Friday, January 31, 2020

Province of BC and Provincial Health Officer update British Columbians on coronavirus notes

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr, Bonnie Henry, BC's
Provincial Health  officer delivered an update today
on the latest findings related to

The Province of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Officer delivered an update for British Columbians  on Friday, reviewing the latest notes on the positive test for 2019-nCoV, known as the coronavirus.

The joint statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry came after samples sent to the national lab in Winnipeg were tested and results were confirmed as positive.

The case, is so far the only confirmed account of the coronavirus in British Columbia, three others have been reported in Ontario to this point.

“In our statements, we committed to regularly provide the public with the number of cases tested each Friday. Going forward, the public are invited to visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s website for an updated testing number each Friday.

As of today, we have tested 114 samples for 2019-nCoV, with one positive. Please note that there are more samples tested than patients, as some patients have had more than one sample tested."

The provincial officials also offered reassurance to residents in British Columbia that the risk for spread of the virus remains low and that no special precautions were required.

“We want to reassure people that the risk of this virus spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time. All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.

It is not necessary for the general public to take special precautions beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other common respiratory viruses during winter. Regular handwashing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and avoiding contact with sick people are important ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, generally."

The province continues to watch over the state of the province's health indicators and note that anyone who is concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 811.

Provincial officials also reminded BC residents that translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

The province's statement of Friday can be reviewed here.

You can keep up with some of the international developments from  our political blog D'Arcy McGee where we have been tracking both national and provincial accounts of the coronavirus findins through our Ottawa Observations Archive and that of our Victoria Viewpoints.

In British Columbia, residents can find out more information on the virus as well as on any changes to the situation in this province from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Should there be any need for information for Northwest residents, those details will be relayed through Northern Health.

Northern Health website
Northern Health Facebook page

For more notes on Health in the region see our archive page here.

For up to date notes on the Canadian and British Columbia response to the virus see our archive page here.

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

CIHL Showdown at the Jim set for tonight with First Place a potential prize

Hockey Nights in Prince Rupert!  Two key games this weekend will
bring the curtain down on the 2019-20 regular CIHL season 

The CIHL regular season has come down to is final weekend and the Senior Men's circuit will be making for a thrilling finale for fans with two pivotal games for the Prince Rupert Rampage set for tonight and Saturday.

The puck drops at 8 PM tonight for two of the league's fiercest rivals tonight, as the Rampage host the Terrace River Kings with both teams looking to improve their shot at claiming the top spot as the regular season comes to an end.

The River Kings hold the advantage heading into play, with a one point lead in the CIHL standings, which makes tonight's match up a must win for the Rhinos.

As they do for every home game, the Rampage have called up a prospect from the ranks of the PRMHA to help out in the pre-game warmups, tonight it's Jonah Koch set to hit the ice with Prince Rupert lads.

Jonah Koch hits the ice with Prince Rupert Rampage
tonight as part of the Pre game 

warm up at the Civic Centre

Should they find success in the McBride Street madhouse that they call home then the season comes down to the Saturday night schedule, with the Rampage needing some help from the Smithers Steelheads who take on the River Kings.

As that game plays out, the Rampage will have to take care of business on their own end, as they wrap up the regular season with a 7PM matchup against the Hazelton Wolverines, who have made for an impressive return to the CIHL after a number years away, the Hazelton squad currently in third place and looking to keep Quesnel at bay heading towards the final shifts this weekend.

Saturday's call up is Mykah Reece, who will also take to the ice for the pre game warmups on Saturday Night.

For Rampage fans, the next 24 hours or so will make for what should be a wild atmosphere at the Jim, a place where the home town crowd makes for a helpful advantage when the most important games are on the line.

As we noted earlier this week, this weekend's play will also offer one final chance for a quartet of Rampage players to try and mount a charge towards the scoring title, though the task is a challenging one to try to topple Tayden Fowler McNab who currently reigns the listings with 16 goals and 9 assists for 25 points.

Keep up with any last minute news from the Rampage room from their Facebook page here.

You can review some of our past notes on the CIHL from our archive page here.

