Wednesday, May 31, 2017

East side Motel damaged by early morning fire

Prince Rupert Fire Crews were called out in the early morning hours on Wednesday as they responded to a fire called in from the Parkside Resort Motel on 11th Avenue East.

Upon arrival shortly before 2 AM, crews discovered two rooms on the upper level of the two storey structure as the source of the blaze.

Four rooms in all suffered damage as fire fighters tackled the fire, the two most heavily damaged were on the second floor, while the two units directly below on the ground level of the motel complex suffered mainly water damage.

Other rooms suffered some incidental smoke damage. No injuries were reported as a result of the early morning fire and the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined and the investigation into it continues.

Prince Rupert Fire/Rescue attended the scene of a fire overnight
at the Parkside Resort Motel on 11th Avenue East

Boards were up by Thursday on the front of the affected units
of the Parkside Resort Motel

Fire crews from Prince Rupert Fire/Rescue remained on the scene through the morning to watch for any hot spots that might have popped up.

More items related to Northwest Emergency responders can be found on our archive page

McKay Street Proposal featured on Global BC's Morning News

Today was Prince Rupert's time to shine in the spotlight of provincial television and while the Sun chose not to make an appearance, the cloudy skies and occasional light rain shower did not deter a hearty group of McKay Street residents from taking to the front of the would be park. Gathered at the corner of McKay and Kootenay to show their support and help get out the vote in the BCAA Play Here competition.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, Global assigned Prince Rupert the Wednesday spot to make its pitch to the entire province by way of Skype. From that opportunity it was Transition Prince Rupert's Veronika Stewart who served as the Prince Rupert host for the short three minute feature.

Through the course of the quick overview she  provided a quick guide as to what kind of change the project would bring to the McKay Street area for Global's morning host.

The morning feature began with replay of the short video production that Transition Prince Rupert had created as part of their entry to the competition, filmed on a day which seemed much like today with rain coats and kids, featuring Mayor Lee Brain making the pitch.

Mr. Brain is away in Ottawa this week at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference and was  unable to be in attendance for today's Global TV feature.

You can view this morning's feature here.

The Global presentation is one of ten that the TV station is providing as part of their support for the BCAA competition, you can check out what Prince Rupert's competitors are up to here.

As of this afternoon Prince Rupert still holds a lead on the list of ten, holding down 17,853 votes, however, there has been movement from other locations.

Most notably among those nipping at the heels of the North Coast, is Bouchie Lake Elementary School near Quesnel which now has closed the gap to under 1850 votes with a total of 16,006.

The voting continues through until June 18th.

Prince Rupert is in the running for up to 100,000 dollars in park revitalizations, with three placements available once the competition comes to an end.

Local residents can learn more about the McKay Street Project from the Transition Prince Rupert Facebook page, you can also participate in a Go Fund Me Campaign by making your donation here.

More items related to Community events can be found on our archive page here.

Nominations now being accepted for Civic Awards to be celebrated at Mariner's Park on Canada Day

In what has become a new tradition for Prince Rupert, the annual awarding of Civic Recognition Awards by the City of Prince Rupert is once again set to be part of the community's celebrations on Canada Day.

And as the nation's 150th birthday approaches the Administration Department at City Hall accepting applications for the seven different Award categories through until the end of next week.

Over the years numerous Prince Rupert residents have been honoured for their contribution to the community, a mix of those well known for their frequent volunteer activities or achievements around the city and others who perhaps made one lasting impression on someone for their kindness or efforts.

All have contributed to the betterment of Prince Rupert, with many of those that find their names in nominations providing for community leadership at its most grassroots level.

There seven categories for award nominations for this year include:

Freedom of the City --- the highest honour that the City has, it's not often that it is bestowed, generally reserved for an individual of high achievement or one who has had an impact on the community, it can also be awarded to a unit of the armed forces of Canada or another country.

Civic Merit Award -- Bestowed to an individual  who has brought distinction to the community through outstanding achievement in one or more areas of consideration: business and entrepreneurship, arts and entertainment, science and academics, health and education, sports and youth leadership and volunteer and community service.

Civic Appreciation Award -- An expression of civic appreciation to an individual and/or group for their services and contributions that have benefited the community.

Certificate of Appreciation -- For those who have made a contribution to a Council established committee or task force to which they have been appointed to.

Appreciation Pin -- Presented to those in the community who have volunteered for a committee.

Achievement Award -- Acknowledgement from the community for those individuals, teams or groups of persons who have achieved Provincial, National or International honours in various areas of endeavour, or have performed a noteworthy deed.

Sergeant William Booth Award -- Presented to an individual who, acting on their own initiative or as members of volunteer organizations, demonstrate unusual humanitarian effort in order to help and protect their fellow citizens, sometimes placing themselves at great personal risk.

The deadline for consideration for this years cycle of nominations is 4:30 PM on June 7th, 2017.

Nomination forms can be picked up at City Hall or downloaded here.

The full overview of the criteria for the Award nominations can be reviewed from the Civic Recognition page on the City of Prince Rupert website.

