Friday, August 18, 2017

Northwest Resource Benefits video highlights Alliance talking points from Victoria trip

The Chairs of the Northwest British Columbia Resource Benefits Alliance
Mayor Lee Brain, North Coast Regional District chair Barry Pages, Kitimat
Phil Germuth, the trio were in Victoria last week for discussions with the NDP government

Like a group of tourists catching us up on their summer vacation, a travelling party of politicians from the Northwest BC Resource Alliance have just returned from their journey to the provincial capital.

And with their return, they have put together a video archive of their journey, designed to deliver some of the main take away points from a couple of days of discussions with provincial government officials.

The Northwest cadre which included Regional District Chair Barry Pages, Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth and Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain met with a number of NDP cabinet members and other officials to make their case for further engagement in their quest to capture more financial benefits for the region from resource development across the Northwest.

The trio have followed up their announcement of earlier this week with the video review which highlights some of the areas in resource revenues that they are eager to get a larger share of, with forestry and mining, along with port revenues high on their list of areas for further discussion.

Their video presentation takes note of the 13 billion dollars in resource development that they observe has taken place in the region in the last five years , with the previous Liberal government in the Province receiving over 500 million in tax revenues, but  delivering no revenues to the local community level from that development.

The member communities of the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance
want a larger share of revenues on regional resource development

As part of his portion of the presentation, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain noted that NW Resource Benefits Alliance estimates that the next ten years could see up to 30 billion dollars in resource investment taking place.

As part of their narrative for the video, the NWRBA recounts the election promise of the NDP to sit down and negotiate a more beneficial return for the Northwest communities to support infrastructure, health care and reduce the need for tax increases on local residents.

The focus by the group on such areas as the forestry and mining industries would seem to be elements which have more of a foothold in the interior regions of the Northwest for the most part, which appears to leave the Prince Rupert Mayor destined to put his focus on claim on a larger return on Port of Prince Rupert related investment in the region.

That might make for an interesting conversation between the City and the Prince Rupert Port Authority in the future, considering the prospect of the two organizations becoming competing forces when it comes to shipping options in the region.

That as the City begins to move forward with their recently revealed plans to hold onto the Watson Island industrial site to develop their own port related infrastructure there.

You can review the full video from the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance here.

More background on their efforts so far and what they have planned for the future can be found on NWBCRBA website.

Mariner's Park Playground renewal project set for September start

Mariner's Park the city's downtown oasis is about to see some
remediation work take place on the playground section of the park

Youngsters in Prince Rupert will be without their usual playground options at Mariner's Park starting at the end of this month, but a little bit of disappointment should give way to some joy, once the one month closure for the popular facility comes to an end and an upgraded version returns to service in October.

The City of Prince Rupert announced the pending playground closure today, effective as of the end of August, noting that the project which is led by the Prince Rupert Lions Club is ready to move forward through the fall months providing for the installation of a new rubber surface for the playground base; as well as for the installation of new equipment as part of the renewal.

A conceptual drawing of the new equipment provides a glimpse of some of the features to be included in the play area, with the reopening planned for early October.

In addition to the hard work of the Lions Club in the community to bring the project alive, sponsorship of the playground has been provided by the Port of Prince Rupert, Macro Properties and what may be the last of the Shell Canada funding for the community through their now terminated Prince Rupert LNG project.

You can review the full announcement from the City here.

More notes related to City developments can be found on our archive page.

WCC LNG office staffers return to city next week

With two high profile LNG projects now put on ice by their proponents, the list of active potential LNG developments is dwindling from the heady days of a few years ago when there was a Gold Rush like feeling in the city when it came the prospect of construction of terminal locations on the North Coast.

However, as been chronicled through the last year, the North Coast has seen the abandonment of two of the highest profile projects, with both the Shell/BG Gas and Pacific Northwest LNG projects shut down by the large international energy companies that were proposing them.

That leaves the region with what appears to be two active LNG proposals still showing some signs of life.

One of them is the Chinese led Aurora LNG proposal for Digby Island which continues on towards its environmental process and continues to provide updates for residents on the pace of their development plans.

Another project, the WCC LNG proposal for Tuck Inlet has had a much lower profile over the last twelve months, with few indications from the proponents Exxon/Imperial of any imminent development and even less in the way of public engagement related to their plans during that period of time.

That however does not apparently mean that it isn't still under study, an information poster recently spotted in the windows of the office space on First Avenue East that is being used by WCC LNG notes that they will have representatives in town from August 21st to 23rd.

Over the course of those three days, the Project team from WCC LNG are set to be on site from 1 to 3 PM  and available to answer questions or received comments about the proposed development.

The WCC LNG proposal would see an LNG terminal developed north of the City's eastern edges along the eastern shoreline of Tuck Inlet. The most recent update on the proposed development came earlier this year with the release of their online newsletter Community Link, which offered up a review of some of their community engagement through 2016.

