Thursday, June 30, 2022

Summer travels across Skeena-Bulkley Valley ahead for MP Taylor Bachrach

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach's Summer tour
got a head start earlier this month at Seafest, the MP has
a growing list of events and communities to visit through
the next few months
(image from MP Bachrach's FB page)

With the House of Commons having headed off on its summer break, the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley has been putting together a touring itinerary for his summer plans, with a growing list of stops to hear from constituents from Haida Gwaii to the Bulkley Valley and points North and South.

Some of the stops on his map have already taken place, but the list of festivals and events he hopes to take in makes like a British Columbia Tourism Road Map.

As most MP's through the decades have done, the Canada Day event in Kitimat makes for his Go To event, the popular parade and surrounding events the one that offers many a photo opportunity not to mention the newsletter collage for the fall mailing.

In his Social Media page message on the travel itinerary, the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP reminds those across the constituency that if you'd like to schedule an in-person meeting with me when I'm in your community, please don't hesitate to drop me an email at

More notes on the work and travels of Mr. Bachrach can be explored from our House of Commons Archive.

Findings from Business Walk 2022 highlight bounty of jobs available in Prince Rupert, challenges towards recruitment

Local business owners were visited in June as part of the 
return of the community Business Walk program to hear
of local concerns from the business community

The City's Economic Development Office and a number of community stakeholders got back into a walking frame of mind this month, with a return post COVID for the Prince Rupert Business Walk, a trek around town that provided for some interesting observations about the state of commerce in the community.

Joining the City's Economic Development Officer Paul Venditelli in his travels were participants from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Community Futures of the Pacific Northwest, Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce and the province.

After their tour around town, one item note stood out among many and that was the volume of job opportunities that are available in the community at the moment and the struggles that many are having to fill their open positions. 

From their findings, the Busines walk highlighted that Sixty-eight per cent of businesses surveyed in the 2022 Business Walks indicated that they are growing, with 65% of them indicating one of their biggest challenges is to find staff. 

Across the 66 small-medium sized businesses who completed the questionnaire, there was also a total anticipated increase of 130 jobs in the next three years to support growth. 

“We know that the pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for our local business community. It was heartening to know that as we are starting to emerge from the most difficult time, that the businesses that were able to stick it out are starting to rebound and even grow. Most even noted they were growing as compared to pre-pandemic levels.” --  Paul Vendittelli, City Director of Economic Development and Transportation.

For John Farrell with Community Futures, the opportunities that are available and prospects for entrepreneurs was the main takeaway from this years review.

"What we heard on the Business Walk reflects what we are see in our office. We are seeing local businesses expand their footprint, invest in new equipment, and launch their products and services on-line. There is a growing demand for our coaching services and financing which tells me the business climate has turned a corner in Prince Rupert."

As one of the partners in the project, Ken Veldman, the Port's Vice President of Public Affairs and Sustainability  noted of the opportunity to learn more about community needs that the walk has offered.

“Business retention initiatives like Business Walk are important opportunities to engage directly with local business owners to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges they face. The local business sector is a strong, interconnected network of community members that operate a variety of critical commercial activities in this town. We know our collective success needs to be mutual, and we’re committed to ensuring their needs and interests are recognized within our operations and with local government.”

The Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce also found much to take from the project, with Chamber President Daphne Thomson observing how what they learned this month will help towards their plans for the year ahead.

“The Business Walk came at a great time with immense insight to the PRDCC. As we prepare for next year, the post-COVID needs and wants of our local businesses will be a great focus for us. Knowing what the community businesses need, the growth expectations and challenges help us to be more relevant whilst serving and supporting the community and our members with excellence in the way they need it.”

Towards the ongoing work in bringing employers and potential employees together, you can check out the Make Prince Rupert Home recruitment portal to see how the collective partners are looking to solve the issue of staffing needs.

The full report from the City can be reviewed here, another version is posted to the City of Prince Rupert Facebook page, which offers up a forum of sorts for comment on the findings.

More notes on the Commercial sector can be examined through our archive page.

Friday evening festival will celebrate Prince Rupert's Canada Day event

Mariners Memorial Park is the place to be tomorrow Night as
Prince Rupert celebrates Canada Day with an 
evening program starting at  9:30PM

The 2022 return for public gatherings will mark the first big opportunity to celebrate Canada Day since 2019, but when it comes to the 155th National Birthday celebration, things will be a bit different from the past.

