Sunday, December 31, 2023

Blog Watching 2023: The Year in Review


For our Blog watching feature for year's end we offer up four headings to provide for a glimpse of some of the news highlights of the year soon to end.

Category number one will be the Overall Top story, as determined by the amount of views the article received over the course of the last 365 days.

Category Two will feature those stories of note from Prince Rupert City Hall.

Our third category explores some of the key topics of the year from the Business or Industrial footprint in the community.

A new addition, a fourth category for the review, will focus on the work of Emergency Responders from across the Northwest 

All of our results have been determined by the viewer count for the stories through the year.

At the bottom of each section you will also find links to additional blog resources to review themes in more detail, listed by the month.

Our Lists of the year, unfold as follows:

Overall top stories

As 2023 comes to a wrap, the prospects for the Port and how it relates with the city dominated much of the conversation for the community in the year just about to end.

From the latest data reviews from the Port Terminals, a month long labour dispute and the ongoing focus on how much the Port should give back to the community by way of taxes or grants continues to make for many a conversation around the region.

The City's focus on infrastructure and a keen interest on the revitalization of the city's downtown area, most recently through some high profile demolitions also was of much note for the public this year.

As well, themes of Emergency Service responses, whether by the RCMP, Fire Services, BC Ambulance or BC Conservation Service officers frequently found a fair bit of interest through the year.

Our look at how the months unfolded can be reviewed below:

Most Read -- All Inclusive


Port Response to City's PILT Report and discussion takes issue with a number of Council's findings


Vancouver Sun article highlights the now over one year incident of a tragic death at Prince Rupert Hospital, as well as other concerning issues of safety at facility


New Tourism initiative prepares to take to the streets of Prince Rupert 


Ken Cote bids farewell to the skies as he brings his decades of aviation to a close on the North Coast


Apartment building proposal for Frederick and Hays Cove to be revealed at tonight's Council Session


Belmont Hotel Demolition could be on the horizon


Moby Dick's Goats make for Prince Rupert return 


Prince Rupert's newest lounge opens its doors on Fraser Street 


Proposed change for Second Avenue Building on the list for Planning notes for Council tonight


West side structure fire Tuesday claimed one life, sent others to Prince Rupert Regional Hospital


SD52 starts PRMS replacement planning with Management contract through Vancouver School Board


Drake Crescent Housing returns to the forefront, as Pacific Aurora Construction seeks variances for property in question

See our right hand column feature North Coast Review Backgrounders for links to archives of the year on a range of topics of note for the region.

Also as part of our right hand column options we have a North Coast Review Extra Edition feature which offers more in depth reviews of some of the larger issues of the Northwest this year.

Tracking the year in politics is fairly easy as well from our right hand column listings as well, just check out our archives for both the House of Commons and Legislature for items of note from the North Coast and Northwest in 2023.

Those who have deeper interest in the federal and provincial scene will find our companion blog D'Arcy McGee of interest, where we have archived notes from both Ottawa and Victoria.  


Municipal government

As noted above, action on derelict buildings and the ongoing work on infrastructure can be counted on to capture a large bit of interest by the public.

With Two Budget processes this year owing to a change in how City Council puts together their financial planning, any notes related to how the City plans to spend our money and how much they want found a good audience this year.

Housing plans, those currently underway, proposed or in some cases seemingly abandoned also were of much interest for readers as the twelve months of 2023 passed us by.

What municipal themes caught the interest of the readers through the year looked as follows:

Most Read -- Municipal Government




The engine that is Prince Rupert is the port and 2023 saw the engine stall a bit, that mostly through the reduced volumes of goods through the DP World Container Terminal at Fairview.

The  years challenges meant significantly less work for many of the workers, both with the economic malaise in shipping and a summer labour disruption that brought Port operations to a near standstill for most of July.

There were some positives in the port related economy, some of the other terminals had strong years with the Grain and Trigon among those with positive throughput sheets, the new economic generators of energy resources also continue to build up their presence on the north coast.

While 2023 was a year of reflection for the industry, port officials continue to move forward with ambitious expansions plans for the Container Terminal and adjacent logistics terminals to service the port.

The Tourism industry saw an improving situation, with the Cruise sector delivering a good year of increased passenger counts, locally the commercial sector continued to see Prince Rupert's focus on the local small business operators, with some openings and some closures along the way in the year just ending.

Some of those closures continue an erosion of services that many took for granted over the years, with the town currently without an autobody shop and short of mechanics.

