Thursday, February 23, 2017

Province awards contract for Prince Rupert's Big Pave Project to Okanagan firm

The schedule for major Road work
in Prince Rupert will run from
April to July as Peter's Brothers
Construction arrive in town

(photo from Peter's Brothers website
The Province of British Columbia announced the successful contractor for its major repaving project for Prince Rupert this Spring, with Peter's Brothers Construction of the Southern Okanagan awarded the 3.94 million dollar contract for the project that will see the main thoroughfare through the City resurfaced from the Civic Centre all the way to the BC Ferry Terminal at Fairview Bay.

4.3 kilometres of roadway will be paved starting in April with the schedule calling for the project to be completed by July. With Transportation Minister Todd Stone observing to the priority that the province put towards this project.

“I had the opportunity to visit Prince Rupert last October and announce our commitment to this project with Mayor Brain,”  ...“These roads serve as Prince Rupert’s main thoroughfare, so it was important for the ministry and the city to make these improvements a priority.”

The information release related to today's contract award (read here) also noted that the City will be partnering with the Province to resurface 3rd Avenue West at a cost to the city of approximately 500,000 dollars.

Mayor Brain picked up that theme of the announcement today, taking to his Facebook portal with a bit of recycling for the readership out there. With the Mayor recounting once again how the City will piggy back on that contractor to also repave all of Third Avenue through the downtown core.

Those travelling through the downtown area recently have noted that City Crews have been doing a bit of preparation for that work as they tend to some of the local needs before the contractor arrives later this Spring.

You can review the original announcement by the Transportation Minister from October of 2016 here.

Back in December, Prince Rupert City Council through a review of Capital Projects for 2017, first indicated its desire to tie into that project and pave Third Avenue following the completion of the major work on McBride, Second Avenue West and Park Avenue.

More notes related to the roads and highways of Northwest BC can be found on our Highway 16 Corridor page here.

Items related to the work of Prince Rupert City Council can be reviewed on our Council Discussions page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Lax Kw'alaams Council looks to address drug and alcohol concerns in the community

Photo of Lax Kw'alaams by
Lonnie Wishart from the
Lax Kw'alaams Facebook page
A notice on the Lax Kw'alaams Community website is outlining the concern that the Lax Kw'alaams is taking from residents concerns with drug and alcohol issues in the community.

In the update for residents posted on Tuesday, the elected council highlights how they are taking the problem of drugs and alcohol in the community very seriously, noting that they understand the problems that stem from the abuse of those substances.

As part of the notice the Council adds that they support the efforts of the RCMP in the community as they work to deal with those that sell drugs and alcohol, adding that those that are currently involved in that practice should stop immediately.

The Council also has dedicated itself towards building a healthy community and call on the residents of Lax Kw'alaams to support them in their efforts to that goal.

You can review the notice here.

You can find more items of interest related to the Lax Kw'alaams Community from our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Could Raffles Inn listing offer partial solution to affordable housing woes?

Raffles Inn is now on the market with the property
listed recently with a Prince Rupert Real Estate Firm

An interesting new entry from the city's For Sale Property listings offers up a number of questions for the Prince Rupert's affordable housing concerns.

Raffles Inn, located at Five Corners on the edge of the city's downtown core recently went up on the reality listings website for Royal Lepage in Prince Rupert, with an information sheet providing some of the background to the hotel offer which hosts 50 rooms, a restaurant and lounge is listed at an asking price of 2 million dollars.

What becomes of the hotel should a buyer be found is of some interest for those in the community that have concerns about affordable and emergency housing in Prince Rupert.

At the moment, a number of the rooms at the downtown hotel are used by the Salvation Army as part of the emergency housing program in the city, those rooms may no longer be available should the property sell and the new ownership have other plans for the building once they take ownership.

However, the listing does raise the potential for a partial solution to the much discussed issue of affordable housing for the community.

The availability of a facility with 50 rooms coming on the market might catch the eye of some of the city's council members, with the need to address the housing concerns of the region making for a fair bit of focus for City council in recent years.

It's a property listing that someone may want to forward to BC Housing, which recently has been buying up similar hotel and motel opportunities across the province part of its plan to create social housing units in British Columbia communities.

That BC Housing purchase program was something that Councillor Joy Thorkelson made mention of during a June 2015 council session, suggesting that if anyone knew of a hotel or motel property in the community that was available they should let the province's housing authority know about it.

As well, the prospect of an opportunity to address the region's housing needs through an available property may be something that could be a theme in the current provincial election campaign, allowing those seeking the North Coast seat in the Legislature to weigh in on the need for a quicker pace towards finding solutions for the city's  housing needs.

