Sunday, September 30, 2018

Blog Watching: Week ending September 30, 2018

Industrial development took the lead for the week as our notes on the development plan for the Vopak bulk fuels terminal attracted a large amount of viewers, looking to learn more about the two Open Houses that were schedules for last week.

Another industrial story that always attracts an interested audience is the Eagle Spirit pipeline and terminal proposal, and this week Eagle Spirit's Calvin Helin was making some news out of Calgary.

The final days of the Cruise season are almost upon us and as the last vessel call looms on the horizon in early October, Seaborn which is one of the dominant lines for the Prince Rupert industry announced their schedule for 2019.

Two items related to municipal politics caught the attention of our readers this week, with steady traffic reviewing our look at a lengthy presentation from Mayor Brain through the Northern View podcast this week, while a look at the theme of more transparency for council and how some of the Council candidates are exploring that narrative also resonated with readers.

However, the story which attracted the most interest through the week, explored the path ahead for a proposed bulk fuel terminal for the region, as Vopak hosted Open houses in Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

Vopak set to host two Open Houses on bulk liquids terminal proposal for Ridley Island   --  The Dutch proponent of a major bulk fuels terminal for the North Coast expanded on their plans and the process ahead with two Open houses this week.  (posted September 24, 2018)

That article was followed by:

Seaborn Sojourn already making plans for 2019 cruise season   -- As the 2018 North Coast Cruise season comes to its end, one of the major cruise lines that calls on Prince Rupert is already planning out the schedule for next year. (posted September 25, 2018

The Victory Speech he won't have to make: Mayor Brain's Northern View podcast moments   -- With the announcement of his acclamation now behind him, the Mayor took advantage of twenty four minutes of the paper's podcast to outline some of his political themes.   (posted September 27, 2018)  

Making note of current Trans Mountain turmoil, Eagle Spirit's Calvin Helin once again points the compass towards the North Coast   -- While attending a major oil industry convention in Calgary, Eagle Spirit's CEO kept the profile of their north coast oil pipeline and terminal plans on the radar for oil executives and politicians    (posted September 26, 2018

Calls for more transparency could cover many themes if Council candidates are inclined to discuss the issue on Monday night -- Some familiar words are finding their way into the lexicon of the 2017 City Council race, we took a look at how the candidates may wish to address the goals of accountability of Council and more transparency of its work.  (posted September 28, 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, September 29, 2018

Prince Rupert gathering to honour stolen sisters to take place tonight

One of the signs that have been prepared for tonight's
gathering in Prince Rupert.

(Honouring our Stolen sisters Facebook page)

Residents of Prince Rupert and area will have an opportunity to remember the missing and murdered women of the Highway 16 corridor known as the Highway of Tears and across Canada this evening, as a local group prepares to hold a vigil along McBride Street across from the Prince Rupert Civic Centre.

The commemoration event, one of a number to be held across the province is known as " Honour our stolen sisters MMIW", with those wishing to take part asked to gather at the parking lot of the Lester Centre at 6:30PM.

Prince Rupert's Lester Centre is the gathering spot for tonight's
remembrance of Murdered and Missing Women 

Participants are asked to wear red, with plans to line both sides of the highway and bridge area near the Civic Centre, with drummers invited to be part of the gathering of remembrance.

A Facebook page created for tonight's gathering has more details, as well as photos of some of the preparation work that has gone into the remembrance.

Participants are planning to line McBride street near the Civic Centre
as part of the night to Honour our stolen sisters

To this point of their planning, 91 people have indicated through the Facebook forum that they plan to attend.

The province wide plans come as Smithers RCMP continue their investigation into the circumstances of the death of Jessica Balczer, a young First Nations woman from the Bulkley Valley.

For more items of interest on community events on the North Coast see our archive page here.

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

Friday, September 28, 2018

Rampage return to ice battles this weekend, as 2018-19 CIHL schedule gets underway

The ice is fresh and the players raring to go as the CIHL prepares to launch the 2018-19 season, with the Prince Rupert Rampage and Kitimat Ice Demons getting the spotlight, with the two Northwest teams the only ones in action as part of  Week One play.

The Rhinos start the season on the road to Kitimat tomorrow, with a Saturday night match up with the Ice Demons at Tamitik, the season opener set for a 7PM puck drop.

Saturday night marks the first of fourteen games for the CIHL teams in 2018-19, with the five member clubs on the road for seven and hosting visitors for seven as the five member clubs look towards playoff positioning and the chance to contest for the Coy Cup.

Rampage fans who subscribe to CityWest Cable can follow the hometown squad on the road this year, with tomorrow nights game the first of six Rampage games to be aired on CityWest's HD 310 and SD 10 channels.

More background on the CityWest schedule can be reviewed here.

