Friday, September 29, 2017

Terrace RCMP seek public's assistance in warrant quest for Thornhill man

Residents of the Northwest are being asked to be on the watch for a Thornhill man who is being sought by Terrace RCMP, with Terrace mounties seeking Shane Vangrootheest on warrants related to breach of probation and failure to comply with Recognizance.

In an information release from Friday, the Terrace RCMP provided physical details and a picture of the 29 year old Caucasian male, asking for the assistance of the public should they spot him.

Vangrootheest is described as 6 foot tall, 221 pounds, stocky in appearance with short brown hair which is balding and blue eyes.

Should you have information related to his whereabouts you can contact the RCMP detachment in Terrace at 250-638-7400, or contact your local detachment in other communities.

You can also contact the RCMP through their CrimeStoppers  tips line at 1-800-222-TIPS, online at or by text at keyword TERRACE followed by your message to 274637

The full information release from the Terrace detachment can be found here.

For more items related to Northwest emergency service providers see our archive page here.

Polar Prince arrival at Cow Bay brings Canada C3 expedition to Prince Rupert

Looming large along the Cow Bay Docks, the Polar Prince brings the
Canada C3 expedition to Prince Rupert this weekend

A short trip to the Nass now complete, the C3 expedition has now tied up at the Cow Bay Dock with a four day stopover on the North Coast before they cast their lines for the next stage of their journey to Haida Gwaii and then points south.

The Polar Prince, a converted Canadian Coast Guard vessel arrived in Prince Rupert in the morning mist, with skies beginning to clear as crew members took to some of their immediate port side tasks.

Ahead for the vessel is an opportunity to show off some of their work of the summer, a journey which saw the vessel transit from Ontario along the Canadian Atlantic Coast and through the Arctic. From there it embarked on its current leg around Alaska and now onto the Canadian Pacific coast with a destination of Victoria still to come at the end of the extensive tour.

Regular readers of the blog, have been able to track the journey of the Polar Prince from our original item of August 18th, which picked up the trail as the vessel transited into the NorthWest passage.

It's arrival in Prince Rupert today makes for the end of the twelfth leg of it's Canadian journey bringing a mixture of crew members that include musicians, scientists, First Nations leaders and youth ambassadors.

The Polar Prince, will be greeting North Coast residents
through the weekend at the city's Cow Bay Dock

The ship will be at the Cow Bay Dock through the weekend until October 2nd. 

According to the most recent update from the Expedition team those looking to explore the vessel can do so on Saturday from 1 until 4PM.

You can catch up with some of their travels and updates on their stay in Prince Rupert through their twitter feed and  Facebook page 

The Canada C3 expedition website also features a large volume of information about the journey.

More notes related to North Coast events can be found on our archive page.

Wildfire recovery, overdose concerns, economy and housing issues among themes for Premier's UBCM address

Premier John Horgan delivered the final address of the UBCM convention on
Friday morning, touching on a range of themes for the delegates

(Image from Gov't of BC Facebook page)

John Horgan delivered his first address to the UBCM convention as Premier of the province on Friday morning, providing a twenty seven minute overview of some of the key issues of the summer and how the NDP government plans to approach them.

Themes of rebuilding from the summer's wildfires and  action on the opioid overdose crisis in the province, citing statistics that will show that over the past year 876 lives have been lost to overdose, noting that if today is a normal day, four more British Columbians will die by way of overdose.

"Most of those that are affected often die alone, many of them are Indigenous people and if we're going to address this challenge that affects the rich and the poor, the young and the old we're going to need a  concerted effort. And that's why, one of my first orders of business was to appoint a dedicated minister of mental health and addictions, so that every day someone is focuses singularly on addressing this problems" ... "If someone reaches out for help, we should be there to help them. So starting today I am announcing a plan that will help communities in crisis by establishing  a new innovation fund, so that the regions that are hardest hit will have the resources they need to open up treatment centres so that we have places for people to go"

The government followed up on those notes with some background items posted to the government website after the address see here and here

As well, the Premier touted the need for solutions for affordable housing dominated much of the address, with Mr. Horgan making note of the need for all levels of government to work together on the issue.

On homelessness Mr. Horgan announced a program to address the crisis, with the first projects to be put in place in Vancouver, Surrey and Smithers.

"I'm excited to say today that we are announcing a plan to build 2,000 modular homes with 24/7 funding over the next three years. Starting with 600 homes here in the City of Vancouver, 150 homes in Surrey and more in Smithers and any other community in this room who believes that a modular solution to the homelessness crisis in your community will fit with your package of solutions, we invite you to approach the government to get part of that program"

More on that initiative can be reviewed here.

The Premier reiterated his campaign commitment towards development of 114,000 units of all types over the next ten years and reinforced the need to work with communities and developers to achieve that goal.

