Saturday, June 24, 2017

Seafarers' Mission hosts Prince Rupert's celebration of International Seafarers Day

Prince Rupert's Seafarers' Mission is hosting a community BBQ
today from Noon until 2 part of their celebration of
International Seafarers' Day

With the Port of Prince Rupert growing at it's ever quickening pace, more and more international Mariners are exploring the city while they await the departure of vessels from the many terminals of the North Coast.

For those far from home, a downtown storefront location offers a place of welcome and rest with the Seafarers' Mission on Third Avenue offering activities and information for many of those that stop in during their Prince Rupert stop over.

Tomorrow marks International Seafarers Day and as part of the celebration of the weekend, the Port of Prince Rupert and the Prince Rupert Mission will hosting a community BBQ this afternoon.

To help share the word of the world wide event the strong core of local volunteers that staff the location will be on hand to welcome both the international travellers and local residents from Noon until 2 PM.

Prince Rupert residents are invited to drop by to take in some of the free food and to learn more about the work of the local organization that looks to bring some touches of home for the mariners.

The Seafarers Mission is located at 245 3rd Avenue West (across from CityWest).

You can follow some of the events from the day dedicated to those that travel the seas from a twitter feeds  #Seafarersmatter or #Dayoftheseafarer that are taking note of the global activities.

For those that have never left the dock, a fun quiz is available from the twitter feeds, offering you the opportunity to see if you're a landlubber or an adventurous mariner.

We took the quiz here at the NCR, we can head for sea, but we have a bit of studying to do ...

Back in 2015, the International Maritime Organization produced a video that highlights the life and career that those in the the global shipping industry can find as they sail the oceans.

They also have some background information on careers at sea and the importance of the shipping industry on the global economy, you can review that information here.

For more items related to the global shipping industry in Prince Rupert see our Port of Prince Rupert archive page.

Fun for all at Cow Bay Day Today

The city's Cow Bay District is set for a full day of activity today as the annual Cow Bay Days kick off at 11 AM, offering much for young and old alike through until 4 PM.

The Main Event Area can be found in the parking lot between the Cow Bay Gift Galley and Johnny's Machine Shop, featuring a number of events for children and families to take in, among some of the plans for the day a Scavenger Hunt, Bouncy Castle, and Chalk Art,  as well as a Spaghetti Eating contest, Egg Race and Face painting.

The crew from Good Times Games will also be part of the day in the main event area, offering up some Archery fun  and other activities.

The waterfront at Atlin Terminal also features some events, with Kayaking Rides part of the activities for those looking for a different view of the Cow Bay waterfront area.

Food makes up a good portion of some of the theme of the festival for the day, with food trucks on site as well as a BBQ to fuel you up for the pace of activities ahead.

The day also offers up a chance to check out some of the retail options in the city's expanding commercial area.

For more items related to business in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

BCAA Play Here makes it official for McKay Street Park

The month long clickfest of the BCAA Play Here competition has made Transition Prince Rupert's McKay Street Park plan 100,000 dollars richer, with the official results released yesterday showcasing the four communities in BC that have claimed the top prize money for 2017.

As we noted on the blog on Tuesday, Prince Rupert residents got behind the campaign from the very early days, keeping the McKay Street Park atop the daily count and holding off some strong challenges as the final days of voting came to an end last Sunday evening.

Yesterday, Transition Prince Rupert's Veronika Stewart and a large and excited group of McKay Street residents, received the good news from BCAA that the official count had put Prince Rupert to the top of the rankings.

See the video announcement here.

BCAA representatives will be coming to Prince Rupert in the near future to take a look at the McKay Street Park area and compare notes with Transition Prince Rupert as to how to put their re-development plan into motion.

Three other communities also have received 100,000 dollars as part of this years competition, with Bouchie Lake Elementary School, Galiano Community School and Marion Schilling Elementary School also recognized for their community efforts over the last month.

Learn more about the BCAA competition here.

The news quickly spread across the city of Prince Rupert's win, chronicled from a range of local media sources.

McKay Street Wins (video)
McKay Street Project in Prince Rupert A Winner!!
Community rallies, wins $100,000 for McKay Street Park
Lay out for new McKay Street park in Prince Rupert

Like Prince Rupert, the enthusiasm was high in the other successful communities, a snapshot of the reaction from a couple of those towns can be found below:

Marion Schilling elementary will get  $100,000 to upgrade playground
Bouchie Lake for the win

The fund raising for the McKay Street Project isn't over yet though, local residents can still dig into their wallets to help add to the funding pool for the work ahead, with a Go Fund Me Page created to help the cause.

For more background on the McKay Street concepts see the Transition Prince Rupert Facbook page and website.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sunny skies greet Sojourn port call

A Prince Rupert Port call for the Sojourn today
as visitors take to the city's streets and attractions

The second port call for June at the Northland Cruise Terminal found the cruise ship Sojourn arriving early this morning, sending many of its 450 passengers off to explore the North Coast under very sunny skies and warm temperatures.

