Friday, January 31, 2014

Rampage look to bring River Kings season to an end this weekend

In a short three game series, having the first win in your pocket is about as good as it can get heading into the opposition rink.

And that's the scenario that the Prince Rupert Rampage secured for themselves last weekend with their thrilling 3-2 last minute victory over the Terrace River Kings.

The two teams finish off their best of three series this weekend, when the Rampage travel to Terrace for Game Two on Saturday night, where they will be looking to bring the River Kings season to an end.

Should Terrace recover from last weeks setback, then the stage will be set for a one game showdown on Sunday afternoon to advance in the CIHL playoffs.

The Rampage will be heading into Saturday night's game with no shortage of confidence, having answered the River King challenge last weekend, first jumping out to an early lead and then battling back to claim the victory in the last minute of play.

Beyond the victory, the Rampage also held their composure in a physical final two periods, a level headed approach to the game that paid dividends with the power play opportunity that delivered them a victory.

No doubt Saturday will once again be a physical affair as the hometown River Kings look to bounce
back and salvage what had been a pretty impressive late season run.

This weekend the Rampage will once again be looking for continued offence from Devin Palmer, who had a three point night last Saturday.

His work in game one placed Palmer in the top three rankings of the playoff scoring race for this playoff season.

As well, the top Rampage scorers of the regular season of Kory Movold, Jared Meers and Craig Munro will be looking to find their range as the team takes to the Terrace ice.

Saturday nights puck drop is 8 PM at the Terrace Arena, should the series go the distance to a game three, the two teams will return to the ice on a short rest, with Sunday's face off, if required scheduled for 1:30 PM.

Other CIHL playoff match ups this weekend feature Lac La Hache at Williams Lake, Houston at Quesnel and Kitimat taking on the Smithers Steelheads.

You can find more on the CIHL Playoff Brackets here.

You can review the Rampage results and stats from 2013-14 here, our past review of game action and items of note from around the CIHL can be found here.

Prince Rupert's Wheelhouse Brewing Company featured in Vancouver Province Beer Blog's guide to 2014

The Vancouver Province's Beer Blog The Brewed Awakening, has laid out a listing of some of the craft beer establishments that have caught their eye for 2014 and lift their glass towards a Prince Rupert establishment.

As part of a review of the explosion in craft beer production in BC from last year and looking ahead to 2014, author Jan Zeschky outlines that thirteen new establishments are set to join the nine of last year in a grabbing their share of the competitive marketplace.

By Zeschky's count that brings the number of craft breweries in BC to Seventy six operations, a collection with as many different themes as they have product lines.

The list takes us over a wide range of BC's geography, from the Okanagan to Vancouver Island  and up into NorthWestern British Columbia.

Locations where the breweries are setting up shop in both small towns and larger cities.

The Wheelhouse Brewing Company which opened in December,  joins the listing with an emphasis on the success of their Gillnetter Golden Ale, Flagship Pale Ale and Blacksmith Brown Ale brands.

The snapshot review also points out the Tasting room at the Wheelhouse and their line up of keg, bottle and growler options. They provide the latest information on their 1st Avenue location through their facebook page and twitter feed.

We have more about the Wheelhouse Brewing Company from our blog item of December

The Wheelhouse will soon have a Northwest companion in the brewing world, in the blog posting is a preview of what Terrace's Skeena Brewing Company has planned for it's location, which is expected to open by the fall.

The full review on the craft brewing industry can be found at the Brewed Awakening blog

Vancouver Aquarium's North Coast Initiative to host Open House February 5th

Next week, North Coast residents can learn more about the work of the Vancouver Aquarium's North Coast Initiative, as the new field office that has been set up in Prince Rupert, hosts an Information Session and Open House on February 5th.

The session will take place at 7 PM at Room 184 of Northwest Community College, and offers an opportunity for residents to learn more about their work and find out how they can become engaged in the research of  the waters of the North Coast.

The project has a very scientific name for unfamiliar marine observers to try to wrap their tongues around, that of Cetacean Research Program. 

It's an initiative that has already been very busy, through the study of whales transiting through North Coast waters. You can catch up to some of their work through their facebook page, which provides some fascinating photography and videos  of the close up observation of the Marine Mammals. 

The North Coast Initiative hopes to not only learn more about the cetaceans in the area, but provide outreach, education and training with North Coast residents. 

Rainmaker recognition in BC High School Rankings for January 29th

For the third time in January, the Charles Hays Rainmakers have found themselves listed in the company of the top schools in British Columbia High School Basketball.

On Wednesday, the Vancouver Province produced their weekly Top Ten rankings of the various levels of High School Basketball including the AAA level which the Rainmakers compete in.

From their work this month, the Rainmakers were given another honourable mention, just below the breakthrough mark of the listings which feature some of the well known schools of Vancouver basketball.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this month, the Rainmakers received a similar review two weeks ago as they arrived for a Pitt Meadows Tournament.

That tournament marked their second journey to the Lower Mainland in this current basketball season. Games which have provided Mel Bishop's team with the opportunity to test themselves against some of the top calibre teams in the Province.