Economic development also made for a current in the address, with the Premier noting that the province will contribute to efforts to lure Amazon north for their plans of a second headquarters.

Prince Rupert's Fairview Terminal received a shout out from Premier Horgan, who relayed some thoughts on the recent expansion of the DP World facility in the city, as well as some observations on the theme of resource sharing benefits.

"DP World Canada is investing in the Fairview Terminal in Prince Rupert that will expand by fifty percent our capacity to move goods and services from the north. There's a lot of excitement in the Northwest corridor, I had some very exciting meetings yesterday about sharing resource wealth, sharing the benefits and abundance of British Columbia with everybody in the interest of everybody. And I am excited to work with everyone in this room to make sure that the innovation that you want to see in your community is supported not just by me, but also by my illustriously haired friends in Ottawa. Because I believe that all levels of government working together can deliver the type of British Columbia, a better British Columbia for all of us"

As the premier was delivering his statement to the convention, the North West British Columbia Resource Benefits Alliance was rolling out a statement of their own on the issue, offering hope of a six month timeline for negotiations.

To bring his message to an end the Premier issued a call to the delegates in attendance to make a difference in the lives of those that live around them in their communities, vowing to take advantage of his opportunity to work with those in the room to build a better BC.

The full address from the Premier can be reviewed here.

A review of some of the talking points from the UBCM convention can be found from our archive page.

A wider overview of British Columbia's political issues can be found on our political portal D'Arcy McGee.

Northwest politicians hail progress on Resource Benefit Alliance negotiations

Premier John Horgan, MLA Rice and representatives of the Northwest
British Columbia Resource Benefits Alliance met at UBCM this week

(photo from NW RBA website)

As the UBCM convention comes to a conclusion today, the members of the Northwest delegations are hailing some progress when it comes the the issues of the Northwest British Columbia Resource Benefits Association.

On Friday morning, the Northwest group released an information statement that highlights what the Association members call a positive meeting with the provincial government.

Though for the most part, the information release is one that leans heavily on political statement making and positioning; while a little less on detail as to themes of discussion from the meetings.

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, the Co-chair for the Alliance. hailed the reception that the group received from the NDP government this week:

“The John Horgan government really understands that we experience great inequity in the northwest,” ... “The Northwest is the backbone of BC, and in order to ensure our communities continue to support economic development activities that contribute to the province, we need a share of the revenues to stay in the Northwest. The Premier sees that investing in the Northwest is not just about making up for lost time, but spurring growth in the region. It is an investment from which the entire province can expect a large economic return."

For Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc, the cooperation and commitment of area MLA's was a point of note for her.

“It is also clear from the meetings this week that our four MLAs, made up of two NDPs and two Liberals, are taking a non-partisan approach,” ...“All four MLAs have committed to working together to make sure we get this deal done.”

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain observed as to the ability to strengthen relationships with surrounding communities that an agreement might bring.

“This agreement will also ensure local First Nations benefit as well, by allowing us to strengthen relationships with the surrounding communities,” ... "This will be a win-win for everyone.”

For his part, Mr. Horgan did give a nod towards resource revenue sharing in his address to the UBCM convention of Friday morning, but had little in the way of details as to what the NDP government may have in mind towards that theme.

The timeline offered up for the negotiations towards a hoped for agreement is said to be six months, with Premier Horgan committing to checking in on the progress again in December.

You can review the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance statement here.

More on the week of convention at UBCM can be found on our archive page here.

Shift into Winter Driving frame of mind starting Sunday

We're only a week into fall and already we're being reminded that in British Columbia the need to be prepared for winter driving conditions starts in October.

The annual Shift into Winter campaign launches this weekend, with those that travel the provinces highways required to have their snow tires installed before Sunday morning.

The tire regulations remain in effect until March 31st and are part of a wider review of winter driving requirements for motorists on the province's highways.

Two notes that motorists should keep in mind as the Winter rules come into effect are the levels of fines for those that choose not to comply with the law.

Drivers who don’t have the proper winter tires on their vehicle on designated routes can receive a fine of $121. 

Drivers who don’t have the minimum tread depth on their tires (3.5mm) on the designated routes can receive a fine of $109.

With the exception of a small stretch of Highway 16 near Prince Rupert and all of Haida Gwaii, the northern region map below notes those highways that require the use of Winter tires.

The Ministry of Transportation offers up a range of hints for those taking to the roads through the winter months, which you can review through their Shift Into Winter portal

ICBC also has a number of winter driving tips for motorists to review

For those travelling through the Northwest and Haida Gwaii we offer up some easy to access links to gain the latest road conditions in the region and across the Highway 16 corridor.

You can review the latest from Drive BC here, while we also have a link that tracks the latest images from the string of Highway camera images around the Northwest.

Notes of interest for travel along the Highway 16 corridor can be found on our archive page.

