Sunday, October 1, 2023

Blog Watching: Week ending October 1, 2023

Civic themes make for the book end items for our list of the five most read blog items for the week, that as our look at Mayor Pond's recent Chamber of Commerce presentation and a trip earlier in the week to Alaska both captured the attention of our readers.

What could be a significant purchase of a major PRPA shipping terminal also gained a wide audience as we explored some of the interest in a potential purchase of the company that owns and operates Prince Rupert Grain.

The ever changing nature of technology made for some interest for readers, that as Northern Health addresses some of its concerns over Internet connectivity and reliability. That as the Health Authority recently installed StarLink equipment at its health facilities across the Northwest.

And the embarrassment of a  Parliamentary salute to a former World War II member of the Waffen SS, as part of a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zellensky made for some commentary on the social media stream for NDP MP Taylor Bachrach.

The top story of the week however, returns readers to the ever present theme of out water infrastructure woes and some notes that the Mayor shared with the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce.

Water lines may be leaking, but City Hall's information sharing at times is lacking -- Our look at the well received presentation from Mayor Pond to the Chamber of Commerce this past week has found quite a bit of interest from the readers.    (posted September  , 2023

That article was followed by: 

Proposed Global Grain Terminal purchase, which includes Prince Rupert Grain facility under review by Federal Government -- A potential purchase by an American Grain Shipment giant,  of the company that owns and operates Prince Rupert Grain and other Grain shipment terminals in Canada is now the subject of a couple of Federal reviews.  (posted  September 27, 2023)

Northern Health turns to Starlink to reduce risk, add resiliency to internet connectivity at Northwest Health care facilities -- While the work of CityWest and partners continues to bring some redundancy to the Northwest fibre optic lines, Northern Health has taken to Space and Elon Musk's Starlink service to ensure their network of communications equipment has a back up plan.     (posted September , 2023
House of Commons debacle  making for tough questions for Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP --  A most embarrassing and controversial week in Ottawa, made for a talking point for some residents in Skeena Bulkley Valley  (posted September  26, 2023

North to Alaska ... Mayor Pond, Civic delegation spend some time in Ketchikan this week to reconnect with northern neighbours -- A busy period of travel continued this week for Mayor Pond, that with Mr, Pond who was just back from a week at UBCM in Vancouver, was off to Ketchikan earlier this week.  (posted September 27,  2023

You can find our weekly Blog watching feature posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, making for a handy way to catch up to the week that was, at a leisurely weekend pace. 
You can also review the full listings of the week just past, from our Blog Archive index page found on the right hand side of the page. 

For updates on new items posted daily to the blog, we direct you to our CharlesMHays Twitter feed, where we post notification of new stories as we post them. 

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching can be found here.

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

Friday, September 29, 2023

Robert Nelson the choice for Chief Councillor for Metlakatla First Nation voters

The 2023 Metlakatla First Nation Council vote concluded at 8 PM tonight, and once the paper ballots from Metlakatla, Prince Rupert, along with the Electronic and Mail in versions were counted, voters had selected Robert Nelson as their next Chief.

The victor is now set to take office from the long standing and now retiring Chief Harold Leighton who had held the position of leadership for over 36 years.

Mr. Nelson came out of the balloting atop a list of five other contenders which included Randall Cobb who had come close to taking the position in 2019;  as well the Chief Councillor election included nominees Braden Etzertza, Darcy Nelson, and Reid Skelton Morven.

The New Chief Councillor will be joined on the Council by six members:

Alvin Leask, Erika Leighton and Sharon Morven  were elected as On-Reserve Councillors.

Alrita Leask, Miranada Leighton and Charlene McLean will serve as the elected Off-Resrve Councillors.

Of the six, only Ms. Leask, Mr. Leask and Ms. Leighton are incumbents from the Council elected in 2019.

The results were released a few hours after the 8 PM closing time for the vote.

No vote count totals were released as of yet, as part of the information provided by the First Nations election organizers.

In their statement on the Election results, Metlakatla officials note that the new office holders will assume their duties within fourteen days of today's poll, once they have singed their Oath of Office.

Metlakatla residents and voters are using the social media posting of the results, to relay their congratulations to those who found success and their thanks for those who stood for office.

You can access further notes from Metlakatla from their Social Media Stream here.

A look back at some of our past 2023 Election notes, as well as other items of interest from Metlakatla can be explored from our archive page.