It noted that the company would be continuing with their field work at a reduced pace through 2017 and 2018.

With their return to their offices of next week, North Coast residents may learn a bit more about the Exxon plans moving forward and if we will see an increased level of activity related to the Tuck inlet location in the year ahead.

More notes of interest related to the WCC LNG project can be found on their website.

A copy of the project overview can be reviewed here.

A wider overview of the LNG picture on the North Coast and Northwest can be reviewed from our LNG archive page here.

Three in the Northwest claim their Northern Savings Inspire awards

Three northwest residents have a little extra money to put towards their studies this fall after finding success in the annual call for applicants for Northern Savings INSPIRE Bursary program.

Fourteen submissions were received this year as part of the spring call for applicants and from that deep pool of inspiring candidates Northern Savings officials selected the three that best fit the criteria of volunteerism in the community, composition of an essay, acceptance at a post-secondary institution and financial need.

The call for nominations took place from May 15th to June 30th across the region.

The three recipients for 2017 come from the three communities served by Northern Savings and include:

Desiree Webber from Terrace, recipient of the 1,500 Bursary
Brooke Andressen from Prince Rupert who will receive a $1,000 Bursary and
Abigale McLeod from Masset who will be awarded a $500 bursary

It marks a repeat honour for Ms. Webber, who last year was awarded a $1,000 bursary for her efforts in the Terrace region.

The program which was first introduced in 2013 pays tribute to those young ambassadors in the Northwest who not only engage in community service, but have plans to further their education.

Northern Savings Interim President and CEO Fay Booker saluted this years participants and award winners through an announcement statement from earlier this month.

“The vision of Northern Savings is neighbours helping neighbours to build sustainable communities. We are inspired by the recipients of our 2017 INSPIRE bursaries and we are pleased to show our appreciation for the contribution of these young people in our communities by supporting them as they continue in their personal educational journey. The selfless contribution of one contributes much to many others,” 

In addition to the major awards, all applicants that took part in this years process received a $50 deposit to their Northern Savings accounts in appreciation to their service to their communities..

You can learn more about this years awards here.

For further items of interest from the Northwest commercial sector see our archive page here.

Canada C3 expedition making its course towards Prince Rupert

A maritime celebration of Canada is roughly halfway through its journey of three coasts with the Canada C3 expedition now in Canada's High Arctic, steaming westbound with one of its Pacific port calls set to be Prince Rupert in late September.

The September 29th arrival on the North coast will mark the first British Columbia port call for the vessel as it wraps up its summer long journey which started in Toronto back in June.

When it arrives in Prince Rupert harbour the vessel will spend a full week alongside offering a hands on opportunity for North Coast residents to explore the ship and learn more about its mission to inspire a deeper understanding of the nation, its people and the past, present and future of the country.

The crew of the vessel Polar Prince which set sail in June out of Toronto, offers up a cross section of Canadians who have been part of the journey so far,  included on the list are some famous names such as Smithers musician Alex Cuba, Olympic athletes Adam van Koeverden and Mark Tewksbury, Comedian/actor Shaun Majumder, journalist/reporter and author Ian Brown, Jeff Hutcheson of CTV News fame as well as politicians Fin Donnelly and Seamus O'Reagan to name a few.

They have joined the ship at various stops along the way, sharing the experience with a number of other journey participants, along with a number of youth explorers set to make their mark in the country.

You can review the full roster of participants here.

The trip over the three oceans off Canada's shores has been divided up into fifteen legs, the current leg of the trip in the Arctic region is Number 9.

The Prince Rupert stop is on Leg 12 and the crew makes for a mix of musicians, scientists, First Nations leaders and youth ambassadors, you can review the biographies of the participants on the Prince Rupert stretch here.

More notes related to Prince Rupert events set for September 29th to October 2nd, will be released as we get closer to the vessels arrival in port.

You can follow its journey through the Arctic and on to Alaska and then the British Columbia coast through a live feed on the expeditions Facebook page

The official website for the Canada C3 also features a vessel tracking option, where you can track the vessel as it makes its way to the Pacific.

The project and its upcoming arrival in Prince Rupert offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for local teachers to incorporate some of the past travels of the vessel and its message into the September curriculum, with the four day port call making for a travelling museum exhibit set to tie up on the waterfront.

More on the journey can be found from the YouTube video update page, the video below traces the travels to the half way point.

Check back to the blog from time to time over the next six weeks as we, keep you up to date on the travels of the C3 expedition gets closer to its Prince Rupert port call.

More items of note about North Coast events can be reviewed on our archive page.

More bear sightings on city's west side

A number of  Facebook forums are once again featuring a number of accounts of a bear sighting on the city's west side, with a burst of tracking advirories being noted over a two day period of August 15 and 16.

