Sunday, April 30, 2023
Blog Watching: Week ending April 30, 2023
Saturday, April 29, 2023
MLA's Week: April 24-27, 2023
Mr. Cullen serves as the Government's Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.
A larger overview of provincial issues can be found on our Political portal D'Arcy McGee.
Friday, April 28, 2023
Prince Rupert's Golf Season tees up on May 4th
|Almost time to tee it up !|
Prince Rupert and area golfers and those visitors doing the Northwest tour can pencil in May 4th as the launch for the 2023 Golf season on the North Coast.
The Golf Club announced the much anticipated launch date on Wednesday providing for the opening week schedule as well as some advice on booking your tee times.
|click to enlarge|
The official opening was delayed somewhat this year owing to some of the harsh weather of our winter and spring period.
The next few days of sunshine and warmer weather should serve to improve conditions even more than they are as the season approaches.
As we outlined last week, the first tournament for 2023 comes up on May 13th with the Prince Rupert Fire Fighters Charity Golf Scramble.
You can keep up with notes from the Prince Rupert Golf Club from their Social media page.
More items of interest on Golf in the Northwest can be explored through are archive page.
City of Prince Rupert, Mayor Pond and Labour community marking National Day of Mourning today
Today is the National Day of Mourning for those killed or injured while on the job, with commemorations taking place across the province and the nation, including here in Prince Rupert.
The City of Prince Rupert made note of today's solemn occasion earlier today, sharing some background on the history of the now eight year annual commemoration.
The Province has also observed of today's commemoration, with Premier David Eby and Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, releasing this statement of observance.
Funding for Arts announced for Haida Gwaii and North Coast
As part of year-end funding from the Province, $30 million will be distributed to 337 arts organizations through the BC Arts Council.
On the North Coast and Haida Gwaii the funding comes to $650,140
The Prince Rupert funding goes towards two organizations
Museum of Northern British Columbia - $22,735
Prince Rupert Community Arts Council - $5,093
For Haida Gwaii the Distribution is as follows:
Old Massett Village Council - $250,000
TLUU XAADA NAAY Society (TXN) - $250,000
Haida Gwaii Arts Council - $4,144
Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Llnagaay - $113,673
$4,495 was also awarded to the Bella Coola Valley Arts Council on the Central Coast.
North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice noted of the benefit the funding will bring towards more awareness of Arts and culture in the region.
“The North Coast is home to so many vibrant communities, and we all benefit from having galleries, museums, and outdoor spaces to show off our arts, culture, history and character. These grants will benefit people in living in Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii and the Bella Coola valley as well as help us show visitors what the North Coast is all about – and we have a lot to offer!”
More on today's provincial funding can be reviewed here
More notes on Arts on the North Coast can be reviewed from our archive page.
No Taj Mahal, nor a swamp: Council members push back on perceptions of two projects underway
Of the range of capital spending ahead, two items seemed to draw the most attention for some in the public when it came to conversation on the Budget this year, with the planned move to the McCarthy GM building and plans for a wastewater pilot project off of Omenica capturing the most attention.
Both projects have been making forward momentum for months and that progress was of note for one of the three residents who participated in the public comment opportunities at City Council this month.
Prince Rupert resident Terry Sawka put both projects in the spotlight when he spoke on April 11th and again on the 24th, the latter of the two appearances providing for some headline catching opinion, if local headline makers had been paying attention to the budget conversations this month.
With Sawka referencing the McCarthy Plans as a Taj Mahal and the wastewater initiative as a swamp.
He noted of the ongoing progress towards the city's interests in the McCarthy GM property and if it really was a necessary move.
"It's my understanding that the City is currently paying 25,000 dollars a month to lease that property ... there's a further two million dollar cost to the taxpayers of Prince Rupert to renovate a fairly new building ... Two million dollars is a lot of money to create another Taj Mahal in Prince Rupert and I just wonder whether at this time and date something like that is a necessity In Prince Rupert.
