Friday, March 30, 2018

Presidents Chamber address reviews past year of work and opportunities for the future

Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce held their Annuarl
General Meeting this month, with Chamber President Michelle Bryant-Gravelle
providing for a review of her year at the head of the business organization

(photo from PR Chamber Facebook page)

Michelle Bryant-Gravelle is winding down her one year term as President of the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce and earlier this month provided for one of her final addresses as the President to the Business Body.

Speaking last week at the Chamber's Annual General Meeting, Ms. Bryant-Gravelle recounted some of the work done over the last 365 days and reviewed the current membership levels, which have dropped to 256 this year, compared to 260 last year. An indication perhaps as to the slowing nature of the region's economy.

As well, the Chamber President made note of the efforts that  the Chamber has initiated as it looks to increase membership with the business organization.

She observed how the Board had been faced with some tough decisions this year that they did not take lightly, with departures among the staff at the Chamber office and the elimination of one paid full time position, that owing to the current economic slowdown in the community. 

Among her notes in the presentation was the introduction of the new Chamber Manager, with Anthony YecYec taking on the office management, described as an enthusiastic advocate for the Chamber.

Along with a quick review of the many events that the Chamber has hosted this year, she recounted some of the productive work that the Chamber has explored with the City of Prince Rupert through the Small Business Advisory Committee.

Ms, Bryant-Gravelle also outlined some of the Chamber's engagement with provincial politicians, where Chamber of Commerce representatives from around the province outlined the challenges and concerns that their communities are facing and the need for cooperation on a number of files.

She also outlined the strides that the Chamber has made towards developing a more representative composition of the community in recent years, highlighting how the majority of the Chamber Board for 2017-18 was made up of women.

As well, she put some focus on how the roster of members this year included four Indigenous women and with her one year term, the First Indigenous Woman President of the Chamber of Commerce.

She outlined how those themes of more Indigenous representative is what drove her to become involved with the Chamber Board, noting for the audience that Representation Does matter.

The Chamber President outlined how she wants her daughter and other Indigenous people to see that someone who looks like them, can be in a community leadership position, and make a difference in our community in a productive way, thereby debunking the negative stereotypes that still exist about our people today".

Ms. Bryant-Gravelle called for more inclusion on the Chamber in the years to come and left the audience with one final thought from her term.

"To all of you who look like me, continue to follow your dreams and know that you can make a difference, and to all of the people that don't look like me, please continue to open your minds and see the shift that is occurring in our community through reconciliation. Let's continue to make progress together, because in reality we can't do it alone"

You can watch her full address to the Chamber AGM from the video below:

The Chamber has yet to outline their process for selecting a new Board for 2018-19 and the election of a new President for the year to come.

You can review more notes from the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce from their website and Facebook page.

For a look at some of the items of interest from the Northwest Business sector see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Recent tour with John Horgan highlights expanded role for Nathan Cullen with Federal NDP

Nathan Cullen and John Horgan at Prince Rupert City Hall on Monday
(Photo -MLA Rices' social media stream)

Premier John Horgan and Nathan Cullen wandered along the byways of the Northwest this week, making like Hope and Crosby on one of those old road movies  (which would make Jennifer Rice Dorothy Lamar we guess?), with stops in at municipal buildings, industrial sites and college campuses, along with local watering holes all part of the trek through the region.

The Federal NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley noted this week that his rendezvous with Mr. Horgan was part of his expanded role with the NDP in Ottawa, with Mr. Cullen serving as the party's British Columbia liaison.

The trip to Prince Rupert, Terrace and Kitimat put a focus on resource and rural issues, with the Skeena Bulkley-Valley MP,  Premier Horgan and MLA Jennifer Rice meeting with Prince Rupert Council members at one of their stops in the city.

The three levels of government under on roof
(From Mayor Lee Brain's Social media stream)

Mayor Brain would also travel to Kitimat on Tuesday, to take in the Premier's meetings with the Northwest British Columbia Resource Benefits Alliance.

And while the Mayor, took advantage of his Facebook page to provide for another review of what the RBA is all about, other than a note that talks will continue, no indication as to whether that group is any closer to reaching an agreement with the province on their question was provided from their session with Mr. Horgan.

Regional leaders with Premier John Horgan for discussions on the
Northwest Resource  Benefits Alliance

(From Mayor Lee Brain's Social media stream)

Prior to their Northwest travels, Mr. Cullen issued a statement that noted some of themes that he and Premier share when it comes to the region.

“I’ve met with John and his cabinet several times since being appointed the federal NDP’s BC Liaison in January. This is my first opportunity to personally accompany John out of Victoria and I’m happy to visit towns in Skeena-Bulkley Valley,” 

 “John really understands the need to balance jobs and resource development with protecting BC’s increasingly fragile natural environment ... Prior to becoming Premier, John spent years working on natural resource and rural issues that put him in touch with development and environment issues happening today here in the Northwest and across BC.”

