Friday, August 31, 2018

Seniors Tourney finds the Holkestad's at top of Leaderboard

Looking for a few tips on your golf game? You could
seek out some thoughts from Brian and Rose Holkestad
the pairing claimed top spots in last weekends
Seniors Tourney at the Prince Rupert Golf Course
(photo from Andrew Schaeffer)

Prince Rupert's current golfing Royalty of Brian Holkestad and Rose Holkestad showcased their skills in Mid August, as the pair claimed top spots in the Men's and Ladies results for the 2018 Vic Marion Seniors Open Golf Tournament.

A strong field of familiar names to the Prince Rupert golf scene took to the course and some challenging conditions over the course of the two day tournament, which is one of the most popular of local events on the golf calendar for the North Coast.

Below, thanks to Doug Kydd from the Prince Rupert Golf Course is the full list of results from the 2018 event.

Overall Men's Results

Overall Low Gross Brian Holkestad 145
Overall Low Net Brian Denton 133

Low Gross

Champ Flight Ron Miller 159 on a countback
1st Flight Howard LInn 172
2nd Flight Carl Nielsen 183

Low Net

Champ Flight Moe Hays 135
1st Flight John Davenport 139
2nd Flight George Kuntz 149

2nd Low Gross

Champ Flight Gene Kerbrat 159
1st Flight Larry Hope 176 on a countback
2nd Flight Alain Chan 198 2nd

Low Net

Champ Flight Leo Palmer 144
1st Flight Al Green 144
2nd Flight Eric Hand 155

3rd Low Gross

Champ Flight George Negru 160
1st Flight Ross McNish 176
2nd Flight John Etzertza 201

3rd Low Net

Champ Flight Bill Nichols 148
1st Flight Shane Forman 147 
2nd Flight Serf Dantas 163


Overall Ladies Results

Overall Low Gross Rose Holkestad 174 
Overall Low Net Pam Hays 130 

Low Gross 

Janet Sheppard 

Low Net  

Carol Schaeffer 132 

2nd Low Gross 

Karin Williamson 179 

2nd Low Net 

Josie Lam 147

High Gross 

Linda Miller


As the 2018 Golf Season begins to wind down, up next at the Prince Rupert Golf Course is the Duffers' Open set for next weekend, from September 8 and 9, with a Practice round on Friday the 7th.

Entry fee is 100 dollars for the weekend, the tournament rounds of Saturday and Sunday will also include a Saturday Night Buffet Dinner, KP's and Deuce Pots and the Sunday Afternoon Prize Presentation.

You can learn more about the tournament, or register for the weekend of golf by contacting the Pro Shop at 250-624-2000 extension 1

For more items of note on the Golf scene across the Northwest see our archive page here.

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

Days dwindling to cast your vote on CityWest Phone Book Cover options

The annual sampling of some of Prince Rupert's finest photographers and their contributions to the CityWest Phone Book cover competition is about to come to an end, with Midnight of September 3rd the deadline for votes for this years submissions.

CityWest has compiled a collection of ten options for residents to vote for, featuring a cross section of themes from Rainbows and city scenes, to waterfront views and images along with this years celebrity of note, Hammy the Deer.

You can record your vote here

The successful cover photo will be announced on September 4th,  you can follow the competition through the CityWest Facebook page or Instagram feed.

The cover photo and phone books will make their way to homes in Prince Rupert towards the end of November.

For more items of note related to the City of Prince Rupert owned communication company see our archive page here.

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

Return of Redesign Rupert heralds Phase Two plans

One of the key elements of Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain's Hays 2.0 planning gets a reboot of sorts as we head into the fall (and municipal election season) with the introduction of the second phase of the Redesign Rupert program earlier this month.

Gone from the scene is the UNBC based Community Development Institute, the community planning group provided for the foundation of the first phase of the program in those heady and exciting days of planning by the new Council following the 2014 election, with the Redesign vision revealed in February of 2016.

Though as the UNBC institutes mandate began to wind down, so too did much of the visual image of the Redesign program, the concept as we noted on the blog back in February, went dormant for the most part in 2017, with little in the way of a wrap up review, or farewell by the City as to the work of the CDC to be found since.

The topic of Redesign Rupert also seemed to slip the mind of City Council for much of the last year or so as well, with few, if any mentions of the program, or where it stood as a priority for Council getting much of an airing in public council sessions.

As it returns to public prominence this fall,  the focus for this second phase will be directed towards themes such as Human Capital, the need to regenerate the Downtown region and to expand on opportunities for the public on the limited waterfront space that is available to the city.

