Monday, July 13, 2020

62 new cases of COVID-19 recorded over weekend

The three day reporting gap that a Monday brings, delivered a bit of a startling jump in the number of reported cases of COVID-19 with an average of 20 cases a day relayed by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix at this afternoon's briefing.

“Today, we are providing case updates for three 24-hour reporting periods. In the first reporting period from July 10 to July 11, we had 21 new cases. From July 11 to July 12, we had 20 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we have had a further 21 new cases. 

 “This represents 62 new cases since we reported on Friday, for a total of 3,115 cases in British Columbia.  There are 208 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 2,718 people who tested positive have recovered. 

Of the total COVID-19 cases, 14 individuals are hospitalized, five of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation." 

When it comes to the province wide breakdown the data was distributed as follows:

1,012 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,643 in the Fraser Health region, 135 in the Island Health region, 209 in the Interior Health region, 65 in the Northern Health region, which continues the Northern region string of returns with no increases.

51 cases were recorded when it comes to people who reside outside of Canada.

Doctor Henry also made note of two passings over the weekend.

 “There have been two new COVID-19 related deaths in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, for a total of 189 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 “There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. In total, two long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute-care facility have active outbreaks. "

The public health officials also made note of some high profile cases from the Interior Health Authority, both industrial and community related.

"There is one new isolation order and community exposure events are continuing to occur. “Interior Health has issued an isolation order for Krazy Cherry Fruit Co. in Oliver due to two positive COVID-19 cases associated with this farm. Public health teams are monitoring the situation closely and have placed restrictions on those living and working on the farm to limit the potential for further transmission. 

Interior Health has also issued alerts for community exposure events in the Kelowna downtown and waterfront area between June 25 and July 9. 

Anyone who was at the Discovery Bay Resort from July 1 to 5 and Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge on July 1 is directed to self-isolate. Anyone who was at Cactus Club on Water Street from July 3 to 6 and Pace Spin Studio on July 2, 4, 5, 7 to 9 is asked to monitor themselves and contact public health immediately to arrange to get tested should symptoms develop."

The full report from Monday is available here

The BC Centre for Disease control has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, the string of statements that came quickly at the end of the week can be reviewed here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints

Port of Prince Rupert updates progress on Land Use Plan review

With some commentary already received, the Port of Prince Rupert has provided for an update on their work towards the Port's Land Use Plan.

With Port officials making note of the feedback on some of the elements related to the actual land use process and other elements of interest or concern, when it comes to port development from residents of the region.

As we noted back in June, the Port launched its consultation with the public on land use with the release of the Draft Land Use plan, an eighty page overview  of proposed development which you can look over here.

In a video update earlier this month, the Port's Ken Veldman provided a snapshot of the feedback so far, among his themes was a reminder for residents of the area that the land use plan is not replacing project impact reviews, which will still provide for the focus and community feedback for individual proposals.

The comments received so far have put an important focus on job creation, recreational waterfront development, commitments towards environment, with Mr. Veldman pointing towards the Port's initiatives for Flora Bank. he also relayed the theme from the public of the need for more frequent updates from the Port, providing for a wider flow of information on their proposals and the impact on the community that they may bring.

Mr. Veldman also made note of the significant Indigenous population in the region and highlighted the Port's commitment towards First Nations in the region and the role that they play both in the community and the port.

"PRPA is committed to ensuring that port related prosperity is shared in multiple ways with our most important partners ... While this plan is not a substitute for consultation on individual projects or activities; we have made commitments to advancing that relationship with First Nations, in the spirit of reconciliation within this document" -- Port of Prince Rupert's Ken Veldman with an update on their Land Use plan progress

You can review his commentary on the Land Use process below:

The consultation process on the Land Use Plan continues through until August 17th, find out more about the work in progress here.

For more notes of interest on the latest themes from the Port see our archive page here.

Cameras at the ready! Time for the annual CityWest phone book cover contest

Your next snapshot could make the final list of ten as CityWest
once again launches its Phonebook cover competition

The time is here to find that once in a lifetime photo shot that could place you among the top photographers on the North Coast, as CityWest announces the call for submissions for photographs for the annual Phone book cover selection process.