This years recipients will have their contribution to the community celebrated as part of the Canada Day celebration hosted by the Prince Rupert Special Events Society at Mariner's Park on July 1st.

For more information drop or contact City Hall:

424-3rd Avenue West,  
Prince Rupert, BC 
V8J 1L7 
 Ph: 250-627-0934

More items related to the work of the City Council  can be found on our Council Discussion page, while a larger archive of various elements of civic government can be reviewed here.

CityWest announces 10 million dollar investment in fibre infrastructure set for Prince Rupert

With a number of CityWest employees
standing in the background
CEO Chris Marrett outlined a
10 million dollar investment in
Prince Rupert on Tuesday
The future is fibre and for CityWest the future also involves a complete rebuild of the backbone of its communication services in its home base of Prince Rupert.

A major announcement by the City of Prince Rupert owned company was held in the CityWest offices on Tuesday, as CEO Chris Marrett outlined the ambitious 10 million dollar project that will put Prince Rupert's communication system in a strong position to face the demand that will come in the future.

Standing in front of a collection of CityWest employees, Mr. Marrett provided some of the key elements of the project which is expected to start later this year and will build on the existing network that now extends from Prince Rupert to Vancouver and on to Seattle.

"CityWest started in Prince Rupert, and with this investment, we're showing that we're committed to being a part of Prince Rupert's future ... Those builds have been successful because of our amazing employees, they've got the experience to undertake the build in Prince Rupert, and they know the most important thing for us is to exceed our customers' expectations. They'll be able to carry over the lessons learned in our prior builds to improve the experience for Rupertites"

The prior builds that the CityWest CEO was referring to were part of the CityWest expansion plan to the east, and that investment in communities such as Houston, Smithers, Terrace was hailed as projects which made yesterday's multi-million dollar Prince Rupert expansion possible.

When it comes to the Prince Rupert fibre to home project it was left to CityWest Vice President Bart Kuntz , the Outside Plant manager who will oversee the project to outline how the project will evolve once it launches in the months to come.

"When you're doing a fibre over-build, you start from the outside of town and word towards the centre ... within a few years we'll have finished the build, which will improve our  customer's experience with us."

As part of Tuesday's announcement CityWest noted that it would be working from the eastern and western edges of the city and progressing towards the centre and downtown core. With the new system looking to provide the new service to its customers by the start of 2018.

In the final moments of the event, Mr. Marrett received a few questions from the audience,  and from them he explained that while residents won't see many changes in CityWest service levels over the short term, noting that as the project moves forward towards completion the system will be ready to deliver more services in the future, including faster internet speeds and services that come through the Internet.

"We're making the investment now, so we can prepare for the demand that will come in the future. In order for our customers to continue getting a great experience from us, we need to invest in fibre-to-home." -- CityWest CEO Chris Marrett on building for the future in Prince Rupert

You can review the full announcement ceremony from the CityWest Facebook page

Fibre 101 (All you need to know about Fibre to Home)

What is fibre?

Short for fibre-optic cable, it’s thin flexible fibers of glass that transmit light signals, used for transmitting data. Fibre carries more data at higher speeds over long distances than any other technology.

What is fibre-to-the-home (FTTH)?

FTTH is the final step of bringing fiber-optic technology closer to our customers. We currently have fibre in our network, but the “last mile” is used by other technologies. When completed, our FTTH network will connect directly to all residents and businesses in Prince Rupert.

What can fibre do?

Fiber carries more data at higher speeds over long distances than other services. Fiber is capable of delivering all three services through one connection, through wireline or wireless methods.

Where else is FTTH available?

In Canada it was first deployed into major cities and is now heading into more rural areas. In Northern B.C., CityWest has FTTH services available to our Bulkley Valley customers, and in certain areas of Terrace & Kitimat.

What’s the difference between fibre and other technologies?

Fibre is a new, leading-edge technology that can carry much higher bandwidths and are capable of transmitting data at higher speeds than other technologies

The CityWest CEO also took advantage of the gathering on Tuesday to celebrate the achievements of two students from Charles Hays Secondary School, noting that Chelsea Mitchell and Christian Nguyen had been awarded scholarships for further study through the company's scholarship program.

For more items related to CityWest as well as Communications on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

McKay Street Park Project is ready for its Global BC close up!

Tomorrow morning is showcase day for the proponents of the McKay Street Park project and its ongoing quest to get the most votes for the BCAA Play Here competition.

Global BC's Morning News will feature the McKay Street proposal as part of its ongoing presentations of the contending communities, and to help show some community spirit towards the vote count, organizers are asking for a large community turnout at the Park tomorrow morning.

The Global live hit  feature is scheduled to take place at 8:15, and organizers would like those that can help out to show up just before 8, complete with Vote for McKay Street Park signs or other signs to show their enthusiasm for the Prince Rupert project.

The television station's archive of the seven segments provided from other communities can be found here.