In December the team participated in the North Shore Invitational Tournament in North and West Vancouver.

With just a few more weeks to go towards the lead up to the March Provincials, the Rainmakers will be looking to continue on with their winning ways and make the adjustments that could find them success at the Provincials in Langley.

The review of the latest provincial rankings from the Province can be found here.

Previous rankings for January can be found below

January 22
January 15

The Rainmakers are in action this weekend hosting a tournament featuring teams from across the Northwest. With Kitimat, Smithers,Terrace and Queen Charlotte Secondary all in town over the course of three days,

Tip off Friday night features Queen Charlotte playing Terrace, followed by Charles Hays and Kitimat.

Saturday's action starts off with a 10 AM match up between Terrace and Kitimat, The Rainmakers take on Smithers at 11:30, Smithers then has to play Queen Charlotte at 2 PM, the day wraps up with Charles Hays and Queen Charlotte on the court for the Saturday finale.

Sunday has one game on the tournament schedule with the Rainmakers and Queen Charlotte again taking to the court.

Times for the two Charles Hays and Queen Charlotte games will be available when posted at the Charles Hays Secondary School Gym.

As we outlined yesterday on the blog, the Queen Charlotte Saints have been attracting a fair amount of attention from Vancouver basketball followers of late, you can learn more about that here.

We have more on the Rainmakers season so far, as well as items of note on High School Basketball in the Northwest on our archive page.

Prince Rupert resident faces multiple charges after crime spree in Prince George

Some people go to Prince George for the shopping, others it seems, have different plans upon arrival in the interior city.

Prince George media outlets are reporting on a lengthy list of charges facing a one time Prince Rupert resident, Anthony Halmut Pfrang, who has charges of assaulting a peace officer and resisting arrest among his worries this week. 

He is to appear at the Prince George courts regarding eight charges to be laid in connection with a number of offences, reported to have taken place in both Prince George and Vanderhoof over the last few weeks.

Prince George RCMP arrested him on Tuesday and as the investigation continues more charges are reported to be possible.

More background on the incidents can be found below.

Prince George Citizen-- Rupert man faces slew of charges
Prince George Free Press-- Prince Rupert man charged with crimes in Prince George and Cluculz Lake
Prince George HQ-- Prince Rupert man arrested for PG and Vanderhoof crimes
Opinion 250-- Prince Rupert Man Charged in Local Crime Spree

Nathan Cullen Expands on LNG discussion points

With NDP MP Nathan Cullen preparing to relaunch his "Let's Talk LNG" Discussion session in the Northwest,  the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley has delivered to his constituents some more material to review on the theme.

"The rise of LNG in the Northwest is an opportunity to broaden the conversation, and to remind governments and industry of what we all want: a  smart approach to resource development. One that respects people as citizens, not as some inconvenience who just happen to "be in the way". -- NDP MP Nathan Cullen, from his "Getting things right LNG household mailer

In a household mailer arriving in Northwest mailboxes this week, Mr. Cullen has provided two pages of talking points on the theme of "Getting Things Right when it comes to LNG", outlining the NDP vision on energy production in Canada.

Included in that vision statement:

Sustainability: to make sure that polluters pay for the pollution they create instead of leaving those costs to the next generation and the public at large.

Partnership: communities and First Nations should all benefit from resource development and the value-added jobs they bring us here in Canada.

And, most importantly long term prosperity: the time to invest in modern, clean energy energy is now. This keeps Canada on the cutting edge of energy development.

Towards the discussion on regional development, Mr. Cullen reviews his commitment to making sure communities are consulted and voices are heard.  Adding that, any development projects need to have the social licence from the people who live there.

As we outlined on the blog back in the fall, Mr. Cullen first introduced that concept of the Social Licence in a previous household mailer, you can review the point by point on that proposal here.

The MP resumes his Let's Talk LNG discussion tour in February, with a pair of make up dates from the first round of the fall.  Mr. Cullen takes the tour to Smithers on February 19th and Prince Rupert on February 20th. Previously scheduled sessions in the fall had to be re-scheduled owing to conflicting schedules of the participants.

More on what his Let's Talk LNG project is all about can be found on the MP's website.

For those that have not received the mailer this week, or perhaps somehow put to the recycling pile, a  version of the latest talking points can be reviewed from the items below.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Haida Gwaii Basketball team gaining notice in Vancouver and beyond

Photo from Vcr Province story

The story of the Queen Charlotte Secondary School Basketball program is spreading beyond the islands of Haida Gwaii.

The High School Basketball team which is competing in the ultra competitive AAAA circuit this year, has been profiled in the Vancouver Province this week. As Howard Tsumura, the Province's Basketball reporter examines why a small school on a distant island off the North Coast, is taking on and in many cases succeeding, against the largest of schools of the lower mainland.

As we outlined on the blog in December, both Queen Charlotte Secondary and Prince Rupert's Charles Hays were involved in a high profile North Vancouver tournament, with both teams gaining notice from the southern media. At that December tournament, the Queen Charlotte Saints were winners of the consolation round.

