Monday, September 30, 2019

Medical emergency puts Northern Expedition off schedule

The Northern Expedition at its Fairview  Bay Terminal on Sunday,
a medical emergency today has put the vessel's travels off schedule

BC Ferries is advising travellers on the North Coast and Haida Gwaii of delays for today's schedule, that after an unspecified medical emergency was addressed.

Earlier this afternoon BC Ferries, noted that the Northern Expedition is now close to two and half hours delayed in its journey with the Ferry service charting the path  for the vessel which is set to arrive at the BC Ferry terminal this hour.

Arrive Skidegate 9:30 AM
Depart Skidgegate 12:20 PM

Arrive Prince Rupert 6PM
Depart Prince Rupert 10 PM

Those travellers with reservations are asked to check in at the terminals in accordance with the scheduled sailing times to maintain their reserved status.

BC Ferries has released no further information related to today's events to this point.

The full advisory can be reviewed here.

More notes on BC Ferries service for Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii can be explored here.

Liberals/Greens benefit from front runner stalls and slippage across Skeena-Bulkley Valley

The most recent polling notes from 338Canada offer up some hope for the middle tier of candidates who are in the hunt to claim Nathan Cullen's old seat in the House of Commons.

The September 29th results show NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach and Conservative Claire Rattée as having stalled, or dropped in voter intention over the last seven days.

And its pretty clear that the support has been redirected towards the candidates for the Liberals and Greens for the most part.

Mr. Bachrach left the wrapped up the weekend campaign pretty well where he was seven days ago atop the listings at 35.5%, while Ms. Rattée suffered a dip in the polling, dropping 2 percent from this time last week now sitting at 30.8%.

Making gains on the week were Liberal Dave Birdi who saw increased support by close to 1.5 percent to now sit a 16.2% declared voting intention; while the Green's Mike Sawyer also increased his tally by almost 1 percent, to now claim support of 13.5% of those surveyed.

There was little change for the People's Party candidate Jody Craven who remains at roughly 3.4% in the polling, neither of the two recently declared Independents factored into this weeks update.

The latest forecast while no doubt a bit disappointing for Conservatives in the Northwest, does offer more optimism for the larger Northern BC review.

With the results of all the number crunching showing the party currently leading the polls in three of the four northern riding's.

Nationally Prime Minister Trudeau's Liberals continue to top the polls, picking up six projected seats over the last seven days, the gains seemingly coming at the expense of the Conservatives nationally.

You can track all of the work of 338 Canada here.

For more items of interest related to the Campaign across Skeena-Bulkley Valley see our archive page here.

With plans for Transfer Station closure, Recycling takes a step backwards ... before curb side pickup plans are ready

A clean transfer site above, but on some days that's not the case at the
Kaien Island Transfer Station.  The issue of abandoned goods and changing
regulations means that the Transfer Station will close for good on October 20th

North Coast Regional District has pointed the finger towards those who did not follow the rules and some changing regulations across BC,  as part of the reasoning behind the decision to close the Transfer Station Bins at the Kaien Road recycling centre in the city's Industrial Park.

The regional body, which oversees the recycling program on the North Coast, put the focus on employee safety in its information release today outlining why it has chosen to close the local transfer station option.

Since the transfer station’s opening in 2014, the NCRD has struggled to address material overflow and abandonment issues at the site. 

To address these issues, in 2016, the regional recycling depot’s hours of operation were expanded to include a four (4) hour shift on Sundays and on Boxing Day. Since that time, the NCRD has continued to fund $15,000, annually, to increased operational hours to accommodate 24/7 access to recycling material drop-off for residents

 While the majority of residents drop-off recyclable material consistent with NCRD collection programs, there are a number of users who continue to abandon waste materials such as household garbage, large scrap metal, auto body parts, and sanitary and bio-hazardous waste at the transfer station. 

This is particularly concerning given that the abandonment of these waste materials at the transfer station pose significant risk to both equipment and employee safety.

North Coast Regional Chair, Barry Pages addressed the employee safety issue further as part of today's announcement.

“Employee safety is paramount to us at the NCRD. While the decision to close the transfer station has been difficult, ultimately, we cannot, in good conscience, subject our employees to daily safety risks caused by reckless abandonment of waste materials"

The Kaien Road Transfer Station after a particularly rough weekend
with a number of items abandoned around the property

The station opened for public use in the fall of 2014,  and as the Regional District noted today, at that time, the transfer station was intended to provide residents with 24/7 access to recycling material drop-off, while increasing the overall volume of material collected and reducing the overall operational cost to collect materials.

