Thursday, March 31, 2022

Prince Rupert's Friendship House gains funding for Shuttle Bus program

The Friendship House EVAW Van, the Prince Rupert organization
has just been awarded new funding for the program for 2022
(photo from Prince Rupert Friendship House website)

The Shuttle Bus program operated by Friendship House on the North Coast has secured 200,000 dollars in funding today, with the local transportation initiative one of 18 groups or communities to gain financial help from the province through the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

In total, the Province has allocated 2.8 million dollars towards the program which North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice notes provides for reliable transportation for many communities.

“This funding will ensure people in rural and remote communities in B.C.’s North continue to have access to affordable public transportation. The long distances between small, isolated communities in the North underscore importance of maintaining safe, reliable bus services in this part of the province.” -- ” Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast, on behalf of Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The grants were awarded earlier this month by NDIT as part of the Federal/Provincial Safe Restart Funding program, the Northern Community Shuttle program will will replace the existing community transportation grant program effective Friday, April 1, 2022. 

“The Northern Community Shuttle Program builds upon the success of the previous Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan and connects even more communities and people together. The introduction of new, on-demand and scheduled services will benefit numerous communities, including reaching Dease Lake in the northwest and offering multiple stops along Highway 20 between Williams Lake and Anahim Lake.” -- Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

The Province has funded community buses since 2017 as part of the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan. In 2018, after Greyhound discontinued service in the region, the Province also launched the long-haul intercity BC Bus North service.

The shuttle buses, along with Regional Transit co-operation from Terrace through to the Lakes District helps to fill in some of the transportation gaps that exist in the northwest.

The Friendship House Service operates every Tuesday and Thursday, it leaves the Friendship House on Fraser Street at 10 AM and makes the return trip to Prince Rupert from Terrace at 2:30 PM. Passengers are advised to arrive 15 minutes prior to departure. 

The Fare is five dollars one way, ten dollars for the round trip.

Further background on the Shuttle service can be reviewed here.

More on today's announcement and the full list of those communities which have received funding can be reviewed here.

What the NDIT northern Passenger Transportation program is all about can be examined here.

Further items related to the Highway 16 corridor can be reviewed here.

Notes on the provincial scene are available through our Legislature archive.

Three Northwest Basketballers ready for the Big Stage of Canadian University Championships this weekend

For those looking for a warm up for next week's All Native Basketball Tournament, a chance to catch up with three familiar names of Northwest basketball of the past is coming up this weekend  

With two players from the Northwest on the UVic Vikings and one from Haida Gwaii with the Brock Badgers.

For the Vikes Prince Rupert's Justin McChesney and Smither's Trent Monkman are part of a U Vic team looking to claim national honours this week as the final eight takes to the court Friday through Sunday in Edmonton.

Joining them in the quest for a championship is Haida Gwaii's Jesse Barnes with the Brock Badgers who open the tourney tomorrow at Noon BC time, against the University of Saskatchewan.

The Badgers arrive for the tournament as the Number One seed, that following their championship run in the OUA this year. U Sports previews their tournament path as follows:

The Brock Badgers, who won the OUA Wilson Cup with a 95-75 win over Queen’s on Saturday, will be the top seed going into this week’s U SPORTS Men’s Final 8. This is the Badgers’ second time as the No. 1 seed, with the last time coming in 1992, when they went on to win their first national championship.

The Vikes, despite being named the Number 2 seed for the tournament don't have an easy route towards a shot at the Sunday final. 

Having claimied a Regional championship in CanadaWest, their return to the Finals marks the first championship tournament since 2014-15.

Normally success at the regional level provides for a bit of momentum, however the fates have offered the Vikes a twist with the Victoria squad now making ready for a date with the defending Champs the Carleton Ravens from Ottawa, a game anticipated for Friday for the drama it may bring.

The Ravens stumbled down the homestretch of their Ontario conference and ended up in the tournament by way of a wildcard berth and a spot they haven't seen this century, something that no doubt will motivate them to showcase their defending champion  form and make for a significant challenge for the Vikes to move forward .

The U Sports preview notes of their journey to the Final 8

The Carleton Ravens, who spent the season ranked Number 1 and were undefeated in the regular season, were a logical choice to take the wildcard bid given by the tournament seeding committee, which is made up of U SPORTS coaches. 

