Monday, April 30, 2018

High School Track season in full flight with weekend meet at CHSS

The Charles Hays Sports Field is quiet today, but on Saturday
it was the centre of track and field in the Northwest as CHSS
hosted a weekend track and field meet 

The weather was just right for those taking to the track at Charles Hays Secondary on Saturday, as the Prince Rupert Boulevard facility played host to three teams from the Northwest with a full slate of events both on the track at CHSS , while Prince Rupert Middle School handled the infield events on the day.

Arriving in town for the day were Caledonia, Centennial Christian and Skeena Middle School

Charles Hays had strong results in many of the categories with a glimpse of the day's action below:

JUNIOR GIRLS

Girls 100 Metre Dash 

Ann Do, (2), Alana Rysstad (5) Sarah Pham (6)

Girls 200 Metre Dash 

Ann Do (3)

Girls 80 Metre Hurdles 

Alana Rysstad (3) Sarah Pham (6)

Girls 300 Metre Hurdles 

Alana Rysstad (1)

Girls 4 x 100 Meter Relay 

Charles Hays Secondary (1)

Girls Long Jump 

Alana Rysstad (2)

Girls Shot Put 3.0K

Kaia Jackson (1) Evelyn Johnson-Clark (3)

Girls Discuss Throw 1.0 K

Kaia Jackson (1) Sarah Pham (2)

Girls Javelin Throw 500g 

Sarah Pham (1)  Kaia Jackson (2)

********************************************************************************

SENIOR GIRLS

Girls 100 Metre Dash

Jessica, Nguyen (1)

Girls 200 Metre Dash

Jessica Nguyen (1)

Girls 100 Metre Hurdles

Jessica Nguyen (1)

Girls Long Jump

Jessica Nguyen (1)

********************************************************************************

JUNIOR BOYS

Boys 100 Metre Dash

Dakota Knockwood (1)  Brandon Mah (2) Ethan Hunter (5)

Boys 200 Metre Dash

Dakota Knockwood (1) Brandon Mah, (2) Ethan Hunter (5)

Boys 400 Metre Run

Ethan Hunter (2)

Boys 1500 Metre Run

Daylyn Moraes (1)

Boys High Jump 

Dakota Knockwood (1)  Ethan Hunter (3)

Boys  Long Jump

Dakota Longwood (1) Ethan Hunter (2)

********************************************************************************

SENIOR BOYS

100 Metre Dash

Cody Schaeffer (1) Eric Lees (2)

200 Metre Dash 

Cody Schaeffer (1) Seji Sahdra (2)

400 Metre Run

Cody Schaeffer (1) Andrew Lowther (2)

800 Metre Run

Christian Clifton (1)

Boys 110 Metre Hurdles

Cody Schaeffer (1) Andrew Lowther (2)

Boys 400 Metre Hurdles

Andrew Lowther (1)

Boys 400 Metre Relay

Charles Hays Secondary (1)

Boys Long Jump

Eric Lees (1)  Cody Schaeffer (2) Andrew Lowther (4)

Boys Triple Jump

Cody Schaeffer (1)


********************************************************************************

The total points taken from the day's events pushed Charles Hays to the Top of the Points Table on the day, providing for a First Place Finish overall from the combined scores of all participants.

The placements were as follows.

Charles Hays
Skeena Middle
Caledonia
Centennial Christian

The next meet comes up on May 12th in Smithers, the Northwest Zones will be held at CHSS this year with two days of track and field events set for May 17 and 18.


Charles Hays also had teams on the road this weekend, with the Rugby teams both Junior and Senior in Williams Lake with the Juniors finding success twice on the field.

CHSS Rugby was in Williams Lake last week, 
(Photo from CHSS Twitter feed)


The Charles Hays Girls soccer squad was in Terrace for a Play Day on Saturday.

You can follow more on events from CHSS from their twitter feed here.

For more items related to high school sports across the Northwest see our archive page here.


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







Regional District's selection for BC Ferry Board position approved by Ferry Authority

The latest notes from North Coast Regional District reviewed a number of items related to their April 20th meeting in Port Clements, with the Board addressing a number of regional themes.

As we noted last week, one of those items involved the resolution to honour the memory of Nelson Kinney through the renaming of the NCRD boardroom to be known as the Nelson Kinney Committee Room.

Mr. Kinney passed away in late March.

In other business from the April 20th meeting, the Board also announced that its selection for membership on the Board of Directors of the BC Ferry Authority Board had been approved, with Michael Pucci the Regional District's choice for the position.

Mr. Pucci from DP World was announced as the NCRD representative at the meeting,

More background on the BC Ferry Authority Board can be reviewed here.

As the Regional District Board was being hosted by Port Clements, Board members received an update on the success of the museum in that community. With Joan Hein from the Port Clements Historical Society recounting that the Museum has seen an increase in visitor to the Museum.

The Museum, which also serves as the community's visitor information centre, attracted 4,000 visitors in 2017, a strong increase from numbers of four years ago when 1,300 visitors stopped by the facility.

The full overview of the Regional District Board meeting is available here.

You can find more items related to the work of the North Coast Regional District from our archive page here.


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

Promenade work heads toward homestretch at Cow Bay terminals area

Work continues on the changing face of the Cow Bay area
as workers edge closer to completion of the Promenade on the city's waterfront


The weekend offered up some premium conditions for those working hard on the Promenade project between the Northland Cruise Terminal and the Atlin Terminal in Cow Bay.

