Monday, April 15, 2024

And that, Prince Rupert ... is that!


Best of Luck Prince Rupert ... 

Hope it all goes well for you.


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Blog Watching: Week ending April 14, 2024

This past week was a Council week, featuring the first of two public sessions for Prince Rupert City Council for the month of April.

As it often is on Council weeks, many of our items found large audiences and for this week two themes dominated the focus for readers.

The first was the use once again of dividends from the City's Legacy financial instrument, this time Council using some of those resources towards topping up the cost of design work from the estimate of last year.

The other topic that generated significant attention was another round of the city's work on derelict or nuisance properties, though in this instance, the prospects of demolition for the old Mohawk site on Second West now seems very unlikely.

Also this week,  the Prince Rupert Port Authority announced their latest Board of Directors appointment, with Hilary Cassady and Lee Brain announced as the appointees, Ms. Cassday from the Port Users Group and Mr. Brain to serve as the choice of the City of Prince Rupert and District of Port Edward.

The last of the list of five notes of the ongoing investigation into last weeks Fire at a townhouse complex on Immanuel,  the incident sent one person to hospital with serious injuries and saw Prince Rupert RCMP take one male into custody.
When it came to the most read item of the week however,  the latest dip in the funds of the City's Legacy accounts provided for our top article.

Legacy Fund Dividends come to the rescue for preliminary planning for City's McCarthy GM Facility for Civic Operations use --  At their Monday session, the members of Prince Rupert City Council approved the use of $290,000 of Legacy dividends to cover off the revised price of the original price of75,000 dollars for the design work on the McCarthy GM facility. That's the early process towards making use of the old auto dealership for  use by Civic Operations.   More notes related to the Monday Council Session can be explored here. (posted April 8, 2024

That article was followed by: 

City of Prince Rupert looks to accommodate property owners on Second West towards remediation goals for former Mohawk property site    -- Monday's council session brought comments from the property owners during the public comment period, along with a review of a report from staff that outlined steps for the property owners to take care of,  that to eliminate the prospect of demolition for the boarded up structure.    (posted April 10, 2024)

Former Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain one of two new appointments to the Prince Rupert Port Authority Board of Directors -- The City of Prince Rupert's nomination and selection process delivered a familiar name to a prime civic appointment. That as former Mayor Lee Brain was selected by  civic officials in Prince Rupert and Port Edward, to serve as the City of Prince Rupert/District of Port Edward representative on the Port Board. Also selected by the Port Users Group for placement on the Board, was Hilary Cassady an accomplished businesswoman with Prince Rupert roots.   (posted April 8, 2024

Prince Rupert's 'Still standing', so Jonny Harris is coming to town Sunday for a look-- Comedian Jonny Harris, host of the popular CBC TV program Still Standing was in the city for much of the week researching the community for his show at the Civic Centre on Sunday evening, the event one free to the public.   (posted April 9, 2024

One person injured and in hospital from Saturday's East Side fire, one in custody as Prince Rupert RCMP continue investigation -- Quick work by Prince Rupert Fire Rescue on April 6th limited the spread of a  fire at a townhome complex on Immanuel. Though as a result of the fire one person was taken to hospital for treatment of serious injuries, while Prince Rupert RCMP announced one male was in custody related to the fire.    (posted April 7 , 2024

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. 

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.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

MLA's Week: April 8-11, 2024

Health care dominated much of the discussion for the week at the BC Legislature, with the members of all three opposition parties taking note of a string of concerning issues across the province and seeking more from the government towards how it plans to address them.

The topic one of some note for Prince Rupert residents, as the city's hospital once again announced more overnight Emergency Department closures during the week, a continuation of the string of closures for the health care facility last month

While it was a fairly low profile week for North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, she did make note of some news from the province.  The MLA relaying word of a new program to match up patients who don't have doctors with physicians, though for Prince Rupert it may be more of a longer term option, that as a number of doctors plan to leave the community in the next few months.

Ms. Rice also made note of the recent Haida Agreement, speaking to the topic late in the week as part of the Thursday session.  Her comments in the Legislature followed approval of the 'Rising Tides' Land title agreement by the Haida Nation membership last weekend.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross was one of the Opposition members to speak to health care issues, raising a number of health service related concerns from residents in Kitimat as part of the Legislature debate this week

Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen also had an active week, that through a pair of committee sessions related to his Ministry in Lands, Water and Resource Stewardship.