Last September, current North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice addressed Prince Rupert's housing issues with Housing Minister Rich Coleman, with what could one of the few opportunities to take some significant steps on the that topic now available, it could be a theme that she may wish to revisit with the Minister

Recently a motel complex in Terrace was purchased for the purpose of converting it into social housing for that community, those following the issues of Prince Rupert's housing needs will be watching with interest to see what direction the Raffles building goes and if the theme of using available properties as a solution the need will be used in this community.

For more items related to the housing issues of the Northwest see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

The Strike Force get a Legislature shout out from MLA Rice

Players from the Lax Kw'alaams
Strike Force and Prince Rupert
Syngery Storm battle it out under
 the backboard at last weeks All Native Tourney

(photo from Lax Kw'alaams Facebeook)

It was two days delayed, but on Wednesday North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice made amends for neglecting to mention the success of the Lax Kw'alaams Strike Force, taking to the Legislature floor on Wednesday afternoon to offer up her salute.

As we noted on the blog on Tuesday (maybe someone passed on the reading material to the MLA?) Ms. Rice and Doug Donaldson from Stikine had both been so caught up in their speechifying that in her review of the Saturday showcase that was the All Native Tournament, she paid tribute to the work of the Skidegate Saints in the Seniors championship.

Such was her rush that she let the success of the young men from the Strike Force slip through the congratulatory cracks.

Wednesday however she tossed one in from three point land, with a fitting tribute to the hard fought battle between Lax Kw'alaams and Prince Rupert, which saw the Strike Force claim their second straight Intermediate victory.

In addition to the salute to the Lax Kw'alaams squad the North Coast MLA also made sure to highlight the Master's tournament players and to offer her best to the champion Hydaburg squad.

Her comments from Wednesday's opening moments can be reviewed below.

On Monday, getting caught up in the rivalry I have with my colleague here over All-Native Basketball, I failed to mention that another team within my constituency had won the intermediate championships. That was the Lax Kw'alaams or Port Simpson Strike Force, who beat out Prince Rupert's Synergy Storm. 

This was their second year in a row of winning the intermediate championships, so I wanted to congratulate Lax Kw'alaams in their victory and acknowledge that we had masters playing as well. 

The Hydaburg, Alaska team beat out another constituency team of mine, Massett, but it was again a phenomenal tournament. I encourage all my colleagues on both sides of the House…. 

If you ever get the opportunity to come up to Prince Rupert for this All-Native Basketball Tournament, it's a phenomenal tournament. It will be 60 years, almost. 

The video of Ms. Rice's comments is available form the Legislature media page, under Chamber video for Wednesday afternoon, the MLA's comments start at the 13:30 minute mark.

More notes related to British Columbia Legislature can be found on our Legislature archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Council to offer comments of support for a number of community initiatives

They'll be breaking out the thesaurus at City Hall this week as City Council prepares to provide a number of letters of support to a list of four Prince Rupert organizations.

Just prior to the start of Monday's very light Council Agenda, Council received word that a few more requests had been received, with Mayor Lee Brain adding them to the Agenda as the Council members prepared to consider them.

The original request from the published Agenda featured a request from the Northwest Community College Students Union for a letter of support to reinstate funding for Adult Basic Education and to abolish tuition fees. Once it has been written it will be forwarded to the Province's Advanced Education Minister.

Some background on the request can be found from our blog item of last Friday.

As part of the discussion on the topic, Councillor Thorkelson spoke for close to three minutes towards the importance of the motion and noted some of the local concerns that she has been made aware of to access more education and training for local residents.

Both Councillors Gurvinder Randhawa and Barry Cunningham echoed many of Councillor Thorkelson's comments on the theme, as they threw their support behind the NWCC student union's initiative.

Council approved the writing of the letter

The second request was from the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement Society, with the Mayor making note of the recent lease agreement that the city has signed with the Organization related to the the work they have planned to rehabilitate the Rushbrook Trail.

That work however was not the nature of their request.

As the Mayor would outline for Council, they had two requests for written support on the night, one was to help in their quest for funding for a race tracking system for the Mount Hays Quick Climb race and the other for their Kaien Island Trail Network Interpretive sign project.

Councillor Thorkelson offered up the observation that not many people may know what the tracking system consists of and how it may work.

Councillor Cunningham expressed his excitement over the prospect of more signage for local trails and how it would help to enhance the city.

The Mayor, also took advantage of the topic to note that with the city having done some design work on the downtown core, that work would be combined as one template for the entire area when they began their trail work planning within the city..

Council then voted to approve the letter.