The Saints followed that tournament up with another journey to the Lower Mainland in January, this time to challenge some of the AAAA squads of the region. A successful trip which, provided for five wins and one loss against some of the top teams in Vancouver Basketball.

All of that exposure down south is making for a fairly high profile now, with word of the story of the Saints spreading across BC and indeed beyond the provincial borders. This week, they went national, as the Province story gained distribution through the news feed.

In one instance, the accolades have stretched as far as to Mike Halford's twitter feed. With the correspondent for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk giving a shout out to Tsumura's article and the program at Queen Charlotte Secondary.

You can review the Province article here.

It's a fascinating look at the program that the Saints are running and a great story that provides a glimpse into the competitive nature of basketball on Haida Gwaii, as the School makes its preparations for British Columbia Basketball's Big Show of  the Provincials set for Langley in March.

Getting to that tournament however, is becoming a bit of a discussion point on Haida Gwaii.

With the School Board declining to approve the trip to provincials for the moment, while they sort our some other issues regarding a planned side trip to the Junior All Native Tournament scheduled in Kamloops during Spring Break.

You can learn more about that issue from the Haida Gwaii Observer article on the topic.

Considering the success of the program and the work that the coaches and students have put into this year's challenging schedule, one imagines that at some point an agreement on the outstanding issues will come together, and the Saints will be making their plans for Langley.

Once there, and based on their play so far in 2013-14 they could become a larger story for the Province when they wrap up their Provincials coverage in March.

You can review more of our items of note on High School Basketball in the Northwest and Haida Gwaii from our archive page.

Guns and Hoses Charity Game set for February 1st

Prince Rupert's long running on ice rivalry between the RCMP and Prince Rupert Fire Rescue is set for another chapter, with the Guns and Hoses Charity Game scheduled for the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on Saturday, February 1st.

The very popular event usually attracts a large crowd at the Jim and provides for a hefty contribution to charity. Proceeds from this years event will be donated to benefit the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.

This year's game is being dedicated to the memory  of Butch Duffy, the long time Prince Rupert firefighter who passed away in the fall of 2013. The Tournament to be known as the Butch Duffy Memorial Charity Hockey Game takes to the ice at 7 PM.

Admission is by donation and  a number of prizes will be given away during the course of the showdown, included in the night is the chance to take your share of the 50/50 draw.

You can learn more about the tournament and other items of note from the Prince Rupert Firefighters from their facebook page

City hosts Community Service Providers Open House this Friday

An opportunity for the public to learn more about some of the community services available in Prince Rupert takes place this Friday, as the City of Prince Rupert opens up the Auditorium at the Civic Centre to an Information Fair of sorts.

The afternoon session is designed to provide the public with a chance to put a face to some of the services in the community that they may have heard about, but don't know very much as to what they provide in the region, or how residents may qualify for their offerings.

Among some of the participants at the Community Service Providers Open House will be those groups or services that offer counselling, health, employment, training and support services.

At the same time, the City will be seeking input from the community on some of those services and what residents wish to see in place in Prince Rupert.

The Open House runs from 1 PM to 3 PM.

Those looking for more information on the afternoon's event can contact the city at 250 - 627 - 0934

CityWest to align its billing system by doubling the Amount Due from customers for March

For some customers of the Prince Rupert based communication company CityWest, March may prove to be a very expensive month for budgeting their communication needs.

In a letter to Customers dated January 24th, CityWest outlined the nature of some changes ahead to their billing procedures for Telephone and DSL Internet services.

At the moment, customers currently receive a bill for the previous months service.

However, beginning in March, the company will be changing the billing process to reconfigure the system to bill for the current month of service.

Which means, when they make the changeover on March 1st, Customers of DSL and Telephone services will be receiving a bill for February and March, as a one time charge combining the two months, which for some residents and depending on the services they use, could provide a hefty bill to be paid.

In their letter to customers,  CityWest reviewed some of the reasons behind the changeover.

The main aspect being the introduction of a new billing system and the desire to have all CityWest services billed the same way. 

CityWest also outlines how the new monthly statement will then be easier to read, adding that the new format for billing is considered the industry practice.

With the new billing system on stream in March, the April bill will return to the monetary level that customers have become accustomed to.

However, customers who now will be facing the double dip for March, might wonder why CityWest didn't spread out the burden of the changeover over say a six month period. Breaking the amount for February into smaller portions for their bill, and spreading that out over a longer period, lessening the impact on the consumer.

That might have been a customer friendly approach to the process, one that would have found favour with the community and ease the burden that CityWest has suddenly delivered as a bit of a surprise way to their Valued customers.

For those that may have difficulties in meeting the added financial demand of the March payment, CityWest offers up the advice to contact the CityWest credit department at 250-627-0947 to make payment arrangements.

The correspondence wraps up with CityWest outlining that they are confident that the changes will be beneficial to the customer in the long run. But neither the letter, or the information posted to their website, provides any background on what benefits this change will provide for.