Opposition members also turned a spotlight on the NDP government's Clean BC program, taking note of  a percolating controversy related to concerning allegations from that program

As for more on the work from the House, the sessions of the week  unfolded for the three regional MLA's as follows:


On the week, Ms Rice was mentioned once  in the record  for the week in the  Legislature from April 8-11.

Her contribution to the Legislature proceedings was a statement to the Chamber related to the recent Haida Gwaii land title agreement. The discussions led to  resolution of the long standing issue between the province and the Haida Nation (see video here)

Ms. Rice currently serves as the Government's Parliamentary Secretary for Rural health.

The North Coast MLA also addressed a range of themes and relayed  a number of government announcements through her Social Media Stream.


For our readers from the Terrace-Kitimat region, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross  was  mentioned three times in the record  for the week in the Legislature from April 8-11, 2024.

Tuesday afternoon, the Skeena MLA spoke as part of the Budget Health estimates for the Ministry of Health, with Mr. Ross raising a number of concerns on health from the Kitimat area. As part of his presentation and questions, the MLA noted of Emergency Room Closures, shared ambulance issues for the region. He also noted of concerns over the loss of services, along with filling open physician posts as part of his questions for the Health Minister (see video at  17:51 of the discussion)

During the Wednesday session, Mr. Ross had two opportunities to speak in the Chamber.

His first commentary was a salute to the Terrace River Kings following their Coy Cup victory in Powell River, as well the MLA noted of a number of regional sports teams that found success this spring (see video at 13:45)

The topic of Clean Energy, LNG Development and some notes on the growing importance of the Port of Prince Rupert as part of the energy infrastructure for the province made for some extensive comments in the  Wednesday session as well. (see video at the 14:16 mark)

Mr. Ross serves as the BC United critic on LNG and Energy

Committee Membership for MLA Ross for the Spring Session at the legislature has yet to be detailed:

The Skeena MLA also addressed a range of themes  featured as part of the MLA's social media work.


For our readers from the Bulkley Valley area, Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen  was  mentioned  once  in the record for the week in the  Legislature from April 8-11, 2024.

Tuesday Morning the Stikine MLA paid tribute to members of Ducks Unlimited who were  in the gallery, Mr. Cullen noting of their work on environmental themes (see video at 10:06 AM )

Committee Membership for MLA Cullen for the Spring Session at the legislature has yet to be detailed:

The Stikine  MLA participated in two Committee Sessions this week relate to the Budget Estimates for his portfolio in Water, Lands and Resource Stewardship  (see Monday afternoon session here and the Tuesday morning Session here

Mr. Cullen serves as the Government's Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.

The Stikine MLA also had comments on a range of themes through his Social Media stream this week


There is more background on all three Regional MLA's available from our  MLA's Week Archive, as well as our constituency archives below.

Members return to the Chamber on Monday morning.

A larger overview of provincial issues can be found on our  Political Portal D'Arcy McGee.  

Friday, April 12, 2024

Digby Island Ferry begins transit southbound for refit program

Out of Port ... the Digby Island Ferry is on a southbound
transit for its refit program in Victoria 

The navigation chart reads southbound for the Digby Island Ferry today, with the long serving vessel that connects the city with its airport destined for a Victoria area shipyard for what may be its last refit.

The Vessel Tracker website Marrine Traffic had the vessel last reported just south of Oona River at 3PM this afternoon, that as it began its journey to the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

City Council approved the contract for the refit in October of 2023, with Point Hope Marttime awarded the work, the last refit for the vessel was in 2019.

Those who travel through the Prince Rupert Airport on Digby Island are  now using a barge and tug service, which takes the airport buses and cargo truck across the harbour between Fairview and the Dock on the Island.

At the April 4th Town Hall Forum Mayor Pond noted that the current vessel is a the end of its life cycle, an information graphic as part of that presentation listed a replacement cost of 40 million dollars today,.

A number likely to rise once the next five year cycle comes to an end.

More notes on Airport Services in Prince Rupert can be reviewed here.

