Tuesday, June 30, 2020

12 new cases of COVID to report in BC; guidance on the loosening of rules for seniors/elders visitation

12 new cases, for a total of 2,916 cases in British Columbia made for the narrative for the Tuesday update from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix

There are 152 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 2,590 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the total COVID-19 cases, 18 individuals are hospitalized, four of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 981 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,538 in the Fraser Health region, 131 in the Island Health region, 201 in the Interior Health region and 65 in the Northern Health region, that number  constant result for Northern Health through the month of June.

There have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 174 deaths in British Columbia.

Today also saw Dr. Henry and Minister Dix provide some guidance on the loosening of visitation rules for long term care seniors/elders facilities in the province, allowing for the first visits since the Pandemic arrived in the province.

“Today is a positive day for all British Columbians. With the necessary pieces in place, long-term care facilities and seniors assisted-living residences can now begin allowing visitors. 

British Columbians have flattened the curve, single-site staffing is in place and facilities have been given the additional resources to safely allow for seniors and Elders who have been separated from their loved ones to connect once again. 

Like many other areas within our province, with safety plans and precautions in place, we can now slowly and thoughtfully move forward."

The full overview of the new measures for elders/seniors care facilities can be found here.

The full Provincial COVID report for Tuesday  can be reviewed here

Dr. Henry was also part of a global effort on information delivery today, taking over the social media feed of actress Olivia Munn, providing a much larger global audience with her guidance from British Columbia of the last four months.

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

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

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

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

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

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

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

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

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints

Regional District seeks your opinion on COVID recovery; launches new Social Media presence through Facebook

North Coast Regional District has launched an online survey project to hear the experiences from residents and businesses of the region when it comes to an economic recovery from the COVID pandemic situation.

The initiative launched through the Regional District website consists of twenty eight questions.

The first six make for information gathering, the remainder providing for a multiple choice process related to our impressions of the approach being taken towards Economic recovery.

Among some of the questions that will be asked of residents:

How confident are you that you have the right resources and benefits from various levels of governments to help support you through this period?

What local initiatives could aid our communities in economic recovery from COVID-19?

What was the top three issues you have faced in the COVID-19 pandemic?

Some of the questions are also based on the BC Government's Restart and Recovery survey, those include:

What would you say will be the TWO most important issues facing British Columbians like you in the year ahead?

When thinking about your own future after COVID-19, are you optimistic or pessimistic? 

 When thinking about your own workplace and working through the next stages of COVID-19, how safe do you personally feel?

You can take the survey here.

In addition to the opportunity to comment on the economic recovery, Regional District has also expanded on its information options, introducing a Facebook page for residents of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii to keep up to date on Regional Government themes.

In their roll out of the new social media initiative, Regional District notes that they have not historically turned to that option for information sharing, however they have since decided it makes for the most effective method for information delivery.

The NCRD has not historically used any social media accounts. By utilizing various social media channels, this could provide the NCRD with a method of outreach that can reach many community members.

 It also allows for more informal information blasts to be broadcast to the public, with directions as to where to go to find more detailed information. 

This can ensure that everyone is able to see the basic message that is being broadcast so that the public is informed, as well as giving those who would like to learn more the opportunity to seek that information. 

Developing social media accounts allows for real-time information to be shared with the public and allows them to respond immediately. This will allow for faster communication of important information to be distributed throughout the community.

You can follow along from the New Facebook portal here.

Further details about the North Coast Regional District Economic Recovery Communication and Engagement Plan can be found here.

For more notes related to North Coast Regional District see our archive page here.

Air connections scuttle Ferry sailings on Haida Gwaii

More changes for the travels of the MV Kwuna on Haida Gwaii

The ability to staff the BC Ferry vessel Kwuna continues to have some impact on the service that runs between Alliford and Skidegate on Haida Gwaii.

The latest Service Notice from BC Ferries outlines three cancelled sailings in July with late afternoon trips on July 6th, 13th and 20th now cancelled.

The Ferry Service notes that the sailings will return once there is connecting air service to the region.

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

Hartley Bay to see improved child care options

Residents of the Gitga'at Nation at Hartley Bay will soon be seeing an expansion for affordable child care in the community, with the Province of British Columbia announcing an investment into 24 new licensed spaces to be open by this time next year.