Next week the Rampage return to the road, helping Terrace to open up their season with a Friday night showdown at the Terrace Ice Arena.

The home opener for Prince Rupert comes one night later, with the Rampage hosting Kitimat on Saturday October 6. 

The Rhinos home ice debut is scheduled for a 7 PM start.

The full Rampage schedule for 2918-19 and our look ahead to this season can be reviewed here.

You can follow the Rampage through the year with our Results page, which features the game sheet results from each match up, when available.

For more items of interest about the Rampage and the CIHL see our archive page here.

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

Orange the colour of the day as Prince Rupert and area observes Orange Shirt Day

At schools across the city and North coast region, students, teachers, staff members and parents are taking to the spirit of reconciliation by wearing Orange shirts, part of the annual campaign of remembrance for those who attended Indian Residential Schools in Canada.

The actual calendar day for the commemoration this year falls on September 30th, which is a Sunday, so in order to mark the event for this year, the schools of SD52 have been hosting events through the day today, with some of the student activities being shared through the SD52 twitter feed.

Individual schools across the SD52 system are also sharing some notes on today's events, you can check out the school nearest you through the SD52 website.

The community has also taken up the spirit of the day, sharing their support towards Orange Shirt Day with many wearing orange to work, or while on their daily activities.

Orange Shirt Day has its roots from a commemoration event of 2013, held to honour the survivors of residential schools and their families in the Williams Lake area.

September 30th became the day that was chosen for what has became a national event of remembrance, inspired in part by the story of Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation elder Phyllis Webstad. 

As a young girl in 1973,  the then six year old girl had her orange shirt taken way from her on her first day of attendance at St. Josephn Mission residential school in the central cariboo city.

Some background to her story and how the day of remembrance has evolved can be found here.

More items of interest from School District 52 can be explored here.

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

City Council's work on marijuana issues for Prince Rupert to resume in October

With legalization of marijuana across Canada fast approaching, Prince Rupert City Council is set to deliver some of their work on how the City of Prince Rupert will approach the issue, with plans in motion to outline the city's framework plan as part of their October Council meeting.

Mayor Lee Brain provided the heads up yesterday, while appearing on the Northern View podcast, though he didn't really tip the city's hand all that much during the appearance.

Mr. Brain noted that much of the discussion thus far has taken place during in camera  (closed) workshop sessions of council, though the Mayor did offer up notice that some of the results of that council work will be delivered following Thanksgiving.

The Mayor also stressed that just because cannabis will be legalized on October 17th, that doesn't mean that would be retailers can automatically open a business on that date.

He noted that there will be a range of federal and provincial regulations to navigate, with the Mayor also observing that council hopes to have a process and framework for the municipal plans in place by the end of December.

Council next meets in public session on October 9th, the final gathering before the Civic election that could change some of the faces around the Council chamber.

At that session, Rupertites may learn more about the city's focus when it comes to marijuana use in the city and the commercial opportunities that could be made available, as well as what further community engagement that the city has planned.

Until Council meets on the 9th, or more notes on the plan are shared prior to the Council session, you can review the work that City Council explored towards the issue last year below:


December 11 -- Council to host Public Hearing on Marijuana zoning prohibition tonight
November 14 -- Council to hear request to extend Marijuana Operations prohibition Bylaw until July 2018
March 23 -- Council takes note of complaints related to Medicinal Grow Op Smells
February 8 -- Public Hearing offers community feedback as Prince Rupert Council moves forward on marijuana plans
January 6 -- Prince Rupert Council to tackle issue of Commercial Marijuana Dispensaries at Monday Session

For more items of note on City Council Discussion topics see our Council Archive page here.

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

Calls for more transparency could cover many themes if Council candidates are inclined to discuss the issue on Monday night

With the candidates settling into their pace for the next five weeks of electioneering some are beginning to put out some campaign feelers on where they sit on a number of issues and one of the current ones appears to be a familiar campaign theme of a call for more transparency.

The drum beat of Transparency, accountability and other similar themes seems to be heard quite loudly prior to the election cycle,  though as time moves forward, that beat becomes a little less audible once the team has been assembled in Council chambers.

That was the case in 2014, when many of the candidates made sweeping commentary about those themes, the rather large number of closed council meetings and civic work down outside of the public eye.

October 13, 2014 -- Platforms, Platforms, Platforms
September 15, 2014 -- More transparency, more town halls the call from the Lee Brain campaign

However, over the last four years those closed meetings have held to pretty well the same pace of the previous council, this year standing at 12 and counting.

The in camera workshops have grown in number and more and more often, the work of council is delivered by way of a social media announcement or press releases and not through the public forum of a Council chamber.

As well, even when council sessions take place in public session, as we noted earlier this month, the amount of time spent in the Council chamber has at times been of limited duration, ranging from a low of nine minutes to the longest session of the year of 80 minutes.

