Sunday, March 31, 2019

Blog Watching: Week ending March 31, 2019

First Nations government across the region figured large in the weeks news flow this week, as three of our five most read stories feature some background to initiatives or measures from area  Councils.

A look at a proposed Industrial park development by Metlakatla topped the review, while notes on opposition from Lax Kw'alaams  to a DFO decision to open a herring fishery opportunity on the North Coast also attracted a large volume of readers.

Also of interest, was word that Lax Kw'alaams had joined in on court proceedings against some proposed permit requirements that the provincial government is looking to put in place on large scale resource developments, such as the Trans Mountain pipeline and other developments.  Those plans found the Lax Kw'alaams Band Council joining the legal challenge of the NDP government, questioning if the province has jurisdiction and how it could impact on a range of energy related projects that the community may wish to pursue.

Resource development was also the theme of the week at the Legislature as debate began on the NDP government's Bill 10 which is designed to help develop an LNG industry in the province.

Prince Rupert City Council's Monday session brought a presentation from the Prince Rupert Environmental Society and our look at their notes on rail dangers and rail noise in the community found a large readership for out notes.

However the top story of the week, was one that offers up some competition for the City of Prince Rupert's Watson Island Inter Modal terminal, as Metlakatla reveals their plans for a large scale port related warehousing project of their own for land adjacent to both Ridley Island and the Fairview Container Terminal.

City Council to get look at Metlakatla Development plans for South side of Kaien Island --  With the Metlakatla First Nation about to gain a large tract of land on the south side of Kaien Island from the provincial government, a request for zoning changes to the land provided Prince Rupert City Council with a first look at the major development plans that the Metlakatla Development Corporation has for the land.      (posted March 25 , 2019)

That article was followed by:

Herring opening for Prince Rupert area spawns action from Lax Kw'alaams  -- A decision by DFO to allow for a commercial harvesting of spawn on kelp herring this week send the Lax Kw'alaams Band Council to action taking to the water with a flotilla in the fishing grounds to express their opposition to the DFO announcement      (posted March 25, 2019)

Council hears range of Rail Safety Concerns from local organization --  The issues railway safety and railway noise were just two themes that Des Nobels and Colleen Fitzpatrick of the Prince Rupert Environmental Society brought to the attention of Prince Rupert City Council members   (posted  March 27, 2019)

Lax Kw'alaams to test BC government jurisdiction over energy projects  --  The Lax Kw'alaams Band Council joined the province of Saskatchewan, the Federal Government and other participants in a court hearing related to the plans by the BC Government to seek permitting for major projects. With Lax Kw'alaams expressing concerns over how the Province may be out of is jurisdiction when it comes to their plans   (posted March 29 , 2019)

Ghosts of Pacific Northwest LNG project floated in Legislature debate this week  --  As the week came to an end we put some focus on a few of the notes from this weeks debate on Bill 10 in the legislature, which the NDP has introduced to address issues with the LNG industry. From the discussion of the week, Green Leader Andrew Weaver and Skeena MLA Ellis Ross both took very different approaches to the debate. While on Wednesday, Liberal MLA Todd Stone  reviewed some of the background to the Pacific NorthWest LNG days, including a thought that one day the project may yet move to the development stage.  (posted March , 2019)

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.

As well, those who use Twitter can get updates as we post new items from our twitter feed

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching can be found here.

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

Saturday, March 30, 2019

MLA's Week: March 25-28, 2019

MLA's returned from their Spring Break of two weeks to take to the debate on LNG, with the NDP moving forward its legislation of Bill 10 this week.

The North Coast was also a featured location for some of the themes of debate on that legislation, with Liberal MLA Todd Stone making the region the backdrop to a lengthy portion of his presentation on the topic of Wednesday

Ghost of Pacific Northwest LNG project floated in Legislature debate this week

For the North Coast and Northwest, a few announcements outside of the Legislature also found some space in the news flow of the four days of legislature work.

The province outlined the details for funding and its Northern Capital Fund which will distribute some 100 million dollars in one time funding to 22 municipalities in Northern BC.

The Province also delivered some much needed funding for Search and Rescue groups across the province, including those in the Northwest.

This week also found BC Ferries moving forward on the plans for additional service for coastal communities previously outlined by the province, with the new schedule in effect for many runs as of April 1st, though with some delays for the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

BC Ferries routes to see service increases as of April 1st


North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice had a fairly quiet time in the Chamber with one presentation on the week from Monday morning.

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

On the week, Ms Rice was listed twice on the accounts of the sessions of the Legislature from March 25 to 28

For her only contribution to the debate of the week, the North Coast MLA spoke to issues of opportunity for Indigenous Communities on Monday morning, a private members motion introduced by Skeena MLA Ellis Ross.

Ross/Rice return to Legislature work with differing views on Indigenous engagement in BC

Ms. Rice also provided introductions for guests in the gallery on Wednesday afternoon, welcoming Samuel Schooner the chair of the Central Coast regional district, and Courtney Kirk CAO for the Central Coast regional district. Both are from the Nuxalk territory in the Bella Coola Valley

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

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

Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs


For our readers from the Terrace-Kitimat region, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross had a few mentions in the Legislative listings as part of this weeks session .

