Tuesday, October 31, 2017

So, which end of the Yellowhead Highway would you like to be driving on today?

The cold weather they say is coming the way of the North Coast, but for now, we'll take the gentle breeze of warm weather that's here, because to the east it's a whole different story.

From the Highway 16 highway cam feeds at 4:30 PM

BC/Alberta Border

The Port Edward Turnoff

And, of course, those folks in the topics over on Haida Gwaii

Makes for a good reminder for those on the North Coast to be prepared for winter weather to come.

You can find up to date traffic camera info from our archive pages here.

While the Drive BC updates are available here.

A day for costumes and treats as Prince Rupert celebrates Halloween

The streets, classrooms and offices are alive with witches and ghouls, Princesses and Super heroes as the day given over to dress up gets underway on the North Coast.

Many businesses and organizations in the city have gotten into the spirt of the day (if you will) and taken on any number of characters, with the city's schools one the larger participants in the day long dress up. 

A trip through their respective twitter feeds will provide the highlights of the day from the schools.

The daylight hours however are just the preamble to the main event later tonight, when the youngsters of the city being to make their rounds with their annual trick or treat trek.

As well, the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre is hosting the annual Halloween Fest, with games and treats for the youngsters, capped by a Fireworks display to take place with Mount Hays making for the background best viewed from the Ciivc Centre parking lot or adjoining fields.

The Civic Centre activities take place from 6 to 8 PM, with the fireworks set for 8:15.

The local RCMP will be on watch through the night as the trick or treaters take to the streets and later into the evening should some wish to make for mischief on the night.

They also have provided for a list of safety measures that parents/guardians and children can take to keep this Halloween a safe one.

There are also more notes related to Halloween Fest which you can review here.

Rice updates Legislature on Fire recovery efforts in the province

MLA Jennifer Rice offered up an
update on the 2017 Fire season at
the legislature on Monday
North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice was in the spotlight at the Legislature on Monday, providing an update on the pace of recovery efforts in those areas of the province affected by this years forest fires of the summer.

Ms. Rice was Speaking following statements from MLA Coralee Oakes, who represents the Cariboo North region and had outlined some of the findings of a town hall meeting she had hosted for residents who have been affected by the wildfire season.

In her response, Ms. Rice,, the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparation noted the extent of the damage and the amount of territory consumed by the wildfires, noting that the Province had put in place a state of Emergency related to the fires that lasted for ten weeks.

She also observed that the scope of need required by those that had been affected by the wildfires was extensive, with the Province having to provide for additional staff to handle the volume of claims to the voucher system related to the fires of 2017.

Ms. Rice also paid tribute to the fire fighters, contractors and local business owners that provided their service to the province during the emergency. She also noted that the government is continuing to work on plans to assist rural areas who have faced challenges related to the fires of this year.

Adding that the NDP government is working on a larger strategy to address issues for all rural areas when it comes to economic development and the challenges that they have to deal with.

The full transcript of the discussion on the provinces response to the fires can be found here, the original comments prior to Ms. Rice's presentation start at the 10:45 AM minute mark

You can review her full presentation to the Legislature below:

For more items related to the work of the North Coast MLA at the Legislature see our archive page here.

A wider overview of provincial politics can be found on our D'Arcy McGee portal.

AMHS releases draft schedule for Summer 2018 season

The MV Malaspina will call on Prince Rupert twice a week in the summer
of 2018 should the Draft Schedule for the AMHS be approved

Transit North to Alaska will be much the same when the high tourism season of the summer of 2018 comes around, with the Alaska Marine Highway indicating that there will be little change to service out of Prince Rupert next year.

The AMHS has released their draft schedule for the summer of 2018 and as current funding stands, the service will continue to host two departures/arrivals out of Fairview per week next summer.

Should the draft schedule be approved, and no further financial surprises come for the Alaska Ferry system, the Prince Rupert Terminal will see AMHS vessels in port on Tuesday's and Fridays. The service will return to its once a week sailings in the fall.

In the information release from yesterday, the Government of Alaska notes that the draft schedule is composed based on the expected funding for the fiscal year of 2019.

Of note for Prince Rupert and travellers that pass through the city on their way to Alaska is a section of the Vessel deployment listings for the MV Malaspina which travels from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan and points north.

That ferry will service the Southeast Alaska route until September when it will be going into a refit program for a vessel overhaul.

