3rd.

Details related to the Draft Application Information requirements will be posted to that website as of March 3rd, with published copies also available at the following locations on the North Coast.

Prince Rupert Public Library
101 6th Avenue West, Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert City Hall
424 3rd Avenue West, Prince Rupert

Port Edward Municipal Office
770 Pacific Avenue, Port Edward

It's of interest to note that to this point, there is no indication that a copy of the Draft Information requirements will be provided for the community of Lax Kw'alaams, which would be the closest community to the proposed development site.

Cover page of report
(from Woodside Energy website)

The two proposed terminal options for
the Grassy Point site
(from the Woodside Energy website)

When it comes to the project's progress, there hasn't been a lot in the way of updates to the Woodside Grassy Point LNG page  found through the Australian energy company's home page, with the most recent items on the project dating back to September of 2015.

Fact Sheet

Project Description

Public Consultation Consultation Plan

There also has not been much in the way of additional material posted to Government websites that track the flow of information on the major LNG projects in the province.

The listing of documentation provided to the Canadian Environmental Association to this point can be found here.

While background on the project provided to the British Columbia Environmental Office can be examined here.

The Woodside proposal is the fourth of the major proposals for the North Coast still in motion, with the CEAA set to complete its comment period on the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal on March 11th and then to hand the file over to the Federal environment Minister for further action.

The Aurora LNG proposal for Digby Island and the WCC LNG proposal for Tuck Inlet both are still in various stages of their consultation process.

While the BG Group's, Prince Rupert LNG project was put on  pause in 2014, with little in the way of follow up information provided since that period.

Since that pause of 2014, the BG Group merged with Shell in a 52 billion dollar mega deal.

Grassy Point is not the only North Coast location that Woodside is also involved with, they also have a share of the proposed Kitimat LNG project, partnering with Chevron on that LNG development.

For more items related to the proposed development by Woodside Energy see our archive page here.

For an overview of all of the proposed developments in the Northwest see our project listings page here.

Councillor Mirau seeks more background on Ridley Island Tax Arrangement with Port Edward

As part of the City of Prince Rupert's Budget consultation process, city council will be seeking a wider overview of the current arrangement between Prince Rupert and Port Edward when it comes to taxation collected from Ridley Island and how it is shared with the District of Port Edward.

Councillor Blair Mirau raised the item at Monday's council session, asking for some background on the topic from the City's Financial Officer Corrine Bomben and noting that he believes that the arrangement may be causing some pressures on the City's revenue challenges and cost pressures.

Mr. Mirau, noting that he had previous to his time on Council not been aware of the arrangement, suggested that it is a topic that warrants further investigation and discussion by Council.

Ms. Bomben provided a thumbnail sketch for council on the nature of the Ridley Island Tax Sharing Agreement, observing how the current arrangement calls for the City to provide 17 per cent of the taxes collected by the City from Ridley Island sources would be directed to Port Edward. 

Noting for Council, that in the last year that percentage resulted in the City of Prince Rupert providing 700,000 dollars to the District of Port Edward.

From that information, Councillor Mirau noted that he believes that it's a tangible amount of money that has a significant impact on the City of Prince Rupert and provides for an important topic for discussion during the Budget process and something that warrants further consideration.

Ms. Bomben advised Council that she would provided with a more expansive overview in time for the Monday, March 7th council session and the information could be available as part of the larger public consultation session planned for the Lester Centre on March 14th.

You can review the discussion which came as part of the Budget Presentation from the City's Finance Department from Monday's Council session available from the Council Video archive, the full Budget presentation starts at  the 37 minute mark, while the portion related to the Ridley Island Tax Sharing Agreement can be found at the 54 minute point.

For more items related to Budget preparation for 2016 see our Budget archive page here.

Further background on discussions from City Council can be found from our Council Archive page here.

City Council endorses Port Coquitlam plan on funding formula for Build Canada Grant program

On Monday night members of Prince Rupert city Council offered their support towards a correspondence from the City of Port Coquitlam, seeking a change in the formula for funding under the Federal Government's Build Canada Grant Program.

The letter from Port Coquitlam is part of a resolution from that community for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Union of British Columbia Municipalities that calls for a reduction in the municipal requirements for the Grant Program, calling the current level of one third of the cost as too high for local jurisdictions.

At the moment, according to the correspondence from Port Coquitlam the current level of funding rests at one third each from each level of government, with Port Coquitlam instead recommending a change in that formula, one that would see the Federal Government provide 50 percent of the funding, the Province to deliver 40 percent for significant projects, which would leave the municipalities to provide for the remaining 10 percent.