Prince Rupert Rampage drop the puck on new season Saturday, as Hazelton Wolverines come to town

Ready for the return of the Roar, the CHIL's Prince Rupert Rampage 
launch there 2023-24 season tomorrow night at 7 against Hazleton Wolverines

It's been over seven months since the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre heard the roar of the crowd from the madhouse on McBride, the final game for the home side Rampage a Saturday night loss to the Hazelton Wolverines, the match marking a sweep for the visitors sending the Rhinos to the sidelines of the 2023 playoff season.

The summer has put some distance between the team and their winter disappointment, as well as to have brought in a new ice surface at the Jim. 

And with a new season ahead and a new surface to dig into, the Rampage gain a chance to get off on the right skate on Saturday against the very team that ended their previous season.

That with the Hazelton Wolverines due in town tomorrow night for a 7PM puck drop at the arena.

As it does every fall, the line up heading into a new season features some change, old hands have stepped down, with other legs some of them younger ready to take on additional work as part of the journey to bring the Coy Cup to Prince Rupert.

Captain Kory Movold will lead a Strong mix of talent onto the ice Saturday.  

A line up featuring 25 returning members, along with three newcomers, or returnees from previous years to keep an eye out for as the season moves ahead.

The playoffs and what Rampage fans hope will be a deep run to AA Senior Mens' championship to  come after that.

As anyone who follows the team knows, the Rampage are much more than a CIHL hockey team, they have become a community movement, their contribution large both in fundraising and awareness projects throughout the year.

One of their principal partners is back on board for the year with the Prince Rupert Port Authority set to resume their work towards raising funds for a number of local organizations.

With the start of the new season, comes the home game call up for the prospect of the night, with this years first member to the list that of the PRMHA"s Jaxson Bishop, who takes to the ice with Rampage Assistant Captain Judd Repole on Saturday night.

As the game falls on National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the Rampage have put together a program for the night to pay respect to the Day's remembrances, asking that fans don Orange for the home opener.

You can keep up with the latest notes from the Rampage room through their Social Media stream here.

There is also a new CIHL Facebook stream debuting this year that puts the focus on all nine of the leagues teams.

As we have in season's past, we'll track the Rampage season with two archives.  

The other a wider overview of Rampage notes and league developments, we've already kicked some ice around on that forum with some pre-season notes which you can review here.

Lax Kw'laaams Band sets date for official 'Ground Breaking' for 11th Avenue East apartment building

An image of what the Lax Kw'alaams apartment building
on 11th Avenue in Prince Rupert will look like upon its
completion. Ground breaking for the project takes place Oct 12

It's been delayed a bit longer than had been hoped, but next month, Lax Kw'alaams will make for a big moment for additional housing in Prince Rupert.

The Band Council and Lax Kw'alaams WAAP Housing Society setting October 12th as the date for the Official Ground Breaking for their much anticipated 70 unit apartment project in the city.

The official invitation went out this morning from the Lax Kw'alaams WAAP Housing Society, with the event to take place at the 11th Avenue site from Noon to 2PM on the 12th.

The importance of the event is noted in the invitation notice which highlights that Everyone is welcome to attend this event. Lax Kw’alaams members are encouraged to wear their regalia to this event. 

The location which was provided by the City of Prince Rupert, has been a very active site in recent weeks as land preparation began towards development of the project. 

The October 12th ceremony will mark the next milestone for the Band Council and its housing plan for members who live in Prince Rupert.

As we noted yesterday, the Lax Kw'alaams led housing project is one of the few initiatives in recent years to actually get to a putting a shovel in the ground situation.

Once complete and opened, it will help to reduce some of the housing pressures in the community which has been in the midst of a housing crisis for a number of years.

Follow the Lax Kw'alaams Social Media page for updates on the way to the Ground breaking ceremony.

More notes on housing in Prince Rupert and the Northwest  can be reviewed from our archive pages below:

Prince Rupert Housing Notes

Northwest Housing Notes

Smithers officials celebrate expansion of Air Canada service to community

Air Travellers in the Bulkley Valley now have one more flight option available for their travel planing, with the Town of Smithers hailing the announcement from Air Canada of a second flight for the community.

The addition to the Air Canada service takes effect on October 29th, which will make for two arrivals and departures, 9:50 AM and 5:40 PM

The Smithers airport also has service from Central Mountain Air and a number of charter flights coming into the community through the week.

