Thursday, February 29, 2024

Lester Centre of the Arts/Museum of Northern British Columbia seek your feedback

Two of Prince Rupert's top cultural institutions are teaming up to learn about what you want to see when it comes to culture and community heritage events.

The Lester Centre of the Arts and the Museum of Northern  British Columbia are hosting an online survey to learn more about what you would like to see in Prince Rupert.

The survey has but nine questions and offers you an opportunity for you to expand if you wish on themes of culture and heritage events and activities in the region. 

Your participation won't take more than five minutes.

Click on this link to provide your guidance to the respective institutions  

Follow their social media streams for updates once they have the results compiled.

Lester Centre of the Arts 

Museum of Northern BC

More notes on Community themes can be explored here.

Prince Rupert Recreation offers chance for you to turn your clutter to cash at March Garage Sale

If you've been looking around that house and decided that it's time to sell off some of those little used items, a pre Spring season clean up opportunity is coming to the Prince Rupert Civic Centre in early March.

Prince Rupert Recreation will be the venue for a Community Garage Sale, with an indoor marketplace for you to put your items on display and collect some pre Spring Break cash.

The Garage Sale to take place on Sunday, March 9th with a five hour window 10-AM- 3 PM  available to clear your home of some of the clutter.

The City advises that you can Register for a table to display your treasures to the community, taking advantage of the  warm, dry indoor space of the Civic Centre. 

Price of participation  is set at $20 per table. 

Call (250) 624-6707 to reserve your table today!

Follow the Recreation Department's Social Media stream for updates on the Way to Sale Day.

More community notes can be reviewed from our archive page.

Importance and comfort of Advance Care Planning theme for Council presentation from Prince Rupert and District Hospice Society

Ms. Susan Crowley had opportunity to get the members of City Council and those viewing the Monday session at home this week to think about a topic most of us put off for another day, that of Advance Care Planning. 

The First Vice President of the Prince Rupert and District Hospice Centre was speaking as part of Council's committee of the Whole on Monday, her presentation one coming ahead of Advance Care planning Day in March, which the City will be receiving a request for a proclamation on.

She observed of the relationship between the Society and council and how the City has always been supportive.

"We're actually very happy about the relationship that we have with City Council. 

That's not news, Council has always supported us a couple of Councillors Randhawa and  Forster came to our presentation, our public table that we had set up last year during that week and talked to people about Advanced Care planning.

So that shows we have the support"

From those comments she explored some of the programs that they offer for the local community to share the Advance care program, noting of their with work at the Seniors Centre, where they host workshops.

"Some of our work is done through Northern Health, we have a small contract with Northern Health we're really a not for profit, seriously not for profit Society.  

And we do have a contract with Northern Health to provide companionship and visiting and support of families in the Hospital, the Manor and in extended care.

But we don't have any contract with Northern Health, they have the responsibility in the province for helping to  provide folks here with advance care planning.

But we haven't worked too much with Northern Health on Advance Care planning.

They're centred out of Prince George and we haven't really worked too much, we're hoping to work more with them in Prince Rupert.

From those comments she explored some of the programs that they offer for the local community to share the Advance care program, noting of their with work at the Seniors Centre, where they host workshops.

"We kind of are doing it in the last year and we're going to continue working a lot with the Seniors and that's where Councillor Cunningham has been super supportive as well.

Because we offered four workshops through the Senior Centre, the Senior's Centre did al the advertisement, set us up in the place; an hour and a half long work shop for them and I think we reached about 60 people.

And probably 59 of them have not completed their Advanced Care Planning  papers, but they have the idea of kind of what to do and so that's another connection that we have with Council and Council's support"

Some of her focus was also on the grief counselling and drop in support programs that they offer in the community, much of it taking part through the proceeds of their fundraising efforts. 

"We offer individual grief counselling by phone and in person, group and then drop in support ... that's not in some definitions and in fact we're not funded to do that, so that comes from the fundraising in the community"

Towards She also noted of their upcoming fundraising and community awareness program in the community Hike for Hospice set for the First Sunday in May.

She observed of the importance to have these very important conversations with our families about the tough decisions that are required towards Advanced Care Planning.

She also noted of the opportunity for local companies to book a Hospice Centre representative to host a workshop at their offices to help inform the public of the program.

"We've been able to kind of tailor it to the age group and just talk to people about these are the forms this is what we're on about ... we've been offering our public one's through the Seniors and they've been very well accepted.  

But anybody much younger than that we would even encourage to start to think what they want or what my be happening with other members of the family, so come out to our Hike and see if there is somebody else in the city that might want to have a workshop or a presentation"

The nature of the difficult conversations that families have to have when it comes to Advanced care was highlighted through a short video presentation that she included as part of her time with Council.