A full review of the mailer to Customers can be found from the CityWest website

Property Assessment Appeal Period almost at end

The period for homeowners to file a Notice of Complaint (appeal) of their property assessments is almost up, with January 31st the last day for a filing of an appeal to be made.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this month, BC Assessment BC mailed out their latest assessment of properties across the Northwest in the first week of January, an assessment which saw a number of Prince Rupert properties increase in assessed value with the Prince Rupert increases averaging around 9 per cent.

The average valuation for Prince Rupert increased by 16,000 dollars from 2013. Port Edward residents saw a slight decrease of 4.5 percent for 2014.

For those that believe their assessment was a little off the mark, there has been almost a one month period to make contact with Assessments BC to file their appeal.

The form to submit an Notice of Complaint (appeal) can be found here.

From there your appeal will move on to the Review panel phase, that process is explained in full here.

You can learn more about the BC Assessment process from their website.

There is more information on developments in the Housing and Real Estate sectors available in our Real Estate/Housing archive.

BG Group gets closer to opening of downtown office

Former Mayor Herb Pond may soon have a place to hang his jacket up, as the BG Group moves into downtown offices in Prince Rupert in February.

Mr. Pond, the Community Relations Advisor for the BG Group's Prince Rupert LNG project will be moving the local operation into a 1200 square foot office at 610 Second Avenue West, a location that the company hopes residents will use as a one-stop destination to learn more about the BG Group's proposed LNG development on Ridley Island.

Some of the features of the new office will be storyboards that provide a timeline of the project as well as maps, models and renderings of the proposed project, as that timeline moves forward.

As well, information about the process and progress of the project will be available from the new office location.

Rupert Wood and Steel have been handling the remodelling efforts in the new location, refitting the office space to make it a centre point of the BG Group's community outreach in Prince Rupert.

Until the doors officially open in February, those looking for the latest details on the Prince Rupert LNG project can learn more from their website.

We have a larger overview of all of the LNG development on the North Coast available on our LNG Archive page.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CityWest announces cutoff date for Cellular service

Current users of the CityWest cellular network are on notice, the Prince Rupert based communications company plans to turn off the cellular network on March 1st.

As we outlined on the blog in December, the planned departure from the cellular service market was announced as part of a redirection of corporate energies for CityWest.

With the local communication provider giving customers with a nudge towards Telus, which has set up a kiosk in the CityWest building on Third Avenue West.

That nudge, judging by an advertisement in the weekly paper, has turned into more of a shout from the roof of the Third Avenue building.  With CityWest providing  an advisory in BIG BLACK type for their soon to be orphaned customer base.

"We strongly recommend you visit the TELUS store as soon as possible to ensure no disruption to your services."

No update has been provided as of yet to the CityWest website, a portal which CityWest doesn't seem to utilize as much as it should in providing information on services to the community.

Their newspaper ad suggests that  CityWest customers who may have any questions should contact a CityWest customer service operator at 250-624-2111

We have more the communications sector in the Northwest on our archive page.

Prince Rupert Port Authority Expands popular Environmental incentive program

A dedication towards sustainable shipping is proving to be a rewarding to shippers through the Port of Prince Rupert.

And for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the Green Wave Initiative is paying dividends as well, as word of their efforts spreads and the accolades begin to come in.

The Green Wave program was introduced earlier this month, building on the strength of the 2013 Environmental Incentive Program for Vessels.

That project (which we reviewed on the blog last summer) was very much an instant success and set the template for this years expansion.

This year the Port Authority has increased the scope of it's efforts in environmental stewardship, including more qualification standards for arriving vessels that provide consistency across the global shipping industry.

"We're proud to be accelerating the industry's movement toward greater efficiency and sustainability through programs like Green Wave. As more members of the worldwide port community launch similar initiatives, common systems of measurement and reward are vital to wide adoption and success."-- Don Krusel, President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, speaking on the Green Wave Stewardship program

The program provides incentives to shipping lines that meet a number of benchmarks for environmental sustainability, with a focus on environmental certification, fuel quality, technological implementation and management practices.

The Port of Prince Rupert uses an A to G rating scale, with financial incentives provided to those ships
arriving at the Port of Prince Rupert that have the cleanest ratings.

On Monday, Michael Gurney, the Manager of Corporate Affairs for the Prince Rupert Port Authority outlined for the Globe and Mail how the "Green Wave" program is expected to provide 100,000 dollars in discounts through 2014.

Some of the background on the program can be reviewed from this media release that the Port issued on Tuesday.

For a more detailed look at what the Green Wave Initiative is all about, the Port has prepared a helpful guide that provides a fair amount of information on the program.

You can also review more on the Port Authority's commitment to Environmental Sustainability programs through the snapshots of the programs in place that are listed on their website.

Of note to the success of the program is the work the Port is doing with two marine consultant groups,  Right Ship and Carbon War Room, the latter an organization founded by famed British Industrialist Sir Richard Branson.

Sir Richard, offered up some thoughts on the program to the Globe and Mail and had this to say about the commitment of both the  Port of Prince Rupert and Port of Vancouver towards a more sustainable environmental direction.

