Thursday, December 31, 2020

Blog Watching: The year that was 2020!


For our Blog watching feature for year's end we once again offer up a trio of headings to provide for a glimpse of some of the news highlights of the year soon to end.

Category number one will be the Overall Top story, as determined by the amount views the article received over the course of the last 365 days.

Category Two will feature those stories of note from Prince Rupert City Hall.

Our third category explores some of the key topics of the year from the Business or Industrial footprint in the community.

All of our results have been determined by the viewer count for the stories through the year.

At the bottom of each section you will also find links to additional blog resources to review themes in more detail, listed by the month.

Our Lists of the year, unfold as follows:

Overall top stories

2020 was a year which was obviously dominated by COVID-19 its arrival in late February serving to change very much of our lives for the rest of the year.

It left popular festivals cancelled, the shared experiences of gatherings for the most part banished and saw raised fears and calming words throughout the year.

Still, life did move on, whether with local politics or provincial and Federal, our industry continued to operate though with new measures in place.
Among the hardest hit by the arrival of the coronavirus were the business and tourism sectors, with many operators having their legs pulled from under them as the range of protective measures rolled out and a range of restrictions took root.

Our look at how the months unfolded can be reviewed below:

Most Read -- All Inclusive


Mayor Brain in Prince George for Resource forum and conversation with provincial officials


MLA Rice finds a fence to straddle


Weekly paper feels the heat from its Sunday Waterfront fire coverage


Three robberies in four days have Prince Rupert RCMP seeking suspects


Port Edward wolf attack brings strong Conservation Officer presence


Prince Rupert RCMP seek public assistance in search for Wanted Person


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


Nisga'a members offered opportunity to access water station supply from Nisga'a Hall during City of Prince Rupert Water Advisory


Prince Rupert RCMP at Moresby Park on Found Remains Case File


SD52 advises of confirmed case of COVID-19 at Prince Rupert elementary school


Lax Kw'alaams announces site for 60 unit apartment development in Prince Rupert


Prince Rupert RCMP investigate suspicious death on City's east side

See our right hand column feature North Coast Review Backgrounders for links to archives of the year on a range of topics of note for the region.

Also as part of our right hand column options we have a North Coast Review Extra Edition feature which offers more in depth reviews of some of the larger issues of the Northwest this year.

Tracking the year in politics is fairly easy as well from our right hand column listings as well, just check out our archives for both the House of Commons and the Legislature  for items of note from the North Coast and Northwest in 2020.

Those who have deeper interest in the federal and provincial scene will find our companion blog D'Arcy McGee of interest, where we have archived notes from both Ottawa and Victoria.  


Municipal government

COVID had a very strong impact on municipal government in 2020, starting with the City's original plans for extensive local COVID related measures being overruled by the province; an order from Victoria which seemed to set a tone for the municipal government for the first two months of the virus arrival.

The measures towards COVID also made for a very different year of civic governance, much of it does by remote appearances and with diminished access to City Hall and council proceedings as they City Council continued to roll out its COVID response.

With the reduced engagement as the backdrop to the year, the Council did move forward with a range of initiatives, passed a budget with no tax increase for the year and introduced its long anticipate makeover of the Official Community Plan.

What municipal themes caught the interest of the readers through the year looked as follows:

Most Read -- Municipal Government


Surprise leasing plan announcement leaves a few questions seeking answers


Airport Manager, Board actively seeking expanded airline service for Prince Rupert: Mayor Brain


Prince Rupert Mayor takes issue with Provincial order to suspend Local State of Emergency


With potential return to some form of public City Council sessions on the horizon; it's time for something more than governance by Facebook


Kootenay Avenue site proposed for new 55 unit family residential development


City Manager Robert Long is 're-substituting' on planning duties for retire Zeno Krekic


City of Prince Rupert pays tribute to community excellence with announcement of Civic Recognition Award recipients


It's back to the High Boil for some Prince Rupert residents as City issues Water Advisory


City set to close another land deal, with plans of disposition of land located adjacent the Civic Centre


City of Prince Rupert/Northern Health issue Water Advisory, with a recommendation to BOIL WATER for a number of residents


Concerns over out of sight marijuana grows making for community discussion themes


City Council's version of a Port Bypass road still on the drawing board

Our archive of the year on the Municipal scene includes the following elements:

Council Discussion Topics

School District and Education Notes for the Northwest



Port development once again dominated much of the year's industrial review, with the container terminal and expansion plans and the impact they will have on the region making for much of the year's narrative.

