Friday, July 31, 2015

Federal investment will bring enhanced radar systems for Port of Prince Rupert

A new radar system for Prince Rupert
Harbour will provide for additional
safety and information for vessels
calling on the Port of Prince Rupert
The transit of the waters surrounding the Port of Prince Rupert will be safer in the future with the announcement today of Federal funding for a shore based radar system that will improve the capability of monitoring vessel movements in the area.

The project which is estimated to cost five million dollars, will benefit from two million dollars of funding through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

The arrival of the new radar component is designed to accommodate growth in vessel traffic that is currently taking place owing to historic levels of trade between Canada and Asia-Pacific nations, with the prospect of even more shipments through the Port of Prince Rupert anticipated should some of the  major developments proposed for the region move forward in the years to come.

“This project will result in a new and foundational piece of our marine safety and security network at the Port of Prince Rupert, providing an additional layer to the maritime picture we use to keep our harbour safe and ensure a diverse range of cargoes continue to flow securely through our trade gateway ... Our local partnerships enable improvements like this to make a safe port even safer, and matching investments from senior government organizations allow us to carry forward our long term development vision in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner.” -- Don Krusel, President and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert speaking to harbour safety plans for the region.

The Marine Traffic Centre at Seal
Cove will see enhanced radar
coverage introduced next year
When completed and operational in the fall of 2016, the radar system to be put in place will make use of three tower locations to provide coverage from a geographic area that includes Northeast of Haida Gwaii and around Prince Rupert up to the Alaska border.

The areas to be utilized for the three tower system include, Mount Hays, Ridley island and Dundas Island.

Once it is operational the new system will provide for a real time visual network for the Coast Guards Marine Communications and Traffic Service facility at Seal Cove to track and allow for the  gathering of enhanced information on a range of vessels transiting the area.

The RCMP will also make use of the information system, with Sean Bourrie, the Chief Superintendent responsible for Federal policing in British Columbia outlining the ways that the radar system will be of use to the federal force.

 "This investment in shore-based radar coverage of the British Columbia northern coastline around Prince Rupert is an important contribution to Canada's public safety and the strategic priorities of the RCMP  ... This tool will help us gather and analyse intelligence at the port and from the surrounding maritime environment in support of our law enforcement initiatives."

Construction related to the installation of the new radar system towers and equipment will begin in the weeks ahead, with an eye towards the completion date in the fall of next year.

The reach of a new radar system to be installed to provide
enhanced coverage of Prince Rupert Harbour and beyond

The operation maintenance of the radar system on the North Coast will be provided by the Canadian Coast Guard through Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

More background on today's announcement can be found from this media release from the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

For more items related to development at the Port see our archive page here.

Prince Rupert's Centennial Golf Course to celebrate August with a number of specials

A number of special golf opportunities
are being offered starting in August
at the Prince Rupert Golf course
The Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course is heading into the dog days of summer with some interesting opportunities to save some money on your North Coast golfing experience.

And while July has for the most part not been the best when it comes to golf weather, with a little luck, the North Coast will once again recapture the weather patterns of May and June making for a chance for residents and visitors to take advantage of a number of specials set for the month of August at the Golf course.

Starting August 4th Northwest golfers can take to the course through a number of opportunities that will carry through into the end of summer.

Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays provide for a deal on the use of carts with your round of eighteen, with special prices in effect from 12:30 to 3:30 for Two Players with a  cart and four players with a cart, with potential savings of up to 100 dollars. Those looking to take advantage of the Cart special must book a tee time and reserve a cart prior to arrival at the Course.

Senior's can take advantage of Special Pricing as well from 8:30 to 11:30 each morning Monday through Friday, with a Special Senior's Play and Ride option available for 18 or 9 holes of golf. As with the Regular Cart Special, tee times and cart reservations must be made in advance.

Friday's are also getting the special treatment, as the Centennial Course offers up its Fabulous Friday special, where two players walking or riding can access special prices for nine holes around the course. Those interested in the evening round will need to book a tee time and reserve a cart if desired prior to their arrival.

As well as the specials in place for August, the Prince Rupert course is reminding North Coast residents of the range of golf opportunities that they offer, from Men's and Ladies nights to Junior Coaching and Camps and Golf lessons for those looking to tune up their game.

For those that just want to work on their swing, the Driving Range is always open to the public for a chance to shake off the rust and bring that hook under control.

You can find out the details for the August opportunities as well as find out more about what the Centennial Course has to offer by giving them a call at 250-624-2000.

The Prince Rupert course recently announced the hiring of their new Manager/Professional, hosting a meet and Greet to introduce Dave Belling and his wife Dianne to the members of the club.

Mr. Belling has 34 years experience since turning pro and is looking to bring the course back to a standard that Prince Rupert's golfing community will be proud of.

For updates on special events and other golf related notes see their Facebook page.