Regional District also observed today, as to how the unstaffed transfer station now runs afoul of the province's recycling regulations.

Under the Recycle BC program, residential packaging and printed products must be collected at through residential curbside programs or through staff collection sites. Because the transfer station is an unstaffed collection site, it does not comply with current provincial regulation for collection of those materials.

Given the overflow, abandonment, compliance and financial issues that have been outlined by Regional District Officials and stating that it comes following careful consideration, the NCRD has made the decision to close the regional recycling transfer station, effective October 20, 2019.

As part of the winding down of the Transfer station, Regional District will remove the existing bins and eliminate the four (4) hour Sunday shift indefinitely.

To help to offer a bit more time to get your recycling done,  the Regional District will increase the regional recycling depot’s hours of operation  from four (4) to eight (8) hours on Saturdays, resulting in the regional recycling depot opening from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Towards the larger goal of developing a curb-side collection program in Prince Rupert, Des Nobels, the Chair of the Regional Recycling Advisory Committee  observed how work continues towards furthering those local collection plans, though with few details revealed today as far as a timeline goes.

“While the news of the transfer station closure is discouraging, the Regional Recycling Advisory Committee continues to work with the City of Prince Rupert, Recycle BC and other stakeholders to implement a successful curbside residential collection program for the community in the near future.”

The curb side pick up initiative is being developed by the Regional Recycling Advisory Committee  which was established to advise on regional recycling services.

It includes members from the NCRD, the City of Prince Rupert, the District of Port Edward and local environmental representatives, the NCRD continues to work with all stakeholders to bring residential curbside recycling to Prince Rupert.

Regional District offered up the prospect of some progress back in February, with an update on the work of the Recycling committee from January.

The quest to bring curbside recycling to the community has also been an occasional topic for Prince Rupert civic officials, with Councillors Nick Adey and Barry Cunningham inquiring on its progress back in December.

An eye towards the future also made for part of the bid process for a new waste collection vehicle in August, though there have been few updates from the City as to where the region is at when it comes to moving forward with any plans.

Regional Officials also advised today that once the Transfer bins are removed and the station closed that residents not abandon materials at the site. 

The NCRD will continue to monitor abandonment issues at the closed transfer station site and will report violations to the RCMP to ensure that roadways and adjacent properties remain clean, and that residents abandoning waste materials are prosecuted accordingly.

You can review the full advisory from Regional District here.

For more items of note related to Regional District see our archive page here.

For Now ... or Forever? Only time will tell! MV Malaspina set to sail off into the night, as AMHS service to Prince Rupert comes to an end.

Much like the line up for patrons, tonight marks the point in time when
the Alaska Marine Highway System stops for Prince Rupert

The last load of Alaska bound passengers to pass through Prince Rupert's Fairview Terminal will be boarding the MV Malsapina this evening, with a 10:45 PM departure set to be the last for the foreseeable future, if not forever.

That as the State of Alaska follows through on its announcement of earlier this month that will bring an end to  AMHS service to Prince Rupert after close to six decades.

The Alaskans have chosen to take Prince Rupert off the destination map over unresolved security concerns which were raised back in April; with the most recent attempts to find a solution from earlier this month still coming up short of American expectations it would appear.

End of the road for the AMHS in Prince Rupert? The loading lanes
were empty on Sunday afternoon, with the what may be final sailing out of
Prince Rupert  for the Alaska system looming large for later tonight

As we observed earlier this month,  Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain had travelled to Juneau for discussions with Alaska State officials and those from the Alaska Marine Highway System and  from his Facebook post of the time, he outlined how he remains hopeful that the current concerns over security will be addressed at some point in the future.

When it comes to the plan that Mr. Brain presented to the Alaskans, he has not as of yet, outlined any of the details that make for his proposed solutions.

And since the mid September meetings in Juneau and Sitka there has not been any kind of timeline for further discussions with the Alaskans, as well as for any Federal engagement on the issue out of Ottawa. 

The Gates to the AMHS Terminal in Prince Rupert will open for perhaps the
final time later tonight, when the last sailing of the MV Malaspina departs
from the Prince Rupert Terminal

In addition to the interest from the Prince Rupert side of the A/B line to keep the connection alive, residents of Southeast Alaskan communities have been working on their own politicians to seek to reverse the decision to end the service, noting that it will remove their only easily accessible connection with the North American road system.