The Sojourn, part of the Seabourn Cruise line provides for a more intimate travel experience as compared to the larger vessels that run along the BC and Alaska coast, but luxury is still the key for those exploring the Pacific Northwest.

The vessel is relatively new to the Seabourn line, its maiden journey coming seven years ago, with the Sojourn featuring what is called the living room which replaces the typical cruise ship lobby with the ship's shops all located off the Square.

It features a number of spas, swimming pools, clubs as well as quiet areas. Larger events while at sea take place in the  Grand Salon.

The Sojourn will be tied up along Northland until its departure time of 6 PM tonight, it returns to Prince Rupert on July 18th, making for just one of eight port calls at Northland over the month, providing for the largest volume of port visitors for the 2017 cruise season.

July and August combined will find fourteen port calls taking place, a number which makes for over half of all cruise ship visits to Prince Rupert in 2017.

For more items related to the Prince Rupert Cruise Industry see our archive page here.

Port outlines planning for Fairview Terminal container truck bypass route

The Port of Prince Rupert is moving forward with plans to create a bypass
road from Fairview to Ridley Island

One of the long running concerns for Prince Rupert City Council may soon be taken off the to do list, as the Port of Prince Rupert revealed its plans to develop a container port by pass road, providing some background on the project at Tuesday's Annual Public Meeting.

Shaun Stevenson, the VP of Trade Development and Public Affairs for the Port outlined the details for the plan, which would see the a connector road running along the shoreline of the waterfront south from the Fairview Container terminal, then hooking up with the roadway infrastructure at Ridley Island.

"We're going to see increased trucking and we're mindful of the increased trucking and what it means as an impact of the trucks going through the downtown core, and we are very, very focused on the Fairview Connector Road Project. which will see a road developed from the south of Fairview Terminal to Ridley Island, to see all of those trucks bypass the downtown core." 

The new access route is considered a top infrastructure priority for the port and would provide for some significant relief for the downtown area, redirecting traffic away from the city centre.

The port noted that they hope to have construction on that bypass route underway later this year.

The topic of the need for such a road was raised once again in May, with Councillor Cunningham reaffirming his concerns over the level of container truck traffic that is currently transiting through the city's downtown area.

The city's desire to see such a route developed has been one of the consistent themes from City Council's over the last ten years.

Mayor Lee Brain had previously noted that one option, a bypass road along Wantage Road was something that the city had been considering, with Prince Rupert having rolled it into their larger Prince Rupert Access Corridor  project initiative.

The ports forward movement on their own transportation option along the shoreline could mean that the Wantage plans will be moved further down the list as part of the city's own transportation planning.

For more items related to Port of Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

Further background on City of Prince Rupert notes can be reviewed on our Council Discussion page.

Port Authority Meeting offers global vision, along with a strong community focus

Don Krusel addressed the audience at the Port's Annual Public Meeting
on Tuesday evening, providing a short synopsis of some of the port's
achievements from 2016 and plans for the future

(photo from PRPA photo stream)

The Prince Rupert Port Authority looked back at 2016 and offered a glimpse into the future as well on Tuesday evening, as the region's largest employer reviewed their port operations and the impact that they have on the community.

Port Board Chair Bud Smith offered up some opening remarks to kick off the two hour presentation for those in attendance at the North Coast Convention Centre, framing some of the main themes that would make for much of the night's discussion.

Mr. Smith provided for the overview from the Chair and an explanation of the focus of the Board, as well as the larger vision and ongoing desire to build on the Port's success of the past, (PRPA is currently listed as the third largest port in Canada) and outlined how the Port continues to work to expand the Prince Rupert footprint for the future.

Port President and CEO, Don Krusel then took to the podium and, delivered a comprehensive snapshot of performance levels for the various terminals that make up Prince Rupert's gateway to the world.

Fairview Container Terminal made for a good portion of the early focus on the night, the Port CEO showing some tangible pride in the Terminal that is set to celebrate it's 10th anniversary and delivering a glimpse at the future for the shipment terminal which will see a recent expansion project come into service shortly.

For his look at the container terminal's impact on the community Mr. Krusel took some time to review the history of the port and how Fairview has changed the nature of both the port operations and added significantly to the economic rebound for Prince Rupert.

He returned to the theme of how the Port of Prince Rupert has become the fastest growing port in the nation, with only Vancouver and Montreal providing levels higher that the North Coast port.

As well, to bring home the large scale importance of port operations in the region, port statistics explain quite clearly that when it comes to employment, Fairview has had a major impact on the North Coast jobs picture, with Mr. Krusel observing that in 2006 the longshore board hosted less that 80 positions, ten years later there are now nearly 800 positions listed. 

As for direct employment related to Port development, those numbers have doubled over the last five years, with 3,000 jobs now serving port movements, with in-direct employment created through the port's related activities estimated to be at the 5,000 mark.

To further expand on those statistics Mr. Krusel noted that at this point, some 23 percent of the labour force of the region now receive a pay cheque through Port related operations or industries.

