Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Terrace RCMP seek public assistance in Northwest Missing Persons File

The Terrace detachment of the RCMP is asking for the help of the public in locating a woman reported missing on September 20th.

Terrace Mounties have provided some notes on the case file for Dakota Carlson, who was last seen on the South side of Terrace, at the time she was wearing a mauve hoody, black pants and black boots.

Ms. Carlson, seen above, is described as a Caucasian female, standing 163cm (5 foot four inches),

She weighs 50kg (110 pounds) and has light brown hair and blue eyes.

If you have any information about Dakota Carlson, or where she might be, contact the Terrace RCMP at 250-638-7400

If outside of the Terrace area contact your local detachment,  or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

For more items of note on the work of Emergency Responders in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Flooding on east Side of Prince Rupert closes Shawatlans Road

The after effects of Monday's volume of rain has included
a road closure along Shawatlans Road 
(photo from City of PR)

Residents making plans to travel to the Industrial site from the city will have to reroute their trip to make use of Highway 16, that as the City of Prince Rupert announces a closure of Shawatlans Road due to flooding, with the area of the closure the stretch from Frederick Street to Kaien Road.

The road closure comes following some extensive rain on the North Coast through much of the day on Monday.

In a short update to the City of Prince Rupert Facebook page, the City City notes that the road closure will remain in effect until further notice.

 More items of note from City Hall can be found through our Council Discussion archive.

Vital work in Northern Waters Recognized in Weekend RCM SAR Awards Ceremony

The Vessel Orme G. Stuart from RCM SAR Station 64 in
Prince Rupert docked at Rushbrook Floats

Members of The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue organization were honoured over the weekend for their work across British Columbia and among the many volunteers recognized for their dedication to our safety were seven members from Stations on the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

The Northern Awards went to members from stations in Prince Rupert, Kitimat,  Lax Kw'alaams and Haida Gwaii and were in recognition of a number of areas of service to the marine community.

In Prince Rupert Station 64's Max Erwin received the CEO Commendation for his work on the North Coast. The CEO Commendation Award is a distinctive award given to an individual who displays extraordinary dedication to duty and strength of purpose in pursuit of saving lives on the water.  

Max Erwin

The work of four members of Lax Kw'alaams Station 65 was recognized with Reuben Dennis, James Henry, Darrin Tait and Keith Wesley all celebrated for their Long Service of 25 years.

Reuben Dennis

James Henry

Darrin Tait 
Keith Wesley

In Kitimat, Station 63 member Duncan Peacock was also recognized for his lengthy time in service receiving the accolades for 30 years on the waters of the British Columbia Coast.

Duncan Peacock

On Haida Gwaii Chris Ashurst of Station 45 at Masset was awarded the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Administrative Award of Excellence.

Chris Ashurst

The weekend virtual event as seen from the photos above, was shared through the Royal Canadian Marine Facebook Page, which provided more background to the celebration of the work of over 40 members of the Marine service in the province. 

The Awards were organized by the RCM SAR Board and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria.

Volunteers of the RCMSAR provide service along the BC coast at more than 30 stations, ready to respond to any marine emergency that they are dispatched for.

Included in the tribute were some words from Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin who paid tribute to the volunteers and the leadership that they show across the province.

You can review the photos and notes of the weekend from Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue here.

For more notes related to the work of Emergency Responders in the Northwest and on Haida Gwaii see our archive page here.

Taylor Bachrach heads back to Ottawa with a repeat election victory; but much to consider from the Monday night vote results

The NDP's Taylor Bachrach has been elected in Skeena-Bulkley Valley
though with just 42 percent of the vote he will have to look for ways to
find some common ground with a significant amount of voters that
supported other candidates in the 2021 campaign
(Photo from Skeena-BV NDP FB Page)

After five weeks of campaigning, more than a few trips across the vast expanse of Skeena Bulkley Valley for most of the candidates and a few debates along the way, the voters took charge of the final day for Election 2021.

The decision from them after leaving the polling booth serving to return the NDP's Taylor Bachrach to his post in Ottawa, though the count was one which could have been very different when you add up the support for two candidates that made for a significant story on the night and a result that leaves much to give some thought about in the post election days. 