The announcement of the call for submissions  was shared through the CityWest website and Facebook page last week, noting that photos will be accepted at CityWest until August 7th.

The winning photo will be announced later next month and will be the featured item on the 2021 phone book to be distributed across the city later this year.

You can submit your pictures focused on Prince Rupert settings to

Over the years, the competition has provided for a large volume of entries, making for a challenging job for the CityWest selection group as they worked their way through a spectacular range of photos.

Their task one to come up with the list  of the final ten photos for consideration, with the process then handed over to the public to cast the deciding vote on.

Doug Davis captured this pod of humpbacks on camera last year
a snapshot of an iconic North Coast moment that now lives on
in the phone book archives at CityWest

(photo from CityWest Instagram feed)

If you're lucky, Captain Doug Davis will take a year off from photography, the local photo artist who claimed the top spot last year, he is one of a number of repeat winners of the contest over the years.

The photo project hosted by CityWest showcases the talents of the local photography community as well as some of the spectacular settings that make for the North Coast backdrop.

If you would like more information on the 2020 Cover photo call for submissions contact the CityWest Marking Department at 250-624-2111

You can follow the progress of the Phone Book Cover competition from the CityWest Facebook page and Instagram Feed.

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

Seal Cove area apartment block crumbles upon itself

One of the apartment blocks overlooking Seal Cove isn't overlooking that scenic vista anymore, that after the boarded up and long closed to public building appears to have collapsed upon itself last week.

The Apartment building, which was the one closest to 7th Avenue East and Bellis Road was one of seven along Evergreen Drive on the city's east side,  the block in question had been vacant for over a decade, while the remainder of similar style buildings have remained home to residents.

Fencing currently surrounds the site to keep the curious away from the site.

For more notes on housing in Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

Want to work on your Sm'algyax ... there's an app for that!

A new initiative from a recent graduate of Charles Hays Secondary School is now available to help those looking to learn, or expand their knowledge of Sm'algyax offering up an opportunity to practice, practice, practice.

The new app which features the North Coast Indigenous language common to Ts'msyen communities was launched over the weekend and has now been included in the Apple App Store charts for education software.

The genesis for the app, created by Brendan Eshom, who graduated from CHSS last month, came after his grade 12 timetable could not accommodate a Sm'algyax course. The instruction of the Indigenous language is part of the curriculum for students of School District 52.

Funding for the project came through a grant from the Git'gat First Nation and the app has been endorsed by the Sm'algyax Language Authority.

Mr. Eshom who is a member of the Gig'gat Nation is happy with the early response to the launch of the project and what it offers those who wish to learn.

"Growing up as part of the Gitga'at First Nation, I have immersed myself in study of Sm'algyax. I am excited to share my passion for the language with audiences both here at home and around the world. Tradition and history are embedded in language. 

Illuminating Sm'algyax means revealing a worldview that is unique to Ts'mysen culture. It's humbling to witness the ongoing revitalization of the language, thanks to its speakers, learners, and advocates."

The App project builds on the success of a website that debuted in late 2019, which offers a new word of the day and provides a wider overview of the Sm'algyax language.

His passion for the language will continue even as Mr. Eshom heads off for further studies at UBC in the fall, with the local linguist looking to build on his success in distributing and offer further resources.

You can download the program from both the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

More on education in the Northwest can be found from our archive page here.

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending July 12, 2020

There was no movement to be seen over the last seven days when it comes to the top end realty listings in Prince Rupert, with a set list of ten from one week ago for your review.

This weeks list is marked once again by a number of listings overlooking the harbour on Graham making for a good portion of the list of showcase homes in the community.

Every Monday, we look over the listing prices of the week just passed 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 July 12, 2020 can be explored below:

Real Estate listings on the West Side of Prince Rupert
Week ending July 12, 2020

Real Estate listings on the East Side of Prince Rupert
Week ending July 12, 2020

While the list remained the same, there was a price adjustment for a property on the West side of the city.

That area of town is where the majority of the top end listings for the week are found, half of those found in the Graham/Atlin pocket, the remainder spread out west of the McBride Street marker. Only one property this week is found east of McBride.

The total value of the list of sits at just over 6.8 million dollars,  a slight increase from the values of last week.

