|New exhibits and a new focus is coming this summer to |
the Prince Rupert Port Authority's Interpretive Centre
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Big changes ahead for Port Interpretive Centre at Atlin Terminal, sending Prince Rupert Visitors Bureau into a virtual mode until May
City Council to host Special Committee of the Whole Session Thursday on theme of City's Transportation plan
|The City of Prince Rupert has announced that the |
community is back on the Woodworth Lake water supply as of today.
Above Former Mayor Lee Brain, Council and MLA Jennfier
Rice at the official ribbon cutting in October.
(Image from the City of PR)
Almost Four months after its official opening, the Woodworth Dam is now in full operation and has returned residents of Prince Rupert to their primary supply of water.
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the project took place in mid October, with former Mayor Brain, members of Council and MLA Jennifer Rice all on hand to celebrate the completion of the lengthy project
The announcement coming today from City Hall has Mayor Herb Pond making note of the scope and historical moment of the project that was launched in 2015 starting with the replacement of 2.2 kilometres of supply pipe.“This final return of the City to our original water supply marks the end of one of the biggest infrastructure endeavours the City has seen in recent history. This project was no small undertaking, and it’s a credit to the former Mayor and Council as well as staff that we were able to see it through, despite challenges along the way.”
The community had been on the water supply from Shawatlan Lake since 2016, a supply which at time meant for Boil Water requirements owing to turbidity and other issues.
The city's information release pays tribute to their Federal and Provincial partners that contributed to the infrastructure project and breaks down their contribution towards the project, though no final tally of the cost of the Dam project for the City, was included in the statement.
The dam project was funded in part by the Canadian Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF), with the Federal government dedicating $4,295,000, the Province $2,834,700, and the remainder covered by the City through dividends from Prince Rupert Legacy Inc. and borrowing.
|The Spillway of the Woodworth Lake Dam|
(Image from City of PR)
Todays statement notes that following the completion of the dam structure in the fall, the City’s contractors experienced some delays in obtaining materials needed to reconnect to the Woodworth Lake supply, and additional works were needed to ready the dormant new supply line for service
Richard Pucci, the City's Director of Operations and Intergovernmental Affairs also notes for residents that it may be a bit of time yet before residents see an improvement to the water as it comes through their taps.
Advising as to how the switchover may not mean an immediate change in turbidity/colour, due to an increase to the overall lake height, which has introduced new sediment into Woodworth Lake.
“Although, overall things are trending positively, we do not anticipate a drastic change in the water quality with the switch, as the wetted parameter of the Woodworth reservoir basin has increased, and so has the influx of sediments because of it.
Due to these changes, the community may not see the benefits of cleaner, clearer water until into the summer when the weather calms and the reservoir settles out.”
The last update on the Dam came from the Director of Operations in early January, at that time he had noted that the ability go online for the facility was awaiting the approval Northern Health.
Today's announcement does not explain why it took so long to gain that approval.
As to the next stage of the city's water infrastructure planning, the statement today notes:
The City is still in the engineering phase of the next phase of our water infrastructure replacement efforts – a water treatment facility – and is currently exploring our options for operating models.
Updates will be provided to the community regarding the treatment phase of our water infrastructure as they are available.
More notes on the city's Major Projects and themes related to the construction of the Dam can be explored through our archive page.
|Road conditions along Highway 16 in the winter made|
for some notes from Monday's Council Session
With a tragic death on Highway 16 still on the minds of Council members, Councillor Nick Adey spoke Monday night to the need for continued advocacy by City Council to the province towards property maintenance on the highways.
Particularly during the challenging Winter months which can bring concerning conditions.
The Councillor spoke to the topic at the end of the Regular Council session.
"With respect to first extend condolences to family and friends because of a recent loss on Highway 16, losses if we go further towards Terrace.
And the reason I bring it up is my first point about the weather is that it reinforces the need for us to continue advocating for whatever can be done to improve the safety of those roads in the winter months.
I know in the Consent Agenda there's a point there where the Regional District has sent a letter to that effect.
So I'm not sure whether we need to either repeat something we've already done, or find some other way to move that advocacy a bit.