The announcement which was made Friday, notes that the funding will come from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and with support the Gitga'at First Nations will assist in the construction of a new stand alone building where 15 school aged child care spaces and nine spaces for children under the age of twelve will be available for local families.

“By making investments in child care, we are giving more parents the option to pursue their work or educational goals, knowing that their kids have a safe, nurturing environment to learn in. I’m proud that this investment will mean better access to good-quality and culturally appropriate child care for families in Hartley Bay, and a facility that meets the community’s needs.” -- North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice

The Hartley Bay facility will feature a curriculum will be created with input from Elders to provide children with culturally enriched learning, such as storytelling, language and traditional art. The existing centre currently provides morning and afternoon snacks for children at no additional cost to parents, and at the new building, which is located across from the local elementary school’s home economics building, the children will receive lunch as well.

The centre will provide staff with the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications locally and become certified early childhood educators without having to travel for their certificates. In addition to the child care centre, the building will house an Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve, with seven spaces moving from another location. The project is part of the Gitga’at First Nation’s strategic plan, which includes building a hotel and restaurant, grocery store and commercial community kitchen.

More notes on the Friday announcement can be found here.

Further items of interest from the Legislature can be explored here.

YPR prepared for potential increase of travellers and any impact on social distancing

With Air Canada indicating that it plans to end its practice of reduced capacity and guaranteed adjacent seats on flights, the prospect of a potential doubling of passengers to Prince Rupert and how that may impact on local social distancing measures, is not something that has airport officials at YPR concerned.

Air Canada's announcement which will see flight capacity increased as of July 1st can be reviewed here.

"As we rebuild our schedule, we are continually increasing the range of products and services available to safely and efficiently enhance our customers' travel experience. As of July 1, we will be transparent about flights booked close to capacity in Economy Class and will provide rebooking options for customers booked on such flights. In addition, we are introducing industry-leading, streamlined, touchless airport processes such as TouchFree Bag Check and virtual queuing, and will be resuming meals designed by our Canadian chef culinary panel. We continue to assess new bio-safety initiatives to further build on the multi-layered, bio-safety approach our best-in-class Air Canada CleanCare+ Program features to give customers confidence in a safe, secure, and enhanced travel experience with Air Canada," -- Andrew Yiu, Vice-President - Product at Air Canada.

The announcement from both Air Canada and West Jet towards those plans to increase capacity, has however caught the attention of the provincial government.

With Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix looking for the airlines to provide further background on how they believe the moves will work towards goals of providing for proper social distancing

We explored the prospect of increased flight levels to Prince Rupert with Airport Manager Rick Leach,  who observed by way of an email that the announcement will increase access to flights to and from Prince Rupert, while not having an impact on the protocols in place for transit from the city to the airport on Digby Island.

"This will significantly add capacity to the flight, from 35 to 70 seats. This will not impact social distancing at the airport, or the ferry/bus transportation, our policy will remain in place. All the passengers have been wearing masks and complying with the protocol."

We also reviewed how the restart of operations at the airport has gone, with Mr. Leach making note of the change to the baggage process from the airport to Prince Rupert.

"The restart has gone very well, and AC has been selling most of the available seats, we will see how the load factor holds up against the increased selling capacity. The big win has been the arrival change, which has all the checked bags being claimed at the City Depot. 

 This mitigates an additional step at the terminal, as customers are no longer required to claim their bags and take it out to the truck, this will allow the buses to depart quicker. 

 We have been meeting our goal of having the buses depart within 10 minutes of arrival. This is an efficiency that gives personal time back to the customer, we have received a lot of positive feedback."

Canada's two major airlines have found the COVID period a challenging one to navigate with layoffs, and route suspensions put in place.

To further highlight those ongoing issues, today, Air Canada has announced the closure of eight of its regional stations across Canada, with the majority of the closures to take place in Eastern Canada. At the same time the airline has also announced that it will be discontinuing service on 30 Domestic routes.

British Columbia's airports have also faced some extreme challenges as the airline industry scaled back its service and in the case of Prince Rupert eliminated commercial connections for the Spring.

Last Friday, Prince George Liberal MLA Shirley Bond raised the issue of compensation for Northern BC airports as part of a Transportation Committee session through the Legislature.