"These Canadian ports are the very first ports in the world to work with us on this, and it's just great," ... "We can now use this as an example and roll it out around the rest of the world."

More on the work of Rightship and Carbon War Room can be found below.

Carbon War Room

With their initiatives towards a more sustainable industry, the Port has already received feedback from some major participants in the environmental and shipping industries, much of which offers praise for the direction that the Port is taking.

Some of that feedback and reviews of the program can be found below:

Marine Link-- Canadian Ports Offer Financial Incentives for Energy Efficiency
Port and Technology-- Canadian Ports first to reward green vessels

You can review more on developments at the Prince Rupert Port Authority from our archive pages.

BCTF finds success in the courts; but BC Government considering appeal

For the second time in recent years, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has ruled that the Provincial Government has taken a wrong turn in the seemingly never ending labour disputes between the Province of British Columbia and the BCTF.

The most recent decision came by way of Madam Justice Susan Griffin, who outlined her judgment in a lengthy document released on Monday morning.

Those looking for some in depth reading of the Supreme Court decision can review all of the 683 passages, plus Appendix from the Court Register of the BC Supreme Court. (see here)

It makes for a second edition of the judgment issued in 2011, which stated that the constitutional rights of BC's teachers had been violated.  Act II if you will, came about from a 12 month period that
the Province had been provided for to take appropriate measures.

The Coles Notes version of Madam Griffin's deliberations of Monday come by way of reporters, columnists, broadcasters and editorial writers of the province.

The majority of whom appear to be in consensus, that the legal rebuke should give Premier Christie Clark cause to consider a new approach,  when it comes to relations between her government and the provinces' educational sector.

In a stream of columns, reports and editorials, the background of the disputes, which date back as far as 2002 and in particular  of the events of June of 2012 and the court case that followed. Provide for a wide ranging review of recent labour history between the two sides.

With the main thrust of the day's documentation being that the Government has been delivered a message it should heed and address.

Victoria Times Colonist-- Provoking strike was shameful
Victoria Times Colonist-- Fallout from BCTF ruling is staggering
Victoria Times Colonist-- Government conned parents and kids
Victoria Times Colonist-- B. C. Teachers' Federation wins sweeping court victory
Victoria News-- Court rejects B. C. class size law again; Province to pay teachers $2 million
Vancouver Province-- Court loss to BCTF could cost taxpayers plenty
Vancouver Sun-- On labour deals, Victoria giveth and the court taketh away
Vancouver Sun-- Court orders B. C. to restore class sizes and pay $2 million in damages to teachers
The Tyee-- Slammed by court on teacher dealings, Libs can't say they weren't warned
The Tyee-- BC Court rules in favour of teachers' union on Bill 22
24 Hours-- B. C. Teachers awarded $2 million in Bill 22 fight
CBC-- B. C. Teachers' Federation wins $2 M in damages from province
Global BC-- BCTF scores major victory on class size and composition
Global BC-- BCTF wins class size battle with provincial government

For the Government however, it appears that the legal decision isn't so much as judgment, but an indication that they need to make their case more appealing, with the prospect of a legal appeal apparently something that the Provincial Government is giving consideration to.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender outlined the government's disappointment in the decision, through a media availability session on Monday afternoon (listen here)

Premier Clark also seems to be expressing the theme that as far as  the Government is concerned, the final chapter on this topic has yet to be delivered.

Vancouver Sun-- B. C. will likely appeal teachers ruling that fined province $2 million: Christy Clark
CBC-- School boards warn restoring class sizes will be expensive

The developments of Monday made for much in the way of conversation topics on the major radio stations of the province.

Bill Good from CKNW featured the Court Decision as his opening editorial on Tuesday's talk show program, (CKNW Audio Vault 8:35 January 28)

As well on Tuesday, the CBC's on the Coast Program provides a helpful review of the developments, through an interview with former Vancouver Sun Education reporter Janet Steffenhagen. She now writes an education blog for the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

Her thoughts on Monday's judgment can be found from the January 28th edition of the On the Coast Program her contribution arrives at the 5:12 PM mark of the program (listen here)

Ms. Steffenhagen also composed her own review of the Monday court judgment for the BCCPAC blog,  it can be found here.

While the Court Decision is clearly an indictment of the Government's handling of the education issue over the last What becomes of it all into the future remains to be seen.

The Province may choose to kick the political football down the road with it's potential appeal. While returning to the theme of late of fiscal responsibility when it comes to the education sector.

Contract negotiations currently underway may provide for more contentious issues to discuss and as always School District's across the province all await further instructions as to which direction the province wishes them to go.

One thing does seem certain however, relations between the Province and the BCTF probably still have a ways to go, before anyone will be able to use the word collaborative.

Mr. Cullen puts his stamp on the debate to keep Postal Services at current levels

Parliament has returned to its duties for 2014, the first sessions of the new year taking place this week and Tuesday brought a controversial topic to the Floor of the House of Commons, as MP's began debate on issues surrounding the recently announced plans to bring to an end home postal delivery for Canadians.