The lack of services and shopping making for more traffic eastbound to Terrace which has clearly become the shopping/service centre for the region, while parcel delivery services in Prince Rupert probably make for the largest growth business in the service sector. 


Some of the stories of the year are as follows:

Most Read -- Business/Industry


Port Response to City's PILT Report and discussion takes issue with a number of Council's findings


Wainwright Marine Services and Director Bates facing eight charges on 2021 Ingenika sinking



Terminal Build complete, Wolverine Marine Fuelling looks to 2024 start for Prince Rupert Operations 

For more background on the region's industrial, tourism and commercial sectors see the following:

Industrial Archive

Most Read -- Emergency Responder Files


For more background on the work of Emergency Responders across the Northwest see our archive below:

Emergency Responders Archive 2023

To all our readers, we hope you have a very happy and enjoyable New Year's Eve as we all provide our own farewell to an unforgettable twelve months of 2023. 

We offer our wishes for all the Best in 2024. We're looking forward to seeing what stories will be the ones that resonate through the year when we do this all again on December 31st, 2024!

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching for the year now ending can be found here.  

Friday, December 29, 2023

ANBT organizers remind teams of importance of January 1st deadline

With the arrival of 2024 on Monday, the countdown towards the  64th All Native Basketball Tournament will be knocking the days off the calendar quickly through the weeks ahead. 

The teams set for competition all making their plans for mid February and the highly anticipated gathering once again in Prince Rupert.

As New Year's Day looms just over the horizon, the organizers have reminded  participating teams of some required steps to have taken care of as 2024 starts.

The last month has seen a lot of the behind the scenes work moving forward towards this years tournament, with new corporate sponsors and some familiar ones signing on for the February event.

The All Native Tournament takes place at the Russell Gamble Gymnasium and Arena a the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre from February 11-17.

Follow our archive page here, for the latest notes as we get closer the annual event that brings Prince Rupert to life in the heart of the winter months.

More Haida Gwaii Health care staffing issues bring closures into January; Rumours bring Northern Health reply on Doctor's plans in Prince Rupert

Masset and Old Masset residents up again for holiday period closures for Northern Health on Haida Gwaii, an update from the Health Authority yesterday announced plans for the closure of the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital Emergency Department from Today until January 2nd.

The second closure of the Masset area hospital follows the Christmas period closure for the community  which lasted from December 21 to 25.

On the eastern side of Hecate Strait, the health care challenges for the Health Authority have led to a number of questions posed on the Prince Rupert Specific Social Media page, with aa number of residents concerned about rumours of local Doctors set to close their practices.

While Northern Health notes that it can't confirm or deny any specific plans from local health practitioners, they do outline that notice to patients is required by local physicians.

They also observe that two new doctors are set to arrive in Prince Rupert in 2024, with recruitment of others continuing.

So far the ongoing turmoil for health care on Haida Gwaii and concerns over local service for the Prince Rupert area have not generated any comment from North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health.

The MLA'S year end message to constituents does note of the progress the NDP government has made in the area of health care this past year, though it's likely a correspondence not resonating as hoped on Haida Gwaii this holiday period.

More notes on Health Care across the region can be explored here.

No Hibernation for Polar Bear Swimmers ... dip in Rushbrook goes January 1 at 1PM

Prince Rupert's Rotarians will once again be welcoming in the new year with a dip in the Harbour, the Annual Polar Bear Swim set for 1 PM on Monday, January 1st 2024.

Your opportunity to wander down the Rushbrook Boat Launch to celebrate the start of a new year, with Coffee, Hot Chocolate and a Hot Dog awaiting you return from the chilly Harbour temps of the first day of 2024.

This years dip perhaps not quite as cold as years past with the New Year's Day forecast calling for Periods of Rain and a High temperature of 5 degrees by dip time.

Rotarians note that costumes are encouraged and in past years have made for quite the parade of participants into the water.

The Annual New Year's Day dip, just one of a number of community events sponsored by Rotary and assisted through local fundraising through the years.

The Rushbrook Boat Ramp is the launching point for the 2024
Polar Bear Dip in Prince Rupert on New Years Day

Follow the Rotary Club's Social media stream for updates on the way to the Polar Bear Swim.

More notes on Community themes can be reviewed here.

Prince Rupert's Al-Anon program returns in early 2024

The local program that offers fellowship for those impacted by some one else's drinking is set to resume its work in the New year, with Al-Anon in Prince Rupert returning to the Prince Rupert Library for their Tuesday evening program in January.

The weekly meetings take place in the Multi-Purpose room of the library, with the only requirement for participation being that you have been affected by someone else's drinking.