As Recreational Fishing and boating season nears, the City reminds Rushbrook users of some rules

The city's automated parking kiosk at Rushbrook Floats one of two in the area,
with a second unit located along George Hills Way across from the CBSA office

The spring and summer means more activity at the Rushbrook Floats as recreational and sports fishers, along with pleasure boaters and the commercial fleet all make use of the city owned Boat launch facility.

With those busy days just ahead, the volume of those using the facility is sure to increase, which could make space at a bit of a premium.

The City of Prince Rupert today through their social media stream has reminded all of those who use Rushbrook, including those who walk the trail to Seal Cove, of some of the rules and regulations to be aware of.

In their advisory they note of the two fixed kiosk locations one at Rushbrook, the other on George Hills way across from the CBSA offices. 

As well the City highlights the option of their Passage Pass app that allows you to pay online.

You can access that app program here.

Further information related to the Rushbrook Parking Improvement Area program can be reviewed here.

More notes related to City Hall themes can be explored here.

Lester Centre of the Arts ready to raise the curtain on Shakespearean works

Prince Rupert theatre goers are now less than one week away from the debut of the latest in Lester Centre productions and another much anticipated showcase of local talent.  

That as a three man ensemble tackle the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, the cast and crew now winding down their rehearsals in anticipation of the curtain raising on Thursday, April 19th. 

Planning for the project began in the fall of 2023, when the ambitious production first hosted auditions.

The three night run for the 37 plays of the Bard in just 97 minutes, is to be delivered by the trio of Andy Enns, Sam Brennan and Tristan Higginson with show times of 7:30 Thursday through Saturday.

To whet your appetite most verily for the grand occasion, the Lester Centre has provided for a short preview of what's ahead come Thursday night.

Ticket information for each of the three nights can be accessed here.

For updates on the countdown to showtime, follow the Lester Centre Social media stream.

More notes on the region's Arts scene can be reviewed here.

The Legacy Cookie Jar ... City Council's Fund of choice to get out of tight spots or tough decisions

The City's use of some funding from their Legacy Financial instrument was once again a talking point at City Council this week.  

That as we noted from our council reviews of the week, coming from the request for an amendment to the 2024 Financial Plan. That request one to top up the funding required for design work on the city's ambitions for the McCarthy GM building on Portage.

April 10 -- "Bumps on the road" -- City Councillors approve use of Legacy Dividends for McCarthy designs work, but raise questions on path forward 

April 8 -- Legacy Fund Dividends come to the rescue for preliminary planning for City's McCarthy GM facility for Civic Operations use

It marks the most recent occasion that City Council has used the financial instrument towards a project or civic initiative that needs a bit of extra cash to move forward, or has seen a cost over run.  

The use of the Legacy instrument something which over the last few years is akin to the Ghostbusters getting a call, whenever  Council sees a few financial ghosts. 

Legacy was created in 2014 during the exuberance of the days of LNG when local officials suggested we were going to be the centre of the then percolating industry, with hyper economic growth to go along with it. 

Yet curiously as years moved forward, at times some seemed to work to make sure that those LNG ambitions didn't come to pass in this part of the Northwest. 

The seed money for what became Legacy came from the bank account of Exxon-Mobil-Imperial, which was here kicking tires on Lot 444, the property across from Seal Cove which the city moved inside the city limits during that period.

However, by early 2018 Exxon and their components had announced that their planning was to come to an end, leaving behind their thank you notes by way of a reported 18 million dollars.

Towards the city's use of the financial instrument, the Legacy entry on the city website doesn't take long to work through, with only a few additions to it since the original notice of 2014.

Tracking just how often Council has used Legacy Dividends, or principle from the original Legacy money isn't an easy task. 

Curious residents over the years would have to dig deep into the Financial notes at budget time for nuggets of information. 

Or keep a watchful eye for Reports to Council through the year from the Chief Financial Officer, to determine whenever another few dollars were distributed to projects, vision planning work or other initiatives.

Last Fall saw a presentation for the public that noted of the many Budget initiatives for 2024 and where the Legacy option was put to use.  Most of the areas where money has been used residents likely would find sensible, a few others probably not so much so.

Still for most of us, without a current and updated document available on the civic website to review, it's hard to say if Council is using their cookie jar as the public may wish it to be used.  

Or if they consider it their own account towards the execution of their vision planning elements of recent years.