To launch the overview of Port operations from 2016, Mr. Krusel revealed that the port maintained volumes at 19 million tonnes, which was down 4% over the last year.

However, to put that decline into some perspective, he pointed out that two significant factors had contributed to that slight decline, the bankruptcy of the Korean Hanjin shipping line and the continuing struggles of the Canadian coal industry.

When it came to the review of recent movements through Fairview, the Port CEO noted that Container shipments were down by around five percent in the last year, however as he observed the Hanjin Shipping line bankruptcy process in the final quarter of the year was the main factor contributing to that overall slippage.

And to be fair to the port's results, the Hanjin story was one which has found the entire global shipping industry facing similar concerns from the bankruptcy of the global shipping giant.

Coal as well continues to be an ongoing commodity in decline in BC, with shipments through the port down ten percent overall last year, but again that would be a condition facing all of Canada's ports as the coal industry continues to struggle.

Though, as 2017 has progressed, Mr. Krusel noted that there is some positive news to be found from the Northeast coal fields with some operations returning to operations over the last six months.

Diversification however is proving to be a helpful antidote to the concerns on declines, with the port's established terminal options now getting a boost by a number of new ventures with the Port pointing towards the Westview pellet terminal as one area where significant growth was found in the last year.

As well, the Port CEO took note of a number of the prospects for the future, including the Alta Gas Terminal for Ridley Island, a new lumber loading facility and a specialty grains terminal operation on the waterfront will all offer continued opportunities to expand the shipping options offered at the Port of Prince Rupert.

The Port's involvement with the Community was also a theme for the APM, with Port officials outlining some of the high profile community projects that they have provided funding for over the last year,

The latest contribution to that fund was announced on Tuesday, with the Port putting forward just over one million, nine hundred thousand dollars towards community initiatives across the region.

The latest contribution is part of the ongoing commitment to the region that has seen the Port deliver close to 8 million dollars in funding, since they launched the Community Investment Fund over the last seven years.

You can review many of those projects from our archive page here.

Much of the rest of the presentation was turned over to a number of Port officials who provided some background on finance, port operations and future projects, with much described as in the works for Ridley Island, including a Logistics park on the north side of the Ridley Island Access road.

As well, Fairview terminal will soon be putting in place a refrigeration service program that could offer some export opportunities for local seafood processors across the region.

One item that should capture the attention of Prince Rupert city Council officials was the Port's planning for a connector road from Fairview container facilities to Ridley Island, the roadway which would travel along the shoreline south to Ridley.

The new access route to be known as the Fairview Connector project is considered a top infrastructure priority for the port and would provide for some significant relief for the downtown area, redirecting traffic away from the city centre.

The port noted that they hope to have construction on that bypass route underway later this year.

A panel discussion of sorts through the final hour of the presentation picked up the theme of the port's work, with Port President and CEO Don Krusel handling much of the work answering questions, with the audience participating online and in person at the Convention Centre.

A good portion of the inquiries of the panel involved how the Port may become more involved in providing assistance to the City of Prince Rupert and what future plans that may be in motion for development of municipal infrastructure in the area.

On the topic of its relations with the City, Mr Krusel noted that each year, the various port facilities contribute some six million dollars in tax revenues per year to Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

As well, the Port noted that that they will be making some infrastructure assistance available to the City of Prince Rupert, with Mr. Krusel outlining the ports intention to direct 1.5 million dollars to the city to be used on a matching basis, for use towards some of their infrastructure check list over the next five years.

When it comes to the nature of some of that investment and how the Port can assist the city, the Port CEO called attention to a committee that the Port is part of with City officials on rebuilding the city's infrastructure.

It was also noted that the Port had already contributed funding to the city of Prince Rupert to assist with the preparation work for the Second and Third Avenue Paving projects. The port at the time having partnered with the city to cover the costs of the curb work and manhole cover preparation prior to the paving of the road earlier this spring.

Another main feature of Tuesday's meeting was the Cow Bay area near Atlin Terminal, with the Port outlining some of its plans for redevelopment of that area, with plans still in motion for a second office building on the waterfront area, with a community gathering space also still part of the Port's blue print towards the future.

More immediately, work continues on the Atlin Parking lot, which will reconfigure that space with a wider pedestrian access and beautification plan.

A look back at our North Coast Review archives outlines some of those prospects for the years ahead.

More change on the way for Cow Bay waterfront
A glimpse into what could be the future of Cow Bay

The Port will also be reclaiming some of the space in the Atlin Terminal itself for its office needs, with Mr. Krusel noting that they are working with the current tenant the Ice House Gallery to find a suitable replacement location to showcase the work of the North Coast's artistic community.

Following the meeting, those in attendance had an opportunity to move to other areas of the Convention Centre to explore a number of presentation stations, staffed by Port employees who explained further some of their work at the Port.

A sample of some of the information stations provided at the Annual Public
Meeting for the Prince Rupert Port Authority on Tuesday

(photos from PRPA photo stream)

The live stream of the APM is available on the Port's Facebook page here.

