Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mayor's update on Alaska Ferry offers few details on three stage plan to address Alaskan concerns

Mayor Brain in Juneau
earlier this week
(From Mayors Facebook)
Mayor Lee Brain has revealed some of the background to his presentation this week to the Southeast Conference  on the city's approach to issues related to the status of  Alaska Ferry between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan.

Using his Facebook portal for his notes, the Mayor recounted some of his travels today and then outlined a synopsis of his three points for the gathering.

1. An Immediate solution that could see reinstatement of the winter schedule for the AMHS into Prince Rupert. 

2. A medium term solution that could see service to Prince Rupert for at least the next 2 years. 

3. A long term solution that could see a permanent/more sustainable resolution to the ferry system into Prince Rupert. 

The Mayor did not provide any details as to what those three stages might provide for when it comes to a resolution of the concerns from the US Customs and Border officials; concerns that at the moment will see the service end its operations at the end of this month.

 Mr Brain did follow up with some observations towards the path forward however:

At this stage, it will take a few weeks for some details to be figured out regarding the immediate solution. If it was up to the State and the City, we would have signed an agreement in Juneau - but currently we must wait for more information from border protection agencies on both the US and Canada side regarding pre/post clearance issues (so to be clear, the immediate issue is regarding new federal legislation requirements).

He also notes that it is clear to him that the residents of Southeast Alaska wish to retain their access to Prince Rupert,  adding as to the importance of the service to both British Columbia and Alaska.

His statement on the topic wraps up with a hope to announce some positive news in the future.

You can review the full statement here.

As we noted earlier this morning, Alaska reports indicate that for the moment the situation related to the request for additional security at the Fairivew Terminal in Prince Rupert remains unresolved and that the service will end on September 30th.

After a fairly quiet summer on the the festering issue, local politicians addressed the issue with a more fulsome approach, but only after the official notice that the service would end was relayed earlier this month.

For more items of note related to the AMHS service see our archive page here.

A wider overview of past City Council issues can be examined from our Council Discussion archive.

Prince George Citizen to abandon daily print run; making for the latest paper to shift to weekly delivery

The online edition of the
PG Citizen from Wednesday
The ever changing landscape for Canada's newspaper industry has seen a significant shift for readers of Northern BC's largest newspaper today, with the Prince George Citizen announcing plans to move to a free weekly format.

The paper which has 103 years of history in the North will publish its final daily edition on September 28th, with the reincarnation as a weekly to be delivered to residents on October 3rd.

The announcement of the change was published in yesterday's edition, with the Citizen's Publisher and General Manager Colleen Sparrow and Editor in Chief Neil Godbout, offering their pledge to deliver the news stories that residents have come to rely on with the same commitment to integrity, values and passionate journalism.

In the advisory for its readers the Citizen points towards the ways that information seekers currently access their news, noting that their work will be available through a range of media for Prince George residents to stay informed.

"Our core values remain the same. Whether it's breaking news, features, local sports team updates or community events, we will be there as we always have been. 

We'll also bring you those stories quickly and directly via your phone, computer, tablet, etc. and our weekly print edition will allow you to pick up the paper and read at your leisure."

In a follow up Editorial piece, Neil Godbout outlines how the ongoing march of technology is changing the way newspapers are approaching their craft and how they serve their customers.

For the Citizen the competitive marketplace has no doubt been part of the reasoning behind their decision to abandon the daily print run.

As the largest city in Northern BC, Prince George is served by a Television station and numerous radio stations, all which have a strong online presence.

As well, there are a growing number of online projects which provide for community notes and explore news themes of interest for the region.

The Daily News building has remained empty since July 2010 when the
last staff member cleared out their desk and the doors were locked.

The move by the Citizen is the continuation of an evolution of the industry that has seen many daily newspapers make similar decisions or shut down completely.

Prince Rupert faced its own days of shock when it lost the Daily News back in July of 2010, that when Black Press shuttered the 99 year old daily following its purchase from Glacier Media,

That decision left the city with the Northern View as the sole print publication with its weekly publication run and a shift in focus towards its online portal.

The closure of the Daily News in Prince Rupert on July 16, 2010  is still remembered as one of the darker days of the city's recent history, steeped in the days of the economic malaise that gripped the city with the closure of the pulp mill and the spiralling decline of the fishery.