For now, the last line from the MV Malaspina will be let go at tonight's 10:45 departure. 

With any time frame for a return visit from the Alaska Marine Highway fleet off in some very uncertain future time ... if at all.

Something that leaves the AMHS Booking calendar looking like this until further notice

For more notes on the end of the AMHS service to Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

With One Final Giant Blast, Seal Cove Neighbourhood Pub Closes its doors

An oasis on the city's east side has closed its doors, with Saturday night
the last night of operations for the Seal Cove Neighbourhood Pub

Not many people can claim that "they shut the place down"

But for those who were there to the very end of Saturday night's celebration of the 38th run of the Harley Riders Toy Drive, shutting down the bar  ... really means shutting down the bar, as in lights off, doors locked!

As they were planning to host the Harley Riders and their friends on Saturday night, the ownership of the Seal Cove Neighbourhood Pub was also announcing their plans to close the east side gathering place after the weekend party.

A post to the Pub's Facebook page  revealed the fate of the pub which had come back to life two years ago, that after a lengthy hiatus for much of the last two decades.

The reborn east side dining and beverage house had a one year gestation period, first purchased in the fall of 2016  wth renovations to follow and the officially reopened on October 17th, 2017 .

With the new team on the east side looking to tap into Community spirit by hosting a number of community events to give back to Prince Rupert.

The Seal Cove Pub had also looked to provide for one of the few live venue opportunities remaining for the city's music and comedy scene, hosting a number of bands and comedians during the last two years of its run.

The pub which was formerly known as Solly's was part of the halcyon  bar scene days for Prince Rupert's night life, with the location a favoured destination for many in the late 1980's.

However, as the city's population began its significant exit in the nineties and attitudes changed towards where Rupertites chose to socialize, the east side became a bit of an off the map location for most.

That was something that the new ownership had hoped to reverse through a number of projects, but with Saturday's last call, that now will be a challenge for someone else to take on perhaps.

To their Credit, the management and staff at the Seal Cove Pub went out showcasing their community spirit, hosting the wrap up for the Harley Riders and their friends ... if you're going to call it a day, hosting as big a bash as you can throw seems to be the right way to bid farewell.

With the doors closing to the east side Pub, the city's pub scene now is a downtown and Cow Bay focused one, with all of the community's social options found in those to areas of the city.

For more items of note on the City's Business sector see our archive page here.

Health Canada warning sends Pharmacists in BC scrambling to inform patients/customers of recall

Pharmacists across the province had a busy weekend as they took to the telephones to alert patients who take the drug Ranitidine, or drugs that mimic it or make use of it, of a recall of the product following a Health Canada warning.

The drug is used generally for those with acid-reflux and other afflictions.

At the heart of the concern, is the issue of an impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) detected in some ranitidine drugs.

The recall was issued from current evidence  that suggests that NDMA may be present in ranitidine, regardless of the manufacturer.

NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen, which means long-term exposure to levels above what is considered safe could increase the risk of cancer. 

We are all exposed to low levels of NDMA in some foods (such as meats, dairy products and vegetables) and in drinking water. 

NDMA is not expected to cause harm when ingested at very low levels.

As a result, and at Health Canada’s request, companies marketing ranitidine products in Canada have stopped any further distribution until evidence is provided to demonstrate that they do not contain NDMA above acceptable levels.

The product under recall is both that offered by prescription, or through over the counter medications available without the Doctor's request.

You can learn more about the products that are affected by the Health Canada advisory here.

Pharmacists and Health Canada officials have made note of some of the actions that patients and consumers should follow as part of the product recall. With the general theme of talking to your doctor key to addressing the recall and to seek out alternatives

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist at your earliest convenience about alternative, non-ranitidine treatment options appropriate for your health circumstances. There are many prescription and over-the-counter drug alternatives in Canada that are authorized for the same or similar uses as ranitidine. 

Individuals taking a prescription ranitidine drug, including a recalled product, should not stop taking it unless they have spoken to their health care provider and obtained alternative treatment, as the risk of not treating the condition may be greater than the risk related to NDMA exposure. 

Contact your health care provider if you have taken a ranitidine product and you have concerns about your health.

More notes on health issues across the Northwest can be found from our archive page here.