While he held the lead for much of the evening, the NDP candidate and incumbent MP claimed his victory with a short social media message shortly after 11:30 on Monday evening.

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley contest was a replay of 2019 for the most part with Mr. Bachrach and Conservative candidate Claire Rattée the two top vote getters, candidates who saw less votes in this campaign, yet improved on their percentage of the vote from two years ago.

Though for the Conservative candidate the vote count and the night both ended with a snapshot of what could have been.

2021 Skeena Bulkley Valley results
click to enlarge

There were two spoilers on the night for the Conservative ambitions for a steal of the Skeena Bulkley Valley seat from the NDP one from the campaign of Jody Craven of the People's Party of Canada. 

The returning candidate for the PPC claimed 7.9 percent of the vote, while Lakhwinder Jhaj the acclaimed Liberal candidate from the Fraser Valley also managed to gain the support of 7.8 percent of voters.

The latter vote count a puzzling one, considering the candidate spent little time in the riding, didn't really speak to many of its issues and had virtually no ground organization to get out a vote.

Still Brand loyalty is seemingly a strong thing, though the Liberals did lose close to four percent of the vote from 2019. 

Something which should serve as a warning to the party to perhaps dig a little deeper into understanding the riding whenever the next vote comes along and finding someone within its actual electoral boundaries to carry the flag.

Results for Skeena Bulkley Valley in 2015 and 2019
click to enlarge

While the NDP won the riding on the night, the bigger story may be the rise of the People's Party in Skeena Bulkley Valley, with Mr. Craven seemingly tapping into some of the division and frustration in the region to claim his near eight percent vote count, a volume of voters that very well may have put the Conservatives over the top had the PPC not existed.

Whether that voter support will last beyond the current times of pandemic frustration and in some cases outright anger will be a current of political direction to keep an eye on.  

On the other end of the vote count spectrum, Adeana Young of the Green Party saw some significant declines in this campaign, the party dropping some four percent from two years ago; a vote decline that was mirrored in many communities across the nation, that in the wake of the Green's highly public internal troubles.

The final candidate, the Christian Heritage Party's Rod Taylor did not seem to resonate much actually losing votes from what he had two years ago, some of whom may have found common ground with Mr. Craven for this campaign.

With his victory, Mr. Bachrach will return to Ottawa very much the MP of a riding with a very prominent split in how its residents view what government should be and what an MP should deliver to the constituents.

He will need to find some balance to represent divergent views and in some cases that will be a gulf impossible to bridge. 

But somewhere in the middle of the very prominent  left - right fracture in the riding is a place for at least a discussion on what's best for the constituency with those who chose other candidates on the night and a need to serve as an MP who will represent all of those in the riding in the House.

The overall voter turnout was 35,445 of 67,453 registered voters, which will be  a vote count that is down significantly from those results of 2019 and 2015 before it. 

Another warning for politicians that the need to engage Canadians with the electoral process needs some work.

Still to be released is the breakdown by polling district, which will provide us with a glimpse as to how the Prince Rupert area vote was split up as the vote came in and what the participation rate was in the city.

Those numbers will be released in the days to come by Elections Canada.

Nationally little changed over the last five weeks, the Conservatives won the largest volume of votes, but once again came up well short on seat count, a result which has returned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to office with a reduced minority government.

The NDP gained seats and will have a bit more pull in the next House of Commons, as will the Bloc Quebecois which managed to reverse the projections of serious loses to basically holding their vote from 2019.

While making a lot of noise across the Country, at the end of the night the People's Party while clearly having an impact on the seat count for many ridings, still came up with no seats in the next House of Commons and no platform for leader Maxime Bernier who failed to win his Quebec riding.

The Green Party will return two MPs as of the count tonight, but saw their leader Annamie Paul also go down to defeat.

Some of the stats may change in the next few days as recounts and mail in ballots are counted, but those slight modifications won't change the final verdict on the night, that of returning the Prime Minister to his job, but with a stern message from the electorate that perhaps he should have left well enough alone back in August.