The Ravens missed out on an automatic berth when they were upset by Queen’s last Wednesday. That loss, combined with the U SPORTS regulation that requires the tournament committee to respect conference playoff results, consigned the Ravens to the bottom half of the draw for the first time this century.

The Ravens and Vikings take to the court at 7 PM on Friday evening, the game streamed live through the U Sports portal and on CBC's Gem TV

You can review the stats package for the two Northwestern members of the Vikes below:

A review of the Vikes season can be found here.

For Prince Rupert's McChesney family, Justin gains the bragging rights for 2022, with the Vikes heading into Day one of  the final Eight, he's been able to extend his basketball season this year. 

Brother Liam is playing NCAA ball at Illinois State, however the Redbirds season came to an end earlier this month, without a placement this year in the March Madness showcase for 2022.

Notes on the U Sports Finals can be followed here.  

Further items of interest on Northwestern athletes can be reviewed here.

Just in time for Tax Season, City Hall seeks to fill Collector position

If you like to count the cash, particularly cash from taxpayers, Prince Rupert City Hall has the Job for you! 

That with a new posting to the City's Help Wanted listings seeking the services of a Permanent Collector for the Finance team.

The synopsis of the job posting provides the scope of the job and what's expected of applicants:

This key position is responsible for all property tax, utilities and accounts receivable and requires a sound understanding of their processes, procedures, internal controls, along with accounting principles.

The position entails a large amount of customer service, responding to emails and phone calls from our residents regarding their property tax and utility accounts and bills, and making adjustments to accounts if necessary. 

The Collector receives direction from their supervisor, who reviews performance regularly to ensure accuracy and conformance with established procedures. This position and department require a high level of confidentiality at all times.

As part of the application process, an interview with skill assessment will be required, as is adherence to the city's COVID 19 policies on vaccination.

You can review the full package related to the post here.

The Collector position has a probationary salary of $34.14, it increases to $36.71 following that period.

Applications with cover letter and resumes are to be forwarded to Tristan Higginson, Assistant Finance Minster at City Hall, the deadline to apply for the post is April 8th

A look at some of the past civic employment opportunities can be explored here.

Former CBC host shares the story of Charles M Hays and Prince Rupert with Newfoundland readers

A former broadcaster in Prince Rupert, Russel Bowers
hasn't forgotten his time on the North Coast with a story
for a Newfoundland publication this week

A familiar name for Prince Rupert radio listeners has shared a familiar story for the North Coast with a news service audience in Newfoundland where he provides freelance contributions.

Russel Bowers was part of many daily routines for CBC listeners in Prince Rupert from 2003 to 2009, he stepped aside after a long run as the host of Daybreak Alberta and is now based in Newfoundland following a CBC career of 27 years. 

And this week, as part of his freelance writing, he has recounted the story of Charles M Hays, his fateful date with history on the Titanic and the impact of that on Prince Rupert and how it has served as somewhat of our narrative ever since.

His story weaves what are some clear remembrances of his time on the North Coast with the historical themes of the Hays story, along with the a nod to the perseverance of the community to gain its place among the global shipping communities.

You can review the piece published in the Newfoundland Herald here.

Upon his retirement from the CBC, he recounted many of his travels for the national broadcaster and clearly has fond memories of Prince Rupert, with a remembrance of the community included in his farewell of 2021.

To catch up on his work from the other side of the country his portfolio can be explored here.

More notes on media from the North Coast both current and past can be found here.

Public Hearing complete, council sends Portage Avenue land rezoning to Ministry for review and approval

Prince Rupert City Council gave the green light Monday for a zoning
change for this property on Portage Avenue 

Members of Prince Rupert City Council hosted a Public Hearing on Monday related to a rezoning request for a property on Portage Avenue, the 6 PM session one which apparently provided for some feedback from the community. 

Though to what extent that commentary may have been provided to the Council membership  is not part of the record as of yet, with no video provided to the City's Video Archive for review of the hearing to provide for more clarity on what engagement was provided as part of the Public Hearing process.