You can review the Annual Report through the Port's website, those that take the time to do so over the next week can also take part in a draw for an iPad mini.

Details on how to participate in that opportunity can be found on the final page of the Annual report presentation.

For more items related to the Port of Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

Christy Clark's Political Opportunity, or is that political opportunism?

Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon delivered the Liberal Government's
Speech from the Throne on Thursday

(BC Gov't Flick feed)

It's been a rather remarkable makeover for the BC Liberal party philosophy these last few days, as Premier Christy Clark (said title now apparently on a clock it would seem) revised a wide swath of the Liberal agenda and presented the Speech from the Throne to Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon for delivery Thursday in the BC Legislature.

The forty minute blue print for a Government that many never actually have to deliver on any of the items presented, covered pretty well every talking point ever heard in BC Politics.

And as more than one political observer has noted over the last 48 hours, many of the Liberal themes seem rather familiar from the campaign trail, though they were concepts presented by the opposition parties.

As one reads over the text and thinks back to but the two months just passed and the talking points of the election campaign, had Ms. Clark handed the throne speech into a University Professor for a final term paper, one imagine's that she would be up in the Dean's office today explaining some of the elements of academic dishonesty that she presented as her own.

Then again in Politics, political platforms are always evolving, though for the Throne Speech, evolution has taken the Liberals on a journey that may have even caught some of their long time supporters by surprise.

Among some of the key elements from yesterday:

Funding for Education, check, they're on that.

Social assistance boost, you betcha, time for a top up.

Assistance for housing needs ... the hammers are hammering now.

Environmental issues, the Liberals will leave Andrew Weaver Green with envy ...

Transportation expansion for the province's largest cities, the Liberals won't be late for the bus and won't miss that train ...

And on and on, the good news went, leaving Christy Clark to take on the the role of Oprah and British Columbians checking under their seats for those new car keys...

As the Lieutenant Governor revealed each element of the Liberal agenda for the upcoming session of the Legislature it quickly became clear that Ms. Clark's government, would spend with pleasure, if only there were some way that it could stay in office past July.

Of course, fascinating as it was, it won't change the immediate future for the Liberals who surely are destined for opposition once the NDP/Green collective unleash the confidence vote that should shut down the fanciful financial planning for Ms. Clark.

Which means, that at some point in the next few weeks, Ms. Guichon will be making a return engagement at the legislature, probably to repeat much of the same but with the NDP/Green stickers on the windshield for British Columbians.

The promises will no doubt be similar, with funding levels perhaps increased or decreased depending on where the Horgan/Weaver alliance wishes to allocate their political capital.

British Columbia's version of the Odd Couple will make for the timeline of the Horgan government, with many watching to see how our Felix and Oscar will get along, something which could very well determine how long Mr. Horgan's tenure as Premier will be.

For the more ghoulish of political observers, other factors could also make for a short lived minority government, through an illness, or some other change to the Legislature seat count which could also play a role into the future government plans.

Thursday for the most part was Ms. Clark seemingly laying the groundwork for the short term and the talking points for a potential snap election, Mr. Horgan, with the helpful guidance of Mr. Weaver will offer up the NDP/Green concepts, most likely in early July, if not before.

After that, the drama of minority government will take to the stage, an epilogue that most political observers suggest will see British Columbians heading back to a polling booth sooner, rather than later.

The full text of yesterday's Speech from the Throne can be reviewed here

A look at some of the background to the preparation of the Liberal Throne Speech and the actual delivery of the material can be reviewed below:

Rumours of a change in direction for Liberal policy

B.C. Premier to address her government's mistakes in Throne Speech
Premier Christy Clark pledges $1 billion for new child care spaces
Will the real Christy Clark please stand up?
Premier Clark adopts NDP, Green promises as throne speech looms
Clark pledges $1 billion in childcare spending
Game of Thrones: What's at stake when MLAs return to Victoria on Thursday
Clark pledges no new election, $1B for childcare in platform relaunch
More policy promises from premier on eve of throne speech
What wouldn't Christy Clark Promise now?