More items related to golfing across the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

Pacific Future Energy announces partnership for proposed North Coast Oil refinery

The proponent of what has been described as the world's greenest oil refinery on Canada's west coast made a fairly significant announcement today, as Pacific Future Energy expanded on the creation of a partnership to move forward their plans for refinery development near Prince Rupert.

In a statement released today, Pacific Future Energy outlined the background on their partnership with the First Nations Business group A-in-Chut Business Group and the engineering company SNC Lavalin, offering up the first update on their plans since earlier this year.

A-in-Chut Business Group is a First Nations business investment group which features Shawn Atleo, the former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations as one of its principles. Mr. Atleo is also listed as a member of the management team at the company, noted as the Senior Advisor for Partnerships with Pacific Future Energy.

The nature of today's announcement highlights the process ahead to assist in pre-engineering work on the terminal project, while building on and supporting First Nation partnerships in the development.

 “PFEC’s goal is to provide access to the Asian market for Canada’s bitumen, while protecting British Columbia’s Pacific coast, by building the world’s greenest refinery, in full partnership with First Nations ... We also believe that community support must be earned before – not after — finalizing our plans. For one of Canada’s oldest engineering firms to agree with this approach and work with A-in-Chut Business Group to invest in this development process is a strong vote of confidence.” -- Robert Delamar, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Future Energy Corporation, outlining the background to this mornings announcement

For its part the A-in-Chut Business Group noted the nature of change that the project could deliver to the region and beyond.

"This refinery will be transformative and innovative in both the approach and the technology. First and foremost, we recognize and respect the role of First Nations partners and their rights and title in resource development. We will work in full partnership with our First Nations partners, as Nations, to build a responsible, sustainable project that includes our collective values and our interests"-- Mike Bonshor President, A-in-Cut Business Group.

Bringing SNC-Lavalin, a major industrial engineering firm onboard for the project is also fairly significant development for the terminal project.

With the firm set to bring its experience when it comes to large industrial projects to the North Coast, offering up perhaps the first indication that the refinery plan may yet move forward towards the development stage in the region.

“SNC-Lavalin is very pleased to be a part of a project that will contribute to the important imperative of bringing Canadian resources to markets and produce one of the most energy efficient refineries ever built,” said Robert G. Card, President and Chief Executive Officer, SNC-Lavalin. “We are proud to be associated with PFEC and together with our First Nations partners, advance the project. This project will help open up Asian markets for Canada’s energy sector, while building key infrastructure on Canada’s west coast.” --- Robert G. Card, President and Chief Executive Officer, SNC-Lavalin.

An infographic from the Pacific
Future Energy website
notes the scope of the project
Today's announcement is the first major update on the proposed terminal to be seen since January, though Pacific Future Energy did make an interesting addition to their advisory board in May.

Bringing onboard Mr. Dave Coles, a well known face in the labour movement as an advisor the company, with the May announcement of his addition to the Board, highlighting the prospect of long term jobs that a  refined in Canada terminal could offer the region and the west.

To this point a location for the proposed terminal has not been outlined by Pacific Future Energy and the company has yet to provide much background on their plans to the community either by way of an Open House or community engagement session.

More information related to the Pacific Future Energy plans can be found from their website.

You can also review more background and media notes on the proposed Terminal project from our archive page here.

Pacific Future is one of two proposed oil shipment terminals that have been suggested for the North Coast, Eagle Spirit Energy has also been in the news of late, putting forward their plans for a terminal development in the region, a proposal that has proven to be somewhat controversial in the community of Lax Kw'alaams.

You can review the background on the Eagle Spirit proposal here.

Also in the mix in the Northwest, is the Kitimat Clean oil refinery proposal, the project championed by newspaper publisher David Black would see bitumen refined in Kitimat for shipment to Asian markets, though of late there has not been much in the way of updates provided on that proposed development.

Northern Health Connections Bus heads for summer schedule

The Northern Health Connections bus
will be parked for two weeks in August
The annual break for operators of the Northern Connections Health Care bus system is about to take place, with the system set for a modified schedule that will see service stop for a bit over two weeks in August.

For the main Prince Rupert to Prince George run, the schedule is as follows:

The final trip before the break to Prince Rupert will take place on Friday August 7th. While the final run into Prince George from the North Coast will take place on Saturday August 28th.

Service to Prince Rupert resumes on Sunday, August 23rd, while the first run post break to Prince George will be on Monday, August 24th.

The full schedule modification for August for all routes can be reviewed here.

You can learn more about the Northern Health Connections Service from the Northern health website.

More items related to Northern Health can be found on our archive page.

MLA Rice's voice is missing from Banks Island conversation

The Banks Island mining site
falls in the middle of the
North Coast riding of
MLA Jennifer Rice

Considering the location of the Banks Island mining project and the current concerns related to potential pollution from it, the lack of comment on recent events from North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice seems somewhat surprising.

Banks Island, which is located just south of Kitkatla falls within the North Coast MLA's constituency and the environment has long been a concern of Ms. Rice's going back to before her time on Prince Rupert City Council.