And even with that reduced work load, at one point at the start of the year, the original council schedule had cleared the Council chambers from September through to November,  a calendar change that would have seen but 11 public sessions for the year, something that Council wisely chose to revise, expanding their Council duties later in the year.

Council sessions that last less than half an hour, (540 seconds in one instance), can hardly offer up the chance for much in the way of civic debate, let alone transparency or accountability.

With the pattern of the last year one that would seem to indicate that the bulk of Council's work is now done in camera and far beyond the overview of a public session.

Just one example of how much of that work has been taken on behind closed doors, comes from the decisions related to Watson Island, where the City went from an original plan of selling the industrial site, to now becoming landlord of a Logistics terminal.

The topic and Council's new approach was not raised once in public session until the final decision had been made, the Council session but one of the launch forums for the city's newest adventure.

Whether one believes that the Watson decision was right, or wrong, something of such consequence for the city and its taxpayers probably should have been subject to some vigorous discussion in public, so as to allow for some transparency on how council went about its work to take on such a commitment.

The same could be said for the work of the Legacy Corporation and its use, another civic instrument which we rarely learn much about.

To be fair, a few of the council members have tried to introduce elements of more transparency, though as the four year mandate moved forward, those efforts appear to have drifted away, the ambitions perhaps still there, but lost among the many other agenda items competing for attention.

Councillor Cunningham lamented as much earlier this month, when he observed that his long advocated quest to have civic groups, as well as city departments and services appear in front of council to provide regular reports, never did seem to gain much traction through the last four years.

It's been a long running theme for the councillor who brought the topic up for attention earlier this year exploring how he would like to see Council address the issue.

Mr. Cunningham also has been the strongest advocate for the continuation of the Committee of the Whole process, which offers the residents the only opportunity, once a month (when Council choose to put it on the agenda) to address issues of concern and raise them publicly with their elected representatives.

In the last few years, council has floated the idea of making some changes to that one element of public conversation and accountability that the city's residents have access to.

However, so far, Council has not made any modifications to that access,  with Mr. Cunningham looking to keep the current process as it is and expand on what it can offer the public.

And while it is true that the Committee of the Whole opportunity often goes by without contribution from residents, the ability to appear in front of Council is something that should always be welcomed by Council members.

In May of last year, Councillor Mirau also took note of some concern in the community on the number of closed meetings that the city holds, following up on his original thoughts, later that month with a blue print of sorts of how he would like to see Council address the issue.

Councillor Mirau also explores the theme through his campaign website, making accountability and more public communication part of his enhancement plans for Accountability.

Among his current campaign notes, there is a desire that Council be held to account more than once every four year election cycle, though he hasn't outlined in any detail what form of accountability that vision might provide for.

The opportunity to expand on that concept and any others will be available to Mr. Mirau and all the other candidates this Monday, when the City Council election forum takes place at the Lester Centre.

Some other possible elements that council hopefuls may want to explore further at the Monday Forum could be:

Dedicate themselves to pushing forward Councillor Cunningham's plan for more accountability through reports to City Council

Less reliance on closed council sessions and faster delivery of information to the public from those that they believe they have to hold.

Listing how each council member votes on issues that are considered at the Council Sessions.

Making public the expenses recorded by Council members and senior staff both in town and while travelling on city business.

Taking advantage of the Committee of the Whole Process to better engage with the public and to help increase awareness of the work of City Council.

Go on the record for the public as to whether they want to keep the Mayor's position as that of a full time one with the current salary level in place 

And how the new council will approach the loss of the tax free portion of their salary from the new Federal tax legislation

Some residents may have their own ideas on transparency and accountability as well, Monday offers up the chance to put the council members to the test on their dedication towards the theme.

The doors open to the Monday evening forum at the Lester Centre at 6:30.

For some further notes on the 2018 Civic and School District Election see our Election page here.

A wider look at some of the past City Council Discussion topics can be found from our Council Archive page here.

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

Pacific Salmon treaty agreement heads to U.S., Canadian governments for final approval

While it seems of late that Canada and the United States can't seem to agree on much when it comes to bi-national issues, on the theme of salmon, it appears that the two sides of the border are of the same mind.

After some extensive negotiating sessions over the last two years, representatives of the two countries have completed their work on a new Pacific Salmon Treaty, with the document set to provide for limits on fishing for the next ten years.

The eight members of the Pacific Salmon Commission, four from each nation, along with their alternates released the details of their agreement on September 17th.

The proposed agreement covers highly-migratory salmon stocks from Cape Falcon in Oregon to Southeast Alaska in the north and includes Pink, Coho, Sockeye, Chum and Chinook Salmon.

Among the changes recommended by the commission are new conservation objectives for several salmon populations, as well as a renewed commitment to science and stock assessment to inform decision makers in both countries. 