Keep your snow shovel close by, you may need it this weekend in Prince Rupert

A strong flow of precipitation is making its way to the North Coast
and as it does it may mix with colder temperatures and deliver some
snow the North Coast inland and coastal regions

There has been a noticeable shift in the weather pattern today as the warm but moist air of Pacific fronts of the last week, seem to be about to be pushed aside by some colder air from the northern inland reaches.

Such is the nature of the change ahead for the weekend that the North Coast already finding the temperature starting to edge lower, with Prince Rupert set to flirt with a low of 1 or 0 overnight.

With those temperatures and a strong flow of oncoming precipitation on the way comes the possibility of snow, with Environment Canada calling for accumulations of up to 15cm for Saturday.

The cooler temperatures and chance for snow carries through until Monday, when the more familiar rain and warmer temperatures return.

And while Prince Rupert does not have a Snowfall Warning in place at the moment, that is not the case for points inland, with both Terrace and Kitimat put under a Snowfall Warning this morning, with accumulations of up to 20 cm anticipated.

You can access updates on the forecast from the Environment Canada website.

With the potential for snow could come some sloppy driving conditions across the Northwest.

You can access the latest highway conditions from the Drive BC website or twitter feed.

A list of Highway cameras across the Northwest is available here.

For more items of note related to weather events see our archive page here.

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

Fate of the Northwest salmon fishery raised in the House of Commons

MP Taylor Bachrach raised the issues of the Wild Pacific Salmon in
the House of Commons this morning

The tribulations of the Northwest salmon fishery made for some of the current of discussion in the House of Commons this morning, at at Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach spoke to the crisis of the last summer during Question period.

In  his Question for the Liberal government, Bachrach reiterated the concerns of his constituents calling for a range of assistance programs for the region.

"As anyone out on the Skeena River last summer can tell you, wild salmon are in crisis and this government is failing to act. We need funding for habitat restoration, for stock monitoring and for climate adaptation and we need it now. Will this government step up before it's too late?" -- Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach speaking during Question Period Friday in the House of Commons

In reply the Terry Beech, the Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, Oceans and the Coast agreed to the themes of the issue, noting how the West Coast fishery was for a priority for the Liberals, recounting some of the recent steps the Federal government has taken towards the issue.

The Parliament Secretary added how he and the Ministry are looking forward to working with the Member of Parliament on the issue.

You can review the full exchange from the House of Commons below:

The discussion comes in the same week that UFAWU-Unifor released a report that laid much of the responsibility for the salmon crisis at the doorstep of DFO, our notes on that report can be reviewed here

One call from the northwest that didn't get addressed today was the ongoing push from North Coast towards fairness in the fishery with the East coast, as well as immediate assistance for those in in the fishing industry in the region.

You can review more of those concerns on the fishery from our archive page here.

More notes on the work of Mr. Bachrach in the House of Commons can be explored here.

With adverse weather anticipated, BC Ferries revises sailing schedule for Northern Expedition

Travellers are on hold in Prince Rupert today, as BC Ferries delays the
sailing of the Northern Expedition due to severe weather to the south

It's shaping up to be another day of travel delays for those aboard BC Ferries, with the Ferry Service issuing a Service Notice for the Prince Rupert to Port Hardy sailing for today.

The revised schedule is now calling for a 9 PM departure from the Fairview Terminal location in Prince Rupert, with arrival in Port Hardy now set for 9PM on Saturday.

The shift in departure time comes as as a result of anticipated weather and sea state conditions for the Central Coast region today.

Environment Canada issued a Storm Warning for the region at 10:30 this morning with winds from the South of up to 50 knots anticipated into the evening, those winds are expected to diminish into the late evening period.

Seas are expected to build to six metres through the day today and into the evening, diminishing to 4 metres by Saturday morning.

Marine Storm Warnings are now in effect for waters south of
Prince Rupert, resulting in a delayed sailing today for the
Northern Expedition

The departure plans are weather dependent and could be subject to change. You can get updated information towards this evenings sailing from the BC Ferry's Service Notice page.

For more notes on Marine Transportation on the North Coast, Haida Gwaii and Southeast Alaska see our archive page here.

For items of note on past weather events see our archive page here.

Final day for enquiries related to City's plans for lease of Canfisco site warehouse

The City of Prince Rupert has plans in motion to lease space in this
warehouse to the Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association, the period of enquiries
related to the City's Public Notice on the lease plans comes at 4 PM today

The clock is ticking for those that may have comments or to make enquiries to make to the City of Prince Rupert when it comes to the recently disclosed plan to lease a portion of a warehouse on the east side Canfisco site to a local group.