Corinne Bomben, the City of Prince Rupert's Financial Officer read the correspondence into the record at Monday's Council session and offered up an explanation for Council members of the details related to it.

At the conclusion of her presentation on the topic, Council members followed up on a motion from Councillor Mirau to offer their support to the proposed resolution from Port Coquitlam.

You can review the short discussion on the topic from the City's Video Archive starting at the one hour one minute mark.

The full correspondence from Port Coquitlam can be found as part of Monday's Agenda Package on page 15.

For more items related to discussions at Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page here.

City's Finance Department offers up taxation tutorial for residents on mill rates

The mill rate, It's a term that can create a furrowed brow and at times a bit of puzzlement from local residents, perhaps wondering what the abandoned pulp mill on Watson Island has to do with their tax load.

And while somewhere in a line item in the Finance office, the actual pulp mill probably does represent something in the expenses and revenues categories for the City of Prince Rupert (see pages 11 and 12 of the Budget Report from this weeks Council Agenda), in the case of determining how much your tax bill will go up in July, this mill rate term refers to something else completely.

To help better understand all of that financial jargon, the City's financial department has put together a tutorial page and info-graphic on the city website, designed to help residents determine what kind of increase they might be looking at with Council set to consider a proposed 2 per cent increase come this spring.

The three step process requires the home or business owner to have their assessed value from the recently delivered Provincial property tax assessment, with the resident then to find the proposed mill rate for your property class, followed by the use of a formula provided by the Finance Department to calculate the impact of the proposed mill rate.

A mill rate calculation chart from the City of Prince Rupert
(click to expand)
You can click on the image below to view the chart, or go to the city website where the chart can be found as well.

For more items related to the 2016 Budget process see our Budget archive page.

Further background on issues from Prince Rupert City Council can be reviewed from our Council Archive page.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

School District 52, like many other Districts observe Pink Shirt Anti-Bullying Day

Shirts of a pink hue have been prominent in schools and around town today as students, teachers, parents and concerned citizens took some time to address the issue of bullying and the need to raise awareness of the issue.

School District 52 made note of today's efforts locally during their meeting of February 9th, noting that February 24th was the date for the province wide awareness initiative.

An interesting survey from the Angus Reid polling organization on the topic provides a glimpse into the situation, highlighting the work that remains to be done in making for a better atmosphere for all whether at school, other places or through other activities.

In the survey, Three-quarters of those Canadian adults who participated say that they were bullied in school; while half of today’s parents say it’s happened to their kids.

A slight majority of those who replied, 51%,  say that the School's handle the issue properly, while the remaining 49% say that there is more work that needs to be done.

With respondents in British Columbia most satisfied with the response of educators and administrators, with 57 per cent from the province stating that schools are reacting appropriately well to bullying, those in Alberta are least confident in how effectively schools are dealing with the problem (47%).

Whether those who took the survey had been bullied or not, Canadians are unequivocal in how much gravity they give the issue of bullying in schools today. Fully nine-in-ten respondents (89%) say it’s either “very serious” (47%) or “serious” (42%).

You can review the full findings from the Angus Reid study here.

The province has been highlighting some of the efforts across British Columbia today through the BC Government portal.

More on the erase bullying program can be found here.

For more items related to School District 52 issues see our archive page here.

Ministry of Transportation to host Open House on Tuck Road project in Lax Kw'alaams

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain's plans for a lengthy stretch of roadway connecting, Lax Kw'alaams, Metlakatla and the airport may still be in the long range planning phase at the moment

However, the Province is moving forward on a more immediate road project for the First Nation community, one focused on the existing road that runs to the North end of Tuck Inlet.

The Province of British Columbia announced  its plans for an Open House this week,  looking to provide further background for the proposed road work that will see paving work and safety improvements such as concrete barriers, speed reader boards and pullouts to be made along the 17.5-kilometre road, including the replacement of  one bridge.

The work is part of a remediation plan for the road that leads from Lax Kw'alaams, to the ferry dock at the north end of Tuck Inlet, providing for the current link for the community to Prince Rupert and beyond.

Thursday's Open House will take place from 3 until 8 PM at the Lax Kw'alaams Recreation Centre.

The project, part of the Ministry's 10 year Transportation plan, follows up on a Memo of Understanding (MOU) which was singed last year with the community,  signalling the start of engineering work on the project.

The start of the major construction project is expected to begin this summer.

You can learn more background on last year's memorandum of understanding on the project here.

For more items related to developments in Lax Kw'alaams see our archive page here.

