Sunday, June 13, 2021

A Break from the Blog



We're going Radio Silent for a bit, taking a break from our blogging activities for the next ten days or so, but before we step away, we put in a little over-time over the weekend, to catch up on some recently listed material from the municipal scene.

Since much of the focus for the blog is the work of local government and how it impacts on the community, we did up our usual pre Council session Preview, this time delivering the City Council heads' up a day early.

As well, as both the District of Port Edward and City of Prince Rupert released a range of cvic information  towards the end of last week; we've tried to capture much of the content from it with a number of stories.

You can review all our notes of Saturday and Sunday by just scrolling below.

If you've missed something in the last few weeks, see our Blog Archive index on the right hand side of the page for links to our past work, they'll help you catch up if you are inclined.

We'll try to catch up on some of the key notes that may come to pass through our break period, once we return.

City Council Preview: Monday, June 14, 2021


We're taking a Break from Blogging over the next ten days or so and with that plan now in motion, we did a little weekend work to provide for our usual coverage of Council themes ahead of the first session for June, we'll catch up with the talking points of our elected municipal officials upon our return.

Monday's council session could be a short evening, with only a few reports of note for Council to consider and comment on. 

Among the areas of note, a report from contract planners iPlan on a property item, the delivery of the 2020 Annual Report and the release of the 2020 Statement of Financial Income.


The City's CFO will also provide the background to the April variance Report.

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 still in place towards Social Gathering, a note posted to the Agenda Page for tonight's session continues to note that Council sessions remain for now 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 Monday'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.


Council will also host a Special Council Session at 5PM the session closed to public owing to considering of labour relations or other employee relations, acquisition or disposition or expropriation of land and negotiations and related discussions respecting the provision of a municipal service.

************************************************************************

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.

Reports and Resolutions

Report from iPlan  --  Council will receive a report on a property item.  (no documentation provided)

Report from the City Manager  --  Dr. Robert Long, the City Manager will present the 2020 Annual Report for Council to review, discuss and provide approval for (see page 9 of the Agenda)

Report from the Chief Financial Officer  --  Ms. Corrine Bomben will present the Statement of Financial Information for 2020  (see page 11  of the Agenda)

 Report from the Chief Financial Officer -- Council will receive a report from  Ms. Bomben that outlines the April Financial Variances.  (See page  57 of the Agenda)

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 June 14 session can be reviewed here

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


City Council Session: Monday, June 14, 2021






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

Regular Session of Council for  Monday, June 14, 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 June 14, 2021

Notice of Closed Session for June 14, 2021

Preview of Council Session for June 14, 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, June 14,  2021
(not available yet)


Video Recording for Monday, June 14, 2021 Council Session
(not available yet)


Council Timeline for Monday June 14, 2021
(not available yet, we will update upon our return to blogging in ten days )



**********************************************************************

North Coast Review Items related to the Monday, June 14, 2021 Session of Council 



Further notes, as well as any Media items from other sources for the June 14, 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.


37 civic employees make the 100K cut in City Council Municipal Salaries SOFI presentation



The city's report on employee remuneration will be reviewed at Monday's Prince Rupert City Council session and as the Council members work their way through range of material to be made available, they may take note of a new benchmark that has been reached with this years annual account for the taxpayers of the city.

That of the city once again surpassing the fifteen million dollar mark when it comes to compensation and taxable benefits for the city's work force, that for both city hall staff and unionized workers outside of the Third Avenue West facility.

The report for Council provides for the latest roll call of city staff members that have jumped into the upper tiers of the salary schedules over the course of the last 365 days, with some new names and increasing numbers making their way onto the listings for this year.

Those findings come from the annual release of the report on Civic Employee Remuneration and Expenses, a document which is included as part of this years Statement of Financial Information for 2020.

The annual listings of those employees making more than $75,000 is required to be disclosed by the municipality as part of the Financial Information Regulations, the statement is usually released as part of the large final stream of financial information that is delivered each June.

The growing umber of those crossing over the reporting threshold of 75,000 dollar continues a trend which has seen more names added to the upper tier of the list in recent years.

This year finds 88 names listed in the 2020 SOFI disclosures as part of the latest report,.

That compares to the 77 names recorded in 2019 and the 74 that were accounted for in 2018.