Among some of the other port related items that grabbed attention on the year, the progress for the Pembina LPG Terminal at Watson Island, the introduction of plans for another terminal on Ridley Island for the Dutch shipping giant VOPAK, the near completion of the Fairview-Ridley dedicated access route and the ports own development plans for Ridley Island all made for much followed items of note for the year.

Some of the stories of the year are as follows:

Most Read -- Business/Industry


Latest LNG development plans would put floating LNG shipment terminal in Alaskan waters north of Prince Rupert 


Local paper faces short bench with more departures from Fraser Street publication


Prince Rupert Port Authority outlines measures in response to COVID-19


Port of Prince Rupert seeks input on Export Logistics Platform for Ridley Island


Chamber of Commerce Board notes need for patience as Prince Rupert businesses make for relaunch


Port of Prince Rupert anticipates decision on VOPAK terminal by 2021


DP World's Phase 2B expansion plans for Fairview Terminal gain regulatory approval


Owing to COVID-19 situation Pembina's Watson Island Terminal now looking at 2021 opening, with project over budget


Chamber sings praises of Janet Song as new Interim Executive Director


District of Port Edward takes first steps towards proposed Small Scale LNG facility in community


Port Edward LNG launches website to inform area residents of Small Scale Terminal plans


Another blow for the Prince Rupert Commercial Sector, as MacCarthy GM retrenches operations to Terrace

For more background on the region's industrial and commercial sector see the following:

Industrial Archive

Commercial Sector Archive

To all our readers, we hope you have a very happy and enjoyable New Year's Eve as we all provide our own farewell to an unforgettable twelve months of 2020. 

We offer our wishes for all the Best in 2021. We're looking forward to seeing what stories will be the ones that resonate through the year when we do this all again on December 31st, 2021!!!

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching for the year now ending can be found here

Final COVID-19 report for 2020 notes 683 new cases of COVID-19, though the first decline in deaths since November


The Final year end review from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided for the last update for 2020 with reports of 683 new cases of COVID reported for the day, along with 8 more passings, which is the lowest count of those who have passed from COVID since November.

With today's review there are now 51,983 total cases reported through 2020 in British Columbia. With 8 passing recorded in the last 24 hours, which brings the total of those who have passed away from COVID in BC to 901 in 2020.

Across the Health Health Authorities of the province the totals were as follows today:

105 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 447 in Fraser Health, 11 in Vancouver Island Health, 64 in Interior Region and in 36 in the Northern Health which takes the North over the 2,000 mark for a total of 2,011 cases reported since January.

Dr. Henry also noted that there is some overlap in data interpretation from the Northern Health region, with a data reconciliation to take place over the next few days, with the results of that review to be provided to the BC CDC Dashboard.

As part of the final report, Dr. Henry made note of the ongoing vaccination program in the province, including the roll out of vaccines for Indigenous communities in the Northwest part of the Province.

She also reinforced the full range of Public Health Orders that remain in place to help to bring down the curve and will serve the province as the vaccine program continues.

“A new year brings a fresh start for us all, and we must start 2021 on the right foot. This year, that means following provincial health officer orders to protect your friends, family and all your communities. 

This New Year’s Eve, we can still celebrate, but as we are seeing around the globe, tonight this must be done in different ways than before. Many of us will be ordering our favourite meals in. Others are having a games night in with their household or celebrating with friends online. 

Whatever your plans may be this evening, please remember how important it is to follow the public health orders and restrictions. By staying local, keeping our circles small and following provincial health orders, we can welcome in the new year on a safe and celebratory note."

You can review the Thursday statement 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, those past advisories  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 

Approaching Marine Weather makes for revision to BC Ferries New Year's Schedule

With another marine system bearing down on Haida Gwaii and the North Coast, BC Ferries has issued a Service Notice, advising of a revision to their plans for New Year's service for the Prince Rupert - Skidegate run.

In their advisory of this morning, BC Ferries notes: 

Please be advised that due to adverse weather conditions in the North Coast area, the Northern Expedition will be operating on a modified schedule as noted below. 