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain outlines checklist of themes explored at UBCM

It was a good sized delegation from Prince Rupert that were in Vancouver
last week for the 2019 UBCM convention

(Photo from Mayor Lee Brain's Facebook page)

With a day and a bit to unpack two weeks worth of laundry and to reflect on a week of convention in Vancouver; Mayor Lee Brain has taken to his Facebook page to offer up some thumbnail notes on the work of Prince Rupert City Council at UBCM 2019.

Yesterday, the Mayor provided for a check list of sorts towards some of the themes for discussion that he, Council and staff members took part in during the five days of UBCM.

Of those noted as attending  convention week with the Mayor, were all six City Councillors, as well as three of the top level of staff members at Prince Rupert City Hill.

Among some of the conversation topics the Mayor highlighted from the UBCM gathering were:


The mayor noted of discussions with BC Housing officials towards additional units for the city's homeless and for plans to expand the downtown emergency centre in a new location. He also observed on consersations towards more affordable, family and Seniors Housing.

Medical services

Among his themes, Mr. Brain outlined how the City's delegation spoke towards advocacy for Opthalmology and Dialysis services for Prince Rupert as well as to seek out progress towards a Detox centre for the community

Economic Development/Community Revitalization

Watson Island apparently was of some focus towards the theme of economic progress, as well as the work of Redesign Rupert. Also up for discussion regional logistics and transportation initiatives, as well as critical infrastructure requirements 

Financial issues

The Mayor also made note of the city's efforts towards the Port Property Tax Act Review, Ridley Island Tax Sharing Agreement, First Nations partnerships and the work to move forward with the Resource Benefits Alliance program.

While the check list is a strong one of issues raised, there so far is no indication as to how much progress the City has made towards some of those concerns.

Or, if any relief for the many themes raised is on the way to this point.

His Sunday Facebook notes also indicate that a Public Meeting for the community will be held on December 12th at the Lester Centre.

At the information session, the mayor indicates that he will be communicating more with residents about the work of the ReDesign Rupert plan.

A little sooner on the calendar, October 7th marks first public opportunity for the Mayor to recount on his two weeks of travel to Alaska and then Vancouver; as well as for City Council members to share their thoughts, if so inclined,  on their work at the  UBCM of last week.

That is when Prince Rupert Council shifts from its more relaxed summer schedule and returns to their schedule to twice a month meetings.

For more items of interest from the recent UBCM convention, see our archive page here.

A wider overview of past City Council Discussion themes can be found from our Council Discussion archive.

"We need to get an agreement in place that will stand the test of time": John Horgan speaks to the work ahead for the Northwest Benefit Alliance initiative

There's still no blue print forward to show just yet, let alone a funding announcement to wave in the air.

But, the Northwest delegates to the UBCM convention on Friday at least could say that their hopes and desires on a larger share of revenues on regional resources are still on the table for discussion.

The theme of the work of the Northwest Regional Benefits Alliance made for some of the closing minutes for Premier John Horgan's  forty minute or so address to the delegates that brought down the curtain on the convention, with the Premier indicating that work will continue from the groundwork put down so far when it comes to the long sought after revenue sharing initiative.

The notes of interest for the Northwest communities, came towards the final moments of the Premier's Friday address, where he recounted the 100,000 dollars in recent funding to help the member communities develop the foundation for their plans.

And while he had no similar announcement for UBCM, the Premier did note that the representatives of the Association and the Provincial government have been working towards moving the initiative forward.

"This week week we re-committed to ensure that the Regional Benefit Alliance work that has been done by governments right across the north and by officials in Victoria is a reality in the years ahead. 

We need to get a  agreement in place that will stand the test of time, read that means when a government changes. 

We will be ensuring that resources that are created in a community to the best of our ability stay in that community. So that everyone benefits from that work, not just a few"

One does hope that the Finance Minister's geography skills will be stronger than the Premier's seem to be, should the time ever come to cut a cheque for the City of Prince Rupert.

During his address the Premier seemingly placed Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain a bit further east than he may normally be found; that through shout outs for the work of the Resource Benefit trio of Shane Brienen, Sean Bujtas and Lee Brain from Houston, Terrace and Prince George?

Hopefully, Prince Rupert's CFO Corinne Bomben will make sure that the Province has the right account transit numbers when it gets a little closer to the time for  the bank transfer.

Mr. Horgan's geography flub may also be a sign that both the Mayor and North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice need to raise the city's profile a bit in Victoria.