The AMHS operating plan has been designed to meet community service needs, while staying within available funding levels and maintaining regulatory and safety standards for their vessels.

Community leaders and members of the public with comments related to the draft schedule have until November 10th to deliver their opinions to the Alaska Government.

The full information release and associated documents can be reviewed here.

See our archive page for more items related to transportation on the North Coast, including news about the Alaska Marine Highway Service.

UFAWU-Unifor to take pulse of local membership before provincial convention

With the North Coast having just gone through  what is described as one of its bleakest seasons in history, the union that represents workers in the region will be seeking comments from the membership before the leadership hosts the annual convention to be held in Prince Rupert in December

One theme that the UFAWU-Unifor reps from the North will be highlighting at that convention will be their continued call for Adjacency, continuing their push to have fish that is caught in the North, processed in the North.

That was a topic that they raised with Premier John Horgan on October 22nd, taking advantage of the Premier's tour to raise the issue once again with him and NDP MLA Jennifer Rice. Union members had a chance to further outline the impact of the last few fishing seasons on the community and to expand on the adjacency issue as one option to generate more employment for local workers.

This Thursday Local Members of UFAWU-Unifor
will be working on resolutions for
the upcoming convention of December

The Northern leadership is hosting a local 31 meeting on Thursday, November 2nd to determine how many of the local members wish to attend the convention, as well as to work on the list of resolutions to be presented at it.

The Thursday meeting takes place at 7 PM at Fishermen's Hall.

The larger convention will take place in Prince Rupert on Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd, more details related to the labour event will come as the convention gets closer.

You can find more information on the Thursday meeting from the UFAWU Facebook page.

More background on the fishing industry in British Columbia, including items related to adjacency can be found on our archive page.

Monday, October 30, 2017

In response to AG report; NDP keeps focus on need to protect grizzly bear population

A new report on the management of the province's grizzly bear population from Auditor General Carol Bellringer, has provided North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice with her first topic of the week from Victoria, with the MLA taking to her Facebook portal today to provide her synopsis of the report.

From her review of the Auditor General's report, Ms. Rice highlights some of the key findings, observing that the document confirms what she and her colleagues have long said about the previous government's management of the grizzly bear population in the province.

The NDP MLA takes note of the past cuts to conservation programs and what she refers to as questionable science, as part of her overview of where the Liberals were wrong in their approach, with the North Coast MLA promising that the new NDP government will act on the recommendations offered in the new report.

Now that we have a new NDP government, the recommendations won’t fall on deaf ears. We’ve committed to implementing all of them.

The report fits well with current New Democrat policies to not only end the grizzly bear trophy hunt, but also end all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest as well as the announcement of a renewed wildlife management strategy for the province.

As part of the release of the report, a video presentation provides some further background and attention to some of the themes reviewed by the Independent Audit of the provinces Bear Management strategy.

The Ten recommendations from the Audit of the Grizzly Bear Management include the following (click to enlarge):

You can review the full document which also includes responses to the recommendations here.

The North Coast MLA also makes use of her Facebook notes to remind those in the riding of ongoing feedback process currently underway by the province when it comes to the proposed ban on Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunting, providing this link, to those that wish to participate in the engagement process.

For more items of note related to Ms. Rice's work at the Legislature see our archive page here.

A wider overview of the British Columbia political scene is also available on our political portal D'Arcy McGee.

CFIB Report finds Municipal spending on the increase in Northwest BC

Just in time for Halloween, a national business organization is highlighting municipal spending as timely theme for the season of scary stories.

The annual report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business keeping watch over municipal spending in British Columbia has been released and as they have in the past, the business organization is raising concerns over some of the spending habits of BC's municipal governments.

In their review published last week, the business organization puts the focus on a number of areas of spending by British Columbia's municipal governments, with the CFIB noting that wages both for civic staff and unionized workers continue to be the driving factor behind the growth of spending at the municipal level.

From their review of the financials, the CFIB observes that when it comes to funding wage increases, municipal governments often don't expand their horizons very much,  with the local governments looking for new revenues from familiar places, with the financial burden for the most part passed on to the taxpayer.

The CFIB report notes that wages and benefits now account for roughly sixty percent of municipal operating spending, though they also highlight that the other forty percent outside of payroll requirements have also grown over the last year.