Those three legs of the focus ahead are explained further in the relaunched website for the program which offers up some of the background to the program's goals and ambitions.

To oversee the program and offer guidance along the way, the steering committee for the second phase of the program, has taken on a heavy civic presence, similar in appearance to the City's engagement with CityWest, Watson Island and the Prince Rupert Airport Boards.

Among those serving on the Steering committee are:

Mayor Lee Brain
Corinne Bomben, CFO of the City of Prince Rupert
Robert Long, City Manager, City of Prince Rupert
Blair Mirau, City councillor
John Farrell, General Manager of Community Futures
Scott Farwell, President of Tourism Prince Rupert

The second phase it seems will now be more of an "in house" program, jointly operated by the City of Prince Rupert and Community Futures of Prince Rupert, the twin bodies bringing Ceilidh Marlow on board as program coordinator.

Ms. Marlow most recently worked for the Museum of Northern British Columbia and brings what she describes as a passion about community planning to her new position.

Funding for phase two of the program is coming from the BC Rural Dividend Fund, the City of Prince Rupert and Community Futures Development Corporation of the Pacific Northwest.

Last week, Mayor Brain revealed the new focus through his Facebook page, hailing the program as an opportunity to bring his Hays 2.0 vision to life in the community, a theme we suspect we will be hearing quite a bit about between now and the October 20th election date.

The full press release, along with comments from the participants in the program can be found here.

Among some of the early interest in the next stages for the program is what the city may have planned for Third Avenue West. An area of town that at the moment is in need of some attention and some kind of strategy to rebuild what was once a vibrant commercial core and now takes on an image of abandoned buildings, many in disrepair along with stretches of papered over windows.

A constant reminder of the tough times that the city has gone through over the last ten to fifteen years, as well as to the somewhat limited nature of the city's ability to remedy the situation.

The recent "Pop Up" event one week ago on Third Avenue West provided Redesign Rupert with the first barometer of sorts of what the residents are looking for if the program is to resonate and become more than just another string of consultations and place making exercises.

For the downtown area, the need for a larger retail presence and public space dominated much of the findings, while waterfront desires include a boardwalk and public pier and more public gathering spots to enjoy the harbour that at times residents only get a glimpse of.

You can find out more about the future direction for the Redesign initiative from the program website here.

As Ms. Marlow works to deliver on those three goals for the Redesign plan, we'll track the developments from our archive page here, those listings also include our earlier notes on the work of the UNBC CDI program of phase one.

Our observations offer up some background to the work that has formed the foundation of the program, one which now moves towards that period of time where some results will be expected by the public for their investment both monetarily and in time and interest in the program.

For more items of note related to City Council Discussion topics see our Council Discussion archive.

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

UBCM Talking Points 2018

It's convention season for BC municipal leaders as the province's elected officials, along with a string of BC government and opposition members prepare to take part in the UBCM convention at the Whistler Convention Centre

The theme for this years event is Communication, Collaboration and Cooperation and much of the focus will be put towards the increasing engagement between municipal government and the senior levels.

The introduction to this years convention outlines where delegates will be directing much of their attention.

As we head towards convention week, we will offer up items of interest below culled from developments from the gathering set for Whistler from September 10 to 14.

Items from the blog focused on the North Coast and related to the convention can be found in this archive listed in their own section and, highlighted in red,  our blog contributions to the theme will be marked by our blue NCR icon, allowing you to find them with a quick scan.

Items related to North Coast and Northwest involvement from other media sources will listed below in green typeface.

Notes of interest from other communities will be highlighted in orange .

A look at the Program for the Whistler event can be found here.

Other resources for the UBCM gathering include a conference briefing with updated forum information

As well you can also explore  the UBCM Book of Resolutions that will be considered during the course of the five day convention.