Jr Boys Rainmakers draw Steveston-London Sharks in Provincials Opener

There is little time to rest for the Charles Hays Junior Boys Rainmakers as practice sessions ramp up through the week and the team makes their plans for one final road trip to the Lower Mainland

For the Junior Boys the road to a hopeful championship win in Langley, starts with a match up with Richmond's Steveston-London Secondary on Saturday.

The 2016 Telus Junior Basketball Provincial Tournament schedule was released on Tuesday afternoon and when the tourney tips off on Saturday afternoon for the Rainmakers, the number fifteen seed will take on number 18 Steveston-London Sharks at 1 PM,

The Draw is set for the 2016 Junior Boys Provincial Basketball tournament

Success in the 1 PM ice breaker sends the winner on to face either Walnut Grove or St. Thomas More Collegiate in an 8:30 PM match up that will bring Day One to an end.

The tournament continues through until Tuesday March 1st when a Provincial champion will claim its title.

The Junior Boys earned their berth in the Provincials with a weekend Zones victory in Smithers.

You can review the draw for the entire tournament here.

Notes on Charles Hays Basketball can be found from the CHSS Twitter feed.

More background on the Rainmakers season can be found on our archive page.

Drake Crescent zoning decision deferred until March session

Kevin Stunder, the proponent of a
proposed housing  development
for Drake Crescent appeared at
Council on Monday evening
to outline the project
Prince Rupert City Council has decided to wait two more weeks before making a decision on a request for zoning changes to a parcel of land on Drake Crescent, with Council looking for further information from staff and its work with the developer on amenities and on how many units will be built before moving on the zoning issue.

Monday's Council session featured a Public Hearing on the issue, though no residents appeared in Council Chambers to outline any concerns related to the proposed development during the course of the session.

Council did hear from realtor Keith Lambourne, who speaking as President of the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce voiced that group's support for the proposed development, noting that there is an immediate need for more housing in the community, with many rental groups in the city featuring no vacancies at the moment.

Kevin Stunder, the proponent of the development for Drake Crescent also provided his thoughts on how the project would come together, calling on some of his past experience in other communities on property development.

On the topic of when the housing development might start, Mr. Stunder did note that no decision would be made until there was some indication of forward movement provided by the major proponents of major industrial projects in the community. Adding for Council that he hoped to have a better idea as to what form his development would take and the timeline for it by the summer.

He also observed that he hoped that Council could see the value in moving forward with some housing for the city on a parcel of land that fits in with the City's Quality of life official community plan.

The full overview of the Public Hearing process can be found on our Council Timeline Feature.

A multi unit housing development has been proposed for
Drake Crescent at Prince Rupert Boulevard

Later in the Council session, Council Members returned to the zoning issue, as part of the Regular Council Agenda, reviewing the findings of the public hearing and discussing further the desire to see parks and amenities included as part of the proposed development.

City Manager Robert Long provided some clarification on the topic for Council, while City Planner Zeno Krekic also outlined some guidelines as to how the process works.

When it comes to the theme of the proposed amenities for the area in question, the City Manager noted there were two paths that the developer could follow, one being through a financial contribution, or as discussed earlier by way of active participation in the development of those amenities.

Councillor Niesh spoke in favour of the proposed zoning change, noting that there has been no opposition expressed regarding the proposed development. However he noted rezoning the land at the moment was not urgent, as the developer had observed that he won't be moving ahead until some indication of major industrial development in the community is moving forward.

Councillor Kinney noted the contribution of Keith Lambourne and  his perspective on what is required for housing in the community at this time.

Councillor Thorkelson then put forward the motion to direct staff to discuss and work on a proposal and contract with the developer, regarding amenities and the number of units to b built on the property in question.

Adding the note that the finished agreement be provided to Council first, so Council could hold further discussion on the issue before taking the zoning requirement to a final vote.

Councillor Cunningham asked that it be brought to Council as soon as possible, with hopes of having it added to the Agenda for the next meeting of March 7th.

By way of a final look at the issue, Councillor Mirau outlined his one concern on the process, offering his belief that the city remain consistent in their policy development with this development and any other developer that may follow.

Council then put any final decision on the zoning issue off until next month.

You can review both the Public Hearing aspect of the issue and the discussion on the proposed zoning issue from the City's Video Archive.  

The Public hearing portion starts at the beginning of the evening's proceedings , while the zoning discussion takes place starting at the 1 hour one minute mark.

Further background on Housing issues in the Community can be found here.

While more items related to City Council discussion see our Council Archive page here.