Friday, July 31, 2015

Federal investment will bring enhanced radar systems for Port of Prince Rupert

A new radar system for Prince Rupert
Harbour will provide for additional
safety and information for vessels
calling on the Port of Prince Rupert
The transit of the waters surrounding the Port of Prince Rupert will be safer in the future with the announcement today of Federal funding for a shore based radar system that will improve the capability of monitoring vessel movements in the area.

The project which is estimated to cost five million dollars, will benefit from two million dollars of funding through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

The arrival of the new radar component is designed to accommodate growth in vessel traffic that is currently taking place owing to historic levels of trade between Canada and Asia-Pacific nations, with the prospect of even more shipments through the Port of Prince Rupert anticipated should some of the  major developments proposed for the region move forward in the years to come.

“This project will result in a new and foundational piece of our marine safety and security network at the Port of Prince Rupert, providing an additional layer to the maritime picture we use to keep our harbour safe and ensure a diverse range of cargoes continue to flow securely through our trade gateway ... Our local partnerships enable improvements like this to make a safe port even safer, and matching investments from senior government organizations allow us to carry forward our long term development vision in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner.” -- Don Krusel, President and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert speaking to harbour safety plans for the region.

The Marine Traffic Centre at Seal
Cove will see enhanced radar
coverage introduced next year
When completed and operational in the fall of 2016, the radar system to be put in place will make use of three tower locations to provide coverage from a geographic area that includes Northeast of Haida Gwaii and around Prince Rupert up to the Alaska border.

The areas to be utilized for the three tower system include, Mount Hays, Ridley island and Dundas Island.

Once it is operational the new system will provide for a real time visual network for the Coast Guards Marine Communications and Traffic Service facility at Seal Cove to track and allow for the  gathering of enhanced information on a range of vessels transiting the area.

The RCMP will also make use of the information system, with Sean Bourrie, the Chief Superintendent responsible for Federal policing in British Columbia outlining the ways that the radar system will be of use to the federal force.

 "This investment in shore-based radar coverage of the British Columbia northern coastline around Prince Rupert is an important contribution to Canada's public safety and the strategic priorities of the RCMP  ... This tool will help us gather and analyse intelligence at the port and from the surrounding maritime environment in support of our law enforcement initiatives."

Construction related to the installation of the new radar system towers and equipment will begin in the weeks ahead, with an eye towards the completion date in the fall of next year.

The reach of a new radar system to be installed to provide
enhanced coverage of Prince Rupert Harbour and beyond

The operation maintenance of the radar system on the North Coast will be provided by the Canadian Coast Guard through Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

More background on today's announcement can be found from this media release from the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

For more items related to development at the Port see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Pacific Future Energy announces partnership for proposed North Coast Oil refinery

The proponent of what has been described as the world's greenest oil refinery on Canada's west coast made a fairly significant announcement today, as Pacific Future Energy expanded on the creation of a partnership to move forward their plans for refinery development near Prince Rupert.

In a statement released today, Pacific Future Energy outlined the background on their partnership with the First Nations Business group A-in-Chut Business Group and the engineering company SNC Lavalin, offering up the first update on their plans since earlier this year.

A-in-Chut Business Group is a First Nations business investment group which features Shawn Atleo, the former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations as one of its principles. Mr. Atleo is also listed as a member of the management team at the company, noted as the Senior Advisor for Partnerships with Pacific Future Energy.

The nature of today's announcement highlights the process ahead to assist in pre-engineering work on the terminal project, while building on and supporting First Nation partnerships in the development.

 “PFEC’s goal is to provide access to the Asian market for Canada’s bitumen, while protecting British Columbia’s Pacific coast, by building the world’s greenest refinery, in full partnership with First Nations ... We also believe that community support must be earned before – not after — finalizing our plans. For one of Canada’s oldest engineering firms to agree with this approach and work with A-in-Chut Business Group to invest in this development process is a strong vote of confidence.” -- Robert Delamar, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Future Energy Corporation, outlining the background to this mornings announcement

For its part the A-in-Chut Business Group noted the nature of change that the project could deliver to the region and beyond.