This revised schedule is in effect as a result of adverse weather in the Hecate Strait. 

As a result, the Northern Expedition will depart Skidegate at 4 AM Friday, arriving at 10 AM at the Fairview Terminal in Prince Rupert, the vessel then will turn around for it's southern leg to Klemtu and points south at 1 PM, arriving in Klemtu at 9:30 PM and Bella Bella at 1 AM on Saturday

Environment Canada has issued a Marine Storm Warning for the waters of Hecate Strait, with winds increasing to near 30 knots by noon on Friday and seas of up to 4 metres at the height of the storm.

You can review the full advisory from BC Ferries here.

For more notes on BC Ferries on the North Coast and Haida Gwaii see our archive page here.

Winter Storm Warnings in place for North Coast Inland areas

The old year will move to the new one with a bit of final bite, with a strong arrival of winter anticipated for the next 24 hours or so. 

That as Environment Canada issuing a WINTER STORM WARNING for the North Coast Inland areas including Terrace and Kitimat and all points east through to the Alberta border.

The approaching Pacific front will bring up to 25 centimetres of Snow to the two communities by New Year's Day morning.

The anticipated precipitation will make for challenging driving conditions for those travelling inland from Prince Rupert and on to the Bulkley Valley and beyond.anticpated.

You can find updates on the weather from the Environment Canada website.

So Far Environment Canada has not issued any kind of Weather Alerts for the North Coast, Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert areas, however a weather map from the Weather Network posted this morning does indicate that some heavy precipitation could be on the way for the coastal regions through the early part of the New Year.

Those who must travel through through the New Year's period can find the updated road conditions from the Drive BC website and twitter feed.

Conditions are good in Terrace this morning, however the
New Year's Eve forecast is for extensive snow overnight

You can also track the highway conditions through Ministry of Highway's cameras located across the Northwest, start your search from our archive of the Northwest here.

A look at past weather events can be explored through our archive page.

ANBT Board to take a pass on 2021 All Native Basketball Tournament owing to COVID-19

While hope is on the horizon in our ongoing efforts towards wrestling COVID-19 into our past, for one long running Prince Rupert tradition, the clock has run out on the options for February's All Native Basketball Tournament.. 

The Board of the All Native Basketball Tournament Committee waited as long as they possibly could before recenlty reached the very tough decision to cancel the 2021 edition, leaving time to stand still for 365 days and the defending champions to hold their titles for an additional year.

ANBT officials made their decision public earlier this week, citing the ongoing measures on social gatherings as their guiding principle towards public health and safety for both participants and fans.

This years event, which would have been the 62nd tournament,  had been scheduled for the Russell Gamble Auditorium and the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre Arena for February 7-13. 

Though with the prospect of our current social distancing measures to remain in place for the early months of 2021, and the still high-level of concern over the COVID-19 coronavirus, the path towards a tournament had no room to move forward.

Notice of cancellation for the 61st All Native Tournament
posted to the Tournament website this week

First and foremost for Prince Rupert is the lost sporting and cultural event that brought the many Nations of British Columbia, Alaska and beyond together for the one week. A period of solidarity, sportsmanship and at times even political and social comment that brings  the city to life.

As well there will be a financial impact on the Prince Rupert Commercial and Hospitality sector from the cancellation, with lost revenue on hotel rooms, along with financial hits for restaurants and shopping options.  

While the tournament operations will also feel a significant hit from the cancelled tournament, with the event generating much of the required financial funding for year round operations and planning for the tourney.

Towards that concern, ANBT Chairperson Peter Haugan will be seeking some help from the community in the weeks and months to come.

He plans to approach the loyal sponsors for the tournament, looking for ways to try and bring in enough financial assistance to keep the lights in the office on and the planning for 2022 in motion through this clearly challenging year ahead for the tournament.

You can keep up to date on any addtional news from ANBT organizers from their Facebook page here.