Elmer Derrick's final journey brings return to Northwest

Gitxsan leaderElmer Derrick
has passed  away

(Photo Porto of PR website)
One of the major figures in First Nations governance in the Northwest passed away last week, with the notice of the passing of Elmer Derrick first noted through a Facebook obituary post and then by a range of news items that traced some of the history of the Hereditary Chief of the Gitxsan nation.

Family members accompanied Mr. Derrick's remains making the journey to Terrace on Thursday, with plans for a commemoration of his life still to be developed.

The Hereditary Chief of the Gitxsan passed away at the age of 69 on September 22nd at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and once word began to filter out of his passing reaction came from many areas of the Northwest.

Among those delivering tributes was the Board of Directors from the Port of Prince Rupert and Skeena MLA Ellis Ross who offered up a personal remembrance of Mr. Derrick's work in the region and his mentorship through the years.

Mr. Derrick's long career in the region featured some controversy along the way, the nature of the negotiations that would have allowed the then proposed (and eventually terminated) Enbridge pipeline project to travel through Gitxsan territory proving to be a significant flash point of division in the Gitxsan community and the Northwest.

However, beyond that controversial time of 2012, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chief had a full body of work in Northwest British Columbia making for an expansive career that involved much in the way of advocacy for his nation.

In addition to his work as a Chief Negotiator for the Gitxsan Nation and his membership on a number of Boards of Directors, Mr. Derrick had also been an educator in the Northwest, having taught courses at Northwest Community College.

Former Premier Christy Clark made note of Mr. Derrick's passing and paid tribute to his legacy in the province with a short note posted yesterday through Facebook.

Through his comments to CFTK TV, Mr. Ross is to this point, the only area politician to pay tribute to the impact of Mr. Derrick's work in the Northwest.

While they host a number of constituency and social media portals for information delivery. Yet to make any comment so far on the passing of the Gitxsan leader are northwest MLA Doug Donaldson in Stikine, MLA Jennifer Rice on the North Coast, as well as Nathan Cullen the federal MP for the region.

Some of the Northwest notes on Mr. Derrick's passing can be reviewed below:

The Gitxsan Nation are mourning the death of Chief Derrick 
Elmer Derrick remembered (video)
Hereditary Chief Elmer Derrick passes away
Chief Elmer Derrick, director of Port Authority Board, passes away
Gitxsan mourn loss of hereditary Chief Elmer Derrick
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross Reacts to Elmer Derrick's death
Prince Rupert Port Authority reacts to Elmer Derrick's death

An update through Social Media has outlined the path ahead over the next few days as the Gitxsan prepare to remember their chief:

Drop the Puck! Prince Rupert Rampage ready for CIHL season ice-breaker with Kitimat

Saturday night is hockey night for Prince Rupert, with the launch of the 2017-18 CIHL regular season set for a 7 PM puck drop at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

The Rampage home opener makes for one of three games this weekend that showcase the debut of the five team circuits new campaign.

The Rampage bring a veteran heavy squad to the ice this season, with many familiar names from CIHL battles of years before returning to the Red and Black, it's a group that will bring some strong offensive skills to the ice week in and week out, along with a solid defensive corps that has gained confidence over the last few years.

The goal will once again be defended by Devon Gerrits, with a newcomer to the Rampage Dave Wood settling in to get some work through the new season.

One interesting side feature for the Rhinos heading into the new season, is that of a line up deep in players named Jared, something which might be a CIHL benchmark.

General Manager Ron German and Head Coach Roger Atchison will be counting on the experiences of recent seasons and an ambition from this years roster to bring the team towards a league championship and a chance to claim the Coy Cup.

Of the twenty four player roster announced for the season, only four names **; Dave Wood, Randall Groot Josh Mossini and Cody Cringan are new to the Rampage and CIHL action

The 2017-18 Rampage line up includes:

Goalie -- Devon Gerrits
Goalie -- Brett Roth
Goalie -- Dave Wood **

Defence -- Marcus Atchison
Defence -- Jared Davis
Defence -- Hayden Long
Defence -- Tyler Ostrom
Defence -- Jacob Santurbano

Forward -- Cole Atchison
Forward -- Jordan Aubee
Forward -- Kale Burns
Forward -- Jared Carter
Forward -- Cody Cringan **
Forward -- Jean Luc Fournier
Forward -- Hunter German
Forward -- Randall Groot **
Forward -- Tyler Halliday
Forward -- Tyler Matalone
Forward -- Jared Meers
Forward -- Josh Mossini **
Forward -- Kory Movold
Forward -- Craig Munro
Forward -- Ben Towner
Forward -- Jordan Venditelli

The Rampage take on a Kitimat squad that had its struggles in 2016-17, finishing the season without a regular season victory and a record of 0-16.

Of the four games between the Rampage and the Ice Demons, the Rhinos had a fair bit of success on the scoreboard, outscoring their Northwest rivals by a pace of 27-6, though the toughest challenge of last year came on opening night, when the Ice Demons proved tough to put away in a 3-2 loss.