The 2022 salute to the Nation will be an evening affair at Mariners Park,  this year's program one which notes of no daytime activities on the schedule from Prince Rupert Special Events.

The Evening show has a 9:30 start, with Birthday Cupcakes, flags and a DJ to set the musical vibe for the evening. 

The night time celebration to be capped by a Fireworks display with the Harbour as the backdrop with the first burst of light and noise to come at 11:05 PM.

The City of Prince Rupert will also be using the event to celebrate the latest Civic Award recipients, Council announcing this years honourees at their Monday evening Council session.

As we noted earlier this week, set to receive the municipal honours will be:

Teresa Mackereth
Ella Ferland
Rob Gruber

The trio will be awarded the Civic Merit Award

For updates and any changes to the Canada Day program for tomorrow night follow the Special Events Facebook page.

If you have some time to help out and lend a hand as a volunteer contact Prince Rupert Special Events at 250-624-9118 or through their website.

More items of interest for Community notes can be reviewed here.

Leaving the Blueprints in the office for the next Mayor: Lee Brain's State of the City Presentation

Prince Rupert residents whether in the Lester Centre, or watching through the live stream provided on the City of Prince Rupert website went on a tour with Mayor Lee Brain on Tuesday night.

A time travelling event that took them back to when it all began in 2014 and then a glimpse into what the Mayor believes could be the future, as long as successive councils stay the course following his departure this fall.

Tuesday brought the final State of the City presentation, a follow up to the Rupert 2030 presentation of 2019 before COVID brought a quick end to mass gatherings and vision making celebrations.

The night was a three part exercise, a review of he many pieces of infrastructure work required and the challenges and financial burdens that come with it. 

As well the evening provided for a glimpse to the future, if the blue print from the Mayor is followed through, the night capped by a Question and Answer session with the city's top elected official.

The evening began with an introduction from Chief Financial Officer Corinne Bomben, who first invited Chief Alex Campbell to the state to provide the welcome for the evening.

"I stand here on behalf of the nine tribes of Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla BC to welcome you all  in this beautiful land where we can have a good discussion, a good meeting, fun time.  

Getting to know one another, we say to each and every one of you right now, You're welcome the mat is rolled out, thank you"

The CFO then turned the night over to Mayor Brain for what would be a two hour plus session.

"This is about eight years of work culminated to a new vision for Prince Rupert and we're going to do an update tonight on pretty much every single thing that has happened in this community. 

I promise you there's something for everybody in this presentation tonight. I have taken the collective consciousness of the entire town and poured it into this presentation this evening. 

And if it's not thee, in the Q and A you can certainly tell me that I missed something." -- Mayor Lee Brain opening his State of the City Presentation on June28th

Trying to cram eight years of municipal history into two hours seems like a tall order, but the mayor took his best shot at it, starting with his arrival in office and the immediate realization of the troubles of Watson Island, the city's industrial site which through its revival as part of the Legacy Inc mechanism would be part of the narrative for much of the night.

Many of the talking points of the infrastructure themes have been delivered at Council Sessions over the course of eight years, so there wasn't a lot of new material in the first hour of the show that hasn't already been shared for those who follow our Council observations on the blog with some regular dedication.

But for those who only keep up with things through the public events, the night would be somewhat of a reveal of what the Council has been up to since 2019.

As it was back in 2014, the challenges remain largely aging infrastructure and a need for money, lots of of it to address them.

"In 2014 when we got elected this community was basically on the verge of bankruptcy, I remember the first three days on the job, myself and the City Manager at the time, Bob Long did two twelve hour days. 

We went through absolutely everything and basically we were a year or two away from the books basically folding up and the province taking up" 

The narrative of those times one of 90,000 dollar a month Watson Island burn rates, legal complications from the former pulp mill site, no direction for the city, massive infrastructure challenges and no vision for the community.

"Folks in my generation or younger,  have never really known Prince Rupert in really a successful state. There's the heyday of Rupert and folks in the older generation will always talk about you know how great things were and the fishing and all that stuff. 

But folks in my generation we just woke up one day in high school and the community was already collapsing, our friends left town, their parents lost their jobs, people lost their home, and by the time I graduated high school which was in 2003, it basically felt that there was no hope and you should just leave community and go to university and do something else.

So for us, in our generation, Prince Rupert doesn't have the same you know nostalgia I would say. So when I became  Mayor, you know part of that was to try to get the whole community to come back together again and say it's time for a new vision, it's time for a new pride. 