Those watching over the project from above in Mariner's Park could get a sense of what the finished project will look like as crews took preparing the roadway area for paving, while lighting fixtures have been installed along the cement walkway portion of the link between the two terminals.



The project would appear on pace for its debut in late May when the Prince Rupert Cruise Season gets underway.

The first vessel to call on the city is the Star Legend from the Windstar line with 208 guests arriving on the 29th of May.

Two days later, the Regatta, the Oceania line ship  with 684 guests arrives. That vessel is making Prince Rupert its main port of call for the season, with the end of May visit the first of its six port calls at Northland Terminal this year.

For more items of note related to Port of Prince Rupert developments see our archive page here.

For some further background on the Atlin Promenade project can be reviewed below:

Waterfront walkway making progress towards tourist season debut
Port of Prince Rupert breaks ground on Atlin promenade project

Updates on the 2018 Cruise ship season can be found here.

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

Metlakatla to receive $375,000 towards shellfish industry through NDIT grant

The Northern Development Initiative Trust distributed funding towards five projects last week, and for the North Coast it was Metlakatla that gained a share of the cash, with the Metlakatla Band Council set to receive $375,000 towards their shellfish industry initiative.

The money is to be used to address large scale production capacity and develop market expansion activities for the shellfish aquaculture industry on the North Coast. That work is in support of the North Pacific Marine Plan.

The funding for the other projects will be delivered to the City of Quesnel, City of Williams Lake, Lilloet Tribal Council and Williams Lake Tribal  Council.

You can find out more about those projects here.

Further background on the NDIT Strategic Initiatives fund can be explored here.

Last week the NDIT also introduced some new officers to the Board of Officers, they include:

New Board Chair -- Gerry Thiessen, Mayor of the District of Vanderhoof

New Vice Chair -- Thomas Hoffman, Manager, External and Stakeholder relations Tolko Industries

New Finance Chair -- Wendy Benyk, CEO Lakes District Maintenance Ltd.

Acclaimed to Positions with the Finance Committee were:

Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall, North Coast Regional Director Michael Racz

Cariboo Regional District Chair Margo Wagner was acclaimed as a member of the executive committee.

Gerald Wesley and Danny Schilds remain a member of the Board as a provincially appointed member, as does Evan Saugstad

Full biographies of the Board membership can be found here.


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

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending April 29, 2018

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 April 29, 2018 is below:

All of  our listings of ten  for Prince Rupert Real Estate, 
come from the West Side this week. 
Week ending April 29, 2018

Another week with no change to report to our listings of the top end real estate in the city.

The west side continues to dominate the real estate listings for Prince Rupert with all ten of our listings found on the west side of McBride.

The ask prices for the west side properties have boosted the total value on the week, with the ten properties delivering a combined value of the $7,183,000 mark to the top end listings in the city.

The lowest mark for the list of ten remains at  $649,000, while our top end from the last week features a price point set at $829,000.

Below find our findings as of the Week ending April 29, 2018


2280 Graham Avenue                   $829,000 --  Remax
2090 Graham Avenue                   $787,000 --  Remax
2040 Graham Avenue                   $769,000 --  Remax
160 Van Arsdol Street                   $749,000 --  Remax
1830 Graham Avenue                   $699,000 --  Remax
1027 Borden Street                       $698,000 --  Realty Executives
1714 Sloan Avenue                       $679,000 --  Remax
1881 Graham Avenue                    $699,000 --  Remax
2230 Graham Avenue                    $649,000 --  Remax
1942 Second Avenue West            $649,000  -- 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.


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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Blog Watching: Week ending April 29, 2018


How the Mayor and City Council see the future for Prince Rupert made for a ninety minute presentation at the Lester Centre on Wednesday night, with our review of the night's findings making for our most read item of the week.

Post Secondary education also became a theme this week, with a pair of items related to Northwest Community college making for widely read items, with both the approval of a name change to Coast Mountain College and some interest in a language program from City Council finding much interest among readers.

Two industrial themes made news this week, the first a report from the Federal Auditor Generals office into Ridley Terminals raised a few concerns and attracted a large audience, while an update on the pace of developments for an LPG Terminal at Ridley  from the Alberta energy company AltaGas was also well received by readers.

The start of a trial at the Prince Rupert Court House related to a police/pedestrian incident from last year also found a large readership this week.

The top story however, brings us back to Wednesday night, and Mayor Lee Brain's Hays 2.0 update for the community.

The Mayor's Hays 2.0 Update ... There's a Bit of Woe, Some blame to Show and a dream to Sew ... BUT mostly we need some money to Flow! -- A view as to the plan that the Mayor and his Council plan to Prince Rupert on was the focus of a ninety minute presentation at the Lester Centre on Wednesday evening. The Hays 2.0 update made for the final act for a week of Reports for Prince Rupert residents to consider. Earlier in the week the City's Small Business Committee delivered a report that echoed many of City Councils concerns, while a report from the North Coast Innovation Lab to chart the course forward for their work, also followed a number of themes from Council's discussions in recent years   (posted April 27, 2018)

That article was followed by:

Time for a Farewell to NWCC, as Province approves name change to Coast Mountain College  -- After a process that has covered over two years, Northwest Community College has been given permission to change their name to Coast Mountain College, with the change set to take place in mid June. The college found itself the focus of some discussion at Prince Rupert City Council this week, with Council members set to write a letter related to English language instruction concerns. However, as we noted later in the week, the issue that the Council members are concerned about, isn't actually related to the College.    (posted April 23, 2018)