"In the latest numbers — certainly the briefing that I received — airports are suggesting that the recovery period for them to reach even 2019 levels, could take until 2024. So, there's going to be an extended period of support required, and as I said, airports are — I know the minister is well of that — are a critical part of economic growth in our province. 

 I just would like to point out that the federal government did announce rent relief for 21 airports, and that did include our own airport of YXS. Rents would be waived from March 1 to December 31, but the total amount of savings for the airport — the Prince George Airport — was something like $29,000, which is 0.5 percent of operating expenses over the same period of time. 

So, great that the federal government is paying attention, but, to be honest, the challenges on the ground are absolutely significant for the airports in our province. 

 So, perhaps the minister could just outline what initiatives the provincial government is going to engage in. What will the province be doing to support airports, both on an operational and, more importantly perhaps from the provincial side, an infrastructure perspective? "

Provincial Minister Claire Trevena in reply noted that the province remains engaged with the Federal government and continues to work with the Aviation council to help airports build up.

Towards any kind of financial assistance to date, the YPR Manager notes that the smaller and medium airports are the ones which are feeling the impacts of the reduced number of flights and activity at airports the most.

With Mr. Leach observing as to what those airports are facing at this pivotal moment of the COVID period.

"Nothing has been determined at this point, but most of the small/medium airports are now in dire financial shape, and are asking for government relief. The larger hub airports in Canada are also feeling the pain and calling for assistance."

For more notes related to air travel across the Northwest see our archive page here.

CN Rail set for another summer of large investment into Northern rail infrastructure

They'll be working on the railway for much of the summer of 2020, with CN Rail announcing an expansive infrastructure investment into its Northern corridor line between Prince Rupert to Prince George and beyond.

In an information update from the railway on Monday, CN provided a glimpse at some of the projects that have the green light for this summer from their 445 million dollar investment into British Columbia.

“We take our essential role in the North American economy seriously and these investments in British Columbia are a key part of our strategy to support growth. The Company remains committed to help enable supply chains that fuel British Columbia’s growth as we are a critical part of getting everyday goods to markets and consumers. Safety is a core value at CN and by investing in the maintenance and expansion of our track and capacity, we are providing customers with a safe and reliable solution at a time when fluid supply chains are more critical than ever.” - James Thompson, Vice-President, Western Region at CN

Much of the work for this summer is designed to increase access to the two major ports of the West Coast at Prince Rupert and Vancouver.

The work will feature a number of expansion projects that will add track in yards to handle growing traffic, new sidings as well as continued investments in multi-year initiatives to increase capacity at the Port of Vancouver and at the Port of Prince Rupert in collaboration with the Government of Canada, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, and the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

The investment program also includes:

Building new sidings on the Edmonton to Prince Rupert corridor to increase capacity for growing demand.
Replacement of more than 100 miles of rail Installation of over 209,000 new railroad ties Installation of over 46,000 concrete ties
Rebuilds of 22 road crossing surfaces
Maintenance work on bridges, culverts, signal systems, and other track infrastructure

You can review the full scope of the announcement from the CN announcement here.

Earlier this month, as part of their Annual Public Meeting,  the Port of Prince Rupert put some focus on the work of their partners at CN and the local projects that are set to get underway, including the railway's plans for the Zanardi bridge and other port related infrastructure.

For more notes on CN Rail in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Port Edward to return Municipal Offices to Regular Schedule in early July, provide update on June's notes

The District of Port Edward is expanding on their COVID response plan starting in early July, with the District Municipal office to be open to the public five days a week for its regular business hours.

The return to regular hours begins on July 6th, previously residents had access to the Municipal Hall on Monday and Tuesday only.

The protocol for service at the Municipal Hall is that residents and visitors will be served one person at a time, those seeking service should make note of the designated waiting spots along the walking path to provide for social distancing.

The announcement through the District's Facebook page also notes that the deadline for Property tax payers in the community is August 4th

And with that, they request that anyone making a payment by cheque or submitting the Home Owner Grant to use the Mail slot on the outer door for the best efforts at social distancing, the District also notes that if requested residents can receive a receipt at a later date following processing.

Residents can also make their tax payments by etransfer at payments@portedward.ca

Port Edward residents are benefiting from an additional month to pay their tax bill, compared to their neighbours in Prince Rupert, where the deadline for Tax Payments is July 2nd.