The CIHL enters the season down yet another squad, as we outlined over the summer, the Smithers Steelheads have taken a sabbatical this year, as they look to determine the future of Senior Mens hockey in the Bulkley Valley.

That leaves the circuit with three teams in the Northwest and two in the Cariboo for 2017-18.

One thing will probably remain certain however as the league drops the puck on  new year, the Rampage faithful will fill the Jim on many a night. Last year Prince Rupert continued to show that when it comes to hockey, there's no better place to take in a game than the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

When they shook hands at centre ice for the final time last year, the Rampage were boasting a league leading attendance of 5,019, averaging 627 fans per game.

On that theme, tickets are available at Northern Savings, Oceanside Sports, Rupert Cleaners and Stuck On Designs or at the door at game time Saturday.

In other CIHL news, BC Hockey has announced the host community for the 2018 Coy Cup, with Williams Lake earning the honour to celebrate the Senior Male AA Championship.

“We’re looking forward to Williams Lake hosting this event,”  ... “The community has shown lots of support for the Stampeders in the past, and we’re sure they’ll extend a warm welcome to the other teams that come to compete for the Coy Cup.” -- BC Hockey's Trevor Bast on the Williams Lake bid.

The CIHL will also get some national exposure this year, with Rogers Sportsnet's Hometown Hockey program making plans for a visit to Williams Lake on January 6 and 7, though in a quirk of scheduling the league will be idle in the Cariboo for the visit.

The Rampage will also get to check out a new venue when they make their trek into the Cariboo in mid October.

The Quesnel Kangaroos will take to the ice at the brand new West Fraser Centre a 1,300 seat facility which recently was recognized for its use of wood as part of the Wood Works Awards at the UBCM convention

Other action this opening weekend of the season finds the Terrace River Kings making that Cariboo road trip with games set for Saturday in Quesnel and Saturday in Williams Lake.

You can follow our Rampage coverage through our Rampage Results page and our larger overview of CIHL news available here.

Premier John Horgan to bring UBCM convention to close with morning address

Premier John Horgan making the rounds of delegates at this years
UBCM Convention in Vancouver. The premier delivers the closing
address at the convention this morning at 10AM

(photo from BC Gov't Facebook page)

Municipal leaders from across British Columbia will be listening attentively this morning, as NDP Premier John Horgan outlines the approach his government plans to take when it comes to municipal issues and relations with communities across the province.

Through the week municipal leaders have been meeting with provincial government ministers or representatives from government ministries, outlining key issues of concern for their communities, as well as sharing common themes between the two levels of government.

In a social media update Thursday from Councillor Blair Mirau, it was noted that the Prince Rupert delegation had spent some time with Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman and Agriculture Minister Lana Popham

The Councillor did not expand much on the nature of those talks however in his post, other than to advise that progress on key issues for Prince Rupert had seemingly been made.

Friday's address from Mr. Horgan, provides the punctuation mark on the five day conference, with the Premier's address setting the path ahead when it comes to relations between the Provincial and Municipal representatives in British Columbia.

The address to the UBCM will be streamed live through the Provincial Government's Facebook page.

Mr. Horgan's address to the delegates starts at 10 AM

For more items related to this weeks UBCM convention see our archive page here.

Harley Riders take to streets Saturday in support of Salvation Army's Toy Run

You'll hear them long before you see them! Saturday brings the annual Harley Rider's Toy Run to the streets of Prince Rupert, with an afternoon poker run part of the festivities for the day that traditionally brings a large volume of toys and cash for the Christmas plans of the Salvation Army.

The tour leaves the downtown area from the Prince Rupert Salvation Army on Grenville Court at 1PM taking riders across the city to Mariner's Park, Seal Cove and Port Edward before arriving back in the downtown core and a dinner at the Oceanview Hotel.

It's a $20 dollar hand for those participating in the ride through the city, riders have a chance to share in half the buy in, with the remainder donated to the Salvation Army.

Saturday evening brings the annual dance taking place this year at Chances Convention Centre on First Avenue West. The evening celebration starts at 8PM and will include a number of draws for prizes provided by local businesses and residents.

Tickets for the Dance can be purchased at the Salvation Army until Saturday and then will be available at the door, are Fifteen dollars plus the donation of a toy or non-perishable item.

Those looking to show their support for the ride can do so in stylish fashion, commemorative shirts for the 2017 ride are available for purchase and can be found at Stuck on Designs. You can also pick some up during the Saturday night dance at Chances.

Organizer Chris Rose, who dedicates much of his time to the cause year after year, is hopeful for another large turnout for this year, the 36th year of the run. 

Last year the ride featured 100 riders and collected over 8,000 dollars and countless toys for the Salvation Army.