Setting up such an easily accessible resource on the civic website, listing each of the times that the Legacy instrument has been put to use, would at least give residents some kind of an idea as to how their money ...  for it is the community's cash not Council's, is being used.

In recent months we've seen some hints as to how Council makes its decisions, for instance the topic of the 4th Avenue West stair and walkway remediation program, despite much public engagement stalled last year; the idea of using Legacy Funds seemingly not something that Council seemingly had an appetite for.

Same for what has become the annual Budget time request from Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa that Council use the financial instrument to reduce the burden on those who pay property taxes each July.

Though as we saw this week, should a project, in this case the plan to move Civic Operations to the McCarthy facility find itself facing a significant cost estimate spike, it's Legacy to the rescue.

The workings of the Legacy Instrument, along with how it relates to the operations of Watson Island, and much like how the City oversees CityWest, another element of the city's financial portfolio; all seem to be divisions which never seem to gain much interest from Council towards  regular and informative public reviews or oversight.

And despite the concept that residents of Prince Rupert in effect hold the position of shareholders for all three; there never seems to be a Shareholders meeting called to outline where the City is going with those entities, or for the public to ask questions about them.

The closest we get is during events like the recent Town Hall Forum of earlier this month or previous State of the City forums, where Legacy is praised for its contribution to civic finances.  

Or as was the case in 2022, a few highlights on the use of the instrument through infographics. 

But when it comes to actual details on operations, or how Council is shaping its vision, let alone if Council priorities are in line with what the public may want. 

Those are elements that don't make for much public discussion.

Council for the most part in recent years seems to have lost their way on why they have been elected, that to act as advocates for those who send them to 424 Third Avenue West.

Instead at times they appear quite content and indeed enthusiastic, to have become part of the sales team that represents City Hall Inc. to the public.

That approach probably has evolved owing to a lack of interest by the local media in any form of local government function, from City Council, to School Board, to the work of the MLA in Victoria.

That disinterest when it comes to taking note of Council's work, putting their deliberations into a spotlight and seeking accountability, leaves the message making to the elected officials, Senior Staff members  and the communications team.  

And that's not really offering the kind of review that digs into areas that the public should want to have explored.

Then again, the voters of the community share some of that responsibility towards those issues and the current situation.

The 2022 municipal election saw just 2,835 voters cast a ballot

Over the years the election turnout for municipal and all elections for that matter, has been concerning creating somewhat of a democracy deficiency.

With most residents taking a pass on their civic duty on election day, a message likely not lost by those that shape policy at City Hall, the School Board office or at the Legislature, as well as by those who are supposed to be reporting on it.

Yes, every once in a while an issue pops up, such as this week that catches the attention of the public.  

But without any follow up and engagement with civic officials by residents and what's left of the media in the region; the cycle surely will return to a pattern that seems pretty predictable by now.

We've explored the Legacy theme in particular more than a few times over the years since 2014 and there is very much a sense of a Ground Hog day vibe around it all. 

You can review much of that previous work through our Council Discussion  archives over the years.

2024 Business Excellence Award Winners and Finalists celebrated by Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce

And the winners were ... the Commercial Class of 2024
on stage at the Lester Centre on Saturday night

(image from PR & District  Chamber of Commerce FB

The Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce is saluting both the winners and finalists for the 2024 Business Excellence awards,  with the awards handed out last Saturday night at a Gala event at the Lester Centre of the Arts.

The night one to celebrate the resilience of the local commercial sector and to highlight those in the community who provide for excellence in customer Service.

The nomination period closed at mid February, followed by online voting in March by the community, those results provided for the names in the envelopes for Saturday night's celebration.

The full list of the thirteen Award winners for 2024 was posted to the Chamber's Facebook page on Wednesday.

Through this week the Chamber has provided a look at both the winners and finalists of the 57 business or individuals up for consideration.  

That by way of their social media page, included in all of that is a collection of photos of those who took away the top prize in each of the categories.

You can review those notes through Chamber of Commerce Social Media stream

More notes on Commercial sector developments in the region can be be reviewed through our archive page.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach hails recent move to double tax credits for volunteer fire fighters

Members of the Port Edward Volunteer Fire Department and other
Volunteer services received welcome news from Ottawa this week.
That of a doubling of their allowable tax credit for their work in 
service to their communities

Those who volunteer their services for fire fighting and Search and Rescue work can now gain a bit more of a tax credit at tax time.