We had some background on that announcement from our blog item of December, which outlined Canada Post's plans and the impact that it would have on Canadians, as well as the plans that union leaders were discussing to address the issue.

With the return of Parliament, the NDP have made the issue one of the first on their agenda for the new session. One of the leaders of the quest to keep home delivery a part of the Canada Post mandate has been Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

The NDP House Leader led off the NDP side of the discussion today, with a scathing indictment of the Canada Post plan and the Government's intention to see it through.

The discussion started on Tuesday afternoon, with the NDP vowing to keep the pressure on the government to reverse the Canada Post decision, some of the media items on the debate can be found below.

Janaury 28-- Lisa Raitt tells Opposition MPs to 'get with reality'
January 28-- MPs to debate Canada Post service cuts
January 28-- Future of door to door mail delivery debated in Ottawa
January 27-- Tom Mulcair to force vote on Canada Post end to home delivery
January 27-- Tom Mulcair promises full attack on Canada Post delivery cutbacks...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Another rumble along the Alaskan fault line

Following yesterday's minor temblor of 2.6 off of Sitka, another slightly stronger rumble rattled along the Alaskan fault line this afternoon.

The USGS recorded a 3.6 magnitude  earthquake located 138 kilometres west of Craig, Alaska,  some 348 WNW of Prince Rupert.

The quake was reported at 4:22 Pacific Time and had a depth of 21.9 kilometres.

No reports have been received regarding the latest temblor and no Tsunami warning was generated by today's quake of larger intensity.

The latest rattles along the fault line of the last 24 hours, offer up a reminder of the active nature of the fault line that runs north south off the coast of Haida Gwaii and the North Coast.

You can review more of our items of note on seismic activity in the Northwest from our archive page.

Deputy Premier to Host LNG Telephone Town hall on Thursday

Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier and LNG Baron of British Columbia will be updating the province on the latest of information when it comes to LNG development in the province.

The Deputy Minister is hosting an LNG Telephone Town hall session on Thursday evening from 7:30 to 8:30, described by the BC Liberals as an exclusive update and opportunity to ask questions on the progress of the LNG file.

Those wishing to spend the hour on the phone to learn more about those developments, will have to register for the Thursday night session.

Following the registration process, information on how to access the conference call will be delivered to your email inbox, outlining how to access the Town hall session.

Considering that you have to register for the town hall session through the BC Liberal site. One might suspect that this is more of a BC Liberal function, as opposed to an information session through the Provincial government's Ministry of Natural Gas Development.

Still, for those inclined to participate, you can learn more about the Deputy Minister's plans from this item from the BC Liberals.

Prince Rupert Port Authority Accepting Applications for Community Investment Fund

The list of past projects is a rather impressive one, from Salmon enhancement to recycling initiatives and involvement in local sports. Over the last few years, the Prince Rupert Port Authority's Community Investment Fund has become a major investor in Community activities.

The 2014 Application process for funding has now begun, with the Port opening up the application process on January 14th. Launching a one month period for local groups that meet the criteria for investment, to put forward their plan and seek out funding for their venture.

Some guidelines for Applicants to consider include:

Projects or initiatives must be environmentally sound, provide tangible long term benefits to the community and have a broad demonstrated level of community support. 

All projects or initiatives must leverage private/and or public funding.

What the Community Investment Fund will not provide contributions towards include:

The operating costs of a project or initiative.

Projects or initiatives which are restricted to the use or benefit of specific individuals or organizations with the community.

Are of a partisan political nature.

Consist of activities related to or result in violation of any federal or provincial law, regulation or policy.

Projects or initiatives that would put funding towards refinancing all, or any part of any term debt obligations will also not be considered for funding.

Groups which may wish to consider seeking Community Investment Funding  include non-profit entities and non-profit cooperatives.

Of interest for Prince Rupert City Council, which was seeking creative ways to fund recreation programs last spring, will be this advisory from the Port Authority. That locally based forms of government such as municipalities; Districts and First Nation Band Councils can also seek out funding from the fund.

The fund for the most part normally will not contribute more than 90 per cent toward project costs, however, priority will be given to those seeking 50 per cent or less for a project, initiative or event.

All submissions are required to include a budget and a list of other funding sources of the project or initiative.

The Deadline for submissions for the 2014 Community Investment Fund is 4 PM on Friday, February 14th, directed to the attention of Maynard Angus, Manager, Community Relations for the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

More information on the Fund and its requirements is available from the Port's website.

You can find a review of some of the past investments the Port made in the community from our archive pages.

UNBC Timberwolves have weekend struggles at UBC

The UNBC Timberwolves started what will be a lengthy stay away from the Prince George campus, starting a two week road trip this weekend past, with back to back games at the UBC gym against the storied Thunderbird program.

The ladies held their own through the first half of their Friday night match up, but some second half lapses allowed the Thunderbirds to take charge of the game and secure the 79- 58 victory.

Saturday night provided  for much the same result, as UBC defeated the Timberwolves 84-58 on the strength of a dominating second quarter, though the Prince George squad battled back in the second half, keeping a bit more pace with the UBC attack through the third and fourth quarters.

