Thursday, April 30, 2015

CityWest offers Free Long Distance Calling to Nepal until end of May

CityWest the Prince Rupert based communication company is doing its part to help residents of the Northwest keep in touch with those that live in areas of Nepal affected by this weekends earthquake.

With recovery efforts still underway in Nepal following the massive seismic event of the weekend, CityWest is offering Free Long Distance calling to those service subscribers that may have family or friends living in the stricken country.

CBC-- Nepal earthquake: DART, Canadian Red Cross relief efforts ramp up
BBC -- Nepal earthquake: Frustration mounts over relief effort
CNN-- Homeless urgently need tents, death toll above 5,500

The long distance offer will remain in effect until the end of May.

You can find out more about the announcement from CityWest here.

Those interested in making a donation towards earthquake relief for Nepal can review some of the following links for an opportunity to lend a hand.

Red Cross Canada
Unicef Canada
Doctors without Frontiers
Samaritan's Purse

Provincial Government gains favourable ruling from BC Court of Appeal over BCTF

British Columbia's highest court of Appeal has come down on the side of the Provincial government in the long running issue regarding the charter rights of British Columbia's teachers.

In a 4-1 decision today, the Court reversed two previous lower court decisions that had taken the side of the BCTF.

Key to the concerns of the ruling today for the BCTF will be the impact on class size and composition which made up the bulk of their success in the lower court rulings.

"The Province had certain policy objectives. It is not for this Court to comment on the desirability of those objectives, or to purport to decide, as the trial judge did, whether the collective agreement and legislative regime adequately met those objectives. 

Rather, our role is to decide whether Bill 22, having regard to both its content and the context in which it was enacted, substantially interfered with teachers’ s. 2(d) right to a meaningful process by which they could make collective representations to advance workplace goals and have those representations considered in good faith by the entity with the power to respond and give effect to them. 

While Bill 22 interfered with teachers’ freedom of association, the BCTF has not persuaded us that, on balance, that interference was “substantial”. We find no infringement of s. 2(d). This means Bill 22 has been in force since 14 April 2012." -- From the Summary of Today's BC Court of Appeals ruling, which resulted in a 4-1 decision in favour of the Provincial Government.

The majority decision was written by Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Justice Robert Harris, who spoke for the 4 of the 5 court judges on their ruling that the province had provided for good faith negotiations with the BCTF in the lead up to the legislation.

Justice Ian Donald was the sole dissenting voice from today's decision, making note of the decision of the lower courts and a decision from Justice Griffith from January of 2014, which ruled that the the provincial government had not consulted in good faith.

"In my opinion, the trial judge did not err in concluding that the unilateral nullification of the Working Conditions substantially interfered with the BCTF’s s. 2(d) rights and the Province did not give effect to those rights through good faith consultation, as the Province’s consultation efforts were not in good faith. 

  As such, I would dismiss the appeal in regard to the trial judge’s finding that Bill 22 is unconstitutional. I would allow the appeal in regard to the trial judge’s additional damages remedy and her declaration that Bill 28 was of no force or effect as of the date of its passage, but I would substitute a remedy pursuant to s. 24(1) of the Charter and order the Minister of Education to direct the public administrator for the BCPSEA appointed under s. 9.1 of the Public Sector Employers Act to reinstate the Working Conditions into the collective agreement immediately. " -- The Dissenting Conclusion from Justice Ian Donald from today's BC Court of Appeals ruling,

The BCTF can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada if it wishes, a path that the BCTF has taken in the past. However, they will have to make a decision on that course within sixty days and there is no guarantee that the Federal Court will hear their appeal.

The BCTF executive plans to outline their thoughts on today's developments through a press conference scheduled for 11:30 this morning, you can view that session through the link available here.

You can also review the full judgment from the British Columbia court here.

Some background on today's decision can be found below, we will add more items to the archive as they become available:

Friday reaction

Times-Colonist -- Little comfort for BCTF in court ruling

Thursday reaction

Global News -- B. C. Court of Appeal rules in favour of government over BCTF
CBC -- B.C. teachers court ruling: Premier Christy Clark 'very pleased'
CBC -- B.C. teachers lose right to bargain class size, composition
CTV BC -- Province did not violate teachers' charter rights, court rules
Vancouver Province -- B.C. Appeal Court sides with government in long-simmering dispute with teachers
Globe and Mail -- Appeal Court sides with B.C. government in bitter teachers dispute
The Tyee-- Court Sides with BC Gov't in Battle over Teacher Bargaining Rights
Vancouver Courier -- B. C. Teachers lose on class size

More items related to education in British Columbia and on the North Coast can be found on our archive page.

Province and Industry combine for trades training for First Nations

A major announcement on funding for trades training for First Nations was announced Wednesday at the Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference in Prince Rupert.

During the Wednesday morning session John Rustad, British Columbia's Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, outlined the background to a 1.2 million dollar pathways to success program for six First Nations communities in the Northwest.

