Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Province creates new framework for development of major projects

The NDP government of John Horgan is about to change how BC
approaches the development of public infrastructure projects

(photo from BC Gov't)

The NDP government is going to take a new approach towards development of public-sector infrastructure projects in the province, introducing a new framework agreement on Monday to guide the process forward.

The initiative which the NDP says will create good jobs and new opportunities for those that have not had a strong representation in the trades will put a focus on a number of key elements ...

A targeted approach to maximizing apprenticeship opportunities on major public-infrastructure projects. 

Focus on priority hiring and training of Indigenous peoples, and women. 

Co-ordinated access to existing training programs, while identifying and addressing skills gaps. 

Priority hiring for qualified individuals who live within close proximity of the projects. Hiring flexibility for contractors, who can request named hires. 

Wage alignment to prevailing industry rates to promote good wages for all employees.

The first project to take place under the new community benefit agreement will be the new Pattullo Bridge Replacement project which will link New Westminster  and Surrey and a four lane expansion project on the Trans Canada Highway between Kamloops and the Alberta border.

Premier John Horgan outlined how he sees the new Community Benefits Agreement and the impact it will have on the way the province develops infrastructure.

“British Columbians rightfully expect B.C. projects to benefit B.C. workers, families and communities. Our new Community Benefits Agreement will help deliver those benefits,”  ...  “With this agreement, we’re not just investing in roads, bridges and other infrastructure, we’re investing in good jobs and new opportunities for people who live in B.C. And with our focus on expanding apprenticeships for young British Columbians, we’re helping build B.C.’s next generation of construction workers.”

The major thrust of the agreement is to increase participation for Indigenous and other under represented groups in the construction trades, as well as to increase the opportunity for local residents to gain employment on the large scale projects.

Who the BC Government says will benefit from the new agreement
(click to enlarge)

The new program will be administered by a newly created Crown Corporation, to be known as BC Infrastructure Benefits, which in effect will become the central recruitment hall for anyone looking to find employment on the infrastructure work in the province.

To implement the new program the NDP government is
introducing a new Crown Corporation

(click to enlarge)

More background on the NDP's plans can be found here.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice was quick to get the word out for the Premier and the NDP cabinet, taking to her social media stream to raise the flag for the new initiative.

Monday's announcement has made for a significant volume of commentary on the shift in direction for the province and how it will seek infrastructure development in the future, with much of the focus directed towards the union-friendly language and guarantees that the framework has delivered.

Among some of the concerns relayed about the new approach is a fear of cost expansions with the added level of bureaucracy of a Crown Corporation, the prospect of non-union firms being shut out of any opportunity to work on such projects and the perception that the NDP is rewarding its supporters in the trades unions with the infrastructure program.

You can review the talking points on the day below:

BC NDP announces Crown corporation to handle union-friendly construction
NDP launches new labour agreement for public projects
Horgan rewards old union friends, as promised
Union labour to build billions in B.C. projects under new NDP policy
Non union builders protest exclusion from B.C. public projects
New BC Crown Corporation begins accepting bids for Patullo Bridge replacement
Crown firm will control major project hiring, we'll pay more
Public infrastructure projects to be union-only
Critics say new B.C. NDP labour model for infrastructure projects is 'payback' for unions
B.C. government to prioritize First Nations, women, unions in public construction projects

For more items of interest out of the British Columbia Legislature see our archive page here.

A wider overview of provincial politics can be found on our D'Arcy McGee portal.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Touchet/Holmes tandem Take Terrace Ladies Tourney

The Co-Champion of this years Skeena Valley Open drove in from the West as Prince Rupert's Jackie Touchet and Ann Holmes claimed first prize at this years tournament held over the July 7/8 weekend in Terrace.

Golfers from across the Northwest and beyond descended on the Skeena Valley Golf and Country Club for the weekend Team Play event, Ms. Touchet  and Holmes combined their talents to take the Overall Gross for the event with a score of 76/75.

The Touchet/Holmes connection goes back a fair ways to the days of UBC golf, with the pairing regularly getting together for golfing expeditions, sometimes with other members of the UBC golf program.