A look at how Mr. Cullen sees his role as the bridge between the Province and the Federal NDP can be found here.

Beyond the stop in at City Hall, the travelling party hosted a number of meetings with members of the community and mixed the workload with some social activities as well.

Social events in Prince Rupert and Terrace also were part of the trip
through the Northwest this week -- Above from a stop at the Wheelhouse Brewing Co.

(Photo from MLA Rice's Social Media Stream)

Every good road trip needs some snapshots and North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice has chronicled some of the events from the Prince Rupert segment  by way of her Facebook portal.

For more notes related to the Northwest on the Federal scene see our House of Commons Archive page here.

Items of interest on Provincial developments from Victoria can be found from two options for the Northwest.

MLA Jennifer Rice Legislature archive
MLA Ellis Ross Legislature archive

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

City puts out call for members for Recreation Commission

April brings a new opportunity for residents of the city to help to shape Recreation policy in the City of Prince Rupert, with City Hall issuing the annual call for Volunteers to the Recreation Commission.

There are five positions available for those in the community willing to give of their time to explore the issues related to Recreation in Prince Rupert, with the work of the Commission helping to shape the way the City approaches one of the most visible of its many departments.

The application period is a short one with the deadline for submissions to be provided to City Hall by Friday, April 6th.

To apply you must provide a letter of interest which includes a description of your skills and experience that may be relevant to the work of the Recreation Commission.

The work of the Commission, which includes both the volunteer members and participation of City Council members and staff, tends to be somewhat under the radar, with few details released about their efforts and even the scheduling of their meetings something that tends to pass by with little notice.

Still, as Recreation issues do make for one of the more frequent themes of Council Discussions, the work of the Commission does provide for themes for Council members to explore and to ensure that the community voice is heard, the call for volunteers is important.

You can explore more on the requirements and how to apply for the Commission from this notice posted to the City website on Wednesday.

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

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Terrace RCMP seek Terrace resident on numerous warrants

Terrace RCMP are seeking the whereabouts of
Shayne Robinson on warrants issues
The Terrace detachment of the RCMP is asking for the help of the public in locating a 22 year old Terrace resident who is wanted on six unendorsed warrants for a number of offences.

Shayne William Triston Robinson is described as 5 foot 9 inches in height, of medium build, with Short Brown Hair, and is of First Nations ancestry.

Included on the list are warrants for assault, assault causing bodily harm, breach and fail to appear.

Should you have information related to his whereabouts and live in the Terrace area you can contact the detachment at 250-638-7400.

You can also make contact through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, on line at at or by text by using the keyword TERRACE followed by your message to 274637 (CRIMES) .

If you live elsewhere in the Northwest, and have information contact your local detachment.

The notes from the Terrace detachment can be viewed here

For more items of note related to the work of Emergency Responders in the Northwest see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

River Kings in tough spot at Coy Cup, as Senior Men's Championship heads into Day Three

Four Senior Men's teams are in Williams Lake
this week competing for the Coy Cup

The CIHL champs may be on the verge of being on the ropes at the Coy Cup Championship taking place in Williams Lake this week, with the Terrace River Kings having suffered to first round defeats in the first two days of the four day tournament.

Four teams are in the hunt for the Senior Men's Provincial Championship in the Cariboo city, with the host Stampeders, Kelowna Sparta and Dawson Creek Canucks rounding out the Group of Four that qualified for this years finale to the hockey season, with the River Kings on hand thanks to their CIHL Crown.

The River Kings who claimed the CIHL championship last month, might have accumulated a bit of rust in the near six weeks between games, with the River Kings suffering the largest gap between Goals For and Against in action so far.

Terrace dropped their first game of the tourney on Tuesday, a 6-5 loss to the host Stampeders, with Wednesday's outcome not quite as close a contest with the Kelowna Spartan taking charge on the night with a 7-3 victory. 

The River Kings will wrap up the Round Robin portion of the week with a match up against the Canucks this evening at 5 PM.

The Semi Finals and Finals run through Friday and Saturday.

Some of the early games have been streamed through the Stampeders Facebook page, bringing the Coy Cup action to fans in the four communities and others with an interest in Senior Men's hockey.