He also had concerns over the city's pilot project for wastewater facility off of Omenica.
"The last item I have is the proposed creation of a swamp.
A pilot project in the middle of our Island and I'm sure twenty five, thirty, forty years down the road somebody is going to stand up and say why did we do that?
It's not a proven factor, it's going to channel all the water and whatever else down to that area there, there's been no environmental studies done, no approval by the Government, Provincial or Federal but we're already included in the budget a fair amount of money to go ahead with the project"
The commentary seemed to ensure that City Council members would come to the defence for both, with the conversation form the council side that of strong support for both initiatives.
On the McCarthy project the comments included:
Councillor Nick Adey
"The subject of the McCarthy Public Works project is ... Terry you're not the only one that has asked the question I'll just put it that way.
But I do remember with the previous council when the idea was brought to us and although the discussion was fulsome, I think the central point was the question job of whether this was the most cost effective and time effective way to do what ... there was a consensus needed to be done.
And that was to get the workforce out of unacceptably decrepit facility that they are in now.
And the answer at the time that came back was Yeah this is not only gonna get us to the goal fastest it's also going to be the most cost effective way to do it.
So I guess I'm articulating the question again to see if the answer remains the same"
That observation on which was confirmed by Operations Director Richard Pucci.
Also speaking to the McCarthy Project was Councillor Wade Niesh
"The comments about McCarthy GM, you know the comment last week about, we can put up a steel building and make it work.
Well McCarthy GM is a steel building it's a building that you know is not really any frills, it's got some nice offices in the front that they did some work on a few years back.
You know the New Longshore Hall I believe is somewhere in the neighbourhood of nine million dollars to build, so the cost of building these days is a lot more than it was ten, or five years ago.
So, you know there's been comments ... well why didn't you leave that for a dealership, well that place sat empty for how many years and a dealership didn't come.
So it's not like we are taking it from the private industry that built a car dealership, there was nobody knocking on the door saying lets build a car dealership.
So in my eyes, and in the eyes of the Council that approved it was an opportunity to get a building that suited our needs to fulfill what we needed and not to spend the money on a new building and like I said Longshore hall would be a good example at nine million dollars "
Councillor Barry Cunningham also had some observations on the McCarthy plans.
"McCarthy, we'll be moving in there soon we'll have a nice facility and I think if we were to replace that facility up at Wantage Road we're looking at ten, twelve million dollars if we're lucky.
You know not the original cost that was done years ago.
I just think that in the end we're getting a pretty good deal there yeah it's a little slow but every type of construction is slow right now, no one can find people to work, you know everyone's just tapped out and I think our staff is pretty diligent watching the pennies and all that"
On the theme of the Omenica wastewater pilot it too generated commentary in support.
Councillor Adey observed of the past studies and background research that went into the proposal and the work put in by staff towards the planning for the pilot project.
Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven observed of his time as part of the original proposal.
"I wanted to take some time to speak to a few of the items, one of which I can think of was the Swamp, that was referenced. For being part of the original team that kind of went to seek that opportunity out with Director Pucci and at the time Dr. Long.
Seeing those pieces and the savings potential for that kind of speaks for itself.
Optimistically we'd be looking at 200 million in savings but a hundred plus kind of given the terrain and how much of that really can take up. Instead of investing 300 million dollars into a sewage treatment plant that is not a sexy investment and stinks up the next five blocks.
Looking at these alternative measures and for context sake when we say wetlands, these are not developable properties. For us to drop thirty million dollars in gravel to bring it up to grade just to have it sink anyways, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
To utilize what its already naturally doing and to emphasize that process and adding the granulated media and some of the geo substrate that we can add to it to make it more efficient I think there's plenty of opportunity there"
Council offered Operations Director Pucci some time to review his previous notes on both projects, those can be found from the video archive.
The Omenica project at the one hour, twenty six minute mark.