The Subject property from Monday's Public Hearing
(from City of PR agenda package)

From what we learned  from their Regular session discussion, as the Council members reviewed the request to provide third reading for the bylaw to allow for a change in property designation from Residential to Light Industrial use for a property on Portage Avenue, they often made reference to the Public hearing from previous in the evening.  

As for the comment provided to Council as part of the hearing, Councillor Adey noted of the feedback given to Council from two perspectives of the request.

"Just to acknowledge that we did get some public feedback in both directions, during the public hearing stage and I acknowledge the points of view expressed there. 

I guess from my point of view though, I see this zoning bringing that particular portion of that block into alignment with the rest of that block. 

I'm not sure that I can see any additional adverse effects from it, it seems to make sense to me so I'm in support of it"

If further discussion  Councillor Cunningham also noted of the comments from the Public Hearing and offered his support to the rezoning, noting how he wasn't too concerned over any potential noise issues.

"I'm in support of it for several reasons, one we've got lots of residential property right now that's coming up for sale and for development, but we have little or none M1.

You know, as far as a comment earlier about high school kids walking by an M1, they're walking by it already.

I think this particular piece of property has been well kept over the years and everything and the fact that we were told that no one ever enquired about it as residential property just as M1 light industrial speaks for itself.

Im not too worried about noise coming from it, I think we've got pretty good noise bylaw and that and that would be taken care of.

As far as irresponsibility, you know we can look at development permits down the road and change anything we want that way, if something wants to go in there that we don't think will  fit the neighbourhood .

But yeah I'm 100 percent in favour of this"

Councillor Randhawa also concurred that there would be no negative impact on the neighbourhood.

Councillor Niesh observed on the original planning of the area and how Council's in the past had addressed the nature of what is in the area at the moment.

" I mean, I'll go really far back and think that you know the original planning on this area was probably a terrible idea, putting a Light Industrial area in you know more of a residential zone. 

But that being said, you know we can't change the decisions of the past, that basically put churches, and a hotel and light industry all in one area. 

And you know we've had to deal with it, such as the Neptune where we you know kept the zoning to allow it to be a motel still and here this is a similar situation, where you have industrial buildings already built on the property and to me, that's, you know it's more fitting, it's already there, I don't see residential going there."

In his commentary, Mr Niesh seemingly replies to concerns from property developer Kevin Stunder from the Public Hearing of plans for a proposed residential area nearby on Drake Crescent.

"I do feel that you know that the property that was spoken about earlier, Mr. Stunder spoke to his property and I feel that there is a buffer there of trees already and I don't feel that it's heavy industry, which is going to be impactful for noise and  you know I've never heard any complaints of you know noise coming from a light industrial area that has been very impactful to residents in  the area. 

So I am in support of rezoning this "

Councillor Skelton Morven echoed many of the same themes and noted it would now be put on the tax rolls as it shifts from its previous use to an industrial rate.

Councillor Mirau also noting of some discussion from the Public Hearing, spoke to the process and confirmed with Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller that all elements had been completed appropriately. 

"The one point I would like to raise just on process, because there was in the letter from Mr. Stunder a couple of references to process. One of which was maybe a miscommunication, or a difference from M2 Zoning versus M1 and then a second piece around just the zoning bylaw amendment versus a zoning and  an OCP amendment. 

So I just want to clarify with our corporate administrator, that in terms of process, I feel like according to all of my notes both were done appropriately?

Ms. Miller did confirm that the process was done correctly, but noted that there would be a requirement of two separate motions for the OCP and Zoning bylaw.

Council then approved the request with the process to now move forward to the Ministry of Transportation for review and approval.

Some background on the Rezoning request is available from our notes of last Friday, including a link to the Council Agenda report for the session.

The Regular Council portion of their review of the request is available from the City's video archive, staring at the 43 minute mark. 

A wider overview of the Monday Council session can be explored through our Council Timeline Feature.

More notes on planning themes is available here.

Terrace Social Issues, Crime among themes for Terrace delegation and MLA Ellis Ross at Legislature

Mayor Carol Leclerc led a delegation from
Terrace to Victoria to raise community
concerns on crime and social issues
(from MLA Ross FB page)
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross provided some formal introductions for a delegation from Terrace on Wednesday in the BC Legislature, speaking at the start of the Wednesday session to introduce Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc and Councillor Sean Bujtas to the Assembly.