With 88 names now the new benchmark for 2020, this years report highlights an increasing level for civic employment in the city over the course of half a decade.

In 2015 the SOFI report listed 52 municipal employees as making 75,000 dollars or more, 37 of them accounted for in the 100,000 plus listings.

The boost to the reporting lists comes as the city increases staffing or fills in positions suspended in the past by the current Council, with many of the recent hires now crossing over that threshold of 75,000 dollars required for the more in depth accounting.

As it was for the City Council compensation, the travel restrictions of 2020, had a significant impact on the value of travel expenses, which were down significantly from 2019. 

Salaries for 2020 that were provided to those working in the upper level of Civic Administration included:

City Manager Robert Long
Remuneration and Taxable Benefits -- $256,165 
Other remuneration -- $18,414
Training and Related travel expenses -- $0
Business Travel and Other expenses -- $7,260
(Expense amounts make for decrease from last years report)

City Financial Office Corinne Bomben
Remuneration and Taxable Benefits -- $164,526
Training and Travel expenses -- $2,081
Business Travel and Other Expenses -- $1,521
( Expenses amount makes a decrease from last years report)

Director of Operations Richard Pucci
Remuneration and Taxable Benefits -- $153,712
Training and Travel Expenses $0
Business Travel and Other Expenses -- $22,312
(Expense amounts make for a decrease  from last years report)

Manager of Economic Development and Transportation Paul Venditelli
Remuneration and Taxable Benefits -- $106,444
Training and Travel Expenses $0
Business Travel and Other Expenses -- $32,509
(Salary and Expense amounts make for an increase  from last years report)

Corporate Administrator Rosa Maria Miller
Remuneration and Taxable Benefits -- $102,740
Training and Travel Expenses $2,630
Business Travel and Other Expenses -- $158
(Ms. Miller joined the city's staff in 2019, the 2020 salary is a significant increase from her starting salary level of 2019)

Recreation Director David Geronazzo and Civic Planner Zeno Krekic are both listed in the 2020 SOFI report at levels below 100 thousand dollars, both left the employ of the city in 2020.

Many of those planning duties for the city have recently been taken on through the city's contract planners iPlan, the expenses listings from the city note that the company was paid $164,603, with much of their work focused the City's Official Community Plan development in 2020.

You can compare this years results with those of last year here. 

As it is with the expenses review for the elected City Council members; the City does not provide for a larger breakdown of expenses that are claimed by civic employees.

Among the list of  88 names that make for this years list are one of the largest blocks comes from the membership of the Prince Rupert Fire/Rescue Department, along with members of the roster of  911 Fire dispatchers who all are listed as part of the SOFI report for the past year.

The total salaries and expenses from those Fire/Rescue listings accounted for just over 2.2 million dollars for 2020.

The remainder of the positions that are listed from the SOFI report span a number of departments from both civic administration and operations.

The total remuneration for employees making over 75,000 dollars in the last year came to $9,059,185 an increase of roughly $740,000 from the year before. 

Those civic employees making less that the $75,000 mark  in 2020 totalled $5,891,392 a decrease of about $1.2 million dollars  from last year

The list below provides a better understanding of the remuneration pattern over the last decade, with the Total Employee Remuneration and Taxable Benefits noted as follows:

2020 -- $15,138,518
2019 -- $15,615,159
2018 -- $15,076,582
2017 -- $14,210,870
2016 -- $13,563,909
2015 -- $13,575,579
2014 -- $12,708,559
2013 -- $12,305,600
2012 -- $12,884,077
2011 -- $12,409,305
2010 -- $12,099,475

In total the City of Prince Rupert employs approximately 259 full and part time employees and staff members.

The full documentation on Civic salaries can be found as part of the City Council Agenda package for Monday's session, the listings are published from pages 12 to 17 

Not listed as a department, but included as a payment to suppliers is payment of $3,795,893 to the Receiver General for Canada for RCMP E Division. That marks the amount that the City of Prince Rupert pays to the Federal Government for its contract policing agreement with the RCMP.

This years review makes for a slight increase towards policing from last years report.

Once the Statement of Financial Information report is received by City Council this Monday, it will become part of the permanent record of Financial information that is archived on the city website  offering up an opportunity to make year to year comparisons when it comes to City payroll spending.