“One of the great things about this program is that it helps First Nations members first get job-ready with the essential employment skills they need, and then connects them directly with jobs. This provides significant benefits for both First Nations members and their communities.”  -- Minister John Rustad, Provincial Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation,with an outline to the benefits of the trades program for Northwest First Nations.

The Trades program to be delivered in both Prince Rupert and Terrace by the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology will provide training opportunities for members of the Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Lax Kw'alaams, Gitxaala, Metlakatla and Gitga'at communities.

600,000 dollars in funding will come from the Provincial Government, with the remaining 600,000 to be provided by three industry partners in the Northwest, BG Canada, LNG Canada and Pacific NorthWest LNG

“Skills training for First Nations people is a priority for our community. So it’s good see government and industry supporting training that will help ensure more members of our community benefit from jobs in the LNG industry.” -- Chief Clarence Inness, of Gitxaala on the training opportunities that the program will provide.

The announcement was included in Mr. Rustad's address to the convention delegates at the Lester Centre on Wednesday, a day which included a string of presentations from many of the large LNG proponents for the region as well as an overview on Port development from Don Krusel of the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

One of the major themes of each presentation was the opportunities, both in partnership and by way of employment that First Nations could have access to through Port and LNG development in the region in the years to come.

You can learn more about Wednesday's announcement from this background sheet from the Provincial Government. Included in that media release, are the comments from each of the three LNG proponents in the region and the enthusiasm that they have for the training program.

The Aboriginal Opportunities Conference comes to an end today, with the wrap up banquet and entertainment session planned for this evening.

About our City Council Timeline for this week ...

By now, regular readers might be wondering where the regular feature of our City Council Timeline might be.

In a normal situation, for the most part we try to have our review of the most recent council session up to the blog within a couple of days of the regular Monday evening get togethers.

As part of that review, those that follow our work know that we like to make use of the City's Video Archive on You Tube.  Taking advantage of that video documentation, to provide some direction to those areas of interest that we think our readers might find interesting in their quest for more information on Council developments.

However, this week, to this point, the City has not yet placed the Video of the April 27th council session into permanent archive on their You Tube Portal.  And while we have heard that it may have appeared briefly on that video channel earlier this week, we personally never saw it there and as of today it remains absent from its usual archival placement.

This of course provides for a bit of a problem for our usual efforts, we found the Video archive quite useful for our purposes of information delivery. And while at times, the one or two hours of council discussion could border on tedious, the video archive provided a permanent record of Council's work, without the spin or filter that perhaps the local media might provide.

Beyond the usual Council timeline feature, we also found that the Council video archive provided our blog with a number of other stories to follow up on from Council, many of which didn't make it to the other local media sources for days, or weeks following, if at all.

Obviously without the video record of events, it's rather hard to try and deliver that feature, so for this week our output on Council matters will obviously be rather limited, unless the city eventually provides the account of their work on Monday at some point in the future.

What is of some note regarding the absence of the Council video archive this week, is the lack of explanation from anyone at City Hall regarding the change in normal procedure.  With no background  on the delay to a  process which usually takes place less than a day after the meeting.

You won't find any information on the situation from the city's website, though if you look over that portal of late, you will realize that the city is not making much use of their Internet presence these days.  A shift in focus which makes the only official online access to the city a barely used instrument of late and certainly not one that could be used as best as it could.

For the most part, anyone looking for information about the work that city council is engaged in, is seemingly being directed to the Mayor's Facebook page. Which while a helpful bit of information flow, does seem to focus only on those items that the Mayor believes we should know about.

Frequently, his selections and featured links to that portal highlight some rather positive articles regarding his work from the weekly newspaper, which at times seems to be more inclined to be the communications delivery outlet for the city more than anything else.

However, while Mayor Brain's Facebook option provides for frequent updates on the Mayor's many trips out of town in the last few months, and snippets of information on some of his larger initiatives (his LNG Go Plan for instance, something which still has not been publicly delivered to the residents of Prince Rupert or provided to the city's website for review); we apparently won't find out much it seems as to why the video from Monday's council session has yet to make its way to the City's Video  archive site.

Likewise, considering how active some members of Council have been of late on twitter and other social media options, the lack of any kind of information, or answers to questions regarding the absence of the Monday session is a bit puzzling.

The You Tube Video page was created in June of last year, during the last term of Mayor Jack Musallem. Its development was a vast improvement from the previous archival system of Council sessions and one which made access to Council sessions that much more easier for local residents.

That move by the City should be celebrated for its approach at forward thinking and dedication towards a bit of transparency and accountability, words that seem to get used a bit too much from our elected officials.

On that theme however, hopefully a bit of transparency will follow in this case and we'll get an answer as to why Monday's meeting isn't making the list of must see viewing this week.

Even better, we'd prefer that they just put the video up, as it was recorded on Monday, so we can all review what Council discussed on that evening.