The most recent sightings and a few photos indicate that the bear is prowling through the Omenica/Sloan/Smithers area of the city. One photo posted to the Prince Rupert Customer Service Facebook page, shows the bear rambling through a park in the Haysvale area of the city.

More bear sightings in Prince Rupert the above
photo from Facebook comes from the Haysvale area

As noted, these are not the first bear sighting of the year, earlier this summer a number of bear sightings in the same west side area resulted in the Conservation Service out of Terrace arriving in town in July with a bear trap, which the bear managed to avoid as the weeks moved along.

Should you have a bear sighting to report you can contact the Conservation Service online or by calling 1-877-952-7277, incidents of bear sightings can also be relayed through an online form available on the Conservation Officer Service website.

The recent sightings have made for some new entries on a local bear tracking website which was launched following the initial sightings of June, you can learn more about that online tracking feature here.

Further notes on the work of emergency service personnel in the Northwest can be found on our archive page here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cow Bay port call for luxury yacht Cloudbreak

The arrival of the Cloudbreak is making for a bit of buzz 
on the Prince Rupert waterfront

Prince Rupert residents are getting a glimpse of the lifestyles of the Rich but not quite ready to be famous this week, as a rather impressive luxury yacht pulled up to the Cow Bay marina.

Tying up along one of the outside berths in the Prince Rupert harbour, the Cloudbreak is attracting more than a few curious Rupertites who have been spotted strolling along the Atlin Termnial walkway to get a closer look at the vessel.

At 72.5 metres, the Cloudbreak is officially the largest  pleasure craft to make a port call at Prince Rupert's new Marina facility in Cow Bay.

The vessel which has a sleek and unusual design, also hosts a helicopter for the transit of the owner (still a mystery), crew and guests.

Built in 2016 by the naval architect firm Abeking and Rasmussen, the award winning Cloudbreak is one of  a number of super luxury yachts that the firm has built over the years.

To give you some idea as to the size of the vessel, at its 72.5 metres it is larger than some of the Royal Canadian Navy Patrol vessels that call on Prince Rupert, and would also dwarf many of the Coast Guard vessels that patrol the North Coast.

Some of the vessels of the Canadian Coast Guard host a smaller
profile than the luxury yacht Cloudbreak currently berthed
at Cow Bay Marina

A video presentation posted to the YouTube offers up a glimpse as to what luxury yachting offers those that wish to spend some carefree days cruising the world's oceans.

Rupertites have but one more day to keep their eyes on the dock to see who may be making Prince Rupert their departure point for their next adventure, the Cloudbreak is expected to cast its lines and sail off sometime on Friday.

Once she bids farewell to the North Coast, you can follow the Cloudbreak through the Marine Traffic website, which tracks marine traffic world wide.

More notes on Tourism in Prince Rupert can be found on our archive page here.

City calls attention to arson/vandalism incident at city baseball field

One of the dugouts at the Patty Hutcheon Field at the Civic Centre
was set on fire last night

The City of Prince Rupert is expressing their disappointment in damage done to one of the baseball field dugouts at the Prince Rupert Civic Centre fields overnight.

The details related to the incident were provided through an information release posted to the city website today, noting that a bench located in a dugout located as part of the Patty Hutcheon field had been partially destroyed by fire.

While the concrete dugout is still considered to be safe for use for shelter, owing to other commitments in the community at the moment, city crews will not be able to make repairs to the bench area until next week sometime.

As part of their notice to the public, the City has called for greater respect to be given to the community's shared infrastructure.

There was no indication in the city's update as to whether Prince Rupert Fire/Rescue were called to attend to the incident, or if city staff at the Recreation Centre handled the issue.

As well there is no details as to what form of investigation into the incident, if any, may be taking place.

You can review the notice to the public here.

More notes related to the response of Emergency Service personnel in the community can be found here.

Update: As of Friday, the City had advised that the investigation into the fire was now being handled by the City's RCMP detachment.

Northern Savings takes pulse of Northwest Business community

Since August 8th, the Northwest Financial Savings Institution Northern Savings has been taking the pulse of the business community across the region,  hosting an online survey seeking the feedback of business owners across the Northwest on issues important to them.

The Prince Rupert based Credit Union has two surveys currently underway, one featuring questions for those business owners who are clients of Northern Savings, the other for those that are not yet members of the financial group.

The survey which is anonymous, is designed to provide Northern Savings with a better understanding of the needs of the business community in Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii and across the Northwest.

To provide a bit of incentive towards participation, Northern Savings will be holding a draw at the end of the survey period to award a $250 gift card from a local business to one of the submissions received.

You can learn more about the project here, the deadline for participation is fast approaching though, with August 21st the final day for those wishing to share their thoughts.

Both surveys can be accessed here.