The location in question for the leasing plans is a warehouse on the
Canfisco fish plant site on George Hills Way

In the Notice to the public printed in the local paper over the last two weeks, the City called for the interaction of the public through a short line on the Public Notice.

All enquiries concerning this proposed property disposition may be directed to Rosa Miller, Corporate Administrator, in writing via email to or via fax at 250-627-099 no later than 4 PM Friday January 31st, 2020.

City Council hasn't offered up much in the way of background to make for any kind of full overview of the leasing plans, which as we outlined last week on the blog, came as a bit of a surprise, tucked as they were into the public notices of the newspaper.

With Mayor Lee Brain away this week at a Resource convention in Prince George he was not available at the Monday Council session to expand on his vision for the site, an element of the Prince Rupert 2030 plan that he offered up as part of a recent story from the local paper.

"Council and staff saw this unexpected opportunity as a way to obtain a new strategic waterfront asset and protect the community uses that currently benefit that area ... We believe having a new indoor space next to the revitalized Rushbrook Trail, the boat launch and Cow Bay down the road will be a great addition to the waterfront and fits into our newly formed 2030 Vision" -- Mayor Lee Brain on the city's interests in a warehouse on the east side waterfront

Those council members in attendance at Monday's council session, didn't appear to think that the topic warranted any discussion; with no mention made of it during their open period for comments and questions at the public gathering this week.

Something which made for another missed opportunity for a bit of transparency on some of the work that they seem to do behind those frequent closed door meetings.

As the 4 PM hour looms on the horizon, the period for any comment from the public will close, whether we hear from Council as to whether anyone had any concerns to share will apparently be at the discretion of the Councillors to disclose at some point in the future.

As for the plans for development, the lease that is under consideration would see the Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association create a new space for their range of activities, you can get a glimpse of their ambitious plans from our notes of last week.

For more items of interest related to City Council see our Council Discussion archive page here.

Northwest Infrastructure the theme for MP Bachrach's first speech to the House of Commons

Northwest infrastructure concerns were the topic for Skeena-Bulkley Valley
MP Taylor Bachrach this week in the House of Commons

The work of the nation's Parliamentarians got underway this week as the House of Commons reopened for business following the extensive holiday period break.

As part of the first week of speechifying, it was a debut for Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach who took to the issue of how the government is tracking its infrastructure programs for his first major address.

The MP opened his speech with thanks to the electors of the riding for their trust in electing him to be their representative, as well the newly elected MP paid tribute to his family for their support on his journey.

He also delivered a travelogue for the members of the House, highlighting not only geography of the region but the people who live across the Northwest. He also spoke to the spirit of the Wet'suwet'en people and their respect of the land in his home area of the Bulkley Valley.

Turning to his theme of infrastructure, he called on some of his experience as Mayor of Smithers and some of his observations on the importance of delivering on infrastructure initiatives.

"Prior to this role, I had the opportunity to serve for eight years as the Mayor of the town of Smithers which was an honour and a joy. The motion we are now debating concerns infrastructure and my time as Mayor helped me appreciate how important infrastructure is to the quality of life Canadians enjoy. 

And that is why in general I support this government's focus on infrastructure investment. When it is done properly, investing in public infrastructure creates jobs, makes life in our  communities more enjoyable and helps to combat climate change"

The motion that the MP's are discussing is one which is looking to hold the Liberal government accountable for the spending that it has earmarked for infrastructure programs, with the Parliamentary Budget Office raising some red flags on the status of some 70 billion dollars that is yet to be accounted for.

Towards that theme Mr. Bachrach called for stronger oversight and an audit on the government's funding programs.

"This motion is calling for an audit of the government's 186 billion dollar infrastructure plan however and it is difficult to argue with the motion that seeks to help Canadians gain greater clarity on what  infrastructure funds are being spent on and whether the investments are achieving the government's stated goals.   

I must admit it was alarming to read that budget 2018 only accounted for 21 billion of a total 91 billion in infrastructure funding and that the Parliamentary Budget Officer found it difficult to fully account for the delivery of promised infrastructure funding.