Following the short video, Council members offered up some thoughts towards the program that is offered in Prince Rupert.

For Councillor Nick Adey the focus was on the portability of the Advanced Care program, the councillor noting that many Seniors move from their homes or to other communities as they age.

Ms. Crowley noted that leaving the province can make for some additional steps, but that it's a overall a very portable document an one valuable to medical professionals.

Councillor Teri Foster who is a nurse in the community, offered up her appreciation for the presentation and noted as to how the idea of a care plan is not limited to Seniors but a wise course for many to follow. 

"I really appreciate this presentation as I did last year, as you mentioned as medical professional this is helpful and it's not just for our older parents or older relatives.

I myself did mine in my twenties and I update it every few years. Because I spend a lot of time driving on the highway I spend a lot of time where if an accident happened Im very certain in what I would want to happen. 

And I want  give my family that gift of not having to in an already tense crisis situation have to suddenly argue what they think"

The councillor also noted of a workbook, the My Voice book available for those interested in the program.

Councillor Cunningham noted how the program has been well received by the members of the Seniors Centre and offered up his own endorsement of the program and its importance for families.

Mayor Pond observed that the topic had been one he had looked to personally take part in on year ago, but as the year went by he let that time slip by.

"This is the human confession if you will, I remember being very impacted last year when you presented and saying to myself, I've got to do something. And I can't believe that the clock has ticked around one entire year and I have not done anything. So thank you for coming and prompting me"

Ms. Crowley took advantage of that to remind the Mayor  of the upcoming sessions planned for the community. 

You can review the full presentation to Council from the City's Video archive, it begins at the start of the Council session.

More notes on the Monday Council session can be reviewed here.

You can learn more about the Prince Rupert and District Hospice Society from their website and social media feed.

Further items related to Community themes can be reviewed here

Kitsumkalum First Nation, Prince Rupert Port Authority sign Relationship Agreement

Kitsumkalum First Nation Chief Don Roberts, Chief Alex Bolton and
Prince Rupert Port Authority CEO and President Shaun Stevenson
have announced the start of a new
 Relationship Agreement
(image from PRPA)

A foundation towards how the Prince Rupert Port Authority and Kitsumkalum First Nation will move forward on relationship building has been put in place, with the two sides announcing the successful completion of a Relationship Agreement.

Through an information release this morning, the PRPA announced the background to the agreement which was reached last year.

The agreement was finalized as part of a signing ceremony attended by Port officials, PRPA Board members and the Kitsumkalum community.

Don Roberts, Chief of Kitsumkalum outlined how the agreement will define the relationship moving forward.

“The Port operates on lands and waters within Tsimshian Territory and this agreement will build on Kitsumkalum’s role in the economy of the Port and provide for collaborative strategic planning and management of the lands and resources in a way that recognizes and respects our respective rights, values, and interests.”

For the Prince Rupert Port Authority, President and CEO Shaun Stevenson noted how it reflects the shared vision of both parties for the future.

“This agreement symbolizes a significant milestone for PRPA and the partnership that we continue to build with Kitsumkalum. Our purpose at PRPA is to build a better Canada – and by extension, better communities – by growing trade. We work with Indigenous communities to ensure our joint values are reflected in a shared vision for the future.”

There were no details released today towards how the agreement will work, or what elements may  be put in place for the Kitsumkalum First Nation as a result of the signing.

More notes related to Port development across the Northwest can be reviewed here

District of Port Edward launches new approach towards waterfront park plans

The District of Port Edward is making a second attempt 
towards approval for a recreation area just off of the Galloway Bridge area
(image from BC Gov't Crown Lands website)

The District of Port Edward is back with a new application to the province towards their hopes of developing a waterfront park recreation area in the Galloway Rapids area just off of Highway 16.

As we noted last year the District's first attempt from 2022 was not approved by the province, that after the District had expressed an interest in expanding the application to additional land on the waterfront side of the highway.

The District's second bite at the apple was recently listed on the Government's Crown Lands website, with the application available for comments until April 11th.

The area of development is to the west of the Galloway Rapids bridge, running parallel into the highway leading into Port Edward.

It features a slightly different footprint from that proposed from two years ago.

The documentation that is part of the application providing some details as to the ambitions that the District have for the location.

The District of Port Edward is looking at developing a water access area for our community and visitors to enjoy. We have identified this area for our waterfront access and we are now applying to the Crown in order to secure this location. The plan is to develop a waterfront area, all measurements are approximate dimensions. 

The vision is to provide a natural atmosphere and an area where the public can access the water . A consultant has been hired to develop a concept design for the park and walking trail into Port Edward. We might set up picnic tables and some seating areas for visitors to enjoy. 