For Prince Rupert's Sarah Robin, Friday and Saturday night provided for 40 minutes of playing time, with 7 points on the board Friday, on Saturday she saw 31 minutes of play putting 14 points on the score sheet the second highest of the UNBC totals on the night.

The Men's team didn't fare much better, they dropped a 99 to 79 decision on Friday night and in the back end of the weekend doubleheader they were defeated by the T Birds by a score of 86 to 65.

The UNBC Men and Women next see action this weekend when they hit the prairies.

With a Friday night game set for the University of Saskatchewan at Saskatoon, on Saturday they head into Alberta and a match up with the Golden Bears at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Video webcasting of the matches can be found on the CanadaWest TV portal.

Some media items on the weekend action can be found below:

CKPG TV-- UBC Sweeps Weekend Series
PG Citizen-- PG Timberwolves extend losing streak

Terrace-Kitimat Airport to deliver their 20 year plan today

It's been seven months in development and tonight in Terrace, the blue print for the future of the Terrace-Kitimat airport will be put on display.

The New Zealand aviation group Airbiz, which in Canada is based out of Vancouver, has been working with Terrace-Kitimat Airport officials putting together the document that will see the airport through it's next 20 years. A period of time which is expected to see a significant amount of growth and opportunity available for the airport.

Terrace officials have been busy of late outlining the increased levels of traffic that have been attracted to the airport, The year end numbers for the Terrace Airport indicated that they had registered a 27 per cent increase in passenger movements.

A good portion of that significant increase has come from the volume of construction workers arriving through the airport for work at the large number of projects in the Terrace and Kitimat region this year.

More recently, the passenger  numbers have been boosted by the debut of WestJet's Encore service to the region.

The announcement of Encore's service to Terrace, was a vote of confidence from the Western based airline not only for the airport, but for the economy of the Terrace-Kitimat region.

It's with those developments as part of the backdrop to the story, that today's development plan will build on for the future.

The unveiling of the development plan takes place from 4:30 to 8 PM tonight at the Terrace Airport's RTA Meeting room.

The details of the blue print will no doubt be of interest to Prince Rupert airport officials, who have their own thoughts on airport development on the North Coast.

In recent years some of the increased levels for the Terrace airport come by way of Rupertites making the hour and a bit drive down Highway 16 to take advantage of the larger volume of daily flights out of the Terrace-Kitimat airport.

And while the Prince Rupert airport can't match the departures and arrivals board at the moment, they have embarked on a 7 million dollar renovation project for the Digby Island airport, seeking to have in place a solid foundation for future growth in the North Coast.

More background on air transportation in the Northwest can be found from our archive page.

Update: 20 year plan document can be viewed here

Media reviews on the 20 year plan can be found below

CFTK-- Northwest Regional airport releases 20 year expansion plan

Monday, January 27, 2014

Small temblor recorded off the Alaska coast near Sitka

A small earthquake rattled along the Alaska Panhandle on Monday morning, as a 2.6 magnitude temblor was recorded at 11:20 this morning.

The quake, which is at the low end of the recorded magnitudes was situated 149 km WNW of Sitka, Alaska, which is 573 km NW of Prince Rupert.

No reports were received regarding the quake and no Tsunami warning was generated by the seismic event.

It is however the first noticeable seismic activity in the range of the North Coast since the New Year began.

You can review more earthquake events in the Northwest from our archive page

Downed tree results in Nass Valley Hydro outage

A stretch of the Nass has been without power since the midnight hour as BC Hydro works to remove a tree that came down across wires overnight.

The outage listed on the BC Hydro website appears to stretch from Gingolx (Kincolith) to just west of Gitwinksihlkw. An estimated 374 residents were listed as without power.

Anticipated time of the return of power is sometime around 9 AM.

Those with power, who may wish to inform friends and relatives in the affected area as to the latest updates can find more on the power outage from the BC Hydro website.

City announces new committee members for 2014

Prince Rupert City Council released a list of names last Monday, highlighting Board and Committee appointments that have been announced.

The Performing Arts Centre Society had two appointments awarded, with Mr. Lee Brain and Ms.  Joanne Finlay receiving two year terms which will expire on January 31st, 2016.

The Prince Rupert Airport Authority also had two appointments awarded, with Mr. Michael Cote and Mr. Dave Smith both receiving fifteen month terms which will expire in April of 2015.

With planned change coming to the Recreation Committee, by way of a Recreation Commission (see our items here and here for the details of that shift in direction) the Appointment of Mr. Steve Robin to the Recreation Advisory Committee will last until March 15, 2014.

The announcement of the Board appointments came after their approval at a Closed Session of City Council, you can review the announcement from page two of the City Council Minutes of January 20th.

Provincial Government announces new Social Housing Property Manager for Prince Rupert

Some changes are coming to the direction of social housing in Prince Rupert, with the announcement of last week of a new approach to service delivery of housing requirements in the city.