The District has also provided an update on their June Council session with Mayor Knut Bjorndal's monthly message making note of the wolf attack in the community and the response from the Conservation Officer Service, which continues to make patrols in the District on a regular basis.

As for municipal work ahead in the summer and into the fall, the Mayor notes how the Council will be reviewing and updating some of the District's bylaws, as well as to put out for tender road reconstruction work for the area.

Mr. Bjorndal also pointed residents to the release of the Annual Report which includes the District's Financial statements and Five year plan.

We took a look at that document last week, with this item.

The District newsletter also updates the community on the issue of wolves in the area, with advice on how to keep the community safe, the publication also provides a look at the ongoing efforts at eradicating knotweed and towards Council's focus on a Community Clean Up.

You can find the latest edition of the information update here.

For more notes related to the District see our archive page here.

Monday, June 29, 2020

26 new cases over three days make for Monday COVID report

The first COVID report for a new week outlined the results gathered since Friday, with 26 new cases recorded in British Columbia with Doctor Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix relaying the weekend's notes.

"Today, we are providing case updates for three 24-hour reporting periods. In the first reporting period from June 26 to June 27, we had 10 new cases. In the second reporting period from June 27 to June 28, we had 14 cases. In the last 24 hours, we have had a further two new cases. 

This represents 26 new cases since we reported on Friday, for a total of 2,904 cases in British Columbia. 

There are 153 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 2,577 people who tested positive have recovered. "Of the total COVID-19 cases, 18 individuals are hospitalized, five of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation."

From the Cross-BC review, the totals of reported cases are as follows:

979 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,529 in the Fraser Health region, 131 in the Island Health region, 200 in the Interior Health region and 65 in the Northern Health region, the Northern Health totals have held at the 65 mark for much of June.

Dr. Henry and Minister Dix called attention to a high profile result over the last few days, noting of the need for anyone in attendance to be tested.

“There has been one new exposure event at Brandi’s Exotic Show Lounge in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Public health teams are actively contact tracing and have issued an alert for anyone who may have been at the premises June 21, 22, 23 and 24 between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m."

As well, with a summer travel season set to begin, the two public health officials reminded British Columbians of the importance of following the ongoing measures towards safe social interactions.

The full Provincial COVID report for Monday can be reviewed here .

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

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

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

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

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

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

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

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

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints

City awaits water main parts for Fix for Fulton and Sixth Intersection

Already at over two months, the delay in road remediation at Sixth and Fulton
will continue on as the City of Prince Rupert awaits a part for the
water-main repairs that are still required

If there were to be a competition for which stretch of Prince Rupert road is the worst at the moment, it's quite possible the intersection of Sixth Avenue West And Fulton Street would claim the title for roadway infamy.

The work on a water-main break first began in April of this year with crews responding to yet another ruptture in the city's aging water system.

Click to enlarge

However since the initial work of two months ago, not much has happened at the work site in the many weeks since and with each rattle of an undercarriage on a car or truck, we imagine the phone rings at City Hall, or an email makes its way to the Mayor or a City Councillor.

Today, the City of Prince Rupert provided an update through their Facebook page, offering a word for patience towards one of the more troublesome areas of the current list of civic infrastructure up for repair.

Citing delays in accessing required materials owing to COVID, the City advises that once their shipment comes in the work will begin anew toward repairs; though no timeline is offered up as to when it's anticipated that the material is expected to arrive and the work recommences.

Earlier this month, the City of Prince Rupert awarded its annual contract for road rejuvenation, with a Kitimat firm receiving the contract award.

In May the Request for Proposals included a list of city streets to be addressed as part of the paving for program for 2020.

Fulton and Sixth is just one of the sixteen work items listed in that RFP process.

You can review some of infrastructure challenges facing the city here.

A wider overview of past discussion themes, including road repairs can be found from our Council Discussion page here.

City of Prince Rupert's Moresby Fuel Tank Removal program heads for Phase 2

The City of Prince Rupert is looking for Bids for Phase Two of the
Moresby Park Fuel Tank Removal project
(Map from Bid documentation on BC Bid site)

The City of Prince Rupert is looking to move forward with the removal of World War II vintage Fuel Tanks located in Moresby Park, issuing a Request for Proposals last week for Phase Two of their Removal Program.