There are indications that Monday's session was a fairly controversial one, particularly when it came to discussion related to a housing proposal for India Avenue. However, so far for the most part there is only rumour and incomplete public information as to what took place in Council this week.

The best way to learn what our Council is doing, is through an unfiltered lens, the Council video recordings provided for that option.  It allowed residents to make up their own minds on what kind of job the elected officials and city staff are doing on our behalf.

Of course you can't make your mind up, if you have no knowledge of what was discussed.

Update: Please note that the video archive of City Council for April 27th has now been made available through You Tube, you can review it here.

Metlakatla moves sewer system project forward

The plan to replace the marine outfall system for Metlakatla  is in full motion, with the Governing Council making application to the Provincial Government for the project.

The work will involve replacement of a 150 mm diameter outfall pipe for treated sewage and the realignment of the pipe route to provide for regulatory distance from shellfish beds, once the new pipe is place, the existing outfall will be abandoned and removed from the marine environment.

The plan calls for a pre-assembled pipeline to be floated into place and then flooded to lower it to the seafloor, secured with concrete weights to hold it in place.

The area in question for the project is located at the southeast corner of Mission Point within Venn Passage.

The work will take place during daylight hours and notices for mariners in the area will be issued through the Prince Rupert Coast Guard office.

Approval from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will be required before that work gets underway.

Towards that process, anyone with Comments related to the project has until May 28th to make their submissions related to the Metklatla plan known, you can review that opportunity here.

The full application can be reviewed here

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jeans Day 2015 celebrates 25 years tomorrow

Over the last twenty five years, the Jeans Day celebrations have become a fairly important fund raising project for the Children's Hospital Foundation of British Columbia, on which involves everyone from students at school, to office and industrial workers across the province.

This year's event arrives tomorrow, with organizers hopeful of topping last year's amazing totals of over 1,200,480 dollars for BC kids.

To get involved and make a contribution you can pick up a Jeans Day Button for five dollars or a Jeans Day lapel pin for 20 dollars from Overwaitea on Third Avenue West.

Those wishing to participate can also make a donation on line

You can find out more about the history of Jeans Day and more background on the event this year from the website for Jeans Day 2015 here.

Communication Workers union raises alarm over Coast Guard communications

A power failure last week at the Prince Rupert Coast Guard Communication centre is providing for a bit of ammunition for the union that represents communication workers in British Columbia.

Unifor Local 2182 which represents Coast Guard communication workers across the nation has launched an information campaign to try and reverse the Government's plans of consolidation of services.

Towards that campaign, they are making a fair amount of mileage out of the thirty minute power disruption of April 21st, which saw the Prince Rupert Communication Centre unable to transmit or receive calls for thirty minutes in the early hours of the day.

Coast Guard station hit by blackout, raising concerns about closings
Post-its help hold Prince Rupert MCTS together

The topic of the Prince Rupert power outage was the subject of a lengthy overview from Global BC last week, as a Unifor representative outlined the unions concerns over the issue of station closures.

Providing a bit more background to its message that the closure of similar communication stations on Vancouver Island is leaving mariners at risk.

As we outlined in February on the blog, the Coast Guard announced its plans to close stations at Vancouver, Tofino/Uclulet and Comox both on Vancouver Island, making the Prince Rupert station responsible for the largest swath of coverage along the Pacific coast.

Towards that responsibility the Prince Rupert station has been outfitted with new technology which
The Prince Rupert Coast
Guard station recently had
a 30 minute power failure,
spurring concerns over coverage
the Coast Guard says allows for the monitoring of larger areas of coverage.

The concerns over the Marine Communications shift has also been tied into the planned closures of other Coast guard facilities in the province.

Towards that issue Unifor has announced plans for a May 6th protest rally to speak out against the planned closure of the Kitsilano station.

The union has also launched an online petition campaign, with a direct link to the Prime Minister's office to deliver the opposition to the Government's plans for the Coast Guard.

Some of the previous concerns related to both issues can be reviewed below:

Business in Vancouver -- Marine Communications closure amps up Vancouver port safety concerns
Comox Valley Record -- Federal Candidates voice concern on Coast Guard Centre Closures
Victoria News -- Coast Guard hysteria sinks lower
Victoria News -- NDP introduces motion to reverse Coast Guard cuts
CBC-- Consolidation of Coast Guard Broadcast centres in final stages
CBC -- 3 Canadian Coast Guard communication centres closing in B. C.
North Shore News -- West Vancouver beaches remain closed after oil spill
Global BC-- Cuts to communication centres along B. C. coast (video)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Prince Rupert RCMP alert residents to Letter scam

A potential financial scam by way of the mail has been brought to the attention of the RCMP in Prince Rupert as a resident of the city alerted them to an attempt to victimize a local family.