You can compare this years notes and amounts above, with those of the past seven years from our archive pages below:

2020 (report year 2019)
2019 (report year 2018)
2018 (report year 2017)
2017 (report year 2016)
2016 (report year 2015)
2015 (report year 2014)
2014 (report year 2013)


The Review of civic compensation is one of a number of reports for Council,  as we review the data from each, you can review the other notes on those below:


Services and Supplies cost City of Prince Rupert over 38 million dollars in 2020



2020 proved to be an expensive year when it came to purchases and speeding on  civic requirements, with over 38 million dollars in spending for the last year providing for an increase in the amount of money paid out to suppliers from January to December.

As it has been through the years, by the sheer volume and diverse nature of the work required to run a city the size of Prince Rupert, the municipality has in a way become an economic engine of its own.

That as the various civic departments and civic requirements create opportunities for work, or services from businesses and suppliers large and small, both in town and far beyond.

When the final numbers came in on the last day of December 2020  purchases or services from the 110 suppliers listed for last year came to a total of $38,418,385 , which is a  pretty decent jump from the   $27 million recorded in last years 2019 report.

When all the accounting was done, the payments to suppliers, combined with the remuneration totals for City Council members, as well as that for staff and employees, as well as grants and such delivered a final Expense of 55 million dollars, making for a 10 million dollar increase from the listings of the year before.

The review of the City's spending from January to December of last year is included in four pages of listings, as part of the Statement of Financial Information report that was presented to Prince Rupert City Council Monday, a requirement of fiscal transparency that must be disclosed as part of the City's June budget process. 

When it comes to suppliers, the largest payment for 2020 was delivered to Eiffage Innovative Canada, the engineering firm working on the city's Phase 2 water infrastructure project which received $5,531,221 in payment last year.

The city's contract for policing with the RCMP,  saw the City directing $3,795,893  towards the Receiver General for Canada making for close to a $280,000 increase from last years report.

A range of money was directed to provincial offices, insurance and employee benefits groups and other services, those totals were as follows:

A further $690,3765 went to the Receiver General for the City portion of payroll, marking an increase from the year before.

The City also delivered A GST payment to the Receiver General for a total of $301,043 a decrease from last year.

The Municipal Pension Plan received $1,359,467, while Revenue Services of British Columbia claimed $308,686 of this years suppliers payments.

Manulife Financial also collected $753,857 from the City in 2020.

The MunicipalInsurance Association of BC received $250,081.

The Worker's Compensation Board was also in the six figure range, with $396,245 paid out through 2020.

Payments to BC Hydro totalled $682,386 and $54,514, while BC Transit received $619,171 from the City in 2020.

The city's cost for ground transportation with First Canada LLC between Prince Rupert Airport and the downtown shuttle station came to a total of $503,292

The majority of the City's legal work for the last year was handled by Civic Legal LLP with a $274,859 expense, an amount close to $100,000 more than the year before.

$29,889 went to Harris and Company which specializes in employment law. 

The City also provided payment of $1,213,740 to the Trustees of the Prince Rupert Congregation of Jehovah Witnesses in 2020, and while there is no listing of what money is spent on in the SOFI report, it would be safe to assume that was part of the purchase of the land for the new RCMP detachment in the City.

The 2020 listings also included some large scale infrastructure work done by a number of contractors which captured some large amounts, included on the top end of the list were:

JMX Contracting Incorporated received $3,245,142 for services in 2020.

Broadwater was  once again among those on the list of large payments with city paying $2,465,858 for work and services in the year ended December.

Mcelhanney Ltd. provided engineering services to the city at a cost of $1,240,763 in 2020.

C and C Road Maintenance received $1,125,350 for paving work in the city last year.