For more items related to the Commercial sector in the Northwest see our archive page here.

City looks to add to information sector at City Hall

The pace of job opportunities with the City of Prince Rupert is picking up after the lull of the summer months, with the City now on the search for some help when it comes to their information technology and computer systems.

A job posting listed on the City website has issued the call for applicants for the position of Systems Analyst, among some of the key requirements for the position include:

Two years of post-secondary studies in Computer Studies (or equivalent in IT related certificates) AND/OR minimum of five years’ experience as an IT Technician/System Analyst/Network Administrator; 

Successful candidate MUST obtain RCMP Top Secret clearance check; and, 

Valid BC Class 5 Driver’s Licence (must provide a Driver’s abstract).

The full job posting can be reviewed below:

The deadline for applicants is September 5th.

More background on the job opportunity can be reviewed from the City website.

The most recent job opportunity is the second major position staff position posted for this month.

As we outlined back on August 4th, the City of Prince Rupert is currently looking for a new Director of Recreation and Community Services, with the deadline for applications for that position coming up on August 31st.

Our archive of notes related to employment opportunities and labour issues with the City of Prince Rupert can be reviewed on our archive page here.

NWCC Prince Rupert campus builds foundation for fall trades program

The Prince Rupert campus of NWCC is set to offer a trades training program
for those looking to access industrial jobs in the community

With the 2017-18 school year just  weeks away now, the Prince Rupert campus of Northwest Community College is now accepting applicants for their ongoing trades development program in the city.

The funded program which is called Building a Community Workforce is available to eligible students and provides a ten week introduction to the trades, offering an opportunity to upgrade technical and life skills and earn trade related safety certificates.

Admission requirements for the program include:

Participants have been Unemployed and have not collected EI in the past 3 years; OR


Employed and low-skilled; and have Be assessed at a Grade 8-10 level for English and Math.

Upon completion of the ten week program participants will be job ready for opportunities in the region, ready to offer the following to would be employers:

Industry-recognized certificates 
Essential skills training that supports success in employment 
Job search understanding, supports and resources 
Hands-on trades industry skills 
Preparation for employment and further trades training.

The Prince Rupert course load will run from September 5 to January 26th, you can find out more information related to what is involved with the training program by contacting Dawn Blake at NWCC at 250-624-6054 extension 5715

More notes on the Building a Community Workforce program can be reviewed here.

A larger overview of the wide range of other industrial trades training programs available at all campus locations at NWCC can be found from the course program portion of the college website.

Further information related to post-secondary education across the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

Commercial crabber ordered to pay $15,000 fine from 2015 incident

A case dating back two years recently came to a conclusion in the Prince Rupert courtroom of Judge Herman Seidemann in April, with the skipper of the commercial crabbing vessel Vitamin Sea VI pleading guilty to violations of the Fisheries Act.

Van Te Le, entered his plea of guilty on April 10th, accepting his responsibility in the harvest of Dungeness Crab in a closed area between June 21 and 30th of 2015.

An information release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans outlined that the charges came out of an investigation into the setting of more than 49 crab traps inside the Soft-Shell Management Area 10 at McIntyre Bay, located north of Masset on Haida Gwaii. 

The investigation was launched following a routine audit of the vessel's logbook and electronic monitoring data had revealed possible fishing violations.

As part of the sentence, Judge Seidemann ordered that Mr. Le to pay a fine of 15,000 dollars, with 14,000 dollars of the total to be directed towards preservation and conservation projects around Haida Gwaii and Hecate Strait.

In their update for the public, DFO reinforced the seriousness of such offences along the North Coast and their ongoing efforts to continue to enforce fishery regulations.

They also outlined the impact that the incident could have had no crab stock in the McIntyre Bay area:

Fishing during the McIntyre Bay soft-shell closure could have detrimental impacts on its crab stocks, the ability of First Nations to meet their Food, Social and Ceremonial needs, the livelihood of commercial licence holders designated to fish in the Area, and the success of recreational fishermen in the area. 

For the past several years commercial catches in McIntyre Bay have been below the historic average so protecting its crab populations, particularly during their vulnerable soft-shell time, is increasingly important for long-term conservation and viable fishery reasons. Moreover, this unaccounted for pressure, particularly during its soft-shell closure, contributes to continued low crab abundances and threatens fishing viability for this area.

More background on the April 2015 incident can be reviewed here, while a larger overview of the Crab Fishery in the Pacific Region is available on the DFO website.

For more notes related to the work of Emergency Service and law enforcement officials on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Transition Prince Rupert hopeful for fall progress for McKay Street Park project

More news may come this fall on the
proposed redevelopment of the
McKay Street Park area
A short update on the Transition Prince Rupert Facebook page is offering a bit of a timeline for what's ahead for the much discussed McKay Street Park Project.