Mayor Lee Brain, who currently is in Ottawa as part of the Prince Rupert delegation to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference, has been busy on his Facebook page over the last week, urging residents to vote, noting that Rupertites can cast their ballots four times a day through four different options.

He issued the community call for participants last Friday morning.

So far, Prince Rupert residents have responded with enthusiasm to the community challenge, with the McKay Street Park proposal currently holding down the most votes so far of the ten communities in the competition which comes to an end on June 18th.

As of this afternoon the Prince Rupert entry has received 15,072 votes, building up a nice lead over the rest of the field, but as has been noted by the Mayor through the weekend, the other towns have taken note of Prince Rupert's efforts.

Four other communities have crested the 10,000 vote mark so far as we head towards the final day of May and the sprint to the June 18th finish line.

Marion Schilling in the Okanagan town of Valleyview is at 11,708 votes 
Galiano Community School on Galiano Island has 11,702 votes
Bouchie Lake in the Cariboo counts 11,687 votes to date
W.E. Kinvig Elementary in Greater Vancouver's Newton area has 10,508 votes

The full review of all the communities can be found here.

The BCAA Play here synopsis for Prince Rupert can be reviewed from the competition website here.

More on the Transition Prince Rupert plans and the preparation for tomorrows Global BC interview can be found from their Facebook page.

The Transition Prince Rupert website also provides a link to the Go Fund Me page that is currently underway to seek out funding from members of the community, you can contribute to that initiative here.

Over the last couple of weeks we have offered up a couple of notes on the quest for funding for the McKay Street plan, those notes can be reviewed below:

May 23 -- McKay Street Park project makes for Top Ten Finalist in BCAA Competition
May 17 -- McKay Street Fundraising campaign launched

For more notes on Community Events on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Skeena River Relay set for 16th run to Terrace on Saturday

The 142 journey along Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Terrace is but days away, with Saturday, June 3rd the date for the thirty teams to make their way from the Lester Centre in Prince Rupert to the finish line at Canadian Tire in Terrace.

The start to race day comes at 7 AM as teams of runners take on the challenge of the long distance endurance run held through stages along the many scenic areas that make for the road to Terrace.

Of the Thirty teams registered for Saturdays race thirteen are based in Prince Rupert, seven come from Terrace/Thornhill, four from Kitimat, two from Smithers, while one team each from Thornhill, Haida Gwaii, New Aiyansh and Campbell River are also participating.

One team that contestants will be watching for belongs to Thornhill's Out for  Rip group, which has had strong results in 2015 and 2016, finishing last years relay atop the Race Team totals.

You can review some of the key information about this weekends event from the Skeena River Relay Website.

The Day wraps up with an Awards presentation at the Terrace Curling Rink at 6:30 PM.

As might be expected for an event that puts that many people running along the highway, those that are driving along Highway 16 this Saturday should take note to be aware of the race participants as you travel between the two cities.

The Relay is one of the major running events on the local calendar, with many members of the Rupert Runners not only helping in organizing the event, but to participate in it as well.

An event of the scale of the Skeena River Relay doesn't take place without some strong sponsorship, a look at some of the Northwest businesses that have provided assistance in the past can be found here.

More on this weekend's relay can be found from the Rupert Runners website or Facebook page.

More notes on the running scene across Northwestern BC can be found on our archive page.

SD52 seeking bids for Conrad School roof replacement project

Nine days remain for contractors to sharpen their pencils and deliver some final numbers to School District 52, as the plan for replacement of a number segments of the roof at Conrad School move forward.

The tender was first posted at the Bid BC website in mid May, with a full description provided related to the work required on the east side school.

In addition to the information package available online, a contractor tour of the site was provided last week designed to give those interested in placing a bid for the work a better understanding of the nature of the project.

Those with an interest in the scope of the work for the planned renovation to segments of the school roofing system can review the full information package from the BC Bid site.

An overview of the Conrad School site and blue prints of the roof structure
at the east side school, SD52 is currently accepting bids for work on the roof this year

The evaluation of the bids will be done through a points based process and review by an evaluation committee consisting of SD52 representatives.

The bid process come to a close on June 8th at 2 PM, the successful bid holder is expected to have the work completed before school resumes in September.

The need for a roof replacement at Conrad was first outlined by the School District as part of their 2015 Report on Capital projects for the Ministry of Education.

The approved funding for the work was announced earlier this year as part of their Capital spending for 2017.

For  more items related to School District 52 see our archive page here.

CityWest to share the next steps for Prince Rupert Service today at Noon

CityWest is inviting the public to stop into their Third Avenue West offices at noon today to hear what they are billing as a special announcement that will outline their plan to continue to provide the Prince Rupert area with superior customer service.

The City of Prince Rupert owned communication company issued the invitation through their Facebook portal, adding that refreshments will be provided as part of the lunch hour event.

The company has been on an extensive expansion campaign in recent months in communities east of the city, with a large focus on Terrace, Smithers and the Houston area where they have upgraded, or introduced new fibre optic services and other improvements to those community systems.

Today will offer customers in Prince Rupert a glimpse into how they will work to add to the local communications infrastructure.