Thirty six other suppliers appear on the list having received payments between $100,000 and $1,000.000  for services or products through the last year, they include:

Sumas Environmental Services Inc -- $595,831 
Slopeside Mechanical Systems -- $546,809
Sperling Hansen  Associates -- $491,098
Storey's Excavating -- $469,166
Rollins Machinery -- $446,896
Austin Engineering  -- $426,603
L and M Engineering Ltd -- $413,344 
Adventure Construction -- $406,590
Northwest Fuels -- $401,543
Pembina Infrastructure and Logistics -- $368,126
Leuco Construction Inc. -- $325,923
Tervita Corporation -- $305,322
Moorland Technologies -- $278,311
Brandt Tractor -- $214,828
EMCO Corporation -- $188,543
Progressive Steel -- $294,188
Finning Canada -- $260,838
Pacific Northern Gas -- $206,344
Magna Engineering Services -- $195,048
Johnny's Machine Shop -- $180,467
iPlan Planning and Development Services Ltd-- $164,603
West Coast Riggers -- $154,182
CityWest Cable and Telephone -- $152,602
Spatial Technologies -- $145,569
Canadian Fishing Company -- $135,042
West Fraser Concrete Ltd -- $127,607
Fred Surridge Ltd. -- $122,619
Lighten Up Electric -- $121,670
Rupert Disposal -- $117,882
Group Mills Inc -- $114,149
Empire Tree Service -- $114,054
Bytown Deiesel -- $110,759
Shell Energy North America -- $108,151
CIMS Limited Partnership -- $104,391
Skeena Concrete Products -- $104,222
Northern Laboratories -- $102,837



The remainder of this years list of 110 suppliers is made up of a range of companies based locally and out town, which collected varying amounts under 100,000 dollars for services or supplies.

The Suppliers Payment information is just one part of the full range of information to be delivered by the City's Financial Officer and City Manager at Monday's Council session.

Also included in the final financial documentation for 2020 are:



The City has also released the 2020 Annual Report


You can review the full information provided as part of the Report from the Agenda Package for tomorrow evening's City Council Session.

The 2020 SOFI Report will become part of the permanent record of Financial Information that is archived on the City Website, offering up an opportunity to make year to year comparisons when it comes to City spending.

More items related to the city's Budget planning and financial notes can be found here 

Further background on the work of Prince Rupert City Council can be found from our Council Discussion archive page.  




A year of COVID cut down on expenses, but Council SOFI still comes close to 200 thousand mark

City Council members will receive the 2020 SOFI report
at Monday's  council session
(Photo from past City of PR home mailer)


A year of travel restrictions has had an impact on this years release of financial information from the City of Prince Rupert, with expenses down significantly through 2020, with the usual opportunities for travel for the Council membership cancelled in a year of COVID.

Prince Rupert City Council members will receive the annual Statement of Financial Information report at tomorrow evening's Council session, the delivery of the required information mandated by the province returning to the normal timeline of June as British Columbias municipalities return to more normal times for governance.

Last year the province had allowed for a delay in releasing the information after the province granted municipal governments an extra two months to put it all together owing to COVID.

The SOFI review for 2020 provides a look at the compensation for Mayor and Council, as well as their total expenses over the last year; in addition, the annual statement lists the salaries paid out by the City for those employees making 75,000 dollars or more.

The document also reviews spending on goods or services for the year ending December 2020.

The 2020 findings provide for a total salary, benefits and expenses level for the Mayor and six council members of $195,675 down from last years total of $235,856; the savings realized from a lack of travel and other expenses from last year.

Mayor Lee Brain leads the salary listings for the elected officials, his remuneration and taxable benefits for civic duties listed at $75,4440, Mr. Brain also recorded $7,385 in expenses in 2020. 

When combined his Remuneration, Benefits and Expenses come to $82,825.

In addition to his Income derived from the City of Prince Rupert, Mr. Brain is also compensated for his work as part of Regional District, those fiscal results from the NCRD have yet to be announced.

When it comes to the city's six Council members, all received $18,750, compensation the new level which was put in place as part of the 2019 Salary review which also returned Mayor Brain to full time status and full time pay.

Expenses and Regional District duties made for some differences in the final financial results for each individual council member in 2020.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Barry Cunningham (All Totals -- $18,750)

City of Prince Rupert remuneration $18,750 -- Expenses  $0

Reid Skelton Morven (All Totals -- $18,750)

City of Prince Rupert remuneration $18,750 -- Expenses $0

Wade Neish (All Totals -- $18,750)

City of Prince Rupert remuneration $18,750 -- Expenses $0

Gurvinder Randhawa (All Totals -- $ 18,750)

City of Prince Rupert remuneration $18,750  -- Expenses $0

Nick Adey (All Totals -- $18,750)

City of Prince Rupert remuneration $18,750 -- Expenses $350

Blair Mirau (All Totals -- $18,750)

City of Prince Rupert remuneration $18,750  -- Expenses $0

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As they have in the past, the City of Prince Rupert does not provide for an expanded or detailed review of the expenses incurred by elected civic officials, using the lump sum totals of the SOFI report towards their full disclosure.