The MLA making note of their time in the provincial capital to seek the help of the Provincial Government on a pair of issues of concern for the Northwest's largest community.

The municipal delegation has been in Victoria this week to speak to the concerns   and seek the assistance of the NDP government towards social issues and an increasingly worrisome crime situation in the Skeena Valley City.

Those two topics made for a Legislature presentation from the MLA Ross later in the afternoon on Wednesday as he outlined the concerns of his constituents for Attorney General David Eby.

"Talking about the law being enforced, it's quite timely, quite relevant, because the people of Terrace are worried — so much so that the mayor and council have flown down here to be with us today to meet with government over the level of violence in town that's not only affecting Terrace but the constituents of Skeena, because Terrace is a hub of our region. 

Council has also dropped their resolution that reads: "In Terrace, as well as other communities across the province, individuals are often arrested for crimes like theft and property damage, but the Crown does not lay charges, citing it is not in the public interest to prosecute. Offenders of these crimes repeat their actions, and businesses, workers and the public are victimized as a result."

The council, the Terrace community, the residents of Skeena, the residents of B.C., everyone wants to know why it's not in the public interest to charge these repeat offenders. 

So, the question is simple. To the minister, why not?"

Towards a reply, Attorney General Eby, noted that he had asked Regional Crown Counsel For Stevens to meet with the mayor to review the statitsics and offer reassurance  to the community. He also outlined some of the statistics from the Terrace Crown Counsel office when it comes to situation  in the region.

"I'm happy to read into the record some of this. But suffice it to say that the vast majority of charge assessments are completed within 30 days. On reports to Crown counsel received by Crown counsel over the last two years, 1,716 were received from police; 1,257 were approved to court. 

Only 339 of those were no-charge decisions. The rest were either alternative measures, returned to police for more investigation or are currently in progress."

The reply was not one that eased the concerns for the Skeena MLA who observed how the problem seems to be one of a provincial government that doesn't see a problem.

"That answer that was just given by the Attorney General doesn't give any comfort to the people in Terrace or in our communities across B.C. who are facing this violence, every day, who are being attacked. 

I have a letter from the chief councillor at Kitsumkalum saying that he is concerned about his community becoming a lawless land and that it's unsafe to go downtown at night, especially for women. 

The Terrace Downtown Improvement Area Society is also concerned. "Why are there no consequences of substance for people who attack businesses? The answer is that the Crown counsel will not support the RCMP with charges." 

Our communities are doing their part to assist those who are struggling with mental health, addiction and homelessness. But my constituents, and dare I say the people of British Columbia, need to know that the government is going to do their part too."

The Attorney General responded by way of noting that some of the issues could be related to Federal crimes and Supreme Court Decisions of the past, as well he observed as to the need to address homelessness in the community which he admitted still required some work.

I'm not saying there's not an issue, potentially, with violence in the streets of Terrace. I'm not saying that at all. 

What I'm saying that when those charges…. When those investigations are completed by police, they're brought to Crown counsel, they're being approved, and they're going to court. There may be issues with the criminal law being applied by the court. 

As I say, that's federal jurisdiction. That's an important issue. Let's talk about that with the federal government. But to blame Crown counsel for the state of the federal law and Supreme Court of Canada decisions — that's a different story. 

We're also working on mental health and addiction issues that are often conflated with these problems. With our complex care housing, with supportive housing, in fact, I'm happy to say we've actually reduced the number of people who are street homeless in Terrace. 

The last count was 96; the current count was 74. So we're seeing progress on these kinds of issues in the community. We've got more work to do. I'm happy to work with the member and the mayor on that.

You can review the back and forth of the debate in the Legislature from the Hansard minutes here starting at 3:25 PM

The House video of the exchange can be reviewed as well from the MLAs social media feed.

More notes from the Legislature can be reviewed from our archive page here.

A wider overview of the concerns from Terrace can be explored through our Terrace archive page here.