From the Throne Speech

BC Liberals pack Throne Speech with NDP, Green Party policies
The beginning of the end: BC Legislature hears Throne Speech
Steve Thomson takes on role of B.C. Speaker, but how long he'll stay is unclear
BC Liberals' Throne Speech proposes protection for renters
BC Liberals propose transit expansions in departure from election platform
BC Liberals' policy reversal is one last grab for power
Clark denies BC Liberals are saying anything to win, defends Throne Speech
Reaction to BC Liberals' promises rolls in
Power hangs in the balance following Throne Speech at the B.C. Legislature
Metro Vancouver Mayors react to BC Liberals' promise to eliminate bridge tolls
30 Throne speech pledges by the B.C. Liberals that weren't' in their election platform
B.C. Liberal throne speech lays out ambitious vision borrowing from NDP and Green platforms
B.C. Legislature elects Liberal Steve Thomson as Speaker
Today kicks off 'very interesting, likely short legislative session'
B.C. Liberals cite windfall revenues as grounds to adopt NDP/Green proposals
Liberal explanations disguise reckless spending plans
B.C. Throne speech makes grand promises for transit, transportation
Then and Now: What the Liberals promised before the election and what they are now promising in the Throne Speech
B.C. Legislature resumes MLAs elect Liberal Steve Thomson as speaker
Five things about new B.C. Speaker Steve Thomson
Copy Cat Christy impersonates New Democrats
NDP and Greens attack Throne Speech: 'You Have to Change Before an Election"
What Must Christy Clark's Party Think of Her Now?
Liberal Steve Thomson Chosen as Speaker, Won't 'Speculate' on Possible Government Change
Andrew Weaver says a confidence vote is a matter of trust - and he doesn't trust the B.C. Liberals
The speech that wasn't from the throne
Former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister pitches Andrew Weaver on keeping Christy Clark in power
BC Liberals elect speaker to begin historic session
Throne speech piles on PST cut, other promises
Throne speech just brazen plagiarism
Highlights an U-turns in the B.C. Liberals' speech from the throne
Liberal minister leaves cabinet for new role as speaker
The foul cynicism of Christy Clark's speech from the throne

With the Legislature back in session, you can follow developments related to the North Coast from our Legislature Archive page.

The article above was cross posted from our political portal Darcy McGee, more items on the provincial portal scene are available there for your review.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

NDP MP Cullen points to DFO as the problem when it comes to Northwest fishery

Nathan Cullen spoke to issues
of the fishing and forest sectors
in the House on Wednesday
The recent announcement from DFO of a closure for salmon fishing on the Skeena River to all but First Nations fishers has NDP MP Nathan Cullen pointing to past decisions from the federal agency as the root cause that has led to the problems of today.

In a statement from last week, the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP took note of the impact that the closure will have, as well as to where he believes that concerns for the fishery should be directed.

“Shuttering the fishery to sport and recreational fishers for such a chunk of the season will have a crushing economic impact on the entire Northwest,” ... “Rampant cuts to hatcheries, stock protection and enhancement, as well as outrageous overfishing by international harvesters, are what really need to be attacked to protect our precious wild salmon resource, instead of targeting Northwest residents and visitors.”

The MP also calls for additional resources when it comes to management of the fishery, including the need for more DFO officers to police ocean and river fishing.

On the theme of policing, Mr. Cullen observes that tempers could rise on local rivers that aren't affected by the Skeena closure over the next number of weeks as those taking to the water look for spots to fish, he also anticipates that there will be increased levels of fishing off shore of the North Coast during the closure.

Mr. Cullen reiterated his support for the right of First Nations to harvest for traditional food and ceremonial purposes, which in the case of the most recent DFO announcement will allow for those First Nations members to harvest Chinook, pink and chum salmon during the Skeena closure.

That right has been enacted as law for a number of years, retaining access for First Nations to their fishery.

In addition to the full closure of the Skeena River until mid July, DFO previously had announced that there would be no sockeye fishery on the River due to predicted low returns, that closure will remain in effect unless there are indications of an improved sockeye run as the summer season moves forward.

The full statement from the Skeena MP can be reviewed here.

DFO Fishery Notices can be found here.

The BC Sport Fishing guide can be found here.

Yesterday in the House of Commons, Mr. Cullen followed up on his thoughts when it comes to fishery and lumber resources in Northwest BC, revisiting some of his themes as part of the final Question Period in Ottawa prior to the summer break.

More items related to the fishery on the North Coast can be found on our archive page.

SD52 appoints Andrew Samoil to new position

The importance of information technology at School District 52 is being given added recognition by the District, with the Board of Education announcing the appointment of Mr. Andrew Samoil to the position of Director of  Instruction - Educational Innovation.

In a statement from Monday, SD52 Superintendent Sandra Jones noted the success of Mr. Samoil's work since he joined the District in 2013, when he was hired on as the Director of Instruction - Information Technology.

Through the following four years, he has been instrumental in introducing information technology strategies into classrooms across the district, as well as progressing the modernization of the SD52 libraries to the Learning Commons model.

As part of his new duties, he will be relocating to the School Board Office, he is set to take on his new duties effective August 1st.

You can review the full announcement from SD52 here.

For more notes related to Education in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Regional District duties provide compensation boost for quartet of Prince Rupert officials

The financial disclosures of June continue for the North Coast, with Regional District having released their Statement of Financial information for 2016 and with it, the list of compensation for those officials that have either been elected, or appointed to the regional government collective.

For Prince Rupert officials, it makes for a bit of a top up from the City of Prince Rupert pay listings and four Prince Rupert representatives shared in some of the Regional District earnings from 2016.

For Mayor Lee Brain, his Regional District duties through 2016 provided an additional 12,927 dollars to his income stream, a boost to the previously released Prince Rupert salary listing.

Mr. Brain also claimed expenses of $287 through his Regional District work in 2016.

As we outlined on the blog back in early June, the Mayor was listed in Prince Rupert's SOFI declarations as having received $61,318 in compensation from the City, while claiming $17,274 in expenses for the last year.