And the Council and city staff and community partners coming together, and over the last eight years we've really turned the ship to a brand new direction, we're not talking about the mill anymore which is great and we're talking about the future now" -- Mayor Lee Brain

Those observations set the stage for a review of the genesis for the Hays 2.0 blueprint vision and its evolution,  the Mayor noting of the creation of the key elements of ReBuild Rupert, ReDesign Rupert, creation of economic opportunities and branding and sustainability themes. 

The Mayor also revisited the hiring of Larry Beasley and his group who over the course of one year delivered the Rupert 2030 vision presentation which as the Mayor described it,  is now the framework for moving forward as a community.

The Challenges facing the city focused mostly on infrastructure needs, the list an expansive one which has been chipped away at over the last eight years, though one which remains a fairly extensive to do list for the next council to keep up with.

 "So far since 2015 we've raised about 100 million dollars for infrastructure development for the community and it's our 100 percent most significant challenge. 

The truth is we should have started this program a while back in the seventies. We should have started saving for water, we should have started saving for waste treatment, we shoulda, shoulda, shoulda. 

But the truth is we're here now and we're basically starting from scratch with no reserves, no savings and a really challenging situation for us."

"So here's where we're at, this is the truth the honest truth of it all, is we're at a 600 million dollar infrastructure deficit, so we need 600 million bucks and I'll get into how much we need right now, later to really get on top of  things ... I think it's important that this community really feels the weight of what the situation really is here, that really has nothing to do with politics and has everything to do with making sure we actually are successful for the long term future"

The Mayor observed of the challenges of the roads in the community, the path ahead for development of a pilot project towards wastewater solutions, water infrastructure and the long process and challenges related to the water dam completion, the landfill completion and how it will benefit the community, as well as the expansion for recycling themes.

The plans for the new Public Works Building, the process for the new RCMP detachment,  the plans for a new Fire Hall and the challenges of Housing and how the topography and nature of the land in Prince Rupert,  finds developers approaching development in the city with caution owing to staffing issues and the lack of serviceable land to develop  on.

Mr. Brain also noted how other issues such as Child Care also are important to the community as the lack of both housing and child care is impacting on attracting new residents to the the North Coast.

Money, or the lack of it for the community loomed large at the core of the presentation, the Mayor with comments of note of a provincial government that won't loosen restrictions and purse strings as strident today, as they were eight years ago.

"What does this all mean, we need cash. I'm just going to say this straight now cause as you probably know I ain't running for re-election again and I think that this town just needs to hear this. 

So we need, we need 200 million dollars injection into this town right now. We need a bag of money to fall from the sky and it needs to fall into this community and that number needs to be 200 million dollars, at minimum it needs to be 100 million dollars, we need to catch up.

Because, right now with the limitations of taxation and the municipal financing model which I'll get into later, with the fact that everything is grants and applications we're just not going to catch up. 

It's just not happening and we need a magical thing to happen and we are working on a major plan right now with that and we've been lobbying heavily with the province and the Feds.

Letting them know that if you want that port to go, you need to invest in the actual community, cause all the grants are going into that port infrastructure and the community is not getting it and that just has to happen" 

The need for more money and the need to increase the city budget made for the mayor's overview of how the city has been held back from what needs to be done.

Mr. Brain observing how the current challenges are not a civic budgeting issue, but one of neglect by the other levels of government.

"You know, people blame us, we don't know how to budget, no that's not what this is, this a town that was neglected and it collapsed and its dealing with a massive infrastructure deficit and to raise that kind of capital we're not even going to get to taxes on that at this point ... so we need cash"

The financial challenges segment of the presentation  perhaps had MLA Jennifer Rice feeling as though a bit of a bullseye was on her for the night, with the Mayor pointing to some provincial policies that are holding the community back from destiny. 

"Why don't we have cash, why well we don't have cash because we're not allowed to collect cash actually.  The Provincial Government stops us from collecting money from the industries. 

And it is absolutely frustrating that we have a handcuff on the community, that we can't grow this community because we have a handcuff that has been placed on it from us"

Those comments set the table for what has been an eight year talking point for the Mayor and Chief Financial officer over the unjust nature as they see it of the Port Property Tax Act that has been the subject of many commentaries during Civic Budget planning periods.