We will need to apply to the Ministry of Transportation to allow us to use the Highway right of way to create angle parking just off the highway. The concept design will provide us more details on how this waterfront park will look like.

We chose this location because any harbour area within out townsite is where CN Railway runs their now double track railway lines and the train traffic will only increase with the coming years as industry increases. 

This proposed area currently does not have these barriers and we do not foresee them in the future. Another reason for the development of this area is that if we secure the land and funding we have control of what happens in this area. 

There are several existing sites that have water access but they are privately own that have been used by the public in the past but owners are considering closing these areas to the public (such as the Kloyia Bay area). 

There is a desired for recreational areas that allow for beach access and we hope we are able to develop this area to support more recreational parks in our area.

The application includes a concept book of what the site would like once work is completed, should the District gain approval and follow through on their development plans. 

Among the features that should find much favour with local residents is a waterfront area which would include: a boardwalk, rest area, possible kayak launch area, education trail   and eventually connect up with other trail building plans for the region.

Items related to the Port Edward Crown Land use application
(Click on above to enlarge)

You can review the full application from the District from the BC Crown Lands website here.

There was much disappointment expressed from the public when the previous attempt to develop recreation space in that area was turned down, so hopefully this revised approach will meet with the approval of government officials.

The vision for that area one that does seem to offer up a welcome oasis for residents looking to enjoy water access in the region.

More notes from the District of Port Edward can be explored through our archive page.

Mayor Pond salutes RBA success with the province, spreads the credit on the initiative around

Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond used the Monday Council session to provide for some extensive notes on one significant element of last week's BC Budget. 

The Mayor speaking to the theme of the announcement from Finance Minister Katrine Conroy that delivered success for the proponents of the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance Collective.

A Budget item from provincial spending that will see 250 million dollars of funding, over five years allocated to the 21 members of the NWBCRBA.

The Council session providing for a public forum to follow up on his Social Media advisories of the weekend.

The Mayor took advantage of the opportunity on Monday evening to pay tribute to those involved in the initiative across the region, as well as in the Council chamber. 

He outlined how now that it's in place, municipalities can count on the funding over the next five years, to be used on much needed infrastructure work.

"Together with my fellow co-chairs, there are there of us. Smithers Mayor Gladys Atrill, the Mayor of Terrace, Sean Bujtas and myself, each from different regional districts, representing those regional districts on the RBA, had let Government know some weeks ago that we would be present both for the Throne Speech and for the Budget Speech.

With the very clear intention to say you know, we know you've been working on this, we know you're getting very close. We will be there so that when you announce it, we can celebrate and we were not disappointed.

As you well know, the province announced 250 million dollars to be shared amongst all those RBA communities, 50 million dollars a year over five years.

And certainly once, you know distribute that, and the distribution formula is not yet determined. But you know it's not 50 to us, it's a smaller amount  obviously, but it's still significant.

And most significant is, it's an ongoing deal, that we can now count on. 

We can plan projects going forward knowing that there will be money coming in, in addition to taxes, this is not to offset taxes, this to help us to get more work done with taxpayers money and we can count on that.

And then future council's can sit as that agreement comes towards the end and renegotiate.

 And you know if anybody in this room is part of that you know you'll be renegotiating up"

Mr Pond noted how this process was similar to the Fair Share arrangement in the Peace Country evolved which is what the RBA was designed to use as guide. He further outlined how it was a case of the province investing in the communities of the Northwest and how it could benefit Prince Rupert.

"We don't see this as a handout from Government, but in fact a return of a small portion of the revenue that they earn off of all the economic activity that takes place within this region. 

And it's staggering the billions of dollars of investment that is taking place today and planned for the future. 

It's massive and the province gets to collect, PST and Sales Tax and Income Tax off of all of that, while those entities come inside of municipal paying property taxes some outside of the municipal boundaries, rely on the services of our northern communities and their pounding our roads and they using our rec facilities.

So, this isn't charity, this is investing in communities so we can be all the province needs us to be, all that industry needs us to be. We just had a discussion about keeping an ER open and a hospital that ER has to be open for industry to do what it does. 

And so these are all interlinked pieces of building the kind of community that can attract young talented workers who will choose to live here, bring their families here and become a part of making those industries work"

Mr. Pond observed as to how he keeps two sets of lists in his mind when it comes to funding grants and those to how the city can grow revenue streams such as Watson Island. 

He also noted  how there were still some challenges for this community to address, such as PILT and the Port Tax Cap, but with the RBA agreement one box had been ticked, paying tribute to the Council members for their support of the initiative.