The question I and many Canadians are still left wondering is where is the 70 billion dollars that is left un-accounted for"

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP  also pointed towards a need for wider investments into Green initiatives to help address the many challenges that face the nation on environmental issues.

"When it comes to the climate crisis Madame Speaker, Canadians deserve more than window dressing, they deserve measurable actions that add up to deep reductions in climate pollution"

The MP also called for rural residents receive their fair share of the infrastructure funding, calling for rural communities to be included as part of the funding overview.

"As the representative of a riding where the largest municipality has a population of only 13,000 people I would like to see this audit include an analysis of whether there is an equitable balance between rural and urban infrastructure investments" 

Mr. Bachrach also outlined some themes he collected from around the Northwest, making some of the concerns that local officials had relayed to him .

"I recently met with Carol Leclerc, the Mayor of Terrace who told me about her city's pressing need to upgrade transportation infrastructure and accommodate growth from unprecedented industrial activity. 

I know that the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako is desperate to see improvements in high speed internet service for rural residents. 

Prince Rupert a city of only 12,000 residents has estimated it's infrastructure deficit at over $350 million dollars. 

Highway 16, the Highway of Tears, runs through our riding and still lacks adequate cel phone coverage along long stretches. 

On Haida Gwaii residents want to end their dependance on diesel power and  instead move rapidly toward renewable energy. 

Nearly every community in Northwest British Columbia has projects on the books to renew water and sewer lines, water treatment facilities and other core infrastructure. 

In my home community of Smithers, a recent asset management planning exercise found that 30 million dollars in water, sewer and storm sewer upgrades will be required in the next decade." 

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP also made note of some of the findings from the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance which outlined through a study that some 1.3 billion dollars will be required in the Northwest to replace and renew critical infrastructure.

You can review Mr. Bachrach's full address to Parliament below:

You can follow the work of Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP from our House of Commons archive here.

As well, items of national and international scope that come from the House of Commons can be reviewed through our political blog D'arcy McGee where we host an archive of items of interest from the nations capital.

Rainmakers to welcome Prince George guests in full weekend of basketball at CHSS

Fresh off their impressive run at the Vancouver College Emerald Tournament, the Charles Hays Senior Boys Rainmakers are back on the court this weekend, with a pair of challengers from the east arriving in town for two days of hoops.

The Prince George Polars and Duchess Park Condors will be bringing their game to the North Coast, both familiar competitors for the Seniors who were last in the Prince George area earlier this month.

The Senior Boys action makes for part of a marquee weekend for basketball fans in Prince Rupert, with a full schedule of play available for those who drop into the CHSS Gym today and tomorrow.

Six games make for the weekend with both the PRMS Storm and Junior Rainmakers also part of the mix

The Friday schedule looks as follows:

3:30 PM -- PRMS Storm vs Duchess Park Condors Junior B squad
5:00 PM -- CHSS Jr. Rainmakers vs Duchess Park Condors Jr Squad
7:00 PM -- CHSS Sr. Rainmakers vs Prince George Senior Polars

Saturday the teams get an early start to the play with three more games on the schedule:

9:30 AM -- PRMS Storm vs Duchess Park Junior B squad
11:00 AM -- CHSS Jr. Rainmakers vs Jr. Condors
1:00 PM -- CHSS Sr. Rainmakers vs Sr. Polars

Tickets go for 2 dollars for Students, 5 dollars for Adults.

The Senior Boys head into the weekend, still holding tight to their top spot placement  in the AA High School Basketball rankings, with their success in Vancouver serving to ensure that would continue to keep their hold on the top spot.

The Senior Ranimakers have been the Top Dog in AA ball since this hoops season got underway.

For more notes on Charles Hays sports see our archive page here.

North Coast Health Improvement Society Hits their Fundraising Mark

Over the top!
It's another successful fundraising
effort for the North Coast
Health Improvement Society
The thermometer on the front of Prince Rupert City Hall tells the story of another successful round of fundraising for the North Coast Health Improvement Society, with the local group blasting through their goal of 200,000 dollars towards fundraising for upgrades to the Cancer Care Unit at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.

The Society hailed the successful fundraising effort on Thursday with a post to their Facebook page to thank those that helped them reach their goal and to note that the upgrade work is already underway.