Readers of the blog can also find updates on information from UBCM through twitter and the  #UBCM2018  hashtag

North Coast Review notes/Prince Rupert media on UBCM 2018

September 20 -- Mayor Brain hopes for 'traction' on Port Tax Cap issue in 2019  NCR
September 19 -- UBCM Resolution Round Up NCR
September 19 -- Ridley Island Tax Issues with Port Edward remain a concern for City officials NCR
September 17 -- Premier Horgan's UBCM address highlights need to work with communities when it comes to range of issues  NCR
September 14 -- Prince Rupert's BC Commercial Fisheries resolution for UBCM gains endorsement from convention  NCR
September 13 -- Prince Rupert's Increased Operational spending, brings drop in rankings in CFIB Municipal Spending Watch; timed for UBCM release  NCR
September 13 -- Infrastructure grant funding programs come out of UBCM session Wednesday  NCR
September 12 -- Haida Gwaii officials share BC Ferry concerns with Transportation Minister Claire Trevena at UBCM  NCR
September 12 -- Climate and Sustainable energy issues make for early focus for Mayor Brain at UBCM   NCR
September 10 -- Five days of politics and networking ahead for municipal officials as UBCM convention opens today  NCR
September 7 -- Brevity of Council sessions means lost opportunities for Information sharing  NCR
August 16 -- UBCM Resolutions book ready for municipal review as September convention draws closer  NCR


From elsewhere in the Northwest

September 14 -- Premier Horgan uses LNG plant in Kitimat as example of progress
September 14 -- Premier Horgan addresses electoral reform
September 14 -- Municipalities asking for 50+ million dollars from pot sales

September 13 -- Reefer madness clouds UBCM
September 13 -- Province denies local governments ability to opt out of speculation tax
September 13 -- BC municipalities want convicted politicians removed from office
September 12 -- Provincial and Federal governments partner on new funds for small communities
September 12 -- Communities vote against open net salmon fishing in BC
September 12 -- Cell reception becomes discussion point at UBCM convention
September 12 -- Provincial government addresses speculation at UBCM convention
September 11 -- Minister of Transportation discusses ferry review with Masset Mayor
September 11 -- Provincial government partners with UBCM to increase availability of child care
September 11 -- Telus to offer cell service in Port Clements this spring
September 11 -- Housing costs steal the show during day 1 of UBCM convention
September 11 -- Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine one of 45 carbon neutral communities in BC
September 11 -- Better northwestern BC cell service wanted
September 10 -- UBCM Annual convention kicks off in Whistler Today
September 8 -- Local governments across BC to enter passenger service debate
September 4 -- Cannabis profits, electricity relief and criminal account on Terrace's UBCM agenda

August 30 -- Library support resolution to be considered next month
August 30 -- Village wants province to shoulder wildfire costs
August 29 -- Houston seeks support to expand Dungate Community Forest
August 22 -- Local governments across BC to enter passenger service debate
August 17 -- UBCM prepares 205 resolutions for meetings next month


From Around British Columbia

September 15 -- Why can't we all just get along?
September 15 -- City of Quesnel advances several agendas with provincial ministers at UBCM
September 15 -- Lake Country Middle school,  dams, Okanagan Indian Band land topics for UBCM

September 14 -- Resolution to petition to end time change passed at UBCM
September 14 -- Horgan urges Yes vote in electoral reform referendum, hints at Kitimat LNG plant
September 14 -- Moment has come to end daylight saving time in BC, officials say
September 14 -- Short-Haul busing a possible solution to Greyhound departure from Northern BC
September 14 -- District of Vanderhoof Councillor elected to UBCM executive board
September 14 -- Premier Horgan addresses delegates at UBCM
September 14 -- Horgan confident hurdles will be cleared to build Kitimat LNG terminal
September 14 -- Premier calls for ideas for protecting against BC floods, wildfires
September 14 -- City of Victoria wins environmental award for contentious bike lanes
September 14 -- BC cities vote to keep plastics out of oceans, nix single use items
September 14 -- BC's local politicians vote to keep fossil fuel efforts local
September 14 -- UBCM roundup: firefighting, opioids, disaster response, health care
September 14 -- Cannabis legalization, taxation, wildfires dominate local government convention
September 14 -- Horgan applauds Kamloops mayor for approach to wildfire crisis
September 14 -- Relief for BC renters on its way: Horgan
September 14 -- Horgan confident hurdles will be cleared to build Kitimat's LNG terminal
September 14 -- Kamloops City Councillor Arjun Singh acclaimed as new president of Union of BC Municipalities 
September 14 -- Dirty Dirt fight spawns CVRD resolution at UBCM

September 13 -- Singh acclaimed as President of UBCM
September 13 -- Open the door to short-term rentals, Airbnb tells municipal leaders
September 13 -- Communities across BC bring ideas to the table to fight social isolation
September 13 -- BC housing minister defends affordability promises in wake of 4.5% rent increase approval
September 13 -- Rent increase causes divide as BC housing minister, task force search for solutions
September 13 -- Municipalities ask province for help to deal with politicians facing criminal charges
September 13 -- City of Victoria applies for federal funding for Crystal Pool with the risk of losing $6 million Gas Tax Funds
September 13 -- BC communities call for wildfire prevention help
September 13 -- Wilkinson targets health care tax costs for municipalities
September 13 -- BC expects it will take two to three years for legal marijuana industry to 'mature'
September 13 -- Employer health, speculation taxes will put heavy strain on province: BC Liberal leader
September 13 -- Public officials shouldn't be kicked out of office for civil disobedience: UBCM
September 13 -- New funds support BC recreation, culture, rural communities