For those that can't make it to the CityWest offices over the lunch hour they have plans to go live on their Facebook page at that time to deliver the comments from CityWest CEO Chris Marrett.

For more items related to CityWest see our archive page here.

City's tax notices make their journey to your mailbox this week

Mayor Lee Brain has provided a short review
of the year for residents as part of this years
Property Taxation Notice
The second stage of the City of Prince Rupert's tax collection process is now underway as the City's property tax notices begin to arrive in mailboxes across Prince Rupert, providing residents with the final word on whether they will be paying less, paying more or holding to last years totals when it comes to funds required by City Hall.

The Property tax call marks the final request for money for the year, the first having come back in January when the City issued their tax bills for the range of services such as water and garbage collection that they provide to the City.

Along with this years Notice is what has become an annual State of the City letter from the Mayor, with Mayor Lee Brain providing a few thoughts on the progress of this Council as they look to deliver city services and offer up ambitious plans for the future.

The letter is large on infrastructure this year with the mayor noting the range of paving projects currently underway in the community this year.

As well, the city's waterline projects make for key elements for the city this year, with the city making note of their success when it comes to their applications for a number of federal and provincial grants, to go along with their own financial contributions towards those large scale projects.

As well as the ongoing work to bring Watson Island back to life as a revenue generating industrial site gets a prominent mention in this years Tax Notice newsletter, though there is no mention of any of the legal issues that have surrounded the site from the past, nor the cost to the city of maintenance of the site while they await the new development to bring its financial returns.

Among some of the Mayor's observations from this years tidings of civic governance are:

Since 2015, we've rolled up our sleeves and got to work to bring now over $30 million dollars in grants as well as capital contributions from Prince Rupert Legacy Inc. towards new infrastructure in Prince Rupert.

Just this year we issued a $6.9 million dollar contract for Phase 1 of our Water Works project, and it was also announced that we received a $7.1 million dollar grant for Phase 2 of the Water Works project to replace our 100 year old dam. Although this project is not visible to the community, this is Council's number one infrastructure priority because of the urgency in securing our community's 100 year old water supply.

Although Prince Rupert has suffered a depressed economy, we are now gathering steam to revitalize the community by undertaking the the following initiatives: a design for our downtown and waterfront; supporting and advocating for new affordable housing initiatives, re-engaging public participation in the Redesign Rupert initiative and repaving announcements for the Highway and downtown core.

This summer we also expect to see the decommissioning of the old pulp mill site. We've removed all chemicals and are now looking towards the redevelopment of Watson Island. The Letter of Intent signed in April of 2017 with Pembina, for a Liquid Propane Gas export facility (LPG) on the site is a step towards bringing Watson Island back onto the tax roll. To generate additional revenues, we will be pursuing future development opportunities for the remainder of the site as well.

The Mayor also points to  areas that the City consider to be financially challenging, whether it is the current arrangement with Port Edward on Ridley Island Tax Sharing, or the larger issues with the Province and it's port property tax system.

For the city, those two external factors appear to be the major cause of much of their financial concern, with the Mayor suggesting that the issues are the main reason that the financial burden falls to the taxpayer, both residential and commercial.

However, it should be noted that those financial limitations have not had too large an impact when it comes to the increase in city staffing levels both operational and as part of the city's growing bureaucracy.

Council has also attached some high importance towards the ambitious planning for downtown, waterfront and Seal Cove revitalization and an expanding list of interests that council members have advocated for over the last three years.

While they may be concerned about how those external factors are impacting on their ability to continue to develop their plans, they are moving forward with many of them. Whether by way of continuing to draw down on the Legacy Corp funding that remains, through increases in user fees at recreation facilities, or by way of increases to taxes and utilities fees for commercial and residential users.

The letter to residents of Prince Rupert also provides for some unusually blunt language about the city's neighbours, comments that may not be very well received by the Port Edward side of the negotiating table.

Unfortunately, our capacity to reduce taxes or increase spending on infrastructure, services, or new amenities is currently hindered by two major factors: The Provincial Port Property Tax Act, which caps the tax rate at which we can collect revenues from major port industries, and the Ridley Island Tax Sharing Agreement, which transfers 17% of Ridley Island Tax revenues to the District of Port Edward. Each year, we lose a combined $1.2 million dollars (and growing) due to these two issues, with the burden shifting to the commercial and residential taxpayers.

Because of the unintended consequences of the Tax Cap, we are working with the Provincial government and the Port of Prince Rupert to find a mutually agreeable solution as soon as possible.

In addition, we are now seeking to renegotiate the Ridley Island Tax Sharing Agreement with the District of Port Edward, and to negotiate a fairer agreement with respect to cost-sharing for shared services because we believe its unfair to ask taxpayers to continue paying 22% of another community's budget each year.

The Mayor's address to the people closes with anticipation of another great year ahead as Council looks to continue to advance the interests of Prince Rupert. Along with that promise of performance, is the observation, that despite the challenges ahead, the Council and the City will continue to be innovative, efficient and fighting for the community to ensure that they can provide its residents with the best possible quality of life that we all deserve.