"We know in spite of a much improved relationship with the Port that we still have to resolve the PILT, the payment in lieu of taxes and that's OK, we'll resolve that. 

They actually agree, for the most part, on the Tax Cap that the city should be made whole and that the province should be the ones to makes us whole. 

But we've put a gigantic tick mark by a big one and I want to thank everyone of you members of Council you have been fully supportive of every initiative, not only fully supportive, you've been, in terms of sending me away and backing me up when I'm gone. 

But you know, being at UBCM with bells on and pressing the flesh and making sure that every single minister on the list knew ... There are some people, a few, who  think that  these things just happen that it would have happened anyway.

It wouldn't have happened anyway, it happens because you go make it happen so I want to thank all of you for being such an active part of that "

As part of the discussion, Councillor Adey took a moment to acknowledge the work of former Mayor Lee Brain and former Councillor Mirau for their efforts over the years.

"Just for clarity it's a process that began quite  a long time ago and I think we would be remiss if we did not mention specifically in terms of Council members. The previous Mayor Lee Brain and councillor Blair Mirau"

Mayor Pond noted from that, that they had been among the first  people he contacted to share word of the success found last week, as well as to salute the work of MLA Rice and Minister Nathan Cullen on the RBA initiative.

"Absolutely and to that end I did have a note don't forget ... absolutely ten years, ten years different political leaders from local government in the Northwest have been pushing for this. 

And my first two texts after letting you know was to former Mayor Brain, former councillor Blair Mirau to say we did it, it's done"

He also paid tribute to the interest taken by Minister Kang and Premier Eby to deliver on the funding arrangement.

Councillor Cunningham recalled some of the work of Council at UBCM towards pushing for the RBA initiative and other infrastructure issues, in particular he praised the work of Councillor Forster during that convention period.

You can review the Mayor's commentary from the City's Video Archive starting at the one hour ten minute mark.

More notes on the Monday Council session can be reviewed through our Council Archive page.

A wider overview of the RBA ambitions can be explored here.

City of Prince Rupert puts Sixth Avenue East Bridge work out for Bid; scope of project dependent on Funding approval

Work on the Sixth Avenue EastBridge
could  be underway by this summer

A light at the end of the bridge for those who use the Sixth Avenue East Bridge, with the City of Prince Rupert putting the refurbishment of the vital transportation link up for bid through the BC Bid website.

The Bid request for the 300 foot wood trestle bridge, 80 feet above Hays Creek was issued on Tuesday, the call for submissions one with a lengthy list of items for the to do list.

Among the scope of services for the work:

(i)Removal of existing asphalt surfacing. 
(ii)Removal of thread rods. 
(iii)Removal of sidewalk decking. 
(iv)Removal of guardrails and posts. 
(v)Assessment of timber condition and replacement of rotten or damaged bridge deck laminations. 
(vi)Installation of flashing. 
(vii)Replacement of guardrail timbers. 
(viii)Installation of threaded rods and tension system as per specifications shown on drawing number 2200449-000-1960-105. 
(ix)Installation of subdeck beam. 
(x)Installation of sidewalk support cantilever timbers. 
(xi)installation of sidewalk decking and steel strapping. 
(xii)Installation of utility supports and hardware.

The city also advises that budgetary considerations could have an impact  on how that work progresses.
The City acknowledges that the Project’s scope is contingent upon the availability of funds. 

The tender submission should take into account that the City reserves the right to alter the Project scope based on overall budgetary considerations. 

If the total budget allocated to the Project is less than the tenderers proposed bid, the City may exercise its right to adjust the scope by eliminating specific components, tasks, or features. 

The decision to modify the scope will be made in accordance with the City’s budgetary constraints and Project priorities.

The Bid package includes extensive instructions for the work that is planned, along with a number of diagrams of the specifics to the Bridge.

The closing date for submission of bids is March 29, 2024

The work would take up much of the summer, with a timeline towards completion set for the end of September

It's noted in the prospectus for those considering the work that the Bridge and sidewalk closure to traffic and pedestrians must be scheduled for August and September

Something that puts the work required into a two month window.

Though the city appears to want to wring out every last day possible towards that work, with the Bid call having added a day to the calendar for the month of September ...

You can review the full package for Bid Request from the BC Bid website.

More notes on civic infrastructure can be reviewed from our archive page.

A look at past City of Prince Rupert Bid calls is available here.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Climate Change impact on Prince Rupert the focus for City led info session Thursday at Prince Rupert Library

Prince Rupert's House of Reading is the host venue for
the City's presentation on Climate Action tomorrow night

Tomorrow night is the night for residents of Prince Rupert and area to come together to discuss the City of Prince Rupert's work on how to adapt to climate change with the City to host an information session at the Prince Rupert Library on Sixth Avenue West.