Your first glimpse of the SOFI information for 2020 can be reviewed from the Agenda for the June 14th Regular Council session,   the full compilation of notes for the session can be found starting on page 17.

The SOFI documentation will be received following tomorrow night's City Council session which starts at 7PM, once received by Council the SOFI statement will be included as part of the complete package of financial information available on the City's Website.

You can also review the salary data for the last ten years from those archives.

The Salary and Expense review is just one of a number of elements from the SOFI report, as we work our way through the volume of information we'll provide for our overview of the city's notes below:


37 civic employees make the 100K cut in City Council SOFI presentation
Services and Supplies cost City of Prince Rupert over 38 million dollars in 2020
Optimism for the future, review of 2020's challenges the narrative for City of Prince Rupert Annual Report


More items of note on the City's budget process can be reviewed here, while our archive of articles on past City Council Discussion themes can be found here.  can be found here


Optimism for the future, review of 2020's challenges the narrative for City of Prince Rupert Annual Report

Residents of the region can now get a glimpse of the year of civic governance for the largest community on the North Coast, with the City of Prince Rupert releasing their 2020 Annual Report on Friday. 

The document consisting of sixteen pages on information on a range of topics along with photos, accompanied by another twenty seven pages of financial statements and other financial overviews.

Along the journey of the year that was, readers will be able to review messages from Mayor Lee Brain and City Manager Robert Long, learn a bit about the various departments that keep the city moving as well as review the checklist provided of the City's Goals that have been achieved and those that are still on the underway list for the community. 

The current of the commentary one of celebration after having come out of a challenging year owing to COVID, one which has had an impact on civic finances and set schedules back for ongoing infrastructure projects.

The report also breaks a bit of news, providing updates on some of those infrastructure projects, as well as towards some of the city's past initiatives that had been put on pause for much of 2020.

The Year in Review opens with the commentary from Mayor Lee Brain, which notes of the city's strong economic and social position, approach towards future infrastructure investment and a tribute to the work of Council and staff towards addressing the COVID limitations to reduce expenses that have helped towards continuity of services.

Click on item above and all below to enlarge

City Manager Robert Long also puts the focus on the positive, citing the significant progress that the City has seen  noting of the potential of future revenue streams from Watson Island.

He notes of the challenges of COVID in 2020 and the measures taken by the City as well as to how the City moves forward with cautious optimism  with hopes of emerging from this period as a stronger, more united community.


Four of the sixteen pages are set aside for the City's Checklist of Achievements, with the Report making note of

Civic infrastructure also gains some review, the infographic included in the report charing the city's road paving work, capital purchases, funding for major projects and their work on a new RCMP detachment among the items of note.

Three more pages are allocated towards some of their recent success on objectives including the delivery of the Official Community Plan, plans for curbside recycling, additional recreation options and plans to move forward to deliver on a new Corporate brand for the city, a project that the city deferred for 2020 owing to COVID.

Included in those listings was an update on the pace of construction for the dam replacement and engineering for the water treatment submarine line, confirming that the project has fallen behind, the city citing COVID and severe weather as the reasons.


The future for the Kwinitsa Waterfront is also featured in their ongoing objectives update, with the city noting of their continued work towards relocation for the Airport Ferry to the location, as well as their work with the Gitxaala Nation who have plans for their own dock for the same area.  

The Annual Report also notes of the city's plans for the former CN/VIA Rail station, with plans for commercial development still to be developed.


Those readers with an eye for financial minuteau will enjoy the final half of the report with its charts upon charts listings for a range of items from the Audited Financial Statements. The two which perhaps chart the impact of COVID and the other challenges of 2020 found in the Budget Variance Year End Reports.