The proposed agreement also includes harvest reductions for Chinook fisheries in both countries that will help protect stocks while providing sustainable harvest opportunities for First Nations, Indian Tribes, as well as commercial and recreational fishers in both countries.

The proposed agreement has now been referred to the two governments for their legal review and ratification through formal diplomatic channels.

A look at some of the research and other findings of the Commission can be explored further here.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen has greeted the news of the agreement positively and was encouraged by the work that was completed, calling on the Federal government to accept the findings and move forward on the agreement.

“The sustainability of wild salmon stocks is a huge issue for many communities and governments must step up to the plate and work collaboratively to protect these species. We need co-operation if we want to protect our fisheries,”

“It’s good that representatives from both countries have created a plan to manage Pacific salmon. Now the Canadian government must step up and accept the agreement. This agreement will require all jurisdictions to accept a reduction in the number of fish that can be harvested,”

If the agreement is approved, the new conservation  sharing agreement will come into effect on January1, 2019 and remain in force through to December 31, 2028.

For more items of note on the North Coast Fishery see our archive page here.

Some background on the work of the House of Commons can be found from our House of Commons archive, a wider overview of events out of Ottawa is available on our D'Arcy McGee portal.

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

Watch the pumps! As weekend arrives, price of gas starting to shoot upwards

Update: By Noon Friday, all of Prince Rupert's gas stations had settled on the 1.36/lire price point.


Stand by for some sticker shock ...

Prince Rupert motorists may want to do a little comparison shopping on gas prices today, as the first indication of a possible price jump goes on display on the city's east side.

On Thursday evening, the Hays Cove Petro Canada posted a price point of $1.47 cents per litre, making for an eleven cent jump from what has been the most recent pricing for the city.

A tour of the city's downtown gas stations this morning shows that as of 8:30 AM they had been holding to the $1.36/per litre mark.

That $1.36 price point has also been maintained at the Petro Canada station in the Industrial Park as of this morning.

However, now we cue the suspense music, as drivers were taking to the roads this morning, a number of gas tankers began to circle the city, like sharks awaiting their feeding frenzy ....

Motorists will have a better idea as to how the weekend price may look a little later today, once the tanker fleet has replenished the stocks and made their way back east.

For a guide as to what may be coming our way, below are the latest price points from the Gas Buddy website for Terrace, Smithers and Kitimat.

For more items of note on the Highway 16 corridor see our archive page here.

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

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Metlakatla Treaty update sessions continue tonight

Tonight marks the second of four consultation meetings with members of the Metlakatla First Nation, with officials from the Metlakatla Treaty office available to provide an update on the state of negotiations between the community and the provincial and federal officials.

This evenings engagement event takes place at the Highliner Inn, with dinner set for 5:30, the update will follow as part of the evening's agenda.

Such was the interest in this evenings session that the capacity for the venue had been reached, which has led Metlakatla officials to ask those that reserved a spot, but may have changed their plans to contact the office so that they can open up spots for those on the wait list.

The first engagement of the current sessions, took place in Metakatla on Monday.

The two remaining sessions take place in Prince George on October 3rd and Vancouver on October 4th, offering an opportunity for the Metlakatla membership outside of the North coast to receive the latest notes on the three party discussions.

More notes on the current engagement process can be found here.

The Metlakatla First Nation website offers up a range of material on the Treaty process as well as a comprehensive timeline of the History of Tsimshian people.

Updates on tonight's event can be found on the Metlakatla Facebook page.

More of our past items of note on issues and events in Metlakatla can be found from our archive page here.

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

The Victory speech he won't have to make: Mayor Brain's Northern View podcast moments

Mayor Brain shared his
plans for the future as
part of a Northern View
podcast today
Having found himself at the head of the City Council table for another four years through acclamation, Mayor Lee Brain doesn't have much in the way of campaigning to do this October, with the City Council race set to take up the bulk of the attention on the way to October 20th.

Still, if you have all those campaign notes at hand and are chomping at the bit to share some of the plans for the future, getting an opportunity to take part in the weekly podcast of the Northern View was a forum that Mr. Brain wasn't going to let slip by.

The Mayor is the only guest and his commentary the only focus for the twenty four minute presentation on the paper's online video project for this week, the early part of the appearance for the most part a Hays 2.0 lite review, with Mr. Brain recapping many of the elements of the Spring time presentation at the Lester Centre.

However, there were a few updates on recent themes to be shared with the Northern View's Shannon Lough, with Mayor Brain relaying his talking points towards issues of infrastructure, Watson Island, the ongoing concerns of the Port Tax Caps and the Ridley Island tax sharing agreement with Port Edward among the main items of focus.