"This refinery will be transformative and innovative in both the approach and the technology. First and foremost, we recognize and respect the role of First Nations partners and their rights and title in resource development. We will work in full partnership with our First Nations partners, as Nations, to build a responsible, sustainable project that includes our collective values and our interests"-- Mike Bonshor President, A-in-Cut Business Group.

Bringing SNC-Lavalin, a major industrial engineering firm onboard for the project is also fairly significant development for the terminal project.

With the firm set to bring its experience when it comes to large industrial projects to the North Coast, offering up perhaps the first indication that the refinery plan may yet move forward towards the development stage in the region.

“SNC-Lavalin is very pleased to be a part of a project that will contribute to the important imperative of bringing Canadian resources to markets and produce one of the most energy efficient refineries ever built,” said Robert G. Card, President and Chief Executive Officer, SNC-Lavalin. “We are proud to be associated with PFEC and together with our First Nations partners, advance the project. This project will help open up Asian markets for Canada’s energy sector, while building key infrastructure on Canada’s west coast.” --- Robert G. Card, President and Chief Executive Officer, SNC-Lavalin.

An infographic from the Pacific
Future Energy website
notes the scope of the project
Today's announcement is the first major update on the proposed terminal to be seen since January, though Pacific Future Energy did make an interesting addition to their advisory board in May.

Bringing onboard Mr. Dave Coles, a well known face in the labour movement as an advisor the company, with the May announcement of his addition to the Board, highlighting the prospect of long term jobs that a  refined in Canada terminal could offer the region and the west.

To this point a location for the proposed terminal has not been outlined by Pacific Future Energy and the company has yet to provide much background on their plans to the community either by way of an Open House or community engagement session.

More information related to the Pacific Future Energy plans can be found from their website.

You can also review more background and media notes on the proposed Terminal project from our archive page here.

Pacific Future is one of two proposed oil shipment terminals that have been suggested for the North Coast, Eagle Spirit Energy has also been in the news of late, putting forward their plans for a terminal development in the region, a proposal that has proven to be somewhat controversial in the community of Lax Kw'alaams.

You can review the background on the Eagle Spirit proposal here.

Also in the mix in the Northwest, is the Kitimat Clean oil refinery proposal, the project championed by newspaper publisher David Black would see bitumen refined in Kitimat for shipment to Asian markets, though of late there has not been much in the way of updates provided on that proposed development.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

MLA Rice's voice is missing from Banks Island conversation

The Banks Island mining site
falls in the middle of the
North Coast riding of
MLA Jennifer Rice

Considering the location of the Banks Island mining project and the current concerns related to potential pollution from it, the lack of comment on recent events from North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice seems somewhat surprising.

Banks Island, which is located just south of Kitkatla falls within the North Coast MLA's constituency and the environment has long been a concern of Ms. Rice's going back to before her time on Prince Rupert City Council.

So to take note of a lack of awareness, or comment with an ongoing situation that should be right in her political wheel house makes for a puzzling thing.

And while the Legislature is on summer vacation once again, with the workload obviously somewhat reduced for our elected officials, Ms. Rice still could have at least offered up a statement of concern when it comes to the environmental issues that have been raised in recent weeks.

Taking the opportunity to note for her constituents that she is watching the developments with interest, if for no other reason, than to reassure those in the Gitxaala Nation that she's keeping the topic at the top of her watch list.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
in the Legislature earlier this month
However, a ramble through her various and widely used information portals of a Facebook pagetwitter feed, You Tube video archive and constituency website find no mention of the Banks Island incidents that have now led to a review of the practices in place at the mining site.

Nor to this point, has there been any comment from the MLA noted in the growing list of media items related to the recently announced review by Environment Canada into the situation at Banks Island.