The lowest mark for the list of ten  sits  at $522,500, while our top end from the last week remains marked  at the price point of  $1,350,000

Below find our findings as of the Week ending July 12, 2020

1824 Graham Avenue                    $1,350,000 -- Remax
508 Cassiar Avenue                       $715,000 --    Remax
1714 Sloan Avenue                        $649,000 --    Remax
1933 Graham Avenue                    $649,000 --    Remax
173 Bill Murray Drive                   $674,900 --    Remax
1800 Atlin Avenue                         $599,000 --    Remax
1932 Atlin Avenue                         $599,000 --    Remax
909 Borden Street                          $549,000 --    Remax
130 Bill Road                                 $535,000 --    Remax
1413 Graham Avenue                    $499.000 --     Remax

Last week brought the first glimpse of the impact of the pandemic on real estate across British Columbia.

As we noted last Wednesday, while many communities across the Northwest have seen a dip in sales and returns for sellers; Prince Rupert held its own, finding an increase in the value returned to sellers over the first six months of 2020, compared to 2019.

More on that snapshot of realty as of June 30th can be reviewed here.

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, July 12, 2020

Blog Watching: Week ending July 12, 2020

A tribute for a long serving paramedic made for the most reviewed story of the week, as we highlighted a presentation to the Legislature from North Coast MLA Jeniffer Rice who shared the mourning on the North coast from the passing of Mike Sorensen.

Also generating a large volume of reads on the week was our look at the controversial move to open a luxury Sports fishing lodge on Haida Gwaii.

Municipal issues also found a large audience this week as we reviewed some past notes from Council on the theme of supports for the city's homeless population, as well as some questions from the community on the status of the city's recreational facilities.

As well, our look at the state of a couple of high profile road infrastructure projects in the city at the moment made for a popular review.

However, when it came to the most read item of the last week, Ms. Rice's words in the Legislature found the largest audience of the last seven days.

MLA Rice shares sense of loss on North Coast at passing of paramedic Mike Sorensen -- The sudden passing of Prince Rupert Paramedic Station Manager Mike Sorensen resonated across the region, with MLA Jennifer Rice paying tribute to his legacy at the Legislature this week.    (posted  July 9 , 2020)

That article was followed by:

As controversy over Haida Gwaii fishing lodge opening swirls; Prince Rupert could become transfer hub for travellers --  The decision by a high profile fishing lodge on Haida Gwaii to reopen has generated concern and discussion for the Council of Haida nation as well as some residents of the islands. For the Prince Rupert airport however, the reopening of sport fishing could bring some additional passengers through the Digby island terminal.  (posted July 6, 2020)

"What about the Civic Centre?"  -- Heading into the fourth month of closure of the city's recreation facilities owing to COVID, civic centre users await further word from City Council as to when the recreation facilities may be reopening.   (posted July 10 , 2020)

Port a Potty Peek A Boo! -- While the City of Prince Rupert may have finally opened the public washrooms near Mariner's Park, so far to date, there have been no further updates on a wider program  to provide for port-a-potties and hand washing stations around the downtown area, previously mentioned by Councillor Cunningham back in May     (posted July  7, 2020)

Road work woes continue for Prince Rupert residents --  Our look at two lengthy and still to be completed road projects in the city generated a strong number of viewers.  (posted July 10 , 2020 )

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, July 11, 2020

MLA's Week: July 6-10, 2020

The second week for the new hybrid legislature got underway Monday as MLA"s returned to work following the Canada Day break, with  elected officials set to address some topical themes of the last few weeks.

The government introduced two initiatives of note this week, the first the creation of a non-partisan committee to review the British Columbia Police act and address issues of racism in policing in the province, that committee includes Skeena MLA Ellis Ross.

As well, this week provided for the first glimpse of the work ahead for Ms. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who has been tasked by Health Minister Adrian Dix to investigate reports of racism in the British Columbia Health Care system.

Investigation addressing reports of Health care racism gets underway

The first week of work for July for MLA's once again saw both North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice and Skeena MLA Ellis Ross continue to participate from remote locations, part of the new  look Legislature process in place owing to COVID.