 A new RCMP detachment is still
on the city's to do list
for the years ahead
The infrastructure review featured many of the elements from the Lester Centre presentation, the various water projects, the road concerns, plans for sustainability and environmental issues as well as the need for an RCMP building, Mr Brain noting that the city has two sites in mind for the future detachment.

As for finding the resources to address all of those many challenging items, the Mayor called attention to the approach that City Council has taken towards Watson Island and its redevelopment, with the Mayor noting that they hope to attract both capital and operating funds through the industrial site, in order to not put those funding burdens on the taxpayer.

As part of his review of the pulp mill site, he reflects on the past legal issues related to it, as well as making note of the cost of 90,000 dollars a month that the city faced at the time. Though he didn't expand on themes of the current cost to the city, if any, that may be required from the civic treasury for the sites operation and expansion plans.

Mr. Brain also notes that much of the time and focus of city staff over the last few years had been directed towards the strategy of hanging on to Watson Island, rather than towards the idea of selling it for a one time payment, with the path forward seemingly one of hopefully collecting on leasing payments from proponents.

He also observes that the city hopes to get more proponents to the site, but didn't elaborate too much, nor was he asked, as to whether there have been any other expressions of interest beyond the current Pembina proposal.

Rethinking what makes for the
downtown core is a project
that the city will tackle
in the year ahead
The theme of the state of the city's downtown area also makes for some of the Mayor's presentation, with the Mayor observing that with the decline in the city's population and shrinking commercial sector, it is time to reconsider what is actually thought of as the downtown core, pointing to the Redesign Rupert program as the vehicle for that initiative.

Among the ideas being approached is to condense the downtown core, with council to rethink how they and we view the downtown section of the city. The work on those elements set to take place with local partners, it is also an issue that the Mayor noted that Councillor Mirau's Small Business committee has been exploring.

The issues of the Port Taxation Cap remain a priority for the City, with the Mayor observing on his talks at UBCM with the Province, which he is hopeful of seeing some  positive movement towards, the resolution of the issue one which he describes as something that would be a transformational thing.

As for the state of the negotiations with Port Edward on the Ridley Island Tax Sharing agreement, the talks apparently are still ongoing, managed through the services of the Province of British Columbia. The Mayor recapped many of the city's concerns when it comes to contributing to twenty five percent of the Port Edward budget, observing that this year it made for a 900 thousand dollar cheque.

Beyond the amount of money that the city has to transfer each year, the issue that seems to be of most concern to the city is how Port Edward does not contribute to any of the city's shared services, with the mayor listing off the Airport, Library, Museum and Lester Centre as the shared services that make for Prince Rupert's argument.

Towards the city's goal on the issue, what the Mayor wants is what he describes as a fairer arrangement between the two communities.

The City would like to see a renegotiated deal when it comes to the amount of money that the city forwards to the district, as well as for Port Edward to sign onto a shared service agreement, something he says will allow both communities to move forward together.

The Mayor also observed as to the kind of council he is hoping to share the Council chamber with after the October 20th vote. With Mr. Brain suggesting that what City Council really needs are people that may have different and diverse views, but are also willing to collaborate.

He offers up his opinion that people who just see things their way, bang a desk and can't compromise or see things another way, are people who never really accomplish much as they become a one man, or one woman show.

How commonly held concepts of vigorous open public debate on the issues, or expression of alternative views on civic initiatives at Council sessions meshes with this desire for consensus and collaboration, will be something that that the next council collective will have to try to navigate one imagines.

If the last four years are any indication, much of that discussion will take place in the closed sessions and workshops outside of the public council sessions.

In recent years, the Regular sessions of the Council chamber have been a place where council members rarely debated the pros and cons of the large issues facing the community, for the most part leaving those discussions outside of the public meeting format held every two weeks.

When it comes to the formation of Council for the next four years ahead, the Mayor is hoping to see collaborators on council who will work for the common good of the community, something he states the current council has done.

He further offers up the view that voters should be looking for those same traits in the current list of candidates, looking for people who want to collaborate, listen and do things, as well as see the reality of the situation and build partnerships.

The frequent use of the word collaborator makes for an interesting choice, one that seems to suggest that those that may find themselves elected to office, as well as those who cast a vote on October 20th, will want to shape their decisions in line with much of the Hays 2.0 plan that seems to be the Mayor's guiding document for the years ahead.

The podcast appearance also makes a little news on the upcoming plans of Council to address the legalization of marijuana, and while he didn't disclose all that much on what the future may hold for Prince Rupert, the Mayor noted that Council will discuss the topic and outline the city's framework on the issue at its upcoming council session in October.

You can settle in here for the full twenty four minutes of what probably would have been his campaign stump speech from the Northern View website.

With the Mayor scheduled to be part of Monday night's City Council Candidate Forum, some of the themes of the podcast appearance may also make for some of the discussion to come, as Prince Rupert's residents head for the Lester Centre to learn more about those seeking office.