But clearly there are times when that highway is very unsafe and it needs to be either safe, or closed.
And sometimes it does get closed and that's inconvenient.
But that's better than the alternative if it's not safe.
So I would like to see us find a way to move that advocacy along to the province I assume would be the recipient"
The City's Operations Director Richard Pucci noted as a follow up to those points that he has a meeting scheduled with the new head of the region for the Ministry in the Northwest and he would raise the concern at that session.
The reference to the North Coast Regional District attention to the issue that the Councillor noted can be reviewed below:
|click to enlarge|
You can review the Councillors's comments from the City's Video Archive starting at the 37 minute mark.
More notes related to the Monday Council Session can be reviewed from our Council Timeline Feature.
Items of interest related to travel along the Highway 16 corridor can be explored from our archive page.
Council was 0 for 2 on Monday night in moving forward with bylaws designed to address long standing areas of frustration.
As we noted earlier, the City's plans for a Container Bylaw have been put on hold pending some additional work for staff to address a number of areas of concern raised by Council members.
Also on the list of Bylaws now deferred until a later date is the city's long running work on a parking strategy for the downtown core.
With their most recent plan towards the downtown area sent back to staff to await a consultation with a number of business owners from the Third Avenue area.
The Parking Bylaw was as close to a finish line as it could get on Monday, awaiting third reading following a Public Hearing held two weeks ago, which brought two members of the public out to share thoughts on the issue in January.
However, a late interjection by a third business owner on Monday night seemed to sway council to put the program on hold.
With Bruce Wishart taking advantage of the public comment period at the start of the session to express concerns over the proposed bylaw, while noting that some of the lack of awareness of the civic initiative was on him for not being engaged as much as he once was on civic issues.
|Business owner Bruce Wishart speaking Monday's Council Session|
We outlined what the City had done towards the notification process earlier this week along with some background on their previous work on the file, that noted as part of our look at a petition that was launched over the Weekend and noted by Mr. Wishart on Monday night.
"On Friday, we started a petition with Paul from Sunset. It only ran over the weekend, I wasn't sure of the process at that point, we started the petition to just ask Council to consider tabling this until there's a bit more discussion and it only ran over the weekend, but we already have 60 signatures on it ...
We also this morning walked a hard copy of the petition down Third Between City Hall and First and No business owner, or manager was aware of this, they had never heard of it. They have the same issues with it that we did ...
All were asking is that Council table the bylaw and give a little bit more of a chance, for particularly business, but we've also heard from customers and residents obviously on fourth, that they wold like to speak to it too. I don't know if that's another public meeting, that's Council's decision I'm just hoping for a bit more time" -- Business owner Bruce Wishart speaking to the city's plans for parking changes downtown.
The decision to defer the Third reading came up later in the Council session, with Councillor Barry Cunningham recommending the pause to allow staff opportunity to speak with the concerned group.
"I would like to see us defer this for this meeting and put it back to staff that they have a meeting with the interested parties and then get back to us if possible"
And while during the container discussion Councillor Cunningham noted that that City staff doesn't have to meet with every special group that may have concerns about civic legislation, that does seem to actually be how things may be evolving.
While the group behind the petition may have very valid concerns over the city's approach to downtown parking, the interjection from the concerned group comes very late in the process, coming as it does with a mea culpa that they had not been monitoring civic issues enough to be aware of the plan.
Their conversation ahead will seemingly be one that will be out of the public view through the consultation with city staff, which should suggest that like the recommendation for the Container Bylaw, the Parking Bylaw process may also now require a Second Public Hearing.
That to ensure that the public is informed towards any changes that may come and what may have influenced those changes.
The thing is, that in two instances on Monday night Council has set somewhat of a precedent where second thoughts on seemingly near completed projects will rule decision making; which in the end could mean extensive delays towards their goals, added work for city staff and a sense for the public of a Council that never quite achieves what they have spent months working towards.
You can review the path towards deferral from Monday through the City's Video archive, Mr. Wishar'ts call for a chance to speak to the topic comes at the three minute mark of the session, the Council discussion later can be found at the 18:30 minute mark.