The McCarthy portion starts at the one hour thirty three minute mark
In the end, the still unknown nature of the Omenica test pilot project does suggest Mr. Sawka's words of caution may yet make for a discussion topic.
But that won't be known, until the initiative is proven or disproven and the results come in from the project upon its completion.
Something that Council seems inclined to roll the dice on with perhaps a future Council left to provide for the answers if required .
You can compare Council's notes of Monday with their past observations for both projects available for review from our Major Projects Archive page.
More Notes on Monday's council session can be explored here.
City to facilitate two sessions on housing themes at end of May, one for landlords, one for tenants
The City of Prince Rupert has made note of some opportunities to learn more about rights and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants, set to be hosts a pair of meetings in May to share information.
The First is to focus on Landlords, with City Hall the venue for the information sharing project, set for May 30th at 7PM
The short synopsis of the plans note the following:
Are you a new or existing landlord in Prince Rupert and want to understand more about your rights and responsibilities under both the Residential Tenancy Act and the City’s Rental Maintenance Standards Bylaw?
Come to this free information session to be held in Council Chambers, City Hall (424 3rd Avenue West) on Tuesday, May 30th at 7 pm. City staff along with the Prince Rupert Unemployed Action Centre Legal Advocate will be on hand to present information and answer questions.
Light refreshments will be provided. We look forward to seeing you there!
One night later, Tenants will be the focus, with that session to take place at the Prince Rupert Library on Sixth Avenue West, it too will start at 7PM.
The city observes that the format for the tenant session is much the same as the Landlord project.
Are you a renter in Prince Rupert and want to understand more about your rights under both the Residential Tenancy Act and the City’s Rental Maintenance Standards Bylaw?
Avalanche situation in Northwest gains Provincial attention
In an information release the province issued guidance for those that may be considering some back country travels over this weekend, noting of warming conditions and an unstable snowpack that could make for a bad combination.
The province giving some prominent space to the advice of Mike Conlan, a Senior Avalance Forecaster with Avalanche Canada.
The sudden transition from cool, wintry conditions in the alpine to warm temperatures will create dangerous avalanche conditions. The effect of the warm temperatures on the existing snowpack structure means that these avalanches will likely be very large and may run to valley bottoms.
Dangerous avalanche conditions exist for all mountainous regions in western Canada and the hazard increases with each day of warm air
Regions with persistent or deep persistent slab avalanche problems will be especially problematic, with avalanches potentially involving the full depth of the snowpack.
Warming can also initiate large and destructive cornice falls. Cornices can be destructive by themselves but also act as a trigger for destructive deep persistent avalanches,”
Bowen Ma, British Columbia's Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness provided her own concerns for the public to take heed of for the immediate period ahead.
“We cannot stress the importance of this avalanche warning enough. I urge everyone considering heading into the backcountry to take seriously the advice of Avalanche Canada. Sadly, fourteen people have lost their lives to avalanches in B.C. this year—many of whom were extremely experienced.
Transparency, Travel among Budget Discussion Talking points from Monday session
"I understand that given the current revenue pressures and despite continuing efforts to address them, we are approaching our borrowing limit under the regulations. And I note that the new request to borrow 20 million towards twinning the sewage and I understand the logic behind doing so.
We're told that this does get us towards our borrowing limit ... what I'm wondering is, is there a public facing way to provide information regarding specific debit items and costs on a sort of a total,or annual or month payment basis.
Where we are in terms of when particular items are going to be paid off so that space is created, the source of the funding for payment ... and then the hardest part, and I appreciate that nobody has a crystal ball, is there anything that is anticipated towards future items -- Councillor Nick Adey
Ms. Bomben's reply pointed to a number of reports and other streams of information that can be found by searching the archives of the city website.
Perhaps mindful that most resident's are not quite that savvy towards researching the labyrinth of the city website, the Councillor then asked for a more user friendly option towards more easily accessible information as something to consider.