As for more on the week, the five days unfolded as follows:


On the week, Ms Rice was listed three times  in the accounts of the sessions of the Legislature from July 6-10

The MLA's week included a pair of statements to the House on Wednesday with MLA Rice making a statement on the passing of Prince Rupert paramedic Mike Sorensen 

MLA Rice shares sense of loss on North Coast at passing of paramedic Mike Sorensen

She also used her time to highlight the work of a Bella Coola resident, making note as to how he had assisted his community in the preparation of protective gear as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Bella Coola resident celebrated in Legislature for his helping hands in COVID response

On Monday, Ms. Rice spoke to a private members motion on anti-racism

MLA's Rice and Ross speak to NDP's anti-racism motion in Monday legislature session

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

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

Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs


For our readers from the Terrace-Kitimat region, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross  was mentioned twice in the record for  Legislature from July 6-10

The first note of Mr. Ross's work week included the announcement of a new Legislature Committee to explore systemic racing in British Columbia policing, with the Skeena MLA one of nine committee members.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross named to Legislature Committee to study systemic racism in Policing

Mr. Ross also spoke to the theme of racism this week, participating in the discussion on Monday related to a private members anti-racism motion.

MLA's Rice and Ross speak to NDP's anti-racism motion in Monday legislature session

The Skeena MLA also participated in a Committee ZOOM session related to Energy, Mines and Resources, making a number of enquiries related to the LNG Canada pipeline route, that as part of the Committee's  Friday morning session

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

He has also been appointed to the Standing Committee on Children and Youth
and as noted above, he has been appointed to the newly created Committee to study the Police Act.

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

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

North Coast constituency

Skeena and Stikine constituency

The full schedule for the Legislature for 2020  can be viewed here.

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

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

Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday update notes 25 new cases, one passing from COVID-19

A jump once again in the number of daily cases reported and the sad news of a new death made for the relay of information for Friday, delivered by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minsiter Adrian Dix by way of an afternoon statement.

“Today, we are announcing 25 new cases, for a total of 3,053 cases in British Columbia.  There are 187 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 2,679 people who tested positive have recovered. 

Of the total COVID-19 cases, 16 individuals are hospitalized, five of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation." 

For the breakdown province wide, 990 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,610 in the Fraser Health region, 135 in the Island Health region, 202 in the Interior Health region, 65 in the Northern Health region, that number has been consistent for the last month. 

51 cases of COVID have been reported related to people who reside outside of Canada.

 “There has been one new COVID-19 related death in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, for a total of 187 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Friday statement, provided a reminder as to the guiding elements for the summer when it comes to travel and engagement in British Columbia.

“When spending more time with friends and family, whether that is close to home or on vacation elsewhere in the province, we remind all British Columbians to avoid closed spaces, crowds and close contact with others. 

We know that the more layers of protection we use, the safer we will be. Let’s all ‘layer up’ by washing our hands regularly, using barriers, staying a safe distance from others and using a mask when that is challenging. 

The actions you take every day make a difference and will help to protect all of us.”

The full report from Friday is available here

The BC Centre for Disease control has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, the string of statements that came quickly at the end of the week can be reviewed here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints

"What about the Civic Centre?"

It's a wide and empty expanse at the Prince Rupert Civic Centre, the facility
has remained closed to the public since March as part of the city's response
to the COVID-19 pandemic

While the City continues to move tentatively forward towards relaxing some of the COVID-19 restrictions first put in place in March, so far there has been no further information offered up on when, or if the City's Recreation facilities will reopen to the public.

When it comes to the gradual reopening for service, in June, the City reopened the City's playgrounds and fields for the use of the public, while back in May it was announced that the City would reopen limited access to City Hall.

Though that access requires working the telephones and leaving a message in hopes of booking an appointment with municipal staff or officials.

The access rules appear to be an initiative that seems to be unique to Prince Rupert in the Northwest, with other municipalities in the region having opened their council offices to the public with social distancing measures in place, but no appointments required.

However, when it comes offering some guidance as to what the plan is for the city's large recreation facilities, the city's politicians and senior staffers have not had much to share; the topic one that has not been raised as part of any discussion at the most recent City Council sessions.

Mayor Lee Brain did make note of the return for the Recreation Department's Summer Camp program this week,  a topic which we highlighted last month when the launch of the 2020 Camp program was announced.

On Wednesday, the Mayor showcased the program through his Social media page, which if he gazes down just a bit towards his comments forum includes a question asking about the plan ahead for the Civic Centre.