More notes related to Monday's Council Session can be explored through our Timeline Feature.
Further items of interest on Council themes can be reviewed through our Council Discussion archive.
When we last had left Prince Rupert City Council in early December 2022, the council members had charted the path ahead for consultation and the call for a public hearing in the new year.
The Bylaw is one which would bring a close to the lengthy discussions of the past to the topic of Containers in the community, with Councillor Nick Adey noting of the comprehensive set of options that Bylaw 3505 offered for review and how he was interested in what the public may have to say about the topic.
The Councillor may still be waiting to hear from the public, as with Monday's Public Hearing came no participation on the night from anyone in the community with an opinion towards the topic.
That with even a five minute grace period suggested by Mr. Adey, a request accepted by Mayor Pond just in case there were stragglers trying to find a parking space.
To fill in some of the time Mr Pond provided a few minutes of review on the importance of Public Hearings to the municipal process.
"Public Hearings are an important part of passing bylaws, sometimes it's just like this where the matter doesn't raise a lot of controversy and the public is not interested in coming and commenting and that's fine, but we still need to go through the process.
And obviously there are times where it's a much more controversial bylaw and I've seen this Chamber filled with people who have options and one of the things that's required under the Community Charter and Municipal Act is that Council must maintain an open mind, up until the time of decision making.
So once the Public Hearing is closed a Council is not able to receive any further information, it's just a way of making sure that the process is fair and open.
If information is presented here it's shared, Public Notice it took place.
If once this hearing is concluded, people have something they want to add to that , you may certainly transmit that to staff.
But Council members are not able to consider any further pieces of information following the close of the Hearing"
Mr Pond then provided a short synopsis of the report for Council that was available from the Public Hearing Agenda, which details the scope of the Container provisions.
With the five minutes, actually hitting the six minute mark, the Mayor then brought the Public Hearing to a close, with the topic to return as part of the Regular Council session later in the evening.
Towards that, in the Regular Session, Councillor Cunningham recommended that Council defer the third reading to allow for staff to get back to Council with a report on the outstanding issues raised on the night.
"Well, You know I like the idea of a second Public Hearing, we had a public hearing tonight and not one person showed up. Containers in this town is a big problem and they're all over the place and that.
You know, like I say residential areas I have a problem with them because their popping up regularly and that's more of a bylaw enforcement problem because we haven't been enforcing our bylaws than anything else.
My read on this is, you know we had a group in here tonight that was unaware of it and you know I tend to disagree with the fact, that it's been out there since last August, you know the strategy for parking and everything else.
You know, I went and read a couple of comments and I'm just flabbergasted that people say well that it's such short notice and things like this, we need public discussion on this stuff.
But again we could have another group in here very shortly about containers ... if we pass this I'd like to see a second public hearing or another gathering and the staff doesn't have to meet with every special group out there ..." -- Councillor Barry Cunningham
The Mayor then directed staff to review the proposed bylaws wording and addressing any outstanding issues with a report to come back to Council, the Bylaw would then to return to Council at some future date.
You can review the discussion and recommendations from the Councillors from the Regular Council session as part of our Council Timeline feature at the twenty minute mark.
You can review Mr. Pond's tutorial on Public Hearings from the video of the six minutes of waiting for guests that never arrived.
More notes towards the Monday Council Session can be reviewed from our Council Timeline feature.
More items of interest on Council themes can be examined from our Council Discussion archive.
Prince Rupert City Council members moved into February with the prospects hopefully high towards progress on two major areas of note of late, that of downtown parking and the use of shipping containers around the community.
But progress was put on a shelf for a bit, that following a Public Hearing on shipping containers which attracted no participation from the public. The disappoint turnout for the hearing, along with discussion to the two key bylaws saw both items deferred to later pending further consultation for staff with residents, or a new report from staff.
On those two high profile areas, the City's council membership for the most part spun a lot of wheels on the night.
Those items that they found agreement on passed quickly and usually with few comments.
The Regular session, was one which continued to feature some new elements towards brevity of the proceedings, while also providing for the newly introduced opportunity for public comment.
Some background on the work of Council for the night can be reviewed from the Regular Council Session Agenda here.
