Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday COVID data for BC brings dip in Daily totals, mixed messages on vaccine supply

Tuesday brought a slight dip in what has been a string of COVID result counts that topped the 1,000 plus mark in recent weeks.  

With today's review of COVID data from Doctor Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix noting of 873 new cases for the day, though with an advisory that the final totals of the day could still be subject to change.

“Today, we are reporting 873 new cases, for a total of 113,702 cases in British Columbia. Due to a delay in the Public Health Reporting Data Warehouse (PHRDW) lab system, these numbers are preliminary and may be adjusted once confirmed with PHRDW data.  

There are 9,756 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 16,290 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. 

A further 102,268 people who tested positive have recovered. 

Of the active cases, 377 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 116 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. 

There have been two new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,515 deaths in British Columbia"

Across the province, the Health Authority totals were as follows: 218 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 512 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 43 in the Island Health region, 72 in the Interior Health region, 

The number of case for Northern Health mirrored the drop in the rest of the province, with 28 cases of COVID  recorded in the Northern Health region, the total count of COVID since January 2020 is 6,595.

Thee were no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada. 

Health Officials advise, that there are currently 5,221 confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province. Of the total cases, 258 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 3,627 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 65 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 1,529 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant. This data will be updated weekly and included in the BC Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 weekly surveillance report. 

As for the vaccination program the results today indicate that 1,148,993 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the province, 87,785 of which are second doses.

When it comes to the future delivery of vaccine, the Health Minister and Doctor Henry talked in a  bit of riddle today, offering up a statement that leaves a fair bit to interpret and no indication of the province having a strong supply line for the vaccines at the moment.

“We are adapting our vaccine delivery in step with our supply and will continue to do that moving forward. If needed, we will pivot, pause or shift our delivery to maximize protection to as many people as possible.

The full statement for Tuesday can be reviewed here.


BC CDC data for British Columbia for April 13, 2021



BC CDC data for Northern Health  Region  for April 13, 2021



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

 


Prince Rupert Port Authority to use Community Investment Fund in aid of Local Cancer Care unit



The Prince Rupert Port Authority has outlined where it's latest investment in the region will be directed, with the Port's Community Investment Fund set to deliver 100,000 dollars towards helping out in the full scale renovation of the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital's Cancer Care Unit.

The announcement today, highlights how the funding will work with the that of the North Coast Health Improvement Society's recent successful efforts towards the Care unit.

“Every member of our community will be impacted by cancer in some way, at some point in their lives. We at PRPA recognize the importance of contributing to projects like this that will help patients feel more comfortable as they receive care closer to home.” -- Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. 

The Cancer Care Unit project has been designed to address the limitations found with the previous space like poor sight lines, isolation of physician from patients and staff, an unwelcoming chemotherapy room, and limited space to accommodate accompanying family and friends. 

In their announcement today, the Port and NCHIS noted that with the number of cancer patients increasing each year, the need for access to local primary care is a priority in the region.

“NCHIS worked collaboratively with Northern Health, cancer doctors, nurses and specialists, to ensure the equipment was of the highest standard for the unit and meets the Government of BC’s best practices for delivery of healthcare to residents of the north coast. We are grateful to everyone that contributed to seeing this project realized.” -- Stefan Delloch, President of the NCHIS.

The Port's 100 thousand dollar funding, makes for one half of the total cost of the project, the North Coast Health Improvement Society has contributed 50,000 towards the initiative, with the remaining funding coming from their community and other partners in the region.

The full overview of today's announcement from the Port can be reviewed here.

More on the fundraising projects from the NCHIS, including their current bed replacement program at the Hospital and Acropolis Manor, can be explored from their Facebook page.

For a look at past Community investments from the Port see our archive page here.

BC NDP anxious to move on beyond pandemic, but will pandemic hold back their Legislature agenda plans?




Monday afternoon saw the Legislature return to its duties, coming back from an Easter Break with a blue print of ambition for the NDP government of John Horgan, that as Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin relayed the government's plans for the spring, summer and beyond.

The Speech from the Throne touched on many elements of the current pandemic times, but also charted a course ahead with many familiar  themes, with more work ahead on reconciliation, improvements to health care, supports for business, developing more inclusive communities and expanding engagement on the environment.

As part of the release of the NDP's plans for the future, Premier Horgan took note fo the path travelled so far and how the pandemic remains a priority for the government.

“We have come a long way by looking out for each other and we can finally see the finish line in sight. But in a marathon, the final push is the most difficult. The threat of new variants means we cannot let down our guard, not when we are this close to the end. Our top priority will continue to be on keeping British Columbians safe while we get more people vaccinated and plan for brighter days ahead.”