Among the range of events that accompanied the tournament was the chipping contest, which featured some helpful landscaping for the golfers.

The remainder of the tournament results looked as follows:

Overall Low Net : Chalaine Hannah and Mary Kerbrat

A Flight Low Gross: Ann Maher and Jocelyn Galloway 
2nd Gross : Joy Stevenson and Sandie Myers 
3rd Gross : Lori ann Seppala and Barb Thomas 

A Flight Low Net: Michelle Mcmenamon and Mary Murphy 
2nd Net : Fiona Kerbrat and Sara Kerbrat 
3rd Net : Vivian Ringham and Raquel Gomes 

B Flight Low Gross : Sandy Dore and Janice Malkow 
2nd Gross : Ellen Smith and Marilyn Earl 
3rd Gross: Fran Fraser and Corran Dohler 

B Flight Low Net: Heather Masch and Jill Macdonald 
2nd Net: Ruth Hidber and Shirley Hidber 
3rd Net : Mona Nester and Bonnie Armstrong 

C Flight Low Gross: Teri Meyer and Linda Juba 
2nd Gross: Mary Martins and Renee Aird 
3rd Gross: Kathy Harris and Loralee Thomson 

C Flight Low Net : Cathy Vandyk and Debbie Simpson 
2nd Net : Alyssa Carson and Cheryl Wyatt 
3rd Net: Nancy Tormene and Sharon Bruno

For Prince Rupert golfers looking for a weekend excursion of golf, or just a day run with a different view, you can learn more about the Skeena Valley Golf and Country Club from their website and Facebook page.

Next up on the Prince Rupert golf calendar is this weekend's Beans N Jeans Golf Tournament hosted by the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce.

Golfers interested in taking part in this weekend's travels around the Rupert links can contact the Golf Course Clubhouse at 250-624-2000 for more information.

A look at the Northwest golf scene can be found from our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

City of Prince Rupert seeking proposals for annual refit of Digby Island Ferry

The City of Prince Rupert is looking towards an April 2019 target for some
required refit work for the Digby Island Ferry, a project that will take the
ferry out of service for a month

April 2019 has been pencilled in by the City of Prince Rupert as the month for the annual maintenance refit for the city's daily transportation link to the Prince Rupert Airport.

The City has put forward their Request for Proposals to the BC Bid site, seeking the response of qualified proponents towards work required for the Digby Island ferry which makes multiple sailings each day between the Fairview Dock and the dock at Digby Island.

The work to take place on the  forty eight year old Ferry, which was commissioned for service in 1970 will require dry docking of the vessel, following which the removal, inspection and replacement or reinstallation of major bearings, shafts, and valves.

The maintenance work will also require an ultrasound inspection of vessel hull and deck and any associated and necessary repairs.

Preparation and painting of the hull and deck services and removal of replacement of zincs is also part of the refit program for next year.

There are also a number of additional services that could take place as part of the maintenance program, though they are not a required work item and could be added to the work list by the City at their discretion.

The Timeline of the work will see the ferry arrive at the successful shipyard on April 1st, with a return to service anticipated for the end of April.

In addition to the work that is part of the Digby Island Ferry maintenance project, the city will also have to consider the cost of alternate transportation that will be required during the refit period, which could have an impact on how the city determines the project award.

Hans Seidemann, the City of Prince Rupert's Manager of Community Development is overseeing the Request for Proposal process, which has a deadline for submissions of August 17th.

You can review the Request package from the BC Bid website.

The approach to the required work on the Prince Rupert ferry is in contrast to how our neighbours to the North take care of their airport ferry requirements, as we noted last week, the State of Alaska has embarked on a major statewide infrastructure program, which includes a number of projects related to the Ketchikan Airport Ferry and other assorted roadways, docks and terminal buildings in that community.

The result of that state involvement in transportation issues removes a good portion of the burden from Ketchikan residents and that city's borough government, an approach that the city may wish to take to MLA Rice to seek some form of similar financing arrangement with province of British Columbia.

For more items of note related to the City's Bids and Tenders process see our archive page here.