The Mayor recounted his efforts with other communities to try to have the Province see the city's point of view on the long running irritant for City Council and staff members and the lack of success that has been realized from those efforts.

"They haven't moved on that, there's some reasons I probably shouldn't say it publicly, but this challenge the Port Property Tax Act is the number one reason why this community is stuck, we are stuck, we are not allowed to be free.

Our one legislative right is taxation, that's the only mechanism we are allowed to have under the Local Government Act and the Community charter is to collect money through taxation ..."

The Mayor then presented a graph that highlighted the city's frustration with the policies that are in place  by the province. The result one which see Port assets depreciate, that take away taxation values for the city to assess and the city loses tax revenue from those facilities .

To highlight how he views the policy as unfair the Mayor noted of who in the community bears the largest burden from them.

"That burden has gone on to the residents, the residents pay astronomically more taxes than small business and all of these guys together. 

And so I'll give you an example of why the Tax Cap is very unfair legislation. 

If you see this white line here, in 2018 we had Pembina and AltaGas coming online for the community, two propane facilities, both of which do not qualify for the capped taxes, they don't qualify for that. 

We control that rate, that rate is abnormally large because we have to make up the difference of this ... they pay more, those two industries alone than all the other port industries combined basically.

So we now place the burden on them, we place the burden on our residents ... small business pays almost the same as the major industries in this community.

This is highway robbery, sorry, that's what it is, it's eight years of me trying to solve this problem with our staff and we're getting nothing from the province on this. 

It's  a provincial government issue, they need to be lobbied and this community needs to let them know that this is not fair"

Towards what he hopes will be a solution the Mayor noted of the coalition he has forged with other communities to try to get their message across to Victoria to address the issue, with hopes of creating a Rupert only solution that will remove the burden from City Council towards its challenges

"The next Council is going to be dealing with that, and I hope the next council after that's not dealing with that. 

But until this problem's solved, that's why we can't have the water, that's why we can't get the roads, that's why we can't get moving.

So, I'm not here to dump on the industries it's not necessary the industries fault I just want to make sure that that's clear. 

Because we wouldn't be moving forward as a community without the port growth OK, we wouldn't be and we need their investment we need their growth and they are going to help us. 

And I'll explain at the end the rainbow of how we're going to all fix and the clouds are going to part and the town is going to sail off into the sunset,. But you need to know the reality, that's the reality!"

While the Province took the bulk of the Mayor's frustrations on the night, as the night moved towards its end later in the evening, the Mayor revisited those comments during his Watson island update, offering up a few olive branches to the North Coast MLA, noting of the past work of Jennifer Rice on behalf of the community.

Towards his look at the infrastructure issues, much of the material on those themes have made for much of our archives of the progress for Major projects.  

You can start to catch up on the Major Projects here and with our Council discussion page.

The Second half of the night was dedicated to realizing the vision program of a few years back and the goal of Rupert 2039 and beyond. The Fun stuff as the Mayor often refers to the litany of big idea projects that would transform the landscape of the city if they were to reach the finish line.

The main theme for that element revolved around partnerships and the combined work ahead to realize many of the projects and initiatives for the community will come to realization.

The Mayor revisited many of the themes of three years ago and the delivery of the vision plan in 2019, providing updates on how some of those elements are moving forward.

He revisited the creation of the Gateway District that should the plans move forward see a mixed use environment of commercial and residential themes and community amenities. 

An area that the Mayor christened as the New Downtown.

"The future of downtowns is not retail, the future of downtowns for small communities like ours is experiences. So that's what we need to focus on now, you go downtown to do something to bring community together. To gather people and then the retail shops around that will be more successful"

The vision off the Marina District hasn't shifted much from 2019, though the Mayor noted of the progress on the Third Avenue East extension which he highlighted as one opportunity for development in the years ahead. As well he hinted as to a wider investment in the area with the Pattison group showing some interest according to the Mayor

The evolution of the Waterfront at Rotary Park was also part of the recap, Mr. Brain providing the latest notes on the plans for a new Airport Ferry at that location, the partnership with the province and Kitkatla for marine development and the ongoing work to transform the CN Station into the new home for the Wheelhouse Brewing company, a project which is finding supply chain challenges that is pushing back its completion date.

The shift of the midtown area from City Hall to Five Corners towards a more residential focus, with the city looking to shift from its current commercial footprint toward some of their housing ambitions.

"What we want to do with these areas, like Marina District, Midtown, New Downtown. 