That interest picked up significantly over the last two weeks, as a number of media organizations  became aware of the incidents and the moves from the Province of British Columbia to examine them further.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, the first notice of possible concern over those mining practices was raised in early July, when the NDP mines critic noted his interest in the developments.

Al Hoffman, the Province of British Columbia's Chief Inspector of Mines told Global News this week that he had received photos from NDP MLA Norm MacDonald on July 9th, outlining the concerns that the NDP critic for Energy and Mines had forwarded to his office regarding the mining project on Banks Island.

If that timeline is correct, that would suggest that the topic could have been of some discussion in the NDP caucus room in Victoria anytime between July 13 and the 21st when the Legislature met in summer session.

And while mining is not part of Ms. Rice's NDP oversight in the Legislature, events near Kitkatla and the area surrounding Banks Island should be something that she must be aware of, making for an issue that the MLA should have something to offer towards when it comes to the current discussion.

Perhaps Mr. MacDonald, who represents a riding near Revelstoke should contact Ms. Rice and give her the heads up and more background on what's happening in her own backyard.

When you look at some of her previous comments of concern over environmental issues over the years, one would think that the Banks Island mining situation could be an issue she might want to look into a bit further.

You can review more items related to mining in the Northwest from our archive page here.

Further background on the North Coast MLA's efforts in Victoria can be reviewed from our Legislature Archive page.


Update: Shortly after 4 PM on Friday afternoon, the North Coast MLA issued this statement on the Banks Island Gold Mine situation.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review


Thursday, July 30, 2015

CBC's The National: At Issue Panel -- Midsummer Politics

An archive of the At Issue features from the CBC's Flagship News program The National.

July 30th edition : Midsummer Politics

 

Global TV: The West Block -- What you need to know about voting in the upcoming federal election

Archive items from Global Television's National Politics Program The West Block.

July 30

What You Need to know about voting in the upcoming federal election.


Banks Island mining project now being investigated by Environment Canada

A Banks Island mining project is being
reviewed by Environment Canada
An underground gold mining project on a Northwest coastal island south of Kitkatla is being reviewed by Environment Canada after reports of a pollution spill on the site were made public in recent weeks.

Environment Canada is offering no comment related to its investigation other than the advisory that it will be the lead investigator into the incident, with support from the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service.

The Yellow Giant Mine on Banks Island received notice from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment earlier this month which issued an order related to the operations on site.

The company noted the terms of the Pollution Abatement order in a media release from July 24th, outlining how the BC Ministry of Mines had inspected the Yellow Giant Mine on July 16th and issued a stop order on the mineral process plant until a revised Sediment Control Plan, Water Management Plan and Tailings management plan was provided to the Chief Inspector.

Yellow Giant stated in the media release that they had submitted the requested reports as of July 20th.

Concerns over the way that tailings from the mine have been stored and the impact that it could have on lake and wetland areas that feed a river and other streams that salmon transit is key to the ongoing investigation.

In the fallout from the incident, the Gitxaala Nation has also indicated that they will be launching a legal action against both Banks Island Gold and the province to ensure that environmental damage that may have been caused by the spill is cleaned up.

Chief Clarence Innis of the Gitxaala First Nation also told Global BC that they have a number of concerns related to the development in their traditional territory and plan to conduct their own investigation into the incident.  He noted that along with their legal moves, the First Nation would be looking to see the mining project shut down completely.

In the same interview, Al Hoffman, the Chief Inspector of Mines for British Columbia outlined some of the details of the investigation to this point from the province and the process and possible repercussions ahead.

Both interviews can be viewed below:




The environmental group Pacific Wild has also been prominent in recent days in its efforts to draw attention to the mining project, issuing their own media release on July 27th.

Yesterday, the Vancouver Sun provided more background related to the incident that led to the current investigation.

Other news sources both local and provincial, have been following the story since the incident was first noted earlier this month.