That may be a topic of some debate with the return of the Legislature, last week we made note of the concerns of the Green Party, which sees the government's approach to pandemic response lacking in a number of areas.

The Liberal Party as well has started to chart their own course on challenging some of the government's moves of late, expressing their own concerns over the spiralling numbers of COVID case counts in the last few months and the scattered approach of a vaccine program, focusing on what they call the NDP government's lack of clarity and mixed messages.

The third wave of COVID could certainly deliver a detour for the Horgan government for its ambitious agenda, with increasing commentary and some push back being made by the media as well, who are starting to ask some hard questions on whether the NDP have done enough to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on the province.

The litany of plans noted by the Lieutenant Governor on Monday will no doubt be part of the focus for the NDP's Budget delivery of next week, a financial plan delayed by a few month as the government navigated the COVID situation and the many twists and turns that story has taken so far.

Some of the elements of the budget preparation by Finance Minister Selina Robinson were noted on Monday, the government's review of the day's commentary staking out the territory to be covered on Budget Day next week.

The upcoming budget will make health care better, while creating new opportunities for people, target help to businesses so they can grow and hire, and make record investments in infrastructure to create jobs and strengthen local communities.


How the opposition views the blue print will be part of the week in the Legislature and the debate of the document through the sessions in the days ahead.

For a look at how the provincial media has portrayed the government's plans see our Victoria Viewpoints archive page from our political blog D'Arcy McGee.

A look at the work of our regional MLAs at the Legislature can be found here.


AGM ahead for Prince Rupert based Northern Savings Credit Union; Financial Service also launches Take Out Tuesdays in support of restaurant industry



The annual review of operations for Northern Savings Credit Union is set for tomorrow evening, with the Prince Rupert based financial services organization hosting a Virtual AGM starting at 7PM.

Wednesday's event marks the 80th such Annual General Meeting, marking the long standing relationship that the Credit Union has with Prince Rupert and in the years since that first session, an expanding financial institution which now covers both Haida Gwaii and the Skeena Valley.

The Visual event, part of the Credit Union's COVID response, will be available online, with details on how to register found here

To participate you must pre-register by Noon hour tomorrow.

The evening will offer up a review of the 2020 budget and financial results, a preview of what's on the horizon for this year as well as an opportunity to meet the Board membership.

Members of the Credit Union will also be able to ask questions and share their comments with the Board and management.

All of those in attendance on the night, will have an opportunity to win a $500 term deposit or a $50 gift card to a favourite local business.




Northern Savings is also stepping up to help out the local restaurant industry across the Northwest having introduced their TakeOut Tuesday program

With the financial institutions giving away two $50 gift certificates to local restaurants every week this month.

To enter simply check out the Northern Savings Facebook page and leave a comment below their post, the winners are announced every Tuesday at 5PM.

Further notes on the commercial sector in the Northwest can be reviewed here.

Second Avenue demolition complete, leaves former fire site ready for its next chapter in the Prince Rupert story

    Six months following an October fire, the lot at
Sixth Street and Second Avenue West has been cleared of debris

Demolition work on the site of a fire last fall in downtown Prince Rupert wrapped up in the last week, with the lot at Sixth Street and Second Avenue West now a vacant one, levelled and ready for whatever may come its way next.

The fire which attracted a large crowd of spectators on that October evening, extinguished a number of local businesses that had operations on the block. 

One of them, Omni Eyecare decided in the period following the fire to end its service to the community, reducing the options for residents in the community for eye care.

The timeline towards remediation of the fire site did seem to take a fair bit of time stretching out over a six month period, only really picking up its pace in late January.

Work on the fire site at Sixth St and Second Avenue West
only really got underway in late January

There has been no word from the City as to where all that debris material that was carted away may have ended up. 

With the City's landfill site currently at it's peak use, many local contractors have noted that the storage of renovation or demolition material is becoming a key concern.

Towards that situation, some temporary storage space has been approved by Council for a property out by Miller Bay Road.

As for the future of the new lot, there has been nothing announced as of yet, which means that Sixth and Second West will now join the rather expansive list of downtown lots that are still awaiting some kind of use and a sign that the days of downtown recovery are on the way.

More notes on Prince Rupert City Council themes can be explored here.