Team Records to this point

Dawson Creek Canucks  -- 2 wins, 1 tie                   (GF 15, GA 5)
Williams Lake Stampeders -- 2 wins, 1 tie, 1 loss    (GF 14, GA14) 
Kelowna Sparta --   2 win, 2 losses                            (GF 17, GA 12)
Terrace River Kings  0 wins, 3 losses                         (GF 8, GA 21)

The Schedule/Scoreboard from the Coy Cup can be found below:


Saturday, March 31st

Championship Game 
Dawson Creek Canucks vs Kelowna Sparta
Puck Drop 8PM

Friday, March 30th

SemiFinal Game
Williams Lake Stampeders 2 vs Kelowna Sparta 3
Puck Drop at 8PM


End of Round Robin portion of tournament

Thursday, March 29th

Williams Lake Stampeders 6 vs Kelowna Sparta 4 
Terrace River Kings 0 vs Dawson Creek Canucks 8 

Wednesday, March 28th

Terrace River Kings 3 vs Kelowna Sparta 7
Williams Lake Stampeders 2 vs Dawson Creek Canucks 2

Tuesday, March 27th

Kelowna Sparta 3 vs Dawson Creek Canucks 7
Terrace River Kings 5 vs Williams Lake Stampeders 6

Some note on the tournament so far can be reviewed below:

March 30 -- Sparta knock off Stamps in Coy cup semi; will face Dawson Creek Saturday for Championship
March 30 -- Senior Canucks get bye to the Coy Cup finals with 8-0 win
March 29 -- Stamps to take on Sparta in Coy Cup semifinal Friday
March 29 -- Senior Canucks tie game two for tie for first place
March 28 -- Senior Canucks win Coy Cup Game One 7-4
March 28 -- Stamps, Canucks play to draw, Sparta upend River Kings in Day Two of Coy Cup
March 28 -- River Kings edged by Williams Lake in First Game at Coy Cup
March 28 -- Senior Canucks win Coy cup game one 7-4
March 27 -- Stamps tally late goal to win Coy Cup opener over River Kings
March 27 -- Terrace River Kings Begin Quest for Coy Cup tonight
March 27 -- Coy Cup opens tonight in Lake City
March 27 -- Let the Games Begin: Coy Cup 2018 in Williams Lake
March 24 -- Father Son duo look forward to Coy Cup
March 23 -- Coy Cup action begins Tuesday for the Senior Canucks

You can find updates on tournament action, along with photos and videos from the following Facebook options

Williams Lake Stampeders
Terrace River Kings
Kelowna Sparta
Dawson Creek Canucks

For a look back at the season for the Prince Rupert Rampage see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Snowfall warning in the forecast for inland areas as Easter Long Weekend set to begin

If your Easter travels will be taking you to inland areas of Northwestern British Columbia this weekend, the feeling won't be very spring like.

That as Environment Canada issues a Snowfall warning, which is now in effect for much of the Highway 16 corridor from east of Terrace through to Prince George.

A total of 15 centimetres of snow is expected to fall starting this evening and on into Friday morning, that as an upper warm front clashes with cooler air over the region.

Those travelling the regions highways over the weekend can get updates on Road Conditions through the Drive BC website and twitter feed.

You can also get a snapshot of road conditions through our archive of Highway camera locations around the Northwest available here.

For coastal areas of the North Coast today's forecast calls for rain, at times heavy, with a clearing trend on the way for Friday, with a chance of showers ahead for Easter egg hunters on Saturday and Sunday.

A look back at the past weather notes of the year so far can be found on our Weather archive page.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Many easter eggs to hunt for this weekend, with two Easter Egg Hunts on the schedule

Prince Rupert's youngsters can get fast on the trail of the Easter Bunny this weekend with two opportunities to take in Community events to celebrate the Easter season.

The Rotary Club is first on the bunny trail with a Saturday Morning Easter Egg Hunt  for the Community, with the Free event starting at 11 AM at Mariners Park.

This being Prince Rupert, the prospect of rain won't keep egg prospectors from their quest, with the event going ahead rain or shine.

You can learn more about the work of Rotary in the community from their Facebook page or website

April First, the Civic Centre is the place for egg hunters to be, with the City of Prince Rupert's Recreation Department starting their event off with activities at 11 AM and then hatching two egg hunt plans for Sunday.

Those egg hunters ages 6 and under will be on their quest starting at 11:30

A second egg hunt designed for those from age 7 to 12 takes place starting at 12:30.

Following the Easter Egg Hunt, the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre has special pricing in place for an Easter Sunday swim, with a 5 dollar admission for families, or 2 dollars for an adult and 1 dollar for a child.

Should we hear of other Easter hunt events for the region we'll update the list accordingly.

You can keep up with the planning for that event from the Prince Rupert Recreation Facebook page.

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

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

BC Transportation Minister takes concerns over rail transportation across Northern BC to federal counterpart

A lack of freight cars and delays
in shipments are raising concerns
across Northern BC's transportation system
Bruce Ralston has been in a letter writing frame of mind this week, with BC's Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology taking concerns from across the Northwest about a chronic shortage of freight cars to the Federal Transportation Minister.