For some background on the Council year that is coming to its end next month, see our Council Discussion archive here.

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

CN Rail observing Rail Safety Week

This week has been Rail Safety Week across North America

With but one rail crossing within the City of Prince Rupert limits, the potential for incidents between motorists and trains is somewhat limited, however with a very active waterfront rail yard and a corridor of transit, and multiple crossings through the District of Port Edward, Rail Safety is a prominent concern for both communities and the railway.

It's an issue that has been the focus for CN Rail this week, with September 23 to 29th declared as Rail Safety Week across North America. 

As part of the program towards safety around railroad tracks and yards, CN Rail is asking residents of the communities it serves to take the Rail Safety Pledge, offering up a multi media presentation to deliver the message of rail safety.

The 360 degree experience provides information for both Pedestrians and Motorists, highlighting the dangers for both when it comes to transit across and around rail infrastructure.

As part of their Safety campaign, CN makes note of the large volume of rail crossings that still exist across Canada and the US, as well as the number of accidents that have taken place.

A strong part of the focus is the issue of trespassing on Rail property, a situation which frequently brings CN Rail police officers to the Prince Rupert and Port Edward waterfronts to remind residents that the rail yard and tracks are not available for public access, as well as to the dangers that the shuttling of engines and their cars along those tracks can bring.

The attention towards that concern has grown over the last few years after a number of incidents in Terrace where deaths have resulted as a result of pedestrians walking on rail property.

Stephen Covey, CN's Chief of Police and Security addressed the national issue with a statement that delivers on the themes of Rail Safety Week.

“Too many people die while trespassing on railway property and those fatalities are entirely preventable,”  ... “These tragedies can be avoided by staying off railway tracks and by simply obeying crossing signals. With Rail Safety Week coinciding with the back to school period, we are encouraging parents and teenagers to change their train of thought and be safer around trains.”

As part of their Rail Safety campaign, CN is looking for Rail Safety Ambassadors as part of their Operation Life Saver program, you can learn more about that initiative here.

More background on the week long focus on Rail Safety is available here.

For more items of interest related to CN Rail in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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

October heralds changes for Northern View

The Northern View is making a
few changes to its delivery
options next week
For those faithful readers of the Northern View that pick up their paper and its flyers at a news stand, a change is gonna come, with this the last week that the paper will be available at those locations in its current free distribution model.

Over the last few weeks, the paper has been making note of a number of changes that they have set to go into motion starting with the October 4th edition.

Starting next Thursday, copies of the paper that are available at news stands around the city will be on a pay per copy basis, our survey of news stands advising that the new price per copy price point is to be set at one dollar and fifty cents.

There are also changes in motion when it comes to the distribution of the paper in areas outside of the city, with the Northern View citing increased mailing costs, to advise that they will no longer be offering Free delivery in Lax Kw'alaams, Kitkatla and Hartley Bay.

Those living outside of the immediate Prince Rupert area can receive the paper through a subscription program, with four tiers of payment offered for a 52 week subscription:

Northwest BC $40.50, Seniors in Northwest BC $30.00

Out of area subscriptions will be set at $98.80

The subscription rate for sending the paper to the USA is set at $230.62

The current model of Free home delivery to residences or apartments in Prince Rupert and Port Edward will remain as it is, with the weekly review of events arriving at your home location every Thursday.

The distribution shift comes following a significant makeover for the Northern View which took place in August, with the paper changing the design of its print edition towards a tabloid format, adopting a look that is somewhat similar to that of the Vancouver Province.

The latest changes for the Northern View's print version model come as the paper continues to morph towards more of an online focused delivery system, with video clips and features becoming prominent aspects of their final product.

For more items of interest related to the media in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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

Prince Rupert's Presbyterian Church among those on the "Watch List" for Heritage BC

Prince Rupert's Presbyterian Church on Fourth Street East
has been placed on Heritage BC's Watch List

The provincial organization that is dedicated towards protecting British Columbia's heritage has compiled a list of properties across the province that it considers at risk and of significant historic and cultural value to the fabric of the province, with the North Coast finding itself part of their focus for the fall of 2018.

As part of an ongoing project, Heritage BC has compiled what it is calling its "Watch List" which identifies sites that are currently affected by threat of inappropriate alterations, neglect or demolition and among the entries for 2018 is a landmark building in Prince Rupert, the Presbyterian Church on Fourth Avenue East.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this year, the Church brought 93 years of service to the Prince Rupert area in May, that after declines in the numbers of the congregation made it impossible to keep the doors open.

The decommissioning service of May 29th, the final celebration for the building in the community.

Shortly after the doors were closed, the For Sale sign went up, with the building listed as part of the local real estate listings, the property listing still an active one, with an asking price of $540,000.