Air Canada's Government funding to spur on return of service to small communities, provide refunds for past travel plans

The Federal Government is putting close to 6 billion dollars
into Air Canada, including an equity stake in the airline

The Federal Government is getting back into the aviation business, yesterday announcing plans for 5.879 Billion dollars in liquidity to Air Canada, taking on an equity stake in the national carrier which once upon a time was an airline owned by the Government.

The Trudeau government won't be taking a huge share of ownership, with the plan announced on Monday one which will see the Government taken on towards 500 million dollars worth of Air Canada shares, which is about a six percent ownership of the airline.

Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance took the lead on yesterday's announcement by the Federal Government, with job protection in the airline sector the main talking point for the financial boost.

“From coast to coast to coast, it is essential we maintain connections between people and our communities, large and small. Protecting Canadian customers is important. And maintaining a competitive Canadian air sector, Canadian airlines, and the thousands of good jobs in this sector is a priority. This is what today’s announcement with Air Canada guarantees.”

The Federal Government also is in negotiations with other airline carriers in the country, looking to address their concerns over the state of the industry at this point of the pandemic period.

Negotiations continue with other Canadian carriers on financial support and any agreement reached in those negotiations will include a requirement that the airline also refund pandemic related-cancelations. In the event that an airline does not need liquidity support from the government, the government remains open to helping all airlines provide voucher refunds to their customers.

A companion statement from Air Canada looked ahead to the days of Canadians returning to the skies en masse, resuming their travels that for the most part have been suspended for over a year to this point.

"As vaccine deployments ramp up, we continue to work with the Government of Canada on the evolution of safe and science-based test and quarantine relief measures with a view to safely restarting our sector. We know that Canadians are looking forward to re-connecting with friends and family and taking those long-awaited vacations and business trips and we will be ready to safely connect Canadians within Canada and Canada to the world," -- Michael Rousseau, President and CEO of Air Canada.

Of note for travellers in the Northwest, are two elements of the update on operations from the national airline that will be welcome news.

As part of the financial package, Air Canada has agreed to a number of commitments related to customer refunds, service to regional communities, restrictions on the use of the funds provided, employment and capital expenditures. 

These include: Beginning April 13, 2021, offering eligible customers who purchased non-refundable fares but did not travel due to COVID-19 since February 2020, the option of a refund to the original form of payment. In support of its travel agency partners, Air Canada will not retract agency sales commissions on refunded fares; 

The resumption of service or access to Air Canada's network for nearly all regional communities where service was suspended because of COVID-19's impact on travel, through direct services or new interline agreements with third party regional carriers. 

More details on the Refund plans from Air Canada can be explored here.

The news was also relayed by Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bacharach, who has in the past spoken to the need for resumption of the service to Prince Rupert, raising the issue during House of Commons sessions over the last year.



According to the information released on Monday, Service will resume by no later than June 1, 2021, with Prince Rupert and Sandspit listed among the communities across the nation.

The North Coast Review has forwarded an email to Rick Leach at YPR, inquiring if the airline has provided for a firm date for the return to service to Prince Rupert. 


So far, we've received no reply from YPR, but should there be good news to share for travellers we'll update our notes on today's story.

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


Monday, April 12, 2021

Monday's COVID notes mark three day total of 3,200 plus new cases of COVID across BC, 18 deaths recorded over the weekend



The first briefing on COVID since Friday delivered the usual stark amount of COVID infection counts, with a three day total push beyond the 3,200 mark over the weekend, noted sadly by the passing of eighteen more British Columbians from the coronavirus.

Today's wide ranging update, delivered by an online stream across the province also took note of the impact of the current surge on Health care facilities in the province, some concerns over vaccine supply in the short term period and the beginning of a return to reduced non essential surgeries at hospitals across the province.

The review as delivered by Doctor Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix highlighted the following themes.

“Today, we are reporting on three periods. 

From April 9 to 10, we had 1,283 new cases. From April 10 to 11, we had 1,036 new cases and in the last 24-hours, we had a further 970 new cases. 

This results in a total of 3,289 new cases, for a total of 112,829 cases in British Columbia. 

There are 9,937 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 15,985 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 101,216 people who tested positive have recovered. 

Of the active cases, 368 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 121 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. 

There have been 18 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,513 deaths in British Columbia."

Across the province the case review from the provincial Health Authorities noted the following results: 741 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,957 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 167 in the Island Health region, 299 in the Interior Health region. 

There were 125 new cases of COVID recorded over the weekend in the Northern Health region, that brings out total to 6,567 cases since January 2020. 

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

When it comes to the pace of vaccinations Doctor Henry and Minister Dix noted that 1,112,101 of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the province, 87,744 of which are second doses.