The Regional District bump moves the total combination of Remuneration, Taxable Benefits and Expenses for Mr. Brain through 2016 to the $91,806 mark, placing him at the top of the list when it comes to compensation levels for municipal or regional elected officials on the North Coast.

Councillor Kinney also sees a significant jump for his civic duties, with Regional District providing for an additional 13,000 dollars to go along with his City Council salary of 13,775 dollars.

However, when it comes to spending, Mr. Kinney remained rather parsimonious, having claimed no expenses through his work with Regional District.

For their part time efforts on behalf of Regional District last year, two other Prince Rupert councillors received modest compensation.

Councillor Blair Mirau received 171 dollars, with expenses claimed of 447 dollars.

While Councillor Cunningham received $346 for his work at the Regional body, with No expenses claimed in 2016.

Overall, Regional District Chair Barry Pages leads the Regional District payroll parade with a salary of $20,469 and expenses of $13,228 .

As it is with elected officials at the municipal level, those officials with Regional District would also qualify for Revenue Canada's tax provision protocol for elected officials, where one third of an elected officials salary is deemed to be tax free.

While Prince Rupert's SOFI listings provided for a review of 65 civic salaries for those making over $70,000 last year, only five employees of Regional District were listed in the remuneration tables, with all five making over $89,000 mark.

The full SOFI report for Regional District can be reviewed from the Agenda from the June 16th District meeting, the report starts at page nineteen of the documentation.

For more notes related to Regional District see our archive page here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CFNR to expand its network in 2018 with Vancouver station debut

While the Northwest takes some time this Wednesday to celebrate National Aboriginal Day with communities across Canada, a note of celebration for a local communication company that is making some radio waves far beyond the region.

Last week, Canada's First Nations Radio, known as CFNR on the North coast, received some good news, with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission granting CFNR a licence for a new start up radio station in Vancouver.

That means that a variation of the popular CFNR sound that is found on radios (and streamed through computers) across the Northwest is about to go Big City, with the Terrace based company taking on some impressive competition to secure the licence, one of five new radio licences issued to serve Indigenous people in urban communities.

The new station will broadcast as CKUR and will be located at 106.3 on the FM dial in Vancouver. Should all go well, the station will debut in the very competitive Vancouver market in the summer of 2018.

In their decision, the CRTC called on Northern Native Broadcasting presence in the province through the CFNR network as key to the element of confidence that the CRTC looks for as they licence radio stations.

After examining the applications by NNB and FPR in light of the factors and criteria set out above, the Commission finds that while both are quality applications that meet the criteria set out in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2015-399, the application by NNB better meets the needs of the urban Indigenous community in the Vancouver market. NNB proposed higher levels of local programming and Indigenous-language programming.

In addition, it currently has a presence in British Columbia with its Type B Native radio station CFNR-FM, and as such can benefit from various synergies. Further, its proposed business plan is more modest than that filed by FPR. Finally, NNB has committed to maintaining current relationships and developing new relationships with communities that would form its target audience, which would be conducive to NNB delivering programming that is relevant to that audience.

As part of their application, Northern Native Broadcasting put a focus on spoken word programming, something that appealed to the CRTC blue print for what kind of service they want to see.

NNB committed to broadcast each broadcast week 25 hours of spoken word programming, including 6 hours and 45 minutes of news, and 101 hours of musical programming. At least 25% of all musical selections broadcast would be devoted to Indigenous music, and 5% would be in Indigenous languages.

The CRTC also pointed towards the range of support that the CFNR application had found from First nation communities both in the North and south.

NNB’s commitment to serve Indigenous communities in Vancouver was reflected in the letters of support submitted by leaders and officials from the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society, the Musqueam Indian Band, the Squamish Nation, Moricetown Band Council, the Kitsumkalum Indian Band, and the Kitselas First Nation. In particular, the letters cited NNB’s experience in broadcasting throughout northern British Columbia and its plans to provide links to the 65,000 Indigenous people living in Vancouver to their home communities while providing local content from a distinct perspective.

You can review the full licence approval decision from the CRTC Website here.

CFNR celebrated their success and outlined some of the hard work that is ahead to launch the station with this report from last week.

The Vancouver Sun provided some further background on the successful licence application with this article from June 15th.

CFNR is currently hosting a survey to determine some of the programming elements that Vancouver residents might be looking for from the new station.

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

Taking Stock: North Coast Business Scene May 2017

Our absence from blogging for a portion of June has us playing a little bit of catch up on some of our regular features, with our review of the city's business scene a little behind schedule for this month.

Among some of the notes observed for the month of May is the success of the Thrive North business competition and the top billing for a local entrepreneur, news from City owned CityWest with big plans for fibre infrastructure in Prince Rupert and some background on the Annual Public Meeting for the Prince Rupert based financial service Northern Savings.