The Skeena MLA explored a few themes in the Chamber this week, speaking to his motion of introduction on Indigenous Opportunity on Monday and on the NDP Government's Bill 10 on Tuesday afternoon.

Ross/Rice return to Legislature work with differing views on Indigenous engagement in BC

Missed opportunities of the past, frame the Bill 10 discussion For Ellis ross in the Legislature this week

The Skeena MLA also delivered some short notes on the theme Heritage Conservation as part of the Monday session (see Legislature archive at 1640 mark)

A visitor to the gallery also was made note of by the MLA, with Mr. Ross asking the Legislature to welcome Kieran Christison from Terrace representing Daybreak Farms in the Northwest, as part of his introduction the Skeena representative paid tribute to the memory of her father who passed in the past year.

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

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

The Skeena MLA is also a member of the Special Committee for Review of the Police complaint process, you can follow their work here.

There is more background on both the North Coast and Skeena MLA's available from our MLA's Week Archive, as well as our constituency archives below:

North Coast constituency

Skeena and Stikine Constituencies

The Legislature returns to its work on Monday, April 1st, 2019.

The full schedule for the Legislature for 2019 can be viewed here.

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

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

Missed opportunities of the past, frame the Bill 10 discussion for Ellis Ross in the Legislature this week

MLA's from all parties spoke to the theme of the NDP's Bill Ten this week, legislation that is designed to help push forward the LNG industry in the province by way of tax

As we outlined yesterday, Liberal MLA Todd Stone, a member of Christy Clark's Liberal government during the formative days of the LNG industry spoke to some of the past in his presentation this week, spending a fair portion of his presentation on the days of the Pacific Northwest LNG proposal and his travels through the region at the time.

Tuesday had seen the start of the debate and for the most part it was Andrew Weaver's show, the Leader of the Green Party, who is staunch opponent to any LNG policy, whether delivered by Liberal or NDP government, spoke at length about his concerns for the current direction that the NDP is taking towards the development of the industry in the province.

The LNG has long been one of Dr. Weaver's strongest debate topics during his time in the Legislature and his presentation recounted many of his previous themes and flagged a number of areas where he and his party take a very different path from the governing Liberals.

Tuesday also saw Skeena MLA Ellis Ross join the debate on Bill Ten starting his presentation with some focus on the past, noting how delays and backlash against development of the industry some of which he assigns to the now governing NDP, served to push British Columbia behind the development curve, ceding opportunity to the United States and other nations.

This is exactly why LNG got stalled, and this is why Kinder Morgan could get stalled: because of the misinformation, the propaganda machines and protests. Even NDPers showed up on protest lines. They signed anti-LNG petitions. I even asked a high-profile NDPer if they would come to Kitimat and actually distinguish between PNW in Prince Rupert and Kitimat. I didn't see that NDPer for another year. They would not support it, because in principle, they just did not support LNG. 

The Hansard record shows this in a debate in 2015 in the summer session. I read those comments. Two weeks of debate. Some of the members are still sitting on that side the House. I heard the member, the Leader of the Green Party, mentioning all the hypocritical statements that were made. I read that in the record. You even read it in the newspapers.  You can still google it. 

To say that now there's a turnaround and all those comments are now history…. No, those words meant something back then. They heightened the opposition to LNG. They heightened the misinformation. It heightened the hostilities on the blockades. It emboldened more people to come out and protest and set up blockades

As has been outlined before, the Skeena MLA is fully supportive of the LNG Canada proposal for his riding and particularly towards the job creation that it will provide for the region and his home community of Kitamaat Village and for the Haisla Nation.

The Skeena MLA does however have some concerns with the way that the NDP is approaching their new legislation  and called for more transparency from the government in how it handling the LNG file in the province.

I still support LNG. I still do. It is the future of my riding, and it's the future of B.C. It's the future of Canada. In fact, I want to continue supporting LNG, but as an MLA, I also have a job do on behalf of my riding, and on behalf of British Columbians, for that matter. The large part of my job down here in Victoria is to hold the government accountable. For that, I will need to see details of the agreement signed between the NDP government and any major project developer as outlined in the legislation. 

I do acknowledge the government's decision to repeal the LNG income tax. But I don't understand why the NDP government does not want to provide disclosure or transparency to this Legislature, to the people of B.C. I do not understand that. I do not understand why they want to repeal the legislation that forces them to bring agreements in detail to this House in the same manner that the PNW agreement was brought to this House in the summer of 2015. For two weeks, it was debated here. 

Why do we not do this for the LNG Canada agreement? I also understand why this LNG income tax was put in, in the first place. It was to ensure that B.C. molecules for natural gas were actually used instead of Alberta natural gas or instead of Saskatchewan natural gas, because in the end, it means revenues. Now if you take away this income tax, I want to know from the government: what is the protection or assurances that B.C. LNG gas molecules will be used for the export to Asia?

The apparent change of direction on LNG from the governing NDP flowed through much of the Skeena MLA's presentation, who frequently noted the missed opportunities and time lost in the years previous.