Along with Mayor Brain's themes, the city has also included some information for residents to review about how the taxation dollars are allocated, first by way of a breakdown of where the tax dollars go that are assessed both by the City and by other regional organizations.

City of Prince Rupert 64.3%
School Tax 26.2%
North Coast Regional District 2.0%
Northwest Regional Hospital District 7.1%
B.C. Assessment and Municipal Finance Authority 0.4%

A graph is also included to show how the City uses it's 64.3% share of our tax revenues and how much of it is allocated towards some of our key municipal services such as RCMP, Fire, Recreation, Airport Ferry and various elements of Civic Government to name a few of the seventeen areas listed.

There is also a sneak preview of the City's Annual Report that is scheduled to be released in mid-June.  That features an infographic review of some of the City highlights, from Watson Island, to the Grand Opening of the Cow Bay Marina and the ongoing consultation process for the redesign of the city's waterfront and downtown areas.

The preview also provides a look at the current paving projects underway, with the City making note of the 4.5 million dollars in work taking place in the community this summer.

In their update for the community the City makes mention of both the City's project on Third Avenue and the larger project of Highway 16.  Though the city's notes neglect to mention that the Province of BC is providing the funding for the extensive work taking place from the Lester Centre, to Fairview Terminal.

The City also appears to be holding firm with their own population count, noting that they believe that there are currently 13,766 people in the community.

A figure somewhat at odds and significantly less than what Stats Canada delivered earlier this year, when the Federal agency count settled on a population count of 11,733, a number which indicated a continued decline from the figures of 2011. As we noted back in January, Stats Canada's findings also noted that the larger regional population was pegged at 12,200 which is also a decline from four years ago.

For its part, the infographic doesn't provide an explanation as to how the City has estimated their population count, nor does it offer up how there could be a 2,000 person difference between the Federal and municipal findings.

When the full Annual Report is released next month, you will be able to view an online version of it here.

The Tax notice mailing also provides information for residents as to how they can pay their taxes, claim the home ownership grant or seek a BC Government Property Tax Deferment.

The deadline for payment of taxes is July 4th, after which a 10 percent penalty can be assessed on delinquent accounts.

More notes on this years Taxation and Budget process can be found on our archive page here.

While notes related to Discussion topics at Prince Rupert City Council can be reviewed from our Council Discussion archive.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tentative labour pact heads off potential railway disruptions

Negotiations between Canadian National Railway and representatives of the Teamsters Canada have let to a tentative labour agreement that will keep 3,000 CN employees on the job as a potential labour disruption loomed for Tuesday morning.

The round of overnight bargaining from Sunday to Monday afternoon delivered the agreement at 2:15 this afternoon, the terms of which have not been released pending ratification by union members.

In a statement following the announcement of the tentative deal, Teamsters Canada Vice President Roland Hackl took note of the confidence that union members had provided to their negotiating team.

“We would like to thank our members for their patience and incredible support throughout these
difficult negotiations"

For the part CN Rail also issued a statement, hailing the ability of the two sides to reach a deal before any form of labour disruption took place.

"CN is very pleased to have reached this settlement with TCRC-CTY without a service disruption. This new agreement reinforces CN's commitment to working together with our employees and their representatives to address workplace issues in a mutually beneficial manner."

That ratification vote is expected to take place over the next two months. The agreement covers 3,000 conductors, trainmen and yard men located at CN facilities across Canada

CN Rail provides the only rail access to the facilities of the Port of Prince Rupert and a summer time labour disruption would have proven damaging for both container port operations and those shipping grain, coal and other products out of the Ridley Island and other terminals located around Prince Rupert.

You can find more items about CN Rail operations on our archive page here.

More background on the tentative deal can be found below:

CN, conductors union reach tentative deal, averting strike
CN Rail, Teamsters reach tentative deal to avoid strike
Deal reached to avert strike at Canadian Rail
Union for workers at Canadian National Railway reach tentative deal to avert strike

Political pundit doesn't see stars aligning for a North Coast cabinet position

For those that follow politics, this week in British Columbia is offering up much in the way of drama, one part Game of Thrones and one part the resolution of a prime time TV series cliff hanger, one that brought the election season ending finale to its surprising conclusion.

Sometime this week British Columbians will learn which way the political winds are blowing as Green Party leader Andrew Weaver settles on which party he and two other Green MLA's will be supporting to lead the next government of British Columbia.

While we all await Mr. Weaver to send out those puffs of white (maybe that should be Green) smoke as to where his party will direct their support in the upcoming minority government, Rob Shaw from the Vancouver Sun was doing a little cabinet making for NDP leader John Horgan, should he find himself Premier elect by the end of this week.

Cabinet making speculation is starting
to build with a decision on which party
will for the BC Government expected
to be made this week 
However, someone might want to keep his story from the Sun away from North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, with Shaw's handicapping of a potential cabinet competition for a would be Premier John Horgan, leaving Ms. Rice seemingly not even in the starting gate when it comes to a front bench position in any potential NDP government.