Today's briefing also noted that the province and WorkSafe BC will be working to identify any businesses that may be required to closed operations as a result of a spike of COVID exposures, those listings of the closed will be posted to the BC CDC website.

“Starting today, WorkSafeBC will be supporting public health teams, working with businesses where transmission has occurred in the workplace. 

This order is one more way that public health teams across the province are doing all they can to slow this pandemic down. 

For our health-care workers treating patients in critical care, our loved ones who are not yet vaccinated and our friends who have gone to work without pause, now is the time to show them through our actions that they are not forgotten. We do that by doing our part, and the time to do that is now.”

The full statement for Monday can be reviewed here.

BC CDC data for British Columbia for April 12, 2021


BC CDC data for Northern health Region for April 9122021



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

 



IIO report finds no offence committed by RCMP in response to 2020 New Aiyansh incident

"Accordingly, as the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO, I do not consider that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown Counsel for consideration of charges" -- Ronald Jm MacDonald, QC, Chief Civilian Director, Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia

The case file has been closed into an October incident in the community of New Aiyansh, with the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia releasing their report into the events of October 13th when members of the RCMP attended the scene of a stabbing in the community.

The background to the incident can be reviewed from our blog item of October 15th of last year.

The four page report provides the details of the IIO investigation which was required as the death occurred in connection with the actions of police officers who responded to the call for assistance. 

That after the deployment by a responding member of a Conducted Energy Weapon to subdue the assailant who was harming himself with garden shears, he later would be pronounced deceased following transport to the community medical centre.

The report states that 

"In these circumstances, (the subject officer) was acting lawfully, in execution of his duty, the he attempted to arrest (the affected person). In addition to holding a weapons, the Subject officer was aware that the affected person had just stabbed his father and was arrest able for aggravated assault. The lawful authority for (the subject officer) to arrest the (affected person) is not an issue in this case" 

The report which you can review in full here, explores all of the events that led to the incident, from the first call to 911 through to

As part of the IIO review, the investigation included the following:

Statements from five civilian witnesses

Statements from one witness police officer

Police Computer-aided Dispatch and Police Records Information Management Environment records

Audio recordings of 911 callas and police radio transmissions

CEW examination and reports

Review of Autopsy Report

The main focus of the findings involves the use of force, that by way of the CEW device  in this circumstance and in that, the IIO investigate noted that: 

Due to the safety concerns, it wold not have been appropriate for the Subject Officer to get closer to the person in question in an attempt to get the garden shears away from him.  It was both necessary and reasonable in these circumstance for his compliance to be obtained by the use of the CEW to reduce the risk to bodily harm that would otherwise have been faced by the Subject Officer, person in question and potentially to the public if the person in question had escaped.

The report was posted to the IIO website at the end of March.

More of our notes on the work of Emergency Responders across the Northwest can be explored here.

With Tsunami Preparedness Week underway, selfie from high ground could win you an emergency pack



To help add a little incentive towards participation in Tsunami Preparedness week, Emergency Preparedness BC is offering a chance for residents of the province to win a Premium level 72 hour Grab and Go Bag.

The Grab and Go Bag makes for the goal at the end of your High Ground Hike, the annual exercise where residents in Tsunami zones stake out the best location to assemble should a Tsunami alert be issued

Participants in the contest are asked to take photos as they go along the way sharking the pictures of of their travels to high ground through Twitter or Facebook.

The top prize of the Go Bags comes equipped with generous servings of food and enough emergency water, shelter and survival tools to comfortably last 3 days. The kits also offer space tocustomize your kit with personal items, such as special medications or extra eyeglasses. 

You can learn more about how to create your own Emergency kit here.

Find out more about the Photo contest here.

The High Ground Hike is just one of number of ways that Emergency Preparedness BC marks Tsunami Preparedness week, which will wrap up on the 18th.

You can follow the progress of the week through twitter and Facebook.

More community Notes can be explored here.


First Quarter results for 2021 highlight the accelerating pace of real estate in Prince Rupert

The first review of Real Estate sales in Northern British Columbia for 2021 seems to confirm what we all have taken note of in Prince Rupert, the price point of local homes on the North Coast is on a rapid rise as demand seems to outpace supply at the moment.

BCNREB President Shawna Kinsley provided for the latest update on data on sales in an information release on Thursday, which featured a key observation on the state of the industry after the first three months of 2021, with the word surge an apt description for the pace of real estate transactions across Northern BC.