It's politics. But given their true nature and the importance of LNG to B.C., why did they not consider the impact their statements would have on people like us living up in the north who are trying to revitalize our economies and trying to keep our families at home for work? This is on top of the efforts of First Nations who, for the first time, were equal players at the table with government and industry. 

It's very discouraging to know that the people that were making these comments had no interest in what the people of the north were thinking or feeling at the time and didn't really care about northern communities like Kitimat or Terrace and what this would mean to us. An economy that was actually celebrating the modernization of an aluminum smelter — that was our claim to fame. That's what got us out of our stagnant economy. 

So LNG, over the process of 14 years, was actually starting to become a reality. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then we started to see the opposition to it in 2015, officially, in this House. 

 I still support LNG, but the details have to be verified. I still believe if there's a lot of members in this House that are going to vote on this in principle, why wasn't this principle developed five years ago? That first window of LNG opportunity could have been ours. It could have been B.C.'s. 

Instead, we turned this over to the United States. We turned it over to Australia, to Qatar. Everybody took advantage of it, because they knew they had to strike while the iron was hot. Not B.C. Just because of the politics and misinformation. Louisiana. Instead, what we had was members of this House helping to shape a misinformed opinion of LNG in B.C.

The full presentation covers much more material from addressing poverty in the communities of the Northwest to carbon tax concerns, you can review the debate from the Legislature archive here, starting at the 1600 minute mark.

You can also view the days debate, which included extensive comments from the Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver from the Chamber Video for Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Weaver's lengthy overview starts at the 1:30 PM mark, while Mr. Ross joins the debate at 4PM

For more items of note on the work of area MLA's at the Legislature see our archive pages below:


North Coast

More notes related to the LNG Canada project can LNG in British Columbia can be found here.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Ghost of Pacific Northwest LNG project floated in Legislature debate this week

Todd Stone recounted some of the Liberal government's  engagement
with the North Coast during the earl days of LNG development, the Liberal
MLA spoke Wednesday as part of debate related to the
 NDP Government'sBill 10 to create Tax Credits for LNG companies

MLA's took to the debate this week on themes related to Bill 10 which the NDP government is moving forward as the LNG Canada project continues to make its forward momentum towards development.

The Bill is designed to provide for a Natural Gas Tax Credit for qualifying corporations

As part of the discussion through the week, Former Liberal Transportation Minister Todd Stone spoke to some of the atmosphere for potential investment that had been found not too long ago in the Prince Rupert area that made for the background to the now canceled Pacific Northwest LNG project.

Framed as part of the current progress for the development of the LNG Canada project in Kitimat, Mr. Stone first paid tribute to the work of then Haisla Chief Ellis Ross, who now sits as a Liberal MLA for the Terrace-Kitmat region.

Underlying those negotiations, underlying those tough moments of back-and-forth and underlying those many moments, I'm sure, of the member for Skeena, his colleagues, negotiating team and his people wondering if any of these projects would ever happen, if they would ever be able to actually realize the potential on behalf of their kids and grandkids…. It's all coming to fruition. 

 I again want to thank the member for Skeena for the leadership, the vision and the unwavering commitment that he has demonstrated to not just his people but to all Indigenous people and, indeed, to all British Columbians, that, again, the best poverty reduction plan strategy to meet the objectives of a poverty reduction plan is to have people working, to create good-paying jobs for people.

The Prince Rupert and area focus came about midway through Mr. Stones  expansive address to the Chamber on Wednesday afternoon, in among some of his themes was an interesting observation as to how the Pacific Northwest eventually did not move towards development ... but then offering up the added note that perhaps one day in the future it may move forward

Now this brings me to, again, my time in Transportation and spending a lot of days and weeks up in the northwest and along Highway 16 and in Terrace and Kitimat and right through to Prince Rupert, meeting with mayors and councillors, meeting with First Nations chiefs and councils, and being introduced to their communities, and being told over and over again the realities that they were experiencing in their communities, which was generally no growth. 

That was generally reflected in their young people graduating high school and then leaving town, leaving their community. It was largely reflected in small businesses struggling to barely make ends meet. It was largely reflected in walking down through downtowns like in Terrace and certainly in Kitimat and Prince Rupert — and every second or third door or window reflected a vacant space because the town had clearly seen better days — and talking to these folks about what life will be like when these kinds of projects finally get the go, when people are finally put to work and when people can finally see that there is a reason to be hopeful and optimistic about the future in their particular community. 

I remember going in to meet with the Lax Kw'alaams. It's a nation about 30 kilometres north of Prince Rupert. I believe I visited there first in July of 2015. I was there, again in a context of good faith on behalf of the province, to announce a number of projects we were partnering on with the Lax Kw'alaams. I remember the journey in, on Tuck Inlet Road. It was a gravel road, but it was pretty dusty. It was full of potholes. The bridges were one-lane bridges. You really didn't want to probably go over them at night, certainly not in fog. It was a challenge to get goods, not to mention their people, in and out of their community on a reliable basis. 