And while the Premier was indicating his desire to forge that new agreement with the Northwest Benefits Alliance membership, some of the more prominent notes from the week of convention might suggest that the project may be a bit more of a long term prospect than local officials may like.

During the convention it was revealed that part of the Provincial Government's forest community rescue plan would involve cannibalizing the popular Rural Development Fund, which has been put into curtailment for now as the Premier put it.

And while he promised that the popular and widely used Dividend Fund would return next year, there was no timeline offered up by the Provincial government towards when the funding taps will be turned on again.

The news of the hold on funding, one  that left the convention's municipal delegates with the visual image of actually departing Vancouver with less money to use for local initiatives, than they may have had heading into the gathering.

Also getting some attention during convention week, was an instruction by Finance Minister James to all cabinet ministers to start to reign in their discretionary spending.

That as Ms. James  begins to put together the blue print for the NDP governments next budget in February, a document that seems destined to be framed in shifting economic times and with some of the province's key resources and exports feeling the pressure.

All of which might suggest that it could be a bit of time yet, before the Northwest representatives of the Resource Benefits Alliance find some financial success towards their goal of a larger share of the money from the resources of the region.

You can learn more about the Northwest BC Benefits Alliance and their work from their website and facebook page.

The Prince Rupert delegation to this years UBCM convention in Vancouver
(Mayor Lee Brain's Facebook page)

Saturday through his Facebook portal, the Mayor of Prince George, er Prince Rupert offered up a short overview of his time at UBCM and recap of the Premier's address to the convention, highlighting some of his "takeaways" on the RBA discussions in Vancouver.

Further background on Northwest Resource Benefits initiative can be explored from our archive page here.

For more items of interest on City Council themes see our Council Discussion archive.

Remembrance and Reconciliation today, as local schools observe Orange Shirt Day

A remembrance of the past and another step towards reconciliation will be the themes for schools across British Columbia and Canada today, with Prince Rupert/Port Edward among the communities to observe Orange Shirt Day.

The Seventh commemoration of awareness of the harm that was done in the past by the Residential School program has been a public event at schools through much of this decade, growing as a commemoration that has spread far beyond the school building walls.

The observance of Orange Shirt Day was created by Indigenous leaders in the Williams Lake area  and was spurred on through the history of Phyllis Webstead, a residential school survivor of St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake who told her story of the day that School officials took away her Orange shirt. leaving her to feel as though she no longer mattered.

Those memories have now grown to serve as a way to look back at how the Residential School program created pain and harm for Indigenous people, as well as to provide a path to  create dialogue and work towards further reconciliation.

They also have created awareness towards the campaign to ensure that "Every child matters" a call that is now common across the nation.

The British Columbia government released a statement from Scott Fraser today, the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation reflecting on the events that are the focus for the events that take place across the province today.

"On Sept. 30, we join together to raise awareness of the terrible effects of the residential school system and the resulting intergenerational trauma. For more than 100 years, children were taken from their parents, subjected to abuse and made to feel ashamed of their culture.

By participating in Orange Shirt Day each year, we act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action to redress the colonial legacy of residential schools. 

More than that, to honour survivors we must all commit to a future grounded in meaningful reconciliation – where healing is supported, rights are respected and Indigenous languages and cultures are able to thrive"

Mr. Fraser's full statement can be reviewed here.

Also made available this morning was a video this morning which outlines the significance of the day and its observance across this province.

School District 52 has a number of activities taking place through the day to raise awareness for Orange Shirt Day, including the sale of T-shirts taking place at Charles Hays Secondary this morning.

Orange Shirt Day at CHSS,
from @chsssd52 twitter feed

In addition to the discussion in the schools that will take place today; as part of the Prince Rupert commemoration, a District Walk for Reconciliation has been planned for the city at 11AM

The path of #OrangeShirtDay in Prince Rupert can be followed through the School District 52 twitter feed.

Commemoration is also taking place at the Prince Rupert campus of Coast Mountain College and at the city's Independent School Annunciation.

You can learn more about the history of the observance of Orange Shirt Day here.

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

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending September 29, 2019

There was little change to be found this week for Prince Rupert's realty listings, with the list of ten remaining as it was this time last week.

Every Monday, we look over the listing prices of the past seven days and outline the Top 10 asking prices in the area, providing a snap shot as to where the Real Estate market may be trending on a week-to-week basis.

The listings below are purely for information purposes, for further background on the properties recorded, see our links page  for access to the individual real estate listings.