As part of his look at the state of the current political drama, the Sun writer examined some of the challenges that Mr. Horgan will face as he tries to balance urban and rural concerns, as well as to reward those candidates who have toppled some high profile Liberal candidates during the recent election campaign.

He notes that experience will be a key for building confidence for any cabinet with Adrian Dix, Mike Farnworth and Carole James among those veteran NDPers who are being tapped as potential cabinet material.

While those names are more than familiar for British Columbians, it's the rising stars that Shaw highlights that suggest that the North Coast may have to resign itself to space on the back benches once the Legislature returns.

The Sun article takes note of six rising stars that Horgan will want to bring into his cabinet, among them Melanie Mark, who while having some attachment to the North Coast is more better known as a Vancouver activist, who made an impressive debut once elected in a by-election last year.

The NDP lost one of their three Northwest seats with the success of Ellis Ross in Skeena and according to Mr. Shaw, the natural choice for a voice of the North in cabinet is most likely to go to Doug Donaldson from Stikine.

Should the political prognostication of the Vancouver Sun's columnist prove correct, it all might be leaving Ms. Rice on the fringes of power. Destined perhaps for some form of Assistant's position to one of the cabinet ministers, but just a bit out of reach of the cabinet table and the ability to direct attention to some of the key issues of North Coast region.

It all of course is the stuff of a political science fantasy draft at the moment, the outcome still to be determined as to whether Mr. Horgan will even be offered the opportunity to take the reins of power and build his cabinet, or if Ms. Clark somehow finds a way to continue on as Premier.

To follow some of the post election themes while we await a final announcement as to which party and leader will move into the Government side of the Legislature see our political portal D'Arcy McGee.

Our notes on the local North Coast seat in the Legislature can be found here.

Update: Mid afternoon Monday, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver announced that he and the two members of his party would be providing their support to the NDP and leader John Horgan to provide for a stable minority government over the four year term.

It is unknown to this point, if Christy Clark will seek to form a minority government and face a non-confidence motion in short order, or if the NDP/Green arrangement will be the one that moves forward in the days to come.

More details on the path the province will follow will become clearer as the process moves ahead.

Some notes on today's developments can be found below:

Greens to support NDP in four year-government deal
B.C. Green Party agrees to support NDP in the legislature
NDP and Greens reach deal for 'stable' four-year minority government
B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver agrees to support John Horgan's NDP

City seeks summer student for Information Technology position

The City of Prince Rupert is putting up the Help Wanted sign in the IT department this month, offering up an Information Technology Assistant's Job posting, a summer term position for a University or college student currently working towards a minor or major in the Information Technology field or related fields, or for those that have relevant IT related experience.

The application period closes on June 8th, while the position with the City runs through until September 1st of this year.

Some of the key considerations an ability to work under pressure, willingness to work in outside or wet and dirty environments and ability to work independently and perform duties with minimal direction.

Those seeking the position also must be enrolled in a University or College program and those that are interested will need to be a team player and able to work in a diverse environment made up of multiple work sties within the community.

A look at the full posting and job requirements can be found below (click image to enlarge:

The latest job postings for the city can be found on their career opportunities page here.

You can review some of the growth of the city's workforce over the last few years from our archive page here.

Prince Rupert Port Authority adds Frans Tjallingii to Board of Directors

Mr. Frans Tjallingii is the latest
member named to the Board of Directors
of the Port of Prince Rupert
(photo from New Leaf Project
Foundation website)
The newest member of the Board of Directors for the Prince Rupert Port Authority is bringing much more than a strong background in the shipping industry the north coast gateway, with the Resume of Mr. Frans Tjallingii offering up a glimpse as to some of the other areas where his experience may benefit the Port or Prince Rupert and its global ambitions.

The marine element includes background from the Netherlands in engineering on issues related to the environmental impact of shipping, where Mr. Tjallingii also worked with the Dutch government on international marine environmental treaties and conventions.

He also served as a past President of Saam Smit Towage and is co-founder of Global Data Chain which offers technical solutions for global data requirements

Besides his extensive experience in the marine industries, Mr. Tjallingii is also quite involved in issues of First Nations Housing, serving as the Chair of the First Nations Housing Foundation.

As part of their introduction to the new Board member, Prince Rupert Port Authority Board Chairman Bud Smith outlined some of the enthusiasm that the Port has when it comes to what Mr. Tjallngii has to offer:

“On behalf of the Board and our staff, I congratulate and welcome Frans ... Considering his executive leadership and entrepreneurial experience in the marine transportation industry, he will be an essential member of our governance team as the port continues to realize its vision for strategic growth and diversification.”

The new Port Director was appointed to his position through a recommendation from the Ministry of Transport in consultation with the Coast Tsimshian First Nations.

You can review the full overview of his background from this announcement from the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

A look at some of the areas of consideration for appointment to the Board can be reviewed here, while some background on the current Board of Directors can be found here.

For more items related to Port developments see our archive page here.