In their notes for those that follow the community organization, Transition Prince Rupert pointed to absences over the summer months as to the reason for the slow flow of information related to the proposed redevelopment of overgrown brush land in the heart of the McKay/Kootenay area of the city.

Among their plans the organization plans to continue to reach out to local contractors and developers for in kind support to try to leverage funds for use on the project.

More information on their plans is promised as the group moves into the fall and determine what they can accomplish with the money to be dedicated to the remediation project that they have received to this point.

The full statement can be reviewed on their Facebook page here.

Mayor Lee Brain also provided a short shout out for Transition Prince Rupert on Wednesday, taking to his social media stream to share the link to the Transition Prince Rupert update, as well as to offer up a few thoughts of his own related to the project.

The updates perhaps are a response to some community concerns from the west side neighbourhood, with a number of Rupertites recently taking to a Facebook theme to express their frustration at the slow pace of movement when it comes to the project.

The community organization was successful in securing 100,000 dollars in funding for the project this Spring, when residents of Prince Rupert and beyond joined together to help put the Mckay Street Project to the top of a vote getting competition hosted by BCAA.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

More infrastructure work underway; west side water/sewer project to take two days

Construction and associated traffic delays will be the focus for the west side over the next 48 hours as City crews go into action to attend to some water and sewer work in the Pillsbury, Sloan and Cassiar Avenue area of the city.

A notice to the City's Website today advises that with the work residents may experience traffic disruptions while the crews are on site, with the 500 block of Pillsbury the primary focus for the crews.

Single lane traffic will be in effect in that area and road closures may be required as the work progresses.

The city's public works department anticipates that the work should not take more than two days to wrap up.

You can review the Notice to the public here.

More notes related to infrastructure issues for the city can be found on our archive page.

They're canning up some laughter at North Pacific

Hot on the heels of their success with the Intertidal Music Festival, another night of entertainment is on the way at Port Edward's North Pacific Cannery Historical Site.

Whether you're a shy giggler, or feature an uproarious belly laugh you can unleash it in a public setting on Friday night from 7 to 9 at Canned Laughter.

Those taking the stage at the Cannery site will be students and grads from Charles Hays Secondary continuing on with their comedic stylings fresh from this years Udderfest in Prince Rupert, a number of sweet treats will also available for those taking in the show.

Tickets for Friday night's improv night will be available at the door on the night of the show, 10 dollars for adults, five for youth under 18 gets you into the show.

Find out more about the night's events from the North Pacific Cannery Facebook page.

More notes on North Coast events can be found on our archive page.

Green Leader Weaver calls out NDP Grizzly Hunt ban as 'political spin'

It's certainly not enough of a fracture to put the fate of the new NDP government in peril, but John Horgan and Andrew Weaver have just had another political spat, this time with the terms of Monday's announcement of a ban on the BC Grizzly Bear hunt serving as the point of fissure.

The ban was trumpeted by North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice as an NDP promise kept, however that's not quite how the leader of the NDP's new partner  in the Legislature sees things, with Weaver observing that in reality the announcement is just more political spin and one which will in the end make for a wasteful situation in the province's forests.

While noting that he was encouraged that the BC NDP is respecting the wishes of Coastal First Nations with their moratorium on the hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest, Weaver had a few cautions for the Horgan government when it came to their roll out of the new initiative, observing that it does not end grizzly bear hunting as many environmental groups have advocated for.

“I’m not sure how this will appease the concerns of anyone. It appears to me that the NDP were trying to play to environmental voters in the election campaign without thinking through their policies. “What we really need in BC is science-based approach to wildlife management, not a populist approach to species management."

Among his concerns related to the new NDP ban is that it creates a system in which not all of the animal will be harvested, with resident hunters no longer allowed to possess the hair, head and hide of grizzlies, something that is noted as wasteful by the hunting community.

The Green Party leader also expressed concerns over how the new regulations, set to go into effect at the end of November, will still allow for foreign hunters to shoot grizzlies in British Columbia, take a picture of themselves standing over the bear and then head home without harvesting any of the animal.

The Green leader has some company when it comes to those who consider the new NDP plan as not fully thought out, Steve Hamilton, the head of a Prince George based hunter's association outlined some of his concerns over how the NDP have rolled out their ban to the Vancouver Sun.

It seemingly won't be the last we hear from the Green leader on the issue, Mr. Weaver concluded his statement on the NDP announcement of Monday by advising that he will be working with the government in the months ahead to ensure the introduction of species at risk legislation.

You can review his full statement here.

More notes related to North Coast representation in the Legislature can be found here.

A wider overview of British Columbia politics is available on our political portal D'Arcy McGee.