September 12 -- B.C. municipalities ask for power to opt out of speculation tax, finance minister says no
September 12 -- Municipalities vote in favour of changing BC speculation tax
September 12 -- Weaver outlines how he'd change NDP speculation tax
September 12 -- BC municipalities back Victoria's call for ban on disposable plastic packaging
September 12 -- Carole James unmoved by BC speculation tax concerns
September 12 -- Housing Minister Selina Robinson touts BC government housing programs
September 12 -- UBCM endorses Oak Bay motion to give municipal control over spec tax
September 12 -- BC cities formally call on province to replace Greyhound
September 12 -- Uber could be coming to Metro Vancouver, but on two wheels instead of four
September 12 -- Municipal leaders put pressure on provincial government to change speculation tax
September 12 -- West Kelowna mayor, council meeting with BC ministers at UBCM
September 12 -- Pot, taxes and Greyhound top issues as BC local politicians dig into policy
September 12 -- Hudson's Hope solar project wins UBCM Community Excellence Award
September 12 -- Mining association touts industry to UBCM delegates

September 11 -- Province partners with Union of BC Municipalities to create child care spaces
September 11 -- Province promises more childcare spaces for BC families
September 11 -- BC municipalities call on province to tackle real estate speculation
September 11 -- BC has four people enforcing ride-hailing ban for entire province
September 11 -- Passenger transportation board to allow taxi licensees  to increase fleets
September 11 -- Chilliwack mayor talks land ownership transparency at UBCM
September 11 -- West Kelowna meets with ministers at UBCM
September 11 -- BC municipalities call on province to tackle real estate speculation
September 11 -- Communities get provincial cash back for carbon neutrality

September 10 -- BC municipalities call on government to crack down on housing speculation
September 10 -- RCMP personnel shortage may spur closure of smaller detachments
September 10 -- UBCM opening act: how municipalities can improve relations with First Nations groups
September 10 -- BC government announces new wildfire prevention program focused on First Nations and local governments
September 10 -- UBCM convention kicks off with speculation, health taxes top of mind for municipalities
September 10 -- BC keeping purse strings tight as municipalities seek relief
September 10 -- Williams Lake Council and CRD in Whistler this week for UBCM
September 10 -- Chilliwack mayor talks Land Owner Transparency Act
September 10 -- Every municipality in British Columbia - in song 
September 10 -- Kamloops councillor poised to lead UBCM
September 10 -- Politicians set sights on housing speculation, not supply, at UBCM summit
September 10 -- Penticton council to lobby province
September 10 -- First Nations, cities both want share of coming weed taxes as BC renews reconciliation pact
September 10 -- BC to fund 100 per cent of municipalities wildfire prevention as blazes 'become fact of life'

September 9 -- Coquitlam remuneration resolution goes to UBCM
September 9 -- Councillor hopes UBCM delegates look at how elected official vote for pay hikes
September 9 -- UBCM stacks deck against salmon farming

September 7 -- Lillooet Mayor Looks to Province to reinstate Train system
September 7 -- UBCM to talk fires and floods
September 7 -- Municipalities seek 40 per cent of tax revenue from legal marijuana
September 7 -- UBCM convention goes next week in Whistler
September 7 -- Speculation tax, urban mining, cop costs among top concerns for Interior politicians
September 7 -- Local governments should get 40 per cent of BC's pot revenue: advocacy group
September 7 -- Keep pot tax local: UBCM
September 6 -- BC municipalities to mull request for 40 percent of province's share of cannabis tax revenue
September 6 -- Why OneCity thinks Big Oil should pay its fair share
September 6 -- Kamloops' mining resolution to be debated at UBCM convention
September 6 -- Summerland council to meet provincial representatives at UBCM convention
September 6 -- UBCM returns to Whistler next week
September 5 -- Vernon endorses climate action revolving fund policy and projects
September 5 -- New Westminster candidate sounds alarms about potential for record low voter turnout
September 5 -- City of Victoria pushing for BC wide ban on disposable plastic packaging
September 5 -- Water, education and wildfires topics for Lake Country at UBCM
September 5 -- CRD and City of Quesnel resolutions to be considered at UBCM convention
September 2 -- With Greyhound about to quit BC, Lillooet calls for return of passenger train service