Using data from a ten year period of 2005-2015, the report provides a snapshot of municipal spending for the 2015 financial year.

For municipal governments across the province, the report provides for three key recommendations when it comes to Operating spending, with the CFIB offering up the following:

Limit increases in operating spending to no more than inflation and population growth

Introduce zero-based budgeting, conduct regular service reviews, identify core and non-core services and consider contracting out to the private sector

Have suitable contingency funds for special circumstances (such as natural disasters, special events) that require an increase in operating spending.

When it comes to hiring at the municipal level, the CFIB offers up a few thoughts as well:

Limit compensation increases until public and private sector compensation levels are aligned. Any new employees should be hired at compensation levels in line with private sector norms for similar occupations. 

Increase pension sustainability by: reducing unfunded pension liabilities (without solely relying on taxpayer bailouts), eliminating early retirement provisions (e.g. bridge benefit) and enrolling new hires in defined contribution instead of defined benefit pension plans. 

Eliminate the banking of sick days and replace with affordable short-term disability plans. 

Consider reducing the size of the civil service (primarily through attrition). 

Share municipal staff between municipalities to find cost efficiencies and to allow small municipalities access to high quality employees. 

Reform negotiation/arbitration laws and practices to strengthen the municipal governments’ negotiation position.

As for the review of data for the province, the Northwest overall isn't likely to receive a Gold Star from the CFIB, with many communities in the region found near the bottom of the list when it comes to best use of municipal spending for the business organization.

For Prince Rupert the results offer a mixed signal, with the CFIB noting that spending is on the rise, however, by comparison, Prince Rupert has fared better in the report that some of the findings for other Northwest Communities where the CFIB flags concerns over the upward trends.

The CFIB findings do make note that the City of Prince Rupert has increased its spending from the last survey period from 2014, with the latest data available now pushing Prince Rupert out of the top ten of parsimonious communities from last year's review.

This year Prince Rupert is listed at 39th overall of the 152 communities reviewed,  a move in the wrong direction of thirty spots from last year when Prince Rupert had been marked at 9th overall in the survey that rates communities from Best to Worst in their spending ways.

From this years report, the notes include:

When it comes to Real Operating Spending per Capita Growth the CFIB notes a 24 percent decline from 2005-2015,  with Operating Spending per Capita in 2015 noted as at $2,745, an increase from $2,583 recorded in last years report

The CFIB however  records a five percent change upwards in Municipal spending per capita from 2014-15, while Real Operating Spending Growth is marked by a 34 percent decline over that ten year period.

And despite the city's ongoing theme that the population has grown, the survey from the CFIB cites statistics from 2005-2015 that show a thirteen percent population decline during that period.

The data, culled as it is from a period of ten years from 2005 to the 2015 financial year, would now include the first full year of civic governance for the current City Council membership.

2015 did make for a shift in civic spending themes from the years previous, with the first item of the new approach highlighted by the decision to make the Mayor's position that of full time status and full time compensation.

As well, 2015 marked the start of  a push towards increased city hiring, with a number of additional staff and workforce members added to the payroll from the previous CFIB report year of 2014.

Those indicators would suggest that the next report, to be delivered one year from now, might provide an indication as to which direction the City of Prince Rupert may be heading when it comes to the CFIB's areas of concern and placement in the rankings for the 2018 version of their Municipal Spending Watch.

The full list of Spending watch data for Prince Rupert and the Northwest is available on page thirty of the report.

Still, if the City is looking for some positive news from the CFIB report, they can point towards the findings for other communities in the region.

Despite the significant shift in its provincial ranking , Prince Rupert still stands a little further off the CFIB radar than such communities as Terrace, Smithers and Kitimat, with Stewart the one Northwest community that the CFIB notes as the worst when it comes to spending in the Northwest and northern BC.