The cancellation notice has made for a range of news coverage both locally and provincially this week, some of the notes can be reviewed below:

All Native Basketball Tournament Cancelled (video)
2021 All Native Basketball Tournament cancelled due to pandemic
The All Native Basketball tournament has been cancelled 
62nd All Native Basketball Tournament cancelled for Feb. 2021
BC's All Native Basketball Tournament cancelled because of  COVID-19 concerns

If Prince Rupert City Council has one resolution for 2021 ... it should be to follow the June guidance on Community engagement from Councillor Cunningham

 "I really think public engagement is something that we've got to really look at carefully. By using COVID-19 as you know, sort of something that is going to block a lot of communication and that. I think we need to definitely find a way around it. Whether its a survey we put out in the paper or online or something like that ... I really think the overall picture, we've got to take a careful look at it, because so many times I've heard people say well I didn't know anything about that. And I know we've advertised it and everything, but how we're going to get it out to the public this time to get it right, I think is very important" -- Councillor Barry Cunningham speaking to Council in June of this year

As they look ahead to what will come in 2021, Prince Rupert's elected officials should offer up a resolution  for 2021 towards following some helpful guidance once again relayed from one of their own back in June. 

That as Councillor Barry Cunningham continued on with his frequent contributions on themes of keeping engaged with the public.  

A commentary which was no doubt heard through the year by his council partners; yet seem to have been sentiments that at times appeared to slide off of Council's radar as the year moved forward.

The reduced inter-action with the residents of the city came in the weeks and months following some frustration with the provincial government which had cancelled the City's own COVID related measures something that appeared to be a bit of a sore spot for Council for months following.

Whether it's the range of housing themes that seem to have left residents confused and raised the concerns of the public for Council, something that at times appears to have caught them by surprise. 

Or the lost opportunities of bringing an overview of civic services and investments such as The Legacy Corporation, or CityWest to the Council Chamber for a public review (another often made suggestion of Councillor Cunningham's) Council at times seemed to forget the need to deliver a wide information overview to the public.

Even the process of the monthly Council sessions at times seemed to be a struggle for the elected officials this year, whether it be a cancelled Council session, lost broadcasts leaving for no archive or some ridiculously brief in time and lacking in content public Council sessions that took place on a number of occasions this year.

All of which raises the danger of an impression for many of those at home that much of the "real work' for Council takes place outside of the public sphere, conducted in the growing number of closed meetings and workshops, the scheduled sessions becoming more of a public relations exercise it seems.

For the city's residents, there is still no proper accounting of civic travel budgets available on the city website for public review, nor even a record of attendance, or how each Councillor votes on the  topics that they discuss during the course of their public sessions, whether but fifteen minutes, or those that manage to make it past one hour mark.

As we've noted through the year, much of the information sharing this year was streamed through the Mayor's Facebook page, a social media project that while helpful to get the word out, seems somewhat partisan and easily hijacked by many of the Mayor's loyal followers.

For a period of time in 2020, much of the governance of the community seemed to be conducted by Facebook posts, with the Council members for the most part removed from the process of civic administration, not exactly what the public probably had in mind when the few that bothered to vote cast their ballots at the last civic election.

By comparison, the city's website is often the last place anyone may find anything of note for public consumption. 

Rather than the information signal post that it should be, so as to provide for basic information without any partisan spin and one that could be used by those who perhaps are not engaged in the social media world that many of the Council members seem to thrive in these days; instead the city website at times tends to be an overlooked or neglected instrument of information sharing.

The biggest loss for 2020 however was the once easy access to City Hall, access which had already being scaled back by the civic administration well prior to the arrival of COVID.

And as the reports of the coronavirus in BC appeared, so did the pace accelerate towards pulling up the draw bridge at City Hall, where booking appointments became the guiding theme, something that tends to reduce the prospect of an engaged community. 

The Social Distancing measures in place through the year also meant a suspension for such important mechanisms as Public Hearings and public information sessions on major themes such as the Official Community plan or other initiatives, serving as another loss towards getting the word out on major plans and more importantly, gaining important feedback from the public on the plans in motion.

Though as we've seen through the year, other municipalities around the Northwest did manage to find some work arounds when it came to keeping the public part of the municipal process.

There is no doubt that COVID provided for many challenges for City Council and while they had some success at times in keeping the wheels of municipal government moving; there were also things that got away from them, and those for the most part provided for a sense of distance and broken communication between the officials and the residents of the community.

Hopefully, while we await a return to more normal times as we travel through 2021, the city's elected officials may be able to find some safe work arounds to at least return some of the lost options from 2020 to the public discussion for the year ahead.