The overview to the RFP on the BC Bids website describes the project as follows:

The City of Prince Rupert is seeking proposals from qualified proponents for the demolition and removal of the Moresby Fuel Tanks #1 & #2 and their associated pipelines and blast walls, and the removal and disposal of any fuel products contained therein. 

The Moresby Fuel Tanks #1 & #2 are the center and westernmost of three large above ground tanks (ASTs) for fuel oil containment, and are located on City property at approximately 1630 Park Avenue. 

The ASTs were constructed by the Department of National Defense to support refueling of naval vessels during the Second World War, and subsequently transferred into the City's possession.

The list of task associated with the project is a lengthy one, with at least eight elements included in the instructions for potential contractors to review:

(i) Mobilization and demobilization from Site; 

(ii) Removal and off-site disposal of remaining distribution pipelines between the three ASTs and the oily water and residual fuel oil within (estimated to be 58,400 liters), and establishing of equipment access to Tanks #1 & #2; 

(iii) Removal and off-site disposal of all fuel products from Tanks #1 and #2 (estimated to be 49,000 and 319,000 liters respectively); 

(iv) Demolition, and off-site disposal of concrete blast walls at Tanks #1 and #2; 

(v) Decontamination of Tanks #1 and #2 and surrounding supply lines, and off-site disposal of oily water generated from decontamination activities; 

(vi) Demolition and off-site disposal of Tanks #1 and #2 and surrounding supply lines following decontamination; 

(vii) Removal and off-site disposal to the City of Prince Rupert landfill of the approximately 0.5 meter thick pea gravel layer covering the full area beneath Tanks #1 and #2; and, 

(viii) Site restoration, including the supply and installation of 30-40-0 slow release fertilizer and a 0.3 meter thick layer of clean wood chips; together with all items of work associated with developing site access, construction site security, quality management (such as inspection and testing requirements) and construction environmental management (such as bird nesting surveys, erosion and sediment control, treated water testing), all to be carried out with consideration being given to a focus on value to the City and Project budget.

Hans Seidemann, the City of Prince Rupert's Manager of Community Development and Civic Innovation,  is listed as the contact person for the project.

He has more details on the optional site visit for interested contractors, set for the Park Avenue entry to the park and scheduled for 11 AM on July 3rd. 

The timeline for the project would see submissions to the RFP delivered to the City by July 13th, with the proposals to be reviewed by July 21, 2020.

Notice to proceed is to be issued on August 4th, with the completion date for the work expected to be finished by December 31st, 2020.

More background on the RFP can be found from the BC Bid website.

The first phase of the project, which took place over the course of the last year was awarded as part of the first RSP back in November of 2019. The dismantling of the first tank, the one which was closest to the Anchor Inn became a news item in January after a small fire broke out on site.

A look at that project and some notes on the past history of the initiative can be explored here.

A look a previous Bids and Tenders issued by the city can be reviewed here.

More notes from City Council can be found from our Council Discussion page.

Prince Rupert's Salvation Army Thrift Store reopens Tuesday

Just One more day until the Prince Rupert Salvation Army
Thrift Store reopens its doors to the public

After an extended shut down during the early days of the COVID pandemic, the Prince Rupert Salvation Army Thrift Store is set to reopen its doors, once again ready to welcome customers to the 200 block Third Avenue location.

The reopening will take place tomorrow morning at 9:30, with the look inside somewhat different as the management and staff of the store adjust to the new rules, putting in place a number of in store measures to ensure that personal safety remains the number one focus.

As part of the reopening, the Thrift Store advises that they now only accept donations on Saturdays, that as they seek to adhere to all of the COVID related regulations in place these days,.

The hours of Operation will be Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

You can keep up to date by Joining the Prince Rupert Salvation Army Thrift Store Facebook page.

Some of the policies for the store can be explored here

To contact the store call 250-624-5382

More notes on the Northwest Commercial scene can be found from our archive page here.

Northwest Communities share in Emergency Preparedness Funding

A number of communities across the Northwest and on Haida Gwaii have shared in 4.2 million dollars following a Friday funding announcement from the Provincial Government.

The money which will support 100 local governments and First nations province wide is part of the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund and is designed to assist communities prepare for and respond to disasters.