The good news for the Bulkley Valley serves as a bit of a reminder as to the current status for the Prince Rupert Airport, which so far seems to still only feature one flight from Air Canada per day.

There hasn't been much information relayed to the travelling public in Prince Rupert from the airport since former Airport Manager Michael Pucci bid farewell for career opportunities in Terrace in mid August.

Included in the lack of recent information from the Airport is any indication as to who; if anyone has been hired to take on the post. 

The Airport had posted a Help wanted listing at that time of Mr Pucci's departure with a closing date of August 17th.

With the aviation news showing progress for the community of 5,378 to the east. the Prince Rupert Airport Authority or City Council, might want to provide an update on what's happening locally.

Providing some notes towards both the management situation and if anything is in the works towards adding to our flight options from Digby Island.

More notes on aviation can be reviewed from our archive page.

Polling Underway at two locations for Metlakatla First Nation Council positions, with voting to close at 8PM

It's been just about two months of campaign time for the candidates that made for the final list of those contesting the Metlakatlta First Nation Election and today they will see if their message resonated with the membership to propel them to the posts they are seeking.

Of those seeking election today, five contestants are looking to replace departing Chief Councillor Harold Leighton.

Five have put their name forward for On Reserve council positions, while nine others are seeking office for the In Territory Council positions.

Voting in the General Election began at 9 AM this morning at two locations.

Ballots are available at the Metlakatla Administration Office in the community, or at the Coastal Training Centre at Dunsmuir and Sixth Avenue West in Prince Rupert.

Voting remains open until 8 PM this evening.

There were also provisions in place earlier for electronic and mail in balloting.

Follow the Metlakatla First Nation Social Media stream for updates later tonight as to how the vote count turned out.

Past notes on Metlakatla themes can be reviewed through our archive page.

Safeway/Sobey's workers find progress at negotiating table with tentative deal reached with Local 1518


The prospect of a strike at Canada Safeway locations in British Columbia has been reduced heading into October. 

That as the membership awaits further word towards a tentative deal between their union the UFCW and Sobeys, the parent company for the Safeway employees in the province.

An information release from UFCW local 1518 charts the latest progress in the negotiations, which had seen the membership deliver a strong strike mandate a few weeks ago.

The negotiations began on September 20th with the announcement of the tentative deal coming on September 28th. 

The union leadership noting of the work ahead before taking it to the membership.

With over 75 pages of agreed items, there is a lot of work to do in preparation for a vote. In the leadup to the vote, the Bargaining Committee will connect with the Sobeys Advisory Committee and Shop Stewards and carefully review the agreement with Union Reps. 

Then, UFCW 1518 will provide all members with a rollout plan, which will include when members can expect to see the details of the contract and ask questions ahead of a ratification vote.

The general grocery workers union also notes that they continue to stand aligned with UFCW 247 which has yet to start its negotiations with Safeway/Sobeys, that local represents Meat, Deli and Seafood employees.

UFCW 1518 is also committed to standing in solidarity with workers in the Safeway deli, meat and seafood departments, members of UFCW 247, who will return to the bargaining table shortly. 

UFCW 1518 has worked closely with UFCW 247 throughout bargaining, including taking strike votes within the same time frames. Now that an agreement has been reached, UFCW 1518 will continue to support 247 in their fight for a fair deal.

UFCW 247 highlighted their path moving forward in an update for the membership following the September 28th tentative deal with 1518 was reached.

An unmistakable characteristic of this round of bargaining has been how closely we’ve worked with UFCW 1518. Our strike votes and bargaining meetings have been coordinated so as to demonstrate union solidarity across the stores. As UFCW 1518 expressed to their members in an update this morning, their solidarity and support for UFCW 247 will continue. 

Our meetings with the company after Thanksgiving (October 11-14) are still happening. Our bargaining committee's work is still ahead. 

Without a doubt, we share many issues with UFCW 1518 members, but we still have issues that are unique to our departments and that we need to address when we meet with Sobeys. Just last week, our members gave us the strongest kind of leverage we could ask for – a 99% strike authorization vote with a massive turnout. With that in hand, we will continue to push for a tentative agreement of our own, one that we can strongly recommend to UFCW Local 247 members.

Updates on the work ahead for both locals can be followed below:

More notes from the Northwest commercial sector can be reviewed here.