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

One case report from last week brings total COVID-19 case counts to 15 for Prince Rupert since January


The weekly release of Local Health Data related to COVID-19 one additional entry for the Prince Rupert area for the week of December 20-26 , which increases the Prince Rupert total case level to 15 reported cases since the start of the pandemic in January.

The BC Centre for Disease control only recently began sharing the data on a weekly basis culled from Local Health Authority reports.

Across the Northwest, the cases reported from December 20 to 26 were as follows.

For the week the largest case reports were found in the Burns Lake and Terrace areas.

Terrace -- 31
Burns Lake -- 18
Smithers -- 12
Nechako -- 6
Upper Skeena -- 4
Kitimat -- 0
Nisga'a Valley -- 0

The Snow Country-Stikine-Telegraph Creek area lists one case of COVID from the week.

The Bella Coola Valley and Haida Gwaii had no new case counts to report for the reporting period.

The most recent monthly update from the BC CDC can be reviewed here.

Other charts and information from the BC CDC can be explored here.

You can review the latest information from the Public Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix here.


District of Port Edward to host virtual Public Hearing on LNG project land in New Year

The location along Highway 16 in the District of Port Edward
designated for a new Small Scale LNG processing terminal 

The District of Port Edward will turn to Zoom video conferencing to work around restrictions on public gatherings, as they prepare to host their Public Hearing related to a proposed Small Scale LNG plant proposed for land near the BC Hydro site on highway 16.

The Public Notice sets Tuesday, January 5th for the Public Hearing with a start time of 5PM.

The land in question is being considered for rezoning from Rural  A2 to Heavy Industrial M3

If you wish to participate you are asked to review information available on the District Website, Facebook page or to contact the District Office next week at 250--628-3367.

If you wish to make a written submission to the Public Hearing process, you should direct your correspondence to Polly Periera, 770 Pacific Avenue, PO Box 1100 Port Edward BC VOV 1G0, submissions to the District must be delivered by Noon on January 4th.

For more municipal notes of interest on Port Edward see our archive page here.

An overview of the proposed Small Scale LNG plant is available here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wednesday COVID report adds close to 500 new cases and 11 passings, as well as to include new Public Health Order for New Year's Eve

British Columbia passed over the 51,000 mark for COVID cases since the start of the year with today's COVID-19 report, the latest count added to by 485 new cases and sadly 11 more notices of passings related to the virus in the Province.

Today's report also delivered a new Public Health Order from Doctor Bonnie Henry who has set 8PM on Thursday evening as closing time for alcohol sales in the province, that in a bid to reduce the spread of the coronavirus during New Years Eve.

“Today, we are reporting 485 new cases of COVID-19, including five epi-linked cases, for a total of 51,300 cases in British Columbia. 

There are 7,551 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 379 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 77 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. 

Currently, 9,320 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 41,681 people who tested positive have recovered. 

There have been 11 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 893 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Across the province, the Provincial Health Authorities have reported the following totals:  

117 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 211 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 16 in the Island Health region, 57 in the Interior Health region, 84 in the Northern Health region, that brings the total to 1,975  to date since January for the North to cases.

There were no new cases of COVID reported in the province  by people who reside outside of Canada. 

With vaccines now available in the province, the health officials observed that since the start of immunizations, 14,027 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. We announced yesterday that the Moderna vaccine will be arriving in British Columbia this week. The first doses are targeted for remote and isolated First Nations communities and residents of long term-care, and will be expanding to other communities soon.

Towards New Year's Eve and additional measures for the night, Doctor Henry expanded on her newest Public health Order issued today.

“To best position us as we go into 2021, an amendment to provincial health officer (PHO) orders has been put in place to reduce the hours that alcohol may be sold or served on New Year’s Eve. The selling and serving of alcohol must cease between 8 p.m. (Pacific time) on Dec. 31, 2020, and 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021. As before, liquor sales for onsite consumption must cease at 10 p.m. on all other dates. 

This order applies to any establishment that sells or serves alcohol, including bars, restaurants, pubs, liquor stores or grocery stores. “Unless a full meal service is provided, premises that are licensed to serve liquor must close between 9 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020, and 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021. 

We know alcohol can impair people’s judgment and their ability to effectively use the layers of protection required to keep all of us safe. This order, while temporary, will ensure New Year’s Eve leads to a safe new year for everyone."