And the closure of that daily news source, did remove a much needed voice and forum of investigative journalism that often goes lacking in the community to this day.

The loss of the daily print edition from Prince George is somewhat different and does not have quite the same resonance as that which Prince Rupert faced, mainly owing to the fact that they will continue to publish on paper weekly and online each day.

Still it is another rumble of the seismic shifts that are taking place in the field of journalism and how Canadians will access reliable information on the events that shape their day to day lives.

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

Coast Mountain College brings Fire Suppression program to Prince Rupert Campus

An opportunity to learn the skills required to work in fire suppression will be available at the Prince Rupert campus of Coast Mountain College this fall, with a two day program that provides theory and practical applications towards wildfire suppression.

The S-100 Fire Suppression Program will be offered in Prince Rupert from October 28 to 29 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM each day.

The course provides the mandated certification required by WorkSafe BC with training that includes fire-line safety, fire behaviour, and water delivery using portable pumps and gravity systems.

Once certified the fire suppression designation is valid for five years, however, certificate holders are required to take a refresher course annually in order to remain in good standing towards that certification.

Some background to the course can be reviewed below.

The course will be of particular interest for those working as part of industrial activity in the forest areas of BC.

Legislation as part of the Wildfire Act of BC states that anyone working in the forests within one kilometre of a fire must report it and take preventative action, WorkSafe regulations also state that anyone taking such action must be certified.

The Coast Mountain College will provide for that level of certification.

You can learn more about the program from the Coast Mountain website.

For more items of interest on post secondary education in the Northwest see our Education archive page.

Coal Dust, Water treatment issues and UBCM plans among notes from Port Edward for September

The District of Port Edward September update for residents provides a range of information on a few of the areas where the District is addressing its attention heading towards fall, and high among their focus is the current status of the water treatment facility in the community.

Mayor Knut Bjorndal made note of some setbacks when it comes to the installation of some new process control equipment for the facility, observing how the prime contractor has pushed back completion dates by one to two months.

As part of his overview of the work, he paid tribute to the efforts of the District's Public Works Department, which he describes as having "done an outstanding job in keeping the treatment plant operating over the last four months"

The Mayor also formally welcomed the District's new Chief Administrative Officer, with Danielle Myles Wilson having now settled into her job, the Mayor noting how she will be a great asset to the current team at the District and will be working towards implementing Council's Agenda and vision.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this summer, Ms. Myles Wilson came to the District earlier this month after having served in the Economic Development Office in Terrace.

The September update also provides some background on how the District continues to work on ways to resolve the impact of coal dust from the Ridley Terminal facility,  reminding residents that should they find coal dust on their house, patio furniture or vehicles they can fill out a form to have Ridley Terminal Inc.'s contractor come pressure wash their belongings.

Those forms are available at the Municipal Office.

Knotweed eradication is again on the agenda for this fall, with the District advising that the Spectrum Resource Group will be in the community to deal with invasive weeds, with a focus on the reports of knotweed that have been brought to the District's attention.

Those who have the weed on their property have until September 20th to advise the Municipal office.

Port Edward Mayor Knut Bjorndal, council members and staff will
be travelling to Vancouver next week for the annual UBCM convention

Mayor Bjorndal also provides a thumbnail sketch of the District's plans for next weeks UBCM gathering in Vancouver, withe District bringing a number of concerns with them for discussion at the annual forum for municipal government.

"We have requested meetings with various Ministers and ministries to advance our agenda. We are focusing our efforts on securing grants for infrastructure projects, road renewal and repair. We are also supporting resolutions sponsored by various municipalities to improve rural health care, protective services funding (fire ‐fighting equipment purchases) and a host of other services which over the last twenty years have been downloaded to municipalities."

You can track some of the lead up to the UBCM from our archive page here.

The full scope of the September update from the District is available here.

Mayor Brain's Ferry quest reportedly comes up short following meeting with Alaska Transportation Director

September 30th will remain as the final day of service for the
Alaska Marine Highway Service in Prince Rupert, with Alaska reports
indicating that no solution has been found to the security concerns
that the US have at the Prince Rupert Terminal

Whatever plan that Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain presented to the State of Alaska, came up a bit short it seems.