Is we want to create themes, districts, so that when you go there you have different lighting, different flags that hang from the pole it makes you feel like you're actually in a different location in the community. 

So think about it this way, this is a vision that's emerging ... the way we look at it is, is how do we emerge from a vision like that. 

So we have the plan and the policies and the rules in place to enable this to happen. 

So if you can imagine now the Marina district and you can imagine the Gateway and you can imagine Midtown, and you can start to imagine how this community is going to actually look long term."

The Mayor observed on the recent rebranding of the city logo and the plans from Tourism Prince Rupert to create signage and imagery to realize many of the city's vision themes. 

Addressing the look of the downtown core and the nature of the physical state of the buildings made for part of the overview, the mayor noting of the challenges and obstacles towards achieving their goals for a better look for the community.

A look at how some of the downtown streets will be revitalized, with a focus on an incremental concept as to how Second Avenue could see a new look in place once the volume of trucks transiting to the Port has ended with the new truck corridor opening.

A look at how they are planing for more recreation and parks, and the city's recent work on revising policies and procedures to serve the 2030 vision made for another element of the presentation.

"So, anyone that says that City Hall is closed for business, you know that was 2012 folks.  

Time to update your mind that we're now actually open for business, we're selling properties, we're doing all sorts of stuff now.

The policies are in place to enable the vision to become reality"

The ongoing work on attracting residents and the city's partnership with communities stakeholders also made for a short focus.

The challenges towards realizing all of those opportunities came full circle for the mayor, who provided notes on the city's efforts to find new revenue streams, noting of the potential from the Northwest BC Resources Benefits Alliance and how money is hard to gain from the province.

"We've got to keep working on this. But there are challenges to getting this done, because we had a pandemic and all governments spent beyond their means and in the pandemic and money that might have been there is no longer there"

The inherited situation of Watson Island and and how the City is now making use of it through the Legacy mechanism provided for a significant element of how the city visualizes the future for the industrial site.

"I won't lie I have cried over this island before, the previous mayor called it a hell hole he was not wrong, you know the first four years of the term was basically us with this Island ... We had to do a lot to manoeuvre this community out of the two legal situations that we were in.  

We were very creative and very aggressive as well and we took control of the situation and we got those legal battles done

And then our team, with Richard Pucci, Corinne Bomben and Bob Long, we actually invented, we invented a new reclamation process that the province is now  adopting on how to clean up a brownfield site.

So what we're doing is one site at a time, we're going to do assessments on ... before the challenge with Watson Island was that everyone thought you had to clean up the whole island and then you can get development ...  as we move along we do one thing at a time we invented that and that's a process the province is adopting and moving to other brownfield sites"  

How Prince Rupert Legacy generates revenue was also part of the Mayor's overview, with the Mayor speculating as to the volume of revenue it could bring.

"Prince Rupert Legacy holds the Island for us, collects lease payments from Pembina and as you can see there's lots of other room and opportunity and I think over time we can get six proponents maybe even more  on the Island that could generate I believe the ten to twenty million you would need to run the community.

Now the thing about the opportunity with Watson Island is we collect lease payments and taxes from the  Island,  it's a double dip for us. 

Now previously they were going to try to sell Watson Island for five million bucks, well if you had a marine export industry on here, you'd get capped and you'd maybe get a few dollars, but then you'd be stuck.

Us owning this island is one hundred percent what is saving our butts right now as a community, and it's thanks to City Staff, Council's vision and working with the province ... what was once our burden is now our opportunity"

The Mayor also observed as to the interest that the Watson Island site has been to the community.

"So, what I'm asking from the community right now is some patience basically, I hope you're seeing the building blocks coming together, how it all kinds of fits ... See the forests I guess what I'm saying from the just seeing the trees.

We are going to work out of this situation we are in and not only are we going to work out of it but we're going to be one of the most successful small communities in all of Canada. 

Like no community has this opportunity ... we are lucky that we have this and this is saving us right now"

From that the Mayor moved towards a Cole's Notes version of the recent Prince Rupert Port Authority APM, providing a shortlist of projects that are underway and in the planning stages and how they will bring growth to the community, observing that he sees a trajectory for the population of 19,000 residents for Prince Rupert by 2027.

CityWest and its growing partnerships, many of them with Indigenous communities also made for a focus the Mayor noting how it had been a sleepy company for a while but now with the Connected Coast project the city owned enterprise is poised for growth and through its entrepreneurial focus could deliver revenues for the community.