Should you wish for more information on the local program contact organizers at

More community notes can be explored here.

Free Transit in Prince Rupert for News Years Eve and changes coming to Customer Alert System

2024 will be a year for updates to the BC Transit  Customer Alert system , with a new platform to be released to provide transit users with up to date service impacts, along with an option to sign up to receive notifications specific to the route, or routes you may use the most.

The new system will require that all existing and any new customers create a personal account using a valid email address, the details for all of that to come when he program launches in the weeks ahead.

Of more immediate attention, BC Transit in Prince Rupert will be offering a Free New Years Eve bus schedule to get you to and from you last party for 2023, the service hits the road at 5PM on Sunday evening with the last runs of the early morning set for 1:30 AM.

The Free service is in place for the Prince Rupert city Routes, 51, 52, 53 and 54

Make note of the BC Transit Prince Rupert page here, for updates on service themes for the last few days of 2023 and into 2024.

More notes on Transportation along the Highway 16 corridor can be explored here.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

CityWest awaits break in adverse weather to explore Haida Gwaii sub sea fibre issue and make repairs

A fibre break on the sub sea link between the North Coast and Haida Gwaii
has knocked CityWest services off on the Islands

Haida Gwaii's CityWest customers likely were using other methods to track Santa's sleigh on Sunday, a look outside for a glowing red nose for instance, to keep track of the path to Island communities. 

That as the Prince Rupert based communication company's link from Bonilla Island to Haida Gwaii has seemingly suffered some kind of subsea fibre related incident, leaving the residents originally with reduced internet since December 24th.

The update of this morning, adding to the misery for residents with an advisory that the backup link is now inoperable as well.

The first break in the weather not anticipated until New Year's Eve at earliest,

 The Maintenance and Outages page provides further details related to the outage and CityWest's plans towards resolving the issues.

As they note, Hecate Strait, where the subsea fibre is located and the Islands of Haida Gwaii have been host to Hurricane Force winds and heavy seas since prior to Christmas Eve, with one powerful weather system after another making its way along both sides of the Islands.

Follow the CityWest social media stream and Maintenance and Outages page for updates through the weekend ahead.

More notes related to CityWest can be reviewed here.

Shames Mountain Rains make for preparations to mitigate issues later this season

It's been a damp Ski Season so far for Shames Mountain, with both welcome amounts of snow, followed. by less welcome bouts of rainfall for the Northwest ski hill.

Operations continue through this holiday week and the Mountain's snow report for today indicates 16 cm of new snow in the last 24 hours for the upper mountain, 7 cm of snow for the lower mountain areas.

The runs will be in operation through to New Years Day from 9AM to 3:30PM for those looking to get the last few travels on the slopes for 2023.

Shames officials are however keeping an eye on the continued rainfall and have developed a plan towards water mitigation, putting a call out for those with pallets to lend a hand towards their work.

The pallets to be used towards preparing for rain events anticipated for later this ski season.

You can keep up with the latest notes from Shames through their Social media stream here.

A look at the 2023-24 Ski season can be explored here.

8.2 kilogram winner puts wrap on Prince Rupert Lions Club Blue Knuckle Derby for 2023

Jean Nelson gets the bragging rights and the cash from
the 2023 Lions Club Blue Knuckle Derby
(from Lions Club FB)

The ladies ruled the waves for the most part during Wednesday's Blue Knuckle Fishing Derby. 

The 31st edition of the Prince Rupert Lions Club event dedicated Marc Desautels and Jeff Carlson saw a strong field of competitors take to the tidal waters off Prince Rupert.

The participants headed out at dawn to reel in their catch of a chinook salmon, with around 70 fish caught on the day ...  and when they returned:

Jean Nelson was the one with the best Fish Story, an 8.2 kilogram or 18.078 pound fish that took the top prize of 1,250 dollars in this year's event.

The remaining top prizes went to:

Kate Morse -- 7.46 kilograms or 16.4 pounds -- $1,000
Jolie Novac and Rick Gilger (a tie) 12.26 pounds -- $500 to be split between the two

There were also a large volume of additional prizes up for grabs as part of the annual event, the Lions live streamed the results through their Social Media page.

As of this morning, there are still some prizes to be claimed by participants.

Follow the Lions Club Social Media stream here, for more notes related to the 2023 Blue Knuckle Derby.

Money raised through the event will be put to use for a number of Lions Club programs in the community 

More community notes can be explored through our archive page.