Ridley Terminals gets mixed reviews from Auditor General report on governance and oversight  -- An extensive review of operations at Prince Rupert's Ridley Terminals found a Federal Audit raising a number of red flags and concerns about discrepancies and adherence to proper procedures on corporate governance, with Transport Canada also getting a few raps on the knuckles for their oversight on the terminal. (posted April 26, 2018)

Alta Gas on track with LPG Terminal construction, secures 75 percent of supply for export capacity   -- The delivery of a first quarter report from the Alberta based energy company AltaGas also provided some key notes of interest about their plans for Prince Rupert, With AltaGas making note of their success in secure export capacity, as well as to provide an update on their timeline towards a terminal opening      (posted April 26 , 2018)

First court appearance for Prince Rupert RCMP member on driving charges from 2017 incident  --  This week saw the first court date related to a Police vehicle/pedestrian incident from last year, as the court file related to a member of the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment began its travel through the judicial process.   (posted April 25, 2018 )

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.



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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

MLA's Week : April 23-26, 2018

With a one week break on the horizon for MLA's the speaking opportunities in the Legislature were but a few for both the North Coast and Skeena MLA's over the four days of House activities.

MLA Rice spoke once over the four days of Legislature work with a statement on Emergency Response, Preparedness and the work of the Red Cross as an important partner for the province.

While Skeena MLA Ellis Ross raised two issues related to the economic picture for the Northwest and resource communities across the province.

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 April 23 to 26 .

Ms. Rice's contribution to the Legislature discussion list came Wednesday afternoon when she spoke to the work of the Red Cross making note of last year's Fire Season and the potential for some problems ahead in this flood season.

MLA Rice pays tribute to work of Red Cross with Legislature statement

The North Coast MLA is also a permanent member of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, serving as the convenor of that forum.

Transcripts of the work of the committee are available on the Legislature page for the Committee.

Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs


**************************************************************************

For our readers from the Terrace-Kitimat region, this week found Skeena MLA Ellis Ross mentioned twice for his work in the Legislature from April 23 to 26.

A topic of interest for all communities along the Highway 16 corridor is the status of discussions between the Province and the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance, a theme that Mr. Ross explored on Tuesday evening in the Legislature

Ellis Ross seeks details on NDP plans for Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance

Earlier in the week the Skeena MLA had engaged in some discussion on themes related to First Nations participation in the provincial economy, making note of a number of areas for engagement and asking how the province will approach those ambitions.

You can review those comments through the Legislature Archive from Monday morning starting at the 10:20 mark.

The Skeena MLA also made note of the presence of a visitor to the gallery, with Mr. Ross' wife Tracey Ross receiving a warm welcome from the House on Thursday morning.

Mr. Ross is also a permanent member of the Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives,

Transcripts of the work of that committee are available on the Legislature website


MLA's will now take a one week break, returning to their desks in the Legislature on Monday, May 7th.

There is more background on the North Coast and Skeena MLA's available from our MLA's Week Archive  as well as our General Archives on the Legislature below:

North Coast constituency

Skeena and Stikine Constituencies

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


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

Friday, April 27, 2018

First Ladies Scramble for the year set for May at Prince Rupert Golf Course

Prince Rupert's golf calendar has its first entry for the ladies for next week, with Opening Ladies Scramble set for Tuesday May 1st, an opportunity to get in an opening tune up for a competitive golf season around the Northwest.

Tuesday's action starts with a shotgun start at 5:15, with pass holders able to hit the tees for Five Dollars, while Guests chip in twenty five for the scramble.

You can sign up as a team, or if an individual scramble organizers will find you some partners for the tour of the nine holes, as well equipment is provided if you don't have your own, so it's a great opportunity for those that may want to get into the sport.

Prizes and a Buffet dinner round out the day's events following the round of golf.

While you're at the course you can also check in to hear more about plans for some beginner ladies golf at the course this.

Contact the pro shop at the Prince Rupert Golf Course at 250-624-2000 to get more information.


For more items about golf across the Northwest see our archive page here.


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

Raffles Days numbered as an Emergency housing option in Prince Rupert

Residents requiring Emergency housing will soon no longer be directed
to Raffles, with plans to include an emergency housing component to the
new Supportive Housing development planned for Park Avenue

The days of those requiring emergency housing in Prince Rupert being sent off to Raffles for accommodation may soon be coming to an end, with the new supportive modular housing project slated for Park Avenue seemingly set to take over that function in the community.

That bit of news was outlined by Mayor Lee Brain on Wednesday evening as part of his Hays 2.0 update at the Lester Centre, the topic of housing was but one item of many on the night.

But as part of the Mayor's review of the state of the affordable and Seniors housing situation in the community he provided an update on the Park Avenue plans, noting that once completed the facility will be the new destination for those in need of emergency housing.

"What is unique about this project is that it is going to have additional beds built into as a shelter so we're going to shut down Raffles as a shelter, get rid of the emergency shelter and then we're going to have one place for folks to be able to go and keep that to that area" -- Mayor Lee Brain on the plan to include emergency shelter in the province's Park Avenue supportive housing project.

The Raffles facility has been a controversial topic for housing advocates in the community, a group that has long been asking for a better option for the homeless in the city.