How the city makes use of the Legacy Corporation also received an expanded review, the Mayor noting of its structure and holdings.

"Legacy is a wholly owned company from the City of Prince Rupert, the Board of Directors is just our senior management team. It has no staff, it has no operations it just holds land for us and it holds Lot 9, it holds Lot 444 which is across from Seal Cove and it holds Watson Island and it collects lease payments.

It gives us flexibility as a community to generate revenue outside of the constraints of the municipal financing situation with the local government Act and things like that. 

So Legacy is a kind of like a holding company and now we've transferred a bunch of subdivisions to it on housing and we're going to make housing  development as well"

As well the Mayor offered an answer for some who have questioned the nature of some of the out of public view elements of the development and use of the Legacy instrument.

"There's some questions around transparency people say right well what's going on with Legacy, what are you guys doing with that   ... 

Just so you're clear, every financial statement of this company is on the internet, published on our website you can see the income it makes, it's third party audited there's nothing crazy going on with it other than we're using it as a tool to make sure you're not having to pay massive taxes to do the things we need to do ... 

Remember we have a six hundred million dollar deficit, you cannot do that with taxes so without Legacy we can't offset and to the big builds and the big spends that we have to do that's what offsets it.

So if it means you know some people questioning transparency versus saving the town well I'll choose saving the town over that"

The Mayor's Presentation highlighted some of the previous uses of the monies from Legacy towards major infrastructure like the water dam and how the city's use of the financial instrument has reduced the burden on tax payers.

Many of the themes that make for the 2030 Vision plan checklist which have shown some progress have been chronicled through our archive page here.

As the presentation closed in on its second hour the Mayor noted of the work on the Vision Stewardship Council and ongoing relationships with area First Nations and community stakeholders towards the vision of co-managing the future of the community.

The final notes on the evening presentation period provided for this year's Big Announcement, that of Peace in our time of sorts with the District of Port Edward.

After over a decade of strained relations at times, Mayor Brain and Port Edward Mayor Knut Bjorndal were at centre stage at the Lester Centre with proclamation of better times ahead.

"We haven't crossed the t's and dotted the i's and that's coming We wanted to make sure that the community knew that we have solved what I believe is a forty year issue between Port Ed and Prince Rupert.

If you remember at the Hays 2.0 presentation we did beat up on Port Ed little bit about the revenue challenges and things like that on the Ridley Island Tax Sharing agreement But what we wanted to announce tonight that we've come up with a framework to move forward together

Among the areas of progress for the two communities include:

Agreement of Ridley Island Tax Sharing

Agreement on mutual aid for fire protection, water agreements

A Joint Development plan for the region for areas such as Diana Lake, and new recreation opportunities in the District for a range of opportunities that had been hampered by the past issues 

For his part Port Edward Mayor Knut Bjorndal paid tribute to Mayor Brain and the staff members for both communities in creating the agreement for the communities.

"It's a credit to your leadership that's brought this all forward, it's also the credit to the staff at Port Edward and Prince Rupert they worked an enormous amount of time putting these things together, 

You and I don't get into that kind of fine detail at the end of the day we put the big picture together and let the rest of the people fill in the blanks, because if the blanks at the end of the day, if they aren't right it kills you.

I look at Prince Rupert and Port Edward, I grew up in Prince Rupert I still have a great love for Prince Rupert ... you know if we keep having squabbles we can't move forward to move forward and Lee is 100 percent right you have to take a conciliatory approach ... you gotta look for the common good and I think that's what Lee has done

With the presentation that you made today about Prince Rupert, I can say that my forefathers came here about the same time yours did a hundred years ago, but we have to move forward from the original vision and to move forward you have to have a living document vision that gets you somewhere and that  people buy into it, I bought into this when you first made this presentation I thought was pretty unique."

Noting of Mayor Brain's upcoming departure from the political scene, Mr Bjorndal quipped he now will have to train a new Mayor of Prince Rupert.

The third element for the evening, was exclusive to the  Lester Centre audience, with the live stream coming to an end shortly after the peace declaration between Port Edward and Prince Rupert.

For the next council the blue prints will be in the office, whether the Mayor's vision will be that of whomever succeeds him in office is to be determined following the Fall municipal election in October.

As it should be, the decision of the electors will hold the final say as to whether the blue prints become an active document or end up down the City Archives.