August 30 -- Wildfires to be major issue at UBCM conference
August 30 -- Local leaders weigh in on booking proposal for Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
August 28 -- West Kelowna looks to amend development cost charges at UBCM
August 27 -- Municipalities say new B.C. employer health tax transition should be cost neutral
August 27 -- Squamish asking UBCM for help with concern about fake public hearing submissions
August 24 -- Wildfire mitigation on municipalities' minds
August 23 -- Payroll, speculation tax top municipal agenda for B.C.
August 23 -- UBCM debate may not be that healthy
August 22 -- A show of hands at UBCM on huge tax hike
August 21 -- Municipalities ask for changes to controversial BC speculation tax
August 20 -- Passenger rail service from North Vancouver to Prince George being considered
August 19 -- Pemberton wants B.C. government to consider reservation fees for some hiking trails
August 17 -- Lilloeet proposes provincial study for passenger rail line between North Van, Prince George
August 17 -- 10 topics at this year's UBCM you should know about
August 15 -- Conference resolutions reflect B.C. municipalities' cannabis concerns

Other items related to UBCM, as well as the work of provincial and municipal officials can be reviewed on our political Portal D'Arcy McGee

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

Wade Niesh, Barry Cunningham first of incumbents to declare candidacy for October 20th vote

At the August 20th City Council Session Councillor Wade Niesh
put his name forward for the 2018 Municipal election campaign

The call for nominations period is set to come to an end on September 14th, but for one Prince Rupert City Councillor the time to declare was last week, with Councillor Wade Niesh sharing his decision with Council members and the public at the August 20th Council session.

Mr. Niesh who is serving his first term of office, announced his intention to be a  candidate for Council in the October 20th Municipal election, making him the first of the Five sitting incumbent council members from 2014-2018 to formally advise of his plans.

He was followed two days later by Councillor Barry Cunningham, who made use of his Facebook page to announce his plans to seek another four years at City Hall, noting of his belief that the Mayor and Council have acted as a strong team since the 2014 election.

The remaining three council members and Mayor Lee Brain have yet to share their decision with the public, though in the case of Councillor Blair Mirau the decision on his political future could be made public following his late summer vacation plans, a process he outlined through his Facebook portal on Sunday.

While we await the decision of the remaining incumbents, one newcomer to municipal politics has already declared her intention to seek office, with Ms. Sarah Dantzer launching her candidacy last week, describing her political philosophy as that of a holistic environmentalist.

Sarah Dantzer is one of the early
candidates to enter the field
for this falls Municipal election

Active in a number of local initiatives, her most recent work in the community comes by way of the Overlook Community Garden, a program which she helped bring to the finish line earlier this month.

She provided a snap shot of some of her political concepts for CFTK's Helena Skrinjar.

You can review more on her candidacy for civic office from her Facebook page.

You can review the latest notes from the Municipal campaign trail from our archive page here.

Further items of interest from City council can be found on our Council Discussion page.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Bonjour, je m'appelle Don Krusel: Former Port of Prince Rupert President and CEO joins Port of Quebec City

Expansion is on the mind of the Port of Quebec, and a familiar name to
the North Coast will be helping them achieve their goals.

As things turn out, Don Krusel is not done just yet when it comes to building ports from scratch ....

Almost one year after his retirement and departure from the Port of Prince Rupert was announced,  former President and CEO Don Krusel is returning to the world of Global shipping, this time ready to help the Port of Quebec City to jump into the future with container shipping.

The announcement, which was made August 27th by the Quebec port, will see a  section of port land known as the Beaumont sector expanded and turned into a container handling facility to build a new deepwater container terminal.

Don Krusel will be helping to steer the Port of Quebec City towards a new
future in container terminal development, the former President and CEO
of the Prince Rupert Port Authority was named to the post of Managing Director
of the Quebec port's Container Terminal project this week

No timeline was revealed towards the project, but once completed, the fully intermodal will take advantage of direct access to major rail and highway networks.

Quebec City Port officials noted that the the Port of Québec is well positioned to serve as a gateway to the vast Great Lakes trade corridor, with the introduction of a new container terminal, the St. Lawrence River will finally boast a real alternative to the deepwater ports of the Eastern Seaboard.