The letter which it seems is a printed version of a current Internet theme, highlights the prospect of a financial windfall from a potential relative from a foreign country, who having passed away may have left a sizable fortune for the targeted family.
A financial scam letter
is making the rounds
through the mail

In this case, the targeted family turned the letter over the local detachment in order to advise other residents of the city as to the scam.

The RCMP has issued an alert for the community on the chance that the letter is distributed to a number of other residents, you can review the full content of the letter and the RCMP's interest in the case here.

Should anyone in the community receive a similar correspondence, they are asked to contact the Prince Rupert Detachment of the RCMP at 250-627-0700 or through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

For more items related to Emergency Services in the Northwest see our archive page here.

National Aboriginal Opportunities Conference launches today in Prince Rupert

Three days of networking opportunities for First Nations businesses and community leaders will be in motion today as the National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference opens at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

Today is given over to registration and hospitality events planned for this evening as delegates begin to make their way to the city.

The event which runs through until Thursday will feature over 500 delegates, with all day sessions set for Wednesday and Thursday.

Day 1 features a range of activities and information opportunities for delegates to take advantage of starting with the opening remarks for the Conference tomorrow which will feature Chief Harold Leighton, Mayor Garry Reece and Mayor Lee Brain providing the welcoming notes to those attending the conference.

From there Day one features information sessions related to the Tslihqot'in Decision, Updates on the 6 major LNG projects proposed for the Northwest as well as an address from Port of Prince Rupert CEO Don Krusel who will outline the future vision for the Port.

Both Metklaktla and Lax Kw'alaams will bring the official items of Day one to an end, hosting an information session outlining the economic progress and capacity building for their communities.

The National Aboriginal Business
Opportunities Conference is taking place
at two locations in Prince Rupert this week
Delegates will return to the Civic Centre from 5 to 7 for a Hospitality Event to bring Day one to an

Day Two provides for one on one delegate meetings and a visit to the accompanying trade show at the Civic Centre. That event features over 84 exhibitors ready to provide more background on what they have to offer and to answer any number of questions from delegates.

For those that are inclined there is also an opportunity to take part in the Charity Golf Tournament scheduled for Thursday morning.

There is also an optional tour of the Harbour area, with a focus on the sites of the proposed LNG developments for the region included on the tour.

Workshops however make up the bulk of the Day Two events, with a number of sessions planned for the North Coast Convention Centre at the Chances complex on First Avenue West.

Gordon Wilson the Provincial representative for the LNG-Buy BC Program hosts the opening session from 9:30-10:30 providing an overview on the LNG opportunities as well as other natural resources projects.

Bill Boyte representing the Provincial Employer's Advisers Office, will discuss workplace health and safety programs, his session runs from 10:45-11:45 AM

The Keynote address for the two day conference comes up on Thursday afternoon, as Dan George the President and CEO of Four Directions Management Services shares his experiences of working to forward the interests of Canada's aboriginal peoples.

Workshops three and four bring the official portion of Day two to an end as Project Financing and Leasing opportunities get a review from 1:45 to 2:45 PM, while delegates can learn more about the Aboriginal Construction Craft Worker Foundation Program from 2:45 to 3:45 PM.

The conference comes to an end with the Banquet Dinner at the North Coast Convention Centre from 6:30 to 8:30 followed by an evening of entertainment at the Lester Centre until Midnight.

None of the events are open to the public, with only delegates and participants in the Trade Show and discussion sessions allowed access to the three days of conference events.

You can learn more about the conference from this overview from the event organizers.

NOTE:  CFNR is streaming live the events of the conference, you can view their feed here.

Strong winds provide for sailing delays for BC Ferries

The strong Southwesterly winds of the morning are resulting in some changes to the BC Ferries schedule for the day.

Owing to the adverse weather the Northern Adventure is holding in port in Skidegate until at least 2 PM today.

The four hour delay in the departure time means that the vessel will leave Skidegate at 2 PM and arrive in Prince Rupert at 8 PM this evening.

You can find updated information on the status of the sailing from the BC Ferries website

Wind Warning for North Coast - Coastal Sections

Update: The Wind Warning for Haida Gwaii ended at 9:30 AM ... the North Coast Warning came to an end shortly after 12:30 PM.

The North Coast and Haida Gwaii will be feeling the brunt of a deep low pressure system for the early morning to mid morning period as strong south easterly winds, shift to the southwest with gusts of up to 120 km/h.

The majority of the time, the system will bring winds out of the southwest from 80 to 110 km/h in the morning, easing to 60 km/h by the afternoon. There will not be much in the way of precipitation with the systems with only 25 mm of rain expected through the day and into the evening.

It is anticipated that the winds will ease up by late morning as the system works its way northward.

You can find updates on the weather system from the Environment Canada website

Monday, April 27, 2015

Community Group to outline concerns over CBC programming for Council tonight

The topic of Public Broadcasting on the North Coast will get a review this evening at Prince Rupert City Council, as a local group makes plans to provide a presentation to Council.