City Manager Robert Long
When the City Council members returned to City Hall Chambers in May for one of their remote format appearances, City Manager Robert Long provided for what was called the COVID report, providing the advisory that a lot of the reopening plans depended on decisions from the province.

The May update from the City manager was something which at the time Councillor Adey noted should become a regular fixture at Council sessions.

"I would like to see us recognize that until the pandemic passes it is going to be an ongoing issue and I would like to feel that it is going to be a regular part of every council meeting. In terms of reporting where the city is at and how we are coordinating with the province in terms of the reopening plan. So I'm hoping that we can make that a regular thing"

Though as the weeks have moved forward, any further relay of information on the Civic Centre, Earl Mah Aquatic Centre or other facilities has been lacking in subsequent sessions.

So for Mr. Crook (and his enquiry of the mayor which so far has not seen delivered an answer), and many others in the city, whether Social media savvy or not. 

A group who may still await some kind of roll out of the city's plans ahead for the Civic Centre and other civic functions, perhaps the Council members could seek out some advice for the community at their July 20th council session.

For more notes related to Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page here.

Bella Coola resident celebrated in Legislature for his helping hands in COVID response

This week, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice highlighted the work of the efforts in communities across the region towards lending a hand when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of her allotted speaking time for the Legislature proceedings of Wednesday, Ms. Rice offered up the work of a Bella Coola resident as a symbol of the spirit of the region when it comes to helping out, recounting the work of James Hindley who created face shields for health care workers from his home and through a local group called the Bella Coola Makerspace.

Working in consultation with area doctors, Mr. Hindley quickly took to his work to develop the important Personal Protective Equipment that provides extra confidence for those on the front lines of health care.

Ms. Rice relayed his story as part of her remote participation in the Wednesday session.

We're facing a global pandemic not seen in over 100 years. While we have all witnessed some isolated examples of selfishness and malice, our communities have overwhelmingly demonstrated solidarity and kindness. 

Over the past few months, we have seen diverse and creative expressions of solidarity. 

There is one initiative in particular which I'd like to recognize here in the North Coast. My riding has some of the most remote communities in the province, and the isolation and lack of services makes our communities particularly sensitive to the potential effects of a local outbreak. 

When the pandemic began, health providers throughout my riding worried about the lack of equipment and PPE in our hospitals and clinics. 

 Seeing this vulnerability for his community in Bella Coola, James Hindley, a local 3D printing expert, worked together with local doctors, the Bella Coola Makerspace and a global online community of creators, to make hundreds of face shields and other PPE for the local hospital staff. 

James spent hundreds of hours using 3D printers at the community's Makerspace, and on his living room floor, to make these face shields, while all the materials were donated by local businesses. 

 Thanks to the efforts of all British Columbians and his own community, the virus has not entered the central coast, and these masks haven't had to be used. He has donated over 50 masks to the Nuxalk First Nation to stockpile, and he has kept another 200 masks at home in case the hospital needs them for a future outbreak in the community. 

James Hindley is just one of the thousands of people across the province who stepped up to fight this pandemic and ensure our communities remain safe. I couldn't be prouder of his work and that of all British Columbians who have come together, at a distance, to fight this pandemic. 

 To everyone who chose solidarity and kindness over self-interest and despair in the face of this pandemic, thank you. You are all heroes in my book.

As noted in her remarks, Mr. Hindley is part of the Bella Coola Makerspace you can explore some of their work here.

In his own Social Media post, Mr. Hindley deflects some of the praise while providing a bit of background to the project, noting that his work was designed as a worst case scenario.

Modest as he is, Mr. Hindley's efforts do showcase however how British Columbians have pulled together in many cases during these uncertain times and such efforts do deserve the recognition that was delivered in the Legislature on Wednesday

For more notes from the Legislature see our archive page here.

Executive Search complete; CityWest names new CEO

Stefan Woloszyn is the
next CEO for CityWest

(photo from CityWest)
After an extensive executive search, CityWest, the City of Prince Rupert owned communication company has named their next Chief Executive Officer, with Stefan Woloszyn named to the post today.

In an announcement released this morning, CityWest offered up a glimpse at the CV for the new executive, who will take up his duties on August 17th.