The full overview of the State of the City can be viewed from the City's YouTube archive page.

Over the next few days we'll dive a little deeper into the scope of the various elements that made up the Mayor's final State of the City presentation.

Check back through your Canada Day weekend for the collection of thumbnail sketches from Tuesday night's community review and look to the future.

And if the busy three day celebration is too packed with social events, click onto the blog on Monday morning to review our archive of notes and our look at the Mayor's showcase finale to his time at the helm of civic government.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Praise and Best Wishes for John Horgan following Tuesday's announcement of plans to take leave of Premier's office in the fall

The flow of best wishes for John Horgan has come from across Canada , that as word quickly spread of his Tuesday afternoon Press conference where the Premier announced he would step down from his post following a BC NDP leadership convention this fall.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was one of the first to pass on his regards, one of many to use Social media to hail the work of Mr. Horgan and wish him the best as he charts his new course.

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also paid tribute to his NDP brother in arms.

Fellow Premiers also paid their tributes

Some provincial sparring partners in the Legislature also offered their best wishes on Thursday with both Green Party Sonia Furstenau and BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon hailing the Premier's commitment to BC. Mr. Falcon's salute coming with a familiar sign off for the Star Trek loving politician.

A number of the Premier's Cabinet members also shared their thoughts on the news from Tuesday.

And from the Northwest the regions two NDP members had fond remembrances to share 

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice saluted her leader and his commitment to reconciliation.

While Stikine MLA and Minster of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen provided for a pictorial review of some Horgan moments.

And while it's far too early in the political process to speculate on who may or may not decide to seek the leadership for the NDP, the name gaining some significant traction since yesterday's announcement has been that of the Stikine MLA.

Whether he wishes to take on the road to a campaign is something we will no doubt hear more of as the weeks move forward toward the fall.

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

Our Political Blog D'Arcy McGee and our Victoria Viewpoints feature will also feature a range of notes that came from the Premier's announcement, as we update those notes later tonight.

Slide show presentation from Operations Director brings Council up to date on Major projects progress

The long wait to return to the Woodworth Lake water supply is almost over
with the Dam project now listed as 98 percent complete

The City's Director of Operations Richard Pucci brought some drone footage with him to Monday's City Council Session, adding a video overview to his report on the progress for a number of major projects currently in varying levels of progress.

Among the success stories for the Operations Director is the near completed status of the Woodworh Lake Dam, edging ever closer to that Mission accomplished moment, currently listed at 98% complete.

"The Dam structure is basically complete, final mechanical work is in progress, decommissioning of the old  Dam is in in progress and we are just waiting for the reservoir to rebound and we're hoping within the next month or so to be turning on the taps there"

Other themes of note from his presentation, included the work on the Third Avenue Extension project which Mr. Pucci noted was at 15 percent complete.

"The Geo technical investigation is complete, the site is clear for display for potential developers and the Road is currently on hold right now until we have a development confirmed for the site"

The RCMP Detachment is listed as fifteen percent complete with some activity to be seen on the site in the weeks ahead.

"The hazardous assessment has been completed, no presence of asbestos or lead paint.Demolition of the former Kingdom Hall is to start within the next two weeks hopefully" 

Three items are noted as 100 percent complete, the Eat Street Project at Third Avenue East and Seventh Street, the City's Recycling program and the New Landfill Cell, to that initiative the Operations Director noted that the city was awaiting for the DOCP to be authorized by the Ministry.

Another of the high profile infrastructure works is the innovative Wastewater solution that the Operations Director has identified for the community. 

"Sewer treatment program eight percent complete, so thirty percent of design drawings are complete. And the pilot program is approved to proceed. We have FCM funding for one part of it the other current grant in with the province and tonight we'll be asking for a second grant application"

We outlined the scope of that wastewater project earlier today, which you can review here.

Other notes for Council included updates on the Waterfront project, Submarine line project, Water Treatment proposal and the SCADA Communication project

The full checklist for the Major Projects Update for June looks as follows.

Of the eleven items listed in the report, Council members only had one question from the list, that from Councillor Cunningham who sought some further background on the SCADA project.

In reply Mr. Pucci outlined the tentative timeline for that work and that of the submarine line plans.

"So the communication system is under review right now with the RFP's but we've got the tower locations established and then we will go for another RFP to build those towers. 