Further items of interest from City Council can be found on our Council Discussion archive.

For those looking to keep up on events with air transportation in the Northwest, we track the developments on our archive here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Wheelhouse marks the spot for the North Coast end of the BC Ale Trail for Northern British Columbia

Some of Prince Rupert's favourite beverages get some extra exposure
this summer as Northern BC joins the BC Ale Trail

There has been a lot of celebration of trails of late on the North Coast, the Rushbrook Trail marked its Official opening over the weekend, part of a growing network of trails and walkways that is starting to take shape in the region.

There's another trail of note however, one which travels across Northern BC, blazing a path to some of the craft brewery showrooms found mostly along  the Highway 16 corridor, with Prince Rupert's Wheelhouse Brewing Company hosting the North Coast anchor of the path towards the eight craft brewers found from Quesnel and Valemount to Prince Rupert.

The BC Ale Trail Northern Edition, eight Craft Breweries from
Quesnel and Valemount to Prince Rupert

The Northern route is the latest expansion of the BC Ale Trail project which was created in 2016 to highlight the fast growing craft beer industry in the province, making for a helpful guide for those travelling the province this summer and looking for a taste of the many options now available.

The Northern Route includes the following brewers, which have provided for some significant growth in the craft beer sector and form a fairly close knit collective to share the word on what is proving to be popular blue print for commercial development in many communities.

Valemount -- Three Ranges Brewing
Quensel -- Barkerville Brewing
Prince George -- Cross Roads Brewing
Prince George -- Trench Brewing and Distilling
Smithers -- Bulkley Valley Brewery
Smithers -- Smithers Brewing
Terrace -- Sherwood Mountain Brewing
Prince Rupert -- Wheelhouse Brewing

You can learn more about the Northern BC Ale Trail here, while the established trails from 2016 can be explored here.

Prince Rupert's Wheelhouse Brewing Company, one
of the stops on the Northern BC Ale Trail

Those on the province's Ale trails can also keep up to date on events across the province from the range of BC Ale Trail Social Media options

You Tube

For more notes of interest on the commercial sector in the Northwest see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

City on quest for new members for Prince Rupert Library Board

The City is seeking new members for the
Prince Rupert Library Board in 2018
While summer season is usually put aside to pick up a good book, the City of Prince Rupert is using the period to seek out some members to help steer the work of the Prince Rupert Library.

Last week, the City Posted the call for volunteers for the Library Society, with duties set to start in August.

Three positions for Library Trustees are currently available to those with an interest in helping to provide direction to the Prince Rupert Library and help to shape the future of the community.

To submit your name for consideration, you are asked to provide a letter by August , 17th 2018 that offers up a written description of your skills and experiences that are relevant to the position.

You can submit your application and/or seek more information about the assorted duties and responsibilities of the Library Board through City Hall.

As part of their notice, the City highlights its commitment to equity and diversity in the community:

The City appoints to our committees on the basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within our community. We especially welcome applications from visible minority group members, women, First Nations persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply

Direct your applications or inquiries to:

Corporate Administration
2nd Floor, City Hall
424 - 3rd Avenue West
Prince Rupert BC

You can also contact the city through email at cityhall@princerupert.ca

Some background on the volunteer opportunity can be reviewed here.

Last week, we made note of some of the highlights of the Prince Rupert Library annual report which you can review here.

You can learn more about the Prince Rupert Library from their website and Facebook page.

More notes on items from City Hall can be found on our City Council archive pages.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Elections BC lays out the rules for October Municipal/School District elections

There may not be any declared candidates for the Prince Rupert City Council races as of yet, but should residents of the city give some consideration for a run for office, they can review the rules ahead towards Voting Day in October.

Elections BC has outlined the full scope of the province's electoral process leading up to the October 20th election day, where British Columbians will make their selection for Mayor, Council members and School Board trustees.

The nomination period is set from September 4 to 14th, with the Campaign period running from September 22 to voting day on Saturday, October 20th.