More notes related to Community events on the North Coast can be found here.

And the winner is ... Northwest snares one UBCM Award on community excellence

The focus by the UBCM on community achievement was celebrated as part of this weeks convention, with the annual Community Excellence Awards handed out on yesterday.

The Awards celebration calls attention to municipalities and Regional Districts that take risks to innovate, establish new partnerships and pioneer new customer service practises.

Seven awards were handed during the Thursday event, and when the envelopes came out and the winners announced, it was Kitimat's Phil Germuth who was heading up to the podium accepting an award on behalf of the Kitimiat-Stikine Regional District.

Mr. Germuth was there to hear recognition by the UBCM of the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District's Integrated Solid Waste Management program in the Terrace area, which received the accolades in the Leadership and Innovation, Green initiatives category.

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, accepting the UBCN Green Initiatives Award
on behalf of the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District. The Award was a salute
to the Regional District's work on the Solid Waste program in Terrace

(photo from UBCM flickr feed)

The Green Initiatives Award recognizes local governments that have undergone and can demonstrate a shift in their overall approach to planning and decision-making activities, to include environmental responsibility as a top priority.

It  also recognizes local governments that stand out as strong leaders of environmental stewardship that demonstrate innovative solutions for balancing the competing priorities of citizens, businesses and other interest groups while incorporating green initiatives.

You can learn more about the Terrace initiative here.

Other award winners included:

Partnerships Award
Village of Salmo -- For new Heritage Hub Arts and Cultural Corner

Best Practices, Excellence in Action Award
City of Coquitlam -- Productivity enhancement using Web mapping

Best Practices, Organizational Development and Improvements
Cowichan Valley Regional District -- PlaceSpeak, A collaborative approach

Best Practices, Excellence in Financial Stewardship
City of Nanaimo -- Integrating Financial planning, Reporting and Fiscal Responsibility-- Building the Road Ahead together

Leadership and Innovation, Agriculture
Central Okanagan Regional District -- RDCO-ECD Agriculture Support Program

Best Practices, Community Connections
District of West Vancouver -- Student Video Contest

The full list of those recognized for their work in engaging with the community can be found here.

A review of some of the items making news at this years UBCM convention can be found on our archive page.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

UBCM seeks larger discussion on campaign finance reform; but the taxpayers can keep their cash

The large volume of UBCM resolutions have started to be attended to by delegates to this weeks Vancouver convention, with Wednesday the first day of the three days put aside for consideration of the 203 page book of Resolutions.

Earlier this week, we outlined some of the Northwest initiatives brought to the convention and the bulk of those it would seem will be reviewed and discussed through the day today.

Yesterday, the municipal leaders followed up on a theme introduced by the provincial government last week, that of campaign finance reforms.

The resolution sponsored by the Greater Victoria community of Oak Bay presented a call for the province to enable the municipal governments to address the issue on the local basis, noting that should the provincial government make changes to provincial campaign finance regulations to restrict campaign donations, those changes be extended to include campaign finance regulations for local government.

However, by the time the resolution got to the voting stage it came with one significant diversion from the provincial plan proposed by the NDP government of John Horgan and his helpful assistant Green Leader Andrew Weaver.

Perhaps aware that their residents can quickly seek access to municipal officials, they chose not to embrace the NDP/Green proposal to reach into the taxpayers wallets to fund election campaigns in the future.

As we outlined at the time of the introduction of the provincial proposal, the NDP/Green initiative includes a financing plan which will see the provincial party candidates receive $2.50 per vote from the taxpayers.

That campaign finance program is scheduled to last for a period of four years, when the initiative will be reviewed.

That kind of reach into the pockets of taxpayers, apparently is just an area that many of the municipal leaders aren't' inclined to travel towards.

Though don't expect any quick action on the larger theme of municipal campaign financing.

Much to the disappointment of a number of the delegates (mostly from the larger communities) the resolution failed to gain enough votes to pass and was put aside for further study by the UBCM executive.

Something that Victoria mayor Lisa Helps referred to as a "very weak move"

Some notes on those discussions and what may come next can be found below:

Motion to ban corporate and union donations in civic elections stumbles
Andrew Weaver calls for reform of local government
Move to limit campaign donations fails to gain support at UBCM
B.C. Municipalities eager for finance reform breakthrough under new government
Local politicians ask B.C. government for campaign donation reform

More notes on the events of the UBCM convention can be reviewed on our archive page.

Update: The finance reform resolution gained a second life on Thursday, with delegates bringing it back for a second look and a more successful outcome, though one with few actual details as to what the municipal leaders hope to see in any final regulations.

BC municipalities want political-fundraising reform ahead of 2018 local elections
BC call for campaign finance reform in municipal politics
B.C. municipal politicians vote in favour of election finance reform

NWCC seeks bids to refresh college website

The Waap Galts'ap Community Longhouse on the main campus of NWCC in Terrace,
the college is looking to update its online presence with
a website redevelopment plan

(photo from NWCC website)

With a new name perhaps on the way and a new focus for delivering education to the region part of the future, officials at Northwest Community College are about to turn their attention towards the college website.