Among those notes a glimpse at Wason Island which realized 1.2 million in revenues, but spent 2 million dollars on expenditures. The Airport Ferry noted revenues of just over a half a million dollars with expenditures in 2020 of just over 2 million dollars. Revenues for Recreation Services were down significantly, as was Transit which also still had costs to meet.

Of note from the documents, despite a year with little in the way of itinerant travel allowed in Canadian Waters, the Cow Bay Marina still managed to come close to its budget expectation, while also reducing its expenditures last year.

All items included above are taken from the City
of Prince Rupert Annual Report for 2020

City Council will receive a presentation from City Manager Robert Long at Monday evening's Council session, an opportunity for the city's elected representatives to share their observations on the year that was.

For more notes on the culmination of the City's Budget process see our archive page here.

More items of note on Monday's Council session can be reviewed here.

While our archive of Past Council Discussion themes can be explored here.

Blog Watching: Week ending June 13, 2021

Industrial development captured the attention of man of our readers this past week, with the newest LNG project for the Kitimat area providing some details on their plans.

COVID continues to be a topic of note for the region, with Prince Rupert  finding itself back on the Map of COVID this week, with the latest release of date from the BC CDC indicating that one new case of the coronavirus had been reported in the last week of May, first week of June.

And while the one new case does show that the virus is circulating, the province's vaccination program has delivered some excellent results. With that the BC Restart Plan will soon move into a more visible stage and one of the first signals comes on Tuesday with the reopening of movie theatres, including the Prince Rupert Cinemas.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross had a very busy week through his Legislature duties, but it was a social media message about Canada Day that attracted a large audience.

And a number of Prince Rupert organizations made statements following the discovery of graves at the Kamloops Residential School, among them the Prince Rupert based CityWest, which has joined the chorus to calls for action from all levels of government.

However, the top item of interest for the week comes from City Hall and their look at another change in how they may approach some local area infrastructure in the future.

Cedar LNG Project to host two virtual Open Houses this week -- A new regional industrial project captured the most attention this week, with a larger readership for our notes on an Open House for Cedar LNG which was held this week.  Even before the first of the two Open Houses were on, the Haisla led project announced news of a significant investor to their plans, with Pembina Pipelines signing of for a fifty percent share of the project.     (posted June 7, 2021)

That article was followed by:

One new case of COVID recorded in Prince Rupert from weekly Local Health Data Report -- After a two week run at Zero reports of COVID, Prince Rupert was noted as one of two communities in the Northwest to record a case in the latest data count from the BC CDC.      (posted  June 7, 2021) 

Prince Rupert's Return to Big Screen viewing comes June 15th --  One of the first signs of momentum for the BC Restart Plan comes Tuesday when theatres reopen across the province, that as the province finds much success in both its vaccination program and the reduction of cases of COVID.   (posted June 9, 2021) 

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross takes on the Cancel Canada Day call --  The Skeena MLA outlined his views on a current topic of note on Social Media to cancel Canada Day as a response to the discovery of graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential school. With MLA Ellis Ross noting that Canadians could learn more of each other through Canada Day rather than just cancelling it.  (posted June 9, 2021) 

CityWest joins the many voices calling for action following Kamloops Residential School graves discovery  -- Since the announcement of the discovery of the graves of Kamloops a number of organizations have joined the call to action, with the Northwest Communication company CityWest posting its call in early June. Also speaking to the topic recently have been  the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce and SD52 posted June 9, 2021) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching can be found here.   

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

Saturday, June 12, 2021

District of Port Edward Annual Report notes of year of challenges, prospects for future

The 2020 Annual Report for the District of Port Edward was released on Friday, the annual snapshot one which notes of the challenges that the were faced by residents last year, as well as some of the exciting plans moving forward for the District.

The publication posted to the District website, provides an overview of the District Operations and brings residents up to date on many of the initiatives that have begun, as well as projects that may be ahead for residents.

It also works in concert with release earlier this week of the District's Statement of Financial Information.

The document opens with a message from Mayor Knut Bjorndal, his remarks noting of the work of Council and staff to move the community through unprecedented times.

click to enlarge

As residents make their way through the report, they will learn more of the Strategic priorities that Council has put forward for the community, as well as some notes from CAO Danielle Myles Wilson.

Among their achievements on the year the work on the District Official Community Plan and Zoning bylaw, both of which were adopted this past week.