The CFIB Report details the organizations concerns over the state of spending in Stewart as follows:

Stewart is once again BC’s worst overall performer. The municipality had one of the highest 2015 per capita spending level at $6,237 per person. Unfortunately, despite recent efforts to reduce spending, Stewart increased its per capita expenditure growth by 27 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

Across the Northwest, the rankings from the CFIB, arranged from Worst to Best, are as follows:

29th in NW -- Stewart (152nd in the province)
27th in NW -- Hazelton (148th in the province)
24th in NW -- Port Edward (145th in the province)
19th in NW -- Kitimat (126th in the province)
14th in NW -- New Hazelton (117th in the province)
13th in NW -- Masset (113th in the province)
12th in NW -- Port Clements (110th in the province)
11th in NW -- Terrace (109th in the province)
10th in North -- Smithers (104th in the province)
6th in North -- Telkwa (40th in the province)
5th in North -- Prince Rupert (39th in the province)
4th in North -- Houston (24th in the province)
1st in NW -- Burns Lake (10th in the province)

The CFIB Municipal Spending Watch Chart for 2017
(click to enlarge)

You can examine the full findings from the CFIB report here.

For more notes related to Municipal Government in Prince Rupert see our archive page here, while our snapshots of items from the remainder of the Northwest can be reviewed here.

Rainmaker's advance to Provincials with soccer win in Kitimat

Champs Again! For the second year in a row, the Charles Hays Rainmakers
are Provincials bound, following weekend Zones play in Kitimat

(photo courtesy CHSS Twitter feed)

For the second year in a row, the Charles Hays Rainmakers hold the title of Northwest Zones Boys Soccer champions, with the Makers' keeping their status of defending champs in a thrilling wrap up to the Northwest School's season in Kitimat.

Showing some strong resolve on the pitch, the Charles Hays Rainmakers came from behind in the finale of Zones play Saturday, chasing down the host Mount Elizabeth squad in the championship game of the three game elimination format.

Prior to the NW Zones finale, The Rainmakers had topped Smithers 2-0 in their first match of the day, setting the stage for the showdown at the Riverlodge field in the Aluminum City.

For his work in the Saturday opener, Josh Wittchen was named player of the match.

When it came to defending their championship, the Prince Rupert squad had to battle back from a one goal deficit late into the final minutes.  Trailing the Kitimat team heading towards the final five, the Rainmakers delivered a flurry of scoring that pushed the boys to the title with a 3-2 victory.

A strong effort Eric Tubb through the final match secured him the Player of the Game Honours as the banner was delivered to the Prince Rupert team for the trip back to be placed in the Charles Hays rafters.

The Rainmakers will now keep to their training schedule in preparation for the Provincials later in November, as we hear of more details on that tournament we'll share them through our Rainmaker Archive page here.

For more notes, photos and videos on Rainmaker Sports and other items of interest from the city's high school see the @CHSStwitter feed.

City Staff to seek approval of new communication policy at Monday Council session

How the City communicates with
its residents and the media will
be a topic at tonight's Council session
Prince Rupert Council members will be reviewing how the city communicates with its residents tonight, as Veronika Stewart, the City's Communication Manager delivers a report that will be seeking the repeal of the previous policy, in effect since 2003 and approval of  a new updated policy.

The need for a new approach seems to be related to recent discussions by Council as to how they should approach their response to camera meetings and the flow of information that should come from those closed sessions of Council.

In her report Ms. Stewart notes the main goal of the new policy initiative.

"The previous Communications policy, enacted in 2003 is outmoded and outdated. Given that the City has greater communications capacity than ever before, it is now prudent to implement a new policy that better reflects current communications capabilities and technologies at the City. The new policy addresses not only in-camera information, but also general principles for City Staff when it comes to the sharing of information. This is to ensure that all information provided by the City to local media is timely, accurate and reflects the goals of City Council and Administration."

From that, the Communication Manager has expanded on the approach of how the City will share its information moving forward. The nine page report for Council will outline the goals of the new policy and how it will be applied should it be adopted.

As well,  among some of the themes that Ms. Stewart will explore, will be a number of elements related to community updates, media relations between the city and the media, the city's social media policy and how the City will handle crisis and emergency communications.

A thumbnail guide to some of the goals of the policy under review tonight can be found below:

Some of the initiatives that may come from the revised policy include: 

The prospect of the city setting up an email notification system for residents to receive updates on disruptions of service, event announcements, notice of paving and other items of note.

A revision of the media relations process for City staff, including which members of staff will speak to the media, as well as a definition as to which media options the city will respond to when inquiries are made.

Veronika Stewart The City of
Prince Rupert's  Communication Manager
will  outline the themes of the city's new
communication policies tonight

(photo from City of PR website)

With Social Media becoming a larger part of the city's information delivery process, the new policy will also outline the guidelines that the city will use when sharing any civic information through the range of social media options that are available

You can review the full report from the City's Regular Council Meeting Agenda package for this evening starting at page 54.