That as the Federal Government has announced that the Tax Credit for those community minded residents has now been doubled.

The Federal Government announcement was released on April 10th.

"In recognition of this, today the federal government announced that Budget 2024 will propose to double the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit and the Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit. 

This means the tax credit will increase from $3,000 to $6,000 for 2024 and subsequent tax years, saving volunteer firefighters up to $900 per year. This increase will particularly benefit rural communities where firefighters are most often volunteers and they are confronting increasingly more frequent wildfires due to climate change. 

Over the next six years, this represents about $105 million in new support for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers across the country. 

Today’s announcement also includes $166.2 million over five years in new funding in support of First Nations emergency management and preparedness. Recognizing that many First Nations communities are especially vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters, this investment will better support First Nations to protect their communities."

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bacharach who had been advocating for the change in Parliaemt this past year shared word of the announcement through his social media stream on Thursday.

The MP's shout out to Northwest volunteers missed out on the District of Port Edward fire fighting component who will benefit from the new tax credits, while the note  towards  the Prince Rupert Department was somewhat misdirected,  as that is a fully paid professional force and won't qualify for the tax credit measures.

Mr. Bachrach nd Vancouver Island MP Gord Johns also provided a video to celebrate the announcement. 

More notes on the work of Mr. Bachrach in Ottawa can be explored here.

The work of those who respond to fires, search and rescue calls and other Emergency responders in the Northwest can be reviewed here.

City resident tries to tie city's nuisance enforcement ramp up to current Housing situation

The city's recent push on enforcement on nuisance properties made
for a popular topic in the public discussion period at Monday's 
Prince Rupert City Council session

Monday's City Council session found the public comment period one where the city's recent work to expand on their enforcement  of nuisance properties gained some feedback from the public.

As we noted earlier this week, the first exchange on the issue came from the owners of a property on Second Avenue West, who outlined some of their frustrations at the civic policy and in particular how the city delivers its notices towards those properties.

A second presentation to Council took on the topic in a different view, that of suggesting that some of the city's enforcement on nuisance housing stock may be working against their quest for more housing  availability in the community.

The resident who has been in the community since 1976 provided some background on his own situation related to property ownership, noting how some financial challenges had led he and his family to fall behind on their own maintenance for their properties.

A situation that he suggested was exacerbated by the recent civic legislation and enforcement towards nuisance properties. His commentary observing how he had forwarded letters to the city noting how many of the homes in question towards those nuisance orders  date back to the Second World War and currently  have a range of pollutants.

As part of his commentary, while acknowledging that the clean up needs to be done, he offered up to council that the cost of that onus of clean up should not necessarily be totally on the property owners, highlighting the varying fees and challenges that they face for property remediation.

"We assume that these houses were built with a building permit and  complied with the law at ttime.  But the law says now it's not allowed ... take it to the garbage dump, but to take it to the garbage dump you have to pay special fees because it's got pollutants and you have a whole series of things to comply with.

It should be a difference between industrial and people with large mansion and small little houses ..." 

For the most part his presentation was to seek out some solutions from City Council as to how individual property owners could address those challenges and how those financial burdens are impacting on the amount of housing stock available in the community.

Among his recommendations was that the city should bring together a number of stakeholders from the province to regional First Nations to develop modular housing, something he offered up would help to resolve some of the homeless issues in the community. 

The City's councillors did not speak directly towards the overall presentation of earlier in the evening, during their own discussions of later in the session

But both Councillor Forster and Niesh did take some time to explore the theme of landfill costs and potential ways for residents to reduce those burdens.

The full presentation during the public discussion   can be reviewed through the city's video archive page staring at the 16 minute mark, the Councillor's contributions to the themes can be reviewed at the 52 minute mark.

Largely the City doesn't have a place in the conversation and the taxpayers likely would frown on the idea of providing any financial assistance to individual property owners. 

Particularly when it comes to taking care of the maintenance that they should be doing as part of their responsibilities as  owners of property.

There may however, be some areas for a review, whether in  landfill costs or the cost of other civic regulations  where the municipality could offer some form relief, guidance, or advocacy to the province  towards remediation when it comes to old housing stock to be returned to active use.