“A surge in home sales is already under way with sales in the first quarter of 2021 on a record pace. Total MLS® unit sales in the region covered by the BC Northern Real Estate Board were up 83 per cent in the first quarter year-over-year and were up 21 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2020 on a seasonally adjusted basis. 

The average level of active listings finished the first quarter down 28 per cent year-over-year and fell 7 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis. “with the supply of listings near record lows and sales at a record high, home prices continue to rise at an accelerated rate. The MLS® average price for the BC Northern Real Estate Board was up 22 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter to $361,102.”

Prince Rupert was very much in the mix when it came to that surge of property deals closing , with homes moving quite quickly once listed in many cases.




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When it comes to a review of the numbers for the first three months of the year. Prince Rupert stats show a sharp increase in sales with  69 in the first three months compared to  47  properties a year ago. That has delivered some $26.9 million in results, compared to $15.4 million a year ago for properties that have sold through the MLS® so far this year. 

Of those 69 properties sold, 43 were single-family residential properties and 8 were parcels of vacant land

As of March 31st, there were 88 properties of all types available for purchase through the MLS® in the Prince Rupert area, one year ago that number was noted at 104.

The surge in Prince Rupert in the first three months puts it close to par with the Terrace market, which has long been the most active of the regional housing markets in recent years.

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Realtors in the Terrace area sold 69 properties in the first quarter of 2021 up from 58 of a year ago
The value of these properties was $28.5 million  compared. to $18.9 million a year ago. 

33 single-family homes, 4 manufactured homes in parks, and 2 manufactured homes on land have changed hands since January 1st. 

As of March 31st, there were 189 properties of all types available for sale in the Terrace area, that also shows a tightening market down from 222 one year ago. 
 
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Kitimat - In the first quarter of 2021, saw 55 properties change hands up significantly from 18 properties one year ago. The value of the transactions of properties which have been reported sold was worth $19 million tripling the amount of $6.2 million a year ago. )

Of those 55 properties, 35 were single-family homes, 8 were half-duplexes and 3 were townhouses. 

At the end of March there were 123 properties of all types available for sale through MLS® in the Kitimat area, that volume up slightly from one year ago when 113 properties were listed in March of 2020.

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Smithers is also seeing significant growth in the really sector,  the Bulkley Valley community reported 70 sales compared to 43 a year ago,  with a value of $22 million to March 31st 2021,   up from the $12 million one year ago . 

In addition to the 22 single-family homes that sold, 28 parcels of vacant land, 9 homes on acreage, and 3 manufactured homes in parks changed hands this year. 

At the end of the first quarter there were 65 properties of all types available for purchase through the MLS® in the Smithers area, that compares to 122 that were offered for sale one year ago. 

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Over the course of a three year period of review, Prince Rupert has seen the most significant in price spikes of the communities of the Northwest, with an average property listing of today 152,000 higher than  it was in 2019.


Council to consider Contract award towards new Curbside garbage and recycling collection plans

Could be coming soon 
to a curb near you!

Prince Rupert City Council will be giving consideration tonight to a 560,000 dollar plus contract award towards the future of garbage and recycling services in the city, as they prepare to receive a report from Richard Pucci the city's Director of Operations.

Mr. Pucci's report which is available on the City website as part of tonight's Council Agenda package, will be recommending that the city accept the lowest of three bids for the city's new direction for garbage collection and the introduction of curb side recycling. 

With the submission from  Rollins Machinery and IPL considered the most compliant of the proposals at $564,850.

The new direction for residents will see the city supply two garbage cans for collection, one for regular garbage the other for recycling items, making your current cans somewhat redundant in the new world ahead.

Mr. Pucci's report highlights the work put into the project so far and some of the unique features for the new city supplied refuse containers, which include the opportunity for the city to "track" what residents may be putting into their garbage, some of which may be in violation of the solid waste bylaws.

Council has previously directed staff to take steps to implement a curbside collection program for recyclables within the community. Towards that end, in 2020 the City purchased a new split-bay rear-loading solid waste collection vehicle, to facilitate curbside collection of recyclables in the future. This vehicle includes a tilt-assist mechanism which deposits material into the rear collection bay, to reduce physical strain on the City’s operators (minimizing injury and WorkSafe claims) and to make curbside collection more efficient overall. 

Understanding the unique challenges of performing curbside collection in Prince Rupert, staff has recommended the use of upright hinged-lid bins compatible with the tilt-assist mechanism for the collection program. This style of bin is of durable construction, and should be resistant to the significant wind and rain experienced here. This bin is also compatible with the RFID (computer chip tracking) system installed on the new collection vehicle, which will allow staff to return lost bins when found, and to track contamination and other solid waste bylaw violations during collection activities.