July 29 -- Gitxaala call on Banks Island to 'clean up and get out' of traditional territory
July 27 -- Underground gold miner limits production after pollution violation
July 27 -- Province shutters mine over spills
July 23 -- Shutdown order issued for Banks Island Gold after tailings, effluent found in the environment
July 23 -- No health risk from tailings and effluent discharge says Ministry of Environment
July 23 -- Environment Ministry orders mining shutdown on Banks Island due to tailings and effluent

Some aspects of those media reports, including those from the North Coast, have been highlighted by a resource magazine as inaccurate.

Though the publication, Resource Clips did note that Banks Island Gold officials didn't do themselves any favours in the their response to interview requests regarding the incident.

Mining.com went even further, outlining the list of items which the Company says has not been reported accurately. The majority of which involved the current status of the production activity at the mine and the  description of the area in question as a tailings pond, items that the company expanded on with a media release from July 28th.

In that media update, the company also announced the resignation of Mr. Saurabh Handa the Director and Chief Financial Officer, noting his other commitments as the deciding factor in his departure.

His time in the upper level position with the company appears to have been rather short lived, his appointment announcement which also listed a number of other changes within the company was dated July 8th of this year.

No timeline has been outlined by Environment Canada as to the process involved with their joint investigation with the province.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

More items related to mining activity in the Northwest can be found on our archive page.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Southeast Conference making plans for September conference in Prince Rupert

In just a bit over six weeks time, the City of Prince Rupert will be playing host to the annual gathering of the Southeast Conference,as Prince Rupert takes its turn as host of the alliance of Alaska communities which includes the sole British Columbia representative from Prince Rupert.

The 2015 Conference is taking place from September 15 to 17 and as the planning moves forward, the discussion panels, workshops and other working groups are being put together to make the most of the three days that the visitors from the north will be in the city.

The majority of the three days of discussions and workshops will be taking place at the North Coast Convention Centre, with Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and Southeast Conference President Patricia Phillips providing the opening address on the Tuesday morning

Among some of the topics that are in the works for the three day Agenda: Cross Border partnerships, an International Expo featuring discussions on LNG opportunities, a review of AMHS issues, a workshop on Building a sustainable future and discussions on Preparing the Alaskan economy for 2020.

A first draft of the proposed Agenda can be reviewed here.

While the delegates are here, a number of trips are also being planned to showcase some of the industrial developments of the region as well as other aspects of what Prince Rupert and Port Edward have to offer.

Delegates will wrap up their time on the North Coast with the closing banquet, scholarship auction and election of the 2016 Board of Directors.

In order to shuttle delegates to Prince Rupert from Ketchikan, the Alaskan airline Taquan Air will be flying between the two communities through the week, as well delegates can take advantage of the opportunity to use the Alaska Marine Highway System to transit to Prince Rupert.

That could provide a welcome opportunity for the Southeast Conference members to impress upon the Alaska government officials of the value of the transportation link between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, perhaps even making use of the conference to push for increased service between the two communities.

As well, with both Alaska state officials and representatives of the Federal Government to be in attendance during the conference,  North Coast residents could possibly receive an update on the stalled renovation plans for the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal in Prince Rupert.

Some background on the issues related to the Alaska Marine Highway and engagement with Prince Rupert can be found here.

Beyond the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss issues of mutual concern up and down the Pacific Northwest coast, the Conference will be an economic boost to the Prince Rupert economy, with hotel reservations and restaurants to feel the most impact of the three day visit from the neighbours.

You can track developments leading up to the September sessions through the Southeast Conference website.

The page dedicated to the Prince Rupert session can be found here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

CBC Radio responds to City Council inquiries on service in the community

The CBC has offered up another response to concerns related to programming on the North Coast, replying to a letter from the City of Prince Rupert and providing an overview of the service that they provide to the region through the Daybreak North program.