NWCC recently posted a Request for Proposal for website developers to review, with the college noting that the current website no longer fulfills their needs. Particularly in areas of functionality, navigation, design and display of digital assets.

Those with a talent for website design will want to make note of some of the key elements required for the new website.

Among some of the key expressions, or positioning statements that NWCC wants to stress for their new online portal are:

Broaden your horizon
elevated experiences
free your mind
enable adventurous minds
open minds, open spaces
unbound education
the path forward
wide-open learning

The website design will also be required to deliver some of the following:

Well organized and easy to navigate
Effective menu and search functions
Ability to scan and find information at a glance
Mobile friendly, responsive design

The design should also promote and drive an audience to new, relevant information available on the site.

The full request for bids can be reviewed from the BC Bid website.

The deadline for interested web designers to apply is October 13th.

The college is also seeking the services of an auditor to provide for the audited statements that are required to be delivered by the College, details for that contract are also available on the BC Bid site.

More notes related to NWCC across Northwest BC can be found on our archive page.

With new road signs, Prince Rupert RCMP keep focus on efforts towards impaired driving

The push to reduce impaired driving in Prince Rupert includes 
new road signs, the one above is along Frederick Street,  
located just after the turn off into the city from Highway 16

Some new road signs are popping up around Prince Rupert, calling on residents of the region to help the Prince Rupert detachment of the RCMP in their work against impaired driving.

Signs like the one above, discovered along Frederick Avenue just after exiting from Highway 16 call on the public to report impaired drivers, they are sponsored by the RCMP, MADD and the City of Prince Rupert.

The issue of impaired driving concerns made for one of the themes of a recent appearance by the Detachment Commander Blake Ward.

In August Prince Rupert's top cop, outlined how enforcement plan directed towards roadside impairment operations and traffic enforcement remained a high priority for the detachment's officers.

More notes related to the work of emergency responders in the Northwest can be found on our archive page here.

Mayors' Climate Leadership Council explore issues at UBCM

The membership of the British Columbia Municipal Climate Leadership Council
(photo from Community Energy Association twitter feed)

One item on Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain's to do list at UBCM, has been to keep up to speed on the latest developments from the British Columbia Municipal Climate Leadership Council, which is holding sessions as part of this week's convention.

Mr. Brain became a member of the Leadership Council at last years UBCM meeting and was featured prominently in the class photo from this year (see above) in addition to the Mayor, other participants in the Council include the following municipal politicians:

Mayor Richard Walton, District of North Vancouver  
Mayor Taylor Bachrach, Town of Smithers 
Mayor Lawrence Chernoff, City of Castlegar  
Councillor Sue Ellen Fast, Bowen Island Municipality  
Councillor Patrick Johnstone, City of New Westminster  
Mayor Joh Lefebure, Municipality of North Cowichan  
Mayor Darrell Mussato, City of North Vancouver  
Councillor Andrea Reimer, City of Vancouver  
Councillor Cheryl Shuman, City of Dawson Creek

The Council members have not released any details of their work at UBCM so far, though Mayor Brain took advantage of his attendance to highlight some of the initiatives he is working on in Prince Rupert, posting some background to his Facebook page on Wednesday.

Included as part of the update, was a mention of the work of a committee the Mayor has put in place to address his 2030 Sustainable City project, that group is developing a policy book that will explore a range of environmental themes, with plans to take the project to public engagement sometime in 2018.

One area of discussion themes that those that met this week may have tackled could be the status of planning for an upcoming climate conference that the Council will be hosting in November in Vancouver.

That conference seems to destined to bring together climate action leaders, BCMLC members and leading professionals for 2.5 days of what is described as intensive training.

Scheduled to speak at that event include Mayor Walton of North Vancouver and Chair of the BCMCLC, Travis Streb a communications coach and Group Facilitator and former Vancouver Mayor and BC NDP Leader Mike Harcourt.

All will share themes on sustainability and action on the environment.

Earlier this year Mayor Brain attended a Renewable Cities conference in Vancouver, themes of energy efficiency and making urban areas more sustainable were reviewed at that event.

You can learn more about the British Columbia Municipal Climate Leadership Council here.

More notes related to this years UBCM can be found on our Archive page

MLA shares emergency preparation themes with constituents

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice has dipped into the resource material from her portfolio as Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, sharing some thoughts on the theme with those living on the North Coast, Central Coast and Haida Gwaii.

The MLA has delivered her information through her constituency website and Facebook page,  reminding residents that the time is now to prepare for sever weather conditions and tsunami events. Also noting the dangers to community posed by earthquakes, floods, hazardous spills, landslides and avalanches.