For more notes related to this evenings City Council session see our Council Preview here.

A wider overview of past discussion topics can be found on our Council Archive page.

City Council Preview: Monday, October 30 2017

Presentations will be the theme for the final meeting of October for Prince Rupert City Council, as three delegations have requested the opportunity to appear in front of the council members tonight.

Two of the groups come to Council as part of the Committee of the Whole process, with the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Society and a local group seeking improved service locally from CBC Radio set to appear tonight.

Council will also receive a presentation from a representative of the Ministry of Transportation, who will remind North Coast residents of the need to Shift into Winter as we head towards the winter driving season.

Also on the agenda this evening is an opportunity for Council members to pick up on their themes of two weeks ago, when the topic of how to move forward with community engagement as part of the Committee of the Whole process. With Councillors to provide some input on whether they should change the current process for public input or expand on it.

Council members will also receive a range of reports and requests from the City planning department and receive a report from the Communication Manager, as Veronika Stewart outlines how the communication policy worked in the past and what changes, if any are planned moving forward.

Council members will also head behind closed doors once again, as they host a Closed Session on the night, the advisory posted on the City's Website noting the following criteria for the discussion outside of the public view:

90.1  (k)  negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal service that are at their preliminary stages and that, in the view of the council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public. 

The evening starts with the Committee of the Whole session and then will reconvene to host the Regular Council session.

(See Agendas here) 


Adoption of Agenda -- The Mayor will review the agenda for the Committee session

Petitions and Delegations 

Ladan Zahari, Cooridnator, North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Service Society (NCIMSS) - Re: Trust and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action - update (See page 2 Agenda package)

Kathleen Palm and Evelyn Basso -- Presentation to Council with an update on concerns related to CBC Radio One service in the community.

Discussion on the Committee of the Whole Council Meetings -- Council members will pick up their discussion from October 16th on future plans for how the Committee of the Whole sessions may be conducted.

Question Period from the Public

Reports, Questions and Inquiries from Members of Council

Adjournment to Reconvene Regular Council Meeting


Adoption of Agenda and Past minutes -- Mayor Brain will review the agenda for the evening and Council will adopt the minutes of past meetings.

Petitions and Delegations make for the first item of business on the evening,  Darrell Gunn, the District Manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in the Skeena District will make a presentation to Council related to the Shift Into Winter program

Any Notes on Unfinished Business will follow that presentation.

Reports and Recommendations is next on the Agenda listings.

Report from the Community Planner -- Application for a development variance permit -- Council will review an application for a development variance permit for a property on Hays Cove Circle (Page 8 of the Agenda Package)

Report from the City Planner -- Application for Development variance permit -- Council will review an application for a development variance permit for a property on Van Arsdol Street (Page 20 of the Agenda Package)

Report from the City Planner -- Application for Development variance permit -- Council will review an application for a development variance permit for a property on 1st Avenue West (Page 28 of the Agenda Package)

Report from the City Planner -- Application for Development Permit -- Council will review an application for a development variance permit for a property on 1st Avenue West (Page 42 of the Agenda Package)

Report from the Communication Manager  -- Council will receive a report and be asked to approve of a revised Communications Policy for the City City of Prince Rupert (Page 54 of the Agenda Package)

Correspondences for Action --  Council will review any correspondences for action received since the previous session

Resolutions from Closed Meetings,


Report from the Chief Financial Officer regarding the 2017 Five Year Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw (Page 99 of the Agenda Package)

The evening then moves on to Additional Items 

The evening will come to an end with Reports, Questions and Inquiries from Members of Council.

Council members can also take advantage of the period to offer up any items or concerns that they have for consideration on the night.

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

Our items of note related to the October 30th session can be found here.

While our archive of all sessions for 2017 for Council is available here.

City Council Session: Monday, October 30, 2017

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

Regular Session of Council for October 30, 2017

Home page and archive of sessions can be found here.