With reports out of the state today suggesting that the Alaska decision to end ferry service between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan will continue on, with the final sailing set for the end of this month.

The Ketchikan Daily News has reported that Mayor Brain met with Alaska Transportation Commissioner John MacKinnon on Tuesday, but that they had been unable to reach an agreement over the firearms regulation that is at the heart of the decision to end the ferry service between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan.

And while the shut down of service remains on for September 30th, there may be a glimmer of hope over the longer term, with the Alaska Transportation Department observing for the Ketchikan newspaper that efforts to reach an agreement are considered as ongoing.

The decision to end the run between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan has been the focus of much discussion for officials in the Alaska city, who continue to look for ways to get the message across to their State government of the importance of the connection remaining in place.

Mayor Brain in Juneau
on Tuesday from his
Facebook Page
So far, Mayor Brain has not provided for his own update on the state of those discussions with the Alaskans; or to outline what the plan that was presented to them would have provided for.

Last week, through his Facebook page, he had indicated that such an update would be delivered following his discussions in Alaska.

Currently Mr. Brain is attending the second of three days of the Southeast Conference meetings taking place in Sitka.

Any work towards resuming the service however may be something that most likely won't be resolved until 2020, if the issue is resolved at all.

If the past few seasons are an indication, the AMHS would have once again been suspending its Prince Rupert sailings in December,  Last year the Fairview Terminal was shuttered for January and the majority of February as the AMHS responded to reduced funding from the Alaska Government.

As it stands today, there are four sailings remaining for the service which has linked Alaska and British Columbia since the 1960's

The October calendar delivers the visual notes on what is now the new reality for the Transportation link between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan

For more background on the issues that have taken us to the September 30th end of service see our archive page.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

If speed is your need, CityWest has a Gigabit plan for you!

A new service to be offered by CityWest will provide for the fastest Internet offered yet by the Prince Rupert owned and operated communication company.

CityWest officials introduced the new service at the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce luncheon today, hailing the arrival of Quantum Gigabit.

Internet connectivity which will be four times faster than its current offering.

“Today, I’m happy to announce that our Internet just got faster. A gigabit service is what every Internet service provider strives for, and it’s something we’ve been working on for the last decade."-Chris Armstrong, Director of Marketing at CityWest

For CityWest customers, the Quantum Gigabit service will give internet users the ability to get download speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (or, 1 gigabit per second), with upload speeds of up to 100 megabits per second.

It will be available to all residential customers who have access to fibre-to-the-home technology.

For now, only customers on fibre will have access to the higher speed Quantum Gigabit which will give customers much more bandwidth, allowing them to stream high-quality video, upload pictures and music in seconds, and put more smart devices on their home network.

It is also 20 times faster than the federal government’s goal to see all of Canada have access to a 50 megabit per second service.

CityWest CEO Chris Marett, noted how he was pleased to make the announcement at the home base for the Northwest communication company, but also noted that the service will be available across the region.

“We’re happy that we could make this announcement in Prince Rupert, which is the site of our main office and where our story started. But we’re also proud to be able to offer this super-fast Internet speed to many other areas of Northern B.C”

The CityWest CEO also made note of the milestone that the Quantum Gigabit unveiling makes for

"For quite some time, it’s been one of our goals to launch a gigabit service. And it’s due to the hard work of everyone at CityWest that allowed us to get to this point today, from the technicians in the field, to the Internet department behind the scenes, to the front-line customer service representatives. They should all be proud of our accomplishment"

You can learn more about the new service from the CityWest website or Facebook page.

Further items of interest on communication on the North Coast can be found from our archive page here.

Poetry is the vehicle for range of themes from a reading and book signing at Prince Rupert Library tonight

The Prince Rupert Library makes for the natural venue for a poetry reading tonight, as Sarah de Leeuw brings her work from Outside America to life as she explores a range of themes that chart the course through her 99 pages of poetry, the latest of her growing library of projects.

Culled from travels on both sides of the Canadian/American border, Outside America channels elements of grief, loss, and aging as well as taking a look at technological frustrations, environmental issues and themes of nationalism.

The award winning Canadian writer, who lives in Prince George has published a number of books since her first work of 2004.

Her 2017 book Where it Hurts, was a finalist for the Governor Generals Literary Award for Non Fiction and a finalist for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book BC Prize.