The Community presentation is scheduled for a 7 PM start and follows up on some of the work that City Staff have put in so far as part of the civic Climate Adaptation and Action Plan.

As we outlined in January, the City had issued a call for help towards the initiative by way of a mapping program that tracks potential climate hazards in the community.

You can review some of the city's focus on Climate Change issues from our notes of January here.

More background on the Climate Adaptation and Action plan can be reviewed through the City's Rupert Talks Portal.

More items of note on City Council initiatives can be reviewed through our archive page here.

Prince Rupert RCMP seek public assistance on Prohibited Driver file

The Prince Rupert RCMP is turning to the public for information on the whereabouts of a male wanted on an endorsed warrant related to Driving while Prohibited.

Wanted by the Prince Rupert Detachment is John Rufus Brown.

He is described as follows:

Indigenous male
 5’10 (178 cm)
170 lb (77 kg)
Brown hair
Hazel eyes

Should you have any information about his whereabouts, please contact the Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-624-2136

If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

The RCMP case file alert is availbe to review here.

More notes related to Emergency Responders across the Northwest can be reviewed here.

Saturday Search and Rescue exercise to take place this weekend in Prince Rupert harbour

Local Search and Rescue agencies in the community will be conducting an exercise this Saturday in the inner Harbour of the Price Rupert Waterfront.

The event which will involve multiple vessels will take place from 11 AM to 4 PM.

Vessels like the PRPA's Charles Hays will be part of
Saturday's exercise off of the Cow Bay dock area 

Olivia Mowatt, the Senior Communications Officer with the Prince Rupert Port Authority provides a snapshot of who's involved and what those watching form the shore may observe on Saturday.

"This joint training will include Prince Rupert Port Authority, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Canadian Coast Guard, Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Prince Rupert Ground Search and Rescue. 

Participants will be gathering at the Cow Bay Breakwater. 

A non-toxic smoke will be used during this drill

There are no waterfront walkway closures planned, but members of the public are asked to maintain a safe distance to allow emergency responders the space to conduct their training."

The Port Authority will have reminders of the event for the weekend through their social media stream

More notes on the work of Emergency Responders in the Northwest can be reviewed from our archive page.

Pink the colour of the day, as Schools, organizations observe Pink Shirt Day

The fashion choice was simple for many in Prince Rupert and as you travel around town you can see that the one colour dominated the workplace or school environment today, Pink, that as British Columbia observed on the Annual Pink Shirt Day.

An initiative to call attention towards the prevention of bullying .

The Day one which came with an official proclamation from Janet Austin the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

That followed up by a statement from Premier David Eby, who outlined some of the steps the government has taken to address bullying both at the schools and online.

The Premier noting of how he was observing the day.

“Today, my family and I will wear pink and talk about how we can be better supporters of all kids, in the halls of the school and the halls of the legislature. I encourage everyone in British Columbia to do the same. Together, we can end bullying.”

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice caught up with the Premier for a snapshot of their wardrobe and message for the day.

In Prince Rupert From Schools across the city, to the college, to a number for offices and businesses the message was one of working together to eliminate bullying.

From SD 52, Conrad Elementary outlined their focus through their newsletter earlier this month.

The largest observation of Pink Shirt Day is that coordinated through Vancouver radio station CKNW, which has been part of the anti bullying program since it began n 2007.

The Surrey School District offers up this brief historical review of the program.

Today organizers noted of a Haida Influence to their project with the Pink Shirt that was designed coming from Haida artist Corey Bulpitt. 

You can learn more about his work and his message for the day here.

They also provide some quick facts on the Pink Shirt Day program and its success to date.

Locally, the Gitmaxmak'ay Nisga'a Society has their own Tee Shirt for the day available for the community.

We're saving some space below for the snapshots from around Prince Rupert, check back from time to time to see what we've added to the page as they come along.

Coast Mountain College in Prince Rupert was among the first
to put out their photo collection

City Hall was in the Pink on Wednesday

More notes on community themes is available here.

Immediate focus for City of Prince Rupert Health initiative is to ensure that the PRRH Emergency Department remains open, always

Council moved forward on its motion to create a forum of consultation towards addressing some health care issues in the community on Monday evening, adopting the Notice of Motion put forward as part of the Agenda on the evening. 

Once introduced, the council discussion focused on some of the elements of note in Prince Rupert when it comes to Health Care.

Councillor Teri Forster a nurse in the community, recused herself from the discussion owing to a conflict of interest, that left the topic to Councillors Nick Adey, Barry Cunningham and Mayor Pond for commentary.

Councillor Adey framed the situation by noting of the current weather for the region in the winter and the impact that also has on the service level expected in the community.