Council also hosted a Closed Meeting, making for the third of the in camera sessions for 2023.
Further information from our overview and placement in the video archives can be found below; with the permanent record of the Council minutes added as they are posted to the city website.
In attendance: Monday, February 6, 2023
Mayor Herb Pond -- Present
Councillor Nick Adey -- Present
Councillor Barry Cunningham -- Present
Councillor Teri Forster -- Present
Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven -- Absent
Councillor Wade Niesh -- Present
Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa -- Present
Video Archive for Monday, February 6, 2023
For a review of the Public Hearing of 6 PM on Shipping Containers in the community, see our item here.
REGULAR SESSION OF CITY COUNCIL
( 0:00 -- 1:45 ) Adoption of Agenda -- The Mayor reviewed the Agenda for the evening, which included two additional late items, which Council members then approved
( 1:45 -- 7:15 ) Public Comments regarding Agenda items -- New to the Council procedures, this period offered a chance for those in attendance to speak to any items to be addressed on the Agenda for the evening.
Mayor Pond noting that he knew what the topic would be from the delegation, noted that the issue had been subject of a Public Hearing in January. Then observing of the rules related to how Council cannot receive information once that Hearing has concluded.
To that he asked the resident approaching the microphone to limit comments to the process.
On Monday, the one member who took advantage of the opportunity was Bruce Wishart speaking to concerns of a number of residents towards the city's downtown parking plans.
Mr. Wishart observed that he had not been following municipal events as closely as he once had and from that the city's plans for changes to downtown parking was unknown to him and many others until just recently.
He observed of a petition that has been started among those on Third Avenue West that had attracted sixty signatures, as well as another door to door initiative that he stated had found a number of others on the downtown street that were unaware of some of the elements of the bylaw requirements.
To that he asked that Council table the bylaw and give business owners, customers and residents more time to make their concerns known.
( 7:15 -- 8:00 ) Consent Agenda -- Another element new to the Council Session, the Mayor explained how the Consent Agenda will work with the option for Council members to ask for items to be removed towards further discussion or offering additional review.
Towards the Consent Agenda on the night, the elements included:
Council minutes -- Council reviewed and adopted the minutes of the January 23rd session, as well of those of the Public Hearing, the Committee of the Whole Session and the Special Council session all held on the same evening.
Correspondences -- Board Highlights for North Coast Regional District for January 2023 (see page 11 from the Agenda)
Correspondences -- Letter form Lax Kw'alaams Band to Honourable Justin Trudeau re: support for City's water supply infrastructure (see page 13 from the Agenda)
Correspondences -- Letter form Metlakatla Governing Council to Honourable Justin Trudeau re: support for City's water supply infrastructure (see page 14 from the Agenda)
Correspondences -- Information and request for Municipal Proclamation for Heritage BC (see page 15 from the Agenda)
Correspondences -- Thank you letter to the Prince Rupert Fire Department from the District of Port Edward (see page 16 from the Agenda)
Release of Closed Meeting Items -- Council had no items from Previous Closed Sessions to release
The Council members adopted the Consent Agenda without any removals, comments or observations.
( 8:00 -- 11:20 ) Report from Planning Manager: Re Style Guideline Policy for Way finding Signage -- A report from Planning Manager Myfannwy Pope, provided details towards the wayfinding sign style guide developed by Tourism Prince Rupert and seek Council's approval of the guidelines as an official style guide for all community way finding signage moving forward.
Councillor Cunningham observed as to how the project was not costing the city any money and had no implications to the budget. Councillor Randhawa noted of the good feedback he has received from the initiative. Councillor Adey offered up one question asking towards if the program would include the replacement of Street signs. Ms. Pope noted that at the moment it was limited towards just tourism related themes.