With All Native Basketball Tournament just days away, access to Civic Centre facility will be limited for preparations

It's almost game time for players and visitors to Prince Rupert's All Native Basketball Tournament, as as the Sunday opening Ceremonies draw closer, access to some of the Civic Centre facilities will begin to be limited to those not part of the annual event.

In an update through their Social Media Stream the City of Prince Rupert has outlined the scope of that access to the facility and the impact of on some of the civic centre programming for the week of the tournament which comes to a conclusion on April 9th.

Towards the preparation for the tournament, the ANBT Committee has put out the call for those willing to help out with a range of positions required for this years event.

Also of note for the week of basketball will be some parking restrictions along the main thoroughfare of McBride Street, with Transit an option to consider for those making plans to take in some of the action of Tournament week.

Follow the City's Facebook feed for other items of note related to the tournament and local community services.

For updates on the Tournament itself follow the ANBT Social media feed.

More notes on Tournament time can be explored through our Archive page.

COVID count declines across Northwest BC, Prince Rupert listing just 3 cases over last week

Data from BC CDC indicates COVID declines for most
NW communities this week

Declines in COVID cases marked much of the map for the Northwest this past week with only Terrace and Nechako holding in the double digits.

This week's data  for the period of March 20-26 indicated that most communities in the Northwest had continued to see lower case counts from previous levels.

The results for Prince Rupert provided for a drop of 8 cases from the week prior.

A number of communities reported no cases or had no data to share.

The northwest count is significantly lower than that of Northern British Columbia's largest community, with Prince George recording a case count of 71 in the period.

The full review across the region for the week of March 20-26  from the BC CDC looks as follows:

Terrace -- 13 cases
Nechako -- 12 cases
Smithers -- cases
Kitimat --  6 cases
Prince Rupert -- 3 cases
Snow Country-Stikine-Telegraph Creek --  2 cases
Haida Gwaii --  2 cases
Central Coast --  1 case
Nisga'a Region --  1 case
Burns Lake --  0 cases
Upper Skeena --  0 cases
Bella Coola Valley --  0 cases

Wednesday's provincial report lists  19 new cases of COVID for the Northern Health region, that makes for a decline of 24 cases from a week ago.

For the Northern Health Region in total as of Wednesday, 23 patients are listed as in hospital which is an increase of 2 from last week,  with  3 noted as in Critical Care, which is a decrease of five from a week ago.

The  breakdown of hospitalizations by community in the Northern Health region is not included in the data release information.

COVID review for March 30
Northern Health Region

COVID review for March 30
BC Wide results

The full report from the Province for Wednesday can be reviewed here 

The larger BC CDC Data release is available here.

The BC CDC is hosting a survey on your thoughts towards the changing COVID guidelines, today is the last for participation in the engagement.

Past information statements on COVID and other notes on the Northwest response can be reviewed from our archive page


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

City of Prince Rupert sets the date for Grand Opening of Seal Cove Salt Marsh

Prince Rupert residents and any visitors to the community in late April are being asked to put aside a few hours on April 23rd to join in on the celebration of the Grand Opening for the Seal Cove Salt Marsh.  

The project which was a joint initiative of the Prince Rupert Port Authority and the City of Prince Rupert will make for the newest recreation space for the region,  located on the east side of Prince Rupert.

The site itself has been open to the public for a while now with many residents taking to the trail that loops the marsh and serves as a new centrepiece for the Seal Cove area.

The invites went out by Social Media today, with the City noting of the family-friendly fun event that will put a focus on environmental sustainability.

The event will run from Noon to 3PM on April 23.

Among some of the activities planned for next month include:

On-site yoga (weather permitting)
Interpretive information on local wildlife
Guided tours of the Salt Marsh
Crafting with Upcycled Materials
Pick up a seedling to plant at home

As part of the day, residents/visitors are also being asked to bring your ‘non recyclable’ items including - Hasbro toys, cigarettes, vape pens (cartridges/pods), Brita filters, baby food squeeze packs, nespresso pods, toothbrushes, and coffee bags - 

As part of the event, Transition Prince Rupert will be collecting them.

A reminder for those that may attend, parking is limited at the Curling Club and Seal Cove Road parking area, so Transit is a recommended option, or a walk along the Rushbrook Trail to the site.