Some of our observations on the Commercial and economic scene in the region for May can be found below:


The summer boating season is underway and for the city's new commercial venture of the Cow Bay Marina the opportunity to attract pleasure boats travelling up and down the coast is now in full swing. Though staffing requirements for the Cow Bay facility seem to have been re-evaluated for the year, with the cancellation of two summer intern positions at the dock.

City Council's interest in getting a handle on some of the downtown eyesores continued into May with Councillor Cunningham once again putting the spotlight on some of the unsightly buildings of the downtown core.

A local art gallery is set to be on the move as the Port of Prince Rupert moves forward with its Cow Bay plans.

With Highway 16 reconstruction taking place at Rainbow Summit, CityWest had to make some geographical changes to their fibre line connecting Prince Rupert to Terrace.

Prince Rupert based Northern Savings hosted their Annual General Meetings through the month of May, providing some background to the financial institutions work over the last year.  The Northwest financial service also outlined some of the precautions it has taken towards security for their computer systems and had some words of advice for residents of the region, 

Connecting Prince Rupert to Ketchikan was a theme for a delegation from the North Coast who attended a Chamber of Commerce function in the Alaska city.

The nature of change to the City's Airport Board make up a good portion of the weekly paper's editorial page contributions in May.

The City of Terrace took to the streets in May, looking to gauge the climate for business opportunities in the region.

Travelling to Prince Rupert on the rails is on the increase, as VIA Rail takes note of a burst in ridership on the Skeena from 2016, with hopes that 2017 provides for a similar boost in travel to the city.

The popular Thrive North competition was hosted at the North Coast Convention Centre this year, with a strong contingent of Prince Rupert entrepreneurs taking part in the competition. When the competition was over, Prince Rupert's Marci Leblanc was 10,000 dollars richer for her efforts.

Prince Rupert residents heard news of some service improvements in the works from the city owned telecommunication company CityWest, as company officials outlined their plans for a 10 million dollar investment in fibre infrastructure in the city.

One of the city's hotel complexes was damaged by fire in late May, with a number of rooms at the Parkside Resort Motel suffering water and fire damage.

You can keep up to date on the ebb and flow of the Prince Rupert commercial scene through 2017 from our Taking Stock tracker archive which can be reviewed here.

A full review of the the trends and developments in business for 2017 can be found on our Commercial Sector archive page 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

City's Annual Report available online; public comment session set for June 26th

The City of Prince Rupert has completed their annual documentation of achievement and future planning for the year,  through a document known as the Annual Report.

The online presentation of the report, now available on the city website, provides an opportunity for the city to share some of the key elements of their work through 2016 and offer up a check list of sorts for what they have planned for the rest of this year and into the future.

The report was presented to City Council at the June 12th Session, with the City's Communication Manager Veronika Stewart taking the Council members through some of the key elements of the report.

You can review her presentation to Council from the City's Video Archive starting at the thirty nine minute point.

Following her report, Mayor Brain took time from the Council session to pay tribute to the Communication Manager's hard work on the project, noting that the report was one which looked much better than in previous years.

The Annual Report which includes a number of info graphic presentations, highlights some of the themes that Council members want to put forward for the community to review.

The document's year in numbers page offers up some interesting notes when it comes to the city's major focus.

Among the findings, the City is holding strong to their population forecast of 13,766 residents a number which would seem to be at odds with recently completed Census by the Federal government.

Those findings, released in February of this year, determined that the city had a population count of 12,220 for Prince Rupert, which indicated that Prince Rupert's population was still in decline.

The ongoing focus on social media by the Mayor and City Council seems to be a popular theme, with the report noting that there has been an increase in the number of "likes" that the City's Facebook page received in 2016.

Though the information flow does not offer up any numerical findings related to the Mayor's official Facebook page, which regularly serves as the main focus for the delivery of civic information these days.

The year in numbers also notes that 1080 business licences were issued in 2016 with 450 building permits issued last year.

The recent repaving work through the city gets a shout out, as does the raw water line project and decommission work ongoing at Watson Island.

The report also features two correspondences to City residents, the first from Mayor Lee Brain, who hails the hard work of City Council, as they have brought in grant dollars and secured capital contributions through Prince Rupert Legacy Incorporated putting the money towards investment in the city.

The Mayor's letter also offers up a 'State of the City' style list, which notes some of the city's efforts related to Watson Island, while also calling attention to some irritants that the city has when it comes to revenue generation through the Provincial Port Property Tax Act and the Ridley Island Tax revenue arrangement with Port Edward.

City Manager Robert Long also gets a few inches of online space, providing his view on how the process of civic governance is progressing in Prince Rupert and how the city continues to work to make employment with the City of Prince Rupert a preferred destination for job seekers.

Letters to residents from both Mayor Brain and City Manager Long
outline some of their key talking points from the Annual report

(click to enlarge)

The main thrust of the Report puts a focus on areas that Prince Rupert City Council counts in the achievement column for 2016.

Among some of those notes, the Re:Build Rupert program, completion of the Airport Master Plan, application and award of infrastructure grants for the City Water Supply system and the leasing of the Rushbrook Trail to the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement Society for redevelopment to improve waterfront access.