Ongoing Adverse weather makes for yet another schedule change for Northern Expedition

The Northern Expedition due south of Prince Rupert following
it's t10 AM departure from Fairview Bay Terminal

With repairs complete, all that is left is for some cooperation from the weather systems currently rocking Haida Gwaii.

The Northern Expedition was tied up alongside Fairview over Christmas and Boxing, that as it awaited a part making a road journey to Prince Rupert, the work now complete the vessel is ready to sail, but the weather is making for complications.

As a result of the ongoing stream of weather systems impacting on Hecate Strait and Haida Gwaii, The Northern Expedition has seen a change to the current schedule, which saw the vessel depart Fairview Bay at 10 AM.

The new departure time out of Skidegate tonight is 10PM with 7 AM arrival in Prince Rupert.


A STORM WARNING is currently in place for Hecate Strait with winds of up to 50 knots anticipated by Friday morning, with seas of up to 6 metres.

Follow the BC Ferries website and social media stream for any updates or changes to the sailing plans.

More notes on BC Ferries can be reviewed through our archive page.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Santa's Christmas Journey is well underway as the Jolly Red Elf makes his travels for 2023

Santa is underway for his 2023 tour of the world

See update at the bottom for the total number of presents delivered on Christmas Eve 2023 and the time that Santa arrived this year around the communities of the North Coast, Northwest Haida Gwaii and Southeast Alaska!


Those of us on the North Coast still have a bit of time before the sound of sleigh bells and reindeer hoofs are heard around the region, offering perhaps a glimpse of a famous red nose guiding the man in Red in the Sleigh to his appointed rounds.

However, in many parts of the world the annual Journey of the North Poles most famous resident has already taken flight with the flight path of Mr. Claus being followed closed by NORAD the joint Canadian-American Air Command which keeps watch on all things in the skies.

As Santa arrives in Canadian and American airspace, jets from air bases across the country will be taking to the air to help Santa reach all destinations on the continent.

As they do each year, NORAD has provided a link to satellite tracking, giving Canadian and American children just a bit of a heads up as to when they should be in be and the cookies, milk and treats for the reindeer left out.

You can keep watch with NORAD through the NORAD tracks Santa website, with its live look ins along the way.

The NORAD Tracks Santa Facebook page also features some behind the scenes glimpses of the staff on duty for the night as well as range of games and fun activities to take part in while Santa works his way around the Globe.

NORAD caught a glimpse of Santa as he departed the North Pole hours ago, beginning his whirlwind 24 hour trip around the globe that ends as he hits Hawaii.

NORAD's not the only ones keeping a watchful eye out for the transit, BC Ferries has introduced some state of the art tracking equipment for their 2023 watch.

You can even keep up with the travels from the Online Aviation Tracking website Flight Radar 24

While we were sleeping on the North coast overnight, Santa and the reindeer were out and on the way to their Christmas Deliveries, covering a fair portion of the globe to the West of the international date line.

As of the Noon hour in Prince Rupert, the flight plan so far had taken Santa to Eastern Russia, Australia, New Zealand, China and much of Asia with the Jolly Old Elf directing the Reindeer guiding system to points west.

Follow the travels below!

Port Edward, Prince Rupert and on to Lax Kw'laams and Alaska

Santa's travels from Christmas Eve 2023
(Latest satellite imagery as of 12:22 AM )

And at 12:22 AM Santa left Prince Rupert en route 
to Alaska and points beyond!!!

Heard over Seal Cove was ...

"Merry Christmas to all and to all a Goodnight!"

Vancouver/Victoria area

Fort St. John, BC

Houston, Texas

Chicago, Illinois

New Orleans, Louisiana 

Toronto, Ontario

New York City, New York

Washington, DC

Entering Canadian Air Space off of Newfoundland


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

London, England

Madrid, Spain

Paris. France

Berlin, Germany

Rome, Italy

Athens, Greece

International Space Station 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Shanghai, China

Seoul, North Korea

Sydney, Australia

Earlier today, the North Pole was a busy place, with lots of pre-flight activity, and then he was off for his rounds. A Christmas Eve Journey that comes to a close just past the midnight hours.

Presents Delivered so far:


As of 12:22 AM Christmas Eve Pacific Time

WIND WARNINGS extended for North Coast, Haida Gwaii

Satellite imagery from Environment Canada
of the approaching weather for the North Coast and Haida Gwaii

Two more rounds of strong winds are anticipated for both the North Coast and Haida Gwaii over the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day period, with Environment Canada expanding on its WIND WARNING of Friday earlier today.