A thumbnail sketch of the book available here, offers a wider glimpse of some of the directions that the Poetry reading will follow starting at 7PM this evening.

The author will also sign copies of her book following this evenings presentation, with copies available locally at Eddies News.

For more notes on tonight's Poetry reading and other events at the Prince Rupert Library see their website and Facebook page.

Other items of note on Community Events on the North Coast can be found from our archive page here.

October 9th date set for Skeena-Bulkley Valley All Candidates Forum in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert's Lester Centre will be the host venue for the
2019 Federal election All Candidate's Forum

Residents of the North Coast will have their chance to take the measure of the candidates in the Federal election campaign on Wednesday, October 9th.

That's the date reserved by the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce and Toastmasters International for the Prince Rupert All Candidates Forum at the Lester Centre of the Arts.

Set to be in Prince Rupert early next month are: Taylor Bachrach (NDP), Dave Birdi (Liberals), Jody Craven (PPC), Claire Rattée (Conservative), Mike Sawyer (Green) and Rod Taylor (CHP).

All Six of the candidates in Skeena-Bulkley Valley will take to the Lester Centre Stage at 7PM with the forum offering them an opportunity to showcase their campaign themes and answer questions posed to them by forum moderators.

The Prince Rupert event, which is free to the public, is sponsored by Prince Rupert Grain, CityWest, The BC Northern Real Estate Board, EZRock and CFNR.

With the large territory that all six have to cover during the campaign, the October 9th event may mark the only opportunity for them to be in the same place, at the same time in Prince Rupert.

You can keep up to date on the planning for the debate through the Facebook page created by the Chamber for the event.

As we get closer to the debate, we'll explore the plans for the evening further.

For  now, you can review some of the campaign themes through our archive page for Skeena Bulkley Valley here.

As well, for a look at the wider national race for the seats in the House of Commons see our political blog D'Arcy McGee, where we chart the daily developments.

Deadline for applications for Cedar Village Housing units comes September 25

Only seven days remain for those looking to put in an application for Prince Rupert's Newest Elders and Seniors facility, with September 25th the deadline to put names forward with the Cedar Village Housing Society.

The housing facility on Seventh Avenue East at Green Street is being led by the Metlakatla First Nation through the Metlakatla Development Corporation and has been a very active construction site for much of the last two years.

A drive by the facility this week shows the progress that has been made on the building which is now focusing on its internal work in the  lead up towards occupancy. Though the road infrastructure around the two buildings is still very much a work in progress for the City of Prince Rupert.

In August we provided a look at some of the history of the Metlakatla plans, which will offer 32 high quality and affordable housing units for those who are 65 an dover

You can learn more about the Cedar Village Housing Society and the new residences from their website page.

Once opened, the new housing units will join the list of First Nation led housing that has been created or proposed for the community.

One year ago, the Gitxaala Nation opened up the repurposed units of the old Anchor Inn hotel as housing units for the community, with the Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society creating 46 units of below market housing for the challenging rental market in the city.

Earlier this week, we also heard more from the Lax Kw'alaams Band Council which noted that they are currently in discussions with the City of Prince Rupert towards site selection for their own housing project.

That will make for a housing plan that will see sixty additional units of housing developed within the City of Prince Rupert.

For more on housing in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Mariner's Park Ships' navigational flub to be addressed by City's Pirate Mates!

Avast ye matey's we're sending out the wrong signals at Mariner's Park!

It's been in place since the summer of 2018, but the mighty Pirate Ship at Prince Rupert's Mariner's Park has a flaw, a navigational flaw, that was noted on twitter today, with a maritime observer making note that the navigation lights on the ship are reversed on the landlocked vessel ...

A place where it appears that port meant starboard and starboard meant port for over a year, for those looking to navigate around the structure at the downtown park on First Avenue East.

The City took the twitter advisory in good humour, promising to dispatch some of the city's Pirate mates to address the navigation concerns in short order.

Despite the navigational faux pas, the youngsters of Prince Rupert and area and those visiting the city, have had no problems navigating the ship, scrambling on from either port or starboard for over a year now.

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

Oceans the theme with Film Screening and return of the Aqua Van to Prince Rupert

A pair of events to be co-hosted by the North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative offer a chance to learn more about the ocean environment this month.