In a letter to Marc Garneau, Mr. Ralston provided an overview of the problems that are being found in British Columbia, reviewing many of the troubles that CN Rail has had this winter and now into the Spring in meeting customer demand.

“The impact of unreliable, and inadequate, rail service extends far beyond grain producers in northern B.C., ... “Lumber mills and other industries, from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, are also being seriously impacted by the lack of rail service.”

The BC Minister has asked his Federal counterpart to work with Chambers of Commerce across Northern British Columbia to develop plans for improving oversight and performance of Canadian Nationals Rail system across the region.

“Minister Garneau needs to convey that the Prairie backlog at CN Rail is having a detrimental impact on northern B.C. families and businesses ... “Companies looking to invest in northern B.C. communities are understandably discouraged from doing so because of the risk and uncertainty caused by CN Rail’s unreliable service, “While the recent apology from CN is an important acknowledgement of how serious the situation has become, longer-term solutions need to be found.”

Jean Jacques Ruest delivered an apology to customers shortly after taking on duties as Interim President at the start of this month, that in the wake of growing outrage from farmers and other suppliers across Western Canada.

Mr. Ralston is not the first politician to take pen to paper on the issue, as we outlined earlier this month, the Federal Government expressed their growing concern over the ongoing issues with the railways through a letter penned by Transportation Minister Marc Garneau and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay.

CN's struggles have had some significant effects on Prince Rupert Grain and the DP World Container Port at Fairview Bay through this winter, leaving grain ships sitting at anchorage awaiting shipments and at times leaving the container port to see occasional vessel redirections to Vancouver.

Grain Shipment delays the latest concern for users of Prince Rupert Port facilities
CN facing heat from customers, suppliers and investors over service delays

You can review some of CN's season of woe from our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

City Council moves forward with first update to City's Development Procedures Bylaw in thirty years

City Planner Zeno Krekic provided an extensive review of the elements for
a new Development Procedures Bylaw

With the City of Prince Rupert operating under guidelines on development that are three decades old, the City Planning Department has been busy working out the details on an update to the community's Development Procedures Bylaw, providing Council with a look at the final result on Monday.

City Planner Zeno Krekic took the Council members through the elements of the final document, something which they have had some input on through its draft stage.

As he delivered his report to Council on Monday evening, Mr. Krekic noted that the updated Development Procedures bylaw will provide for more clarity and certainty with respect to the process of applications in amending Land use regulations or applying for land development permits.

The new guidelines for developers feature a few revisions when it comes to General Application requirements, work on the Official Community Plan and Zoning Amendment provisions and the permitting and schedule of fees and payments categories.

One of the new notes that developers will wish to make note of, is a new provision of a six moth time limit to advise the City of their intent to move forward with their development plans.

That comes with a Lapse of Application requirement now in place, which will see the City close any applications should the applicant not advise them of their plans in that six month period.

The provision could be an important addition to the requirements, considering the vast number of development approvals that were made by Council over the last three years, that have yet to see any form of development take place.

Of the eight segments that were under review, the one element that seems to have been raised the most concern was related to developing a site profile and checklist process when it comes to Environmental Guidance on Contaminated Lands.

The requirements of the Contaminated sites passage caught the eye of Councillor Blair Mirau, who expressed a range of areas of concern, notably suggesting that he believed that the City might be taking on tasks that it is not required to do.

"From my perspective the province doesn't fund us, or give us the resources we need to deal with that stuff on the ground, and if they did, I'd be perfectly comfortable trying to do that for them, but without those resources supplied, I feel like we're taking on more than we need to in that regard"  --- Councillor Mirau on a section of the new City policies on development.

Further discussion with Mr. Krekic on that theme allayed some of those concerns, with the City Planner also noting that some of Mr. Mirau's concerns over what the city requires funding for should be taken up with senior levels of government through the UBCM.

Mr. Mirau would return to the theme of site reviews later in the discussion, seeking a bit more clarification on the subject and asking for the opinion of the rest of council on it.

Mr. Krekic outlined some of the past practices of Council through the years, while the Mayor noted that the default of the city would be to send it to the Ministry of Environment to check and that the new wording provides the City with the flexibility to that, adding that Council should leave the wording as it is.

Councillor Mirau would also recommend some changes to language when it comes to requesting applicants to appear at Council in pre application meetings.

Councillor Cunningham also had some notes to review on the document, with some of his focus on a question as to which process the city will follow for those developments currently in the system and how Council would be addressing those.

Mr. Krekic noted that while the old provisions will remain in place, he will be contacting those that are outstanding to try and determine their intents within six months.

For those still working their way through the city's development process the old rules that have served the community for thirty years will remain in place, the new document to be in effect for any new developments that may come through the planning office doors.