More notes on Monday's council session can be reviewed through our Council Session archive page.

A wider overview of the Housing issues in the region can be explored here.

City Crews making ready outdoor sports venues as spring season arrives

City of Prince Rupert work crews have been busy this week tending to some outdoor maintenance, working at a number of locations soon to be back in use after a winter's hibernation 

Crews were working on the Rotary Tennis Court location on Thursday afternoon, as well as to prepare some of the sports fields at the Recreation Centre for what will be a busy spring and summer season ahead.

The Ball fields for the most part are turned over to the various softball leagues around the city through the spring; while the Tennis/Basketball courts get an active work out from tennis enthusiasts and basketball players.

Minor Soccer and the Rugby played in town also have a number of fields to make use of including the Charles Hays field and that at PRMS.

Whether it's outdoors or inside the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre and Earl Mah Aquatic Centre you can find out more about Recreation programs from the Spring and Summer Recreation guide available here.

For more notes on Recreation Department themes follow their social media stream.

Lax Kw'alaams introduces signage to highlight expanse of their territory

One of six signs installed by the Lax Kw'alaams Band along the
Highway 16 corridor east of Prince Rupert

(image from Lax Kw'alaams FB)

The Lax Kw'alaams Band has outlined the introduction of a new signage program, which has seen the Band placed six signs along the Highway 16 corridor to inform those who stop to read them of the history of the traditional territory of the 9 Allied Tribes of Lax Kw'alaams.

As part of their introduction to the project through Social media on Thursday, the Band Council outlined the details towards the placement of the signs and how they share oral history as part of the larger Ts'msyen territory.

The signs were stood up at rest stops along the lower Skeena watershed along Highway 16. These signs are unique in sharing adaawx (oral history) as a part of the larger Ts’msyen territory, stewarded by the 9 Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams. 

This project also promotes the Sm’algyax language (the language of the Ts’msyen) in the Skeena corridor, including Sm’algyax place names, plants, and animals.

Lax Kwa'alaams officials also note however, that some of the signs have been vandalized and that they will be taking steps to address that issue in the weeks ahead.

Despite the signage having overwhelming support by council, hereditary leadership and Lax Kw’alaams members alike, some of the signs have already been vandalized by unknown persons or stolen completely. 

Lax Kw’alaams leadership wishes to assure the membership that the signs will be reinforced and replaced, and that the Lax Kw’alaams Band does not condone vandalism of any kind.

The Band Council also plans to create an online  resource for the new signage to offer a chance for those that may not be able to view the signs along the Highway 16 corridor.  

That pictorial guide will be included as part of the Lax Kw'alaams Truth and Reconciliation page on their website. 

The full information release from Lax Kw'alaams related to the project can be reviewed  here.

More notes from Lax Kw'alaams can be explored through our archive page.

City of Prince Rupert goes shopping for a new Fire Command vehicle

The City of Prince Rupert is doing some tire kicking on behalf of the Prince Rupert Fire/Rescue Department, that through their latest call for Bids through the BC Bid program, this one for a new Command Vehicle for the Fire Hall at 1st Avenue West.

The call for bids was listed as of yesterday on the provincial site, with a closing date of April 25th.

The City has a large volume of specs in mind for their new vehicle, which they would prefer to be less than a year old

The full list of what the PRFD is looking for when it comes to the new vehicle can be reviewed from the BC Bid website.

The timeline for the purchase would see the city acquire the new vehicle no later than the end of this month with it to go into service by the end of May.

The replacement of the Command Vehicle was noted as part of last fall's Budget work by City Council. The cost of the purchase to come out of Civic Reserves.

More notes on past City of Prince Rupert Bids can be explored from our archive page.

A look at the wok of Emergency Responders across the Northwest is available through our archive here.

A new Provincial Doctor referral program is introduced by MLA Rice ... minus the doctors for now

After a fairly quiet period on Social media over the last few weeks, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice used her online platform to relay another Provincial program roll out this week.  

This one related to Health Care and a new and hopefully improved way to match up doctors with the would be patients seeking them.

As the MLA outlines it, the new program will streamline the process of connecting doctors and Nurse practitioners who have space in their practice with the patients that are looking for primary health care.