"I was driving back from Terrace today and it was a beautiful day, if. had been forced to make that journey in the opposite direction because of a medical circumstance, perhaps it would have been OK.

But even then, there were a couple of commercial vehicles in the ditch along the way and the notion that we could conceivably have a circumstance where our Emergency room closes, although I'm not aware of any immediate panic there. 

But if it was to take place, that journey is so heavily dependent upon the weather  that  it would be very problematic and so I think one of the points of this is to see if we can't offer some initiatives that will stabilize those possibilities, so that we're not at risk"

The Councillor also praised the advice from Councillor Forster from last session to include not just recruitment, but employee retention to the overview of their work and  stressed how the civic led initiative was not to overstep its scope of office.

"I just want to say that this is not by any stretch of the imagination to perform any kind of an end around the people at Northern Health, and in the Ministry of Health and our own MLA through her portfolio.

It's not to sidestep their authority, that's where their authority lies, it's to offer support. 

To help them  if there are ways to help them and other interested groups that participate can help them move those initiatives forward and provide some stability for the staffing of the medical profession"

Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa wondered if there should be a timeline to the initiative, thought the Mayor noted that there was some urgency to the issue and that they would work to get the group together as fast as practical.

Councillor Cunningham joined the discussion recounting some of his concerns many times in the past of previous commitments from Northern Health that have not bee met in Prince Rupert.

"We've been harping on this Transportation Highway 16 corridor for seven, eight years.

Northern Health promised us better Transportation systems, never came through with it.

They promised priority for optometry appointments, never came through with it.

Our citizens and residents of Prince Rupert have taken a back seat to a lot of the services that we should be entitled to have in this town and never given an alternative to going to Terrace to do it.

And exactly what Councillor Adey says is so true. 

I don't know how many times we haven't been able to travel that highway, or get a medevac in her for that fact, so we're isolated, we need those services.

The Councillor also noted how other communities have been active in recruitment in the region.

"I don't think we should be worrying too much about stepping on any toes here.

Terrace has already done their own recruitment, Kitimat has just done a study on recruitment and I think we just gotta follow suit.

I think right now Northern Health is bogged down just on recruiting for Mills Memorial, like I said last time it's a six, seven hundred million dollar hospital, they're having trouble even recruiting for their existing hospital and their going to have more trouble recruiting for that.

It's going to put more pressure on the other outlaying hospitals and areas and this notice of motion is very important"

The Councillor also noted that he has spoken to some of the potential industrial partners in the initiative and noted they were enthusiastic to become involved. 

He also recounted some of the challenges the city faces when it comes to attracting doctors, including as he observed one situation where a suggestion was made that a Doctor looking at Prince Rupert had been redirected to consider Terrace.

"I have heard stories and I know personally that I talked to one doctor and it was true. 

He wanted to come to Rupert, he was told he should be going to Terrace because of the new hospital and everything else. 

So we've got to step up and do some recruiting on our own ... I think we should get a hold of that copy of that study that  Kitimat put out and read that and get some ideas from that" 

If the Councillor or the other members of Council want to look it over, we noted on Monday that it is available here.

Mayor Pond weighed in on what he believes should the primary focus ahead.

"Hearing concerns that the Emergency Room in particular, that service was under threat of closure on temporary basis and so far Northern Health has managed to dodge the bullet repeatedly.

But we met with a group of local GP's, many of whom have been filing in up at that facility and when you strip it all away there's just too few of them left, covering too many shifts and their absolutely burned out

And while clearly we will sit at this table and talk with Northern Health about the broader recruiting that needs to be done in all kinds of areas.  

My most immediate focus is making sure that whatever needs to be done to ensure that the Emergency Room remains open, always, always has to be that most immediate focus in a much larger piece that says we need to be recruiting"

The Mayor also outlined some of the conditions facing local doctors, who have had to balance their practices with their growing hospital commitments; as well as to note that there is a need to inform the community towards the use of Emergency and other options available.

The Full Discussion to the topic can be reviewed through the City's Video Archive starting at the 54 minute mark.

More notes from the Monday Council Session can be explored through our Council Timeline.

A look at health care in the Northwest can be reviewed here

Council endorses call from Haida Gwaii for letter of support, meeting on BC Ferry service to North Coast

Prince Rupert City Council will throw its support from a call from Haida Gwaii for a joint approach towards BC Ferry issues for the region; that as council reviewed a correspondence from the Islands as part of a late item on their Monday Council Agenda.

As it was a late addition by the Mayor, so far there is no copy of the correspondence available on the City website for review. 

But from the conversation of Monday, the general theme of what Haida Gwaii officials are looking for was outlined.