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, those past advisories  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 

Last call for alcohol for 2020 comes at 8 PM on Thursday, as new Public Health Order shuts down sales for thirteen hours

The Prince Rupert BC Liquor Store and private 
stores  in the City could be fairly busy tonight and
Thursday prior to a new Public Health Order
on the sale of alcohol for New Years Eve

A new public health order issued this afternoon by British Columbia's Public Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry, will see the suspension of the sale of alcohol in the province tomorrow night at 8PM

The decisions to act one as Provincial health Authorities and the BC government look to reduce the potential for the spread  of COVID-19  on one of the most popular nights of the year.

The New Years Eve Prohibition Order is directed towards anyone who may have opportunity to sell or purchase liquor on the final night of the year:

For the establishments which sell liquor the notice in effect specifies the following:

You must not sell liquor between 8:00 pm on December 31, 2020 and 9:00 am on January 1, 2021.

For those of us who consume their products the instructions for New Year's Eve are as follows:

1. You must not be present in premises operating as a nightclub. 

2. You must comply with the distancing and other requirements in sections 3, 5, 8 to 12, 22, 28 and 29 of Part B, and with measures, and guidance and directions from owners, operators or staff, designed to avoid the congregation of patrons. 

3. You must not purchase liquor from premises to which Part B applies, or from a retail establishment to which Part C applies, between 8:00 pm on December 31, 2020 and 9:00 am on January 1, 2021. 

The full list of provisions for the Public Health Order can be reviewed here.

While the order is designed to reduce the potential for spread it seems from over enthusiastic New Year's revellers who should not be gathering anyways; it would also seem to set the stage for what could a fairly swift run on local liquor stores tonight and tomorrow until closing time. 

That as British Columbians lay in their supplies for the thirteen hours of prohibition.

For more notes on past Public Health Orders see our archive page here.

New cases of COVID-19 confirmed for Nass Valley Communities

The Nisga'a Lisims Government and Nisga'a Valley Health Authority have alerted their residents of a new string of positive COVID-19 cases in the communities of the Nisga'a Valley.

An update issued today, outlined the advisory from Northern Health of Six new positive cases, with priority testing now in place for community members that have been contacted by either Northern Health or Nisga'a Valley Health. The testing is targeted towards those who may be potential primary contacts or who are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Which communities in the Nass Valley have been impacted by the positive results has not been released as part of today's background release.

More information on the current situation and the measures that officials have in place can be reviewed here.

For the latest information related to the Provincial response to COVID-19 see our archive page here.

Pembina planning for 2021 first quarter completion of Watson Island LPG terminal

The Alberta energy giant Pembina is forecasting a completion of first quarter of 2021 for its Prince Rupert gateway terminal, reviewing their progress on the Watson Island Terminal. as part of their 2021 Guidance document issued earlier this month.

In their update, the resource company also notes that it is continuing its exploration of expansion options for the Prince Rupert Terminal, with a view towards larger throughputs and shipment volumes through the North Coast to their global markets.

Pembina continues to engineer an expansion of the Prince Rupert Terminal and the ongoing evaluation of this project now contemplates incremental volumes of 25,000 bpd, as well as the use of mid-size gas carriers, which would increase the vessel capacity from 150,000 barrels, to 250,000 barrels, thereby improving economies of scale and competitiveness of the facility by lowering per unit lifting and vessel transport costs to premium markets. 

In addition, the mid-size gas carriers are fully refrigerated, opening up additional opportunities to serve markets with fully refrigerated terminals, as well as continuing to service other niche markets with smaller, semi-refrigerated handy-size ships.

The revised timeline for completion was revealed earlier this year, after COVID-19 provided for some challenges for the Alberta energy company and a pause on construction for the Prince Rupert facility.

Pembina hosts a Prince Rupert storefront on Third Avenue
West, where residents and prospective employees can learn
more about their progress at Watson Island

Locally, travellers down Third Avenue East in the early morning hours have seen the lights on and a growing number of people stopping into the storefront location in the Capitol Mall, as soon to be employees of the terminal site learn more about what's ahead for their careers with Prince Rupert's newest industrial presence.

To date, Pembina has been the only tenant announced by the City of Prince Rupert for the re-purposed old pulp mill site that is now known as the Watson Intermodal Trade and Logistics Park.