With the local group and its partners bringing a highly acclaimed and 2017 Emmy Award winning documentary to town for a screening, to be followed by a panel discussion led by experts on the themes of ocean noise.

Sonic Sea will be the feature attraction at the Lester Centre of the Arts on September 25th, with the film exploring the sonic symphony that is our oceans.

The documentary highlights the work towards protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution.

The presentation is being brought to town through a collaboration between the Initiative, the Port of Prince Rupert and the North Coast Ecology Centre Society, show time on the 25th is 7 PM, producer Michael Jasny will be in attendance as part of the presentation on the night.

The panel discussion will include Mr. Jasny, Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard from Ocean Wise, Leslie James from BC Ferries, Robert Lewis-Manning from the Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Prince Rupert's Jason Scherr

A snippet of the movie can be viewed here, while more background on it is available here.

Three days later, the latest travels of the highly popular AquaVan will make their way to Prince Rupert, with the Ocean Wise initiative providing for a hands on interactive presentation to raise awareness and stewardship of our marine environment.

The AquaVan brings live marine invertebrate animals, marine artifacts and hands on interactive activities that help to give a better understanding of the ocean and the creatures that call it home.

The Family friendly, festival type set up will be on display at Coast Mountain College on September 28th from Noon to 5 and is a free event.

Some further background on the work on ocean issues on the North Coast can be found here.

For more items of interest on Community Events in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

Local Industry goes to the mat for Charles Hays Wrestling

Taking it to the mat at CHSS
(photo from CHSS twitter feed)

The Charles Hays Wrestling program will be hitting their training sessions with some new equipment this season, thanks to the generosity of a number of Prince Rupert Industries and the work of the District Parents Action Committee.

A new supply of mats is now in use by the program with Prince Rupert Grain, DP World and the Port of Prince Rupert joining the DPAC to pay for the latest addition for the popular program.

In addition to the corporate funding, the wrestles and their families have also bee active fundraisers to help put aside the money required for competitions during the year,

You can find out more about when they host events at the School from the Charles Hays Secondary website or twitter feed.

Follow Rainmakers Sports through the seasons by way of our archive page here.

For more items of interest on Education in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Rainmaker Archive 2019-2020

Our archive of items for the 2019-20 school year, highlighting events and activities surrounding the various sports teams at Charles Hays Secondary School and Prince Rupert Middle School.

As always, we welcome updates and background items on Rainmaker athletics, simply drop us a line at or through our twitter feed @CharlesMHays 

You can follow more on Rainmaker Sports for this school year from the CHSS twitter feed

Background, scores and other information on Rainmakers Sports can be found below.

Along with those items of interest, we'll keep track of media stories on both Charles Hays sports and from other schools from around the region.

North Coast Review Notes

September 18 -- Local Industry goes to the mat for Charles Hays Wrestling 


Reviews by Sport 2019-20


Senior Boys

2019-20 Prince Rupert

Remainder of Northwest BC Secondary Schools

Senior Girls

Remainder of Northwest BC Secondary Schools

Junior Boys

Remainder of Northwest BC Secondary Schools

Basketball Junior Girls



2019-20  Prince Rupert 

Remainder of Northwest British Columbia



2019-20 Prince Rupert

Remainder of Northwest British Columbia



2019-20 Prince Rupert

Boys Golf



2019-20 Prince Rupert

Boys Soccer

Remainder of Northwest BC Secondary Schools

2019-20 Prince Rupert

 Girls Soccer

Remainder of Northwest BC Secondary Schools


Track and Field / Cross Country

2019-20 Prince Rupert

Remainder of Northwest British Columbia



Pacific Rim Hockey Academy Information

2019-20 Prince Rupert


Remainder of Northwest British Columbia




2019-20 Prince Rupert

September 18 -- Local Industry goest to the mat for Charles Hays Wrestling  NCR

Remainder of Northwest British Columbia


Prince Rupert Middle School

2019-20 Prince Rupert


Remainder of Northwest British Columbia



Archive of items from


Mayor Brain in Alaska for Southeast Conference to discuss AMHS options among agenda items

Three days of politics and networking get underway today in Sitka, Alaska as the Southeast Conference holds its series of annual discussions working with the theme of Building the economy of tomorrow.