Mr. Woloszyn comes to us with significant business experience in both Prince Rupert and across the BC coast. He was the CFO for the BC Pilotage Authority (a federal Crown Corporation) and has successfully developed relationships with senior governments, many private sector companies, the City and coastal First Nations.

Mr. Woloszyn has facilitated new business development for multiple companies in the Northwest through his own private consulting practice. He was also previously a senior manager with the Quickload group in Prince Rupert, before working for the BC Pilotage Authority.

Bob Long, Prince Rupert's City Manager and the Chair of the Board for CityWest highlighted how the experience of Mr. Woloszyn will fit in at the communication company.

“After an extensive search, the Board is pleased to appoint Mr. Woloszyn as CEO; his positive leadership approach, extensive business experience and familiarity with the North Coast, makes him a great choice.”

The search began earlier this year after former CEO Chris Marrett announced in January his plans to leave the company that after having held the position for four years and putting the wrap on his near eight years of service with CityWest

Tina Lussier took on the operations in the interim period, her work as Interim CEO will come to an end when Mr. Woloszyn takes up his office at the CityWest headquarters on Third West.

The new CEO comes to CityWest as the communication company continues to expand its footprint in the Northwest and prepares to take on an ambitious connectivity project in the Connected Coast initiative for Haida Gwaii, Central Coast and Vancouver Island.

The full information release from CityWest can be reviewed here.

For more notes related to CityWest see our archive page here.

Road work woes continue for Prince Rupert residents

See update at bottom of page

For those travelling around Prince Rupert, the road from points A to B is a transit that is becoming rather challenging these days, one that either needs a re-route (as seen in the latest update for the Cow Bay area today)  or makes for a bumpy experience, with a pair of high profile road woes still unresolved.

Work on a stretch of McBride Street from 1st Avenue West to 2nd West continues on, now in its second week, with the road reduced to one direction and sporadically closed completely as workers continue to repair infrastructure underneath the surface.

The last message from the City of Prince Rupert on that project came on June 30th with the City originally advising somewhat hopefully it seems now that the traffic disruption would be short lived, later updated with the always ominous until further notice.

10 days later there does not seem to be any indication that the work is nearing completion.

Over at the corner of Fulton and Sixth West, the situation is even worse for motorists, with the intersection now more of an off road trail than a city street.

The gravel placed over ongoing work long since scattered, leaving a bone jarring transit for those who dare to test out the suspension to the vehicles, though so far there have been no reports of cars disappearing into the abyss.

That work which first began in April, was still awaiting a part as of the end of June, with little maintenance done to the road since, making for some challenging driving or a reset on the GPS to find a road that has a clear path and no surprises.

As both projects seem to be facing some significant delays, it might be a timely moment for an update from the City as to an anticipated completion date for both, either by way of the city website or their preferred forum these days of Social media.

Update: Good news for motorists, though perhaps a disappointment for off road enthusiasts, on Friday afternoon, the City of Prince Rupert had dispatched a roads crew to address the challenges of Fulton and Sixth!.

A little relief for motorists as City of Prince Rupert work crews
deliver some gravel to the intersection of Fulton and Sixth

(click to enlarge)

For more notes related to the city's infrastructure see our archive page here.

BC Ferries resumes amenities service on Northern Routes

There will be no need to pack a lunch, dinner and breakfast for travellers on the BC Ferries northern routes, with a variation of their Cafeteria service and other amenities returning to the two routes that arrive and depart at the Prince Rupert Terminal at Fairview Bay.

BC Ferries announced the reopening of their onboard services on Wednesday noting that to ensure the health and safety of its customers and employees, the company will strictly adhere to provincial and federal guidelines during this reopening phase.

Towards those measures BC Ferries is ensuring the safety of passengers and crew by supporting physical distancing in food service areas, enhancing cleaning and sanitization efforts and reducing the number of touch points.

Pre-packaged meals and limited hot meal options are now available
aboard the  Northern Expedition for trips in and out of Prince Rupert

As of this week, BC Ferries customers can now enjoy packaged food items and limited hot food services on the North Coast runs, as well as a number of others to the south. All hot food will be served in packaging for customers to take to their vehicles, outer deck or limited cafeteria seating.