Recreation Department to offer Hockey Camp next week

Another chance for North Coast hockey players to shake off the rust of the summer comes up next week as the City of Prince Rupert Recreation Department hosts a one week hockey camp at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

The camp which has two skill level sessions set, is designed for players ages 7 to 9 and 10 to 13, and will help to work on skill development while also keeping the fun on the ice for participants.

The week long sessions run from August 21 to 25, taking place from 9 until 4 PM and offer both on ice and off ice activities and games for those that sign up.

Cost of the one week camp is 150.00 and full hockey gear is required for those that sign up to participate.

You can find out more about the program by contacting the City of Prince Rupert Recreation Department at 250-624-6707 or 250-627-7946.

The 2017-18 Minor hockey season is just over the horizon, for some of the latest notes on the sport in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Election Revenue/Expenses numbers released for North Coast campaign

When North Coast Residents went to the polls in May, the short economic burst of the BC election campaign came to an end for the region and with it the rush for fundraising and campaign spending.

Documentation released yesterday by Elections BC, provides the financial road map of sorts that was leading the three North Coast hopefuls towards the Legislature in Victoria.

The Statement of Election Income and Expenses for the three North Coast candidates provides a glimpse as to how the NDP, Liberals and Green party financed the quest for the seat in the Legislature, with British Columbia's two major parties making for the largest portion of the accounting numbers from the May campaign.

Jennifer Rice, the eventual winner of the seat in the BC Legislature and returning MLA posted a total income of $48,229.56 as of General Voting Day as a result of campaign donations and fundraising, with Expenses listed at $51,662.68.

Beyond the individual donations, the majority of the NDP funding came through transfers with $55,000 directed towards the North Coast efforts.

Of the expenses the largest amount was directed towards salaries and benefits ($11,000), Newsletters or promotional material ($8,000) and Travel ($4014.25).

Runner up Herb Pond, who sought the seat in the Legislature under the Liberal banner had the largest amounts both in political donations and expenses in the 2017 campaign.

His campaign claimed income by way of fundraising and donations to a total of $105,146.53, with expenses of $80,703.33 to election day, leaving $24,443.20 unspent.

The documents filed indicate that the BC Liberals put some significant money towards trying to unseat Ms. Rice the incumbent MLA, having transferred $103,246,53 towards Mr. Pond's campaign through to election day.

Of the expenses through April and May, media advertising claimed the largest chunk at $36,631, followed by newsletter and promotional material at $10,000 plus and office expenses at $4200 plus.

The Green Party's Hondo Arendt ran the most parsimonious campaign and one that was for the most part self funded, a total of 445 dollars is listed, with an additional contribution of 50 dollars declared to round out the statement declaration.

The only significant expense listed as part of the summary of expenses, 495 dollars worth of newsletter and promotional material.

There were no transfers recorded from the BC Greens towards the local campaign.

In the end, as the votes were counted, it would seem that Ms. Rice received the best return on investment for the 2017 campaign, claiming the North Coast seat by a significant margin over Mr. Pond.

The Green party's Hondo Arendt was the third place finisher on the North Coast.

2017 Final Results from Elections BC

Jennifer Rice -- 5,243
Herb Pond -- 3,079
Hondo Arendt -- 826

The full summary disclosures for each candidate from the 2017 North Coast campaign can be examined in detail from the links below:

Jennifer Rice -- NDP
Herb Pond -- BC Liberals
Hondo Arendt -- BC Green Party

More background on the North Coast's representation at the Legislature can be found on our Legislature Archive page.

Further notes of interest related to the provincial political scene can be reviewed on our political portal D'Arcy McGee.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Jennifer Rice hails "a promise kept" with end to Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunt in BC

On Monday, the new NDP Government led by Premier John Horgan outlined its plans to bring to an end the annual Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunt in British Columbia.

Monday's announcement means that this years hunt, which is officially underway in the Peace country as of today, is set to be the last in the province.

Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development made the announcement, providing the background to the government's plan to bring the hunt to an end.

“By bringing trophy hunting of grizzlies to an end, we’re delivering on our commitment to British Columbians, This action is supported by the vast majority of people across our province. 

In particular, we owe it to generations past and future to do all we can to protect the beauty and uniqueness of the Great Bear Rainforest. We believe the action we’re taking goes beyond the commitment to Coastal First Nations made as part of the 2016 Great Bear Rainforest agreements.”

The news was greeted with enthusiasm by North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who in a Facebook post this morning noted that the end to trophy hunting for Grizzly Bears was a promise made to citizens by the NDP, reflecting how the hunt is "not within our collective values".

To go with her update on the NDP announcement Ms. Rice included a You Tube video, reviewing a discussion with Chief Councillor Doug Nealoss of the Kitasso/Xai'Xai  First Nation on the theme of the grizzly bears and wildlife management in the region.

It's estimated that there are some 15,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia, with 250 of the animals taken by hungers each year. While the trophy hunt will come to an end, hunting for meat will continue to be allowed in British Columbia.