We were there to work in partnership with them, which resulted, in part, in a sweeping benefits package, a benefits deal, that was signed. We were there to announce that Tuck Inlet Road would be paved, and it has been. We were there to announce enhanced ferry service for the ferry that takes people to the start of Tuck Inlet Road. 

Those improvements were all made. I remember talking to the mayor of Lax Kw'alaams at the time. He was trying to express to me how important those infrastructure investments were for his people. He was trying to impress upon me the importance that jobs represented to his people. He said: "Let me take you down to the fish-processing plant, and you'll see what opportunity looks like." So we did, and there were a whole bunch of his people working hard, making some good money. He then took me to the recreation centre. I was immediately struck. It was this beautiful building, complete with basketball courts and a huge swimming pool that rivalled anything that I had seen in my own community in Kamloops. 

This was, again, a small community of barely 3,000 people. He said: "You know, those jobs helped pay for this swimming pool." The swimming pool was important because, frankly, as he said to me — and this is me paraphrasing: "We had a very serious issue of suicides, our youth in our community, because our kids were hopeless. Their parents weren't working. The kids had nothing to do." They had tried all kinds of different things, but the community made a big, bold decision in supporting his idea to put this rec centre up and this pool. He said: "You know, the best part of it is when those doors opened, in the several years since, we haven't had a single suicide in our community." 

That's the value of people working. That's the tangible benefit represented in investments in a community that are possible because people are working. That's how you can change lives in a community, a remote community. 

Now, of course, that particular project, didn't go — Pacific NorthWest LNG. It may still one day. 

It didn't go. It's unfortunate that it didn't go. But I use that experience that I had in that community to reflect the experience that I had in so many First Nation communities and non–First Nation communities throughout the northwest, as just a way to underline the importance of moving ahead with these kinds of projects, the importance of doing what it takes to ensure that there are projects like these that will provide good-paying, family-supporting jobs, particularly in rural and remote communities across the province.

Stone wrapped up his thirty minute presentation with some thoughts on the path ahead for LNG development in the province and the importance of the moment that the industry offers ahead.

Last but not least is the issue of transparency. We will be canvassing very thoroughly in committee stage the rationale in this bill for basically eliminating the requirement to bring an agreement like this one to the floor of the Legislature in its entirety for all MLAs to see and all British Columbians to see. We believe, as a fundamental principle, that that requirement for transparency is important and must be respected. 

That is why we brought forward the Pacific NorthWest agreement into this chamber, and it's why we think that this agreement with LNG Canada and any subsequent agreements should also be brought before this House.  

With that, I say this is an important moment for British Columbia. We've got to get this right. I am proud to have long supported the LNG industry. I look forward to the debate that's going to take place in this House in the coming days and weeks of this particular bill with respect to LNG Canada's project.

The full presentation and other discussion themes on Bill Ten for the day can be found from the legislature Archive here. Mr. Stones comments commence at 16:30PM.

The Liberal MLA's extensive notes can be viewed from the Legislature Video link starting at the 16:30 PM mark.

For more items of note from the Legislature see our archive page here.

Needle concerns in Port Edward

The District Council in Port Edward has called attention to an issue of concern in the community when it comes to the safe disposal of discarded needles, with the District noting that their public works crews have discovered a growing number of needles discarded throughout the community.

The notice for residents to be more cautious towards the disposal of needles was posted to the District Update for March (available here)

As the District notes in their advisory, Northern Health does offer a container program on the North Coast to provide for the safe disposal of needles in the region.

One idea that Port Edward or Prince Rupert community groups may want to follow up on is a program in Terrace that has been funded by Northern Health's Imagine Grant initiative.

In the Terrace case, The Terrace Clean Team addressed discarded needles and such by creating a clean up team which used Safe Injection Boxes and puncture proof gloves through funding from the grant.

Terrace Council explored the needle issue extensively last year and their findings make for an interesting look at how the issue has been handled across the Northwest.

More on the Imagine Grant program can be found here.

The Northern Health Unit is located in the Ocean Centre on the Third Avenue West Side of the building, you can also contact them at 250-622-6380.

For more items of interest from the District see our archive page here, while further background on Northern Health can be found from our Health Archives.

Port Edward names Interim Chief for Fire Department

The Port Edward Fire Hall, home to the District's Volunteer Fire Department

With Shawn Pettit having stepped away from his duties with the District of Port Edward after thirty years, the District's Volunteer Fire Department will be turning to Jason  Giesbrecht to take on the duties of Interim Chief.

The announcement of the temporary move, comes as part of the District's March update now posted to the Port Edward municipal website.

In the update, the Mayor and Council pay tribute to the work of now former Chief Pettit pointing to his professionalism over the last three decades as he steered the Volunteer Department through many challenging times and fire fighting experiences.

In addition to working emergency situations in the District, the Port Edward Volunteers also respond to calls for assistance along the Highway 16 corridor.

You can find some of their work over the years as part of our accounts from the files of Northwest Emergency Responders.