The City's new curbside recycling plans are a long way
from the days of the city's past Blue box program!

The city's plans for curbside  recycling will clearly be well past the more familiar days of the old Blue Boxes at the end of your driveway and so far have not involved much engagement with the public who would be filling up the new bins if the project moves forward tonight.

One thing that will certainly catch the eye of those who pay attention to such civic proposals, is the projected  cost to the taxpayer and the options that Council will consider towards that element of the plans.

The total cost to the City to proceed with this work will be $564,850.00 + GST and PST. Each household would receive two bins, one for general refuse and the other for recyclables. 

In discussions with finance, there are three possible ways to fund this acquisition. 

1) Financed through a short term loan repaid by each household through an additional levy on the utility bill for five (5) years of $25.35 per year starting in 2022 and ending in 2026. 

2) Financed in part through the use of Gas Tax and the remainder through a one-time charge of $20 per household through an additional levy on the utility bill in 2022 only. 

3) Financed in whole through the use of Gas Tax. 

Mr. Pucci's report notes that the city's Finance Office has recommended financing the acquisition under number 2. That of levying a small charge in 2022 will encourage care of the bins and initiate participation in the new program. The cost has been included in the proposed budget in accordance with option 2.

The report wraps up with a look at the cost for residents should these new bins become damaged or lost, with the price set at $41 for a garbage bin and $65 for a recycling bin, plus assembly and delivery

These charges will be reflected upcoming bylaw amendment to introduce the service. 

You can review the document from the City's Agenda package starting at page six.

The first indication that the city was embarking on a rather significant shift in their planning came earlier this year, when we called attention to a Request for proposals on the topic.

Council members will have opportunity to discuss the topic at tonight's council session and maybe one or two of them may note that they haven't really provided much in the way of information or consultation with the residents of the city on the topic to this point. 

Nor we impinge have any of the councillors heard any feedback from them on the various elements of the plan. Something which should factor into any final decision to be made by them at tonight's session.

You can take in Mr. Pucci's notes on garbage and recycling as part of the livestream of tonight's Prince Rupert City Council session starting at 7PM.

For more notes related to this evening's meeting see our Council Preview page here.

A wider overview of past Council notes can be reviewed here.

Public offered ZOOM option for Public Hearing into Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaws

The future for development in Prince Rupert is the theme
for tonight's Zoom Public Hearing at 5:30 PM

Before the day is out, Prince Rupert may have a new Official Community Plan and zoning bylaws in place, with City Council set for a hectic few hours from late afternoon on into the evening.

As part of the day's work, Council will be hosting the much anticipated and somewhat delayed Public Forum on their Official Community Plan ambitions, with a significant change put in place on Friday towards public participation.

As we noted on Friday morning, the original notice from the city was one of a potential phone in process and/or email commentary to make for the public's final word on the year long process of Community planning. 

That as the city continued on with its socially distant access policies for the public when it comes to civic matters.

However, by the noon hour on Friday that plan had been reworked to shift to a Zoom participation event, with the details outlined in a public notice that includes the password required for participation in the 5:30 PM event.

The Zoom link can be accessed here. Use the information above access the session.

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain also shared out the information on Friday through his Social media stream, making note towards this evening's Public Hearing, which will also be live streamed through the City website for those at home that wish to follow along with the process and any comments and/or questions raised by the public.


The City's Corporate Administrator, Rosa Miller, provided further background on tonight's Public Hearing plans through the City's Facebook page as well, outlining the process for contribution and the alternatives available for those that may not be able to make the early evening session.


The five thirty start time may make for a bit of a challenge for many residents to make for participation, falling as it does over the dinner hour for most and a period of the day where many parents are tending to their youngsters.

So it will be with some interest that those who follow City Hall developments will be watching to see how much participation the city council members receive and how much interest the changing plans for access have generated.

Hopefully, the City will archive the public hearing as part of their YouTube collection of civic themes, for further review by those who may not be able to take part in the community engagement plans.


Later in the evening, as part of their Regular Council session starting at 7 PM, the City's Mayor and Councillors will be asked to provide for their Third Reading and final approval for the Official Community Plan.

If passed tonight, the document will be the guiding blue print for development of the city for the next five years at least.