“I know how critical it is to be prepared for any possible emergency scenario. When it comes to emergencies in B.C., it’s not a matter of if one will happen, but when. This funding is another step we’re taking as a government to help communities be ready for when disaster strikes.” -- Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness

On the North Coast, The District of Port Edward has received $21,900 towards Emergency Preparedness Supplies. 

For communities on Haida Gwaii, funding was provided to:

Old Massett Village Council -- $23,500 ESS Program for Old Massett Village

Old Massett Village Council -- $17,724 Equipment purchases

Port Clements -- $24,983 Modernizing the Port Clements ESS

Port Clements -- $21,295 EOC Update

The remainder of the Northwest funding goes east of the Port Edward Turnoff with the communities receiving funding as follows:

Bulkley-Nechako Regional District -- $175,000 Regional collaborative ESS modernization implementation

Bulkley-Nechako Regional District -- $25,000 EOC equipment acquisition

Fraser Lake -- $25,000 Modernization, implementation project 

Fort St. James -- $25,000 Training and equipment

Granisle -- $25,000 Mobile EOC

Hazelton -- $25,000 Supplies,  equipment and capacity building project

Houston -- $17,000 Training Phase 2

Kitimat-Stikine Regional District -- $25,000 Upgrades and additions to ESS mobile unit equipment and ESS team Training

Kitimat-Stikine Regional District -- $25,000 Supplies and Equipment

Kitselas First Nation -- $25,000 ESS development project

New Hazelton -- $20,918 New Hazelton emergency support purchases and emergency simulation 

Nisga'a Lisims Government -- $24,893 Nisga'a ESS modernization

Nisga'a Lisims Government -- $25,000 Modernizing the Nisga'a Nations EOC

Smithers -- $25,000 Emergency Power project, generator

Stewart -- $23,234 Stewart ESS training and supplies

Stewart -- $25,000 Stewart EOC preparedness 2020

Telkwa -- $25,000 Resiliency and public information project

Terrace -- $25,000 EOC office equipment

Not included on the list for the Friday round of funding from the program, was the City of Prince Rupert, North Coast Regional District or local First Nations communities.

More background on the program can be explored here, while the complete list of British Columbia communities to benefit from Friday's funding release can be viewed here.

For more notes related to the Legislature see our archive page here.

Tom Kertes takes the helm for Prince Rupert Labour Council

Some new faces mix with the old as the Prince Rupert Labour Council
announces its new leadership for 2020-21

Prince Rupert's Labour Council has a new leader in place for the year ahead, with the long serving labour organization electing Tom Kertes as the new President, the local teacher with SD 52 was named to the post at the June 25th Labour Council meeting.

At the same meeting, the PRLC also elected a slate of Officers to serve with Mr. Kertes for the year, some new names, others returning to office from a previous term.

Included on the list:

Secretary-Treasurer -- Piroska Potoranay
Vice-President -- Tristen Wybou
Recording Secretary -- Kyla Ragan
Councillor 1 -- Tim MacDonald
Councillor 1 -- Sparrow Taranov
Sergeant at Arms -- Ian Dobson
Trustee -- Shelley Gladstone

Newly elected PRLC
President Tom Kertes
“The Prince Rupert Labour Council is committed to building community, supporting workers, and working together for justice and fairness for all people in our region. I am proud to be part of such a committed and strong team of workers in our community.” -- Newly elected President of the Prince Rupert Labour Council Tom Kertes.

The new President who arrived on the North Coast only a few years ago, has quickly taken to social activism, he was prominent during the City of Prince Rupert Boil water challenges of a late 2018, early 2019.

With Mr. Kertes advocating for action and transparency on the status of the city's water supply  during that period.

This year he has taken action towards ensuring that the return to the classroom for students and staff is one that is focused on personal safety, giving the issue a high profile not only in Prince Rupert but across the province.

The Labour movement in the region has seen some significant challenges over the last decade or so, as the economic and employment situation shifted.

While the Port continues to grow and create positions, many of them unionized; there have been significant losses of members in the fishery and pulp industries.

That from the closure of the pulp mill at the start of the century and the long, slow restructuring of a fishery industry which does not employ near the numbers of workers of the past.