Money for Diana Lake, promise of update on Ridley Tax Dispute among notes from Port Edward update

A number of notes for Port Edward residents have now been made
available through the District's website

March apparently was a fairly busy month for the District of Port Edward, with a number of files taking up some of their time and making for a slight delay from Mayor Knut Bjorndal when it comes to the Update for residents posted to the District website.

Among one of the notes of interest for the community was some background on a recent presentation from Ridley Terminals to the District, with 79,000 dollars to be directed towards improvements at Diana Lake Park, which the District notes will help to restore the popular spot for use by the region's residents.

The District has also found an interim Fire Chief to take over from thirty year veteran Shawn Pettit who stepped aside earlier this year, with Jason Giesbrecht to take on the Fire Chief position on a temporary basis.

Residents have been advised that recycling is now taking place twice a week in the community, with pick ups arranged on Tuesday and Fridays, as well taxpayers were reminded that the District utility bill is due for payment by March 31st, with a ten percent discount for those who pay their bill on time.

The update also called attention to  a pair of issues of concern for the community, with a call for residents to obey the posted speed limits in the District as well as  for more attention to the disposal of needles around the District.

One other item offers up a somewhat mysterious note to the usual fare of the monthly update format, with Council making note that Prince Rupert and Port Edward have been in discussion surrounding the Ridley Island Tax Dispute, though how far along they may be towards a resolution to the long standing dispute isn't offered up as part of the March update

The one line teaser comes as part of the undated March review for Port Edward residents, which was recently posted to the Port Edward website.

Port Edward and Prince Rupert have been discussing the Ridley Island Tax Share Agreement. A press release will be made in the next week outlining the status of our conversations.

So far, there has been no press release posted to the Port Edward portal to provide for further details for residents related to the District's view on events through the month of March.

In addition to the ongoing dispute over the Ridley Island tax issue, the two communities recently were having some troubles when it came to a mutual aid agreement for the two Fire Departments.

As regular readers of the blog will recount, the ongoing discussions have been at times an acrimonious affair, spilling out into Social media on a number of occasions as Prince Rupert and Port Edward officials traded off accusations.

While we wait for further updates from either the District of Port Edward or the City of Prince Rupert, a look back at some of the history of the Ridley dispute can be found here.

Second Retail Cannabis location forwarded to the Province for final determination

Prince Rupert is one step closer towards retail sales for cannabis
with the City of Prince Rupert forwarding an application for a
store in the old Manson's Jewellers location to the province for action

Prince Rupert residents patiently awaiting the arrival of retail options for the purchase of cannabis are getting closer to some kind of an answer, with two applications now in the hands of the Provincial regulator for final approval.

At Monday evening's City Council session, Prince Rupert Council approved the application from Clarity Cannabis for a proposed retail store on Third Avenue West, to be located in the old Manson's Jewellers storefront.

At Monday's session the City's Manager of Community Development Hans Seidemann provided one final look at the application for Council prior to their vote, making note that the city had received only three responses to the request for comments and that the applicant had compiled with all of the requirements that the process calls for,

Councillor Nick Adey added some insight into the process as well, noting that the duty to consult with the public is that of the proponent and not the city's and how all the proper steps had been taken.

You can review Mr. Seidemann's report from page seven of Monday's Agenda, and view his presentation to Council below, starting at the 56 minute mark.

The Clarity Application joins that of The High Culture Shop as awaiting final approval from the provincial authorities, though a timeline towards when that decision is expected is not known.

Both proponents are hoping for a quick approval process in order to launch their commercial plans for the region.

You can examine some of the documentation related to the two applications from the City of Prince Rupert website here.

Further notes on the arrival of the Cannabis industry on the North Coast can be explored from our archive page.

Earth Hour arrives Saturday, but will anyone remember to dim the lights?

As it prepares to celebrate its twelfth anniversary, proponents of Earth Hour may be facing a bit of a lackadaisical reaction to the world wide quest to raise awareness to climate change and draw attention to the impact of it to wildlife across Canada and around the world.

The annual observation of Earth Hour is scheduled for tomorrow evening from 8:30 to 9:30 , with global participants preparing to power down for one hour to make their contribution towards sustainability, though if the results of last year an indication, the dedication is not what it once was.

In a report from BC Hydro prior to the 2018 edition, the hydro utility discovered that British Columbians still are inspired by Earth Hour, putting some of that inspiration towards turning off a light or two seems to be a bit of disconnect as the participation rate tumbled significantly from but five years ago.

A survey recently conducted for BC Hydro found that while 7 in 10 British Columbians say they are going to participate in Earth Hour 2018, actual participation has been on a steep decline in recent years. In 2008, the first year that Earth Hour went global (2008), British Columbia responded with enough lights turned off for one hour across the province to reduce B.C.’s total power use over 60 minutes by 2%. But on the tenth anniversary of the global event in 2017, B.C. reduced its consumption by just 0.3% (or just 15% of the savings in 2008). 

While it may seem natural to conclude that a drop in participation in B.C. means British Columbians are less concerned about the environment, the declining Earth Hour participation numbers are not necessarily an indication that British Columbians are not concerned. In fact, the survey conducted for BC Hydro found that 79% of British Columbians think Earth Hour is important. And those surveyed are still interested in conserving electricity; they just have a different motivation than those living in other jurisdictions.