The Archive for our weekly review can be found here.

Our list of the top ten priced homes for the week ending September 29, 2019 can be explored below:

Real Estate listings on the West Side of Prince Rupert
Week ending September 29 2019

Real Estate Listings on the West Side of Prince Rupert
Week ending September 29, 2019

For the most part, the West side continues to dominate our review, with Six of the Ten found  on our list located in a cluster around Graham and Atlin, while others are in the Pineridge area, as well as near the downtown waterfront area.

One property, a residence on Overlook, holds the place marker for east of the McBride Street line.

The total value of the list of ten drops this week,  to just below the 7 million mark this week, a slight decline from the values found through most of the summer.

The lowest mark for the list of ten sits  at  $538,000, while our top end from the last week now is marked  at the price point of  $1,350,000

Below find our findings as of the Week ending September 29, 2019

1824 Graham Avenue                    $1,350,000 -- Remax
175 Bill Murray Drive                   $669,900 -- Remax
1933 Graham Avenue                    $649,000 -- Remax
1714 Sloan Avenue                        $649,000 -- Remax
1800 Atlin Avenue                         $649,000 -- Remax
1830 Graham Avenue                    $644,000 -- Remax
1942 Sloan Avenue                        $639,000 -- Remax
2067 Graham Avenue                    $588,000 --  Remax
1827 Graham Avenue                    $549,000 --  Remax
1525 Overlook Street                     $538,850 -- Realty Executives

For more items related to Real Estate see our archive page here.

For background on Housing issues in the region see our past items here.

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

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Blog Watching: Week ending Sunday, September 29 2019

There may be an Oil Tanker Moratorium in place on the North Coast, but if the plans of an Alberta based oil shipment company bear fruit, Prince Rupert may yet become the next big oil port after all.

Our notes on a test shipment from the shipping company Melius proved to be a popular item on the week, with a large number of readers looking to learn more about what is called True Crude and what it may mean for rail and marine transport through the Northwest Gateway.

The theme of getting Alberta oil to market also was featured in another widely read item, as we took a look at a new documentary about to be released that explores the funding of the Canadian environmental movement, with Skeena MLA Ellis Ross featured in the film thanks to his frequent discussion of the topic at the Legislature.

The remainder of the week offered up a look at two new candidates in the Federal election, with a pair of Independents entering the race earlier this month to contest the Skeena-Bulkley Valley election campaign.

It was a bit of deja vu at City Hall at the start of the week, as a reprise of the 2017 Tent City took place with a number of the city's homeless population setting up tents as part of a protest over their concerns with the city's homeless shelter. The protest had come to an end by Monday afternoon after mediation efforts appeared to resolve the issue for now.

And with September almost over, our look at some of the Tax Sale Properties that may be up for bid on Monday at City Hall proved to be a popular item.

However, the top item of the last seven days put the focus back on the shipment of bitumen. With what may either be a solution for Alberta's oil shippers, or a new flash point for the environmental movement gaining some notice through a solidified container shipment that passed through the Port of Prince Rupert recently. 

Prince Rupert's Northwest Gateway tests the waters; hosts transit of a test run for containerized bitumen shipments   -- The future for Alberta's oil industry may be in containers, with Melius, an Alberta based energy shipment company outlining the success of a recent test run for a new shipment process. (posted  September 26, 2019)

That article was followed by:

Two new candidates step into Skeena-Bulkley Valley election campaign -- The more established of Skeena-Bulkley Valley's political parties get some competition from the Independents, with Dany Nunes and Merv Ritchie entering the race for the seat in the House of Commons.  (posted  September 23, 2019)

MLA Ellis Ross featured in trailer for upcoming documentary -- A new documentary based on the work of author and researcher Vivian Krause will feature a familiar Northwest face, with Skeena MLA Ellis Ross's themes on foreign cash in the Canadian environmental movement making for the focus of the film.    (posted September 24, 2019)

Tent City Redux in Prince Rupert  -- A short weekend protest called attention to some concerns when it comes to access to the homeless shelter on Third West, as well as to highlight that there is still much work to do in the area for the city's  most vulnerable.  (posted  September 23, 2019)

Prince Rupert's Property Bargain Hunters have a weekend of travel ahead, as City's Annual Tax Sale nears  -- The clock is ticking on some in arrears properties, with Prince Rupert City Hall set to host its Annual Property Tax Sale on Monday morning.    (posted  September 25 , 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, September 28, 2019

Premier's address to UBCM provides reassurance for rural communities; but few dollars so far for revenue sharing concerns

Premier Horgan was the final act of the Five Day UBCM festival,
bringing the 2019 Convention to a close on Friday morning

The five day UBCM convention in Vancouver wrapped up just before the noon hour on Friday and as is the tradition, the Premier brought the festivities to a close, with John Horgan saluting those that have chosen municipal government and noting the sacrifices that they make in that service.