The plans to create a container shipment terminal in Quebec City has parallels with the Prince Rupert development, with the new terminal proposal set to provide some competition for the larger and more established container facilities in Montreal.

Port President and CEO Mario Girard hailed the leadership that Mr. Krusel will bring to the Quebec City project.

“Bringing Don Krusel on board at this decisive phase in the project is a strategic move that will provide us with welcome high-level leadership. His reputation in the industry, his in-depth knowledge of port operations, and his commitment to the success of the container terminal are all major assets that will help us get Québec City’s deepwater container terminal built,” 

The move by the Port of Quebec is being hailed by industry observers as an impressive first step in securing the ports footprint in the global container industry, with many of the notices of his return to the business of building port facilities making note of his achievements in Prince Rupert.

Quebec port appoints Krusel managing director of container terminal project
Krusel selected to develop Port of Québec container terminal project
Appointment of Don Krusel as managing director of the Port of Québec's container terminal project

For notes related to Prince Rupert's gateway to the world, see our DP World Fairview archive page here.

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

Councillor Cunningham draws attention to missed opportunities on transparency for Council members

Some missed opportunities for transparency on City Council were the theme
For Councillor Barry Cunningham on August 20th

Despite a vow to provide for more transparency on City council from six months ago, Councillor Barry Cunningham provided a report card of sorts for council at the August 20th council session, suggesting that Council has missed the ball on their goal for 2018.

The Councillor called attention to a resolution from Council's February 26th session which had outlined the desire to implement an invitation schedule at Committee of the Whole meetings, for progress reports from local organizations and services.

"Councillor Mirau and I drafted this up together, we had some discussions about it and that, I think that it speaks for itself. The resolution is to bring funded societies, or organizations that we fund to Committee of the Whole to open it up for discussion. And I think it is something we should be doing so we can give transparency to the community. And let the community know what exactly is going on with these, I think it's a good start towards going down that road." -- Councillor Barry Cunningham in February of 2018 seeking more transparency for council sessions

At the time Council had developed plans for an invitation schedule for such groups and services as the Library, Airport, Lester Centre, RCMP, Fire Hall, Museum, Tourism Prince Rupert and Golf Course.

March 1, 2018 -- Council set to enhance role of Committee of the Whole Session with community group updates

Mr. Cunningham noted that it was now six months later and not one of the groups he listed had yet to appear. Observing that council introduced that plan to enhance on its goal of transparency for the public, he added that since there were now no more COW sessions planned prior to the October election, it was his hope that the next Council would embrace that goal of more transparency.

"I think it's part of this transparency that were trying to get out there, that is why I brought that resolution forward, and I just noticed, I was just going through some old notes, that in the last six months we haven't had one group, except for one that was specifically invited to come before council. I hope during the next council, as I don't think that we have any more COW's, that this resolution is respected and followed through" -- Councillor Cunningham, speaking on August 20th on a lack of follow up on council plans on transparency for 2018

For his part, Mayor Brain observed how he didn't know how that maybe fell off the radar, but that he would look into the issue further.

The themes of Transparency and accountability are often frequent campaign focus points as election years move towards voting day and as the Councillor noted in his short overview, they have been a council benchmark that has been missed more often than it has been delivered on during this four year term.

In the case of using the Committee of the Whole process to provide for more access for residents to Council proceedings, the past year has seen City Council explore a number of concepts for how they had hoped to see that process evolve over the last few years.

March 22, 2017 -- Agenda oversight? Public comment opportunity excluded at Council for second time in three months
May 26, 2017 -- Councillor Cunningham reinforces his desire for more information sharing with the public
September 7, 2017 -- Council cancels Committee of the Whole (and its public comment session) for September 11th Council Session
September 15, 2017 -- City Council is sliding backwards when it comes to civic engagement
October 19, 2017  -- Council to explore new areas for community involvement in Council Sessions
November 17, 2017 -- Council to hold to current process for Committee of the Whole; explore other engagement options as well
November 24, 2017 -- Prince Rupert City Council cancels final public session for November; third cancellation of a scheduled meeting for 2017

As 2017 came to an end, Council seemed to have settled on the status quo for the rest of the year and 2018, though not quite as effectively it would seem, as Councillor Cunningham might have hoped to see.

How the topic evolves into the soon to be launched 2018 election campaign may make for one of the more expansive talking points for those seeking to take their seats at City Hall following the October 20th vote.

The introduction of the theme to the August 20th Council session can be reviewed from the City's Video Archive starting at the fifty six minute mark.