The full review from BC Hydro makes for an interesting read into how British Columbians approach their conservation efforts and what they would like to see for the future.

For those looking to re-dedicate themselves towards sustainability initiatives, Saturday provides for the launching  point to get the British Columbia participation rate back up to the early days of the movement's success.

Hosted by the World Wildlife Fund, the Earth Hour website provides some background on history of the event, as well as some helpful hints on how you can expand the program in the community.

You can follow Earth Hour around the world through social media, with the Earth Hour twitter feed  and Facebook page just two options for the latest notes on how the hour is being recognized world wide.

Stories and contributions are also being provided through the thread of #Connect2Earth

Fairview Terminal adds ZIM shipping line to list of marine carriers

A New Container service has started  to service Fairview Terminal

The Prince Rupert Port Authority, Fairview Terminals and CN Rail all welcomed the arrival of a new marine carrier to the North Coast this week, as the Israeli Shipping line ZIM began its service with an inaugural call on March 27th.

ZIM has partnered with the 2M alliance to serve Prince Rupert as part of its service to and from Asia and beyond. The ZIM containers arrived aboard the Maerskl Altair as part of its recent port call in Prince Rupert.

"We are very glad to add Prince Rupert to our growing portfolio, as part of our renewed Asia-Pacific North West services, in addition to our other Pacific North West (PNW) gateways. Our strategic cooperation with the 2M Alliance allows us to offer our customers the premium solutions and the unique advantages the new Prince Rupert call can provide," -- Nissim Yochai, ZIM EVP Pacific Trade

The ZIM service marks the forth weekly service for the Port of Prince Rupert. It came about following a January cooperation agreement between the Israeli carrier and the Maersk and MSC lines.

The addition of another major shipping line that is set to make use of the Prince Rupert Gateway will serve well to continue to raise the profile of the Fairview Terminal, which continues to work towards further expansion of its footprint on the Prince Rupert waterfront.

It's expected that by 2022, Fairview will be able to handle up to 1.8 Million TEUS of intermodal capacity, an expansion of service that will provide employment benefits across the entire Northwest corridor as more and more goods arrive and depart from the Port of Prince Rupert.

The announcement from ZIM has been noted by the Industrial press that serves the shipping industry, with a number of articles making note of the impact that another line making landfall in Prince Rupert will have.

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services' new call to Port of Prince Rupert
ZIM"s New Call to Port of Prince Rupert
ZIM begins marine carrier service at Port of Prince Rupert
ZIM Integrated Shipping Services' new call to Port of Prince Rupert

For more items of note related to the Port of Prince Rupert see our archive page here, further background on Fairview can be explored here.

BC Ferries Northern routes to see service increase as of April 1st

The Prince Rupert Terminal for BC Ferries is about to get a little bit
busier, as the Ferry Corporation follows through on provincial plans to
add to the number of sailings in and out of Prince Rupert

BC Ferries is taking the final steps required to fulfill the recent direction from the Provincial Government to provide for more expansive Ferry service on a number of Coastal runs and for Prince Rupert that means an increase in service for two routes that depart and arrive from the Fairview Terminal.

According to an update from BC Ferries from yesterday, the additional service will be in effect system wide as of Monday, though the Northern launch has a few issues to sort out:

Port Hardy - Mid-Coast - Prince Rupert
Haida Gwaii - Prince Rupert

Click on the above to connect with the schedules as of April 1st

Looking further ahead towards the busy summer season, BC Ferries however had a bit of bad news for the North Coast, with vessel refit and recruitment plans preventing for the addition of more service at the start of the summer.

Towards addressing some of the travel concerns for the 2019 season the Ferry Corporation is investigating the possibility of extending the summer schedule further into the fall this year.

BC Ferries also notes that even more service increases are to be added to the Prince Rupert to Port Hardy run for 2020.

On Haida Gwaii, the planned service increase for the Alliford Bay - Skidegate route will be on hold for a little bit longer. The increase to the schedule means that BC Ferries must secure another full crew for each day, as the route will change from a 12 hour per day to a 16 hour per day operation.

BC Ferries notes that they have commenced with the process of recruitment and relocation plans for staff members, they will keep the local ferry advisory committee up to date on the progress of their plans to increase the service.

You can review more background on the announcement for all 10 of the routes set to see additional service as of April 1st here.

For more items of interest related to Ferry transportation on the North Coast see our archive page here.

Rampage bow out at Coy Cup

The Prince Rupert Rampage quest for the Coy Cup has come to an end, with the Rhinos on the outside looking in for the final two days of the Senior Men's Tournament.

A 4-1 loss Thursday afternoon to the Dawson Creek Canucks sealed their fate, leaving the Rampage with an 0-3 record in the round robin format, with Dawson Creek moving on to today's semi-final with their victory.

In their previous two games the Rampage ran into some tough competition with both the host Fort St. John Flyers and Williams Lake Stampeders offering little room for Prince Rupert to make charge and as it is in a round robin event, if you fall behind early in the week it becomes harder and harder to climb back into the hunt for the playoff round.