The first wave of wind to come in the afternoon, followed by a pause, with the system resuming its momentum overnight. 

At times gusts could reach 120 km/h coming out of the Southeast.

That will be followed by a series of storms to follow through to Wednesday.

As we noted earlier today, that has also delivered Hurricane Force Winds for Hecate Strait, that resulting in the cancellation of BC Ferries sailings on Christmas Day between Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii.

You may come across some snow if you have holiday travel inland with Terrace anticipating periods of Snow or Rain depending on the weather systems progress for Christmas Day.

Follow the Environment Canada website for updates on the weather as the holiday period moves forward.

As well follow Drive BC when it comes to any road conditions for points east of the Port Edward turnoff.

More on past Weather Events can be reviewed here.

Adverse Weather/Mechanical Issues Brings Sailing Cancellations for Northern Expedition

No sailing this Christmas Day for BC Ferries 
between Prince Rupert and Skidegate owing to heavy seas

The ongoing weather situation on Hecate Strait has made for a Sailing Cancellation for the Northern Adventure this Holiday weekend with Monday's Christmas Day and Boxing Day sailings departing Skidegate and Prince Rupert now cancelled.

One Sunday, BC Ferries added to the Service Notice cancellation advising of a mechanical issue, the work requiring the trucking to Prince Rupert of the key part of the repair process.

More information for passengers is included as part of the Service Notice below.

The service is anticipated to return to its regular schedule on Thursday, December 28.

Hecate Strait remains under a Hurricane Force Wind Warning through tonight and tomorrow, with winds of up to 65 knots and seas of 6 metres on Monday.

Follow BC Ferries Service Notices page or their social media stream for updates.

More notes on Marine services on the North Coast can be reviewed here.

Blog Watching: Week ending December 24, 2023

As 2023 begins the countdown to a wrap our last of the weekly Blog Watching features focuses on Port related themes.

Our look at the Year to date statistics for the Gateway footprint on the Prince Rupert waterfront was well received by readers.  

As was our preview of the debut for a new feature for the Port, the Wolverine Fuelling Terminal set to start operations in the New year.

Health care on Haida Gwaii over the holidays was a key topic of the week with staffing shortages making for an emergency room closure.

Cellular phone communications on the Highway 16 corridor continue to see improvements, with Rogers outlining its latest work to make for safer travels.

And our review of a career opportunity in support of the BC Justice system found a large audience, with a good number of readers exploring our notes on the recruiting drive by BC Sheriff's.

 Our top story of the five on the week takes us to the Waterfront, with the latest review of Port through put of some note for readers.

Last look at Port Performance for 2023 highlights successes and challenges of the year --  The last bit of data released prior to the Holiday period highlights the year Lon slump in Container shipments a key element of the local economy, though more improved results were found for the Grain Terminal and Trigon's twin terminals of coal and AltaGas shipments.   (posted December 22, 2023

That article was followed by: 

Terminal build complete, Wolverine Marine Fuelling looks to 2024 start for Prince Rupert Operations  --  The newest service to be provided for vessels calling on Prince Rupert will start up operations in the New year. The Wolverine Marine Fuelling Terminal an addition that should help increase the Port's share of marine traffic on the Pacific Coast  (posted December 20, 2023)

Staffing issues make for Emergency Service interruptions for Masset/Old Masset residents over holiday period -- Haida Gwaii residents will be getting much of their emergency health care over the holidays in Daajing Giids, as Northern Health consolidates its care owing to staffing shortages . (posted December 21, 2023

New Rogers cel towers to improve public safety and wireless overage on Highway 16 corridor     --  Ongoing work along Highway 16 from Prince Rupert to Prince George continues to improve on cellular phone coverage and reliability in the Northwest.  (posted December 19, 2023
BC Sheriff's recruiting drive ends in January with posts to fill in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Smithers   -- The BC Sheriff's Service is in the last stage of the application period for their next graduation of provincial sheriff's with the mid January deadline charting the course to the summer training program.  (posted December 21, 2023

You can find our weekly Blog watching feature posted every Sunday morning by 9AM, making for a handy way to catch up to the week that was, at a leisurely weekend pace. 
You can also review the full listings of the week just past, from our Blog Archive index page found on the right hand side of the page. 

Next Sunday, we'll be looking back at the Year in Review, our annual review of a range of categories to bring 2023 to a close.

For updates on new items posted daily to the blog, we direct you to our CharlesMHays Twitter feed, where we post notification of new stories as we post them. 

Our archive of weekly Blog Watching can be found here.

 To view the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.