Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Kootenay Avenue work serves as a reminder of unfinished business on housing for Prince Rupert City Council


There appears to be some preliminary work underway along the eastern end of Kootenay Avenue with yellow fencing up around a few blocks of unoccupied townhomes and materials being carted out from the site.

The recent burst of activity in the McKay/Kootenay area does serve to remind local residents that there has yet to be any follow up from Prince Rupert council on the fate of a proposed redevelopment for the area. 

A proposal for additional housing for the area that was introduced in the Spring of 2020 and since has seemingly been put on pause over the summer and into the fall and winter after a range of concerns from area residents.

The last update on the Kootenay plans from City Council coming from the lost Council session of October 26th, a public session which owing to technical difficulties did not get broadcast or added to the City's video archive.

The synopsis from the City noting that a Public Hearing was still planned, but no date yet confirmed towards it.

Prince Rupert City Council synopsis from the Oct 26 2020 session

The Kootenay proposal when introduced back in May of 2020 included redevelopment of the stretch of Kootenay to include a 55 unit multi family residential development.


City Council appears to be accumulating a list of areas where Public Hearings or information sessions have been promised, but so far owing to COVID, have not yet been delivered on. 

Something that would appear to be slowing down Council's ambitious goals towards increasing housing stock in the community.

The City also continues to move forward on housing themes without an actual planning department in place, having bid farewell to Zeno Krekic in 2020, with no indication yet if there are any plans to fill the vacant position, or to increase in-house civic staff for planning issues.

So far in 2021, while City Council has identified Housing as one of its key priorities for the future, the fate of the Kootenay plans have yet to be reintroduced in the public forum for further review, or even to offer an update on the status of what's ahead for the area.

To catch up on the past plans, some of the past chapters of the now long running housing story for the west side can be reviewed below:

2020

September 16 -- BC Housing's Kootenay Avenue plans to come back to Council later this year, following proponent's 'adjustment's
September 14 -- BC Housing plans for Kootenay Avenue set for forward progress tonight
August 13 -- Kootenay Avenue housing plans now up for neighbourhood consultation
June 24 -- Kootenay/McKay area residents await roll out of information on Housing proposal
May 27 -- Council to use Second reading of zoning amendment for a review towards need for a Public Hearing on Kootenay Social Housing proposal
May 25 -- Kootenay Avenue site proposed for new 55 unit multi family residential development

For more notes related to Housing in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

A wider overview of past Council discussion themes can be explored here.


Prince Rupert yet to hit the ice in annual Kraft Hockeyville competition


With a new NHL season having hit the ice, the annual competition to discover the next Kraft Hockeyville is now underway, the popular community building project one that attracts interest from across Canada. 

The lure of funding for local rink improvements and a chance to one day host an NHL game stoking the imaginations of many and making for a wide range of creative approaches to gain votes.

The competition now in its 15th year got underway at the start of January, since the porject first was created back in 2006, arena upgrades have come  to communities across the nation, among them Terrace, which was named Hockeyville back in 2009.



For the 2021 edition, the path forward looks like this.

With the first phase underway now with nominations and community message making currently the focus from coast to coast to coast ... except it seems in Prince Rupert, where so far, the quest for Hockeyville is still quite muted.


As of today, the Kraft Hockeyville website continues to note that the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre still needs a nomination.


To get things rolling, those in Prince Rupert with an interest in chasing the puck can explore the community page options here.

You can follow the competition from the Kraft Hockeyville website.

The nomination period for this years competition comes to an end on February 14th

For more CommunityNotes on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Prince Rupert's Fishermen's Hall has seen its last labour battle

Now Under New ownership! UFAWU-Unifor has announced
that the Fisherman's Hall in Prince Rupert has been sold

The long time home of the labour movement in Prince Rupert has changed hands, with UFAWU-Unifor confirming through their social media feed this month that the Fisherman's Hall on Fraser Street has been sold.

The building which had been on the market since the Spring of 2019  was reported as sold by the local office of UFAWU-Unifor on January 12th.  