For more items of interest from this months Council meeting see our Council Timeline feature, as well as our archive of notes from the August 20th session.

A larger review of Council Discussion topics can be found on our Council Discussion archive here.

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

City's Purchasing policies gain questions from Councillor Cunningham

How the city approaches its Request for Bids for services and goods made for a topic at the August 20th City Council session, with Councillor Barry Cunningham raising a number of questions with the City's Financial Officer Corinne Bomben.

The main thrust of his inquiries was whether the city approached its purchasing strategy by way of lowest price, or if it involves other factors for consideration prior to selection of the successful bids.

In response, the City's CFO outlined that cost and other qualitative factors were considered, including capabilities and letters of reference among the factors used.

Mr. Cunningham followed up with one final question on the theme, asking if local businesses were given preference if they are within a certain percentage of the lowest bid.

He was advised that it was not currently the city's policy.

You can explore the discussion further from the City's Video Archive, starting at the fifty four minute mark.

For more items of interest from the August 20th Council session see our Council Timeline feature here, or our archive of Notes from the session here.

A look at some of the past Request for Bids and final decisions on purchasing and service calls can be found from our archive page here.

A wider overview of City Council discussion topics can be found from our Council Discussion page.

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

Councillor Mirau asks for report on impact of MSP changes on civic costs

Councillor Blair Mirau is seeking a report from the finance department
on the impact to the City from Employer Health Tax changes

Prince Rupert City Council finally approached the topic of a change to the province's MSP program, one which could result in a significant financial hit for the City of Prince Rupert when it comes to the health care costs for civic employees.

Councillor Blair Mirau raised the topic at the Monday, August 20th session, asking for a report from the City's Financial Officer as to what impact the provincial change will have on the city, noting that a number of other municipalities have delivered a request of the provincial government for an exemption from the additional costs that the change may bring.

The change in policy came earlier this year with the creation of the NDP government budget planning, as Provincial Finance Minister Carole James indicated that British Columbia was set to follow the lead of other provinces in scrapping MSP payments.

Set to replace them with the Employer Health Tax which the Finance Minister described as a fairer system, Ms. James further expanded on the program in July

We first made note of the percolating issue and its potential impact on Prince Rupert at that time, noting how the provincial change could add to the growing list of irritants that City Council has been compiling when it comes to its exchanges with the provincial government.

To provide some further information on the issue, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities issued a report earlier this year, including a data base of economic factors that indicated that Prince Rupert would be in store for a string of increases over the next three years.

Prince Rupert

2018 cost -- $107,000
2019 estimate -- $394,000
2020 estimate -- $293,000

The UBCM background piece offered up a chart that outlined the funding options that are available to municipal and regional governments. Included was a mix of property tax increases and potential service reductions that would be required to meet the EHT requirements.

The UBCM has done some math for communities across
the province, highlighting the impact of a change in how
the province of BC collects employer health payments

With that information release from the UBCM, many communities had launched their own questions of the provincial government over the plan, with a number seeking similar exemptions as those offered to School Districts, Health Authorities, as well as to Colleges and Universities.

As well, many municipalities have questioned if the province's initiative to create fairness should come through the process of property taxation, which is how municipalities raise the resources for their operations.

And while a growing number of municipalities have been quick to action on the issue, Prince Rupert Council however seems to have let the issue slip through the summer, only now raising the topic for discussion.

Should Councillor Mirau and the others receive Ms. Bomben's notes prior to their departure for the UBCM gathering in Whistler from September 10 to 14, they may be able to use her talking points as part of their intercessions with provincial officials at the annual convention.

Mr. Mirau introduces the topic to Council at the fifty three minute mark of the Video Archive for the August 20th session.

For more items of note from the Council session see our Council Timeline or archive page for the August meeting.

Further background on financial issues facing the City of Prince Rupert can be found on our Budget and Taxation archive pages.

A wider overview of Council Discussion themes is available on our Council Discussion archive.

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

Ridley Expansion, potential sale of Terminal among themes for review by Council members

Representatives from Ridley Terminals outlined their expansion
plans for Prince Rupert City Council on August 20th

The August 20th Prince Rupert City Council session provided for another opportunity for the once delayed overview of the Ridley Terminal Expansion plans, with both President and CEO Marc Dulude and Corporate Affairs officer Michelle Bryant-Gravelle in attendance to update council on the work ahead to develop a second berth at the coal handling facility on Ridley Island.