Councillor Cunningham also expressed some concern over language that could see new projects slip through cracks and sought out some assurances that won't be the case with the new procedures, recommending for a slight change in the language to ensure Council is kept up to date on plans.

"What I don't want to see is a small to medium project slip through the boards, and we hear about it after the fact, which sometimes comes up, and we don't know anything about it because it never got to this level" -- Councillor Barry Cunningham

Councillor Mirau then suggested that Mr. Cunningham's provision be put in place for proposed developments over 100,000 dollars.

With Council providing for first, second and third readings on Monday, the revisions are well on their way to being adopted and put into motion.

The full discussion can be found on the City's Video Archive page, staring at the 60 minute mark.

You can review the entire document from the City's Agenda package from Monday evening's Regular Council session for March 26th, the Report and Revisions to fees and schedules starts on page 17.

Notes related to development on the North Coast can be found through our Infrastructure and Major planning archive as well as our Housing archive here.

For more items related to Monday's Council session see our Council Timeline Feature.

A more expansion look at many of the topics raised at Prince Rupert City Council can be found on our Council Discussion page.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

BC Rural Dividend Program delivers 1.76 million dollars for projects across Northwest

Communities stretching from Terrace, through to the Nechako Valley and North into the Nass Valley saw a range of programs gain funding on Wednesday.

That as the BC Government allocated almost 1.8 million dollars through it's BC Rural Dividend Fund, with Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development relaying the list of projects to move forward.

Among some of the communities to benefit from Wednesday's funding.

Terrace -- awarded $100,000 to identify a preferred location within the city for a transloading and logistics facility to move freight from trains to trucks, and to prepare a business case.

Smithers -- awarded $80,000 to develop an active transportation plan that recommends upgrades to existing infrastructure, or opportunities for new projects. It will also upgrade the community’s Perimeter Trail system.

New Hazelton -- awarded $250,000 for a northern B.C. tourism marketing initiative that both promotes the region as a whole and highlights local communities. Partners include Kermodei Tourism (Terrace), the Nisga'a Lisims government, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and Tourism Kitimat.

Nisga'a Lisims Government -- awarded $100,000 for its Hospitality Art Recreation & Tourism Ambassador program, which is a custom training course aimed at helping members of the Nisga’a community gain entrepreneurial skills and understand how to infuse their culture and traditions into setting up and delivering their own business.

Those four were among eleven projects highlighted Wednesday, the full list can be reviewed here.

The BC Rural Dividend program provides grants to help fund projects that will stabilize rural economies, last week the Prince Rupert office of EcoTrust Canada was the recipient of a 100,000 dollar grant, which is to be put to use towards their North Coast Innovation Lab initiative.

You can review more items of note from the provincial scene through our two MLA's archives.

MLA Ellis Ross (Skeena)
MLA Jennifer Rice (North Coast)

More items of interest related to provincial politics can be found on our D'Arcy McGee blog.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Prince Rupert Environmental Society joins petition drive in support of Federal Tanker Ban

With a petition and court challenge now in motion to try and bring an end to the Federal government's plans for a Tanker ban on the North Coast, those in favour of the Federal plan are marshalling their forces to make sure their voices are heard as well.

In a Facebook post from Wednesday, The Prince Rupert Environmental Society called for North Coast residents to join in on a petition, initiated by Marilyn Slett the Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation and an initiative that has been sponsored by Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

The background to the call for signatures notes that it is supported by Coastal First Nations, and local groups including the Prince Rupert Environmental Society and T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation.

And while not mentioning any groups by name, the petition would seem to be an answer to recent moves from those in the Northwest that would like to overturn the Liberal plans for a tanker ban on the North Coast.

A petition drive to seek support just such a call was launched on February 5th, with a closing date of June 5th.

Earlier this year, we outlined the plan by supporters of the Eagle Spirit Pipeline and Oil Terminal, known as the Chiefs Council, who launched a Go fund Me Initiative, to provide for funding towards a court challenge

Supporters of Eagle Spirit energy oil pipeline plans look to raise money for tanker ban challenge

As we noted last week, the Lax Kw'alaams Band Council also launched a court challenge against the Federal moves, filing their documents at the Prince Rupert Court House last Thursday.

Lax Kw'alaams Band files suit in Supreme Court of British Columbia against Federal Government's Tanker Moratorium

The petition to support the tanker ban was opened for signatures on March 27th and will close for participation on July 25th.

As of Thursday morning, close to 600 signatures had been collected for the support the tanker ban petition.

The Bill to regulate the transport of crude oil in North Coast waters is known as Bill C-48 and has just passed the Second reading stage of the Parliamentary process

You can learn more about the petition drive and sign on if you wish from this link.