As we outlined on the blog last week, on Friday the Province outlined its plan for the development of the 36 unit supportive housing project to be located on a lot adjacent to the Transition House Society on Park Avenue.

While that building moves forward through its construction phase and until its completion, the Emergency Winter Shelter that was opened last November on Third Avenue West will remain open through the summer, providing for shelter for those in the community that are homeless and in need.

The North Coast Transition Society is taking on a more prominent role now in the community when it comes to addressing many of the city's emergency and supportive housing needs.

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

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

MP Nathan Cullen calls out Liberal government after Farmed salmon report

The aquaculture industry in Canada
was the subject of a Federal audit with
the report delivered this week
A report from the Federal Environment Commissioner that takes the Federal government to task over its management of the farmed salmon industry has provided Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen with some strong talking points, with the MP blasting the Liberal government on a number of themes this week.

“This is a damning report that highlights the failure of the Liberal government to protect our wild salmon stocks  ... After so many years of neglect, we are expecting a devastating season in the Northwest. Atlantic farmed salmon operations have exposed our wild salmon to disease and pesticides and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) hasn’t even bothered to monitor the impacts. The Northwest depends on its wild salmon and it is shocking to see such lack of oversight from the federal government.”

British Columbia's aquaculture
industry is found mostly
in the Central coast and
on Vancouver Island
As part of her extensive overview of the farm fish industry, Commissioner Julie Gelfand and the audit team made note of the government's failure to monitor and manage the risks associated with the salmon farming industry.

Among some of the Other elements of concern for the Commissioner were a lack of national standards to prevent escapement and a lack of oversight when it comes to regulating the volume of drugs and pesticides that companies can use.

The document also  includes eight recommendations for action by the Department of Fisheries, included among the eight: adherence to commitments made after the Cohen Report, clarifying the roles and responsibilities between DFO and the CFIA, as well as better communication on issues of uncertainty on the effect of aquaculture on wild stocks

You can review the full report from Commissioner Gelfand here.

In his comments from Wednesday, the Skeena Bulkley Valley MP also stressed how the Liberal government needs to step up its efforts to protect wild salmon, suggesting a shift to land based fish farms as one path to follow:

“The government has a responsibility to protect wild salmon and Canada has an opportunity to become a world leader in making a just transition to safe, land based salmon farming that will protect our wild salmon and allow stocks to flourish,”

Some of the media reviews of the Commissioner's report can be reviewed below:

Canada not properly managing fish farms, environment commissioner says
Federal government not doing enough to manage risk of fish farms, environmental watchdog says
Fisheries and Oceans Canada not adequately managing salmon farming risk: Environment Commissioner
Fisheries department doing too little to protect wild fish from salmon farms, federal audit finds

More items of note related to Mr. Cullen's work in Ottawa can be found from our archive page here.

You can also review the state of the North Coast fishery from our fishery archive page here.



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

New Conservation Officers hired, New offices opened; none for Prince Rupert



The Province has expanded its roster of Conservation Officers and created  new positions in eleven communities, but for those in Prince Rupert that had hoped that this community would be have been added to the list of offices, the news was not promising on Thursday.

In a news release from yesterday the province made note of the past and a lack of action when it came to adding to the Conservation Service Staffing, with Minister George Heyman noting that the NDP government was ready to put boots on the ground.

“We recognize the need for additional conservation officers to help protect our natural resources and lessen human-wildlife conflicts. For too long, there has been a lack of frontline conservation officers, and communities have suffered the consequences, ...  We are taking action to put more boots on the ground, so all British Columbians can benefit from the important work conservation officers do every day.”

Haida Gwaii, Bella Coola and Atlin are among the communities in this region which will see the new officers in place.

In addition to the new positions created by the province, staff openings in a number of locations have been filled, including one in the Terrace Conservation Service Office.

The Province of British Columbia has added three positions
for communities in the Northwest, with an additional
position filled in the Terrace office.


The new recruits will begin their training in May, the latest additions brings the Conservation Officer staffing level to 160 officers located across much of the province.

The call for a Prince Rupert based Conservation Officer has been a frequent one in the community and something that North Coast residents might have hoped would be something that MLA Jennifer Rice might have been able to steer towards the city.

On Thursday, Ms. Rice followed much of the theme of the Minster of Environment and Climate Change strategy and shared the news of the new hires with her constituents on Haida Gwaii and in Bella Coola.




With Spring here and wildlife beginning to stir across the province, residents may soon be having more frequent inter actions with wildlife in the area.

Prince Rupert residents will continue to be served through the Terrace office, if you have an issue that needs their attention you should call  1-877-952-2727 (RAAP)

You can review the announcement from the province here.

A look at some of the past calls for service from the Conservation Officer service can be reviewed through our archive of items related to Northwest Emergency Service providers.

More items of note related to the provincial government can be found on our Legislature archive.


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

The Mayor's Hays 2.0 Update ... There's a Bit of Woe, Some blame to Show and a dream to Sew ... BUT mostly we need some money to Flow!

Mayor Lee Brain hosted his Hays 2.0 Blue print update on Wednesday


Mayor Lee Brain hosted his once delayed Hays 2.0 update on Wednesday evening (the original date of fall 2017 was cancelled a few weeks before its scheduled showtime), taking the audience at the Lester Centre and those at home on a ninety minute review of pretty well every talking point that City Council has examined since they took office on December 2nd of 2014.