The potential for sale and potential alteration, something which has clearly caught the attention of Heritage BC.

The background story to the building and the issues that it raises for Heritage BC can be reviewed below:

The Heritage BC entry on Prince Rupert's
Presbyterian Church

(click to enlarge)

As part of their overview of the Presbyterian Church selection for inclusion on the Watch List, Heritage BC notes that the City of Prince Rupert did pass a bylaw in 1991 that designated the church as a heritage site, but also calls attention to some recent changes in the city when it comes to watching over those heritage sites such as the historic Church overlooking the downtown area.

In their documentation, Heritage BC also observes that  the City does not currently have a commission, committee or bylaws in place that could guide possible heritage altering renovations proposed by a new owner.

The City's Heritage Committee which consisted of Chair Rhoda Witherly, along with Judy Warren, Heather McLean, Alison Brunnelle and David Archer stepped down from its duties back in February of 2015, though not without a few parting notes for Council to consider.

At the time, Committee Chair Rhoda Witherly,  offered up three key recommendations for the current City Council to consider when it comes to heritage in the community.

Review and update the City Heritage inventory document (a project which could require at least 8 to 10 thousand dollars in funding)

Establish a Heritage Commission pursuant to Part 27 of the Local Government Act.

Encourage the formation of a Society specifically charged with maintenance and preservation of Pillsbury House.

At the 2015 Council session where the Heritage Committee stepped down, Mayor Brain and council noted that they would be developing plans towards forming a new Heritage commission, three years later however, there does not seem to have been much momentum towards that goal so far.

The concerns for preserving the heritage of the city, perhaps a bit lost in the shuffle with Council's ongoing focus on the future, though there have been a few glimmers of hope for attention towards some of our history. That as the city works through the growing list of planning projects and workshops on future development that have been delivered over the last few years.

The lack of oversight on heritage issues in Prince Rupert at the moment is probably a worrisome trend for Heritage BC, which may give them some interest in reviewing more of the city's buildings for future reference and potential addition to the Watch List in the months ahead.

As part of the focus of their work on issues of provincial heritage, Heritage BC notes that nominations for the Watch List can be made throughout the year, with a submission form available here.

One site that they may wish to flag for future interest is the old VIA/CNR Rail station on the waterfront, a building that has been of note for the city over the years, but continues to sit abandoned with little in the way of attention or progress found as of yet.

June 2018 -- Plans for waterfront eyesore on mind of Councillor Cunningham
February 2017 -- City to hear of grant opportunity related to former VIA/CNR Rail station at Rotary Waterfront Park
February 2017 -- Waterfront landmark looks for a little TLC and a new chance to serve

You can review the full Heritage BC Watch List for 2018 here.

More items of interest on community issues can be found on our archive page here.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

First Timers Hockey returns for new season at Jim Ciccone Civic Centre

Many Canadians learn their hockey skills almost from the day they first come home from the hospital, the path of learn to skate, timbits and Minor Hockey charting the course for a life long love of Canada's game.

Others though take a little longer to learn the game and to hit the ice and in Prince Rupert one option for those new to the game comes from the First Timers Hockey program at the Civic Centre.

This years First Timers Hockey season is about to launch with registration now underway for those looking to take their first skate into the sport.

The program consists of no contact hockey, with ice times split up between scrimmages and organized games.

Participants have to be over 18 years of age and must supply their own full gear in equipment.

You can learn more about the program and register for it at 250-624-6707, if you require more information on the program you can also contact the recreation department at

More on the program can be explored on the Recreation Department facebook page

As the fall season gets underway, you may find more updates on the program from the First Timers Hockey League website

For more items of note on adult recreation hockey notes in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

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

Adult Amateur Hockey on the North Coast

Our archive of notes for 2018-19 for the various hockey leagues above the Prince Rupert Minor Hockey Association level on the North Coast.

For PRMHA notes see our Minor Hockey archive here.
For the Prince Rupert Rampage see our archive page here.

Prince Rupert Old Timer's Hockey League



November 2 -- Prince Rupert's Old Timers take to the ice this weekend for Carlo Paolinelli Memorial Tournament  NCR

Men's Recreational Hockey League


Prince Rupert First Timer's Hockey League

Facebook page


September 26 -- First Timers Hockey returns for new season at Jim Ciccone Civic Centre  NCR

If you are involved with Adult Amateur hockey on the North Coast and wish to share news of your league drop us a line at  or through our twitter portal at @CharlesMHays

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

Metis Rights and Reconciliation session takes place Thursday in Prince Rupert

As they prepare for more engagement with the Federal and provincial governments towards reconciliation of the issues of concern for Canada's Métis Nation, the British Columbia group is on a tour of the Northwest seeking input from the Métis of the region.