The fundraising program was launched in January of 2018 and at the time the Society highlighted how the monies raised would be put towards upgrades in treatment technology, increased comfort for patients and families, as well as to add functional privacy for the Cancer Care Unit.

The unit at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital administers radiation treatments and offers preventive screening programs, as well as to offer counselling for patients and families.

And while they have met their goal for the project, that doesn't mean that residents of the North Coast need stop with the donations, a quick look at the Society's Facebook page provides a glimpse of some of the many initiatives that they have taken on since the organization was founded back in 2002.

For more items of note on Health Care in the Northwest see our archive page here, more background on other community initiatives around Prince Rupert can be explored here.

New report from UNIFOR-UFAWU points to DFO measures as making salmon fishery crisis worse

A new report from UNIFOR-UFAWU is laying much of the troubles of the West Coast Salmon fishery on the doorstep of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, with measures and decades of regulatory mismanagement that are leaving fish harvesters facing financial ruin.

The document released on Wednesday charts a fishery of artificially low limits and dropping landed values that have served undermine the livelihoods on the entire commercial fishing fleet, as well as to have had a dire impact on communities up and down the British Columbia coast.

“The federal government created a commercial fishing economy so precarious that when the salmon collapsed this year, the industry went with it. Commercial salmon fishing may never recover.” -- Jerry Dias, Unifor National President

The introduction to the report serves to set the scene of the 2019 salmon season and highlights how the dismal returns have created hardship for those in the industry.

The 2019 salmon season has been devastating for BC’s fishermen, ancillary workers and processing companies. In 2019, the total number of salmon commercially harvested in BC was 629,000 salmon or 3,583,000 pounds, the lowest catch in 70 years. The value was 15 million dollars, the lowest landed value paid to fishermen since 1951.

From their earnings, fishermen have to first pay their pre-season expenses of DFO licence fees, insurance, moorage, gear storage, and prep for their boats and engines. Fishermen also have up-front fishing expenses (fuel, grub, inseason repairs to their boats and gear) that they must pay during the season. When expenses are deducted, there is not much left to take home to feed their families and none left to look after their boats over the winter.

Shoreworkers, and others who are dependent on salmon for work, saw little this summer. A plant can process well over 3 million pounds in a season so the 2019 harvest of 3.5 million pounds was spread thin between BC’s many processing plants – resulting in little or no work for plant workers. Most of the salmon in our local markets have been sourced from northern Alaska or Russia, which have had a banner year, unlike BC and southern Alaska.

Also making for another season of misery was the impact of climate change on the industry, something the union document describes as a crisis situation.

Climate change and its various impacts on salmon have created a crisis; salmon did not return to BC from the North Pacific where they over-winter. Who knows if this pattern of low salmon returns will continue? But until there is a climate change adaptation plan for commercial fishing people and fish processors, government needs to ante-up and give fishermen and ancillary workers financial support. 

Fishermen lost between 30% and 100% of their income, before expenses. Fish processing companies, who have had little salmon to process and therefor no revenue are finding it impossible to make loans to assist fishermen with their vessel costs. Skilled deckhands, shoreworkers, net menders, tendermen and other ancillary workers, unable to make a living will vacate the industry, leaving no one to train future generations. Infrastructure costs, whether they be for boat, gear or processing facilities are ongoing whether there is a large fishery or no fishery at all. Infrastructure cannot be maintained when there are little to no earnings

As part of a response, the union has once again reinforced their call for federal government disaster relief for workers and their families, as well as for the government to assist the industry in developing a climate change adaptation plan.

“Help from the federal government is beyond urgent. Hundreds of fish harvesters are facing financial ruin after decades of fisheries regulation mismanagement.” -- Joy Thorkelson, president of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union (UFAWU)-Unifor

The look ahead for the union isn't one that is a hopeful one at the moment, with the report noting how the 2020 season looks to be set follow the lead of 2019 on the Pacific coast.

The future looks bleak. 2020 is predicted to be as bad as 2019 all across the BC coast. The Big Bar slide will further restrict any possible Fraser fishery as work to create fish passage will likely not be fully completed in 2020 and it will take years to rebuild damaged upper Fraser salmon stocks. Licensing measures prevent fishermen from easily moving into another species fishery and as ocean conditions become less and less favourable for cold water BC fish, other fisheries will also become at risk.