"Port Edward has continued to be a busy, little town and we have seen an influx of investment for new commercial development as well as residential. To properly plan for these exciting times, staff worked tirelessly over the year to update our Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw—two incredibly important documents that will help chart the future for the community. To compliment these guiding policies, a Neighborhood Concept Plan for the Harbourview commercial area was also initiated as well as environmental studies to support development of District owned lands in that area. Updates to key bylaws including Property Maintenance, Traffic and Emergency Program were also important initiatives to provide additional regulatory tools to that will assist us in meeting our OCP and Strategic Plan goals."

The CAO's update also provides some background to the investment into the community and that by the community into infrastructure and other elements of District life.

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Further into the document, Port Edward residents can dig into some of the highlights from the Finance Department from their last year of duties.

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Reports from Public Work, Maintenance and Operations and the Fire Department also make for items of interest for review.

The District also outlines their efforts towards Emergency Response planning, having recently updated their Emergency Plan

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You can review the full document from the District Website here.

Once residents have had a chance to look it over, they are asked to forward any comments or questions to either the CAO or the Council membership.

To keep up with some of the items of interest from the District of Port Edward be sure to bookmark their Website and Facebook page.

Further notes on developments for the District can be reviewed from our archive page.

Port Edward SOFI report charts District's spending and expenses


It's report season for the municipalities of British Columbia and this week the District of Port Edward published its annual Statement of Financial Information, the document required under provincial law to provide some transparency for residents on how communities use their tax dollars.

The Port Edward document includes the required report of compensation for elected officials and salaries over 75,000 dollars for those on staff. 

On compensation the Port Edward Council accounts for a total of 61,376.16 in salaries and 10,408.16 in expenses. 

Though as seems to be the case for many small communities, there is no explanation as to how the expenses were accumulated.

Only five members of staff make it to the disclosure requirements at total of $507,747 all other staff account for an additional $359,357 in compensation.



When it comes to payments to Suppliers, the Ministry of Education gets the largest share towards operations of the Port Edward School, Road work, engineering consultation, Regional District and Receiver General payments were next on the list as most notable.


The District also includes a Building Permit Summary as part of their SOFI package, providing residents with a look at some of the community improvement taking place.


The full SOFI overview from Port Edward can be explored from the Agenda package from the Tuesday Council session.

At the end of the week, the District released their 2021 Annual Report, providing for a look at the progress for the community from the last year.

For more notes on the District see our archive page here.

 

Port Edward Council session notes of land sale, updated Community Plan and release of SOFI for 2021


This week's District of Port Edward Council session tackled a range of items of note for residents, with the prospect of the development of land  on Wildwood Avenue moving forward after the sale of property approved at their Tuesday session.

The approval of the sale included a two year covenant towards a build on the property. In a report to Council, CAO Danielle Myles Wilson noted that the District would accept an offer of $95,000 for the land in question.

Council also discussed how they would approach the 2021 Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention this September, as was the case last September, there will be no travel required by the elected officials and staff members as the annual event will once again be held virtually.

The District also adopted both their Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw on the night.

Council members approved a motion that will see the District write a letter to the Federal government focused on Reconciliation.

In their correspondence the District will request a stronger focus on Reconciliation with First Nations peoples and immediate implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action.

Tuesday's session also saw the release of the Statement of Financial Information, an annual requirement of municipal government, the document outlines the required salary disclosures for public officials. 

Also included in the release of information is the list of funds paid out to Suppliers of Goods and Services for the District.

All of the Reports from the Tuesday session can be reviewed here.

On Friday the District released its Annual Report, the document providing the snapshot of the community from the last year.

For more notes on the District of Port Edward see our archive page here.


MLA's Week: June 7-10, 2021



Work towards Reconciliation and notes on the Salmon Fishery were among some of the themes this week for MLA's at the BC Legislature. 

The days for further discussion dwindling now,  as the members head towards the final day of sitting next week prior to what will be a three month departure from the conversation of the Chamber.

One item that may come up for discussion in that final week, could be the latest salvo from American politicians over the transit of Alaska cruise ships, with a Senator from Utah calling for American legislators to make the recently adopted temporary measure of bypassing Canadian ports a permanent decision.