The Northwest B. C. Citizens for CFPR have asked for an opportunity to outline their concerns as part of tonight's Committee of the Whole Session, where the group represented by Kathleen Palm will offer up some of goals and projects related to their oversight of public broadcasting in the region.

At tonight's session they will make their case for the restoration and maintenance of the CBC CFPR broadcasts in the area, with a particular concern related to news, programming and the delivery of emergency information.

You can review some of their talking points from the Committee of the Whole agenda from page two here.

It's not the first time that local residents have outlined their concerns over the state of the public broadcaster's efforts in the region.

In what seems like an almost annual event now, those dedicated CBC listeners in the region are making use of Prince Rupert city Council to share their message.

Last year, they appeared at council to express many of the same concerns, finding come common ground with many of the council members.  In addition to the local politicians, NDP MP Nathan Cullen also has been a frequent critic of the CBC's approach to news in the regions.

More on communications on the North Coast can be found here.

Some of the background on their thoughts at that time and other issues related to CBC programming can be found below:

September 8 -- Daybreak North adds features to website, providing more in depth coverage for Northern BC
April 2014 -- Nathan Cullen has rural concerns over CBC cuts
February 2014 -- CBC executives respond to Prince Rupert Council's concerns over local content
February 2014 -- City Council has concerns over CBC Programming on the North Coast
February 2014 -- Is a North Coast revolt brewing among CBC's Daybreak North listeners?

Civc Centre rent once again an issue for a local group.

The topic of the rent for Civic Centre facilities for local groups will once again be brought to the attention of City Council tonight, as a delegation from the 2015 Grad Parents appear at the Committee of the Whole session.

The group will be outlining their concern over the cost of the rent for the Civic Centre facility and how it is impacting on their budget for Prom celebrations for 2015.

In a letter to Council requesting an opportunity to appear at Council, the Grad Parent executive called attention to the non-profit nature of their organization and the difference between it and other community organizations.

They are seeking a long term grant in kind, low cost agreement for the use of the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre for this year and the years to follow.

You can review the full letter to Council from the Committee of the Whole Agenda for tonight, it can be found on page three.

The 2015 Grad Parents Executive is requesting that Mayor and Council recognize the importance of this Community event and provide a grant in kind long term, low cost agreement for use of the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre for the 2015 Annual Graduation Prom celebration and for future Graduation Prom celebrations held in the facility. -- Portion of a letter to Prince Rupert Council from the 2015 Grad Parents executive on the cost of rent for the Civic Centre

It's not the first time this year that Council has heard from a community group about the city's rental policies for the Civic Centre, earlier this month, the 2015 Homecoming Committee appeared in front of council to seek some form of assistance on the rent for this year's event schedule for May.

April 2015 -- Homecoming Committee Rent reduction request to be examined by city staff
April 2015 -- Homecoming Committee has concerns over rent of Civic Centre for May event

You can review more of City Council's discussion points from our archive page here.

Public Hearing and further consideration of India Avenue Housing proposal by Council this evening

The final steps towards a possible redevelopment of the old Baptist Church on India Avenue into housing units takes place this evening at Prince Rupert City Council.

The first item of consideration on the night will be the Public Hearing into the proposed development, where those residents who may have comments or may be affected by the project can offer their comments to Council members.

You can learn more about that process from the Agenda for the Public Hearing which starts at 7 PM in Council Chambers.

Following the Public Hearing, Council will then consider three Bylaw issues related to the proposed development, the Zoning Application, the Application for a Variance Permit and the Application for the Development permit for a Multi-Family Development.

Council will make note of the public comment from the Public Hearing as part of their consideration of the Bylaw items.  Sometimes towards the end of this evening's session we will learn if Council approves of the development or if there are any issues that may give them cause to delay approval of the proposed development.

You can review the full overview of the Bylaw issues from the Council agenda for tonight here.

More background on the India Avenue proposal can be found from our Housing archive page.

For more items related to City Council discussions see our archive page here.

City Council Session, Monday, April 27, 2015

Our archive of items from the session can be found below.

Regular Session of Council for April 27, 2015

Home page and archive of sessions can be found here.

Live Broadcast of session can be found here

North Coast Review - Preview of Regular Session for April 27, 2015 

Agenda for the Regular Session of City Council for April 27, 2015 

Agenda for the Committee of the Whole Session for April 27, 2015

Public Hearing Agenda for April 27, 2015

Notice of Closed Session of Council for April 28, 2015

Info to Council 

( April 22 )

Mayor Lee Brain-- Present
Councillor Barry Cunningham-- Present
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Present
Councillor Blair Mirau-- Present
Councillor Wade Niesh-- Present
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa-- Present
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Present

Minutes of Regular Session of Council April 27, 2015  

Minutes of the Public Hearing for India Avenue rezoning

Video Recording of April 27, 2015  (Note: Video was not available until May 4 )

North Coast Review City Council Timeline April 27, 2015  ( see note here re: delay  )

North Coast Review Items on the April 27, 2015 Session of Council

Local listeners seek Council's support to expand CBC Service to the North Coast
India Avenue Housing proposal gets Council approval, but not without controversy
Council's housing moves thus far trending to the upper end of the pricing spectrum
About our City Council Timeline for this week ...
Community Group to outline concerns over CBC programming for Council tonight
Civic Centre rent once again an issue for a local group
Public Hearing and further consideration of India Avenue Housing proposal by Council this evening

Media items from other sources for the April 27, 2015 Council session can be found in our Discussion Points from City Council feature

City Council Preview, Monday, April 27, 2015

Prince Rupert Council puts a wrap on April with a trio of public events for the final session of the month.