Mr. Brain opened up the show with a joke as to how he looked like Steve Jobs and should be announcing a new iPhone ... and while no phones were sold during the hour and half, the focus on the night was clearly on the Mayors Hay's 2.0 blue print first introduced back in 2015 and still the cornerstone foundation for his time in office, one that seemingly will chart the future for the community.

Showcased as more than ever as our path forward, the  Hays 2.0 Plan was front and centre through the night an all encompassing theme, a mantra for the community, that will deliver better days for those that wish to follow forward.



The opening moments recounted the choice of council to banish negativity, taking a positive vision to the future with a new team having emerged to reorganize internally the city staff structure and the launch of a repatriation campaign. One that the Mayor noted has been designed to target specifically Rupertites to come and work for the city, people who are motivated, passionate and have pride about the community.

The presentation was long on positioning and vision statements and a little less solid on details, particularly when it came to the Mayor's anticipation of potential revenue streams for the future.

A glimpse of those "what we hope will happens" would come following the lengthy account of the many required infrastructure concerns which rolled across the screen one after another.

The first portion of the night was indeed the tale of woe, though for those that have remained in the community during these challenging years, most of the recitation of what the community needs would be a familiar theme for those that have followed City Council through the last few years.

With many of the talking points and infrastructure needs from Wednesday night  found in the successive Budget presentations from the City's Financial Officer over the last four years.

2015 Budget Presentation
2016 Budget Presentation
2017 Budget Presentation
2018 Budget Presentation

For the Wednesday evening talk, the Mayor put the focus on the range of infrastructure issues, making the observation that the current Council had inherited these when they took office.


The Mayor noted that Council had decided that the first priority was water, highlighting the completion of Phase One of the City's ambitious water project program (a process that actually was started during the previous term led by Mayor Jack Mussallem), with work now underway for the second phase and plans for what will follow.

Included in the second phase of the water infrastructure program is the dam itself at Woodworth Lake, a project which will have a design in place that allows the City to produce energy and generate revenue through hydro sales. Though the Mayor did not outline for the public if BC Hydro has expressed any interested in purchasing any of the city's power once it is up and running.

The Mayor also reviewed many of the background themes to a number of those issues that make for that lengthy list of infrastructure issues, among them: the need for a waste water treatment system, RCMP detachment, expanded landfill site, bridge replacements, roads, sidewalks, an airport Ferry and a new Fire Hall.

As the Mayor explained it, the majority of those items which come to a total of 350 million dollars of infrastructure deficit are mandated requirements most of which have to be completed by 2020 or the city could face fines.

Two major concerns did stand out from the Mayor's lengthy commentary, with much of the focus from the Mayor's viewpoint on the night suggesting that the majority of Prince Rupert's problems are mainly the result of external factors that are reducing our potential for revenue and progress.

The Two Major Revenue challenges that have been delivered to the City's situation are related to the Port Property Tax Act and the Ridley Island Tax Sharing Agreement.



These two themes would be frequently mentioned by the Mayor throughout the presentation, challenges inherited by Council and considered the key impediments towards achieving many of the infrastructure goals that the City may have.

The Port issues are related to the cap on taxation for port facilities that is in place through the provincial government and have been a long time concern of City Council going back to well before the 2014 municipal election. And despite many past attempts to start a dialogue on the issue, the Port Property Tax Cap concerns remain a topic that to this point has not found a welcome ear in Victoria.

The arrangement on tax sharing with Port Edward, known as the Ridley Island Tax Sharing Agreement however would seem to be the major irritant of the two for the Mayor and some of the members of City Council at this particular moment.

With the Mayor describing the current arrangement with Port Edward as the "insult to injury" part of the night's presentation.

The Tax Agreement document (see here) which was first delivered in 1980, has set the terms for distribution of money related to Ridley Island development ever since, what is at the heart of the City's frustrations is the formula for that distribution of money that the city would like to see the province take some action on.



The focus on the Port Edward agreement took some interesting turns on Wednesday night, as the Mayor explained how the City of Prince Rupert has been quite diplomatic towards its neighbour over the years of negotiations, though at times it didn't sound like Prince Rupert plans to be very diplomatic, very much longer.

With the mayor noting that the city's impression as to the current dynamic of the payments to the District, is that basically that of a case of Prince Rupert paying for another town.

To make sure no one was left unclear when it comes to how the City views the Port Edward dispute, two final graphics put up on the Lester Centre Screen highlighted the city's ultimate goal towards the Ridley Island Tax irritant, with a look at what would be the Before and After view as to how the City would like to address Port Edward's share of the Ridley Island money flow.

.

X marks the Spot for Port Edward
(click to enlarge)

Towards a path to reach that goal for Prince Rupert, the mayor outlined how the City has submitted a fair proposal to the facilitator who had been dispatched north to discuss the issue between the city and Port Edward, the official having recently submitted a report on the situation to the province.

However, the Mayor noted that should the situation not be resolved to the city's satisfaction with a final resolution, then the City would be calling on Prince Rupert residents to lend some assistance towards supporting whatever happens next.

The Mayor didn't expand on that ominous addendum to the discussion, leaving one to wonder if we should try and corner the market on torches and pitchforks, or tar and feathers, for future retail opportunities.

Those in attendance or viewing at home should try to keep in mind that the Port Edward question was presented Wednesday purely from the Prince Rupert point of view, so we have no real idea as to what the view from the District of Port Edward might be, or how the province may view the City's interpretation of the situation.