Mr. Adey followed up with an observation of the improvement of the Welcome to Prince Rupert sign, Councillor Cunningham noted that some people in the community may like it, others may not. Adding that he too believes it's an improvement. (see page 17 from the Agenda)
( 11:20 --12:10 ) Report from The Communications Manager -- Application to UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for Emergency Support Services Capacity Funding -- Council received the report detailing the opportunity to apply for funding towards the UBCM Emergency Preparedness Fund for Emergency Support Services Capacity funding. Council accepted the report with no comment or discussion. (see page 34 from the Agenda)
( 12:10 -- 15:00 ) Report from The Corporate Administrator -- Request for Support for Tourism Prince Rupert -- Council received a report with details related to a request for a letter of support for Tourism Prince Rupert towards their Kayak and Canoe Launch project. The City's support contingent upon approval of the 2023 City of Prince Rupert Budget.
Towards comments and Questions, Councillor Cunningham asked to the nature of the 500 dollars that would be required for annual maintenance asking if it shouldn't be under Community Enhancement grants. Ms. Miller observed that the request had not been received in time this year for that option, which is why it was placed in the budget for 2023.
Councillor Adey asked where the launch area would be placed, in reply Ms. Miller advised that it was planned for the Marina area of Cow Bay, with plans to put some information on line as to the location.
Councillor Randhawa provided some further background towards the location choices, Mr. Cunningham asked if the city was potentially creating a precedent by moving it into the Budget, with other groups potentially asking for the same.
City Manager Buchan did note that it was a risk, though Mayor Pond observed that approval is required as part of the Budget process and Council can say No at that time. From that the motion was carried (see page 36 from the Agenda)
( 15:00 -- 16:15 ) Late Item D: Request from North Coast Ecology Society -- Mayor Pond provided some background to the request for a letter of support, that towards their quest for a Grant through the Prince Rupert Port Authority. That related to their plans to convert a shipping container as an Ecology Centre for placement as part of the shipping container marketplace on the waterfront area of CowBay. Councillor Adey observed of their efforts last summer, while also noting how this initiative was a positive thing to support.
Council approved support towards the letter.
( 16:15 -- 18:30 ) Late Item E: Request from UFAWU on salmon escapement concerns -- Mayor Pond provided some background to the issue, as well as a request that the city write a letter to a number of parties. The focus of the letter writing to ask that they abide by the science of advice to hold the Skeena Management Strategy Evaluation and follow the Wild Salmon policy which requires DFO to consider impacts on all users.
Councillor Cunningham expanded on the UFAWU concerns, observing how this is damaging to the commercial gill net and seine fishery, noting of how the escapement becomes a commercial fishery for people in the interior and which is not as good a product as that found near the mouth of the Skeena.
He outlined how it is damaging to the economy of the town in many ways, with the fishery beat up to to the point of being on its last legs. He strongly recommended that Council send the letter noting how anything that Council can do to encourage DFO to wake up and start looking at the fact that they aren't managing, but mismanaging the fishery the city should be involved with.
Council approved support towards the letter.
( 18:30--20:00 ) City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw -- No. 3504, 2022 -- Council had been asked to provide third reading to the City of Prince Rupert Bylaw for the proposed City of Prince Rupert Zoning amendment bylaw related to waiving parking requirement for new buildings, with the exception of residential only buildings in the parking specific area.
However, Councillor Cunningham recommended that they defer the third reading to allow for staff to meet with the interested parties and get back to Council with their findings. The decision coming following the presentation previous in the evening from Bruce Wishart who was speaking for a number of downtown merchants and customers.
City Manager Buchan recommended postponing the Third reading until staff had a chance to meet with the interested parties, the Bylaw then to return to Council at some future date. (see page 37 from the Agenda)
( 20:00 -- 36:30 ) City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw -- No. 3505, 2022 -- Council was asked to give third reading to the City of Prince Rupert Bylaw for the proposed City of Prince Rupert Zoning Amendment Bylaw towards Container use in the community.
Councillor Adey led off the discussion, providing an observation on some situations that may arise, asking towards requests for containers for an immediate need which may go longer than the 60 day provisions and which may require a bit more time.
In reply Doctor Buchan observed that the city tries to be reasonable on such issues, offering up the concept of delegating Temporary Use permits to staff so they could be more nimble in matters such as that.
The Mayor offered up some thoughts towards how building permit requirements may serve that need as well.
Councillor Niesh and Councillor Adey had differing interpretations related to a waiting period, with Planning Manager Pope observing that Mr. Adey's interpretation that the applicant would have to wait thirty days to put another container back in was the correct one.