The evening starts with a  Public Hearing on the proposed zoning change for the old Baptist Church property on India Avenue, scheduled to be redeveloped into executive suite apartments. Following the opening presentation, the public will then have time to offer comment if they wish, regarding the change and any impact it may have on them.

Following that session, Council will host a session of the Committee of the Whole, which will feature three presentations on the evening.

See Committee of the Whole Agenda here

The first a presentation from Kathleen Palm, who leads a community group that is concerned about the state of public broadcasting in the region. She will outline her group's Goals and objectives, with a focus on their quest to have CBC broadcasting restored and maintained in the Prince Rupert region. (see page two of the Committee of the Whole Agenda)

The second presentation on the evening will come from Antonio Vera, who will offer some background on an event for May 8th from the BYU Living Legends Dance Company.

The final presentation for the Council of the Whole segment will come from Michelle Mintenko, the chair of the 205 Grad Parents Executive, she will be explain the Grad Parent's request for a grant in kind to offset the cost of the Civic Centre facility rental for this year's Grad Prom.
(see page three of the Committee of the Whole Agenda)

Following the presentations, any member of the public with comments or questions for Council will then have opportunity to make a statement or ask questions of City Council.

At the end of the public comment period, Council will then turn to its Regular Agenda for the evening.

The full review of the evening ahead can be found from the Agenda Package for April 27.

Below we'll highlight the different elements of this evenings work, for further background on each item, the page number from the Agenda is listed in red.

The session starts off with the regular adoption of agendas and minutes.

Petitions and Delegations

Any Unfinished Business is then up next on the Agenda.

Followed by Reports and Recommendations

Requests and Correspondences for Action, follow next.

Resolutions from previous Closed Meetings of Council.

Bylaws mark the next item of the Agenda on the night.

With the Public Hearing into the planned redevelopment on India Avenue complete, Council will move forward with three Bylaw requests related to that development. The first features a report from the City Planner regarding the application for the Zoning amendment.  ( See pages 24-45 of the Agenda package)

The second portion of that review will involve a Report from the City Planner Application for a Zoning Amendment and Variance Permit  for the property at 1433 India Avenue ( See pages 46-54 of the Agenda package)

The third and final part of the process for the India Avenue development is a Report from the City Planner related to the Application for Development Permit ( See pages 55-63 of the Agenda package)

Report from the City Planner on an Application for a Development Variation  Permit for Edward Avenue ( See page 64 )

The evening then wraps up with Additional Items from Council members, as well as Reports, Questions and inquiries from Members of Council.

The Live broadcast of the City Council session can be found here, a video archive of past sessions is available here.

Our Archive of the April 27th session can be found here.

While our archive of all sessions of 2015  for council  is available here.

MLA's Week, April 20-23, 2015

Back from our week away from the blog, we're playing a bit of catch up on events out of Victoria for the week just past.

For our weekly review a couple of items of note on the work of Jennifer Rice the MLA for the North Coast over the last four days of the Legislative session.

Ms. Rice, the North Coast's representative was listed twice in the archive of participants for the twelve sessions of the Legislature in the House, or those related to House Committee work listed for the week of April 20-24.

Her first appearance, questions for the Provincial government related to past inquiries on government openness and transparency.

You can review her questions from the Monday session of April 20th here.

On Tuesday, Ms. Rice offered up a testimony to the work of the Eco Trust in the Prince Rupert region, celebrating their 5th anniversary in the community and 20 years of work in the province.

You can watch her statement to the legislature here.

As for her committee work, MLA Rice is a member of the Standing Committee on Children and Youth.  

That committee did not have any sessions scheduled during last week.

The Legislature returns to work this morning.

There is more background on the North Coast MLA available from our MLA's Week archive as well as our General Archive on the Legislature.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Well, we had so much fun, we'll do it again...

Such was the enjoyable nature of most recent break from blogging , that we're going to do it again.

Spring it seems, does get one to wandering a bit more.

We'll be away from our post for about a week or so, taking advantage of the chance to grab some sunshine and a change of the scenery out of town.

With our sabbatical, our regular review of Council issues and many of our other features that require attention on an ongoing basis will be in hibernation for that period.  

As we did a few weeks ago, we'll try to catch up as best we can, upon our return.