Noting that two members of the Daybreak team are based in Prince Rupert, Lorna Haeber, Director of Programming for the CBC outlined how recent budget cuts had not had an impact on the positions of Carolina de Ryk and George Baker who hold down the fort on Third Avenue West.

In the letter from July 10th, Ms. Haeber also observed as to the nature of the Daybreak North programming model which produces programming relevant to the larger audience of Northern British Columbia, while at the same time reflecting the unique characteristics that make up the community which the local broadcasters live.

The CBC executive also addressed some of the concerns that City seemingly included in their recent correspondence, advising that issues such as survival information and marine weather reports have been strengthened, with the marine weather incorporated into weather breaks both during the Daybreak North program and through the day.

As for some apparent programming requests by the City, that the CBC include shipping reports and announcements of memorials, Ms. Haeber observed that the CBC does not have the capacity to provide either of those recommendations on an ongoing basis.

On the theme of community involvement, she also made note of the recent Street party hosted by the CBC in front of City Hall, as well as a BC Almanac program hosted by Prince Rupert's Gloria Macarenko and broadcast from the CBC's Prince Rupert studios during Homecoming in May.

Also listed in the reply to the city were some of the other events that the CBC have provided a focus on in recent months, highlighted by a three day visit by Radio West during the February All Native Basketball Tournament.

You can review the full letter to Council by clicking on the copy provided below:



Ms. Haeber's correspondence is not the first time this year that CBC officials have responded to community concerns on the nature of programming in the region.

In May, Johnny Michel, the Senior managing director for CBC British Columbia and Alberta responded to an article from the weekly newspaper, providing some of the CBC's counter points to issues raised regarding the quality of broadcasting in the region.

As we've noted on the blog in recent months, the CBC has been in the spotlight on the North Coast with local listeners hosting public meetings to discuss their concerns and suggestions for improvement of local CBC service in the region.

The City's letter to the CBC follows up on those concerns which were raised by local listeners at a City Council session in April, as well as through a request for the city's support in their quest to improve the programming available.

You can review some of the background on those sessions from the links below:

July 16 -- Local CBC Radio fans hosting information Saturday
May 7 -- Local listeners seek Council's support to expand CBC Service on the North Coast
April 27 -- Community Group to outline concerns over CBC programming for Council tonight

For more items related to the media in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Haida Gwaii food producers set to debut "Produced on Haida Gwaii" brand

Produce from Haida Gwaii is going
to carry a new brand this year
A new Buy Local program for Haida Gwaii will see funding of $5,225 provided to the Misty Isles Economic Development Society for a branding project for Haida Gwaii grown produce.

The new logo for the project “Produced on Haida Gwaii” will label fresh produce including vegetables, greenhouse produce, meat and seafood, and local artisan goods.

Shoppers will be able to easily identify products from Haida Gwaii and choose to buy locally and support local farmers and food producers.

The Misty Isles Economic Development Society is teaming up with the Graham Island East Coast Farmers' Institute and local food producers to promote products from Haida Gwaii. With a focus on supporting local agriculture, Wild harvest and the seafood community.

The program will make use of promotional materials for use in grocery stores and farmers markets to highlight the Haida Gwaii brand.

“Looking for local food on Haida Gwaii should be easier with the new local food brand and promotional materials. We look forward to continuing implementation of the Agriculture Strategy with our local producers.” -- Cameron Bell, economic development officer for the Misty Isles Development Society on a new program to highlight locally grown products

The new logo will be unveiled as part of the Tlell Fall Fair from July 31-August 2, as well as at other farmer's markets on the Islands through the summer and fall.

More on the Tlell Fall Fair can be viewed from this video from last years event or from the Facebook page dedicated to this years event.