We received some of the background to the path towards adoption of the Official Community Plant through the last year,

March 2021 -- Zoning Bylaw Survey participation and results bring some surprise, some disappointment and some appreciation from Council members
January 2021 -- Many of City Council's big plans await expanded public consultation and some Public Hearings
January 2021 -- City's planning consultants to provide a range of reports for Council review this evening

December 2020 -- Prince Rupert Council looks to remain engage on climate issues as part of OCP review
December 2020 -- City Council moves forward and stand still for the moment on OCP and Zoning themes
September 2020 -- City unveils Draft Official Community Plan, starts booking appointments for sessions with Mayor and contract planner Rob Buchan
August 2020 -- Prince Rupert's Official Community Plan consultation goes online through Rupert Talks platform 
June 2020 -- City's Official Community Plan review to put focus towards on line engagement
February 2020 -- City of Prince Rupert seeks comment on Official Community Plan renewal initiative
January 2020 -- Vision Steward Council to put Prince Rupert's 2030 vision plans in motion

More notes on tonight's Council session can be reviewed from our Council Preview feature.

Other items of note related to civic planning can be explored here.

City Council Preview: Monday, April 12, 2021


What could be a pretty long day for Prince Rupert City Council will get underway at 3:30 this afternoon, as the Councillors host the first of three sessions of the day, a block of community governance that will include a Public Hearing on the Council's ambitious Official Community Plan and Bylaw changes exercise of the last twelve months or so.

The Council day will begin with the 3:30 PM Closed Session, a gathering which has been declared in camera with three elements up for consideration:

Labour relations or other employee relations

The Acquisition, Disposition or expropriation of land or improvements, if the council considers the disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality

Negotiations and related Discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal service that at their preliminary stages and that, in the view of the council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public.

Up next on the day, will be a 5:30 Public Hearing with Council set to receive comment from the public on the proposed Official Community Plan and bylaw changes that they have been working on for much of the last year.

The Council has changed the plan for community input from their original concept of last week, outlining on Friday that the session will now be a Zoom participation event, and live streamed through the City's website.


The Regular Council session will start at 7PM

That session will begin with a report from the Chief Financial Officer and the opportunity for Public comment on the 2021 Budget.

The Director of Operations will provide a report to Council with a recommendation of award for the city's new curbside Collection Bin plans, with Richard Pucci set to recommend that Rollins Machinery and IPL be awarded the contract at a proposal price of $564,850 plus GST

The City's contract planners from iPlan Ltd. will deliver four reports on property themes on the night.

Ms. Corinne Bomben will return with two reports from the Financial Office, seeking approval from Council for two Securities Issuing resolutions towards loans for the Solid Waste and Woodworth Dam with borrowing from the Municipal Finance Authority to request funds of $10,000,000 for each project.

Council will then turn their attention towards the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaws, having heard from the Public in the earlier Public Hearing, Council will be asked to provide Third and Final readings for both documents.

A chance for council members to share any reports, questions or make any inquiries will bring the evening's work to an end.

With Public Orders in place towards Social Gathering, a note posted to the Agenda Page for tonight's session indicates the this evening's meeting once again will be a remote participation affair, with no members of the public allowed into the Chamber.

"In accordance with current Provincial Orders, scheduled Regular Council Meetings have moved to a remote format for public access. - available on Citywest Cable Channel 10/310, and live streaming at www.princerupert.ca/live. Videos of the City’s Council meetings are also posted to YouTube in the days following the meeting. In the interests of public health and safety, at this time no one will be permitted into City Hall to view in the gallery, in order to ensure we can maintain physical distancing requirements. Staff and Council attendance is also limited, with most calling in via conference. Thank you for your understanding." -- An update on the process ahead for Council sessions from the Agenda Page for Prince Rupert City Council

Those with an interest in tonight's Public Hearing and council session can view the Live Feed from the City website, or on Cable Television from CityWest Cable Channel 10/310.


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REGULAR SESSION OF CITY COUNCIL

Adoption of Agenda and Past minutes -- The Mayor will review the agenda for the evening and Council will adopt the minutes of past meetings.

Petitions and Delegations

Opportunity for Comment on 2021 Budget -- Chief Financial Officer Corrine Bomben will review any comments that have been forwarded by email to the City related to the 2021 Budget process

Reports and Resolutions

Report from the Director of Operations  --  Richard Pucci will outline the details of a report on the city's plans to introduce Curbside collection bins, offering up his recommendation on the awarding of the $564,850 plus bid to purchase the required bins for community residents (see page  6 of the Agenda)

Report from Planning --  A verbal report from iPlan Ltd related to a Property at 6th Avenue East ... (details not listed)

Report from Planning -- Council will receive a  verbal report from planning related to a Temporary Use Permit for property at 225/227 Second Avenue West, with the land across from 7-11 proposed by Ecotrust Canada for use as a Temporary Urban Garden in the community. (details not listed)

Reports from Planning  -- Council will receive reports from planning related to two addresses in the community.