You can review the full announcement here.

The food service was suspended in March as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result those that had need to travel aboard BC Ferries had to provide for their own provisions for the two long distance journeys in and and out of Prince Rupert.

For more notes related to BC Ferry service on the North and Central Coast as well as Haida Gwaii see our archive page here.

CityWest Request for Info process launched towards Connected Coast ambitions

Potential routing for the Connected Coast Fibre optic project
(From CityWest RFI documents)

Earlier this week, we made note of a bit of forward momentum for the Connected Coast Fibre-Optic project, an ambitious program for connectivity that Prince Rupert's CityWest is a partner in, sharing the stage with the Strathcona Regional District.

As we explored on Wednesday, the Vancouver Island Regional District has just released the findings of some extensive community consultation among the member communities of the region.

That report made for the first snippet of information on the highly anticipated connectivity project in over a year.

As things turn out, CityWest has been somewhat active recently as well, posting a Request for Information advisory to the BC Bid website, seeking out bids from qualified organizations towards forward momentum for the project.

As the CityWest documentation on the BC Bid explains it, the status of the project at the moment is as such:

Currently, the Connected Coast Project is envisioned as a joint venture of CityWest and SRD. The Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada have both indicated receptivity to offering financial support for the Connected Coast Project, subject to final approvals.

Based on a preference from the funding agencies, each of CityWest and SRD will hold primary responsibility for a portion of the Project. Over the past two years SRD and CityWest have worked with consultants to explore solutions based on underwater fiber-optic communications cables.

Among the notes for interested providers, is a snapshot of the project and what CityWest will be responsible towards.

The overall Project will establish a backbone network to improve broadband capacity to BC’s coastal areas around Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Most of the planning work to date has assumed that fibre optic technology will be applied.

As the sponsors move to formalize the procurement, contracts, and contribution agreements with the Province of British Columbia and Canada, they intend to ensure all technologies suitable to the Project are considered and evaluated.

This RFI seeks input on any and all such suitable technologies.

The CityWest segment will deliver approximately 1,970 km of network. Along the route, for 13 km the fibre will be aerial, for 3 km it will be buried, and for 1,034 km, it will be under water This portion of the Project will connect northern rural and remote communities along BC’s coast, including a link to Haida Gwaii and connections to the Vancouver Internet Exchange and to the segment of the Project that will be undertaken by SRD. 

The SRD segment will deliver approximately 2,230 km of network. Along the proposed route, for 42 km the fibre will be buried and for 2,187 km it will be under water. This portion of the Project will connect communities and anchor institutions to the South and will include connectivity around Vancouver Island.

The RFI for the Project outlines the four objectives that CityWest and Strathcona Regional District are looking to realize:

a) The Project must connect approximately 160 rural and remote coastal and First Nations communities along the BC coast from north Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii, south to Vancouver and around Vancouver Island.
b) The Project will install high capacity points of presence along the way and will also connect approximately 100 anchor institutions (BC Ferries, schools, hospitals, community facilities, etc.).

c) The dedicated broadband service available must deliver the capacity to service the projected client load and offer sufficient additional bandwidth to ensure scalability and to accommodate any reasonable request for service from other service providers or clients.

d) The Project will use open standard protocols.

As well, the CityWest RFI relays the five key elements towards their call for information.

a) Identify and obtain information respecting the technologies capable of achieving the Project Objectives, including: 

the construction approaches that may be appropriate to each such technology

environmental factors that determine whether the technology is appropriate for the Project

capacity limitations that may result in a technology not being appropriate for the Project 

predicted mean economic life for the technology.

b) Determine the level of market interest from suppliers of Project appropriate technologies

c) Obtain Project design recommendations that would enhance the success of a future procurement opportunity for this Project

d) Obtain project duration and high-level cost estimates for planning and budget purposes

e) Provide industry with an opportunity to comment generally on the potential procurement opportunity.

The deadline for those considering submitting their bid, is July 28, at 2:00PM

The procurement Coordinator for the RFI is Michael Shoop

To review more background notes on the RFI, see the CityWest listing on the BC Bid site.

For a look back at some of the CityWest history on the project see our blog item of Wednesday.

Further background on CityWest in the Northwest can be reviewed from our archive page.