So to take note of a lack of awareness, or comment with an ongoing situation that should be right in her political wheel house makes for a puzzling thing.

And while the Legislature is on summer vacation once again, with the workload obviously somewhat reduced for our elected officials, Ms. Rice still could have at least offered up a statement of concern when it comes to the environmental issues that have been raised in recent weeks.

Taking the opportunity to note for her constituents that she is watching the developments with interest, if for no other reason, than to reassure those in the Gitxaala Nation that she's keeping the topic at the top of her watch list.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
in the Legislature earlier this month
However, a ramble through her various and widely used information portals of a Facebook pagetwitter feed, You Tube video archive and constituency website find no mention of the Banks Island incidents that have now led to a review of the practices in place at the mining site.

Nor to this point, has there been any comment from the MLA noted in the growing list of media items related to the recently announced review by Environment Canada into the situation at Banks Island.

That interest picked up significantly over the last two weeks, as a number of media organizations  became aware of the incidents and the moves from the Province of British Columbia to examine them further.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, the first notice of possible concern over those mining practices was raised in early July, when the NDP mines critic noted his interest in the developments.

Al Hoffman, the Province of British Columbia's Chief Inspector of Mines told Global News this week that he had received photos from NDP MLA Norm MacDonald on July 9th, outlining the concerns that the NDP critic for Energy and Mines had forwarded to his office regarding the mining project on Banks Island.

If that timeline is correct, that would suggest that the topic could have been of some discussion in the NDP caucus room in Victoria anytime between July 13 and the 21st when the Legislature met in summer session.

And while mining is not part of Ms. Rice's NDP oversight in the Legislature, events near Kitkatla and the area surrounding Banks Island should be something that she must be aware of, making for an issue that the MLA should have something to offer towards when it comes to the current discussion.

Perhaps Mr. MacDonald, who represents a riding near Revelstoke should contact Ms. Rice and give her the heads up and more background on what's happening in her own backyard.

When you look at some of her previous comments of concern over environmental issues over the years, one would think that the Banks Island mining situation could be an issue she might want to look into a bit further.

You can review more items related to mining in the Northwest from our archive page here.

Further background on the North Coast MLA's efforts in Victoria can be reviewed from our Legislature Archive page.

Update: Shortly after 4 PM on Friday afternoon, the North Coast MLA issued this statement on the Banks Island Gold Mine situation.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rampage ready to ramp things up for upcoming CIHL Season

The Civic Centre ice maker is looking at mid August to have the city's sheet of ice in place at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre and once that highly anticipated bit of work is complete, the sound of skates hitting ice won't be too far behind.

And with the ice on the way, the Prince Rupert Rampage the North Coast entry in the Central Interior Hockey League will be heading into training camp season, looking to head into 2015-16 with a new focus for delivering a championship for the loyal Rampage fans that regularly pack the Jim.

While there may be a few position spots on the roster to fill in, as they make ready for the on ice battles ahead, one area where the Rampage is looking for help right now is with its off ice information presentation.

Earlier this week, the Rampage put out the call through their Facebook page for those with computer design skills to offer up some time to help maintain the team's website, offering up a good chance to help make the team the tops when it comes to information delivery and presentation in the CIHL.

The website which hasn't had much action since the 2013 season has much potential for someone with the time to dedicate to the project.

Those interested in the challenge, can look over the current model here and then contact the Rampage at 250-600-6428 to share some thoughts on the Rampage info portal.

The Rampage will open training camp on August 17th with the Lou Lemire Hockey Skills Camp, leading up to a 2015-16 that sees a significant change to the playoff format for the CIHL.

This year features a revision to the playoff system for the league, with all seven teams in the leaguequalifying for playoff action. A situation which will see the Western Division rivals of Terrace, Smithers and Kitimat ready to battle the Rampage in the standings and the opportunity to host the road out of the division towards the championship.

So far the CIHL has not released the schedule for 2015-16, but if past years are any indication, puck drop for a brand new year most likely comes sometime in the first week of October.

As we move closer to the start of the new season, we'll add more items to our archive pages for CIHL results and features.

CIHL News 2015-16

Our archive of news items from the Central Interior Hockey League for the 2015-16 season, with particular note given to the Prince Rupert Rampage.

Our Schedule and Game Summaries pages can be found below:

Prince Rupert Rampage Results page 2015-16
Prince Rupert Rampage Schedule 2015-16

For those looking for more information on the Rampage, the team provides background on its latest developments from their, Website,  Facebook Page and Twitter Feed.