The submarine line we've got RFPs back and their under review with our engineering department now as well as our project management team. We hope to award within the next couple of meetings with Council.

You can review  his full report to Council from our preview piece of Monday.

Mr. Pucci's presentation and slide show is available through the City's Video Archive starting at the four minute mark.

A look at past items related to he Major Projects can be found from our archive page here.

Further notes from Monday's Council Session can be reviewed from our Council Timeline Feature.

City Council joins in on advocacy for those that use Fairview Docks

Getting pushed out? ... City Council has voted to send a letter
of support to the Port Edward Harbour Authority towards their
advocacy for vessel users of Fairview Floats

A request from the Port Edward Harbour Authority for a letter of support towards those mariners who use the Fairview docks was well received by City Council on Monday night, with the City's councillors quickly approving a motion to provide the requested letter.

The Harbour Authority has been making the rounds over the last month or so in advocacy for the Fairview dock users, making their call for comments and letters to a number of organizations.

And as we outlined yesterday that request was recently responded to by North Coast Regional District, with the PEHA outlining the situation in a letter to that organization. 

Monday night it was a chance for the city's councillors to share their thoughts on the situation and two members of the collective provided for some potential content for the letter to come.

The City's Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller provided for the introduction of the request, highlighting the Port Edward Harbour Authority work on the issue with the Prince Rupert Port Authority and DP World.

"The Port Edward Harbour Authority is in negotiations with PRPA and DP World to find a workable solution that will provide a compromise that allows for PRPA expansion to proceed, as well as the reconfiguration of Fairview Number Two docks.

The Port Edward Harbour Authority Board of Directors has set out minimum requirements for the relocation including; same or better linear feet of dock, same or better amount of services offered on the dock, accessibly such as Parking and to resolve the loading and unloading issues which is a drive on  floating wharf.

There's no doubt that the container port is an economic driver in our area, however expansion should not come at the cost of another industry.

The Port Edward Harbour Authority is looking for a letter of support that acknowledges the importance of the fishing industry to our communities and to Canada."

From that overview, Mayor Brain then turned the floor over to the Council members.

Councillor Barry Cunningham who has spoken out on the issue in the past, was the first to share his thoughts on how he views the Port's and DP world's expansion plans and the impact it has on the fishing industry.

"All I would like to say is that I think when we do send this letter it should be strongly worded that we're in support of Port Ed Harbour Authority. 

The Southern Fairview docks are the docks for a lot of the active fishing vessels now. Including the draggers, the large seiners, there's no place else in town to tie up and their running out of space in Port Ed.

And the fact that the Port is acting a bit of a bully mood and just saying we're going to do this, you know it's an administration building and a parking lot they can put it anywhere. It's not that important that it has to be there"

The Councillor also recounted the pat importance of the fishery for Prince Rupert and advocated for improvements to what is in place at Fairview.

"I think considering the history of this town with the fishing and everything else and this is the last bastion of fishing vessels in this town in that area. If anything that should be improved  down there to a down ramp to drive on and off for nets, baiting and everything else. Now some of these boats have to run all the way around to Port Edward to load a net and things like this.

You know, Prince Rupert at one time the halibut capital of the world and now slowly the fishing fleet is being decimated and also pushed out And I really think we should let the Port know we support this in many ways and it's also a lot of jobs.

You know this administration and parking lot, you know it's already existing they just want to continue on with their march and I think we should definitely say something in a very strongly worded letter not only to the Port but to the Minister of Transportation, this has got to end"

Councillor Nick Adey followed up looking to the historical nature of the importance of the fishing industry in the community.

"I would just like to focus particularly on the value of the fishing industry to Prince Rupert historically as well as in the current era and I agree that we need to do whatever we can to maintain it as viable enterprise. Or at the very least to mitigate against doing things that unfairly, or arbitrarily make things more difficult for them.

If you look at harbours you know up and down the coast and around the world. Some of them are impressively busy places and I think that there is a way to do this. 

And so I think a letter of this kind should certainly move forward and I think the intention should be to get to that place where its working for everybody"

Council then approved the motion to forward the correspondence.

A look at the DP World/Port plans can be reviewed here, while the launch of the Port Edward Harbour Authority's advocacy work for the Fairview vessel owners was outlined earlier this spring.

The full discussion to the topic can be reviewed from the City's Video archive starting at the 23 minute mark

A look at more of the themes from Monday's Council Session can be found through our Council Timeline Feature.