You can learn more about the program from this background piece from the B. C. Buy Local program.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Prince Rupert's water supply project to replace 2.2 kilometres of 100 year old pipe

Work on the City's water supplylines and Woolworth Dam
will be aided by Tuesday's
funding announcement

(photo from City
of PR 2012 annual Report)
A few more details have  been released regarding yesterday's infrastructure announcements on the North Coast, with the Prince Rupert water supply replacement project set to bring the city's water lines into a new century, leaving the 100 year old pipes to the history books.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday afternoon, Transportation Minister Todd Stone carried his infrastructure funding tour to the west, arriving on the North Coast on Tuesday afternoon providing for three major announcements.

For Prince Rupert, funding a combined federal and provincial infrastructure program will deliver $2,193,028 dollars from both the province and federal government accounting for over 4 million of the $6,579,086 price tag of the major infrastructure project.

The remainder of that total directed to the project will be the responsibility of the City of Prince Rupert.

On Tuesday evening, the Federal Government provided some background on the nature of the project, which will see the city's 100 year old steel water supply line replaced by a thermo plastic polymer pipe, with the new line to be buried underground for better protection.

The new upgraded line will be less prone to leaks, breakage and infiltration of contaminants and is expected to provide Prince Rupert residents and businesses with reliable potable water service for years to come.

Mayor Lee Brain, expressed the thanks of the Community for the financial assistance on the project and offered up some of his thoughts on the importance of the water supply project to the city.

"The City of Prince Rupert is delighted to be an active participant in conjunction with the Provincial and Federal governments New Building Canada Plan’s Small Communities Fund. A big thank you goes out to the Province for their support in addressing our critical infrastructure improvement needs by means of this opportunity. As part of the City of Prince Rupert’s 'LNG Go Plan’, this grant award begins the process of making our community a sustainable one. This in turn allows the City to compete as a global player on a world platform for major growth in the region and within the province."

Representatives from Prince Rupert and Port Edward joined
BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone for Tuesday's funding announcements

(Photo from Mayor Lee Brain's Facebook page)


In addition to the City's water supply project, Minister Todd Stone announced the approval of funding for the Wampler Way Bypass road in Port Edward. With both the province and federal government providing up to 1 million dollars each towards a project that is expected to cost 17.6 million dollars.

Port Edward is responsible for putting together the financing for the outstanding 15.6 million dollars.

"On behalf of myself and Council we would like to thank the Province for their support on the Wampler Way Project. This project will provide transportation for industry while keeping our residents safe." -- A statement from Mayor Dave MacDonald following Tuesday's funding announcement

The full overview of both projects can be found from this media release from the Federal Government.

For more items related to infrastructure issues on the North Coast see our archive page here, for items of note from Prince Rupert City Council see our Council Discussion page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Infrastructure tour arrives on North Coast with funding for projects

Transportation Minister Todd Stone
Signed an MOU on funding
for infrastructure items for the
Lax Kw'alaams First Nation on Tuesday
Day Two of Transportation Minister Todd Stone's infrastructure funding tour brought him down the Yellowhead highway with announcements for Prince Rupert, Port Edward and Lax Kw'alaams on Tuesday afternoon.

The first announcement came for Lax Kw'alaams with details of a Memorandum of Understanding with the First Nation community that will set in motion funding for engineering work to pave Tuck Inlet Road, as well as funding for the refurbishment of the Spirit of Lax Kw'alaams ferry which will take place in 2016-17.

As well, Mr. Stone announced that there would be funding in place to provide for additional ferry trips each week between Lax Kw'alaams and Prince Rupert.

Details on the funding which comes through the BC on the Move program can be found here.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone
also had funding announcements
for Prince Rupert and Port Edward on
Tuesday afternoon
From that announcement Mr. Stone was off to meet with Mayor Lee Brain of Prince Rupert to announce the provinces contribution towards a new water supply project, with the province and Federal government contributing 4.4 million dollars towards the project of upgrading the city's water supply lines and dam at Woolworth Lake.

The money that is being dedicated towards the water line project heralds the start of what City Council is calling the
Rebuild Rupert program.

Mr. Brain chose to use his Facebook page to deliver the background to the announcement and the nature of the Rebuild Prince Rupert program.