Live Broadcast of session can be found here

North Coast Review -- Preview of session for October 30, 2017

Agenda for Council Session for October 30, 2017

Agenda for Committee of the Whole Session for October 30, 2017

Notice of Closed Session for October 30, 2017

Info to Council 

October 18, 2017


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

Minutes of Regular Session of Council, October 30, 2017 (not available yet)

Video Recording of October 30, 2017 session 

North Coast Review City Council Timeline: October 30, 2017


North Coast Review Items related to the October 30, 2017 Session of Council 

Ministry of Transportation brings Shift to Winter message to Prince Rupert council
A little housekeeping on the work site, not welcomed by Public Works
City puts Communication policy plans on hold to allow for further study
Council to hold to current process for Committee of the Whole; explore other engagement options as well
Plans for Mile 28 Highway 16 overpass project still in motion: Ministry spokesman
Reconciliation efforts could see updated version of existing City Hall totems
City Council hears message from Graham Avenue area residents
City Staff to seek approval of new communication policy at Monday Council session
Local advocates for improved CBC Radio service to take their call to City Council Monday

Further notes, as well as any Media items from other sources for the October 30, 2017 session can be found in our Discussion Points from City Council feature.

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending October 29, 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 October 29, 2017 is below:

Prince Rupert Real Estate, East Side, 
Week ending October 29, 2017
Prince Rupert Real Estate, West Side, 
Week ending October 29, 2017

A slow period for upper price range properties continues, with little in the way of change for our listing of ten for this week. Though one property was removed from the active files, while another rose up to claim the bottom rung on our weekly overview.

The Graham/Atlin Avenue area continues to be the part of town attracting the most interest, with over half of our listings of ten found on that side of the city.

Overall, the area west of McBride Street accounts for eight of of the ten this week, while the east side of the city claims the remaining two spots,

With the latest results, the combined value this week of our ten high end listings increases to  $6,374,000

The lowest mark for the list of ten now sits at $489,000, while our top end from the last week is listed at $829,000.

Below find our findings as of the Week ending October 29, 2017

2280 Graham Avenue                   $829,000 --  Remax
2040 Graham Avenue                   $799,000 -- Remax
1881 Graham Avenue                   $699,000 --  Remax
1027 Borden Street                       $698,000 --  Realty Executives
2230 Graham Avenue                   $669,000  --  Remax
1942 Second Avenue West           $649,000  -- Remax
226 Heron Road                            $545,000 --  Remax
1520 7th Avenue East                    $499,000 -- Remax
1805 Graham Avenue                    $498,000 -- Remax
613 Cassiar Avenue                       $489,000 -- 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, October 29, 2017

Blog Watching: Week ending October 29, 2017

Provincial politics, the weather and what's on the radio all made for themes of interest for our readers this week, with our list of five most read articles putting the focus on those topics over the last seven days.

The plans from the NDP/Green alliance to deliver proportional representation to the province's electoral system was a highly contentious topic in Victoria this week, with Skeena MLA Ellis Ross making some strong points on behalf of the BC Liberals during the debate of Wednesday.

Mr. Ross also figured prominently as he sought out more information on the status of the Resource Benefits Alliance initiative from the Northwest, taking up his questions with NDP Finance Minister Carole James during a committee session this week.

The Province of British Columbia and BC Transit were also in the news in the Northwest this week, with the Transit system introducing new highway service between Terrace and the Hazeltons, part of the government's ongoing Highway 16 Transportation plan initiative.

A one-two punch from Mother Nature left a mess and a number of repairs required for communities across the Northwest, with many of our weather related items finding a large audience this week.

And local listeners of the CBC are looking to gain some improved local programming for the region, with a presentation planned for City Council on Monday to highlight for the community some of their plans to improve the level of service.

The top story of the last seven days however puts the focus on the NDP government's plans to change how the electoral system will work when we next go to the polls in British Columbia.

Skeena MLA tackles electoral reform proposals during Legislature discussion --   The theme of electoral reform and the NDP/Green proposal of Bill 6 has been a frequent discussion topic in the Legislature in recent weeks. A northwest perspective on the Bill was offered up by thoughtful presentation by Skeena MLA Ellis Ross this week.  (posted October 26, 2017)

That article was followed by:

Stand by for Round Two, more rain to come today -- A wild week of extreme weather for the North Coast and Northwest found readers digging into many of our notes on weather updates as the week progressed, the full catalogue of weather related notes can be found here. (posted October 24, 2017)

Ellis Ross returns to themes on RBA initiative during Committee session -- In what was a busy week in the Legislature for the Skeena MLA, readers found much interest in his line of questions of Finance Minister Carole James on the fate of the regional resource benefits initiative from local government leaders.  (posted October 25, 2017)