The building in the end continued to serve the community when it was needed the most, most recently as a temporary stop for the homeless, with Fishermen's Hall serving as a transitional homeless shelter, that while the now permaenent facility at Five Corners was prepared for use.

At that time it was the Hall that stepped in to fill an emergency need for the North Coast Transition Society, when no one else it seemed was interested in taking on the challenge that had been presented to the community. 

That part of its evolution, as well as many other key moments in time, made for a thumbnail sketch of its storied history included in the  Facebook post.


As was noted in their social media review, the Fishermen's Hall building was indeed the physical presence of the labour movement in the community, with a range of labour gatherings held in the Fraser Street Hall through the years, the Hall a location that served as many a starting point for local labour marches that wound through the city when the calls for action were issued.

The building has more recently also served as the focal point for the fight for affordable housing in the community, with the venue hosting a number of meetings to address eviction concerns in the city.

It will also hold many memories for the social events, receptions and Karate Club events that also made for its place in the fabric of the community.

The decline of the North Coast Fishery and growing costs of building maintenance eventually combined to make for a hard decision to bid farewell to their home, though the current operations for UFAWU-Unifor continue to be in place, with a new office location in the plans.

For now the local union officials are working from home and continue to advocate for those still involved in the North Coast fishing industry.

The new ownership has not been identified as of yet; nor is there any indication as to the fate for the long serving gathering spot on Fraser Street.

For more notes related to the Fishery see our archive page here.


Airport survey highlights importance of airport to community for respondents; local businesses say they will adapt to current situation

YPR's entry to the apron at Digby Island

The Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce has released the data compiled from their recent online survey, receiving over 350 responses to their questionnaire that was created following the suspension of Air Canada service earlier this month.

As we outlined on January 15th, the online consultation explored a range of themes related to air travel to and from Prince Rupert.

The highlights from the community pulse taking noted by the Chamber included a look at airport usage in the community, which observed of a significant decline in the volume of air travel in the community during the last year of COVID, compared to the results found in the period previous to March 2020.

When it comes to personal trips, during the last year 66 percent of those who replied said they had not used the Prince Rupert Airport

Previous to COVID 41 percent of the respondent noted that they had not used the airport in the last 12 months.

Business travel has taken the largest hit from COVID, with 83 recent of respondents noting that they have not flown out of Prince Rupert on business, pre covid 50 recent of the respondent noted that had not used YPR.

The breakdown on travel is further explored below:


Two key questions provided a snapshot of how the community views the airport and the suspension of air service to and from it.

The first noting that a large number of those who replied, 73.6 percent believe it's important to have an airport in the community, while ten  percent of the survey participants did not feel having access to a local airport was important.

When it comes to the discontinuation of services currently in place and how it will impact on local business,  39 percent of business owners stated that the closure would have a low impact on their operations, while 27 percent view the suspension of service as having a high impact.


The results also outlined how respondents view the current suspension of service and how it will most have an effect on their day to day experiences.

The key concerns of respondents focused on road conditions and the sense of isolation that the suspension of air service will bring, with impact on local economy, lost revenue to the Terrace airport and concerns over how the suspended service will impact on area medical requirements all claiming some of the survey findings.



A link to the Chamber's full overview on the airport survey is expected to be posted to their Facebook page later today.

For a look back at the suspension of service and other themes on aviation see our archive page here.

Monday, January 25, 2021

COVID case count rises to 1,344 with 26 deaths recorded from Friday through Sunday


Another weekend of high care reports came from the three day totals from Friday to Sunday, with Doctor Bonnie Henry relaying news of 1,344 new cases of the coronavirus, along with the sad news of another 26 passings from COVID.

The Monday report from the Doctor and Health Minister Adrian Dix, which streamed live across the province, also outlined a changed in the vaccination policy owing to a sharp reduction in the volume of vaccines that the province will realize in February.

With the Doctor announcing that a second shot for those who have been vaccinated will now be delayed to 42 days owing to the supply issues.

“Today, we are reporting on three periods: Jan. 22 to 23 we had 527 new cases, Jan. 23 to 24 we had 471 new cases and in the last 24 hours we had a further 346 new cases. 