As well, she reminds residents of the dangers posed by the aftermath of major events, particularly the need to be prepared for longer term power outages.

She points constituents of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii to a range of public service websites hosted by the Agency PreparedBC.

You can review the preparation notes from that agency here.

More notes on the North Coast MLA's work in Victoria can be found here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Final weekend beckons for 2017 Prince Rupert Cruise season

The 2017 Cruise season for Prince Rupert ends this weekend, wrapping
a port call from the 2,376 passenger cruise ship Norwegian Jewel
(photo from NCL cruise lines website)

The last visitors for the 2017 Cruise season will make their tour of the city and region this weekend, as two ships pull into town for the final visits of the year.

Saturday the Sojourn will tie up at the Northland Cruise Terminal, sending a potential 450 guests to tour the city.

Sunday, brings the curtain down on the 2017 season and we do it with an impressive flourish with the arrival of the Norwegian Jewel at Northland Terminal, the vessel plays host to a potential 2,376 passengers.

A volume which will give those in support of the Cruise industry one final chance for the year to put the city's best foot forward as it looks to continue to build its footprint in the West Coast and Alaska cruise industry.

Currently docked in the Alaska port of Skagway, the vessel will soon be making its final leg of its journey and its return to Vancouver, with Prince Rupert one of the final stops for its passengers. 

All's quiet at Northland Terminal today,
That won't be the case this weekend
with two vessels coming to town to
bring an end to the 2017 Cruise season
Once the Norwegian Jewel brings and end to its eight hour visit and casts its lines for further down for southern destinations it will put the book end to a season which started back on May 19th.

According to Port of Prince Rupert estimates the 23 port calls from the year were to bring 17,002 passengers to the city to explore both the urban area and some of the outlying destinations that have proven popular over the last few years.

And while the bump in port calls and visitors makes for a good foundation to help put Prince Rupert on the cruise industry map, we certainly still have a fair ways to go.

To the north, on Monday our sister city of Ketchikan just celebrated the one millionth cruise visitor to that community this year, coming aboard the same Norwegian Jewel that will be arriving in Prince Rupert on Sunday.

That was a history making event for Ketchikan, marking the first time that the summer cruise season has topped the 1 million guest mark, with community officials making for a pretty impressive reception for the lucky passenger tagged as number 1 million.

The success of the Kethcikan efforts come from a combination of engagement with the cruise lines and an extensive infrastructure in port that allows for multiple vessel visits in a day.

As the 2017 season comes to an end, those involved with the Prince Rupert industry will be reviewing how things went this year, making modifications to their plans for the year ahead and continuing to put forward the message of a welcome port on the North Coast.

More notes on the cruise industry can be found here.

North Coast Business owners to learn more on apprenticeship program this Friday

An opportunity for business owners on the North Coast to hear more about an apprenticeship program in the region is coming up this Friday as the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce hosts a luncheon session on the theme.

Taking place in the BC Room of the Crest Hotel from 11:15 to 12:45, the Friday session will feature a panel discussion on the success of the apprenticeship program in the community.

Panel members are to be made up of local employers, school district representatives and apprentices who will provide some background to the popular program in the Prince Rupert area.

ITA’s local Apprenticeship Advisor will also share resources and supports that are available to employer sponsors, including tax credits, to ensure you and your apprentice have a successful apprenticeship.

The Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce will also speak to Chamber memberships and the importance of connecting with the local business community.

You can learn more about the Friday luncheon from the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and website.

Yesterday we outlined the plans to deliver another 20,000 dollars in funding to the School District from the Industry Training Authority, which offers a range of training initiatives for secondary school students across the province.

School District 52 was among 46 school districts in the province to receive the additional funding as part of this weeks announcement.

More notes on education in the Northwest can be found on our archive pages here and here, while items of interest from the region's business community are available here.

NVIT keeps eyes on North for next campus location

While Northwest Community College continues to explore the introduction of a new name and embrace an international focus, another British Columbia educational institution is looking North as part of its ongoing expansion ambitions for the delivery of post-secondary education.

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology recently announced some new program options in the Burns Lake region, and with those plans NVIT officials have been making the media rounds of the Lakes Country to share how the North could be the next area to see an expansion from the Merrit based trades training institution.

While Burns Lake is more aligned with the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, as opposed to NWCC's geographic reach, the focus that NVIT directs towards First Nations educational opportunities and an expansion on trades training opportunities, could provide a lure for students from all communities from Haida Gwaii to Prince George.

Beyond the latest course opportunities for Burns Lake, the longer range plan could see NVIT looking for a permanent home somewhere in northern British Columbia, with Burns Lake and Tumbler Ridge just a few of the communities that have been taken note of that blue print from the Merrit home campus.