Highway 16 transit plan continues to roll out across parts of Northwest --   Prince Rupert and the North Coast may still be taking a pass on the concept, but across the rest of the Northwest more and more communities are getting highway transit options as part of the province's Highway 16 Transportation plan. More notes on travel along Highway sixteen can be found on our archive page. (posted October 25, 2017)

Local advocates for improved CBC Radio service to take their call to City Council Monday -- The loyal listeners of CBC Radio programming on the North Coast were meeting this Weekend to exchange ideas on how to seek out better service, with the organizer of their group set to appear at City Council on Monday to offer up an update on their plans for the community. (posted October 27, 2017)

You can find our weekly Blog watching feature posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, making for 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, October 28, 2017

Special Weather Statement issued for strong winds on North Coast

If you haven't had quite enough of the weather of late, Environment Canada has a notice for you to take a peek at, if you dare.

The national weather service issued a Special Weather Statement for the North  and Central Coasts this afternoon, noting that a strong ridge of high pressure will bring strong outflow winds overnight.

Winds of 80 to 90 km/h will develop later tonight in the region, reaching as far south as the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island by tomorrow.

There's no precipitation included in the forecast, with sunny skies and warm daytime temperatures expected until Tuesday when the rain will return.

The full forecast for the week ahead can be found here.

For more weather related notes see our archive page here.

MLA's Week: October 23-26, 2017

Working on the government side of the House seems to mean that the chance for individual MLA's to raise items of note about their home constituencies is somewhat reduced.

At least that appears to be the case of late, when it come to the speaking time for North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who has had limited engagement on themes for discussion since the Legislature returned in September.

For Ms. Rice, the work in the Legislature through the four days of this week's sessions offered up but one speaking engagement, that as the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness provided some thoughts for the members on the work of the Disability BC Alliance.

Our look at the work week that just concluded, can be found below:

On the week, Ms Rice was listed once  in the accounts of the sessions of the Legislature from October 23 to 26.

Ms. Rice's contribution to the Legislature discussion themes came Tuesday morning, with a brief statement related to the Disability BC Alliance.

MLA Rice hails the work of Disability Alliance BC with Legislature

Over last weekend, the North Coast MLA did have an opportunity to show the boss around the riding, accompanying Premier John Horgan to the AltaGas site on Sunday, part of the Premiers tour of industrial sites in the Northwest of last weekend.

Premier celebrates Rio Tinto anniversary, makes stop at AltaGas project in Prince Rupert

A topic of some note for the region also made some news this week, with an announcement of the expansion of the Highway Transit system for Highway 16, this time to introduce service between Terrace and the Hazeltons.

And while the North Coast remains off the transportation map (by it's own decisions) when it comes to the expanded Highway 16 plans, the roll out of the program to the rest of the Northwest is a theme that MLA Rice has expressed some interest about over the years.

Highway 16 transit plan continues to roll out across parts of Northwest

Down the road from Prince Rupert, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross had a productive week in the Legislature, tackling a number of major themes during the course of the House and Committee sessions in Victoria.

Skeena MLA tackles electoral reform proposals during Legislature discussion
Ellis Ross returns to themes on RBA initiative during Committee session
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross addresses poverty issues as part of Legislature debate

Mr. Ross also explored the themes of fish farm tenures and notes related to the UN declaration on rights of Indigenous peoples, speaking to those concerns as part of the Monday Afternoon legislature session.

The North Coast also played host to a pair of BC Liberal leadership candidates, with Todd Stone and Dianne Watts both holding meet and greet sessions in Prince Rupert over last weekend.

Liberal leadership hopefuls criss cross Northwest over weekend

The Legislature will return to their work on Monday morning, October 30th.

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

A larger overview of provincial issues can be found on our political portal D'Arcy McGee 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Rainmaker Soccer Kitimat bound for weekend Zones

Charles Hays Soccer takes the spotlight for weekend Rainmakers action, with the Boys Zones tournament taking place at the Riverlodge Recreation Centre starting Saturday morning and continuing on into the afternoon.

Coach Ricky Deforge leads his team into the Aluminum city after a strong showing in Smithers last week, playing in conditions that weren't exactly helpful for an offensive push.