For more items of note related to the Federal political scene see our House of Commons archive page here, a wider overview of Federal issues is also available on our D'Arcy McGee blog.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Nathan Cullen updates themes on salmon season concerns for 2018

“Salmon are essential to the people of the Northwest. We must respect and protect this precious resource and now, more than ever, be guided by conservation as our watchword.” -- From MP Nathan Cullen 's comments on the Northwest fishery on Tuesday

Skeena Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen has provided for a number of themes related to the state of the upcoming salmon season, with the MP issuing a statement yesterday that traced some of the recent engagement that he has tried to develop with Federal officials.

The update comes amid the recent indications from the local DFO office on potential closures for the upcoming summer season, with early returns indicating some concern for stock levels on the Skeena and Nass rivers.

Two weeks ago Mr. Cullen noted his frustrations with DFO and Federal fisheries officials when it came to getting updates on fishery management plans, once again highlighting that level of concern in his opening notes of yesterday.

It is absolutely imperative that elected officials have access to local senior managers about fishery management thoughts and plans as elected representatives are often the first people anxious user groups turn to when tough decisions are on the table,”

Towards those discussions,  the statement notes that Mr. Cullen "pressed DFO to pursue more aggressive management strategies to rebuild depleted North Coast salmon stocks, impose sharp restrictions on large commercial fishing lodges, and release 2018 harvest numbers as soon as possible."

Tuesday's notes also recount how Mr. Cullen has heard from many user Groups and First Nations representatives noting that all are on edge over the situation with the MP"s statement offering up some of the background to those concerns.

Projected record low sockeye and chinook returns to the Skeena Watershed this season and DFO considering a total closure of these species have all user groups and First Nations fishers on edge. Many have contacted Cullen with their concerns in recent weeks. 

 Climate change and warmer waters are causing severe mortality in salmon stocks, tensions among user groups, and threatening First Nations cultures, area economies and lifestyles in ways not seen previously in the Northwest"

From his statement, the MP notes that his recent telephone briefing with North Coast Senior Managers was helpful in delivering the concerns of constituents and opening the channels of communication with the department.

His commentary ends with the MP and his staff noting that they will continue to be in contact with DFO senior staff locally, that as officials consult on the draft harvest plans for the upcoming season and make their final allocation decisions.

You can review the MP's commentary here.

For a look at some of the ongoing issues related to the North Coast Fishery see our archive page here.

A wider overview of political items from the MP can be found on our House of Commons archive, while we also highlight some of the stories on the national scene through our D'Arcy McGee blog.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Ecotrust Canada lays out their agenda for the months to come on community initiatives

Devlin Fernandes and Nathan Randall from Ecotrust Canada
were in attendance Monday evening, delivering a presentation on their
upcoming plans and the launch of the North Coast Innovation Lab

Council members took in a presentation Monday night from the community group Ecotrust Canada, with Devlin Fernandes and Nathan Randall from the Prince Rupert office providing a bit of a preview of where their plans will take them this summer, as they continue to build up their presence in the community.

It was a return presentation for the EcoTrust group, which had previously appeared in 2016, with Monday's review retracing some of the history of the organization and the nature of some of the fishery related projects that they have taken on since that time.

As for what the future may hold, Ms. Fernandes noted how Ecotrust Canada is looking to build on the previous work of the Hays 2.0 plan and ReDesign Rupert initiatives. And outlined how a program that their Vancouver office operates in the Downtown East side may make for a good fit for the Prince Rupert region.

Towards those goals, the organization has created something called the North Coast Innovation Lab, which Ms. Fernandes noted is looking to work on tangible projects that will build a resilient economy in the community, with the lab designed to provide for research, facilitation, design, incubation and project coordination capacity to activate community-led projects.

To deliver on those ambitions, the local office will build community capacity for social innovation through workshops, partnerships, events and other forms of interactive learning.

Mr. Randall provided for the review the Innovation Lab concept and how it will be introduced into the community, with Ecotrust having held consultation sessions in the past with community members to determine some of the initiatives that they may be able to work  together on, with more in the way of consultation to come through the Spring and Summer.

He made note of such areas as growing the local economy for fish and marine products, downtown revitalization, place making and livability, and economic diversification through entrepreneurship.

Ecotrust hopes to have project incubation underway this summer with two graduate student positions to be filled to provide for supports for their work.

On Monday night they also outlined the nature of the fundraising options that they have access to, as they look to move their projects forward.

As part of their overview they noted that they had recently received funding from the Rural Dividend Fund, something which we provided some background on last week with this item from the blog.

As they look to secure further funding, they also asked for the support from the City of Prince Rupert as they look to access grant funding for 70,000 dollars from the Northern Development Initiative Trust, their request was one that really only requires the approval of council to approach NDIT for the funding, with no financial commitment required by the City.