We outlined some of that ambition in March, observing as to the growing interest in the North from the institution and how the City of Prince Rupert might want to explore any interest in having NVIT look to the North Coast as a potential permanent destination

Those plans from NVIT still seem a bit off in the future, but should they make a move into the north, the introduction of an additional educational institution and the range of courses that they would have to offer could have an impact on NWCC and its education delivery programs in the region.

Some background on the current course options in Burns Lake, current issues on education and the future plans for NVIT can be found below:

New programs offered this year in Burns Lake through NVIT
NVIT training to be offered in Burns Lake
NVIT set on establishing Northern Campus
Education is dividing Burns Lake residents
Burns Lake BC continues to pursue campus of NVIT

More notes related to post secondary education in the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

Local group begins process of seeking safer streets in Prince Rupert

A civic action group called Complete Streets for Prince Rupert has moved into the active engagement part of their launch, taking to social media with some updates on what the group is all about and what they hope to achieve with their initiative.

The focus for the group is one to promote healthy living, sustaining the environment, stimulating the economy, as well as nods towards saving money and lives

The project received a form of a soft launch earlier this summer when one of the group's spokespersons, Chris Lightfoot appeared at a Rotary Club luncheon to provide an overview of some of the initiatives that the program features.

A multi-media approach is now taking that message to a wider audience, with a twitter feed and Facebook page providing background to the issues and solutions that Complete Streets for Prince Rupert hope to bring to the attention of the public.

A YouTube slide show video provides more details on their initiative.

One segment of the video makes note as to how their program ties into the City of Prince Rupert's climate change initiatives and goals of sustainability.

The slideshow presentation outlines how the Complete Streets program can help to reduce the community's greenhouse gas initiatives and how they align with the city's energy and emissions plan.

Among some of the other areas highlighted through the presentation, the organization touts the ability to promote social equity in the community and how the Complete Streets program. As well as to offer up some notes on how Complete streets can add to property values, employment and attract new professionals to the community.

To reassure North Coast residents that they are "not a fringe group" the presentation makes note of the communities that have adopted their program, calling it "mainstream, progressive community planning".

Some ideas that the group shares for Prince Rupert is to adopt more safety orientated features such as the crossing area found by the Prince Rupert yacht club and a call for more flashing lights to be installed at area crosswalks.

As well, the group would like to see an expansion of cycling and pedestrian pathways and outline a plan of creating a Road Diet initiative in the community to make the cities streets more accessible for cyclists and other users.

The group also tackles some of the issues related to cycling in Prince Rupert, answers a number of questions that many may have on cycling, as well as to explain how they would approach some of the hesitancy of residents to make better use of cycling options in the community.

On the theme of cost to implement some of their plans, they focus on the range of available provincial and federal funding that could be put to use to develop the Complete Streets for Prince Rupert idea.

Moving towards their goal, the group outlines how it is committed to undertake a comprehensive new Transportation Master Plan, which will include a street network hierarchy, improved bridge links and an emphasis on non automotive traffic and reduction of carbon emissions.

To highlight those goals, the group makes note of the City of Prince Rupert's Official Community Plan and how their initiatives would match up with that document.

As they look to implement some of their plans they outline a range of initial projects, included in the list:

A pilot project to completes to and through 3rd Avenue West. 

While noting that some of their initiatives  for McBride and Second Avenue West may have to wait until a Port bypass route is developed to take the heavy loads of traffic out of the downtown core, they do suggest that the City launch negotiations with  the Ministry of Transportation to install pedestrian bulb outs on 2nd Avenue West and McBride Street for the near term. 

"Piggy Back" safety improvements onto routine projects

Develop a Complete Streets policy and included it as part of a new Transportation Master Plan

The project also seems to attache itself at the hip to Mayor Lee Brain's ambitious urban planning document the Hays 2.0 plan, with some rather effusive praise for how that program would 

"It's time to complete our streets, Hays 2.0 aims to capture what Prince Rupertites care so deeply about: promoting economic resilience, protecting our natural environment, and working together to enhance our quality of life"

Such is the nature of the praise, and frequent use of civic background items, one might be excused if they somehow confuse the initiative not so much as a grass roots push, as one that advances the civic planning ambitions of the Mayor's office and civic departments.

There's probably no danger in the group being confused as a fringe group, considering the nature of the presentation and the call to civic initiatives, they seem to be adopting a rather mainstream image.

Though it's an image that almost takes on the role of the information sharing service for the Mayor's Hays 2.0 vision plan.

Something that we imagine that would be applauded by Mr. Brain and those council members that share those themes of civic development and long term planning, but it also might not be a helpful approach when trying to promote that grass roots concept of a community leading the discussion.

In addition to the Social media streams noted earlier, to find out more about the Complete Streets Prince Rupert program see their website

Since they've put the focus on some of the City's planning ambitions, you can review some background on development plans from our archive page here.

Further notes on the themes can also be found on our Council Discussion page.