On Friday, The British Columbia government announced that an agreement had been reached with a Victoria based First Nations Housing Society, with the government announcing that  M'akola Housing Society had been selected to operate a number of social housing locations in the city.

The M'akola Group of Societies was incorporated in February of 1984 in Victoria. Known at that time as the "Victoria Native Indian Housing Society", the Society changed their name to Makola Housing Society in April of 1988 and since that time have taken on an expanded role in social housing initiatives across the

Previous to Friday's announcement of their expanded role on the North Coast, they were the operators of the Muks-Kum-Ol Housing Society in Prince Rupert and Terrace, operating 56 units in Prince Rupert.

Their expansion in Prince Rupert, comes after the Society was selected by the Provincial Government after responding to the July 2013 expression of interest request by the BC government.

With Friday's announcement, M'akola Housing Society will provide property management and administration services for 267 units of the following Prince Rupert public housing properties.

Mariposa Gardens on Hays Cove, Camarillo Lane and Seville Road (84 units)

Pineridge Terrace on Summit Avenue (37 units)

Harbour View Gardens on McKay Street and Kootenay Avenue (100 units)

Kootenay Place located on Kootenay Avenue  (10 units)

And Sunset Villa Apartments on 3rd Avenue West (36 units)

The M'akola Housing Society was selected based on their 30 years of experience in providing safe, affordable housing to Aboriginal residents throughout the province. The agreement will be administered through the Aboriginal Housing Management Association and will be based under the Aboriginal self-management model for social housing.

In 2013, the British Columbia government had invested more than 1.1 million dollars to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 440 households in Prince Rupert.

No financial details of the arrangement were released as part of the Friday announcement.

Details on Friday's announcement  can be found from this media release from the BC Government.

You can learn more about the M'akola Group of Societies from the wide range of information available on their website.

We have more items on housing in the Northwest available on our Housing and Real Estate archive page.

Prince Rupert City Council brings in a recreation "specialist" to increase participation

A surprising notice popped up on the City of Prince Rupert website on Friday, with the posting of a News Release outlining the arrival of Mr. Brent Meunier to the recreation department.

He has apparently been hired on for what is called a short assignment of six months, to initiate a program to revitalize the participation levels of the city's residents at the city's recreation facilities.

It's an interesting development for the City, especially when you frame the latest addition of personnel to the recreation department, in the scope of the much discussed financial struggles we were having some six short months ago.

The decision to hire a recreation specialist seems to have been done very much out of the public glimpse and with little information provided, as to what his job description will provide for, or the cost of the position to the city.

Interestingly enough he appears to have arrived in town rather low on the radar, no mention of the hiring of Mr. Meunier was made at the January 20th public council session, nor it seems was a job posting ever provided for public review for the position he has started.

It all appears to be part of the shift in recreation priorities that the City announced at its Monday council session, wherewith a short discussion, Council introduced the formation of a Recreation Commission.

As we outlined on the blog last Thursday, once that new mechanism is in place, the city will have two council members and six citizen participants in place, prepared to review recreation developments and offer up recommendations on the the theme of Recreation in the city.

Mayor Jack Mussallem outlined the scope of the Commission, as part of the January 24th announcement that advised that Mr. Meunier had already commenced his work with the Recreation Department as of January 20th..

 “Council has heard community concerns on decreasing participation at the Complex and has identified community involvement in improving recreation services as priority... “Council recognizes it has to increase its focus on the Recreation Centre and the Commission is an effective way to engage community in that process.”.

The hiring of a recreation specialist does leave one to wonder the status of duties for the Management Team of the Recreation Department, particularly those of Rudy Kelly, who was listed as the Director of Recreation Services the last time we checked the staff listings of the City's recreation facility.

It would seem to many, that this kind of program should come under the mandate of the Director of Recreation and Community Services. Yet there is no mention of the role of any current Management team member in the  project that was launched on January 20th.

While no one would argue the concept of attracting more users to the city's recreation facilities, it is puzzling why the opportunity would not have at least been offered to current staffers, or even job seeking residents of the city first.

Maybe such a position was offered internally, but with no job posting for recreation specialist found on the city website in recent months and little discussion at public Council sessions about the position, the decision to make this shift in direction at the recreation department, would appear to provide for more questions, than answers.

Among some thoughts, the status of the current recreation staff and what role they may have in this project, the cost and terms of the contract for the newly hired specialist, as well as what impact any of this may have on the Recreation Department budget.

Just a few, of what could be many things which city council members may wish to share details with the public, when it comes to the new approach to the long running concerns over usage of recreation facilities in the city.

In the announcement of January 24th the city outlined how the goal of the new Commission structure is to "improve communications between Council, user groups, community recreation organizations and individual users".

Considering how it's been launched and the surprising nature of it, they would appear to have a bit of work to do on the "communication" aspect of it all.  Perhaps we will learn more about the new direction for recreation at the next council session of February.

For those that like to follow Civic Affairs, we have items of note on other developments from Prince Rupert City Hall to be found on our archive pages.

2014 City Council Session Archives
Discussion Points for City Council