The theme however might make for an interesting debate between community representatives and maybe even the MLA, though where we could find a location that would constitute neutral ground for the discussion is anyones guess.



The City's decision to become landlords at Watson Island rather than having sold the industrial land off also made for some significant focus by the Mayor, though he never fully explained how that decision to shift Council's gaze from seller to landlord, ever came to pass at Council.

That surprising change of direction for City Council was a theme that never did make for any public discussions for the council members until after the decision had been made.

The Mayor outlined the decommissioning and tear down work that has taken place on Watson Island conducted by a team of city staff members led by City Manager Robert Long.

From the Wednesday night narrative, the Mayor observed that Watson Island now could be considered the  city's ticket out of its difficulties, the city's golden nugget and a place of opportunity.

The Mayor outlined how the City is anticipating that the recent Pembina deal will be but the first of many that will see the Industrial area fully subscribed within five to ten years.

From that success, the Mayor outlined how the city would be collecting lease payments and taxes from tenants making Watson Island their destination of choice.

All that money collected from Watson Island and through the land at Lot 444 at Tuck Inlet is destined to be put into the city's Legacy Fund for use for future infrastructure projects  with the  mayor referring to that collection of money as the city's Infrastructure Bank.

Some of the Legacy Money will also be provided to the city through a dividend to put to use on operational items, as well the City may also use some of the Legacy money as a business arm to engage in joint ventures with other companies or initaitvies in the area.



The Legacy Corporation details were rather limited however, with no update provided as to how much is currently sitting in the fund, or where the city may be planning to direct those funds.

The other major theme for potential revenue comes through the City's hopes for the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance and its efforts to gain a better share of the revenues from resources, with the Mayor pointing towards a revenue sharing deal in the Northeast that delivers significant money to communities such as Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.

So far however, other than a 300,000 dollar burst of funding for community engagement for the membership of the Alliance, the province has not as of yet indicated how they plan to approach the request for  a larger share of revenues from resource developments in the Northwest.

As for the plans for major projects that may be ahead someday and a few of the items that the mayor described as the "fun stuff", the Hays 2.0 update was true to themes of recycling, with the majority of the presentation items those that have been delivered a number of times before, with perhaps a tweak here or there from their original version.

Among some of the proposals that made for the showcase on Wednesday:


Road network for Lax Kw'alaams, Metlaktla and the Airport

Amalgamation of  Airport, Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams Ferry with shift of dock to Kwinitsa with the Ferry to feed into road network

Relocation of Alaska Ferry to Lax Kw'alaams

The Port has a plan to build a road to the container port along the harbour

The City also has plans to develop their own container bypass road along Wantage Road as well as use that area for Industrial use

City could turn Wantage Road into the Highway, freeing up Second Avenue for civic oversight

Rupert's Landing and Waterfront plans

Main Street Rupert/City Hall Square

Many of those items, previously announced at City Council sessions of the past can be explored through the following archive pages we have kept through the years.

Major Projects and Infrastructure
Redesign Rupert/Sustainable City
Waterfront Development


As the presentation headed towards the finish line the Mayor embraced the focus towards a more positive theme, one that proclaimed that we are heading towards better days.

With much in the way of comments about how People are the potential for the community,  that with new money coming from AltaGas, Pembina and whatever other industries may set up at Watson Island the community is about to turn a corner.

The Mayor closed the information session by noting that it was a time for optimism, that the City Council has us on the right trail and how it was a time to let go of the past. 

Mr. Brain also  highlighted the theme that it was Rupert's time to shine, with the City serving as the facilitator to make it all happen.

Towards those ambitions, a chart from the evening outlines the path forward.



The current city council should best be hoping that all of the anticipated revenue streams come in; that the two major irritants of the Port Cap Tax and that the Ridley Island Tax Agreement both are resolved to the city's satisfaction, not to mention the prospect that endless amounts of money through the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance comes rolling into town.

On Wednesday, there was No Plan B outlined to help residents understand what the city might have to do to resolve the many challenges ahead, should many of the Hays 2.0 bullet points not come to fruition.

That possibility seemingly has no place with the new approach to forward thinking, thus no one on Council has offered up any cautionary thoughts, or provided for any alternative views as they collectively follow the course laid out by the Mayor and the City Manager.

As we head towards the 2018 municipal elections, the Mayor and the five current council members would appear to be all in on the plan, if they aren't, those on Council only have five months to run up that flag of caution and offer up some other themes for consideration.

For the most part, Wednesday night had all the theatre of a campaign launch, with the Hays 2.0 plan and all of its successive components now part of this council's blue print and where they will hang their hats as they face the electorate, providing of course that they decide to seek another term.

What will be interesting to watch over the next few months is if anyone else in the community decides to put up a challenge, or offer a different narrative to this Council's expansive list of reports, studies, vision plans and such that have marked the last four years of Council.

The full presentation from Wednesday evening is available for your review below:



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


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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Civic Centre to host first annual Autism and Family Support Fair on Saturday


A full day of connecting with the community is ahead this Saturday, as the group Prince Rupert Family Connections hosts an opportunity to learn more about Autism and to help those that may need some assistance to find support for your family.

All of it wrapped up in a day of fun for everyone at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

The Autism and Family Support Fair offers a long list of activities to take in, with Face Painting, a Photo Booth, Arts and Crafts and sensory bins all part of the line up.