Those that participate in the 2018 elections will have two dates to keep in mind for 2019, where they will have to deliver their campaign financial disclosure statements on January 11th,  while a late filing date of February 19th marks the last opportunity for that full disclosure, coming with a 500 dollar late filing charge.

Timeline of the 2018 Municipal/School District election cycle
(click to enlarge)

There are a number of guidelines for candidates to keep in mind as they prepare to seek the support of the electors in October with Elections Canada outlining the changes here when it comes to the financing rules for the 2018 election cycle.

When it comes to financing a Municipal or School District campaign in Prince Rupert, the limits include an expense limit of 10,713 for Mayor, $5,365.50 for Council members.

For School District, election area 1 has a limit of $5,378, while Election Area 2 has a limit of $5,000.

More on the process can be viewed below:

Financial limits for the Municipal Election campaign for 2018
(click to enlarge)

Financial limits for the School District campaign for 2018
(click to enlarge)
You can access the limits for other areas of the Northwest from this searchable data base.

More notes related to the 2018 election process can be examined here.

For the 2018 vote the local process is being steered by Chief Elections Officer Corinne Bomben, along with Deputy Elections Officer Antonio Vera.

In June, the City released some background on the planning ahead for the 2018 Municipal and School District election process.

To follow items of not related to the municipal political scene see our Council Discussion archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Politicians, supporters devour Gary Mason article on past Liberal governance

As BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson toured Northern British Columbia over the weekend, one imagines that his aides were quick to intercept any copies of the Globe and Mail from finding their way to the hotel room, with the Globe's national affairs columnist Gary Mason having recently deconstructed the last two decades of Liberal rule with a scathing indictment of their competence.

Such was the damning review of how the Liberals conducted their affairs while in power that the article first published in the Globe on Friday, quickly became the dominant political theme of the weekend in British Columbia, spreading like a wildfire on a hot July weekend fuelled by the winds of Social Media.

The Deceit that was the BC Liberals' case for power

For the Liberal leader  who is looking to spread the party message to the North a review of Mason's thoughts on the state of his party and how arrogance over-ruled reason for much of the last ten years might be worth a read.

One requiring a few moments to sit for an uncomfortable review, if for no other reason than to get a map of where some of the damage is and what needs to be done to address the many issues raised by the columnist.

The list is rather long and one that may require a fair bit of explanation and maybe even some contrition for Mr. Wilkinson and those that continue to carry the Liberal banner at the Legislature.

The overview ranges from questionable real estate decisions to an incomprehensible approach to the issue of money laundering through the province's gaming centres, the mis-handling of many of the past files over the years certainly doesn't deliver a vision of a steady hand on a government tiller that the Liberals are hoping to present as an alternative to the NDP.

The review of history also comes as the Liberals are seeking to remain engaged on a number of issues, high among them the very way that British Columbians elect their governments, how Wilkinson and his caucus handle the giant spotlight that the Globe article has turned on will have some impact no how their messages while in Opposition are received.

The Mason article certainly caught the attention of Victoria's political class, with NDP and Green politicians quick to their twitter feeds and Facebook pages to share the piece and add their own commentary as need be to ensure that Liberal timeline was fully reviewed.

The temptation of course was strong for the government members and their helpful Legislature mates from the Greens to chortle a bit about all the Liberal misfortune that the article will generate for the moment, the reviews from BC Liberals however made for a little less in the way of distribution as the weekend moved forward.

While they share the article far and wide with supporters, the NDP and Green contributors may however want to remain mindful that the old adage of "power corrupts" tends to be proven true time and time again and at some point, a litany of poor judgments and deceptive tendencies could just as easily be attached to any party, whether it be one of a short lived stay in government, or that of an extended one.

For now though the reviews are in, complete with favourite takeaway lines, and for the most part the Mason article is quickly becoming the best read of the summer so far ....

Not to be left out of the list of punditry on the theme, the North Coast's Jennifer Rice found some time to dig into the Globe piece, with Ms. Rice also quick to flag the article as a must read for her constituents.

For more items of interest out of the Legislature in Victoria see our archive page here.

A wider overview of the political scene can be found from our political blog D'Arcy McGee.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.