Vancouver Canucks to celebrate First Nations at NHL game tonight

The Vancouver Canucks will don special warm up jersey's 
tonight as part of First Nations Night celebrations at Rogers Arena

The TV audience from the Northwest for tonight's Canucks/Blues game, as the Vancouver club puts the emphasis on all things Indigenous this evening; hosting First Nations Night at Rogers Arena, an evening that should be well received across British Columbia among some of their most passionate fans.

The evening, which marks the fourth annual First Nations Night will feature a mix of cultural and musical themes, along with a number of special guests, some of theme familiar for fans of Canuck's teams of the past. 

Prior to the game withe the St. Louis Blues, the Canucks  will take to the pregame warmup in a special jersey created for the evening. 

The warm up jersey was designed by Musqueam artist Chase Gray, a Musqueam and Tsimshian artist. 

The logo was inspired by traditional Coast Salish art and incorporates Musqueam colours: tumuth, sunset yellow, and black. 

Included as part of the jersey will be a shoulder patch to put the spotlight on the victims and survivors of Residential Schools through the words Every Child Matters.

You can learn more about the artist and his work here. 

Among some of the pre-game celebrations on the evening include:

A special pre-game ceremony including a ceremonial puck drop with special guests from the Orange Shirt Society, Tk'emlúps te Secwépem (Kamloops Indian Band), and Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh Nations, plus Canucks alumni Gino Odjick and Ron Delorme 

Performances from Indigenous artists including headliners The Halluci Nation (previously known as A Tribe Called Red), Michelle Heyoka, Coastal Wolf Pack, DJ Kookum, Faith Sparrow-Crawford (Musqueam) and Teshawna Sihata (Spuzzum)

Game Time is 7 PM and the Canucks/Blues contest will be broadcast on Sportsnet Pacific

More on tonights celebration can be reviewed here.

Follow the Canucks social media options for more notes on this evenings' special event planning.




Council members, Public gain additional overview of city's Public Works Department's plans for MacCarthy GM facility

Mayor Lee Brain an Operations Director Richard Pucci outside
what will soon be the city's new Public Works facility 
(photo from City of PR)

How the decision was reached to take on a lease, with potential purchase for the MacCarthy GM structure on Portage Road made for some review on Monday evening  

With Councillor Cunningham making note of what he called a little buzz around town about it and seemingly some interruption to his community shopping experiences.

Towards the city's plan for its public works department, he  called on the Operations Director Richard Pucci to take Council through the elements considered for the lease announced earlier this month.

As we outlined on March 16th, the plan to make use of the city's Legacy Inc financial mechanism was included as part of the March 13th Budget presentation, an announcement followed by more civic information towards the plan on March 24th.

At the tail end of Monday's Council session, Mr Pucci provided a thumbnail sketch of the conditions for the Wantage Road facility and how the opportunity that the currently vacant MacCarthy building offered to the city was one they wanted to jump on.

"So we've ... a couple of years back, we realized that our public works facility was in some pretty big dire straits, we looked at a new building and you know at the time it was in the order of five plus million dollars, plus we needed to find land in order to build it.

And the timelines associated with building it, this opportunity came forward so we spoke to the owners and so we thought it would be a good opportunity for us to jump on. 

There was a significant renovation in the last few years and the square footage would allow us for our whole complement to be all in one place and also have the yard as we call it,  for larger fleet vehicles and excavators and material storage associated with Public Works, but still have the complement of employees at this site."

Mr. Pucci also spoke towards the current costing of 750,000 dollars and the significant upgrades required as part of a larger budget item directed to the facility.

"At this point right now we are leasing it for five years, we do have the exclusive option to purchase at the end of that five years if we see fit. We are looking at doing some significant upgrades, the number that is in the budget is 750,000 dollars.

We put that as a larger budget item, though we don't think it will be that much, but we've seen with COVID some significant creep associated with costs and numbers, so we anticipate that may happen. 

So we put a larger budget, if we don't need the money, we will definitely not be using the money"
When it comes to charting the path ahead should the city wish to purchase the building, the Operations Director provided a snapshot as to how they may proceed five years down the road.

"Associated with the purchase after, there will be appraisals completed at that time and an active negotiation talking about the money that we've put in, versus the cost and that. 