You can review some of the notes on the national scene from our political blog D'Arcy McGee.

As the post-mortem on the Skeena-Bulkley Valley vote comes in over the next few days you can find those notes on our 2021 Election archive page.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Housing and property themes a plenty tonight as Council explores range of initiatives

It will be a strong focus on properties, housing and commercial development at tonight's Prince Rupert City Council session with a large list of items on the Agenda for consideration.

Earlier today we noted of the release of some answers to the questions that participants had at the Lax Kw'alaams Housing proposal Public Hearing held in August, the latest notes to serve as homework for those with an interest in the proposed development for whenever City Council restarts the clock on the Public Hearing process.

Yet there is more up for review tonight, with Council set to receive some research on the theme of Local Service Area initiatives, a topic introduced in the past by Council which could see the city and area residents sharing the cost of area improvements to some infrastructure elements.

How that may come about is part of a report for Council from Richard Pucci the Director of Operations and Intergovernmental Relations.

The full documentation for that can be found as part of the Council Agenda on page 10 .

Council will also review a report from Contract Planner Rob Buchan, the topic one which will make the case for waiving the fees for all residential rezoning, Development Permit and Building permit applications for a period of one year until October 1st of 2022.

The recommendations which came out of a housing workshop which Mr. Buchan notes: 

"Presents a robust and ambitious set of actions that are intended to address the local housing challenge. Most of these actions do not require additional budget funding. Council’s consideration of the financial impact of utility billing is requested."

The report and its background elements can be reviewed below:

That report is available from tonight's Agenda on page 47.

For an overview of all of what should be a very active City Council session tonight, see our Council preview tonight

With the city now moving back to a reduced access for the public at Council Sessions, there will be no in Chamber attendance allowed for the session tonight, which you can view from the City's Video feed here.

City Council to consider Five year Tax Exemption for new Lax Kw'alaams Community Hall at tonight's Council session

With renovations complete, the new Lax Kw'alaams community
facility has started its operations. Tonight Prince Rupert
City Council will consider a five year tax exemption as part of
the City's downtown development incentive plans

The newest community space in the downtown area will be the topic of discussion for Prince Rupert City Council tonight, as the topic of providing Tax Exempt status for five years for the Lax Kw'alaams Hall on Third Avenue West comes up for discussion.

In a report for Council to be reviewed tonight, Corinne Bomben, the Chief Financial Officer for the City outlines the nature of the Tax Exemption Policy related to the City's desire to incentivize development in the downtown core area and how the Lax Kw'alaams Facility falls under those guidelines.

The full overview of her report and the Agreement between Lax Kw'alaams Holdings and the City of Prince Rupert can be reviewed from the City's Agenda Package for tonights session starting on Page 32 .

More on the city's incentive plans towards downtown development can be found form out notes of February 5th.

Other elements of the city's financial themes can be reviewed from our archive page here.

A wider overview of tonight's Council Session can be examined from our Council Preview page.

City Council to lay down the foundation to tackling issue of Renovictions at tonights Council session

Property owners in Prince Rupert and those that may be facing eviction from their apartments in the near future, may want to keep up with how an initiative from tonight's Prince Rupert City Council session moves forward.

In a report for Council to be reviewed by Council tonight, the city's contract planner Rob Buchan will provide for some notes on how the city may wish to address the current issue of Renovictions in the city, with the Foundation of a Business Regulations and Licensing (Renovation) Bylaw to be outlined.

The introduction to the report which you can review below, highlights the standards that the city could put in place as a way to regulate evictions by landlords planning to renovate or repair their rental properties.

The full overview of the 20 page document and bylaw provisions can be explored from the City's Agenda for tonights session starting on page.

Council members will have opportunity to discuss the document and move forward on its recommendations as part of their work this evening.

The lack of affordable housing in the community and the rising pace of renovictions in Prince Rupert continues to put extreme pressure on those in the region looking for a place to live and has become one of the most concerning issues for City Council to deal with in the last few years.

You can review some of those themes from our Housing archive page here.

For more notes on tonight's Prince Rupert Council Session see our preview here.