"What you've done is you've referred to two or three different places, I guess what I'm asking about is whether there's a way to kind of pull that together into a simpler format that is more easily understood by people like myself who don't always know everything I need to know about accounting. I think there may be a benefit in terms of transparency with the public in finding a way to do that." -- Councillor Nick Adey
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Community Safety, Repeat Offenders among themes of Legislature debate this week for MLA Ellis Ross
The BC United Opposition has been making this week Crime week of sorts at the BC Legislature, with many of the MLA's rising to take on the NDP government's handling of Justice and Public Safety issues.
Among those taking the lead for the BC United Party has been Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, who used his time in the Tuesday morning Question period to raise some concerns from the Northwest, in particular the Terrace region towards the issue of repeat offenders.
"Violent repeat offenders keep causing havoc and getting released back on the street, and no amount of NDP protocol spin is going to change that.
It was over a year ago that I asked the Premier about his catch-and-release justice system and the chaos and crime and Terrace.
He dismissed the issue as mere anecdotes.
Popular Nisga'a Recreation area to remain closed with opening unknown
MP Taylor Bachrach continues push for stronger tugboat safety measures
Tomorrow is the Day of National Mourning, an event marked Nationally across the country and dedicated to those who have lost their lives while at work.
Today during Question Period in the House of Commons, NDP Transport Critic and Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach once again, called on the Liberal Government to improve safety regulations for tugboats.
The MP speaking to the delay in implementation of recommendations from a Transportation Safety Board report from earlier this year following the 2021 deaths of Troy Pearson and Charlie Cragg on the tugboat Ingenika.
That report, released on March 8th made four recommendations to protect mariner safety.
Expand its surveillance program to include regular inspections of tugs of 15 gross tonnage or less to verify that these vessels are complying with regulatory requirements.
The TSB also had recommendations for the Pacific Pilotage Authority:
In his time in the House today, the MP reminded the Commons of the tragedy on the Gardner Canal two years ago and the lack of movement towards implementing safety recommendations that came out the Transportation Safety Board Investigation.
Comment period now open for Two Liquor Licence referrals in Prince Rupert
A pair of commercial enterprises in Prince Rupert are seeking liquor licence applications with the BC Liquor Branch, with the City of Prince Rupert noting of the opportunity for comment that comes with them.
One is a Liquor Licence amendment for the recently opened Arabisk Restaurant at Seal Cove, that for a patio location associated with the restaurant.
|click to enlarge|
The Second is for an application by Port City Spirits that related to their plans for their lounge located at 801 Fraser Street.
|click to enlarge|
It's been a busy time for Liquor Licence referrals at City Hall, a similar call for comments related to an Application by the Wheelhouse Brewing Company recently came to a close. That for their plans for the City owned CN Heritage Building that is currently being renovated towards the Brewing company move.
More notes on Civic themes can be explored through our archive page.
City Council hears feedback on Fire Service status as part of Budget's online focus
The status of the current make up of the City of Prince Rupert Fire Service made somewhat of a surprise topic as part of the final Budget considerations by City Council.
The topic one that had not been mentioned in the four week engagement process period previous, but one which gained some time of note in the final portion of the Budget overview prior to the adoption of the Financial plan and 12.5% tax rate increase.
The Conversation from Council provided a bit of insight from the members of the public who made use of the City's online Budget simulator. With their contribution towards the theme of Public Safety making for the focus of the council members narratives on the night.The data that the Councillors used came out a Report from CFO Corrine Bomben and part of the Agenda for her presentation on Monday.
|click to enlarge|
The data review that sparked the Council discussion is focused on the online Simulation, as well, Ms. Bomben's report features some of the commentary towards Budget themes, with public safety among the areas of note.
|click to enlarge |
Among those speaking to the Fire Department elements included:
Councillor Wade Niesh
"There was a couple of comments about Fire Department. You know we are a compact community with houses that are very close together, businesses downtown that are very close together you now most touching.
So a Paid Fire Hall is something that I do believe in, because I feel that a quick response is something that will hopefully save some buildings, some maybe not"