It is time for the Federal and Provincial governments to sit down with fishermen and ancillary workers to discuss the future of BC’s fishing industry. What can be done to keep a fishing fleet in viable condition? To attract new entrants? To pass on fishing skills? To meet First Nations aspirations? To assist and engage fishing communities in retaining economic value from our fisheries? What changes need to be made?

When it comes to hearing back from the Federal Minister of Fisheries, the office at times seems to be more a stop in the Witness relocation program, the last Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, a Vancouver area MP, managed to go an entire mandate without making a stop on the North Coast.

The latest minister to be tasked with the Fisheries file is Bernadette Jordan, the Nova Scotia MP was appointed to cabinet following the recent election of the minority Liberal govern,ent

Past invitations to the Federal Ministers of the past to come to the city have all seemingly gone un-answered, something which seems to put the North Coast at times out of sight and out of mind when it comes the struggles for those in the fishery.

And that theme of inaction is one that makes for the conclusion to the report, with the renewed call for constructive measures from the Federal government.

So far, DFO and the Minister responsible for Fisheries and, moreover, responsible for the people engaged in the fisheries, are not answering. This Updated Report provides sufficient information to show that BC fishermen and ancillary workers are not ‘crying wolf’. All the evidence points to the rapidly approaching end of the commercial salmon fishery in BC and the end of the iconic BC fisherman. It is incumbent on governments to work with the people who rely on the commercial fishery to figure a way out of this crisis.

You can access the full report from UFAWU-Unifor here.

For more notes on the fishery of the North Coast see our archive page here.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thursday Windstorm leaves its mark on Prince Rupert

The strong winds that have been buffeting Prince Rupert for much of the day are leaving a few stories to tell behind them, that as the particularly nasty weather system prepares to make its departure from the region this afternoon.

As we noted yesterday, Environment Canada issued its latest WIND WARNING for the community on Wednesday afternoon, noting that strong winds would be arriving in the community in the early morning of Thursday and continuing on through the day, and for much of the day the winds have delivered as promised.

The strong winds arrived shortly after 1 AM on Thursday, with the 
peak gusts at 90 k plus felt mostly between 
the 6 AM to 10 AM period of the day
(Wind pattern map from the Windy App)

The day making for reports of toppled trees as well as some collateral damage for fences and sheds.

Along the way Rupertites had a look at some pretty fine looking chop on the harbour and began the chase for garbage cans around city streets as the gusts would roar around the city.

In fact, the winds were such, that the City of Prince Rupert closed the landfill site for the day as a result of the ongoing wind event in the region.

Update: the City reopened the landfill site at 3 PM

Transportation was also impacted by Thursday's Wind Event, passengers travelling on the morning flight into Prince Rupert were on notice from Air Canada, that should the winds continue to be at top levels than they would most likely be making a return trip to Vancouver.

Fortunately, the scheduled arrival, while about twenty minutes behind schedule at the Digby Island Airport came as a lull in the storm was in place; allowing for the landing for the Rupert bound passengers and the take off for those heading to Vancouver for the day.

Transportation to and from Digby Island was however affected during the height of the weather, making for delays to the ferry transportation across the harbour and back.

The Flight Aware tracking for this mornings Air Canada flight into
the Digby Island airport

BC Ferries also had a Notice for travellers in place, with the Ferry service holding in Port in Prince Rupert, delaying its 10 AM departure for Haida Gwaii.

With the all clear  heard shortly after 1:30,  the ships crew prepared for sailing, with The Northern Expedition finally getting underway at 2 PM as the vessel made its way out of Prince Rupert harbour destined for Skidegate with a four hour delay now behind it.

The hum of machinery at the Fairview Container Terminal was on hold at times as well during the course of the worst of the wind event, though by 2 PM this afternoon, things were ramping up again on the West side waterfront.

With the worst of the winds and rain now in the past, some blue patches were  arriving from the West  just over the horizon past Dodge Cove and Digby Island, offering an indication that the worst of the days wind event was now in our rear view mirror.

Clearing skies from the west offer up a sign that the wind event 
of the day is all but over.

As of 2:30 PM the WIND WARNING was still in place for Prince Rupert, but with conditions diminishing through the afternoon, it seems likely that warning will be discontinued shortly.