Investigation Addressing reports of Health Care Racism gets underway

A Thursday noon hour information session charted the course ahead for the Province of British Columbia's investigation into alleged cases of racism in the Health Care System, a review which was promised by Health Minister Adrian Dix in mid June, following reports of concerning behaviour at un-named health facilities.

In her debut update, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond who has been tasked with delivering a report to the province outlined the early steps ahead towards collecting information.

The investigation team that has been assembled by the former judge and past advocate for Children in British Columbia includes members with direct clinical experience, knowledge of the health care system and expertise in conducting complex investigations.

The review will be conducted in stages, starting with the investigation of troubling allegations that a ‘game’ has been played in hospital ERs which includes guessing the blood alcohol levels of Indigenous patients, and including a wider look at systemic racism in B.C. health care.

“Our task is to address the specific incidents that have been reported, as well as to gauge the levels of systemic and individual racism that Indigenous people face when using the health care system in general. I’m glad that the minister called for this independent investigation. Based on the emails, calls and stories we have received so far, it is very much needed.” -- Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond lead investigator of the Independent Investigation into Indigenous-specific Racism in BC Health Care.

At the time of the first reports, none of the provincial Health Authorities provided any background towards any incidents within their own region, with the Provincial Health Services Authority providing for the statement that spoke for them.

In her Thursday afternoon launch for the investigation, Ms. Turpel-Lafond noted that she has already received greater detail into some of the incidents that have reported, noting that the issue is one that affects all Health Authorities across the province.

"What I am hearing is about concerns that are in all regions of British Columbia, in all Health Authorities. There are specific incidents, in specific emergency rooms. Not only with the issue of playing games around intoxication, other matters that have come forward. Mr. Dix was clear that I needed to look at it and look more broadly if there was incidence of racism, individual or specific elsewhere. So, At this point I can say that there are incidents that I have before me in every health region in British Columbia."

The early stages of the investigation will be to take information from those who have experienced racism in the Health Care sector, with three options available for those wishing to join in the conversation.

A Survey for Indigenous participants is available until July 30th, with the Investigative team seeking out your experiences when seeking and receiving health Care in British Columbia.

You can also share your information by way of email, or by phone; details on accessing all of those elements can be found here.

“I urge Indigenous people to participate in our survey so that we can get an accurate picture of how broad these problems are. This is your chance to speak.” -- Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

You can learn more about the investigation and how to participate from Ms. Turpel-Lafond herself through the video of her Wednesday information session below:

The progress of Ms. Turpel-Lafond's investigation can be followed here.

More notes of interest from the BC Legislature can be found here, while past notes of interest from Northern Health are available here.

For a look at some of the provincial coverage of yesterday's introductory update, see our Blog DArcy McGee and our Victoria Viewpoints archive.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Increase in reported cases of COVID in BC, no deaths to report on the day and ongoing concern over a community health outbreak at a Vancouver nightclub

The provincial numbers on current COVID-19 cases saw a slight spike upwards today, with 20 new cases relayed by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, the numbers making for a total of 3,028 cases in British Columbia.

As of today there are 175 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 2,667 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the total COVID-19 cases, 17 individuals are hospitalized, four of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

When it comes to a province wide review of the reported cases, the findings include: 982 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,596 in the Fraser Health region, 133 in the Island Health region, 201 in the Interior Health region and 65 in the Northern Health region, a constant number for the north for the last month. 

The two public health officials also outlined a change in how data will be reported from today on as well as to note that there were no new deaths to report today:

 “Starting today, individuals whose primary residence is outside of Canada will be reported separately. As of today, that total is 51 cases. 

There have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 186 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Dr Henry and Minister Dix also addressed an ongoing concern related to a Vancouver area nightclub, which has been the subject of a pair of case reports in the last week.

"Following confirmation of a second COVID-19 case, Vancouver Coastal public health teams have expanded their alert for anyone who may have been at the No. 5 Orange nightclub on July 1, to include July 3, 4 and 7. 

If you have been at a location with a community exposure event, monitor yourself for symptoms, limit your contact with others and contact 811 to arrange for testing if any symptoms develop."

The full report for Thursday is available here.

The BC Centre for Disease control has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, the string of statements that came quickly at the end of the week can be reviewed here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints