Friday, September 29, 2023

Robert Nelson the choice for Chief Councillor for Metlakatla First Nation voters

The 2023 Metlakatla First Nation Council vote concluded at 8 PM tonight, and once the paper ballots from Metlakatla, Prince Rupert, along with the Electronic and Mail in versions were counted, voters had selected Robert Nelson as their next Chief.

The victor is now set to take office from the long standing and now retiring Chief Harold Leighton who had held the position of leadership for over 36 years.

Mr. Nelson came out of the balloting atop a list of five other contenders which included Randall Cobb who had come close to taking the position in 2019;  as well the Chief Councillor election included nominees Braden Etzertza, Darcy Nelson, and Reid Skelton Morven.

The New Chief Councillor will be joined on the Council by six members:

Alvin Leask, Erika Leighton and Sharon Morven  were elected as On-Reserve Councillors.

Alrita Leask, Miranada Leighton and Charlene McLean will serve as the elected Off-Resrve Councillors.

Of the six, only Ms. Leask, Mr. Leask and Ms. Leighton are incumbents from the Council elected in 2019.

The results were released a few hours after the 8 PM closing time for the vote.

No vote count totals were released as of yet, as part of the information provided by the First Nations election organizers.

In their statement on the Election results, Metlakatla officials note that the new office holders will assume their duties within fourteen days of today's poll, once they have singed their Oath of Office.

Metlakatla residents and voters are using the social media posting of the results, to relay their congratulations to those who found success and their thanks for those who stood for office.

You can access further notes from Metlakatla from their Social Media Stream here.

A look back at some of our past 2023 Election notes, as well as other items of interest from Metlakatla can be explored from our archive page.

Prince Rupert Rampage drop the puck on new season Saturday, as Hazelton Wolverines come to town

Ready for the return of the Roar, the CHIL's Prince Rupert Rampage 
launch there 2023-24 season tomorrow night at 7 against Hazleton Wolverines

It's been over seven months since the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre heard the roar of the crowd from the madhouse on McBride, the final game for the home side Rampage a Saturday night loss to the Hazelton Wolverines, the match marking a sweep for the visitors sending the Rhinos to the sidelines of the 2023 playoff season.

The summer has put some distance between the team and their winter disappointment, as well as to have brought in a new ice surface at the Jim. 

And with a new season ahead and a new surface to dig into, the Rampage gain a chance to get off on the right skate on Saturday against the very team that ended their previous season.

That with the Hazelton Wolverines due in town tomorrow night for a 7PM puck drop at the arena.

As it does every fall, the line up heading into a new season features some change, old hands have stepped down, with other legs some of them younger ready to take on additional work as part of the journey to bring the Coy Cup to Prince Rupert.

Captain Kory Movold will lead a Strong mix of talent onto the ice Saturday.  

A line up featuring 25 returning members, along with three newcomers, or returnees from previous years to keep an eye out for as the season moves ahead.

The playoffs and what Rampage fans hope will be a deep run to AA Senior Mens' championship to  come after that.

As anyone who follows the team knows, the Rampage are much more than a CIHL hockey team, they have become a community movement, their contribution large both in fundraising and awareness projects throughout the year.

One of their principal partners is back on board for the year with the Prince Rupert Port Authority set to resume their work towards raising funds for a number of local organizations.

With the start of the new season, comes the home game call up for the prospect of the night, with this years first member to the list that of the PRMHA"s Jaxson Bishop, who takes to the ice with Rampage Assistant Captain Judd Repole on Saturday night.

As the game falls on National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the Rampage have put together a program for the night to pay respect to the Day's remembrances, asking that fans don Orange for the home opener.

You can keep up with the latest notes from the Rampage room through their Social Media stream here.

There is also a new CIHL Facebook stream debuting this year that puts the focus on all nine of the leagues teams.

As we have in season's past, we'll track the Rampage season with two archives.  

The other a wider overview of Rampage notes and league developments, we've already kicked some ice around on that forum with some pre-season notes which you can review here.

Lax Kw'laaams Band sets date for official 'Ground Breaking' for 11th Avenue East apartment building

An image of what the Lax Kw'alaams apartment building
on 11th Avenue in Prince Rupert will look like upon its
completion. Ground breaking for the project takes place Oct 12

It's been delayed a bit longer than had been hoped, but next month, Lax Kw'alaams will make for a big moment for additional housing in Prince Rupert.

The Band Council and Lax Kw'alaams WAAP Housing Society setting October 12th as the date for the Official Ground Breaking for their much anticipated 70 unit apartment project in the city.

The official invitation went out this morning from the Lax Kw'alaams WAAP Housing Society, with the event to take place at the 11th Avenue site from Noon to 2PM on the 12th.

The importance of the event is noted in the invitation notice which highlights that Everyone is welcome to attend this event. Lax Kw’alaams members are encouraged to wear their regalia to this event. 

The location which was provided by the City of Prince Rupert, has been a very active site in recent weeks as land preparation began towards development of the project. 

The October 12th ceremony will mark the next milestone for the Band Council and its housing plan for members who live in Prince Rupert.

As we noted yesterday, the Lax Kw'alaams led housing project is one of the few initiatives in recent years to actually get to a putting a shovel in the ground situation.

Once complete and opened, it will help to reduce some of the housing pressures in the community which has been in the midst of a housing crisis for a number of years.

Follow the Lax Kw'alaams Social Media page for updates on the way to the Ground breaking ceremony.

More notes on housing in Prince Rupert and the Northwest  can be reviewed from our archive pages below:

Prince Rupert Housing Notes

Northwest Housing Notes

Smithers officials celebrate expansion of Air Canada service to community

Air Travellers in the Bulkley Valley now have one more flight option available for their travel planing, with the Town of Smithers hailing the announcement from Air Canada of a second flight for the community.

The addition to the Air Canada service takes effect on October 29th, which will make for two arrivals and departures, 9:50 AM and 5:40 PM

The Smithers airport also has service from Central Mountain Air and a number of charter flights coming into the community through the week.

The good news for the Bulkley Valley serves as a bit of a reminder as to the current status for the Prince Rupert Airport, which so far seems to still only feature one flight from Air Canada per day.

There hasn't been much information relayed to the travelling public in Prince Rupert from the airport since former Airport Manager Michael Pucci bid farewell for career opportunities in Terrace in mid August.

Included in the lack of recent information from the Airport is any indication as to who; if anyone has been hired to take on the post. 

The Airport had posted a Help wanted listing at that time of Mr Pucci's departure with a closing date of August 17th.

With the aviation news showing progress for the community of 5,378 to the east. the Prince Rupert Airport Authority or City Council, might want to provide an update on what's happening locally.

Providing some notes towards both the management situation and if anything is in the works towards adding to our flight options from Digby Island.

More notes on aviation can be reviewed from our archive page.

Polling Underway at two locations for Metlakatla First Nation Council positions, with voting to close at 8PM

It's been just about two months of campaign time for the candidates that made for the final list of those contesting the Metlakatlta First Nation Election and today they will see if their message resonated with the membership to propel them to the posts they are seeking.

Of those seeking election today, five contestants are looking to replace departing Chief Councillor Harold Leighton.

Five have put their name forward for On Reserve council positions, while nine others are seeking office for the In Territory Council positions.

Voting in the General Election began at 9 AM this morning at two locations.

Ballots are available at the Metlakatla Administration Office in the community, or at the Coastal Training Centre at Dunsmuir and Sixth Avenue West in Prince Rupert.

Voting remains open until 8 PM this evening.

There were also provisions in place earlier for electronic and mail in balloting.

Follow the Metlakatla First Nation Social Media stream for updates later tonight as to how the vote count turned out.

Past notes on Metlakatla themes can be reviewed through our archive page.

Safeway/Sobey's workers find progress at negotiating table with tentative deal reached with Local 1518


The prospect of a strike at Canada Safeway locations in British Columbia has been reduced heading into October. 

That as the membership awaits further word towards a tentative deal between their union the UFCW and Sobeys, the parent company for the Safeway employees in the province.

An information release from UFCW local 1518 charts the latest progress in the negotiations, which had seen the membership deliver a strong strike mandate a few weeks ago.

The negotiations began on September 20th with the announcement of the tentative deal coming on September 28th. 

The union leadership noting of the work ahead before taking it to the membership.

With over 75 pages of agreed items, there is a lot of work to do in preparation for a vote. In the leadup to the vote, the Bargaining Committee will connect with the Sobeys Advisory Committee and Shop Stewards and carefully review the agreement with Union Reps. 

Then, UFCW 1518 will provide all members with a rollout plan, which will include when members can expect to see the details of the contract and ask questions ahead of a ratification vote.

The general grocery workers union also notes that they continue to stand aligned with UFCW 247 which has yet to start its negotiations with Safeway/Sobeys, that local represents Meat, Deli and Seafood employees.

UFCW 1518 is also committed to standing in solidarity with workers in the Safeway deli, meat and seafood departments, members of UFCW 247, who will return to the bargaining table shortly. 

UFCW 1518 has worked closely with UFCW 247 throughout bargaining, including taking strike votes within the same time frames. Now that an agreement has been reached, UFCW 1518 will continue to support 247 in their fight for a fair deal.

UFCW 247 highlighted their path moving forward in an update for the membership following the September 28th tentative deal with 1518 was reached.

An unmistakable characteristic of this round of bargaining has been how closely we’ve worked with UFCW 1518. Our strike votes and bargaining meetings have been coordinated so as to demonstrate union solidarity across the stores. As UFCW 1518 expressed to their members in an update this morning, their solidarity and support for UFCW 247 will continue. 

Our meetings with the company after Thanksgiving (October 11-14) are still happening. Our bargaining committee's work is still ahead. 

Without a doubt, we share many issues with UFCW 1518 members, but we still have issues that are unique to our departments and that we need to address when we meet with Sobeys. Just last week, our members gave us the strongest kind of leverage we could ask for – a 99% strike authorization vote with a massive turnout. With that in hand, we will continue to push for a tentative agreement of our own, one that we can strongly recommend to UFCW Local 247 members.

Updates on the work ahead for both locals can be followed below:

More notes from the Northwest commercial sector can be reviewed here.


Trigon Pacific Terminals, Prince Rupert Grain show significant shipment increases; challenges continue for DP World Fairivew in latest Port stats

At over seven million tonnes of product shipped to the end of August
Trigon Pacific Terminals is leading the list when it comes to the
industrial footprint on the Prince Rupert waterfront
(Image from Trigon)

The latest release of data from the Prince Rupert Port Authority is offering up a glimpse at the state of the industrial waterfront footprint as of the end of August. 

Wth the overall volume of shipping up from last year, that increase mainly as a result of strong numbers from two terminals.

Prince Rupert Grain and Trigon Pacific Terminal contributed over 9 million of that 16 million tonnes of volume with strong results through to August.

Harbour shipments, likely that of raw logs, also saw some strong growth this year compared to last, with August a particularly busy month.

Terminals that have seen lower volumes this year so far include the Westview Wood Pellet Terminal and the City of Prince Rupert leased Watson Island Bulk Terminal, both of which are down from their 2023 numbers as of August.

Another significant story Of note from waterfront from the August report, is the current slump in shipments at the DP World Facility in Prince Rupert. 

The Container terminal which saw an on again/off again labour disruption in July, also continues to feel the impact of a global shipping slowdown. 

Those elements have contributed to see their volume results drop  to 4.7 million tonnes as of August, compared to the 7 million plus mark for the same time one year ago.

That slowdown and reduced level of shipment has had an impact on those at the port working on the lower boards when it comes to call outs for shifts for vessel calls on the waterfront.

The report also provides a look at the volume of ferry traffic at the BC Ferry Terminal at Fairview, as well as the growth of the Cruise industry his year.

You can review the full PRPA report here.

More notes related to Port themes and those of their partner terminals can be explored through our archive page here.

Metlakatla residents next up for an information session on Heat Pumps

An opportunity for residents of Metlakatla to hear more about what Heat Pumps may be able to provide for their homes is coming next month, with a session set for October 4th for community residents.

The gathering will be at the Metlakatla Administrative Building from 9 to 11 AM and will feature a presentation from an advisor from Prince Rupert's Frosty Refrigeration with the 411 on heat pump technology and how it would work in community homes.

The topic of heat pumps made for an extensive presentation for Prince Rupert City Council earlier this month, that as Josephine Schrott from EcoTrust Canada took City Council members and those viewing at home through some of the elements of the Heat Pump program in the region.

The City has been involved in an information sharing partnership with EcoTrust towards the theme of heat pumps and how they may benefit local residents.

Metlakatla residents may find the review, available here, helpful towards asking questions at their forum  next month.

Updates on the session and other notes from the community can be reviewed through their social media stream.

More notes from Metlakatla can be reviewed here.

Comment period currently Open on plans for electricity corridor to Ridley Island Quarry

Plans to put in an electrical corridor on the Ridley Island Access Road to service the nearby Quarry site are in the comment stage with the Provincial Government.

Colas Western Canada outlined its proposal to add power to the Quarry, noting in their application that if approved it would have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint for the quarry operators. 

The project overview that has been submitted towards the application highlights how the line would be be placed into the area currently leased by Terus Construction Limited.

The file number is 6409440

The deadline for any comments towards the proposal is set for October 19th.

Other notes related to Hydro themes in the region can be reviewed here

Noordam visit today heralds last of the Big Ships for 2023 Cruise Season

The Noordam at the Prince Rupert Cruise Terminal this morning,
it's last call on the city for 2023 lasts until 4 PM today

The cool air of the early morning period provided notice that Fall is here and as the sun began to peek over the mountains, the final days for the 2023 Cruise season began to to countdown. 

Today featuring a port call from the last of the larger ships that have called on Prince Rupert this year.

The Holland America ship Noordam pulled into port around 7AM, the day ahead one of exploration for a potential 1,924 visitors to the city.  

Today also makes for a doubleheader on the waterfront with the much smaller cruise ship L'Austral anchored just off of the Cow Bay Marina, though it is on station for a much shorter time on the day.

Those taking a walk along the Atlin Terminal  area this morning had 
a double vision experience with two cruise ships in view in the harbour

Once they depart, there will be but one day left on the 2023 calendar, that being October 10th, which is when the Seabourn Odyssey brings the curtain down on a very successful cruise season.

To give us an idea as to how fast the industry has grown in the bounce back from the COVID era shutdown, the August notes from the Prince Rupert Port Authority indicating a significant surge in visitors walking across the pathway to the Prince Rupert Cruise Terminal this summer, more than doubling the volume from 2022.

This year also saw new ventures launched to service that growing amount of visitors to the community; among them the Olde Tyme Trolley that has been a hit for the year.

Some local businesses have also embraced the cruise sector this year, one of which was Arabisk Mediterranean Cuisine. 

Management and staff at the local restaurant and lounge welcomed a recent tour from the vessel Odyssey to their Seal Cove location for one of their mixology Master Classes.

Initiatives such as that at Arabisk, should help build the Prince Rupert Brand for the 2024 season and those to come in the future.

More notes on the Cruise season for 2023 can be reviewed here.

Water lines may be leaking, but City Hall's information sharing at times is lacking

Mayor Pond with a piece
of aging pipe

(from Mayor's FB)
The Wednesday Breakfast presentation from Mayor Herb Pond at Arabisk at Seal Cove has made for a bit of conversation around town and seemingly a grab your eyes headline for the local newspaper.

Though from it all, what's lacking so far is a more expansive relay from the City as to just what the Mayor shared with those who purchased their memberships with the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce for admission to the members only morning event.

The headline and story that came out of the Breakfast speech provided a wee overview of the presentation, a rare bit of coverage of civic themes for the local paper over the last few months.  

A quick look into the recent archives of the Northern View's City Hall notes, offers up a somewhat less than extensive list of stories, compared to some of the other focus items that come from their Besner Block offices across the street from City Hall.

Still the headline certainly served as a good source of clicks we imagine from their subscribers.

Screen shot of yesterday's story in the 
Northern View available for its subscribers

Now the news that we've been on the verge of full evacuation, much like the photo that the paper used for its story yesterday, goes back quite a few months to December 2022.  

A topic first noted by MLA Jennifer Rice on December 22nd which made for some of the key narrative to the start of our year of water woes.  

Though it's not clear from the story,  if the Mayor noted for the Chamber crowd any other instances since the State of Local Emergency last year, as to when peril may have been once again close.

As the screen shot above illustrates, for those that don't subscribe to the local paper, or have used up their free viewing credits, the story ends with just a few lines ... leaving you to Google and a search of the headline for a non pay wall version to catch up on.

As it is, there wasn't much else new to the past narrative from the Mayor in the story from the Northern View, other than a few quotes from Mr Pond.

Among those culled from his comments to the Breakfast meeting: 

The extensive stall on federal funding to fix the city’s pipes has meant the city has gone millions of dollars over its annual budget, and have been unable to do long-lasting, impactful work on the water system.  

That's a train of thought that probably should be expanded on by Council and leads nicely into the other quote from Mr Pond. 

A commentary which noted how the City Council and staff have perhaps not been as transparent and accountable on those topics as they often say local government is. 

"He also admitted to the Chamber that the city has, in the past, not been fully forthcoming about the extent of the problem."

Now that last quote is a bit of a problem all to itself, for if they have one job down at 424 -Third Avenue West; that should be to to be forthcoming with the public to the issues that at the end of the day the public will have to pay to resolve.

Whether there were any other startling revelations for the gathering, they didn't make it into the final draft of the Black Press story and as has been noted on the city's social media stream, no recording or notes from the meeting seem to be available to share with the public.

There are some options for City Council and the Mayor to expand on when it comes to the themes from Wednesday and for any in the future.  

They have the above mentioned social media stream, a civic website, a YouTube page and an engagement portal, Rupert Talks.

To be fair the City has made use of all of the above previous to provide some past information  on the issues of the water infrastructure; so providing a Cole's notes style recap of the Wednesday session from the Mayor's memory of the event shouldn't be hard to provide.

Of course, there is another forum available for such commentary, that's the City Council session.  

Earlier this month, City Council met for only ten minutes following a lengthy presentation on Heat Pumps,  a meeting that they had moved forward so they could attend a night time event, the topic of which they have yet to share with the public.  

That September 11th session might have been a grand opportunity for the Mayor to work out some of the  themes for his Arabisk speech and  to update the community on the focus he was going to bring to that gathering.

When it comes to information sharing, the City Council meetings should be the public default location for all notes on the current situation and others that occur.  

That so the rest of Council can weigh in to give residents an idea as to what they contribute to the conversation and to put it on the official record.

Residents really shouldn't have to pony up the cost of Membership with the Chamber of Commerce; or subscribe to the local paper to hear word of vital information about how the city is addressing its largest ongoing concern.

There is something positive coming out of the Chamber get together though, fielding questions on the City's Social Media page, Veronika Stewart, the City's Manager of Communications, Engagement and Social Development noted of some plans in the future for a community forum.

Hopefully, someone takes notes and brings a video camera.

More items of  interest on the city's infrastructure themes can be reviewed here.

A look at past Council Discussion topics can be explored here.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Nisga'a observance of return of Totem Pole set for 1PM Friday in Laxgalts'ap

The Nisga'a Lisims Government has provided some additional details towards tomorrow's Rematriation Ceremony to welcome the return of the Wilps Ni'isjoohl Memorial Totem Pole.

The Memorial pole taken from the Nisga'a in 1929,  began its journey back to the Nass Valley in August of this year after having been on display in Scotland for much of the last century.

We outlined some of the history towards tomorrows highly anticipated event, with a few items in recent months which you can review below towards background on the day's activities. 

Tomorrow's Events get underway   at 12: 45 PM at the Nisga'a Museum in Laxgalts'ap, the full outline of the ceremony is available below:

The Nisga'a have also made provisions for those who can't make the journey to the Nass to view the ceremony in person, with a Zoom link for the Ceremony available here.

Follow the Nisga'a Lisims Government Social Media stream for updates towards tomorrows ceremony.

More notes of interest from the Nisga'a Nation can be reviewed from our archive page.  

City West reveals 2024 Phone Book Cover winning photo

The winning submission from Jeff Easingwood from this years 
CityWest Phone book cover contest

(image from CityWest)

The voters have spoken and with their votes,  Jeff Easingwood has claimed the CityWest phone book cover for the year ahead. The artistic talent behind Clearly Coastal's submission above made for the eye catching vote getter claiming the top spot by a large margin in the voting this year.

CityWest announced the winning submission yesterday through Social Media.

CityWest issued the call for Submissions back in August, with local photographers having until August 31st to deliver their photos for consideration.

Voting began began in mid September, that after CityWest had whittled down the list of options down to seven finalists, two of them from Mr. Easingwood.

The list of seven that made for this years competitoncan be reviewed here, 

All of them were worthy contenders and make for a showcase of the photographic talent of the region. 

The vote winner, which gained 70 percent of all the votes, is set to be on display in homes and businesses across the city once the delivery of phone books comes later this fall.

More notes on CityWest can be reviewed here.

SD52 celebrates success of Oolichan Moon, as local authors hear much praise for their award winning work

School District 52 has taken some justifiable pride in the accomplishment of two of their employees, celebrating the success of the Book Oolichan Moon, which is the creation of Lucy Trimble and Samantha Beynon.

SD52 paid tribute to the work as they continue to observe Truth and Reconciliation  themes at local schools this week in the lead up period to Truth and Reconciliation Day on Saturday.

You can add to the growing list of congratulations here.

Harbour Publishing provides a thorough synopsis of the project which was first published in October of 2022.

Some of the commentary to the Harbour Publishing website provides a look at the impact that the book has had on those that have read it to date.

Oolichan Moon is available for purchase at Eddie's News on Second Avenue West.

You can also find the book at the Prince Rupert Library, which has a wide collection of Indigenous titles for review as part of their observance of Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Learn more about the Library's plans here.

Our look ahead to what's planned locally in observance of Truth and Reconciliation Day can be reviewed here