North Coast Review items


March 22 -- Terrace River Kings play the host as Coy Cup launches tonight 


February 10 -- Second Period push from Terrace sends Rampage to sidelines for 2016
February 5 -- Rampage season hinges on 24 hours in Terrace
February 2 -- Salvation Army gains over $4,000 from Rapage and Port initiative
February 1 -- Terrace claims first game of Best of Three, with 5-2 victory over the Rampage


January 29 -- As CIHL Playoffs get underway, Rampage ready for a Saturday Night Black Out at the Jim
January 19 -- Rampage to face Terrace in CIHL playoff series opener January 30th
January 15 -- Rampage to wrap up Regular Season on the road
January 12 -- Rampage take twin wins to gain momentum down final stretch of regular season

January 8 -- Rampage back on the ice for 2016 with back to back games tonight and tomorrow
December 21 -- Steelheads strengthen lead atop CIHL West with 6-3 victory over Rampage
December 18 -- Rampage face off with Steelheads this weekend
December 16 --Rampage hosting New Years Eve Bash at the North Coast Meeting and Convention Centre
December 14 -- Rampage dominate Ice Demons in weekend CIHL action
December 11 -- Rampage look to climb back towards the top in the West with weekend matchup against Kitimat
December 4 -- Rampage back on the road looking to close gap in CIHL West
December 2 -- Rampage drop two on tough Cariboo trek


November 27 -- Rampage return to ice with lengthy Cariboo road trip
November 25 -- Planning in motion for Popular Skate with the Rampage afternoon
November 10 -- Rampage vault back into first place after weekend win over Lac La Hache
November 6 -- Rampage back on the ice Saturday with Lac La Hache in town


October 29 -- Shift in the standings for CIHL West following weekend play
October 23 -- Rampage look to continue to rule the roost after this weekend's match up with Terrace
October 21 -- Rampage remain atop CIHL West following weekend split
October 16 -- Rampage look to gain some distance in West with home and home series against Kitimat
October 14 -- Rampage claim 7-4 victory over Terrace in first road game of the season
October 9 -- Rampage take to the highway for first road game this weekend
October 8 -- Prince Rupert Port Authority and Rampage team up again this year to assist Salvation Army
October 7 -- Rampage split opening weekend in shoot out fashion!
October 2 -- Rampage set to open 2015-16 with two for the weekend 


September 28 -- Terrace River Kings looking at bid for 2016 Coy Cup
September 22 -- Rampage return to the ice Saturday night in exhibition contest with Terrace
September 2 -- Rampage Schedule highlights a challenging year ahead for Prince Rupert's CIHL squad


August 31 -- Rampage release home schedule for 2015-16


July 30 -- Rampage ready to ramp things up for upcoming CIHL season
July 16 -- Rampage Golf Scramble nearing tee off

Items of interest from other regional sources


March 19 -- Terrace River Kings rally for Coy Cup
March 10 -- Steelheads claim CIHL playoff championship in win over Stamps
March 8 -- Smithers Steelheads win CIHL trophy
March 7 -- Steelheads win CIHL title
March 1 -- Steelheads take 1-0 lead in CIHL final


February 29 -- Steels take Series Opener 4-1
February 23 -- Stampeders advance to CIHL playoff final
February 23 -- River Kings halted by Steelheads
February 22 -- Steelheads Eliminate River Kings, Play Williams Lake in Final
February 21 -- Smithers Steelheads win against Terrace River Kings
February 16 -- Stampeders look to close our East Division final
February 15 -- River Kings edge Steelheads in Double Overtime to Win Game 1 of Western Final
February 15 -- Steelheads Open West Finals with 6-5 Double OT loss
February 11 -- Stamps host Kangaroos in CIHL playoffs
February 13 -- Steelheads Begin Round 2 Tonight in Terrace
February 9 -- River Kings finish off the Rampage 7-2
February 6 -- Steelheads could advance with Win at Home Saturday
February 5 -- River Kings face off in second playoff game here tomorrow
February 3 -- Port/Rampage Goals assist for Salvation Army (video)
February 3 -- Rampage on the brink of elimination
February 3 -- Rampage, Port Authority ramp up community presence as 2015-16 playoffs begin
February 1 -- Terrace River Kings victorious in first playoff game against Prince Rupert Rampage
February 1 -- Davies' 5 points lead fish to 9-4, Game 1 win


January 30 -- Steelheads begin playoffs in Kitimat
January 26 -- River Kings launch into playoffs Saturday
January 26 -- Back in Black: Rampage look to knock off defending champ River Kings
January 19 -- River Kings dominate final season game
January 19 -- Steelheads win Lightning Cup after Perfect weekend
January 15 -- River Kings face Kitimat in final season game tomorrow
January 14 -- Steelheads finishing season with home doubleheader this weekend
January 13 -- Kings of old honoured
January 13 -- Rampage sizzling as playoffs near
January 11 -- Steelheads win in Kitimat, 2 More for Home Ice in Playoffs
January 8 -- 3 Wins Guarantees CIHL Top Spot for Steelheads
January 8 -- Important West Division Games This weekend as Season winds down
January 8 -- Kings return to Jim Ciccone ice