As well as some popular Prince Rupert attractions will be in place around the Civic Centre,with the fair featuring Bubble Trouble, the Bouncy Castle and some fun with the Good Times Games Hexbugs.

The day also offers up specific sessions for those children who may not be able to attend a larger, louder event.

The Sensory Hour takes place from 10 to 11 and is available to all children with Autism and related disorders.  To reserve a place in that hour you are asked to contact prfamilyconnections@outlook.com

Following the Sensory Hour, the Fair opens to the public at 11 AM,  with the Official welcome to the Territory, the event continues through the afternoon until 4 PM, with the 12 to 2 hour period offering free snacks for participants.

There will also be a number of Door prizes to be given away to those to take part in the April 28th event.

The Fair was brought together by a large list of supporters, sponsors and those making donations.

You can learn more about who has helped out from the Prince Rupert Family Connections Facebook page.

For more information about Saturdays event see the Autism and Family Support Fair Facebook page

A look at other community events around the North Coast can be found from our archive page here.


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

AltaGas on track with LPG terminal construction, secures 75 percent of supply for export capacity

Everything is on track when it comes
to the progress of the AltaGas LPG
Terminal at Ridley Island
The latest update from the Alberta energy provider AltaGas provides a bit more positive news for their Prince Rupert Terminal development, with the company releasing its First Quarter results today and with the financial review, the company includes a few notes related to their export facility at Ridley Island.

As part of today's report, AltaGas has announced that they have secured close to 75 percent of the propane required for their export capacity at the Ridley Island Export Terminal.

The update also notes that the construction of the facility remains on-time and on-budget, with the timeline for the project still heading towards a start up in the first quarter of 2019.

The full report from the first quarter can be reviewed here.

The latest update from AltaGas related to their work in Prince Rupert is available on their website here.

For more of our notes on the ongoing progress for the LPG terminal at Ridley, as well as the proposed facility at Watson Island see our archive pages here.


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

Ellis Ross seeks details on NDP plans for Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance



How the NDP government plans to approach the ongoing push from the Northwest for a greater share of Resource benefits made for part of the discussion in the Legislature earlier this week, with Skeena MLA Ellis Ross seeking some answers from Selina Robinson, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

In the Tuesday afternoon session, Mr. Ross made note of the recent announcement from the NDP that they would be forwarding 300,000 dollars to the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Association to assist the organization in its engagement campaigns across Northern British Columbia.

Tuesday, the Skeena MLA wanted to know what a longer range strategy on the issue for the government might look like.

 It's pretty specific — what the RBA wants. They want revenue-sharing. The announcement talks about $300,000. It talks not about revenue-sharing but a fund that's put in place to "build relationships with First Nations, labour, major project proponents, local business and the non-profit sector." 

 Aside from that announcement on the funding, there have been a number of different formulas and possible sources of funding that have been discussed that could basically achieve the goals of the RBA. Have these formulas and possible sources of funding been discussed with the RBA to date?

In response, the Minister observed as to the kind of work that the province has taken on with the RBA to date to assist in the NWRBA efforts.

A pair of follow up questions from the Northwest MLA tried to gain some insight as to what kind of forumla might be in mind for the government, as well as to how they plan to gauge the success of the funding already delivered.

Is there any opportunity to see the possible formulas or any types of sources of funding to achieve this? Because I get it all the time. I get asked about the way this is going to roll out and which pot of funding it's going to come from.  

The biggest discussion point seems to be on future funding from future resource development coming from the northwest. Is that where this government is leading? ... 

 In relation to the $300,000 that was given as funding to the RBA, is there a mechanism that the government will employ to measure the success of this funding? How will you measure whether or not the RBA has built relationships with First Nations, labour, major project proponents, local business and the non-profit sector? And will that be reported not only to the RBA but, as well, to the communities in general that are represented by the RBA?



Ms. Robinson offered up an observation as to the make up of the RBA and the diverse and widespread nature of the communities that are part of it, adding how the government was looking to help them meet their needs and build relationships.

The Minister also noted that the RBA will be required to report back to the province on their process.

I'm sure that the member is well aware that there are 21 communities across the northwest that have formed the RBA. That, in and of itself, is a bit of a miracle, so congratulations to those communities, because I know that's not easy work, in order to bring people together for a common purpose. 

So providing them with some funds to help them continue to build relationships, to help them continue to engage, particularly First Nations and others, so that they're working in healthy relationship and with collaboration is critical to being able to move forward. We have asked them to report back periodically to make sure that things are still on track. That's an expectation that we have.

You can review the transcript of the exchange at the 18:00 mark from the Legislature Archive page here.

The video archive features the discussion as well starting at the 6:00:00 PM mark

For more items of note related to Mr. Ross' work at the Legislature see our archive page here


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MLA Rice pays tribute to work of Red Cross with Legislature statement

A tribute to the work of the Red Cross made for a talking point in
in the British Columbia Legislature on Wednesday


The work of the Red Cross received a much deserved shout out in the Legislature this week as North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, in her role as the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness provided a thumbnail sketch of the many ways that the organization makes a difference in the province.

Speaking in the Legislature on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Rice provided for a bit of a focus on their work during last years Fire emergencies across British Columbia and offered up some cautionary words related to this spring and the potential concerns of a snow pack melt and flood risk.

As part of her statement, the North Coast MLA took note of how the Red Cross is a valued partner of the province and has been a key element to providing comfort and care for those that have been impacted by disasters.