The province will consult with First Nations and stakeholder groups this fall to work on a the next steps towards bringing the hunt to an end and engage in a broader consultation process on wildlife management.

More notes related to the end of the trophy hunt, which comes into effect as of November 30th can be found here.

Further background on notes of interest from the Legislature can be reviewed on our archive page, while more expansive notes on BC Politics can be found on our political portal D'Arcy McGee.

CityWest awaits federal funding decision on subsea fibre plans

CityWest is casting its eyes southbound for what may be their next initiative, with the city of Prince Rupert owned communication company awaiting word on their application for funding for a Connect to Innovate grant,

Should they find success in their quest, the program would provide the financial assistance required for the construction of a subsea cable connecting Northern and Southern British Columbia.

If CityWest were to move forward with the infrastructure project, the proposed link to the south could offer up a solution to some of the land based challenges that the buried cable along the Highway 16 corridor can face through natural or human caused incidents.

CityWest continues to keep much of the details related to their plans internal for now, as they wait to hear of the fate of their application.

However, in a short update for the North Coast Review, CityWest officials noted that a project of this scale would not only improve the experience for customers in the Prince Rupert market, but also for their customers in other markets served by the Northwest communication company.  

CityWest  has long been seeking a solution to provide a redundancy for the cities located along Highway 16 to Prince George.

A subsea connection along the caost from Prince Rupert to the
Lower Mainland could be the in the future for Internet users should CityWest
find success in a grant application with the Federal Government
While its anticipated that the the Federal government will announce its funding by this fall, there has to this point, been no timeline offered as to when the Connect to Innovate grants will be delivered, or how much in grant money is set to be allocated.

You can learn more about the Connect to Innovate program here.

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

North Coast shore-workers bearing brunt of troubled fishing season

Employee call outs at Canadian Fish have been fewer and fewer this summer
as Prince Rupert feels the impact of another troubled fishing season

The North Coast fishery once an economic engine for Prince Rupert in the summer months and beyond, continues to show its strains and struggles this year with low stock returns and changing corporate planning providing for a double hit on the local industry and with it setting the scene for what will be a challenging fall and winter months for those that work at local plants.

Anyone who has walked or driven past the giant Canadian Fish plant at the foot of George Hills Way and Dry dock road can't help but notice the empty parking lot and significantly reduced level of trucks transiting to and from the plant this summer.

With few hours of employment for those workers that are even called in to work this year, the prospect of EI qualification could be a significant issue for the community as what little employment available begins to wind down by late September, something which could see local social services once again stretched to the breaking point.

A CBC British Columbia News story from yesterday offers up the testimony from local workers as to just how dire this year has been so far, along with with their fears for the future of the industry on the North Coast and what that may mean for the community as local workers no longer can find work here.

Such has been the news out of the fish plants this summer that UFAWU-Unifor the labour organization that represents the workers in Prince Rupert has already telegraphed its plans to seek out some assistance from North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, a post on their Facebook page of a week ago indicating their plans to discuss fishery issues with her once the summer wildfire season has come to an end.

UFAWU's Northern rep, Joy Thorkelson also offered up some commentary on the impact of DFO decisions on the commercial sector this year, as well as to offer up some background related to the themes of the Northwest recreational and sport fishery, as well as the First Nations fishery, providing her review through a letter to the editor for the Terrace Standard on August 6th.

This years salmon fishery has once again put the focus on the declining fish stock returns, as well as reinforced the impact that has been felt in the community from the decision by Canadian Fish to remove their canning lines at the George Hills Plant, a move which has meant a large number of former workers to try and seek out other employment options as the fishing industry continues its retrenchment.

More notes related to fishing in the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

Add a Wi-Fi break to your highway travels in British Columbia

Hitting the highway doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be out of touch, with the province of British Columbia rolling out a new highway initiative this week to start the process of making for wifi hot spots on the provinces highway system.

One Northwest location has been included in the Free Wi-Fi Hot Spot program to this point, with Glacier View rest area on Highway 16 north of Smithers now Wi-fi live, offering a chance for travellers to take a break, avoid using their phones while on the road and hopefully aid in the quest to reduce distracted driving situations.

The program which has expansion plans in mind for next year is a partnership with Telus and ICBC.

A full list of the current Wi-Fi Spots in BC, as well as more background on the program can be found here.

More notes related to travel along the Highway 16 corridor can be reviewed here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance members hail new government's engagement on revenue issues

A delegation of members of the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance recently met with officials of the new NDP government in Victoria, and when they came out of their meetings with provincial team,  the Northwest delegation offered up some enthusiastic reviews of their get together.