December 23 -- Stamps host "Stamp out Hunger"
December 21 -- Steelheads effective power play spells a win on the coast
December 21 -- Steelheads, River Kings continue to Battle for Top
December 18 -- Steelheads coast bound to finish 2015
December 18 -- CIHL Weekend Lookahead
December 15 -- Rampage demolish Ice Demons
December 14 -- Devries' Natural Hat Trick, 5 Pts Helps Steelheads to 5th Straight win
December 14 -- Rampage beat Ice Demons; Steelheads, River Kings Win Twice in Weekend action
December 11 -- Non-Perishable admission to Steelheads Game Sunday
December 9 -- River Kings shut out Rupert rivals
December 8 -- River Kings blank Rampage
December 7 -- Steelheads Goalies shine in Perfect Roadtrip
December 4 -- Steelheads Road Trip East To Begin Season's Second Half
December 3 -- Stampeders extend lead in CIHL
December 2 -- Terrace River Kings to host Coy Cup in March
December 1 -- Rampage winless on eastern road trip


November 27 -- River Kings gearing up to defend top rank
November 24 -- Stamps take two; extend division lead
November 20 -- History Promising many PIM on Saturday
November 17 -- Stampeders split weekend set with 'Roos, 'Hawks
November 16 -- Steelheads fall 2-1 in Kitimat Saturday
November 14 -- Terrace River Kings trump Kitimat Ice Demons 7-3
November 12 -- Terrace River Kings climbing CIHL ranks
November 10 -- Slugfest overshadows Rampage win
November 3 -- Stamps get into Halloween spirit


October 27 -- River Kings shut down Prince Rupert Rampage offence
October 26 -- Steelheads take Western lead with 5-4 win Friday
October 23 -- First Steelheads home game since October 2 tonight
October 20 -- Stamps edge Tomahawks in divisional matchup
October 20 -- DeVries helps Steelheads win twice on road trip east
October 16 -- River Kings gelling and building experience
October 15 -- Steelheads hit the road for weekend east
October 14 -- Rampage roll over River Kings
October 13 -- Stamps thump 'Roos in home opener
October 7 -- Terrace River Kings kick off season
October 6 -- Steelheads split weekend series to Start season
October 6 -- Stampeders split season openers
October 6 -- Prince Rupert Rampage split shootout series
October 2 -- Steelheads Season starts tonight
October 2 -- CIHL season begins this weekend


September 30 -- Rampage raise more than $5,300 for Frank Pyde
September 28 -- Rupert Rampage return in style
September 24 -- Prince Rupert Rampage Exhibition Game Fundraiser Saturday  (video)
September 15 -- Steelheads Tryouts begin Saturday


August 11 -- Playoff format to change in 2015/16 CIHL season
August 10 -- Skills the emphasis for Lou Lemire Camp


July 29 -- Rampage, fans hit the greens 
July 20 -- Rampage headed back to the playoffs


June 24 -- Rampage, Hays team up to mould junior golfers

Archive of past years


Riverboat Days expanding schedule spans ten days

Terrace's popular
Riverboat Days
starts Friday
Organizers in Terrace are building this years Riverboat Days as the largest community festival in Northwest British Columbia and with a schedule of events that takes in ten days of activities, finding things to do probably won't be a hard thing to accomplish.

Celebrating the Spirit of the Skeena, organizers have listed over 60 events for residents and visitors to take in over the tend days.

Things kick off on Friday evening and continue on until Sunday, August 9th, in between the Riverboat Days Society has pretty well something for everyone.

While the festival may run ten days, the upcoming long weekend is packed with many of the events with Friday launching the weekend with a number of sports tournaments in the Terrace area as well as the official opening of River Boat Days taking place at 7 PM at the Spirit Square at George Little Memorial Park.

The Sports events continue to dominate the Saturday schedule, though the highlight events will be the Riverboat Days Legion Parade, starting at 11 AM from the Terrace City Hall, the parade will travel along Lakelse Avenue and taking the participants to the Legion. 

Music will be the focus of the Spirit Square stage at George Little Park, with a day full of entertainment from a range of Northwest bands, leading up to the Saturday nigh showcase of Kenny Shields and Streetheart at 7 PM.

The jam packed Saturday schedule comes to an end at 11 PM with the Fireworks Extravaganza from Ferry Island providing for a spectacular Northwest backdrop to the always popular fireworks display.

Sunday provides for more of the sporting events across the city, as well as Open Houses at a number of Terrace attractions, the Terrace Ministerial Association will also be hosting Church in the Park from 11 AM to 12:15 at George Little Memorial Park.

The Riverboat Days Society has published a helpful guide
to the many events in Terrace from July 31-August 9

The themes of Open Houses, Sports activities and other community events make up the schedule from Monday to Sunday August 9th. With a Street Fair from 9 to Noon and a 3 PM Kiddies Parade at 4600 Lakelse Avenue among the highlights of the second Saturday of Riverboat Days.

The full schedule of events for the ten days of activities can be found here.

Banks Island mining project now being investigated by Environment Canada

A Banks Island mining project is being
reviewed by Environment Canada
An underground gold mining project on a Northwest coastal island south of Kitkatla is being reviewed by Environment Canada after reports of a pollution spill on the site were made public in recent weeks.