While the Rampage did manage to find the net, their opposing teams were able to do the same with more frequency and the Rhinos never quite seemed to be able to slow down some of that push that found them falling behind.

The month long  break between the CIHL championship and the Coy Cup also appears to have taken a toll at times on the energy level.

By comparison the Peace teams had been playing hockey through much of March, with Dawson Creek for instance stepping into the Coy Cup after but a few days of competition in their own league finals, something which went a long ways towards keeping their skating legs fresh for this week.

The Rampage record at the 2019 Coy Cup was as follows:

Prince Rupert 1 -- Dawson Creek 4

Prince Rupert 4 -- Williams Lake 7

Prince Rupert 3 -- Fort St. John 8

The host team from  Fort St. John would appear to be the favourites to claim the Coy by the end of Saturday night, they have had an impressive week of round robin play, putting together a 3-0 record along with 20 goals for and but 8 on the against side of the ledger.

They will await the winner of tonights Williams Lake - Dawson Creek matchup which will determine who moves on to the Saturday night finale for the 2019 edition of the Senior Championship.

You can review the flow of the tournament through the week from our archive page here.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Port of Prince Rupert makes plans for close to 12,000 guests for 2019 Cruise Season

The Northland Cruise Terminal will greet its first visitors on May 23
when the Seven Seas Mariner makes its first visit to Prince Rupert for 2019

Thursday May 23rd is the day to keep note of  for cruise ship watching, with the date in May circled on the calendar for Prince Rupert's first cruise ship of the season.

That's the day when the Seven Seas Mariner will pull alongside the Northland Terminal and deliver 700 potentials guests to the city, adding to the hustle of the city in the busy summer tourism season.

The Port call from the Seven Seas Mariner visit, one of two that Regent line ship will make, marks the first of twenty three Cruise ship stops for Prince Rupert this year, offering the potential for 11,138 guests along with the crew from the ships to explore the North Coast.

The season will continue through the Summer and into the early fall with the Seabourn line vessel Sojourn bringing the season to its completion on October 5th.

May offers just the one visit, while June will see 6 port calls, a lull arrives in July with just three visits, then picks up the pace fast with six port calls in each of August and September, the October visit of the Sojourn will be the only vessel for that month.

The largest vessel to call on Prince Rupert in 2019
will be the Crystal Symphony

The busiest day for those who service the Cruise industry will be August 7th when two ships make a port call, the Star Legend with 212 passengers will take an anchorage, while the Crystal Symphony with 922 passengers will get the Terminal berth at Northland. 

The ten hour visit by the Crystal Symphony from 8 AM to 10 PM, will be the only strop it will make in Prince Rupert for 2019.  The Crystal line vessel will also be the largest ship to call on Prince Rupert this year.

The Crystal Symphony last visited Prince Rupert in July last year, with a large number or Rupertites taking to Mariner's park or the Cow Bay Wharf to get a first hand view.

A slightly easier day will be found on August 17th which also features two cruise ship visits, but with a slightly lower passenger count to be sent ashore.

The vessel that Port watchers will see the most of this year is the Sojourn, as the Seabourn Cruise line vessel makes eight appearances on the schedule from June to October.

Last September, we profiled the line which is making Prince Rupert one of its Northwest bases, taking note of the work they were putting into their plans for 2019.

There is also the possibility of more port calls to come for 2019; still to be confirmed are visits from the Sea Bird, Seal Lion and National Geographic Quest.

Updates to the schedule will be provided through the Port Authority Cruise Ship website page (see here).

That online portal has been updated for the 2019 season and offers a wide range of information on the Cruise experience in Prince Rupert, you can review it here.

The passenger numbers anticipated for 2019 are down somewhat from what has been found in the last few years. 

Last year saw the Port expecting just over 12,000 visitors, while one year previous  in 2017 the preseason forecast was for up to 17,000 visitors expected to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the region.

For more notes on the 201i9 and a look back at previous years see our Cruise archive page here.

Sustainability the cause for Transition Prince Rupert with a range of initiatives set for April

Sarah Dantzer provided an update for City Council on some of the April
plans for Transition Prince Rupert

The arrival of April will give residents of Prince Rupert cause to work towards a more sustainable future, with Transition Prince Rupert taking the lead on a range of projects through the month to advance attention to the issues of sustainability and community goals.

Monday evening Transition Prince Rupert's Treasurer Sarah Dantzer appeared at City Council to provide an update on the number of projects planned for the month ahead, a list which features a number of clean up initiatives, documentaries and garden swap event to name a few.

As part of her presentation Ms. Dantzer also expanded on the Green Business Pledge program that will be launched in the community as of April 1st. That program will ask that participants meet five of a list of ten criteria to take part, with stickers to be provided to those businesses that are proactive and engage in Green initiatives.

She also outlined some notes related to Documentary Night set for April 12th at the Lester Centre which is by donation, Ms. Dantzer noted how they would be working with Charles Hays Secondary Council in that presentation as a fund raiser for their organization. She also observed that one of CHSS council members is a Direct of the Transition Society and how it's been enjoyable working with him.