Councillor Cunningham expressed concerns over some of the areas where containers could be used outside of zones they are allowed to be placed. He expressed particular concerns over the encroachment that could come into residential areas.
Councillor Cunningham noted of his preference for a Second Public Hearing, noting that the Hearing previous that evening attracted no participation, expressing some frustration that there is a lack of awareness of the issues that Council wants to hear from the public on.
Councillor Niesh recommended passing the existing Bylaw and to have further discussions of concerns under a different bylaw.
The City Manager provided a review of what the original bylaw request had hoped to achieve.
Council members decided to postpone final reading of the bylaw to a future meeting, requesting a report from staff towards use of the shipping containers in other zones. Staff will also provide guidance to Council as to how staff could have more authority towards approvals in an emergency requirement. (see page 46 from the Agenda)
( 36:30 -- 37:30 ) City of Prince Rupert Fire Control and Protection Amendment Bylaw -- No. 3515 , 2023 -- Council provided first, second and third reading to the City of Prince Rupert Bylaw towards the use of containers for storage allowing for measures to mitigate the risks. There were no comments or questions related to the motion. Mayor Pond noted as to the thorough nature of the reports from staff which provide much information related to the topics at hand. (see page 48 from the Agenda)
( 37:30 -- 45:25 ) Council Round Table and Comment Period
Councillor Adey led off the evening noting of a tragic death on Highway 16 in recent days, outlining how the City needs to continue to advocate to the province for whatever can be done to improve the safety of the roads in the winter months. Observing how clearly there are times when the highway isn't safe and sometimes needs to be closed, which called better than the alternative.
He also called attention to some dangerous slope areas in the Industrial park with slippage on the steep hillside and if the city is monitoring those circumstances.
The Councillor also asked if the recent rains had provided any surprises to the city's infrastructure.
In reply the Director of Operations Richard Pucci, observed of an upcoming meeting with the new head of the region for Transportation and that the concerns would be raised at that time on highway safety.
Towards the issue of the slopes, he noted that they are not an area for the city to take care of and they would bring it up with the province and its contractors.
As to the city's infrastructure surprises, Mr. Pucci noted that overall the recent rains were not a key concern, though they do have a saturation impact on the roads, wearing everything down, explaining how his teams do try to keep up with the issues of water pooling and such.
Councillor Cunningham provided a report of a tree blown down on one of he pathways leading to downtown, which Director Pucci noted he would look into.
Mr. Cunningham also expressed a concern over some missing information on the city's on line website directory. To that Mayor Pond directed the City Manager to provide the phone numbers for those councillors who wish to have them included on the website.
Councillor Randhawa raised the issue of potholes around the community, noting of the growing volume around the city.
Mr. Pucci outlined how the weather was playing a role in the creation of the potholes as well as to how the city can tackle them. Observing as to the efforts that the city has put in towards them in recent weeks, noting as to how the water leak issues of late have drawn staff away from the road repair work at times. He also noted of the phone number available for the public to report areas of concern.
Adjournment -- The Mayor brought the session to a close with a call to adjourn
As always, our Council Timeline is only a reflection of our observations from the Council session of the night. Be sure to consult with the official minutes from the City, when posted to their website for further review.
With February 20th part of the Family Day weekend, Council next meets in a Public Regular Session on Tuesday, February 21, 2023.
The Prince Rupert RCMP is asking for some help from the public in locating a person related to some warrants on case files dating back to 2020.
Wanted is Chante Leah Low who has warrants out for assault and mischief under $5,000
She is described as an Indigenous Female
Five foot 4 inches (163 cm)
115 pounds (52kg)
She has black hair and brown eyes.
The Prince Rupert detachment notes that she is considered dangerous and should not be approached.
Should you have information about her whereabouts you are asked to call the Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-624-2136 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
The RCMP case file can be reviewed here.
More notes on the work of Emergency Responders in the Northwest can be explored here
|A blustery, wet and for some a snowy forecast is ahead for Haida Gwaii,|
North Coast and Inland areas of the Northwest
|click on images above to enlarge|
|click on images above to enlarge|
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
With a number of major projects on the horizon for the community, the City of Prince Rupert is looking for an Engineering Services Manager for Major Projects
The position one to provide leadership to the Engineering team.