So that will be a negotiation that happens at the time of purchase if we choose to move that way with it at that time"

You can review the Operations Directors commentary from the City's Video Archive starting at the fifty three minute mark.

More notes on Monday's Council Session can be explored through our Council Timeline Feature.

A look at the past items of interest from the Operations Department is available here.

A review of past Council Discussion themes can be reviewed from our Council Discussion archive.

Council cites community feedback in decision to reject variance development request for home proposed for Atlin Avenue

A visual concept for a home proposed for the Atlin area, the variance
request to accommodate the build, was rejected Monday by City Council
(From City of PR Agenda package for March 28)

With surrounding residents in strong opposition, the tide shifted for the proponents of a large home proposed for the Atlin Avenue area, with the project now sidelined after the city's planning department amended their view of the proposed development to recommend rejection by Council.

Monday night Council reviewed a report (full document available as part of the City's Agenda Package) from the City's planning department that provided some background to the proposed home for the area

click to enlarge

It was the second look for council at the proposed housing plans, the first coming two weeks ago as part of their March 14th  session which sent the process forward to public notification. 

However once to that process, the main push towards rejection for the required variance came from what was a large response from those in the surrounding neighbourhood, who by the time the issue came back to council had submitted four letters in opposition and a petition signed by 12 area residents speaking against the house build as proposed.

"Therefore given these identifying negative impacts we are amending our recommendation to not supporting the variance"-- Myfannwy Pope, on the city planning staff recommendation for a property on Atlin

Councillor Nick Adey was the first to comment, he applauded the public notification process that delivered the input from the community and noted of the role it played in the decision making in this instance.

."A tip of the hat to the public notification process and why it matters, we often find ourselves kind of scrolling through these things and there's a sort of a routine around it. 

And I'm never one to particularly opposed sending something as far as a public notification. 

But I think t's important to recognize that, that part of the process can make a difference, as based on your changing the recommendation, this one clearly has"

Councillor Niesh also spoke to the issue, noting of the slippery slope that the variance request had presented to the City

"As I had stated at the last meeting, it's a slippery slope to go down when you start accepting height variances of this sort of nature ... this particular one if you look at it ... it's so high and it's already above street grade and you start putting almost a forty foot tall building above street grade, it becomes very impactful for a lot of people. 

I definitely think in the future ... I really disagree with these completely, I mean, I just think that it can really affect a lot of people by doing this ... 

I don't like to see things that are just such monsters in neighbourhoods that are so impactful to everyone around them and so not fitting to the neighbourhood that you know we just really have to watch that in the future.

And I'm really glad to see that people in the neighbourhood really spoke up to say what they wanted to say and I'm glad to see that the planning department has changed their recommendation "

Councillor Randhawa also noted that there should be no impact on the quality of life of those in the area.

Council then voted to reject the Variance request for the property on Atlin.

The approach that Council took on the Atlin property variance request will more than likely catch the ey of those on Edwards Avenue over on the city's east side, they had their own concerns towards a large scale housing proposal from last year

However that was one consultation with the public that did not deliver the same result for them, as was provided for the Atlin area residents on Monday.

Council's review of the file can be viewed fro the City's Video Archive, starting at the 34 minute mark.

Further notes on Monday's Council session can be reviewed from our Council Timeline.

Past items on housing themes can be explored here.

Council members show enthusiasm for new look for signage for Tourism in Prince Rupert

Ceilidh Marlow, the Executive Director at Tourism Prince Rupert provided
for the public debut for new information signage for the community

The City's council members found much to like from a presentation by Tourism Prince Rupert, with those in attendance at the Monday session  providing a fair bit of praise, along with a few suggestions towards the bold new look that is envisioned by the local tourism society.

The way forward for Wayfinding and community singage began with a presentation from Ceilidh Marlow, the Executive Director for Tourism Prince Rupert, who outlined the project in a fifteen minute slideshow review.

Ms. Marlow took the council members and through an extensive overview of Tourism Prince Rupert's plans for new signage for the community.

To open her presentation  she provided a short introduction to the Organization and its work in the community and explained how the new signage program has been funed and what the organization hopes to realize with its program to replace outdated signage and to take advantage of the work of some of the local artistic talent in the community.