The BC organization started the tour yesterday in Smithers and today will be Terrace at the Happy Gang Centre from 11 AM to 1 PM and 2 until 7PM.

Tomorrow the journey takes them to Prince Rupert with sessions planned for the Highliner Inn and Conference Centre, like the Terrace event, the sessions take place from 11 AM to 1 PM and again from 2 PM to 7PM.

Among the themes that Métis BC are looking to explore with residents are:

Recognition of s.35 Rights and Self Determination
Reconciliation with the Province of British Columbia
Citizenship Registry and Community Acceptance
Duty to Consult

They will also be discussing the Metis Nation of BC Budget legislation.

All those of Métis ancestry are invited to take in the session.

To learn more about the Métis BC nation see their website which features a wide range of material related to the work of the organization and the issues that they are exploring.

The MetisBCNation Facebook page also provides for current activities and topics of interest to the community.

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

Making note of current Trans Mountain turmoil, Eagle Spirit's Calvin Helin once again points the compass towards the North Coast

As the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau tries to find its path to deliver the Trans Mountain pipeline to the finish line in Burnaby, a proponent of another project is suggesting a course change, with the Eagle Spirit pipeline proposal now being offered up as solution to the need to get Alberta oil to global markets.

With the backdrop of the International Pipeline Conference and Expo in Calgary as the stage, Calvin Helin, the President of Eagle Spirit, spoke to the theme of the Eagle Spirit pipeline proposal. Noting in a number of interviews that in his view, should the Federal government back off of its plans for an oil tanker moratorium on the North Coast, that the Eagle Spirit plan, to ship oil to global markets from a terminal on  the North Coast, would have few troubles in passing any National Energy Board review issues.

A declaration that perhaps might be a tad optimistic on his part, particularly given some of the dedication towards an Oil tanker moratorium that has been found on the North Coast and the previous opposition to the Eagle Spirit plan that has been found across the region.

Beyond the Eagle Spirit reaction, just taking a quick review of how the recent environmental assessment process for a number of Prince Rupert area LNG projects went forward might offer up a sample of some of the push back that lays ahead as Eagle Spirit continues to move its initiative forward.

As those that followed the LNG process will remember, those engagements came with a number of submissions in opposition to the proposed development plans of the last few years and engaged the community on both sides of the issue in full and sometimes emotional debate.

By the end of the LNG reviews through 2015-2017, Prince Rupert had seen three proposed projects abandoned, one eliminated before the process even got underway, with one other currently in a long term slumber at the moment.

For Mr. Helin though it's all systems go in his push to deliver what he is now calling a multi-pipeline energy corridor. 

Some of his confidence towards the Eagle Spirit project is its focus on shipping by pipeline upgraded bitumen, and not raw bitumen from a facility in Alberta, hailing the process that is to be used by RII North America that reduces the amount of CO2 from the environment.

Which is something that the Eagle Spirit CEO notes will mean no tailings ponds, with the facility  making use of recycled water, reducing the environmental footprint that the processing may deliver.

In an interview with BNN-Bloomberg TV on Tuesday, Helin recounted some of the past history to the Eagle Spirit plans and how he notes that the environmental model meets all the concerns of the chiefs and the environmentalists.

As part of the Eagle Spirit path ahead, Helin observes that the company has met with the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, with plans in motion to meet with BC.

Hew also notes that the Eagle Spirit objective is to have an accord signed between the Indigenous leaders of the Chief's council and the three provinces, something he believes is realistic and possible.

Mr. Helin also turns the tables on the Federal government to a fashion, calling attention to the Federal government's bill C-48 banning shipments of Oil from the North Coast.

Helin suggests that much like the Trans Mountain pipeline process which was taken to task for lack of consultation with First Nations; the oil moratorium push from the Trudeau Liberals also came without consultation with the First Nations that are among those in favour of the Eagle Spirit project.

While a Go Fund me initiative to fund a challenge to the Federal legislation seems to have stalled,  towards those concerns he also makes note of the moves by the Lax Kw'alaams community in  seeking to quash the bill if it becomes law, adding that other First Nations in Northern BC and Alberta may be filing their own writs.

Mr. Helin also observes that Eagle Spirit will also be appearing as part of the Senate Committee Review that is currently underway related to Bill C48, with the company looking to find support in the Senate to stop the bill.

He also reviews the fall back plan that Eagle Spirit has, which would be to shift the terminal location to Hyder, Alaska leaving it the Federal government to take up any shipment concerns with the US government and the Trump administration.

The full BNN interview can be reviewed below:

Eagle Spirit Chair on what's new for the pipeline proposal
Eagle Spirit president says pipeline from northern Alberta to Prince Rupert could win NEB approval

You can review some of the past items of note related to the Eagle Spirit proposal from our archive page here.

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