The Ridley President and CEO, along with Ms. Bryant-Gravelle  offered up a thumbnail guide to the planned expansion project at the industrial site on Ridley Island, work which will include the addition of a second shipping berth southeast of the existing dock at the coal shipping facility.

The main focus of the proposed expansion is to provide for simultaneous loading of two vessels at the Ridley shipment site, as well as to offer RTI the opportunity to diversify its shipment of products to other commodities, though no outline of what those commodities might be was delivered at the August 20th update.

Background notes related to the planned expansion
of shipping facilities at Ridley Terminals

(click to enlarge)

In addition to a presentation on what the new facility will look like and the space it will take up on the Ridley waterfront, Ms. Bryant-Gravelle provided a look at the range of steps required before authorization for the project will be provided.

As for the timeline, consultation through a technical committee with First Nations is underway related to their expansion plans, after that step a decision is expected from the Federal Government by the end of this year or in early 2019.

Public input will be sought out once those steps are complete as part of the evaluation process. Two public Open Houses are planned for October of this year, one for Prince Rupert and one for Port Edward.

Five federal authorities are involved in the overview of the proposed expansion plans, with consultation and technical meetings already underway.

The trail of consultation and engagement that RTI will embark on
as it moves forward with its proposed
second berth at the shipment terminal

(click to enlarge)

The timing of the presentation to council, coming following news that the Federal Government is exploring plans to put Ridley Terminals up for sale also gave the city's elected officials a chance to weigh in with comments for the Ridley representatives on that theme.

In follow up comments, Councillors Thorkelson and Cunningham both expressed their concerns over the fate of the terminal should it change hands and move to the private sector, with both also suggesting one outcome could be the closure of the facility by a rival terminal.

Councillor Niesh inquired if it would go ahead should the Terminal be sold, with Mr. Dulude observing for  council that while those discussions continue, for Ridley it's business as usual and that the need for a second dock is something that Ridley needs to address in order to meet capacity requirements. He also noted how a second dock would assist RTI in its approach towards diversification into the future.

Councillor Cunningham, asked as to what other bulk commodities that Ridley may be looking to ship out of the Terminal facility, however the RTI President did not offer up any indication as to what forms of other commodities may be in the future for the terminal.

Mr. Cunningham also inquired as to how many additional jobs may be created by the expansion.

He was advised that from their current level of employment of 125 employees, an additional twenty five jobs will be created, with a dedication towards gender and origin equity employment to provide for a better representation of the local population.

Mr. Cunningham also complimented RTI for their community involvement, pointing out how Ms. Bryant-Gravelle has a strong presence in the community.

Councillor Randhawa asked for the timeline of the project and when the first ship will dock at the new terminal, he was advised that the hope is to have all ready to go by the first quarter of 2021.

In a follow up, Mr. Randhawa asked about taking advantage of training local residents for positions at the facility, he was advised by Ms. Gravelle-Bryant that RTI has a partnership with both SD52 and Coast Mountain College for training, while Mr. Dulude noted that Ridley was also providing resources towards robotics training in local schools.

Councillor Thorkelson had a number of comments related to the disposal plans both on land and in the water that will be required for the expansion project, she also offered up the strongest of council's concern at the prospect of the Federal Government selling the property.

Offering up her view that Council should take a stand on the potential sale, as they have in the past, noting that they don't really know who will be looking to purchase the terminal and what their plans may be, whether it be to operate the facility or to close it, offering up her concern on the issue, adding that the people of Canada subsidized RTI when it was doing poorly and now that it is on the cusp of moving forward the people of Canada won't get to gain the profits of the facility.

She would like to see the city put some pressure on the federal government to keep the facility owned by Canadian ownership, Mr. Dulude noted once again that for RTI the approach is business as usual and observed as to the consultation process and noted that any comments should be directed towards the Federal Minister.

With Council not quite clear on the timeline ahead for the potential sale of one of the regions' main industrial employers, the suggestion was that they keep in touch with the NDP MP for the region to keep the pressure on the Federal government to keep the industrial site in the hands of the government.

Skeena Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen has already taken the regional lead on the issue, having delivered a number of statements in recent weeks on the federal proposal and once again relaying his strong opposition to the federal government's plans.

You can review the August 20th presentation to Council from the City's Video Archive page starting at the seventeen minute mark.

More items of interest from that session are available from our Council Timeline Feature, as well as our archive of notes from the August 20th Council meeting.

A wider overview of Council Discussion themes can be found on our Council Discussion page.

Further background on developments from Ridley Terminals can be found on our RTI archive page.

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