You can review the full guidance statement from Pembina for 2021 from their website here.

Further notes on the company's plans for Prince Rupert can be reviewed from our archive page here.

Kitasoo Nation the latest Northern Coastal First Nation to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Residents of the Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation in the Klemtu area will be among those in remote communities to receive some of the first of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered around the North Coast and Northwest.

In an update for community members on Monday, the First Nation's Emergency Operations Committee outlined the path ahead for the roll out of the vaccine, which will include a Town Hall style meeting to allow community members to ask questions and voice their concerns related to the vaccine plan for the members.

The Kitasoo also provide a link to more information from the First Nations Health Authority on what residents need to know aoub the COVID-19 vaccine, you can access those notes here.

The Kitasoo/Xai'xais make for the third First Nation in the Northern Coastal or Northwest region to be included in this initial roll out of vaccine, they going the Gitxaala and the Tahltan Nations in making plans for vaccinations this month.

You can follow the list to date of regional groups accessing COVID-19 vaccines here.

Further notes on the BC response to COVID-19 can be reviewed here.

Haida have concerns over continued travels of Factory Trawlers in Haida Territorial waters

The Council of Haida Nation has been keeping a close watch
on factory trawlers working the Dixon Entrance area this month

The Council of Haida Nation has raised its ongoing concerns about the work of factory trawlers in Haida area waters, calling for a number of measures to be put in place immediately and for the issue to be examined thoroughly by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

In a statement for residents of Haida Gwaii from earlier this month, the CHN made note of two factory trawlers – F/V Sunderoey and F/V Pacific Legacy – which were observed fishing in Siigaay Dixon Entrance from early to mid-December.  

The CHN shares many of the concerns expressed by Haida citizens regarding this recent fishing activity and the implications for Haida Gwaii marine ecosystems and Haida use, including commercial fishing opportunities.

Among the immediate measures they wish to see put in place:

Placement of Haida observers on all factory trawling vessels operating in Haida Territories

Sharing of trawling related fisheries data with the CHN to inform a longer term strategy for managing factory trawling in Haida territories.

As well, the CHN will be seeking to initiate discussions with DFO and industry respresentatives regarding restricting factory trawlers from operating in Haida territories, effective immediately. They also note that they will continue to work with other Nations and members of the fishing industry who share our concerns to work collectively on solutions. 

The issue is not a new one and has made for a concern for sustainable fisheries on Haida Gwaii for close to three decades now, with the CHN putting forward resolutions to monitor the trawl fisheries to determine the impact and prevent erosion of Haida Fisheries by protecting and conserving the fish and marine habitats of their waters.

Since 2013, with the introduction of factory trawlers in the northwest, those concerns had intensified. Factory trawlers are capable of catching more fish, more quickly and can stay at sea longer than other vessels, since they can process and freeze as much as a million or more pounds of fish onboard, which brings more ecological impacts and even less benefits to our communities.

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

Rupert light displays make for challenging decisions for Prince Rupert Special Events Society

One of Prince Rupert's most elaborate
and popular light displays was once again
found on Montgomery Crescent this year

As we prepare to ring out a never to be forgotten year  of 2020, some of the remarkable Christmas light displays seen around town will begin to fade from view, as Prince Rupert residents and businesses put away their decorations for another year.

This year meant for some changes for the Prince Rupert Special Events Society, with many of the popular annual events for the holidays put aside for a year owing to COVID.

However, the sprit of the season carried through with an individual theme through the Light Up the Town event, a well received call from Special Events for Rupert residents and businesses to share their light and decorative spirit.

Through December as the light displays went up, the submissions came in and as the year worked its way to its end Prince Rupert Special Events released their version of the Nice list, showcasing the three top residential and commercial displays in the city.

The Top Spot went to an always popular stop on the Christmas Seasons lights tour, with the Stegavig's residence on Montgomery, with a property not too far down Prince Rupert Boulevard on Heron Road claiming Second spot and a home on Eight Avenue East claiming the third spot.

For Businesses the community minded Good Time Games claimed top spot for their Second Avenue West display, Leanne's Pet Shop also on Second West was second and Prince Rupert Optometry on Third Avenue West was selected third.