In the follow up period to the presentation, Council members then asked a range of questions, with Councillor Randhawa inquired about the level of businesses interest in their programs and supports.

Monday's Presentation from Ecotrust Canada gave Councillor Barry Cunningham
one more opportunity to push for the development of Fish Market sale location
for the City's Cow Bay Floats

Councillor Cunningham had one question for them, inquiring about the prospects of a project that he has long been looking to see developed, that of a Fish Market location for the Cow Bay Marina floats.

The answer he received didn't quite deliver the blue print for development that he might have been hoping, with Mr. Randall and Ms. Fernandes noting that some study would be required with one of the two grad students to be tasked with looking into marine options and what might be required to deliver on that project and what hoops may be in the way before it could move forward.

Mr. Cunningham noted that the only hoops that should be faced would be those put in place by the city by way of permission, which he suggested should damn well be approved by the City.

The Councillor then recounted some of the history to his attempts to move the fish market initiative forward, adding how he would like to see that project in place by this summer.

"The only hoops I see is getting permission from the city which they bloody well better give you cause it enhances tourism, as well as brings people from down the line to buy our product, one complaint I get all the time is, we live in a port city and you can't buy fresh seafood from the fishermen. This is something that I started asking well over a year ago, I know you're only involved in it now, but I would really like to see something up and running by this summer, so that when people do come from Smithers, Terrace or wherever they can actually walk down to the dock and buy crab, shrimp or prawns" -- Councillor Cunningham continuing his quest for a public fish market to set up at Cow Bay Floats during the Summer.

You can review some of the background to that proposal from the councillor below:

Cow Bay Marina Fish Market Plan now under study by Ecotrust's North Coast Innovation Lab
Councillor Cunningham floats Cow Bay Fish Sale proposal

As part of his push towards seeing his Fish marked concept come to life, Mr. Cunningham outlined that from his conversations with fishermen they would be quite receptive to the idea of being able to set up on the dock and sell their product

He also made an observation as to the local economy and the fishing industry on the North Coast, making note as to how the current herring fishery was now underway, and with it that a large volume of the fish that has been caught in the region is now being sent to the south for processing, a theme we explored on the blog on Tuesday.

Ecotrust has been heavily involved in some of those issues related to the fishing industry, with the organization having hosting a conference in February which had some strong representation from Prince Rupert.

Ms. Fernandes made a note that the first person that their grad students will contact for research will be Councillor Cunningham  to learn more on the fish market proposal, she then outlined how ecotrust Canada does have concerns as to the nature of the adjacency of the fishery and the best way to address local jobs related to fish industry.

To bring the presentation to a close, Mayor Brain noted that he had been working closely with them, and then offered his praise for their work to this point and thanked them both for their efforts and looked forward to working collaboratively with them.

Council then voted to approve their support for the bid for a grand from NDIT.

You can review the full presentation from Ecotrust from the City's Video Archive, starting at the thirty six minute mark.

For a wider overview of Monday's Council Session see our Council Timeline feature here.

More notes on the range of Discussion topics at City Council and city related issues can be reviewed from our Council Discussion Archive.

Further notes on the work of Ecotrust, ReDesign Rupert and such can be reviewed on our archive page here.

More background on the North Coast Fishery is available from our archive on Fishery items.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Trades and Tech spending the focus for Premier's Terrace visit

Premier John Horgan taking in some instruction at the Terrace campus
of Northwest Community College, Horgan and Advanced Education Minister
Melanie Mark rolled out a province wide funding program on Tuesday
(photo from Premier Horgan's social media streams)

An investment in industry standard training equipment was the theme of Tuesday's funding announcement from the Provincial government, as Premier John Horgan  and Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark took a tour at the Terrace campus of Northwest Community College and then rolled out the details of the 5.4 million dollar funding announcement.

During the stop at NWCC, the Premier highlighted how the funding programs will help students to succeed.

 "Giving students access to modern trades equipment will help them get the skills they need to succeed," ... "We're opening up the doors of opportunity for more people by investing in skills training throughout the province."

15 public post secondary institutions will share in the 5.4 million dollars, of that amount $310,000 was provided to NWCC.

The largest amount of funding went to post secondary institution in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

The College has used it's share of the money to purchase a table saw with a unique safety feature that will protect students from cuts and sever injury.

As well, NWCC has acquired a used low-emissions vehicle for its automotive program and a new industrial stove for the professional cook program at the Terrace campus.

College President Ken Burt observed how the newly acquired equipment will assist in developing skill sets to prepare for career opportunities.

"This new equipment helps our students sharpen their skill sets and is critical to ensure that we are preparing them for opportunities available in the trades," said NWCC president Ken Burt. "This investment means many of our trades students will be working on modern equipment and using state-of-the-art tools that position them well for the future."

You can review the background to the announcement here.

The Full list of funding distribution is available here.

For more items related to Northwest Community college see our archive page.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

Councillor Cunningham seeks report on city's pavement marking program

The case of the disappearing road lines was once again part of the
discussion at Prince Rupert City Council

The topic of the city's fading road markings made a return to Prince Rupert City Council on Monday, as Barry Cunningham picked up the theme from Councillor Wade Niesh, with Mr. Cunningham seeking some answers on the nature of the contract work of last year.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this month, Councillor Niesh had noted for Council that the markings through the downtown core were in poor shape, with many cross walk marking now faded far from view.

Monday Councillor Cunningham made further inquiries of City Manager Robert Long as to whether the City could provide a report on the work and whether the City had received full value for their payment to the contractors.

"Last council meeting Councillor Niesh brought up a thing about the line painting. how it's disappearing. After he made that comment I drove around town and it looks like they've used chalk dust on some of the lines, they're just not there and they were painted last summer.  And yet,  years ago you would walk across the cross walk and the paint would be built up, and this here is just gone and it's not even a year. I know that Councillor Niesh asked what kind of paint was used,  and that, whatever type of paint was used if we have got to get a contractor to come back every year to paint those lines, there's something wrong with that picture"  -- Councillor Barry Cunningham on the nature of the city's disappearing road markings

The Mayor observed that it was his understanding that it was standing procedure that the city has to have the lines painted every year and that the lines disappear every year, asking for some guidance from the City Manager on the issue.

Mr. Long offered up some possible reasons for the disappearing paint, ranging from new pavement, as well as to the extensive use of gravel this year, with Long offering to have staff provide a report for Council on the issue for further review as to what the contractor did and did not do.

Mr. Cunningham also noted that the work had at one time been done in house by city employees, though the City Manager was quick to observe that when that was the case, the work load would sometimes fall behind meaning that the painting work never got done.

Mr. Long also offered up some possible reasons for the disappearing paint, ranging from the extensive use of gravel this year, weather an

You can review the discussion from the City's Video Archive starting at the 1 hour twenty three minute mark.

For more items related to the city's infrastructure see our archive page here.

A wider overview of Monday evening's City Council session is available through our Council Timeline feature.

Further notes on Council discussion topics can be found on our Council Discussion page.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

With strong support from the public gallery; Supportive Housing Residence sails through Public Hearing

With a strong level of support from those attending Monday's Council session,
Prince Rupert City Council approved the zoning change to allow for
a Men's Recovery House to be located on the east side of the city

Prince Rupert is now officially the home of a Supportive Housing Residence, with the 333 Trinity Men's Recovery Residence on 11th Avenue East jumping the final hurdle of the city's zoning and regulatory process.

City Council members voted unanimously to approve the zoning application related to the property, that after a Public Hearing hosted Monday night in council chambers, one which attracted a strong show of support from the public gallery and the vocal support of four contributors to the Public Hearing process.

Some of those who spoke told their own personal stories of recovery and praised the program that has been designed by the 333 Trinity operators as an impressive one and something that will be of strong benefit to the community.

Their accounts provided a glimpse into a world that the Prince Rupert residence seeks to serve, offering a place for men in recovery from addictions to gain their strength and receive the support they will need to make for an effective return to society and expand on their personal ambitions.

The final account of the four contributions on the night brought the Public Hearing to an end, with Council to follow up on the zoning issue later in the evening as part of the Regular Council session.

During that segment of the council session, Council members offered no objections to the proposal, making  comment as to the strong support from the public and the need for such a facility in the community.

Councillor Barry Cunningham took note that there had been two letters from area residents with questions and concerns related to the home,  with Cunningham offering up one suggestion that Willy Beaudry, the proponent of the facility may wish to contact those residents directly to reassure them over any concerns that they have about the recovery house.

With few other comments to make note of, the vote was held and the zoning amendment passed.

The Mayor then offered his thanks to those in the gallery who came out to support the project and congratulated the proponent for their success and the service they will provide.

Councillor Wade Niesh was not part of that vote, having excused himself from the Public Hearing and council review process as he is a property owner in the immediate area of the Recovery House location.

You can review the Public Hearing and the subsequent discussion by Council on the development through the City's Video Archive. The Public hearing starts at the three minute mark of the evening, while the approval for the development is made as part of the discussion in Regular Council session at the 55 minute mark.

A full overview of what the 333 Trinity House Program is all about can be reviewed from the facilities website here.

More items of note from Monday's Council session can be found on our Council Timeline feature

A glimpse of the path that the project took towards approval can be reviewed from our Preview of Monday morning, more items related to housing in the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.