658 Eighth Avenue East (See page 9 of the Agenda)
250 Parker Drive  (See page 19 of the Agenda)

Report from Chief Financial Officer -- Council will receive a report Corrine Bomben seeing authorization for a Security Issuing Resolution related to the City's Solid Waste project (See page  20 of the Agenda)

Report from Chief Financial Officer -- Council will receive a report Corrine Bomben seeing authorization for a Security Issuing Resolution related to the City's Solid Woodworth Dam project (See page 22  of the Agenda)


Bylaws

Report from Planning -- Re: Zoning Bylaw -- Council will review the findings from consultations hosted by the city and contract planners iPlan Ltd towards Zoning Bylaw Amendments and the be asked to provide Third Reading to the Bylaw 

Report from Planning -- Re:Official Community Plan -- Council will review the findings from consultations hosted by the city and contract planners iPlan Ltd towards the Official Community Lan  and then be asked to provide Third and Final Reading to the Bylaw

The evening will come to an end with any Additional Items as well as Reports, Questions and Inquiries from Members of Council.

Council members can  take advantage of the period to offer up any items or concerns that they have for consideration on the night. 

The Live broadcast of the City Council session can be found here, a video archive of past sessions is available here.

Our items of note related to the April 12, 2021 session can be reviewed here

While our archive of all sessions for 2021 for Council is available here.   


City Council Session: Monday, April 12, 2021




Our archive of items from the session can be found below.

Regular Session of Council for  Monday, April 12, 2021

Home page and archive of sessions can be found here 

Live Broadcast of session can be found here

Agenda for the Regular Council Session for April 12, 2021


Notice of Closed Council meeting for April 12, 2021

Preview of Council Session for April 12, 2021




Attendance

Mayor Lee Brain --
Councillor Nick Adey --
Councillor Barry Cunningham --
Councillor Blair Mirau -
Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven -- 
Councillor Wade Niesh -- 
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa -- 

Minutes of Regular Session of Council,  Monday, April 12, 2021
(not available yet)

Video Recording of  Monday, April 12, 2021 Council Session 
(not available yet)


Council Timeline for Monday, April 12, 2021 Council Session
(not available yet)



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North Coast Review Items related to the Monday, April 12, 2021 Session of Council 



Further notes, as well as any Media items from other sources for the April 12, 2021 session can be found in our Discussion Points from City Council feature.  

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


Transportation Safety Board of Canada Investigation into the sinking of the tug Ingenika underway


The official investigation into the sinking of the Wainwright Tug Vessel Ingenika is now underway, with the National Transportation Safety Board of Canada taking the lead into trying to determine what led to the marine incident that claimed two lives on February 11, 2021.

The tug working out of Kitimat was towing a loaded barge, Miller 204 through Gardner Canal, sinking 16 nautical miles ease of Gribell Island in the early morning hours of February 11th. 

The incident brought a Search and Rescue mission to the scene as emergency responders transited the area looking for survivors. 

Two of the crew members of the Ingenika, Troy Pearson from Prince Rupert and  Charley Cragg from Terrace both perished in the incident. 

A third member of the Ingenika crew, Zac Dolan also of Prince Rupert was rescued by a private helicopter that was participating in the search efforts, he continues on with his recovery period.

The barge was later found aground three nautical miles southwest from the position of the tug when it sank.

Tasked with the review of the incident is Mohan Raman, a Senior investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, he has been investigating marine incidents on the coast since 2011.

He also has previous experience with Transport Canada and BC Ferries.

The investigation, which began in late March is listed as a Class 4 Investigation

Those reviews are limited in scope and  while the final reports may contain limited analysis, they generally do not contain findings or recommendations.

The TSB investigation process is explained as follows:

Click to enlarge

The path that the investigation follows is detailed here, an information  page which outlines the methods involved in reviewing the marine incident as well as who the Transportation Safety Board will contact as part of their process towards a final report.


Click to enlarge

The home page for the TSB of Canada review of the Ingenika incident can be found here.

The Transportation Safety Board notes that a Class Four investigation normally is completed within 220 days of its launch, which would make a release for the delivery of their findings to be sometime in mid-October.

Since the sinking of the vessel, we have been tracking information related to the incident on an archive page, you can review the latest additions that we have added to our listings here.