Environment Canada is offering no comment related to its investigation other than the advisory that it will be the lead investigator into the incident, with support from the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service.

The Yellow Giant Mine on Banks Island received notice from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment earlier this month which issued an order related to the operations on site.

The company noted the terms of the Pollution Abatement order in a media release from July 24th, outlining how the BC Ministry of Mines had inspected the Yellow Giant Mine on July 16th and issued a stop order on the mineral process plant until a revised Sediment Control Plan, Water Management Plan and Tailings management plan was provided to the Chief Inspector.

Yellow Giant stated in the media release that they had submitted the requested reports as of July 20th.

Concerns over the way that tailings from the mine have been stored and the impact that it could have on lake and wetland areas that feed a river and other streams that salmon transit is key to the ongoing investigation.

In the fallout from the incident, the Gitxaala Nation has also indicated that they will be launching a legal action against both Banks Island Gold and the province to ensure that environmental damage that may have been caused by the spill is cleaned up.

Chief Clarence Innis of the Gitxaala First Nation also told Global BC that they have a number of concerns related to the development in their traditional territory and plan to conduct their own investigation into the incident.  He noted that along with their legal moves, the First Nation would be looking to see the mining project shut down completely.

In the same interview, Al Hoffman, the Chief Inspector of Mines for British Columbia outlined some of the details of the investigation to this point from the province and the process and possible repercussions ahead.

Both interviews can be viewed below:

The environmental group Pacific Wild has also been prominent in recent days in its efforts to draw attention to the mining project, issuing their own media release on July 27th.

Yesterday, the Vancouver Sun provided more background related to the incident that led to the current investigation.

Other news sources both local and provincial, have been following the story since the incident was first noted earlier this month.

July 29 -- Gitxaala call on Banks Island to 'clean up and get out' of traditional territory
July 27 -- Underground gold miner limits production after pollution violation
July 27 -- Province shutters mine over spills
July 23 -- Shutdown order issued for Banks Island Gold after tailings, effluent found in the environment
July 23 -- No health risk from tailings and effluent discharge says Ministry of Environment
July 23 -- Environment Ministry orders mining shutdown on Banks Island due to tailings and effluent

Some aspects of those media reports, including those from the North Coast, have been highlighted by a resource magazine as inaccurate.

Though the publication, Resource Clips did note that Banks Island Gold officials didn't do themselves any favours in the their response to interview requests regarding the incident. went even further, outlining the list of items which the Company says has not been reported accurately. The majority of which involved the current status of the production activity at the mine and the  description of the area in question as a tailings pond, items that the company expanded on with a media release from July 28th.

In that media update, the company also announced the resignation of Mr. Saurabh Handa the Director and Chief Financial Officer, noting his other commitments as the deciding factor in his departure.

His time in the upper level position with the company appears to have been rather short lived, his appointment announcement which also listed a number of other changes within the company was dated July 8th of this year.

No timeline has been outlined by Environment Canada as to the process involved with their joint investigation with the province.

More items related to mining activity in the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

4.8 magnitude temblor reported Northwest of Port Hardy

A 4.8 mg earthquake was
reported NW of Port Hardy tonight
An area of the North Coast that has been an active earthquake zone for much of the year, stirred once again this evening with a 4.8 magnitude temblor recorded at 5:31 PM.

The earth movement was located some 183 kilometres to the Northwest of Port Hardy, it had a depth of 18.96 kilometres.

The area between Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii has had a number of quakes this year, which can be reviewed from our archive page here.

Today's 4.8 mg quake was located 
at the northern end
and in the middle of two fault lines
that run along the Vancouver Island coast
The location of today's quake is at a spot between the northern end of the two fault lines that run along the coast of Vancouver Island and Washington state.

No Tsunami Warning or Watch appears to have been generated by the event.

Today's seismic shift off of Port Hardy comes less than 24 hours after a significant 6.3 earthquake was recorded last evening at 7:35 PM west of Anchorage, Alaska 

Southeast Conference making plans for September conference in Prince Rupert

In just a bit over six weeks time, the City of Prince Rupert will be playing host to the annual gathering of the Southeast Conference,as Prince Rupert takes its turn as host of the alliance of Alaska communities which includes the sole British Columbia representative from Prince Rupert.

The 2015 Conference is taking place from September 15 to 17 and as the planning moves forward, the discussion panels, workshops and other working groups are being put together to make the most of the three days that the visitors from the north will be in the city.

The majority of the three days of discussions and workshops will be taking place at the North Coast Convention Centre, with Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and Southeast Conference President Patricia Phillips providing the opening address on the Tuesday morning

Among some of the topics that are in the works for the three day Agenda: Cross Border partnerships, an International Expo featuring discussions on LNG opportunities, a review of AMHS issues, a workshop on Building a sustainable future and discussions on Preparing the Alaskan economy for 2020.

A first draft of the proposed Agenda can be reviewed here.

While the delegates are here, a number of trips are also being planned to showcase some of the industrial developments of the region as well as other aspects of what Prince Rupert and Port Edward have to offer.