Destination Ottawa for City officials on way to municipal meetings

Representatives from the City of Prince Rupert
are heading east to Ottawa this week for the
Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention
With barely enough time to host a Council session and set the scene for an ongoing battle with CN on the issue of waterfront fencing, Mayor Lee Brain will be back on the road again this week, taking along with a pair of fellow travellers from City Hall as they chart a course for the nations capital.

Departing with the Mayor from YPR for the journey east (at least we hope the city reps are departing from the Prince Rupert aerodrome) will be Councillor Wade Niesh and City Manager Robert Long.

The trio are set to take in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention, as well as to settle in for some side meetings that they have arranged with a range of officials while in Ottawa.

At last Tuesday's council session, Mayor Brain provided a short preview of the journey ahead, while lamenting that the roster of municipal representatives would only be listed at three, noting that he had hoped that other members of Council could have been able to represent the city at the convention this week.

Fortunately however for the taxpayers of the Prince Rupert, who of course play the role of financiers for such expeditions, the majority of council members apparently had other commitments in place during the FCM convention week and won't be able to make the journey.

For his part, Councillor Barry Cunningham did express his regrets at being unable to travel to Ottawa for the conference, and did offer his full endorsement for the journey, noting how he believed it is important for the community to have a presence in the capital.

"Unfortunately, I would like to have gone on this trip, I think it's a very important trip. I'm glad that we are being represented. The meetings you are going to be going to are going to be with some very significant ministers. And like a lot of the meetings you have had in the past and we've seen fruitation  with different grants come through and that. Unless we're front and centre with these people and actually seek them out sometimes, we're just another city in the big picture with our hand out looking for stuff. When you can get there and actually get a few minutes of their time and let them know how important Prince Rupert is to the economy of Canada as a gateway to the Pacific and that. And how much this port, needs to support the town and the country needs to support the town through different methods, it's a message we have to get out. And I fully support this trip I think it's going to be a very good and significant trip." 

In addition to the convention activities, which the Mayor observed will be similar to those of the Union of BC Municipalities conferences, though on a larger national scale, Mr. Brain made note of some of their plans beyond the conference floor and activities.

"We've also lined up meetings Minister meetings with the Minister of Infrastructure, Minister of Natural Resources, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ministry of Trade, as well as the Ministry of Transportation. We'll also be meeting with members of the Prime Ministers office as well. Mainly to discuss a variety of infrastructure issues that the city has, port related growth, growing pains I guess that you could say that we are having as a community, where we need more support federally to help the community grow as a community. And to discuss some strategies on how we can help enable the gateway vision that the Federal Government has enabled in Prince Rupert."

The Mayor noted how he has found that the discussions have been fruitful in accessing funding for such things as the dam and infrastructure issues and how the Federal Government plays a large role in that and how it's very important to stay on the radar and have a presence in Ottawa.

In addition to the Federal representatives, the Mayor also advised he would be meeting with the U.S. embassy to discuss the ferry issue related to the Fairview terminal project.

Later on in the council session, the mayor advised that the City representatives will also be seeking out officials from CN Rail regarding their ongoing concerns over waterfront access along the rail yard.

The Mayor also noted how some federal funding is going to be distributed to communities across Canada by the FCM, with Mayor outlining how the City has plans to meet with those officials to discuss Prince Rupert's need and to see what kind of programs are available through them.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention takes place from June 1st to June 4th. You can examine some of the events that the Prince Rupert delegation may have on their minds from this agenda package from the FCM.

A larger overview of the discussion from last Tuesday can be found on our City Council Timeline feature.

You can review the Mayor's preview of the trip from the City's Video Archive here. It starts at just after the thirty one minute mark.

The journey to Ottawa marks the third trip out of town in less month in what has been a busy few weeks for the Mayor.

Two weeks ago Mr. Brain attended a Sustainable cities conference in Vancouver, and prior to that he was part of a delegation of local officials who had taken a northern trek to address to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce.

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

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending May 28, 2017

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 May 28, 2017 is below:

Prince Rupert Real East  Side week ending May 28, 2017
Prince Rupert Real Estate West week ending May 28, 2017

There was one shift of note over the last seven days as one property on Graham Avenue came off the For Sale listings and another was added to them, the latter making for yet another property over the 700,000 mark.

As it was last week, of the collection of ten for this week, seven of the properties once can be found along the Graham Avenue stretch of the west side, the waterfront listings continuing to push the overall value of the market upwards.

From the growing list of properties on Graham, one remains listed at over the $800,000 mark, with two others noted as above the 750,000 mark

The top end listings for this week find nine properties to the west side of the McBride Street dividing line, leaving the east side listings to count just one on the list of the last seven days.

The lowest mark for the list of ten was found at $475,000, while our top end from the last week is again listed at $829,000.