Update: as of 4PM Environment Canada had ended the Wind Warning for Prince Rupert.

For more notes on past weather events see our archive page here.

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

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

Mayor Lee Brain is on the road this week, attending the annual BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George, the three day event which got underway on Tuesday and will wrap up with its final sessions through the day today.

In addition to taking in some of the workshops, keynote addresses and other forum activities the Mayor and his partners in the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance managed to get a few minutes with Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Bruce Ralston.

Conversations where as the Mayor notes they discussed plans towards a long term revenue sharing agreement with Province of British Columbia.

Through his Facebook portal, Mayor Brain made note of the session with Mr. Horgan on Wednesday night, relaying some themes of the work of the Alliance and some of the challenges that they hope to work towards should they receive additional funding from the province.

In his comments, Mr. Brain didn't have much to share when it came to the most recent discussions with the Premier, but he did observe how there will be more on the RBA plans to come later this year.

The work of the collective has been a long running mission, first brought to the attention of the public back in January of 2015. 

That is when Mayor Brain, following up on the ground work in place from former Mayor Jack Mussallem,  brought Prince Rupert into the membership.

Since then there have been many discussions on their plans, along with with the province providing for some additional funding towards their work. 

Though so far, when it comes to the implementation of an expansive revenue sharing plan for the region, the delivery on their goal has to this point proven to be a bit elusive for the Northwest representatives.

You can track some of their past work from our archive page here

As for the BC Natural Resources Forum, Mr. Brain was not the only Prince Rupert representative to be found around the convention hall, with the Port of Prince Rupert's Maynard Angus part of a discussion panel that explored themes of prosperity through partnerships.

You can review more background on the three day event in Prince George from the BC Natural Resources Forum website.

Owing to his travels, the Mayor was not in attendance for the Monday Council session at Prince Rupert City Hall.

For more notes related to Mayor Brain and City Council see our Council Discussion page here.

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

The "Cloud Berry Trail' to be the next big project for the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society

Frances Riley and Steven Milum presented an update for Council Monday
on the plans from Kaien Trails for future trail development in the community

Prince Rupert City Councillors had a chance to get a glimpse of the next evolution for Prince Rupert's Trail network, as a pair of members from the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society delivered an update at Monday's Council session.

Appearing as part of the Committee of the Whole process on Monday, Steve Milum and Frances Riley delivered the update on some of the recent work from the Kaien Trails Society, reviewing some of the past projects that the group has taken on and offering a preview of their next initiatives. 

Among the highlights on the night was Ms. Riley's outline for the development a trail to be known as the Cloud Berry Trail, which will travel along Highway 16 leading from the Civic Centre towards the Butze Trail area, Tall Trees Trail and Oliver Lake.

That project would be a multi use trail, running along the mountain side of the highway and would offer a strong opportunity towards accessing funding towards development.

The timeline towards development of that new trail would see the group submitting a permit application to the Province in the Spring, with preliminary concept and cost estimate set for the summer of this year.

They then will launch their corporate engagement in the fall with grant applications to be put forward over towards the winter of 2021.

Among their other notes was an update on the status of the plans for the McClymont Trail, a project that they had brought to CityCouncil back in January of 2019.  

As they explained it on Monday, Progress on that project has been put to a shelf for now, with the Kaien Trails group noting that as it is a City of Prince Rupert utility corridor, they have had difficulties accessing funding opportunities towards that proposed project. 

Though they did note for the council members that there are federal and provincial grants available to the city towards further development of that trail if the city wishes to follow up on them. 

Ms. Riley and Mr. Milum also outlined some notes on another trail that they have some enthusiasm for. 

That of the proposal for the Seal Cove area known as the Rail Trail,  noting how it will need further consultation with the City and other regional stakeholders before they can look to move forward into development of it as part of the Master plan trail.

Mr. Milum also spoke to the theme of funding, outlining the range of grant opportunities that are available for the community to access.

He also advocated for the City to develop a Transportation Strategy, noting that if the City does so, it would be easier to access a wider selection of grant funding.

He highlighted some of the benefits of such a plan and how it would work nicely as part of the City's plans to update their Official Community Plan in 2020.