As we suggested earlier this month, feel free to wander through the various topics listed on the right hand column, you may find some items of interest that you may have missed when they first came out.

Hawkair launches Loyalty program

Hawkair to launch Loyalty program
(photo from Hawkair website)
Terrace based Hawkair is looking to reward Northwest customers, introducing a loyalty program called Hawkair Plus.

The program offers up  Hawkair Plus points each time you fly, with the opportunity to redeem them for complimentary travel in as few as five flights.

Once you set up your account you can earn Hawkair loyalty points on flights and redeem your HawkairPlus points at anytime.

You also can check your Points balance, store contact information for faster booking, manage your online bookings and get advance notice when it comes to seat sales.

Once you have earned 7500 points you can redeem your points for a complimentary flight.

The program is just the latest move from the Northwest airline to reinforce its place in the marketplace as competition in the region continues to increase.

The skies of the Northwest are finding a few new options these days, mainly out of the Terrace airport, which now is served by four regularly scheduled airlines.

Hawkair also serves the North coast, flying out of Prince Rupert with one flight per day  at the Digby Island airport

You can learn more about the HawkairPLUS program from their website here.

More background on the program is also available through their Frequently Asked Questions section.

For more on Air Transportation in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Auction House to set up shop in town for one day this week

A Quebec based auction
house is coming to
Prince Rupert this week
Somewhere in your house perhaps are a couple of shoe boxes, old binders, plastic tubs or cloth sacks all holding parts of your past, or inherited items you've been wondering what to do with.

This week, you might be able to find out if there's any value in all of your mementos.

North Coast residents with those hidden treasure troves of hockey and sports cards, coins,  jewelry and any number of other collectible items might want to dust them off, or polish them up. Getting them presentable for a Montreal based Auction House that is making its way to the city for Wednesday.

The visit from International Auction has been preceded by a local household mailer campaign, with their four page information sheet arriving in most mailboxes late last week.

Inside the pages they provide a thumbnail glimpse as to some of the items they are looking for and some background about their business and what they have planned for their stop in the city.

Those with items for appraisal can take them with them, ready to ask questions of the appraisers and receive an offer for those that may hold an interest. Part of the information from their mailer advises that they are ready to pay cash should you be looking to sell.

They will be set up at the Prince Rupert Hotel, on Wednesday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

You can learn more about their services from the International Auction website here.

NWCC to host Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art Exhibition this weekend

One final opportunity for Northwest residents to enjoy the work of the Freda Diesing School for this school year comes up this weekend, as Northwest Community College hosts an Art Exhibition on Friday and Saturday at the NWCC campus in Terrace.

The two day event called "Arts of the North" starts on Friday evening from 6 to 9 PM and again on Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Among some of the exhibits will be a number of carved pieces by those currently taking courses through the School at NWCC.

As well as an exhibition, those attending can also take advantage of the opportunity to purchase some of the works from the First Nations Arts students.

You can find out more about this weekends event from the Northwest Community College website or Facebook page.

You can learn more about the Freda Diesing program from this link to the NWCC Courses page as well as from this video on the NWCC YouTube channel.

For more on events and developments at NWCC see our archive page here.

Belmont Hotel looks to expand capacity

Prince Rupert's Belmont Hotel is
looking to increase its capacity
(from the Belmont website)
Prince Rupert's entertainment options continue to see some shifts, first with the opening of a new nightspot in the old Surf Club called The Hub and the more recent re-branding of the Chances Gaming Centre lounge as a Don Cherry's.

Not to be left out of the evolution in the area, is one of Prince Rupert's more established and popular night spots. As the Belmont Hotel is looking to increase its capacity, seeking approval of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for the planned expansion.

An application was submitted to the regulatory body, outlining a proposal to increase the capacity of the local club from 137 patrons to a maximum capacity of 215.

As part of their application, the Belmont has noted that no change to the hours of operation are being requested, the Belmont currently is licensed to operate from Noon until 2 AM  from Monday to Saturday and from 11 AM to Midnight on Sundays.

The application also notes that there is no structural change planned for the location at this time.

As part of the process, anyone that that lives or operates a business within a half mile of the Belmont has the opportunity to comment on the proposal.

Those interest in submitting their comments can do so by contact the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch:

Any correspondences should be address to:

The General Manager
c/o Licensing Analyst
Liquor Control and Licensing Branch
PO Box 9292
Victoria, BC
V8W 9J8

Or those wishing to participate can do so by way of email at

Comments, your name and an address must be included with any submission.

The deadline for submissions is April 30th.

You can review more of the developments in Prince Rupert's commercial sector from our archive page here.

Carnival works its way west, with Prince Rupert dates of May 1-3

West Coast Amusements will be
setting up in Prince Rupert May 1-3
One sure sign of the shift from our winter thoughts to those of spring is the arrival of West Coast Amusements and the annual visit of the Carnival.