Below find our findings as of the Week ending May 28, 2017

2280 Graham Avenue                   $829,000 --   Remax
1830 Graham Avenue                   $799,000 --   Realty Executives
1881 Graham Avenue                   $750,000 --   Remax
1933 Graham Avenue                   $719,000 --   Remax
1810 Graham Avenue                   $660,000  --  Remax
1208 Beach Place                          $549,000 --  Remax
1805 Graham Avenue                   $562,000  --  Royal Lepage
613 Cassiar Avenue                      $495,000 --  Remax
1724 Graham Avenue                   $489,000 --  Remax
1424 11th Avenue East                 $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, May 28, 2017

Blog Watching: Week ending May 28, 2017

An announcement that a project proposed by Transition Prince Rupert has made it to the final stage of a provincial funding competition has caught the interest of the community and led our list of five on the week.

Our readers appear to have found our look  at the McKay Street park redevelopment project to be a good read, as they sought out more about the park concept which is currently up for voting as part of the BCAA Play Here competition.

An LNG item once again was of interest to our readers as our notes on the recent Investors Day Briefing from Woodside Energy proved to be a popular item.

Also cracking the top five on the week,were some items out of Prince Rupert City Hall.

Two of the civic notes came from Tuesday's City Council session, with readers exploring our notes on the City's ongoing disappointment with CN Rail over a waterfront fence that has blocked off public access.

Also of interest this week was the motion from Councillor Blair Mirau seeking to put in place a policy related to how the city handles its increasingly frequent Closed sessions.

A side story that came out of Mayor Brain's quest to get out the vote for the McKay Street Park, was our look at one line from a Facebook item he posted that called attention to some safety concerns from residents in the McKay Street area.

Something which reminded us that a once common public delivery of information to Council from the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment, is a council initiative that City Hall may want to bring back to Council Chambers.  Offering as it does an opportunity to better inform the community on some of the issues that the local Mounties face in the city.

Our top story however, looks at the BCAA Play Here competition and the opportunity to claim $100,000 in funding, a process that the Mayor and Transition Prince Rupert are hopeful of keeping the community engaged in through course of the online voting period.

McKay Street Park project makes for Top Ten Finalist in BCAA Competition -- A proposed re-development in the Kootenay Avenue /McKay Street area has been selected for participation in a province wide funding competition, with Prince Rupert residents quickly taking to their computers to help build the city's on line voting numbers   (posted May 23, 2017)

That article was followed by:

Australian LNG proponent keeps Canadian focus on Kitimat Plans -- Woodside Energy, a global LNG giant based out of Australia hosted its annual Investors Briefing Day this week. And from the information flow came some notes on their Canadian LNG ambitions.  With the Grassy Point proposal north of Prince Rupert starting to fade from view, while a Kitimat option continues to make for much of their focus.   (posted May 24, 2017)

City spat with CN takes spotlight as Seafest weekend approaches -- The controversial waterfront fence will remain up along the CN tracks west of the Rotary Waterfront Park through Seafest, with Mayor Lee Brain  taking the discussion to his social media followers, seeking their assistance in getting his message of disappointment across to the national railway.  (posted May 26, 2017)

A need for more details on McKay Street safety issues -- During the course of his get out the vote efforts for the McKay Street Park, Mayor Brain made note of some community concerns related to safety in that neighbourhood. It's a situation that serves to remind the community that more information from the local RCMP detachment might be a beneficial thing for Council to deliver to the public through the Council session process through the year.    (posted May 25, 2017)

Council looks to move on Mirau's call for more transparency on closed council issues -- The issue of the growing number of closed council sessions hosted at City Hall and the desire to share more information with the public made for a portion of Tuesday's Council session . (posted May 26, 2017)

You can find our weekly 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.

You can also review the full listings of the week just past from our Blog Archive index page found on the right hand side of the page.

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. It can be found underneath the Follow the North Coast Review by Email indicator.

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching can be found here

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Prince Rupert Relay for Life 2017 underway

Perfect weather is greeting participants in this years Relay for Life, with the official launch to the annual Relay for Life, an event which both serves to celebrate and remember those who have faced cancer.

Twenty five teams took to the track at Pattulo Field at the Civic Centre today for the 10 AM start and will be there over the course of the next twelve hours walking or running in common cause.

Along with the activity on the track there will be a range of entertainment and activities taking place through the day.

From the Relay for Life Facebook Page, a look at the schedule of performances and activities set for the rest of the day can be reviewed.

You can drop by Patullo Field through the day today to cheer on the participants and follow the days events through until 10 PM.

Relay events are being updated through the events Facebook page which you can follow here.

Photos and other notes on today's Relay are also being put out through twitter under the hash tag of #RelayforLife

Fundraising took place in the weeks leading up to today's event, with bake sales, jail and bails and many other activities setting the pace for the popular community event.

The fundraising efforts will continue through today and in the days to follow as the participants in this years event look to reach their goal. As today's event got  underway, local fundraisers had raised 70 percent of their target.

The full list of participating teams can be found here, with an opportunity available for North Coast residents to donate found beside each team's information notes.

You can also just stop by Patullo and offer a cash donation to organizers as we join in on the celebration of efforts of Relay participants today.

More background on what the National Relay for Life program is all about can be found here.