Some of the elements that delegates will be reviewing in today's first day include Housing, Energy and Economic Development, with the opportunity to take a Cruise later in the day prior to the Community Reception this evening.

Tomorrow the Focus will be on Transportation, Mining  and Tourism, with the morning discussion on Alaska Ferry Reform perhaps the spot where the Mayor will outline his thoughts on how to keep the gates at the Fairview Terminal open and the marine connection between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan viable.

The topic may also come up during Friday's sessions, when former Governor Frank Murkowski speaks to AMHS issues as part of the AMHS Reform Steering Committee; more talk on tourism and a chance for a number of tours of Sitka make for the final day of the conference.

You can explore the full agenda of events for the delegates below:

As we noted above, part of his participation in the Sitka sessions, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain is expected to see the Mayor outline his solution to reverse the recently announced end of service to the city by the Alaska Marine Highway System.

The fate of the Ferry service was delivered in early September when the State of Alaska announced that owing to an inability to resolve security issues for US Customs and Border Personnel, the long standing service would be terminated at the end of this month

That was a topic that Mayor Brain was to discuss with Alaska officials prior to the conference, with the Mayor expressing optimism on his Facebook page on Tuesday evening.

Last week Mr. Brain used his social media feed to advise that he would be sharing the details with Prince Rupert residents during the course of the Conference this week.

Ketchikan radio station KRBD has been devoting a fair bit of its news flow over the last few days towards the Ferry issues.

Reporting that Alaska Representative Dan Ortiz, who has been briefed on the Mayor's talking points noted that the Mayor will be "presenting a very very viable option for the State to consider."

Still, the Alaskan politician observed that in the end it will depend on whether the Alaska government wishes to continue with the Ferry service to Prince Rupert that will make for the final word on the topic.

“The offer that I know is going to be put forward is a very good one, but in the end, it’s still going to be left up to the administration as to whether they want to see continued service to Prince Rupert,”

Prince Rupert delegation to lobby to keep BC  ferry link with Alaska
Borough assembly pleads with state, feds to restore Prince Rupert ferry link

The latest Notes on the three day Alaska conference can be followed through their Facebook page.

For some of the background to the ferry issues see our Transportation archive here, a wider overview of Prince Rupert Council themes can be found from our Council archive page.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

With forestry industry in turmoil; BC Government outlines details to 69 million dollar support fund program

John Horgan's NDP Government
announced a number of supports today
 for those in the embattled BC forestry
As the forest industry's summer of woes continues into the fall, the British Columbia government has released some details towards new measures that will offer support for BC's forest workers that have suffered the brunt of the troubles of 2019.

The majority of the 69  million dollars allocated by the Province will be directed towards early retirement bridging for older forest workers and access to skills training for forestry workers.

Premier Horgan today pointed towards the impact of the mountain pine beetle and the disruption that it has delivered on the Interior Forestry industry, which has seen mill after mill after mill close down over the course of the summer. In his statement of today, the Premier observed how the previous government knew of the disruption that was to come, but did little to prepare the industry for the transition ahead.

“The previous government knew that the end of mountain pine beetle harvest would disrupt the lives of forest workers, contractors and communities, but they did little to prepare for this inevitable transition. While the forest sector must reduce surplus milling capacity to remain competitive, it cannot do so at the expense of the workers, contractors and communities who built the industry. Our government will ensure that forest workers impacted by mill closures are supported.”

In an information release of today, the province notes the Premier and Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, met with the chief executive officers of the major Interior forest companies to set out measures to support forest workers in the months and years ahead.

Among some of the measures that were announced today towards that support include:

$40 million to establish a new cost-shared, early-retirement bridging program for older forest workers;

$15 million to establish a new short-term forest employment program, focused on fire prevention and community resiliency projects;

$12 million for workers to access skills training, and for employer and community grants for training;

$2 million to establish a new job placement co-ordination office that will track the transition and employment of impacted forest workers on an individual basis

Community support grants aimed at providing short-term assistance to communities more profoundly impacted by the closure of a major forest employer.

Cabinet Minister Donaldson, has been the focus of some relentless attention by the BC Liberal Opposition as the list of mill closures continued to roll out through the summer months.

Today he called on the industry to join the province in providing for supports for those workers that have been impacted by the summers economic troubles.