The Rainmakers will trade the snow of Smithers, for what should be some very soggy pitches in Kitimat tomorrow.

Like Prince Rupert, that community received some intense rain earlier this week, that could make the conditions one of the key unknowns for tomorrows zones.

The winner will advance to Provincials.

Tentative Schedule for the Zones tourney includes the following games:

10 AM -- Charles Hays 2 vs Smithers 0
Noon --  Smithers vs Mount Elizabeth
2:30 -- Charles Hays 3 vs Mount Elizabeth 2

Rainmakers advance to Provincials

Updates. along with photos and possibly even some video will be posted to the CHSS Twitter Feed as the Tournament progresses through the day.

Volleyball will be the main attraction in the weeks to come as the Charles Hays teams put the wrap on the season as November gets underway.

The season is over for the Charles Hays Rugby squad, though it proved to be a successful one with a growing pool of players taking to the sport and showing enthusiasm to help build the program for the years to come.

For more notes on Rainmaker sports and from other schools in the Northwest see our archive page.

Walk of the Zombies set for Saturday

It will be an animated group (perhaps not quite as animated as above) that wander Prince Rupert on Saturday, for the 2017 Zombie Walk

The streets of downtown Prince Rupert may look a little like the set of the TV show The Walking Dead around 3 PM tomorrow, that's the time that has been set aside for the 6th annual edition of the Prince Rupert Zombie walk.

The walk along the city's streets and into one or two of it's businesses has been growing in popularity over the last few years, and with the forecast providing for above seasonal temperatures and dry conditions for the costumed undead of the North Coast, the numbers could be higher than previous years by the time the group assemble at the Prince Rupert Courthouse at 3PM.

The Zombie in charge for Saturdays stroll through the City is Treena Yahlskaanii Decker, you can find out more about tomorrow's walk from the event page created for the the walk.

The route and regulations (even Zombies have to follow a few rules) will be outlined for participants when they meet up at the Courthouse.

The Zombie walk is just one of a number of community events that are taking on a Halloween theme over the weekend and leading up to Tuesday night, you can review some of the plans from our Community Events archive.

Kyler Eckess, UNBC Timberwolves make ready for University basketball season

It's tip off time for Kyler Eckess and his
UNBC team mates tonight, as the  T-Wolves
take on the Calgary Dinos in the season debut

(photo from UNBC T Wolves basketball)

Prince Rupert basketball fans will be watching the standings with a bit more interest this University season, making note of the roster for the Men's basketball program at the University of Northern British Columbia which hosts a Charles Hays grad in the line up once again, with Klyer Eckess ready to take to the court with his T-Wolve team mantes in a quest for a national championship.

Eckess, a five foot nine guard, transferred to UNBC last year from Thompson Rivers University, he began to gain notice in the T-Wolves camp as 2016-17 progressed and will be looking to earn some additional court time this season, that as the team prepares for the 2017-18 tip off tonight at the Northern Sport Centre in Prince George.

Tonight's opener, marks the first of two games against the Dinos this weekend with game two of the series set for Saturday night.

The second year in the T-Wolves line up, provides the Prince Rupert baller  a chance to measure himself against some of the elite in university basketball in Canada.

The task tonight for the T-Wolves will be challenging, with the University of Calgary Dinos in town.

The Calgarians are traditionally one of the top tier teams in University ball, found regularly atop the listings of the U Sports Canada West Conference and a team that has made frequent trips to the championship round in years past.

UNBC has ambitions for a playoff position once the lengthy University season comes to an end in March, the road to the finals will at some point pass through Calgary one imagines, this weekend the T-Wolves can send a message to the Dinos that they're coming.

The opening schedule for UNBC will certainly give head coach Todd Jordan a good understanding of his teams strengths and weaknesses, in addition to this weekend's visit by Calgary, the T-Wolves are heading off to Vancouver next week for games with the defending Canada West champion Thunderbirds.

T-Wolves games and other U Sports matchups are streamcast on a pay per view portal, you can get more information on how to subscribe here.

A preview of tonights game can be found below:

Calgary @ UNBC Preview
UNBC men set for new season of hoops
Timberwolves Men's Basketball Team Aims for Playoff berth
Dinos retooled and ready to run it back

As we have in past years, we'll be tracking the success of those former Rupertites as they take to their new challenges in University sports, you can follow their progress from our archive page here.