This results in a total of 1,344 new cases, including three epi-linked cases, for a total of 64,828 cases in British Columbia. 

There are 4,392 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 328 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation. 

Currently, 6,607 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 57,831 people who tested positive have recovered. 

There have been 26 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,154 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Across the Province, the weekend results from the regional Health Authorities was as follows:

314 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 618 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 73 in the Island Health region, 234 in the Interior Health region, 104 in the Northern Health region, that brings the total number of cases in the Northern Region to 3,213 cases , since the virus first arrived in Canada one year ago.

There was also one new case of COVID reported for a person in British Columbia who resides outside of Canada. 

To date when it comes tot vaccination program British Columbia has reported 119,850 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 3,193 of which are second doses. 

"As a result of the limited supply of vaccine in the next two weeks, we will be delaying second doses until day 42, until we have assurance that vaccine supply has fully resumed. This is about doing our best to give as many people as possible the protection of a first dose." 

Towards the still high numbers in BC, the two health officials offered up some additional guidance for British Columbians and a request to continue to do what needs to be done to reduce the curve of COVID.

“In the last couple of weeks, we have plateaued at about 500 new cases of COVID-19 a day. And, while the number of long-term care outbreaks has slowed, we continue to see new outbreaks in hospitals and in the community. 

This may seem stable to some, but it is a precarious situation for all of us. This shows us that while we are slowing the spread in long-term care, the risks remain high because the virus continues to circulate in our communities. 

We are at the threshold of where we were in November when cases started rapidly escalating, and we need to put a stop to this before more people become severely ill and our health-care system faces even more strain. 

Getting to the brighter days, easing the public health restrictions in our province relies on what we do now. That is why we need your help."




BC CDC data for British Columbia as of January 25 2021

BC CDC data for Northern BC as of January 25 2021

The BC Centre for Disease control has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:


Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.   

Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, those past advisories  can be reviewed here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee


Ottawa Observations


Victoria Viewpoints

 




Northern Health Update on Acropolis notes 20 residents and 12 staff members now have tested positive for COVID-19

The roll call of positive cases has continued upward at Acropolis Manor, with Northern Health issuing a new information statement today noting that the latest count is 20 residents and 12 staff members at the Manor now having tested positive for COVID-19.

In the advisory, Northern Health notes that it continues to take steps to protect the health of all Acropolis Manor staff and residents. 

Enhanced control measures are in place, as well as additional supports for the facility with outbreak management, answering questions and supporting virtual visits for residents and families, and to provide active checks of symptoms with staff and residents.

Among some of those enhanced control measures are:

Increased screening for all staff and residents
Cleaning and infection control measures have been enhanced
Staff and resident movement in the facility has been restricted
Temporary suspension of social visits (essential visits are not impacted, and are continuing)

As part of their response, Northern Health is continuing to communicate with staff, residents and families.

Today's update marks the second official advisory issued since the outbreak was declared on January 19th.

You can review Northern Health's statement here.

For more notes on Health Care in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

A wider overview for Northwest BC can be explored here.

COVID cancels out Curling in Prince Rupert for rest of season

The parking lot at Seal Cove hosting the Prince Rupert
Curling Club will remain empty for the rest of the season,
as the club suspends its on ice activities owing to COVID

With extended COVID-19 restrictions now in place, the Prince Rupert Curling Club has made the call to suspend the rest of the curling season.

In a notice posted to the Prince Rupert Curling Club's Facebook page earlier this month, it was noted that the extension of the restrictions for participation in the sport, with no guarantee that they may be lifted moving into next month, put the Club in a situation requiring a decision on the rest of the season.

As they outline in the advisory, keeping the ice plant operation with no ability to generate further funds was not something they found financially viable.

You can review the full advisory here.

The Curling Club had returned to the ice in the fall with a new ice plant and hopes that some of the challenges of the year prior would be in the past, however as the pace of COVID accelerated and the measures from the provincial government expanded, the chance for a return to curling for local enthusiasts will now be delayed until the fall.

To keep up on items of notice from the Curling Club follow their social media feed or their website.

Notes on Curling in the Northwest can be reviewed here.