However, as the Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health does note, the new rollout won't fix the largest issue of the moment for health care; that being the lack of doctors available for the matchmaking, a situation particularly concerning in her constituency at the moment.

With a current doctor shortage in Prince Rupert only set to get worse this spring and summer before reinforcements eventually arrive, local residents will be in health care purgatory for a bit longer yet for the new and improved service to be of some use.

That brings an extra load on at the PRRH Emergency Department where waits in the lobby for those looking to see a doctor now are getting longer as residents seek out services of whatever doctor they can find on any given day.

Northern Health didn't offer up much help on the roll out for Ms. Rice yesterday, four hours after the MLA's update ... the Health Authority had one of their own, announcing once again that the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital would be closed overnight, that owing to the lack of physician coverage.

That closure which lasted until 8 AM this morning, was just the latest in what has been a string of mostly overnight closures through March and now into April.

When it comes to filling that physician coverage challenge, maybe Northern Health could make use of the new online program ...

More notes on Health Care in Prince Rupert can be reviewed through our archive page.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Prince Rupert Regional Hospital to close Emergency Department overnight at 11 PM

Northern Health has once again been unable to secure physician coverage for the Emergency Department at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, and as it was for much of March that means another  Closure is set for tonight.

The Health Authority advised the public through their Social Media Feed at around 9PM that the Hospital Emergency Department would close at 11PM Thursday night; reopening to the public at 8 AM on Friday.

The overnight closure for this evening, breaks a string of full service days over the last four days and makes for the first time since April 7th, that Northern Health has had to note of a service disruption. 

You can review the notes related to the previous closures through our archive page.

Prince Rupert RCMP seek assistance of public in identifying man thought to be related to suspicious occurrences

The members of the Prince Rupert Detachment of the RCMP are looking for some help from the public as they look to identify and locate a male involved in concerning exchanges with women along Summit Avenue. 

From their information release of this afternoon the Mounties outline some details to their investigation

On three separate occasions since February 2024, adult women that were walking alone in the 1300 block area of Summit Avenue, all reported similar experiences. While walking, they were all engaged in unsolicited and persistent conversation by a person described as: 

Male; Darker complexion, possibly South Asian; Late 20’s to late 30’s; 
Muscular / heavy build. 

The man is apparently insistent on becoming friends but in each case made the women feel uncomfortable. In one instance he allegedly approached the woman and grabbed her arm briefly. 

The incidents were reported in the area of Summit Avenue near
Prince Rupert Regional Hospital 

 “Everyone deserves to feel safe while walking in Prince Rupert. Even though these women were physically unharmed this individual’s actions are concerning and we are looking to speak with them. We are urging anyone that has had a similar experience to come forward and speak to police in order that he can be identified.”  -- Staff Sergeant Dave Uppal

More on the case file can be reviewed  here.

If you have any information please contact the Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-624-2136

In case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1

More notes on the work of Emergency Responders can be reviewd fomr our archive page.

Tax Time with Taylor!

The Revenue Canada deadline to file your taxes is fast approaching, with April 30th the date to ensure that your tax forms have been received by the Federal Tax office.

And if you have still to put the wrap on your work, Skeena Bulkley Valley MP, Taylor Bachrach, is here to lend a hand.

No, it's not likely that he'll be dropping by to put pencil to paper; but in your mail box in recent days has been a Tax Time Tutorial from the NDP Member of Parliament.

The fifteen page Booklet consists of information on preparing your taxes, background on Deductions, Credits and Expenses as well as notes on Charitable giving.

The booklet also has the addresses of organizations around the Northwest that can help you navigate the Revenue Canada taxation labyrinth.

In Prince Rupert, the Unemployed Action Centre at 818 - 3rd Avenue West  offers Tax clinic assistance, call them at 250-627-1208 for more information.

If you haven't received one contact the MP's offices across the Northwest to see if they have any on hand for distribution.  Mr.  Bachrach also notes that the staff in his offices are ready to help should encounter any issues with the Canada Revenue Agency.

For those that like to get their information straight from he Source, the Federal Government offers tax filing assistance through the Federal website, the options available through that service can be explored here.

More notes on the work of the Skeena-Bulkley Valley from the House of Commons can be reviewed here