Posted the to the City Careers page, the full time post has City Hall noting of the opportunity be part of an award-winning organization and team that is reshaping the future of the city.
|Click on above to enlarge|
The career opportunity search is being handled by Woodland-Robbins a Victoria area private contractor employment search firm focused on Municipal government recruitment needs.
The job advertisement can be reviewed here.
The deadline for applications for the post is March 3, 2023.
A look at some of the infrastructure work ahead can be explored through our archive page here.
Notes on past Employment Opportunities can be reviewed here.
With the anniversary of the 2021 sinking of the Tugboat Ingenika just days away, Wainwright Marine Services and Director James Geoffrey Bates have seen eight Workers Compensation Act charges filed in Prince Rupert Court related to a number of safety related areas.
The counts which were introduced on Monday, include:
Failure to ensure the health and safety of workers
Failure to maintain protective equipment, which include immersion suits and a tow abort system aboard the vessel
Failure to train and supervise workers on safety procedures, including how to use the suits designed to improve chances of survival in an emergency
Failure to give young or new workers proper health and safety training
Failure to have a written plan for a water emergency where rescue or evacuation might be needed
Failure to hold and record annual emergency drills
The charges fall under the Workers Compensation Act and are not criminal charges.
The maximum amount that a fine could bring is $770,000, as well as a potential 6 months in jail, the charges have not been proven in court.
The tug sank in the waters of Gardner Canal in the early morning hours of February of 2021, the tragic marine incident claimed the lives of tug captain Troy Pearson and deckhand Charley Cragg, a third member of the crew, Zac Dolan was rescued after an extensive search by Emergency Responders and others.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach made note of the charges that have been laid as part of Question Period in the House of Commons today, addressing his questions to the Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra.
“The charges announced today are an important step in achieving justice for the families of Troy Pearson and Charley Cragg.
The government and justice system must use every tool available to hold negligent companies accountable and protect workers’ lives."
The MP also reminded the government that the legal proceedings alone will not be enough to protect mariners who operate tugboats like the Ingenika on B.C.’s coast.
“Holding one company accountable isn’t enough to protect mariners who work up and down the BC coast. For years, workers have been calling for stronger federal regulations, for mandatory inspections and for proper enforcement.
Two years passed. Two workers dead. And this Minister hasn’t changed a single safety measure. Why?”
A memorial event is scheduled for February 10th in Prince Rupert to mark the second anniversary of the sinking of the Ingenika.
Details towards that event have yet to be shared publicly to this point.
Background on the incident can be explored from our archive page
The move would serve as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action Number 80.
Should it pass through the Legislature, as it is anticipated that it will, it would allow more British Columbians to participate in local commemoration or education events.
Premier David Eby observed of the important step the legislation brings towards more action on reconciliation.
“Many British Columbians have been marking Orange Shirt Day with humility, respect and reflection in their own ways for years. Today, we are taking the important step to enshrine this day in law to acknowledge the wrongdoings of the past, and to take meaningful action toward reconciliation.”
Phyllis Webstad who has been one of the pivotal organizers towards the Orange Shirt Day Society and movement, noted how the move by the province will serve to educate and inform British Columbians.
|Phyllis Webstad spoke as part of today's follow up information |
session on the government initiative
“One day there will be no survivors left in Canada. What is forgotten is often repeated. With the federal government passing legislation to make Orange Shirt Day, September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and now the B.C. provincial government announcing this legislation today, it will help to ensure that what happened to us will never happen again and will never be forgotten.”
More on the work of the Orange Shirt Society can be found here.
Towards more on today's initiative, the Province has provided a background piece to highlight how the move to a statutory holiday will evolve.
The announcement and introduction of the legislation was applauded by a number of Indigenous Leaders across British Columbia. their thoughts and more on the announcement today can be reviewed here.
A video of the follow up discussion towards the legislation can be reviewed below:
More items of interest from the BC Legislature can be explored through our archive page.