As for more on the recent week of work from the House, the four days unfolded as follows:

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On the week, Ms Rice was  not mentioned in the record for the week in the Legislature from June 7-10

While she did not take part in the conversation of the Legislature on the week, the MLA kept constituents up to date on Provincial Government announcements and other notes through her Social media stream.

Included in her current of social media mentions was an announcement from Friday of more funding for transportation across Northern BC, including an extension of funds for the BC Bus North.

Transportation access across the northwest has been a frequent topic for the MLA and we outlined some of the history of that contribution to the debate as part of our notes on the announcement.




The North Coast MLA is also a member of the Following committees:




Ms. Rice serves as the Government's Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness

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For our readers from the Terrace-Kitimat region, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross  was  mentioned twice in the record for the week in the Legislature from May 31-June 3

Among his contributions to the Legislature discussion on the week were comments and observations on the provincial approach to Electoral Boundary change and how it will work under UNDRIP



The Skeena MLA also spoke to issues and approaches towards Reconciliation as part of this week in the legislature.


Mr. Ross also offered up a challenge to some of the #CancelCanadaDay themes currently found on Social Media.


With a focus on the Pacific salmon making news in the province this week, the Skeena MLA provided some of his thoughts towards support for the iconic British Columbia symbol and resource


This week also saw the BC Liberal party publish the findings of its post mortem on the 2020 Election campaign, with Prince Rupert's Don Silversides, the Acting Party President noting of how it will inform the membership as they look to select a new leader in February of 2022.




Mr. Ross is currently the BC Liberal's Opposition Critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

The Skeena MLA is also contesting for the leadership of the BC Liberal Party

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For our readers from the Bulkley Valley area, Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen  was not mentioned in the record for the week in the Legislature from June 7-10

While there was no appearance in the Legislature on the week for Mr. Cullen, the Stikine MLA was part of the roll out of the announcement of a new engagement between the Government of British Columbia and the Tahltan Nation.


Mr. Cullen did gain some notice in the BC Liberal report on the 2020 election, his mention related to the start of the campaign and some controversy at the time related to his nomination and how the Liberals failed to make more of an issue of it during the election campaign.


Mr. Cullen serves as the Government's Minister of State for Lands and Natural Resource Operations 

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There is more background on all three Regional MLA's available from our MLA's Week Archive, as well as our constituency archives below:


MLA's will return to the Legislature on Monday morning at 10AM  

MLA's also participate in a number of Committee sessions scheduled through the week.

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




Funding from ReStart program to be put towards transportation across Northern BC

More certainty for Northern BC transportation operations 
was announced on Friday. Above the BC North Bus
pulling away from its Prince Rupert stop at the Highliner Inn

7.9 million dollars in funding from the Federal and Provincial Government will be put to use over the next four years to help provide for some stability in operations for public transport in under-served rural communities across Northern British Columbia.

And announcement on Friday from the BC Government outlined how Northern Development Initiative Trust will administer the funds, with engagement to take place with Indigenous communities, regional districts, local governments and other stakeholders to develop and implement a grant program to address the range of transportation shortfalls across the North.

“Northern B.C. is a vast region with many unique communities, several of which are isolated. Safe, consistent and affordable transportation is a necessity for many residents of the North, especially now as the province is reopening and travel will increase. We applaud the Province of B.C. and its recognition of the importance of northern transit service, now and into the future.” -- Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. 

The funding will enable existing bus services such as BC North Bus and a regional collection of community to community bus options to be sustained and enhanced. 

As part of the provincial share of the funding, NDIT will analyze  the existing services with its partners and stakeholders in order to establish a criteria for the grant program.


The BC North Bus and the BC Transit Community shuttles, along with some local and First Nation organization options were put in place in 2017 to address the reduced service in the region from then nation carrier Greyhound.   

In subsequent years that service has expanded following the  shut down of Greyhound service across much of the province in 2018.

The BC Transit Community shuttles operate in Northwest communities from Terrace to points east. 

At the time of the Shuttle program introduction in 2017, the City of Prince Rupert had opted not to participate in that program, a position which they maintain in 2021.

A service operated by the Friendship House has offered twice a week service to Terrace since 2018.

More background on Friday's announcement can be explored here.

Further items of note on Transportation across the northwest can be reviewed from our archive page.