The Grand Prize Winner of the Ocean Pacific Air Prince Rupert Harbour Tour went to Kayla Wesley.

You can review a pictorial of some of the displays from the Prince Rupert Special Events Society Facebook page.

As they head towards 2021, the local group that brings together many of the city's festivals and gatherings is hoping for a more normal year ahead, with a note on their Social Media Feed to watch for updates on plans for the Annual Children's Festival this Spring.

For more background on local events see our Community Notes archive here.

Northwest Environment group outlines areas of concern for proposed Vopak product terminal

An artists rendition of the VOPAK terminal proposed for 
Ridley Island near Prince Rupert

With the deadline arriving today for comments related to the proposed VOPAK Products Terminal at Ridley Island, the Northwest environmental watch group the T Buck Suzuki Society has raised a few flags towards how they view the development.

With the organization highlighting their areas of concern through an online presentation that relays a range of topics for consideration by the public.

Key among the items:

The volume of liquid propane, methanol and other petroleum products that each day will pass through northern BC communities along the CN Oil line from Prince George to Ridley Island

The schedule of Medium Range, Very large and Panamax tankers that will serve the port and carry product through the Skeena Estuary each year.

Propellor wash and contaminated sediments

The potential for toxic fuel spills in the estuary habitat

Noise and impact on marine life and fish, as well as the need for enforcement provisions related to elements of the impact that the development will have on the region.

You can review their full presentation here.

In late November VOPAK opened the public comment period with a Virtual Open House that outlined the Dutch global shipping company's outline for development of the project at Ridley.

To date, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office has received 47 comments from the public related to the project which you can review here.

You can review those observations and provide some of your own if you wish before midnight tonight from this link.

The BC EAO project page can be reviewed here, with documentation and other features available for review.

More on the VOPAK proposal can be explored from our archive page here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

British Columbia's Holiday COVID recap delivers startling numbers after five day break from reporting

74 dead,  close to over 400 cases per day and passing the 50,000 case mark made for the narrative to today's first COVID-19 update since the Christmas period began, with Doctor Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix relaying five days worth of data from the last report of December 23rd.

“Today, we are reporting on new cases of COVID-19 from Dec. 24 through to Dec. 29. “From Dec. 24 to 25, we had 512 new cases. From Dec. 25 to 26, we had 447 new cases. From Dec. 26 to 27, we had 424 new cases. From Dec. 27 to 28, we had 441 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we had 382 new cases. 

This represents 2,206 new cases over the five-day period, including 25 epi-linked cases, for a total of 50,815 cases in British Columbia. 

There are 7,580 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 373 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 80 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. 

Currently, 9,414 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 41,175 people who tested positive have recovered.

There have been 74 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 882 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Across the Province the five day case count by Health Region included: 378 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,375 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 44 in the Island Health region, 238 in the Interior Health region and 171 in the Northern Health region making for a total of 1,891 cases of COVID-19 in the North since January.

Theree were no new cases of COVID in BC reported by people who reside outside of Canada.

Doctor Henry and Minister Dix also took note of the arrival of a mutant variation of the coronavirus which has arrived from the United Kingdom.

“The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has identified the first case of a person in B.C. infected with the COVID-19 U.K. variant. The person and their close contacts are isolating and receiving care from public health teams. The case was identified as part of the ongoing whole genome sequencing that has been done since the start of the pandemic. 

What we know is this variant spreads more quickly than the other mutations we have had here in B.C. This is why adhering to the public health orders and restrictions, particularly abiding by the federal quarantine order and avoiding all non-essential travel, is so important."

With New Years Eve almost upon us, the top public health officials reinforced the need to adhere to measures to help bring the spread of the virus to an end.

“To give our front-line health-care workers the reprieve they deserve, we need to make this entire holiday season a quiet holiday season, including our New Year’s celebrations. 

The turning of the calendar to 2021 is something we are all looking forward to. The way to ensure we are in the best possible position going into January 2021 is to make it a safe New Year for everyone. 

Every time you follow the rules, you save people’s lives. Every time you make the choice to bend the rules to make them work for you, you put yourself and your loved ones at risk. 

Staying local, staying small and staying apart protects the people we care about most and ensures the coming year will be better, brighter and safer for everyone.”

You can review the Tuesday statement 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, those past advisories  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

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