In his address, the Premier focused on the shared accomplishments with the municipal governments and regional districts of the province, noting of the 580 plus meetings that took place during convention week, where the provincial and municipal representatives addressed concerns from across British Columbia.

He outlined some of his defining moments as Premier over the last two years, noting of the fires, floods and rock slides that the province has faced over that period of time and how both the province and municipal governments have worked together in the face of catastrophe.

"Governments are expected to step up when there's crisis, communities always step up when there's crisis. But when we put those two things together, I don't believe that there's anything that we can't overcome"

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice received a shout out from the Premier, that for her work on some of the many emergency challenges that were faced by residents from many areas of the province in the two years since the NDP took power.

Mr. Horgan touched briefly on the economic crisis facing many logging communities this summer, observing on the large convoy of residents from those communities who came to the UBCM convention site this week to ensure that they were heard.

From that he offered up reassurance that the recently suspended Rural Dividend Funding program would be coming back, adding that its suspension is only a temporary measure to focus on those people currently in distress who need the help now.

"That's why we curtailed the Rural Development Fund so we can focus directly on people who are in distress,  you saw them right outside this building, you heard them right outside this building.  And for those from Rural British Columbia, you know better than anybody that we need to help now   And that's why the program was curtailed, not ended, curtailed it will be back we will monitor the program over the next number of months"

On forestry issues he took some industry leaders to task for redirecting their financial investments out of the province while declaring a distress for their provincial assets, though he also called attention to range of issues such as tariffs, pine beetle and other concerns that have impacted heavily on the industry.

He put the focus on building code changes to allow for timber construction for high rise buildings that will help to build the market in British Columbia and bring further investment into the forest industry.

For those in the Northwest fishing industry however, there surely must have been some disappointment from the address.  With no mention by the Premier of their struggles this summer, or any indication that their call for similar financial assistance has been heard.

With Climate marches underway on the day, the Premier outlined the themes of his Clean BC plan as it works to address climate issues in the province with a climate action plan.

On Health the Premier rattled off a list of the new hospitals that are being developed across the province, including the replacement facility for Terrace.

Speaking on themes of reconciliation, the Premier noted of their work to deliver this fall on the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. Horgan observed on their consultative process.

"We want to get this right, we want to make sure that as we proceed down a track of reconciliation and economic prosperity for everyone that we do it in a way that doesn't alienate people along the way. 

A Very good example of that, that fits in with our economic strategy and Clean BC process is the LNG Canada decision to investigate significant amounts of money in Northern British Columbia, 

And I was so proud last October to stand with Mayor Germuth fron Kitimat, Chief Councillor Crystal Smith from the Haisla Nation and talk about a project that will put 23 billion dollars into our coffers that we can distribute to communities across BC to build the schools, the hospitals and the infrastructure that we need. 

And not just to build infrastructure but also to see prosperity for Indigenous communities that have seen for too long a tragic future rather than a prosperous one. They've been cut out, shut out  and ignored and excluded from the extraordinary economic potential of our province"

The Premier had some further positive news for the Northwest, speaking to themes of development of resources in the region and how there should be more benefits for local communities where those resources are located.

He spoke of the Northern Capital grant program and the 100 million dollars provided for it last year and how the approach that the Province is taking works to ensure that resources remain in the pockets of communities across the province.

"This week week we re-committed to ensure that the Regional Benefit Alliance work that has been done by governments right across the north and by officials in Victoria is a reality in the years ahead. 

We need to get a  agreement in place that will stand the test of time, read that means when a government changes. We will be ensuring that resources that are created in a community to the best of our ability stay in that community. So that everyone benefits from that work, not just a few"

The Premier observed as to how the process has worked through the Peace Fair Share program and in the Columbia Basin initiative; noting how they were programs which were put in place by previous NDP governments

The Premier then turned to the Northwest with some thoughts on the work done so far by regional officials towards delivering on a similar process for its residents.