One puzzling element from the achievement list, is the note that Council hosted 11 Committee of the Whole meetings, where the public is invited to speak to Council on issues impacting the community. It's a curious thing to highlight, as the Committee of the Whole requirement is one that is pretty well part of Council's regular duties and is scheduled each month.

The Annual report also doesn't make note of any cancelled sessions that may have taken place, or the growing list of Closed Sessions that Council members take part in.

Though, the report did offer a nod to the recent initiative from Councillor Mirau to address how the City approaches the issue of closed sessions.

As for their checklist for 2017 Council members objectives include:

Overseeing the successful repaving of 3rd Avenue and the provincial 2nd Avenue project.

Direct staff in execution of Agreement with Pembina Pipelines for a small-scale Liquid Propane facility to be developed at Watson Island. As well as to direct staff in continued pursuit of development opportunities for the remainder of Watson Island.

Direct staff to continue to work on waterfront access plan and liaise with CN surrounding the closure of the beach adjacent to Kwinitsa Station.

Continue discussions with neighbouring First Nations, other levels of Government and project proponents on the Tsimshian Access project.

Some other interesting items of note from the Annual report put some attention towards the city's two emergency service providers.

With the Finance Department noting that among the 2017 objectives include formulating public engagement materials for the construction of a new RCMP building.

The Fire and Emergency Services objectives also include planning for a new Fire Hall, the ongoing upgrade to radio communications for the Fire Service and delivery of a new pumper apparatus this month.

The Finance Department also notes that they will continue with negotiations related to the Ridley Island Tax Share Agreement, expand an analysis on the implications of the Port Property Tax issue and look to see BC Transit implement service to the Prince Rupert airport.

How the City spends your tax dollars also receives a graphical review, with the Police and Fire Services accounting for 39 percent of all civic spending.

The full scope of the Annual Report which reviews all of the city departments can be accessed here.

The public can offer up their comments on the findings in the Report as part of a public participation session scheduled for the June 26th Prince Rupert City Council Session.

For more notes related to the June 12the Council meeting see our Council Timeline feature here.

Further background on City Council discussion topics can be found on our Council archive page.

Prince Rupert Teachers' Union raises concerns for SD 52 Board

The June 13th School Board meeting found SD52 Board members reviewing a pair of correspondences from the Prince Rupert District Teachers' Union, with President Raegan Sawka raising two areas of concern that the union members had from the School District's April Budget presentation.

The first letter, addressed to Board Chair Tina Last and dated May 1st, highlights the Teachers' union position on areas of staffing levels, particularly those areas that are directly linked to student success and would provide for the best possible environments for all learners.

Among the areas of note and what the Teachers' union is hoping to achieve through their efforts included:

Access to resources at a variety of reading levels in the revised curricular areas

Overall department and equipment funding K-12

Maintain staffing levels of secondary counsellors

Restore science lab aide positions

Restore department head positions, team leaders, and grade group meetings to facilitate curriculum change and resource management

Restore library assistants and kindergarten workers

Consultations on new positions such as a behavioural interventionist 

The full background compiled by the PRTDTU related to each of those concerns can be reviewed from the letter below  (Click to expand), which is taken from the Agenda of the June 13th Board meeting.

Click the letters below to expand)

The second correspondence to the School Board Chair, from May 11th, addresses the Teachers' union concern related to what is described as the appalling wait lists for access to level C psycho-educational assessments in School District 52.

Ms. Sawka outlines some of her history in the School District and how the process of assessment has changed since 2001, and while acknowledging the challenges that are in place in finding qualified personnel for positions of assessment, the union expressed its shock and dismay at how the Board has addressed the issue in recent years.

The complete letter of concern can be reviewed below:

As part of their review of some of the key elements from the June 13th Board meeting, the School District noted that Superintendent Sandra Jones had responded to those concerns at the meeting, however, no detailed review of what those comments or how the issues were addressed have been posted to the SD52 website to this point.

As well, the School District stated that Board Chair Tina Last will be writing to the union to thank them for their letters of concern and to advise that the Superintendent will be following up on those issues.

You can review our notes on the June 13th Board meeting here, while further background on education in the Northwest can be found here.

SD52 addresses unusual activity related to School Board server

School District 52 officials will be sending letters to residents of the community that may have been affected by a recent spate of suspicious activity related to one of the School Board's computer servers.

The cyber incident was recounted for Board officials at their June 13th meeting, when the Director of Instruction, Information Technology reported the nature of the activity that had been focused on the server. 

And while not providing for a large amount of background on the nature of incident and what if any information may have been comprised, the report to the Board did note that steps had been taken to restore the server to service.

As well, the School District has taken additional steps to upgrade the firewall that protects the SD52 computer system.

As part of the follow up to the incident, the Secretary-Treasurer noted that as the server contained personal information, letters would be sent to everyone whose information had been stored on the server where the suspicious activity had taken place.

More notes related to the June 13th School District meeting can be found here.

A wider overview of education in the Northwest can be reviewed on our archive page.