WCA is working its way across Northern BC this week,  setting up in Terrace from April 24 to 26 and the in Kitimat on April 28th.  

They then head for the North Coast towards the end of April with three days set for Prince Rupert from May 1 to 3.

The Prince Rupert set up will be at the Civic Centre Parking lot, with the midway opening on Friday May 1st at 3 PM.

Coupons and information on Wristband opportunities will be offered up shortly before the Carnival makes its way to Prince Rupert next week.

You can get a sneak preview of some of the attractions that West Coast Amusements brings to town from their website here.

For those that have plans to attend, a few suggestions on how to make the day an enjoyable one can be found here.

Real Estate Tracker, week ending April 19, 2015

Our weekly review of the listings of the local real estate agents, tracking those properties which appear to be driving the local price structure for the North Coast.

Every Monday, we look over the listing prices of the past seven days and outline the Top 10 asking prices in the area, providing a snap shot as to where the Real Estate market may be trending on a week to week basis.

The listings below are purely for information purposes, for further background on the properties recorded, see our links page for access to the individual real estate listings.

The Archive for our weekly review can be found here.

Our list of the top ten priced homes for the week ending April 19 is below:

Prince Rupert Real Estate
West Side April 19 2015
Prince Rupert Real Estate
East Side April 19 2015

There was no change to the lineup for properties over the last seven days, with no new entries breaking past the tenth spot listing of a $475,000 asking price.

As it was last week the west side is currently the location where the top end of the listings can be found with eight of the ten of our review.

The east side of the city hosts two properties this week, both of them relatively new entries to the overview..

The high end continues to be marked by a Graham Avenue entry, while the a listing on Eagle Drive grabs the final spot of the top ten listings.

Below our findings as of the Week ending April 19, 2015

1724 Graham Avenue                    $669,000  --  Royal Lepage
1942-46 2nd Avenue W                 $659,000  --  Royal Lepage
2040 Graham Avenue --                $650,000  --  Royal Lepage
160 Van Arsdol Street--                 $649,900   -- Royal Lepage
2126 Graham Avenue --                 $615,000  --  Royal Lepage
2044 Graham Avenue--                  $549,000  --  Remax
1229 Conrad Street --                     $525,000  --  Royal Lepage
524 Cassiar Avenue --                    $499,000  --  Remax
1711 Sloan Avenue --                     $480,900  --  Royal Lepage
1022 Eagle Drive --                        $475,000  --  Remax

For more items related to Real Estate see our archive page here.

For background on Housing issues in the region see our past items here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Blog Watching, Week ending April 19, 2015

Possible criminal activity, a boost to tourism opportunities and some decisions out of Prince Rupert City Council highlighted the week, with a number of our blog items finding a large audience as the week moved forward.

The item to catch the attention of most readers this week was our look at an early morning fire from last Sunday, an incident which has turned into an investigation into a possible case of arson,  and provided for a strong surge of readers through the week.

With tourism season almost upon us, our look at the review of a number of Prince Rupert and the North Coast's attractions in a provincial magazine this week found a number of readers looking it up.

And three items related to Monday's Council session found an interested readership this week, with some concerns from the Board of Education and a recent appearance at a Public Hearing over zoning at the old Canadian Freightways yard finding much interest from our readers.

Rounding out the top five this week was our look at the progress of a housing proposal on the east side and news from the City as to how residents can notify the City about concerns related to pot holes this spring.

Leading off the review for the last seven days, last Sunday mornings fire of the early hours and the investigation that has followed it.

Prince Rupert RCMP investigating possible Arson on east side of the city --  A pair of fires from early Sunday morning, caught the attention of the RCMP, with a possible arson investigation now underway (posted April 13, 2015)

That item was followed by:

British Columbia Magazine featured a Prince Rupert Blitz over the weekend -- Prince Rupert and the North Coast gets a feature article mention in a popular magazine  (posted April 14, 2015)

Prince Rupert Council may have some fences to mend with the School District  -- The reception at a recent Public Hearing on zoning issues has left the School District disappointed with the handling of the issue by City Council   (posted  April 17, 2015)

India Avenue housing proposal moves forward to Public Hearing stage   -- Monday's Council session provided some momentum for an east side housing proposal (posted April 16, 2015)

Pot Hole season a hot topic for Council on Monday evening  -- Council received an update from city staff on how the city addresses the issue of potholes, with residents advised to call in trouble areas to the Public works department  (posted April 16, 2015 )

You can find our Blog watching featured posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, a handy way to catch up to the week that was, at a leisurely weekend pace.

For those looking for updates to items as they are posted to the blog, don't forget about our email alert access.

A daily review of the latest items on the blog can be delivered to your email in box, simply by entering your email address into the information bar, items posted to the blog will be delivered to your e-mail account each day.

You can find the link to that feature on the upper, right hand side of the blog. Underneath the Follow the North Coast Review by Email indicator.

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching  can be found here.