Representing the Northwest at the discussion were: RBA Chair Bill Miller, Co-Chair Mayor Phil Germuth, Co-Chair Barry Pages and Mayor Lee Brain

As part of their engagement on a number of resource topics, the group met with  a range of provincial officials which included Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Carole James, Minister of Finance, Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary, Emergency Preparedness.

Also in attendance were Premier Horgan’s Chief of Staff, Geoff Meggs and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

Resource Benefits Association Chair Bill Miller seemed to capture the spirit of the engagement with the provincial government group with a statement issued today:

“We commend the new BC NDP government’s steadfast commitment to the RBA,  ... Revenue sharing is the single most important issue to Northwest BC communities. We are pleased and grateful that the ministers, Mr. Weaver and senior staff made time for us and offered such strong support at this very busy time of transition for the government.”

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain
was recently in Victoria part of
a Northwest delegation engaged
in discussions on resource benefits
Following the meetings, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain expressed his confidence as to how he sees the process moving forward.

“The provincial government will now determine which ministry and senior staff representatives will lead negotiations with the RBA, ... The ministers are already familiar with the RBA issues, so we are confident that the right team will be put together quickly.”

For his part, Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth outlined his observations on how the collective engagement could bring the entire Northwest closer to reaching its economic potential.

 “One of the main messages we heard from the ministers was how important and significant it is to have all 21 local governments from Vanderhoof to Masset, working together,  ... Coming together in solidarity on an issue that faces all of us is going to be key to ensuring the Northwest gets what it needs to move from a have-not region to achieve its full potential.”

The northwest delegation noted that they had received an overwhelming reaffirmation from the NDP provincial government of their election promise to begin negotiations for a revenue sharing agreement fit for the Northwest, with those discussions expected to begin in earnest later this fall.

The municipal and regional officials will re-connect with their provincial counterparts next month, when British Columbia's local government leaders assemble at the annual Union of BC Municipalities conference in Vancouver.

The full statement from the organization can be reviewed here.

A short overview of what the Alliance hopes to achieve from its negotiations with the province can be examined here.

You can learn more about the efforts of the Northwest Benefits Alliance from their website  and Facebook page.

For more items related to the provincial government see our Legislature archive page here, while a larger overview of provincial issues can be found on our portal D'Arcy McGee.

Census time for Metlakatla

Members of the Metlakatla First Nation will be answering a number of questions this month, part of what has become an annual census hosted by the community to collect information and provide feedback on topics of note as part of the upcoming treaty process.

Residents over the age of fifteen are asked to participate in the membership census, with a census team set to go door to door in both Metlakatla Village and Prince Rupert to collect information.

An online link to the census is also being made available for community members.

This is the third year that a team of census takers have been asking questions of members that is put to use by community officials. This years survey period will come to an end on August 31st.

Those that participate in the annual information gathering project can qualify to win over a thousand dollars worth of prizes.

You can find out more about the Metlakatla census from the community Facebook page

More on topics of interest from Metlakatla can be found on our archive page here.

Northern Health Connections on summer maintenance schedule until end of month

The transportation system operated by Northern Health is now on its summer maintenance schedule, a with the summer break now on, those on the North Coast with medical appointments in Prince George, Terrace or Vancouver will have to make their own arrangements until the end of the month.

The two week shut down went into effect on Friday and the return to service for Prince Rupert won't come until Sunday August 27th, a look at the schedule as it effects the Northwest can be found below:

The call centre will remain open through the maintenance shutdown and will be available for the return of regular service after August 27th, you can contact them at 1-888-647-4997 or by email at

More background to the summer cessation can be found here.

More notes related to Northern Health can be reviewed on our archive page.

One month window for Prince Rupert groups to submit applications for Community Grants

Non profit/Volunteer Community Groups in Prince Rupert have a little over thirty days to put together their application for funding from the City of Prince Rupert's Community Enhancement Grant process, with the deadline for applications for this years intake set for mid- September.

The annual call for applications sets in motion the decision making process for City staff and council members as they look to balance civic finances with community requests each year.

A guide to some of the community groups that have been assisted through the city's grant process can be found from the City's Annual Statement of Financial Information released each May.

The most recent listings, released earlier this year highlight the grant recipients as of December of 2016, with the City distributing over 1 million, 300 thousand dollars in funding that year.

An announcement from Friday (see here) outlined the scope of this years application process, the city is targeting January of 2018 as to when they will notify the successful applicants.

Completed application forms (available online here) must be completed in full with supporting documentation attached and submitted to City Hall by 4 PM on September 15th.

Some aspects for how the city is approaching grant money for civic groups have been under review over the last few years, with City Council looking to provide for more stable funding for larger groups such as the Prince Rupert Library and Lester Centre.

However, the smaller groups will continue to be considered under the current process of yearly applications.

For more items related to the City of Prince Rupert see our archive page here, further background on City Council discussions can be reviewed from our Council Discussion page.