The Prince Rupert Labour Council provides a voice for the labour movement on the North Coast and is the local organization for the Canadian Labour Congress.

More notes on labour in Prince Rupert can be reviewed here.

Virtual Seafest Parade brought some sunshine on a Rainy Rupert Day

The Seafest Parade went virtual for 2020 owing to COVID
(From PR Special Events/CityWest virtual parade)

It's a rare occasion that Prince Rupert's at times famous weather has laid low the Annual Seafest Parade; so something like a global pandemic wasn't going to stop the community from celebrating, even if in a revised format for a year.

If we couldn't be on a sidewalk downtown on Saturday this year, watching a Virtual Version of the annual Seafest Parade 2020 was a welcome substitute in these COVID challenging times.

With the tough, but necessary decision to cancel this years mass gathering in downtown Prince Rupert, the Special Events Society quickly found a way to keep the Seafest Spirit alive this year.

Launching their Turning the Tide project in May, asking for submissions from around the region to present as a Virtual Parade which aired on Saturday morning at 11 AM.

Sure the 2020 version was a little shorter than the parade of normal times and you had to grill your kebobs for a year; but considering the circumstances and the short timeline, the project certainly captured the spirit of our annual event and offers up the hope for a return to the more familiar in 20201.

From Marching Bands and Dance Groups to virtual floats and special performances, the half hour of the virtual parade has a little something for everyone.

And just like the normal parade, the rain of Saturday morning stopped just as the introduction to the parade from CityWest's Tina Lussier rolled across the screen.

The online version of the long standing Prince Rupert tradition streamed live on CityWest Cable 10SD/310HD, taking the virtual parade into homes across the Northwest.

Such was the work that went into Saturday's virtual parade, that the benchmark for communities across the Northwest has now been set ...

So ramp it Up Kitimat for Canada Day, Show us your Best Smithers for the Fall Fair and we'll be waiting Terrace for the word on what video plans you have for Riverboat Days ...

It's a Well Done to the Prince Rupert Special Events Society, CityWest and all those who submitted their presentations for Parade Day, they helped in turning the Tide towards next year and the chance to line the streets once again!

The parade can be viewed below or through the CityWest Facebook page.

For more notes related to Community events see our archive page here.

Real Estate Tracker: Week ending June 28, 2020

A top  end sale and a new listing for the west side continues to make West of McBride Street the destination  for house hunters looking towards the high end of the housing spectrum in the city.

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

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

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

The Archive for our weekly review can be found here.

Our list of the top ten priced homes for the week ending June  28, 2020 can be explored below:

Real Estate listings on the West Side of Prince Rupert
Week ending June 28, 2020
Real Estate listings on the East Side of Prince Rupert
Week ending June 28, 2020

More movement in the upper end of the listings with a real estate transaction on the west side of the city closing and a new listing arriving to the collection of ten.

The majority of the listings for the week are found on the west side of the city, half of those found in the Graham/Atlin pocket, the remainder spread out west of the McBride Street marker. Only one property this week is found east of McBride.

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

The lowest mark for the list of ten  sits  at $499,000, while our top end from the last week remains marked  at the price point of  $1,350,000

Below find our findings as of the Week ending June 28, 2020

1824 Graham Avenue                    $1,350,000 -- Remax
508 Cassiar Avenue                       $715,000 --    Remax
173 Bill Murray Drive                   $674,900 --    Remax
1714 Sloan Avenue                        $649,000 --    Remax
1933 Graham Avenue                    $649,000 --    Remax
1800 Atlin Avenue                         $599,000 --    Remax
1932 Atlin Avenue                         $599,000 --    Remax
130 Bill Road                                 $535,000 --    Remax
1413 Graham Avenue                    $522,500 --     Remax
613 Cassiar Avenue                        $499,000 --    Remax

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

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

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

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Patience, assistance of Emergency Response Team brings stand-off to a peaceful end near Hazelton on Saturday

A standoff that lasted almost half a day in the community of Gitsegukla was resolved peacefully early Saturday afternoon, as the Hazelton RCMP, assisted by the regional Emergency Response Team brought a distraught man into custody.

The call for assistance came  in to the New Hazelton RCMP detachment at 3:40 AM on June 27th with a report of an assault involving a male who was determined to be breaching court imposed conditions for similar offences.