The third request for a letter of support came from the North Coast Transition Society and their Housing First Coordinator James McNish, he is looking for a letter of support from the city to help create a new transitional shelter project in the Prince Rupert area.

With Council frequently discussing the issue of housing in the community, Councillor Cunningham was quick to express his support towards their plan to bring more housing resources to the community, with Council then voting to approve the writing of the letter of support.

The fourth request for a correspondence of support from the City came from the North Pacific Cannery Historical Society which is looking for a letter of support towards their funding requests for a number of projects at the Cannery Museum site

Included as part of their project list, is work on such areas as the boat lifts, a working dock, the main cannery building along with a number of other projects that they have plans for.

Councillor Cunningham noted for Council that the program that they have in place at North Pacific has proven helpful when it comes to building the workforce in the community, with many of those that have participated gaining their apprenticeships in the trades from the various work done at the Port Edward historical site.

Council approved the writing of the letter of support.

You can review the various notes related to each letter from the City's Video Archive, the letter writing approvals begin at just after the nineteen minute mark.

For more items related to Monday's City Council Session see our Council Timeline feature here.

Further background from developments through Prince Rupert City Council can be explored from our Council Discussion Archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Victoria Viewpoints: Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Provincial scene.

The Budget (Day After edition)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark backs away from 'outdated' health-care premiums
Province working out details of how you can apply for MSP cut
B.C. budget eases interest on student loans, while debt continues to soar
No gas tax increase puts Victoria transit plans on hold
Christy Clark tells board of trade an MSP cut was best way to dole out surplus
B.C. Lowers interest rate on student loans
Coming to a TV set near you - even more budget hype
$50 billon B.C. budget trims medical premiums boosts education
Businesses cheer PST break on electricity, cut to corporate tax
Christy Clark defends Liberals' budget
School funds added as BCTF talks continue

Time is ticking for a softwood lumber deal
CBSA enforcement actions in B.C. hold steady despite sanctuary city gains across Metro Vancouver
Vancouver mayor asks Christian event to drop contentious pastor
B.C.'s chief doctor says Canada needs better addiction treatment system
Doctors and pharmacies still doling out opioids to addicted patients, study finds

Ottawa Observations: Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments
from the Federal scene for Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

No pledge to create new Canadian health care jobs in Chinese takeover
Illegal Toronto dispensary challenges Ottawa over medical marijuana laws
Ottawa seeking new 'coalition' on Asian trade after Trump kills TPP
Star candidate Yolande James faces uphill battle to succeed Dion
Marcel Prud'homme: Underdog defender fought to right wrongs
Lobbying commissioner probing fundraising hosted by Apotex chair: Democracy Watch
Charter will protect Canadians at U.S. border preclearance: Trudeau
B.C.'s chief doctor says Canada needs better addiction treatment system
Airbus search plane contract faces court challenge from losing bidder
Yazidi groups say they were left in the dark on Canada's resettlement plan
Reform party founder warns populism can be a 'rogue well' for Conservatives
Trudeau announces review of laws related to indigenous peoples
Justice Robin Camp tries to block judicial watchdog from deliberating his case
5 byelections to be held April 3 in 1st major electoral test for Trudeau government
'Excited over the simple things': First Nation enjoys turning on the taps after 10 years without clean water
Canada's plan to bring in hundreds of Yazidi genocide survivors hailed by refugees
Ottawa to invest in 'fisheries innovation' for Atlantic Canada following EU trade deal
'The law is there and it's being applied,' Ralph Goodale says of RCMP's handling of asylum seekers
Peel Region MPP Jagmeet Singh testing waters to replace NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair
Expanded U.S. border preclearance bill will offer better protection, Trudeau says
Trudeau deserves credit on the foreign front
Beating Trudeau not top priority for new Conservative leader
Brian Mulroney, the man with no shame
Liberals pretend our laws don't matter
Canadians want a light shone on radical Islam
Condemn hatred from imams, too
Here's why I fear Islam, Prime Minister
In less than nine hours, his career was scuttled - now vice admiral has retain lawyer Marie Henein
Retired air chiefs urge Liberals to ditch 'costly and unnecessary' plan to buy Super Hornet jets
Liberal Jewish and Muslim MPs condemn imams who called for death of Jews
Harper's old seat among five up for grabs as Trudeau calls byelections for April 3
Without TPP, Canada looks for new Asia Trade deal
Liberals urged to keep promise on creating children's commissioner
The big Give: How Owners Got Rice, and Renters didn't
Scientist's Union, Famed Whistleblower fight for Better Whistleblower protections
Time is ticking for a softwood lumber deal
CBSA enforcement actions in B.C. hold steady despite sanctuary city gains across Metro Vancouver