"So I think that the Rural Benefits Alliance work that's been initiated by communities in the North, I commend Sean, Shane and Lee ... from Terrace, Houston, Prince George that all of the communities along the corridor will benefit from this investment and I believe that's good for everybody."

His comments on the morning ended with an anecdote on his travels as part of the Tribal Journeys  over the summer and how it serves as an example to follow.

The Premier using his remembrance of the summer journey as a call for  municipal and provincial leaders to pull together as they work towards common issues.

You can review Mr. Horgan's full address to the delegates from the BC Government Facebook feed

For a wider overview of some of the events of the five day convention see our archive page here.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Harley Riders and their friends to ride for charity Saturday around Prince Rupert

From Seal Cove to Port Edward and points in between Prince Rupert's
Harley Riders are on the road tomorrow in a fund raiser for the
Salvation Army Christmas Assistance program

The Ride is on and the weather looks excellent for those taking to the streets on Saturday for the Annual Harley Riders Run for Charity.

Celebrating it's 38th Anniversary tomorrow, the local club of Harley Riders will be heading out from the Salvation Army's Grenville Court location at Noon.

The journey making for the start of a tour of five stops along the way, which first takes the riders out to Port Edward for a BBQ hosted by the Port Edward Fire Department.

From there they head back to Rupert and stops at a number of local spots before pulling into the Seal Cove Pub where the post ride activities will rev up.

With good weather ahead, there's a very good chance that they will be able to top last years record number of participants of 122.

The funds raised, as well as non-perishable food and toys collected through the lead up to the event and at the social following will all be directed to the Salvation Army for their Christmas season assistance program.

A Poker ride makes for part of the travels with cards set at 15 dollars each.

The evening event has a 15 dollar entry fee with tickets at the door, as well as a 50/50 draw, the sale of anniversary T shirts and door prizes on the night.

The Musical guests are Dixie Dead Shake who will keep the congregation dancing through the night.

Learn more about the event and how you can donate from the Facebook page created for Saturday's ride.

Learn more about the local Harley Riders here.

For more items of note on local events see our archive page here.

New roads maintenance firm to take on Bulkley-Nass duties this winter

Winter is Coming! And they're making ready in the Bulkley and Nass, 
as a new roads contractor takes over as of October 1st
(Photo from Bulkley Valley Lakes Stikine District twitter)

Those travelling the roads out of Prince Rupert bound east and north this winter will find a new highways maintenance group tackling the road clearing and maintenance challenges of the Bulkley-Nass region.

With the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announcing this week that Dawson Road Maintenance has been awarded a ten year contract effective October 1st.

The area of service includes provincial highways for Smithers, the Hazeltons and Steward, included in their contract are both highways 16 and 37 North

The Ministry has also outlined some of the changes that have been made towards standards for work and communication for road maintenance companies.

Among the improvements from the last contract period:

Increasing communication with the public about rapidly changing road conditions during severe weather events and other incidents affecting travel on B.C. roads

Returning Class A highways to bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event, at -9 C or warmer (the previous standard was 48 hours)

Increasing patrol frequency to 90 minutes on a Class A highway during a winter storm (the previous standard was four hours)

Increasing the patrol frequency to four hours when a weather event is forecasted (the previous standard was 24 hours)

Dawson Road Maintenance, which had its start in the Cariboo region of the province,  will be taking over duties on the roads from Billabong Road and Bridge, which was saluted for their work by the Bulkley Valley Lakes Stikine District this week.

The new contract holder Dawson also holds contracts for  roads maintenance service to South Cariboo, Central Cariboo and the North Peace.

More background on the recently awarded contract can be reviewed here.

For more items of note on Transportation see our Highway 16 Transportation archive.

Dive into your work with two new career opportunities at Earl Mah Aquatic Centre

The City hosts a pair of job opportunities
at the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre this fall

The City of Prince Rupert is looking to bolster the staff of the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre this fall, with two Job Posting's for positions at the pool listed on the City's job's page this week.

The first is a casual position, for a Lifeguard 1, which closes on October 24th, the list of qualifications and expectations can be reviewed here.

Also available for qualified applicants is a Permanent full time position as a Lifeguard Instructor II with the deadline to apply for that position listed as October 17.

Other Northwest communities have found some difficulty in filling their openings from time to time, which has at times required those recreation departments to close their facilities for use by the public for a short amount of time while they work through their staffing troubles.

For a look at some of the past job opportunities offered by the city see our archive page.