As Mounties arrived at the Gitsegukla First Nation Reserve the distraught man had barricaded himself in the residence, with reports provided to the RCMP that he may be in possession of a rifle, a witness further advised that there was a female in the residence as well.

Using a Crisis Negotiator and assisted by a Critical Incident Commander, negotiations took place over the course of several hours to de-escalate the situation, with the surrounding area near the residence blocked off as members from the Hazelton detachment evacuated a number of nearby homes.

The negotiators finally found success at 2:15 Saturday afternoon when the man and woman both exited the residence, with the man subsequently taken into custody by the ERT members without further incident.

After a subsequent search of the residence, RCMP members did not locate any firearms, the investigation into the incident continues on, with the male in custody now facing potential charges.

As the situation wrapped up on Saturday, Staff Sergeant Darren Durnin, the Detachment Commander of the New Hazelton RCMP praised the work and assistance of those in the community during the stressful period of time.

We wish to thank all those in the community who were impacted for their patience, understanding and cooperation during the day. We also wish to extend our thanks for the support and assistance provided by the elected leadership and the volunteer fire department.

More background on the Saturday incident can be explored here.

Further notes of interest related to the work of Emergency Responders in the Northwest can be found here.

Blog Watching: Week ending June 28, 2020

Municipal politics dominated much of the reading list for those who followed our blog this week, with a string of City themes making for the five most read items.

Among some of the topics that captured the attention of readers, the revelation that City Manager Robert Long has added the title of planner for the moment to his expansive resume of civic postions held.

Also of note for Council and our readers the comments related to planning, zoning and community engagement, with a pair of councillors noting that the focus should remain on keeping the public informed and engaged despite the challenges of COVID.

Two other stories captured the attention of readers this week, our look at a notice from the City related to Watson Island, the announcement of Andrew Samoil as the new Superintendent of Schools for SD52 and the concerns  and actions taken by some Indigenous communities as the province relaxes the travel measures of recent months.

However, when it came to the most read item of the last week, City Hall is the destination and the discussion on developing the Official community plan and other housing themes..

City Manager Robert Long is 're-substituting" on Planning Duties for retired Zeno Krekic -- At this week's Prince Rupert Council session, the members of City Council finally provided some background to the changes taking place when it comes to municipal zoning and planning themes through City Hall.  (posted  June 24 , 2020)

That article was followed by:

Council cautioned not to allow COVID response to become block for community engagement  --  With City Manager Robert Long charting a course of what could be a very different public engagement process, a few members of Council offered up the guidance that every effort should be made for as full an access to the process as possible. (posted June 26, 2020)

City issues reminder for contractors from Watson Island work -- A legal announcement from the back pages of the weekly paper captured some attention from our readers, though members of Council took no note of the Notice of Completion for the Watson Island Demolition project on Monday night, making no mention of the achievement, nor the advice for contractors that time is running out on any claims.   (posted June 22, 2020)

School District selects Andrew Samoil as Superintendent -- Less than one month after the announcement that Dr. Irene Lapierre and SD52 had parted ways, the full time replacement for the position was announced.  Also noted by the School District this week was who will take over the VP duties at the city's high school Charles Hays Secondary.    (posted June 25, 2020)

Council of Haida nation update confirms continued call for essential travel only restrictions for Haida Gwaii -- A weekend video update from the Council Of Haida Nation keeps the pause on when it comes to travel to the Islands, the advisory one issued a few days before Premier John Horgan announced relaxed travel advisories in relation to COVID. By week's end however, the Haida would see a number of other Indigenous communities make note of their own travel restrictions.     (posted June 22, 2020 )

You can find our weekly Blog watching feature posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, making for a handy way to catch up to the week that was, at a leisurely weekend pace.

You can also review the full listings of the week just past, from our Blog Archive index page found on the right hand side of the page.

For those looking for updates to items as they are posted to the blog, don't forget about our email alert access.

A daily review of the latest items on the blog can be delivered to your email in box, simply by entering your email address into the information bar, items posted to the blog will be delivered to your e-mail account each day.

You can find the link to that feature on the upper, right hand side of the blog. It can be found underneath the Follow the North Coast Review by Email indicator.

As well, those who use Twitter can get updates as we post new items from our twitter feed

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching  can be found here.

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