She observed how the new wayfinding and marketing plan will embrace the Rupert 2030 vision program. 

Samples of the concept signs for entrance ways to Prince Rupert

Towards the new elements, will be two new Welcome to Prince Rupert signs at either approach to the community on Highway 16 and the BC Ferries terminal.

They will feature a bold new look with a significant contribution from artist Russel Mather, the new signs will also include a Welcome in the Sm'álgyax language. 

Ms. Marlow provided 4 concepts up for consideration using the same theme but in different presentations.

The wayfinding signs will be placed in specific areas around the community to help tourists find areas of the community and its districts as identified in the 2030 Vision program. Four different artists have been assigned one of the districts to create the new visual look. 

Those artists include Chris Fraser, Roddy Tasaka, Lucy Trimble, and Kristen McKay. 

Wayfinding signs for four of the city's districts

All of the concepts are now available for comments and observations through the Tourism Prince Rupert website, with the period for commentary to come to an end on April 18th

The process will move forward to fabrication into August and installation across the city by the end of the year.

Council members followed up on her presentation with a few comments, Councillor Randhawa asked about the comment process and how the public can participate, along with a suggestion to have feedback forms available at the Library for residents who may not have internet access.

Councillor Adey expressed his enthusiasm for the project and noted of the Indigenous elements to be included, he asked if there would be any other outreach programs towards the initiative.

"It's pretty exciting to see a lot of this stuff assume some continuity which I think is important, I'm really happy to see the Indigenous element on the welcoming sign and so on as well"

The Tourism Prince Rupert official noted of their plans to shared word with the media and make use of their social media network of options and email list to get the word out about the initiative.

Councillor Cunningham observed of some areas that had not been included.

"I just noticed on your signage in town, there's a lack of it going down towards Seal Cove with the new walking park and everything and I think that might be something that people would like to ... especially the seaplanes and stuff like that down there,  it's sort of an attraction  and I notice that they just sort of stop"

Ms. Marlow noted that the funding was limited to the areas outlined on the night, with Seal Cove an area to be addressed as the program moves forward in phases.

"This project we only have funding really to do the downtown and Cow Bay Area, but one of the other outputs of this project is we are hopeful, are hoping to do a larger community wide strategy with future phases ... as we can raise more funds over the years we can do other areas of the community and Seal Cove I think would be on the list for sure"

In response to a follow up suggestion from Councillor Cunningham on walking trails in the city. 

The Tourism Prince Rupert Executive also highlighted some of the new materials and brochures that will be made available through the Visitors Centre, one of which includes material and a map related to the trail network in the community, along with some material on local dining, as well as a self walking tour of the community.

Councillor Skelton-Morven offered his enthusiasm for the branding concepts, offering his thoughts on what he might like to see for the Welcome Signs.

Councillor Niesh also offered some input into what the new Welcome signs might look like.

"I've always found that our sign currently coming into town is very, very basic and it doesn't you know really highlight much and when you go to a lot other communities and you look at their signs, you know there's lots to look at and I feel that this is our opportunity ... this is the time do it"

Councillor Mirau noted that they had captured what the city was looking for in the 2030 vision and asked that Tourism Prince Rupert share their feedback with the city at the end of their consultation.

"From my perspective, you've captured exactly what we've been hoping to see. The alignment with Vision 2030, the integration with Will Creative and Russell Mather. 

I don't really want interject too many of my comments, cause most people know where I stand on the potency of the Rainbow symbolism and metaphor and everything else. 

So I am really keen, if you wouldn't mind sharing the results from your public engagement back with Council so we can get a sense of you know of the flavour of public opinion on these concepts that you've presented.

They're all definitely in alignment with where we're headed" -- Councillor Mirau with his thoughts on the new singage project for Tourism Prince Rupert.

More on the Tourism Prince Rupert program can be reviewed from our item from Tuesday.

Ms. Marlow's Presentation to Council can be viewed through the City's Video Archive, starting at the eight minute mark. 

More notes on the Monday Council session can be explored through our Council Timeline Feature.

A wider overview of past Council discussions is available here.

For a review of Tourism themes in the community see our archive page here.