"There's just one barrier that we're facing, the City has to have an active Transportation Strategy and without it we're not able to apply. So, what is an active Transportation Strategy?  It's a BC Strategy for a Cleaner more active transportation, this program rolled out last year "

Mr. Milum also made note of the interest in the Active Transportation Strategy found in other Northwest communities and how Prince Rupert risked losing out on the large pool of money available if the city doesn't develop one for this community.

He also outlined how if the City has such a plan in place, it would open doors for Kaien Trails to then gain access to a range of funding opportunities for further development of the trail network in the region.

Mr. Milum also observed how he realized that Council could not move on their request on the night, leading to Councillor Niesh to note that Council could ask staff as to how they could move forward on it in upcoming sessions.

When it came for comments and questions, Council members had much praise for the work of the Society as well as few inquires on some of their themes.

Councillor Adey commented how the Kaien Trails proposals were part of the recent discussions on Redesign Rupert process and how he found much enthusiasm for their plans.

He also made note of one item that will need to be addressed and that was on the theme of maintenance of the trails and what provisions might be in place towards those elements.

Towards that concern, the Kaien Trails representatives offered up a thumbnail guide as to how they would address long term maintenance, noting how the Cloud Berry trail is on provincial land and how the province would most likely take on the maintenance concerns.

As for other trail initiatives, it would be a mixed approach relying on volunteers.

Coucillor Adey also made note of the urgency related to the February deadline and how he supported whatever Council needs to do to move it forward.

Councillor Mirau echoed a number of Mr. Adey's themes and made note of the timing of development for an Active Transportation Plan and how it would work with the city's review of the Official Community Plan.

"An Active Transportation plan would be really valuable information, as you guys know, we're moving forward with a new Official Community Plan. And that will be valuable feeder information in that process as well, so I think it's all consistent, it's all linked, so I think your timing is fantastic." 

Councillor Cunningham inquired as to the volunteer numbers that the Society has at the moment, he also expressed his admiration for their work and spoke to the success of the Rushbrook Trail.

Councillor Skelton-Morven also offered his congratulations on their work and their initiatives ahead.

You can review the full presentation to Council from the City's Video Archive starting at the very beginning of Monday evening's proceedings.

For more notes on Monday's Council Session see our Council Timeline here.

A wider overview of Council Discussion themes can be reviewed from our Council Discussion Archive.

For more notes on Kaien Trails Enhancement Society, including a link to their master Trail plan for the region, see our archive page here.

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

Will the '64 Rainmakers be Fantasy Hoops champs by March 3rd?

An intriguing project to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee for British Columbia's March Madness of High School basketball was launched on Wednesday.

That as a number of veteran coaches and administrators who have been working on the project for much of the last six months, released the list of teams they believe merited inclusion in a 64 team bracket of the all time teams in BC High School Basketball history.

The project which was introduced through Howard Tsumura's Varsity Letters blog, will continue through until March 3rd with the brackets moving forward to determine which of the 64 that have been selected will claim the title as Provincial Champions.

The wrap up to the fantasy bracket will come just as this years crop of rising stars prepare to hit the court in Langley, as the take part in the 75th edition of the BC High School Boys Basketball Tournament.

Prince Rupert hoops fans will want to take note of the fantasy listings, as the North Coast is represented in top style among the 64 competitors.

That through a team that itself is steeped in Prince Rupert basketball and community history. With the legendary 1964 Rainmakers team finding themselves listed as a number 9 seed in the first round, with the 1965 Oak Bay club to be their first round fantasy competitor.

The 64 Rainmaker team bubbles just under the favourites among the top seeds for the fantasy tourney some of them considered to be the most renowned of High School teams through the decades.

Tourney organizers, having reviewed the record books and calling upon some long lasting memories have determined the seeding for the fantasy tourney:

The four No. 1 seeds are Nanaimo District 1978, Richmond 1988, St. Michaels University School 1992, and Kelowna 2016.

The No. 2 seeds are Lester Pearson 1956, Argyle 2004, Terry Fox 1993 and MEI 1963.

The first results from first round results which launch the 35 day road to the finals will be released on Friday.

You can travel along with the 1964 Rainmakers in their quest for one more championship run and learn more about this fantasy tournament through the Varsity Letters blog.

For more notes on Charles Hays sports see our archive page here.

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