You can learn more about the work of the Red Cross, how you can volunteer and how you can donate money towards their work from the organization's website


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

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

Ridley Terminals gets mixed reviews from Auditor General report on governance and oversight

One of the North Coast's Industrial giants was under the microscope of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada recently with the Independent Auditor providing the results of its Special Examination to the Ridley Terminal Board of Directors in February of this year.

The review provides for a glimpse into some of the behind the scenes operational themes and relationships between the Industrial Terminal and the Federal Transport Canada department, the federal body which oversees the Board of Directors governance of the coal and soon to be LPG terminals work.

The report delivers a number of areas of concern that the Auditor General has raised some red flags for further attention on for both the RTI Board and Transport Canada.

A process that RTI's newly appointed Chair Michael McPhie notes has already been put in motion.

In a letter posted to the RTI website as part of the full release this month of the Auditor General's report, Mr. McPhie notes that over the course of the last year, Ridley Terminals and Transport Canada have worked together in a more collaborative way than in previous years.

Advising that as part of that collaboration a plan is to be developed that will include a more formal governance process for the Board, management and Transport Canada to implement.

Ridley Terminals Chair Michael McPhie's comments related to the recently
released report on RTI from the Auditor General
(click to enlarge)

That renewed commitment to collaboration is going to be a welcome note for the Auditor Generals office, as when it comes to how things worked in the past, the report suggests that there doesn't appear to have been a lot of communication between the Board and Transport Canada in recent years.

Along with the poor communication skills, the report also highlights a number of concerns and discrepancies and provides for a number of examples when it comes to specific operational and governance issues related to  the day to day duties for the facility.

The Ridley review offers up a comprehensive look at the Terminal operations, providing some history as to its past operations, its status as a Crown Corporation and its mandate to construct, own and operate docks, terminals, elevators, warehouses, storage facilities and equipment to store and deliver bulk commodities.

The report consists of three key elements, Findings, Recommendations and Responses.

The overview also puts a focus on a number of areas where there are concerns expressed related to corporate governance both for the Board at Ridley and from Transport Canada.

The Overall message delivered on page three of the Report sets the tone for much of the rest of the documentation, which found concerns related to governance, strategic planning, performance measurement and reporting.

The opening notes also put a focus on areas of human resources practices, board oversight and what the Auditor General report notes was a lack of advance government approval for a diversification project.




Transport Canada gets some significant attention as well for a lack of support in some important areas, with the Federal Department taken to task when it comes to oversight and clear strategic direction for RTI.



The Report provides for six Recommendations and Responses, four related to RTI's corporate governance, with the remaining two directed towards Transport Canada and its oversight on the Prince Rupert terminal facility.


(To view all of the above passages click on each
individual page to enlarge
)


There is also a listing of some of the detailed findings on Corporate Management practices and Management of Operations.

Those findings are examined under three assessment guidelines, Meet the Criteria, Meet the Criteria, with improvement needed and Did Not Meet the criteria.

Those results included:

Corporate Management practices

Corporate Governance

The report is somewhat critical of how RTI has functioned in the past, among some of the notes; citing incomplete conflict of interest declarations, the lack of an approved corporate plan, poor communication related to a proposed sale process, poor attention to required procedures on committees and reporting procedures

Board Independence -- Met the criteria, with Improvement needed
Providing Strategic Direction -- Did Not Meet the criteria
Board Oversight -- Did Not meet the criteria
Board Appointments and Competencies -- Did Not Meet the criteria

Strategic Planning

One of the key findings under strategic planning includes a note related to the process that RTI took related to the diversification project of a Liquid Gas project, with the report noting that the Corporation had entered into a long-term agreement for the project without having obtained advance approval from the Government of Canada.

Strategic Planning Process -- Met the criteria, with improvement needed
Performance Measurement -- Did Not meet the criteria
Performance Monitoring and Reporting -- Did not meet the criteria
Diversification -- Did not meet the criteria

Risk Management

The report identifies areas of concern related to the potential impact of environmental risks and mitigation strategies to help manage risks.

Risk identification and assessment -- Met the criteria, with improvement needed
Risk mitigation -- Met the criteria, with improvement needed
Risk monitoring and reporting -- Did not meet the criteria

Human Resources

The report is critical as to how RTI is planning for the succession for senior management positions.

Succession planning -- Did not meet the criteria
Compensation -- Did not meet the criteria


Management of Operations 

Service Delivery

RTI fared the best in the review when it comes to delivering on its services, though cautionary flags are noted for documenting budget items and maintaining assets.

Service management -- Met the criteria
Performance monitoring and reporting -- Met the criteria
Healthy and safe workplace -- Met the criteria
Operational planning -- Met the criteria, with improvement needed
Capital asset management -- Met the criteria, with improvement needed

You can examine the detailed review from each of the above from the document with the findings listed on pages 18 to 22.

The Conclusion to the report provides for a short synopsis of the overall review, citing the opinion that there were significant deficiencies when it comes to Ridley Terminal Inc's systems and practices.

(click to enlarge)

As part of their outline as to how they conducted the audit, the report notes that Ridley Terminal's management refused to confirm that the audit report was factually accurate.

That theme was expanded on as part of introduction to the report.

(click to enlarge)


You can explore the full range of the Auditor General report and its findings here.

For more items related to Ridley Terminals see our archive page here.


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