 “The Province is committed to supporting the people impacted by this change, but we need the forest industry and the federal government to step up and do their part as well. I’m hopeful that the Interior forest sector recognizes that the new industry that will arise from this transition will need skilled, experienced workers to produce new forest products that can compete in global markets.”

You can review the full information release from the Province here, which includes a range of comments from industry and labour officials.

Over the weekend the Opposition Liberals observed how they see the NDP-Green coalition as one that has totally failed the resource industries that are key elements of the BC economy. Earlier today, they launched an online petition drive, calling for more resource jobs in British Columbia

For a look at some of the issues that have faced the forestry this year see our archive page here.

Lax Kw'alaams the latest North Coast community to seek out a new Chief Administrative Officer

The Lax Kw'alaams Band Council has turned to a professional job search group to seek out applicants for the position of Chief Administrative Officer, with James R Craven and Associates performing the short listing for the Band Council to review prior to the hiring.

The Job Description for one of the top staffing positions with the Band Council serves as somewhat of a short history lesson for applicants.

Lax Kw’alaams, the “place of wild roses” is located just north of Prince Rupert BC and is the core of the substantial Tsimshian Nation. An important Aboriginal centre, predating Western contact by 10,000 years, this site has carried on active trading on the Pacific for millennia. Trade routes by sea in both directions coupled with interior trails made this a prime site for commercial and artistic activity. 

The Band is active in boat building, logging, and fishing including shellfish, as well as having a thriving Northwestern Pacific art presence including carving, weaving and painting. This fiercely independent nation has a membership of 4,000 people and plus an on-site presence of 750 residents

The remainder of the job posting makes for a Job Fact Sheet which highlights the areas where the Lax Kw'alaams Band will be directing their attention as they look over the recommended candidates.

The successful applicant will be expected to be a strong and effective professional, skilled in collaboration with Council, business, government, and members.

Challenges will include mentoring staff, providing practical options for Council’s consideration, negotiating with all levels of government on behalf of the community, and continuing to provide a strong economic base without sacrificing current lifestyles and traditional ways and customs. Candidates should have a strong interest and appreciation of First Nations culture. 

As well the job notes makes prominent how the successful applicant will assume responsibility for the Village operations, businesses, and growth.

Towards filling the job they are seeking those who will have had some former Public Administration experience, a strong record of practical innovation that works, plus good business acumen will be needed. Engineering and Planning skills would also be useful. 

Strong credentials in Government Finance and Administration, and Grant Writing are expected.

You can review the full background to the Help wanted notice here, the Deadline for the submission of applications is October 18th.

Once they settle on the successful candidate, he or she will be the newest of a new class of CAO's and other senior staffers on the North Coast.  With Prince Rupert, Port Edward and Regional District all having secured the services of new staff members within the last three months.

Towards the end of July, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain welcomed Rosa Miller to the position of Corporate Administrator; she took on the position that was last held by Rory Mandryk who left the city's employ earlier this year.

Also in July, the District of Port Edward introduced Danielle Myles Wilson as their new CAO, hiring her away from the City of Terrace, where she served as that city's Economic development officer.

And as we noted in August, the Regional District made a few personnel announcements with Jessica Bagnell relocating to Prince Rupert from Houston, taking on the duties of Corporate Administrator, at the same time the Regional Government organization named Sharon Landrath as the District's Deputy Corporate Administrator.

To follow the outcome of the Lax Kw'alaams Band search, follow our archive page here, where we featured items of note from the community north of Prince Rupert.

Curling Club sets September 26th for Semi-Annual General Meeting

Members of the Prince Rupert Curling Club will receive an update on the state of the Club later this month as they gather at the Seal Cove rink at 7 PM on  Thursday, September 26th for their semi-annual General Meeting.

In the lead up to the end of the month session, curling club members have been forwarded a range of information through the Curling Club mailing list. Items of interest that members have been urged to review prior to the meeting of this month.

The notes on the season ahead come following a somewhat cryptic advisory through the Curling Club Facebook page earlier this month.

Members who have not received the most recent correspondences should check the spam folder on their email program and if still missing the missing the update they should contact the Curling Club.

Should all the outstanding notes be taken care of; that public announcement could very well come as part of the September 26th session.