"Quite simply they are asking us to support them, by writing a letter to the people they've addressed this letter to ... Creating a vision for our coastal ferry system  is very important and long overdue. 

However, it's our view that the Charting the Course Vision proposal Ferries process is not positioned to deliver a vision that represents the needs of the North and Central Coasts.

So they're looking for the opportunity to have a gathering that would address the specific needs of the North and Central Coasts" -- Mayor Herb Pond

We first noted of the Charting the Course initiative from our notes related to a December Regional District session, where the call for the joint letter with local government was first noted.

The Charting the Course program is outlined here.

The first report is expected this spring from the engagement process which began in November

Towards the letter request, Council members expanded on some of the concerns over ferry service to the region, with Councillor Barry Cunningham providing for the opening remarks.

"I was approached by these people for this letter. 

I've been working with the Haida Council on this as well as with the Ferry Advisory Committee and the way the Ferry system is designed right now, even for seniority it's very southern coast oriented.

There's been an argument for years and years that the Federal funding for the Ferry system was designed for the North Coast route only, BC Ferries is saying no, it's for the whole system. 

So that money gets siphoned down for the whole system and again we're the orphans of the system. They're looking for our support, you know obviously we're the hub for route 10 and route 11 and without our support  it doesn't carry as much weight.  

So I really encourage council to support it"

Another potential solution for Alaska Ferry service was floated
as part of Monday's City Council session

Mayor Pond also observed on some other notes from the letter including a potential solution for service to Alaska.

"And it's interesting they even mention you know, I think it's a remote possibility, but they mention the possibility that Ferry service could be positioned to service Ketchikan and reconnect us to Southeast Alaska."

Councillor Cunningham picked up on that proposal, recounting some of the history to the idea.

"Quite sure your familiar with that idea of BC Ferries having a third Ferry that, it's been around  as long as you've been involved in politics and that, and it didn't go anywhere simply because of the Alaska politics more than anything.

But it's been rejuvenated again with BC Ferries running a Ferry from us to Ketchikan and using that same Ferry to beef up the route 11"

Council then endorsed the motion for the letter.

You can review the full discussion from the City's Video Archive starting at the 48:30 mark of the video.

More notes related to the Monday Council session can be reviewed here.

A look at BC Ferry issues and themes is available from our archive page.

Second Avenue Business owners push back on City Demolition plan

The old Mohawk location may see a stay of execution  on
demolition following Monday's council session

What became somewhat of a contentious Remedial Action Order made for some of the narrative to the Monday Council session in Prince Rupert. The Agenda item one which solicited some feedback from owners of the property under consideration on Second Avenue West, that of the old Mohawk site.

The two owners  Sal and Frank Chirico participated from out of town by Zoom during the session, with the pair of the property on Second Avenue West speaking of the upcoming discussion for Council related to a potential demolition of their structure. 

The pair advanced for Council that they were blindsided by that, observing that they had not been contacted related to the potential demolition, suggesting that the last communication was in 2021.

"We were notified via, just by fluke through  a long time friend that there is on the Agenda this evening to discuss specifically one of our properties in regards to remediation, possible teardown and I'm paraphrasing here ... it says we were notified by registered mail in regards to this subject. 

So we are blindsided, cause we don't know anything about it. We haven't been contacted specifically to what we're going to be discussing this evening, or what council will  be discussing this evening.

So we're a little kind of perturbed, or at least taken aback not to know anything about it.

There has been some communication in the past, in regards to cleanliness, presentation of the building ... but the last communication we've had was 2021. 

We understand that we've been in good standing order with the City in regards to this property ... we've maintained in on ... an every six month visit to the city to make sure that we're doing what we can"

They questioned who had been sent the letter from City Administrator Rosa Miller from earlier in February, advancing that they had no knowledge of it prior to the Agenda being released for the night.

"We haven't' been notified, we haven't received the registered mail. And we'd like to know who signed for it and when it was delivered, and who signed for it and what address it was sent  to on February 5th as per Rosa Miller's description on the communication"

Council members were not allowed to engage with the residents as part of that public comment period, but their overview of the process involved would come minutes later when the actual Remedial Action Order towards building removal for the property came up for review.

Towards that discussion Councillor Niesh spoke first to the property in question, observing how it was a property long in need of repair and that it was a process to further it along.

"This is a property that is long need of repairs and this is just a process that we have to go through to further it along, I would think that the Chirico's would probably want to repair their building and have an opportunity to do that."

As is the case on occasion, Mayor Pond had to provide guidance to the council members towards how they could address the property owners, noting that it al should be done through the chair.

Following his caution card, Mr. Niesh continued with his commentary noting how the city is striving to improve the downtown core and had a program for revitalization available for use for such purposes. He followed up on that thought noting how it was a building that could be repaired and put back into use once again.