Delegates will wrap up their time on the North Coast with the closing banquet, scholarship auction and election of the 2016 Board of Directors.

In order to shuttle delegates to Prince Rupert from Ketchikan, the Alaskan airline Taquan Air will be flying between the two communities through the week, as well delegates can take advantage of the opportunity to use the Alaska Marine Highway System to transit to Prince Rupert.

That could provide a welcome opportunity for the Southeast Conference members to impress upon the Alaska government officials of the value of the transportation link between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, perhaps even making use of the conference to push for increased service between the two communities.

As well, with both Alaska state officials and representatives of the Federal Government to be in attendance during the conference,  North Coast residents could possibly receive an update on the stalled renovation plans for the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal in Prince Rupert.

Some background on the issues related to the Alaska Marine Highway and engagement with Prince Rupert can be found here.

Beyond the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss issues of mutual concern up and down the Pacific Northwest coast, the Conference will be an economic boost to the Prince Rupert economy, with hotel reservations and restaurants to feel the most impact of the three day visit from the neighbours.

You can track developments leading up to the September sessions through the Southeast Conference website.

The page dedicated to the Prince Rupert session can be found here.

CBC Radio responds to City Council inquiries on service in the community

The CBC has offered up another response to concerns related to programming on the North Coast, replying to a letter from the City of Prince Rupert and providing an overview of the service that they provide to the region through the Daybreak North program.

Noting that two members of the Daybreak team are based in Prince Rupert, Lorna Haeber, Director of Programming for the CBC outlined how recent budget cuts had not had an impact on the positions of Carolina de Ryk and George Baker who hold down the fort on Third Avenue West.

In the letter from July 10th, Ms. Haeber also observed as to the nature of the Daybreak North programming model which produces programming relevant to the larger audience of Northern British Columbia, while at the same time reflecting the unique characteristics that make up the community which the local broadcasters live.

The CBC executive also addressed some of the concerns that City seemingly included in their recent correspondence, advising that issues such as survival information and marine weather reports have been strengthened, with the marine weather incorporated into weather breaks both during the Daybreak North program and through the day.

As for some apparent programming requests by the City, that the CBC include shipping reports and announcements of memorials, Ms. Haeber observed that the CBC does not have the capacity to provide either of those recommendations on an ongoing basis.

On the theme of community involvement, she also made note of the recent Street party hosted by the CBC in front of City Hall, as well as a BC Almanac program hosted by Prince Rupert's Gloria Macarenko and broadcast from the CBC's Prince Rupert studios during Homecoming in May.

Also listed in the reply to the city were some of the other events that the CBC have provided a focus on in recent months, highlighted by a three day visit by Radio West during the February All Native Basketball Tournament.

You can review the full letter to Council by clicking on the copy provided below:

Ms. Haeber's correspondence is not the first time this year that CBC officials have responded to community concerns on the nature of programming in the region.

In May, Johnny Michel, the Senior managing director for CBC British Columbia and Alberta responded to an article from the weekly newspaper, providing some of the CBC's counter points to issues raised regarding the quality of broadcasting in the region.

As we've noted on the blog in recent months, the CBC has been in the spotlight on the North Coast with local listeners hosting public meetings to discuss their concerns and suggestions for improvement of local CBC service in the region.

The City's letter to the CBC follows up on those concerns which were raised by local listeners at a City Council session in April, as well as through a request for the city's support in their quest to improve the programming available.

You can review some of the background on those sessions from the links below:

July 16 -- Local CBC Radio fans hosting information Saturday
May 7 -- Local listeners seek Council's support to expand CBC Service on the North Coast
April 27 -- Community Group to outline concerns over CBC programming for Council tonight

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

Haida Gwaii food producers set to debut "Produced on Haida Gwaii" brand

Produce from Haida Gwaii is going
to carry a new brand this year
A new Buy Local program for Haida Gwaii will see funding of $5,225 provided to the Misty Isles Economic Development Society for a branding project for Haida Gwaii grown produce.

The new logo for the project “Produced on Haida Gwaii” will label fresh produce including vegetables, greenhouse produce, meat and seafood, and local artisan goods.

Shoppers will be able to easily identify products from Haida Gwaii and choose to buy locally and support local farmers and food producers.

The Misty Isles Economic Development Society is teaming up with the Graham Island East Coast Farmers' Institute and local food producers to promote products from Haida Gwaii. With a focus on supporting local agriculture, Wild harvest and the seafood community.

The program will make use of promotional materials for use in grocery stores and farmers markets to highlight the Haida Gwaii brand.

“Looking for local food on Haida Gwaii should be easier with the new local food brand and promotional materials. We look forward to continuing implementation of the Agriculture Strategy with our local producers.” -- Cameron Bell, economic development officer for the Misty Isles Development Society on a new program to highlight locally grown products

The new logo will be unveiled as part of the Tlell Fall Fair from July 31-August 2, as well as at other farmer's markets on the Islands through the summer and fall.