Some of the notes from the curling 2018-19 curling season can be found from our archive page here, once the plans are clear towards the 2019-20 season we'll open up a new archive for the season ahead.

Union fears fish workers becoming a political football

UFAWU-Unifor the union which represents fish workers in British Columbia is still awaiting some kind of action on their recent calls for assistance from the Federal and Provincial governments and for the moment, they are feeling an awful lot like a football, kicked from political jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

The football analogy comes as part of a new post to the Union's Social media stream, which traces much of the back and forth that the union has had with political officials in recent months, all of which seem to have been deflected from the politicians to this point.

The union has however found a glimmer of hope for the dire situation facing the membership after this summer's disastrous fishing season, highlighting a program that their sister union in Newfoundland has made them aware of.

The Newfoundland Fishermen's Union (FFAW-Unifor - our sister Union on the east coast) told us about a 'grant' that their fishermen can apply for after their EI has run out. It is called Ice Assistance Emergency Program. It is for 6 weeks and it is basically the same as EI.

They note that they have been in touch with Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, seeking his assistance in accessing the same kind of assistance for the West Coast that is apparently available for those living in Atlantic Canada.

We have written back to Minister Wilkinson to say that if Emergency Assistance is in DFO's mandate on the Atlantic coast, it should be in his mandate for our coast, too. We are not looking for 'compensation' - no one can compensate us for a foregone salmon season. We are looking for Emergency Disaster Assistance.

The Details of the program that is available for those in the Atlantic Canadian fishery can be reviewed here.

What kind of short term success they have in getting a reply may be limited, with the current Federal Election campaign underway, the workings of the Federal government appears to be very much that of a bare maintenance kind of operation at the moment.

UFAWU-Unifor also note that they continue to seek out the assistance of the Provincial government though the results of those conversations still appear to have come up short of what the union is hoping for.

Council may offer an
invitation to UFAWU-Unifor
head Joy Thorkelson to speak
on fishery issues in October
At the most recent Prince Rupert City Council Session, Councillor Nick Adey raised the latest issues facing the North Coast fishery and called on Council to give consideration towards a letter of support for the Union and invitation for Union head Joy Thorkelson to come to council to provide some background on the situation.

With Council members set for a road trip to UBCM next week, the next opportunity for such efforts on the municipal level will come with the first of two meetings for October to take place on October 7th.

Considering the glacial approach that the two senior levels of government appear to be taking on the issues, there's probably a very good chance that Ms. Thorkelson will be making a return to the Council Chambers next month and perhaps taking a letter of support from the City of Prince Rupert with her at the end of her presentation.

You can explore the full statement from the labour union from their Facebook post here.

For more items of note on the fishing industry see our archive page here.

Terrace RCMP look for help on store theft file from July

The Terrace RCMP is seeking the assistance of the public on a case file stemming from a theft from one of the City's large Big Box Stores on Highway 16.

The investigation into the alleged theft which dates back to July 29th of this year, has Terrace Mounties issuing a photo of a pair leaving the store in the 5100 block of Highway 16.

Surveillance video that was viewed by the RCMP shows that the two males were observed having placed a stereo inside of a cooler prior to their exit from the store without having paid for it.

The value of the stereo is listed as approximately 480 dollars.

If you know who the two males above are,
the Terrace RCMP would like to hear from you

Should you have information that may be of assistance in identifying the two, you are asked to contact the Terrace RCMP at 250-638-7400 or through the CrimeStoppers program at 1-800-222-TIPS.

You can review the RCMP statement on the case file here.

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

Conrad Elementary School mural plans moving towards fall unveiling

The Conrad School mural is taking shape with
the big reveal set for later this fall

A project at Conrad School which was first announced in the Spring is moving towards the grand reveal, with students at the east side elementary school set to put the finishing touches towards a new mural for the school.

The project which has been one of partnership with Transition Prince Rupert is under the watchful eye of local artist and SD 52 teacher Kelli Clifton.

She was busy through the summer in the preparation work of the mural and with school now back in session, the students of Conrad are ready to help bring the work together.

We offered up a preview of the work when it was first announced at the end of May.

It's anticipated that the mural will be placed on the outside walls of the school later this fall, for now the School District invites us all to chart its progress from this update page as well as through the SD52 twitter feed.

For more items of interest related to SD52 see our archive page here.