That being said, over the last couple of years we've been looking at downtown, you know trying to make it a better place, we've been taking down buildings recently. In the last few years we've actually offered many opportunities for  grants ... the revitalization grant that we were doing. 

So if they would like to look into the available revitalization opportunities that we've given up or tax incentives to fix buildings in the downtown core, you know it's probably in their benefit.

I would like to see the building repaired myself, I think its probably one of the few that can be repaired and it would be nice as that area gets redeveloped  here, it sure would be nice to see that building become part of that area.

I would like to point out that this is not a matter of us just wanting to tear down random buildings; this is a matter of us trying to clean up our downtown and we hope that you can be part of it "

Councillor Cunningham followed up on the theme, first asking what the impact may be if they did not receive the letter that made for the start of the process.  As he had done with Councillor Niesh, the Mayor provided a tutorial for Councillor Cunningham on the process towards speaking to the residents on Zoom.

In reply to the letter question, City Manager Dr. Rob Buchan observed that the letter was sent and received to the address listed, he also outlined the process that is in place towards the remedial order and how the  owners do have the fourteen days to respond with guidance towards their intentions for the property.

He also noted that there had been many calls and many discussions towards the building in the past and that staff was willing to meet with them again towards the issue.

"With regard to the question as to the effect of the owner's not having received the letter that was sent in this process. First of all we know the letter was sent registered and it was signed for, so we know it was received to where the letter was sent to.

But that letter's not required for this process. What's required for this process is a notice to be sent out,  if Council authorizes us to proceed, so that the owners are aware of the remedial order that Council is moving forward. They have a period of time within which to respond.

The registered letter that was sent out basically said: Can you do a plan for a clean up, can you remediate it. If we don't receive that we'll bring this to Council to consider a remedial order.

So that letter basically was a heads up to the process.

Mr. Buchan also noted that there had been many calls and many discussions towards the building in the past requesting a clean up and that staff was willing to meet with them again towards the issue.

He also provided guidance on what the property owners could do to address the outstanding issues related to the building and how City council can stop the process at any time.

Councillor Forster asked for some clarification on the civic process should they pass the request for direction for staff on the night. Towards that further clarity on the timeline issue, the City Manager observed he would have to get back to Council on the topic.

Councillor Cunningham returned to the discussion, noting how the owners do have other properties in town and noted that they likely would be interested in returning it to use.

"We're dealing with people here, that have more than just one derelict piece of property in town, they have some very nice properties. I don't think their intention is to walk away or leave this I have a lot of faith in fact that they will want to fix this up, it's a piece of property that can be fixed. Maybe they can open up a donut shop now that Baker Boy's gone"

The Mayor  followed up with an observation that many years ago a donut shop was actually the first use for the building when it was built.

An attempt from Councillor Cunningham to ask about they future plans for the building was denied by the Mayor, who noted the only opportunity for the property owners participation in the discussion was at the start of the council session.

Mr. Pond further observed how the building owners could communicate their plans by letter if they wished.

Councillor Adey returned the discussion to the focus of Council on the concern related to derelict properties which is why they are moving forward on remediation for them, he also noted that there seemed to be some opportunity for improvements to be made in this case.

Mayor Pond used the opportunity to observe as to how he sees the turnaround ahead for the community.

"Listen, we're rounding a corner, we're gonna get the water pipes fixed, we're gonna start rebuilding Second Avenue as part of that process. We're seeing the new RCMP building coming out of the ground.

Whether people like it or don't like it, the Roundabout will redefine that portion of town, there's opportunity for housing projects along there.

The community can expect and building owners can expect, both residential and commercial that there will be more of these actions taken, because it's part of an overall move towards improving our community. 

And there's certainly a hunger for that and I think it's been well outlined.

This may feel like a, well it is you know, a legal, bureaucratic process, but it's one designed to lead to a better outcome and if the building owners come with a good proposal in a timely manner, that's the outcome we all want.

And so, I think other building owners, other property owners should be on notice, that we can only do so many at a time. It's a very intensive process for staff, but there's an intention that these kind of reports will be in front of council on a regular basis throughout the remainder of this year"

From there Council approved the direction to staff to move forward on the order in question, though the impression left by the end of the conversation was one that if the owners propose a remediation plan, the building won't likely face the demolition process.

You can review the two elements of the discussion from the City's Video Archive, the first coming at the twenty three minute mark with the owners take issue with the remedial order, the Council discussion of the process comes at the twenty six minute mark.

More notes on the Monday Council session can be reviewed through our Council Timeline here.

A wider overview of past council discussion themes is available here.