More on the Tlell Fall Fair can be viewed from this video from last years event or from the Facebook page dedicated to this years event.

You can learn more about the program from this background piece from the B. C. Buy Local program

Prince Rupert's water supply project to replace 2.2 kilometres of 100 year old pipe

Work on the City's water supplylines and Woolworth Dam
will be aided by Tuesday's
funding announcement

(photo from City
of PR 2012 annual Report)
A few more details have  been released regarding yesterday's infrastructure announcements on the North Coast, with the Prince Rupert water supply replacement project set to bring the city's water lines into a new century, leaving the 100 year old pipes to the history books.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday afternoon, Transportation Minister Todd Stone carried his infrastructure funding tour to the west, arriving on the North Coast on Tuesday afternoon providing for three major announcements.

For Prince Rupert, funding a combined federal and provincial infrastructure program will deliver $2,193,028 dollars from both the province and federal government accounting for over 4 million of the $6,579,086 price tag of the major infrastructure project.

The remainder of that total directed to the project will be the responsibility of the City of Prince Rupert.

On Tuesday evening, the Federal Government provided some background on the nature of the project, which will see the city's 100 year old steel water supply line replaced by a thermo plastic polymer pipe, with the new line to be buried underground for better protection.

The new upgraded line will be less prone to leaks, breakage and infiltration of contaminants and is expected to provide Prince Rupert residents and businesses with reliable potable water service for years to come.

Mayor Lee Brain, expressed the thanks of the Community for the financial assistance on the project and offered up some of his thoughts on the importance of the water supply project to the city.

"The City of Prince Rupert is delighted to be an active participant in conjunction with the Provincial and Federal governments New Building Canada Plan’s Small Communities Fund. A big thank you goes out to the Province for their support in addressing our critical infrastructure improvement needs by means of this opportunity. As part of the City of Prince Rupert’s 'LNG Go Plan’, this grant award begins the process of making our community a sustainable one. This in turn allows the City to compete as a global player on a world platform for major growth in the region and within the province."

Representatives from Prince Rupert and Port Edward joined
BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone for Tuesday's funding announcements

(Photo from Mayor Lee Brain's Facebook page)

In addition to the City's water supply project, Minister Todd Stone announced the approval of funding for the Wampler Way Bypass road in Port Edward. With both the province and federal government providing up to 1 million dollars each towards a project that is expected to cost 17.6 million dollars.

Port Edward is responsible for putting together the financing for the outstanding 15.6 million dollars.

"On behalf of myself and Council we would like to thank the Province for their support on the Wampler Way Project. This project will provide transportation for industry while keeping our residents safe." -- A statement from Mayor Dave MacDonald following Tuesday's funding announcement

The full overview of both projects can be found from this media release from the Federal Government.

For more items related to infrastructure issues on the North Coast see our archive page here, for items of note from Prince Rupert City Council see our Council Discussion page.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Infrastructure tour arrives on North Coast with funding for projects

Transportation Minister Todd Stone
Signed an MOU on funding
for infrastructure items for the
Lax Kw'alaams First Nation on Tuesday
Day Two of Transportation Minister Todd Stone's infrastructure funding tour brought him down the Yellowhead highway with announcements for Prince Rupert, Port Edward and Lax Kw'alaams on Tuesday afternoon.

The first announcement came for Lax Kw'alaams with details of a Memorandum of Understanding with the First Nation community that will set in motion funding for engineering work to pave Tuck Inlet Road, as well as funding for the refurbishment of the Spirit of Lax Kw'alaams ferry which will take place in 2016-17.

As well, Mr. Stone announced that there would be funding in place to provide for additional ferry trips each week between Lax Kw'alaams and Prince Rupert.

Details on the funding which comes through the BC on the Move program can be found here.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone
also had funding announcements
for Prince Rupert and Port Edward on
Tuesday afternoon
From that announcement Mr. Stone was off to meet with Mayor Lee Brain of Prince Rupert to announce the provinces contribution towards a new water supply project, with the province and Federal government contributing 4.4 million dollars towards the project of upgrading the city's water supply lines and dam at Woolworth Lake.

The money that is being dedicated towards the water line project heralds the start of what City Council is calling the
Rebuild Rupert program.

Mr. Brain chose to use his Facebook page to deliver the background to the announcement and the nature of the Rebuild Prince Rupert program.

The water supply issue was flagged by City Council as its highest priority back in February, when it submitted its application for grant funding.

With Port Edward the focus of much of the immediate development when it comes to the proposed LNG terminal at Lelu Island. That community was not left out of today's announcement listings, with Port Edward set to receive 2 million dollars in funding that will be directed towards the Wampler Way bypass road in that community.

Wampler Way is a key component of some of the development plans that Port Edward has been considering over the last few years, some background on that can be found here.

Details on both the Prince Rupert and Port Edward announcements can be reviewed here.

More background on Prince Rupert infrastructure issues can be found from our archive page.