Ms. Dantzer also observed that the Positive Prince Rupert Group will be holding another of their clean up project this month as well set for April 21st.

As part of her presentation she asked that Council provide a proclamation to declare April as Sustainability month in Prince Rupert. Something which Council addressed as part of their Regular Council session later in the evening.

In follow up questions to the presentation, Councillor Cunningham praised the work of the organization and offered a challenge to other Council members to help out with the Rubbish round up, which he will be taking part in again.

Councillor Adey also offered up his support for the work of the organization in the community.

Mayor Brain, who was a founding member of the organization,  also made note of his support for the program's plans,  hailing the work that the group has taken on to raise the program to a new level.

You can take in her presentation from the City's Video Archive starting at the 47 minute mark.

More on the work of Transition Prince Rupert can be found from their website and Facebook page.

Further notes related to Monday's CityCouncil session can be found from our Council Timeline feature, while discussion themes at City Council can be explored in more detail through our Council Discussion archive.

Conservative MPs Kitimat bound for meet and greet with Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidate Claire Rattée

While the NDP make their plans to move forward in the post Nathan Cullen years in Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Conservative nominee Claire Rattée is making plans to host a political event in Kitimat this Saturday as she brings three members of the Alberta wing of the federal party to the Northwest.

Joining the newly nominated Conservative candidate for the riding will be MP's Michelle Rempel, Blaine Calkins and Glen Motz, with all three Alberta MP's in  Kitimat to discuss issues of interest to the region on Saturday from 3 to 6 at the Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club.

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidate made note of the event through her Facebook page earlier this week. Further information related to Saturday's political event can be found from the event page created for the political get together.

The Saturday Meet and Greet won't be the only political event for the Conservatives, or potential Conservative voters  this week in the region, with Ms. Rempel and the other Alberta MP's hosting a Town Hall style meeting set to discuss firearms issues related to the proposed changes through Bill C71.

That gathering is set for the Kitimat Rod and Gun Club on Friday evening from 7 to 9 PM.

Ms Rattée secured the Conservative nomination back in February gaining more support during the nomination campaign than competitor Jody Craven, who also had taken part in the quest to represent the Conservatives in the upcoming fall election.

For more items of note related the Federal political scene in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Council members receive Community Para-Medicine tutorial

Prince Rupert is one of a number of communities in the
Northern Health region to be selected to participate in the
Para-Medicine program, on Monday City Council
heard some details about the program and what it offers

Monday's City Council session made for Presentation night with a number of local groups providing some notes of interest for Council members to take in on a range of issues and initiatives.

One of the night's reviews provided Council with some background on the newly introduced Community Para-medicine program that is in place in Prince Rupert with Paramedic Cay Hulsen outlining the focus for the program and how it has been received in the community so far.

The twelve year veteran paramedic in Prince Rupert offered Council members a review of the four components which make up the program, which include:

Provide services at community events, such as Seafest or local marathon events

Promote Health issues in the community by way of public education through schools and other groups to make presentations

Wellness checks on community members in public spaces

Provide for home visits to provide assistance for those with chronic disease and palliative care by referral from Doctors.

He observed how it was introduced in the North over the last four years, and since its introduction to Prince Rupert six months ago,  he has worked with a number of community organizations to expand the scope of the program in the region.

Mr. Hulsen also noted that as his workload has grown, a second position is planned to be added to the Prince Rupert ambulance station hopefully by the end of this summer.

For those that may have questions or ideas on how they can help out, he noted that he is available at the ambulance station to help provide more background on the program.

Following his presentation, City Council members offered up some thoughts on the program and how the city may be able to assist in sharing word of the initiative.

Mayor Lee Brain asked if there was anything that the City can do to help with the program delivery.

On that theme, Mr. Houlson observed as to  some safety concerns for some of the residences where seniors live, noting that some of their facilities are not as secure as others in the community.

He also noted the concerns in the community over crosswalk and traffic issues in the city, noting of a recent visit to Whitehorse which he says has a traffic safety program the city could explore to see if it will work here.

Towards working with Seniors, Councillor Cunningham asked how residents could access the program if they don't have a family doctor, he was advised that they should go through the hospital in that instance.

Mr. Cunningham also suggested that the program work with the Seniors Centre to work towards fall prevention and other safety concerns for those Seniors who still live in their homes.

As part of the discussion on the services that are provided, the Councillor was advised that the program does have an outreach process for Seniors in their homes and how the city could lobby the ambulance service to ask for more resources to address more of the areas that are of concern.

The full presentation can be viewed from the City's Council Video archive starting at the thirty two minute mark.

You can find more on the program from Monday's Council Agenda package here .

BC Emergency Health Services notes that some 26 communities in the Northern health service region have been selected to participate in the program (see list here) they also provide a wide ranging overview about what the Community Para Medicine program offers here.

For more items of note from Monday's City Council Session see our Council Timeline here.

Health issues and items of interest are reviewed from our Northern Health archive pages, while a wider look at City Council discussion themes can be explored here.