The water supply issue was flagged by City Council as its highest priority back in February, when it submitted its application for grant funding.

With Port Edward the focus of much of the immediate development when it comes to the proposed LNG terminal at Lelu Island. That community was not left out of today's announcement listings, with Port Edward set to receive 2 million dollars in funding that will be directed towards the Wampler Way bypass road in that community.

Wampler Way is a key component of some of the development plans that Port Edward has been considering over the last few years, some background on that can be found here.

Details on both the Prince Rupert and Port Edward announcements can be reviewed here.

More background on Prince Rupert infrastructure issues can be found from our archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Cow Bay Marina project showing signs of progress

A crane that has been looming large on the Cow Bay waterfront for the last few days is making some good progress on a much anticipated destination project for the Atlin Terminal area.

The Cow Bay Marina project is starting to take shape on the water behind the Prince Rupert Port Authority offices, with progress on the breakwater and floats continuing to provide an outline of what the final project will look like.

The Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corporation posted a pair of photos to its Facebook page last week showcasing some of the progress to date.

A crane working on the Prince Rupert waterfront
is putting in place the framing of the new
Cow Bay Marina which will include a 600 foot public pier
And while the original date of installation of July 31st doesn't seem to be a likely target for an opening at this point, the progress to this week does seem to suggest that North Coast residents may yet get to see the facility in use before the warm sunny days give way to the fall storm season.

Included in the design for the project is a 600 foot public wharf which will be the centre point of the waterfront development and once completed is certain to become a popular vantage point for those visiting the Cow Bay area.

We traced some of the history of the Cow Bay marina project with our blog item of June 2nd 

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Canadian National to use Prince Rupert's Fairview terminal as blue print for Alabama ambitions

Mobile Alabama will join
Prince Rupert as a major CN Rail
Gateway to North America giving the
railway a presence on three coasts
The success of the Fairview Container Terminal has so impressed officials of Canadian National Railway, that they will be taking the concept in place in Prince Rupert to their facilities in the deep south of the United States.

One month ago Canadian National and the Alabama State Port Authority, along with APM Terminals in Mobile signed a memorandum of agreement for development of the Mobile inter modal Gateway Project.

A project that CN notes will provide a third coast for the railway which crosses Canada and now reaches the Gulf Coast of the Deep South. The addition of Mobile to the CN Rail map will mean that the railway will soon be operating some 32,000 kilometres of track across North America.

The blue print for Port development in Mobile will be one rather familiar to those working at Fairview Terminal at Prince Prince Rupert's waterfront, with CN looking to make the same seamless transition from ship to rail as part of their Alabama plans, which will see the new gateway increase its capacity by some 90 percent.

In an interview with the Journal of Commerce, CN officials outlined how their experiences in Prince Rupert have provided them with the confidence that the model they have in place on the North
Coast of British Columbia will prove to be just the kind of project that will make their Mobile plans a success.

To highlight just how successful their shipments to and from Prince Rupert have been, the expansion plan into the Gulf Coast is being called the Prince Rupert Model.

Highlighted by a significantly lower dwell time than many other terminals in North America, with goods unloaded in Prince Rupert on their way into the US Midwest within 100 hours of arrival at the Fairview Dock.

It's the through the work of those working at Fairview Terminal and along the CN lines east and south that the volumes through the Port of Prince Rupert have increased since the terminal shifted from its break bulk use to its dedicated use as a container terminal in 2007.

Shipments through the Mobile terminal will use CN's network into Chicago and beyond as well, leaving the Railroad confident that within five years, Mobile will be following much the same path as Prince Rupert has when it comes to on time delivery and reputation.

CN is not stopping its expansion plans with Alabama, the railway also recently signed an agreement with the Port of New Orleans to develop greater supply efficiencies through that southern gateway as well.

The 36 million dollar project in Alabama is expected to be completed in 2016.

A look at the Prince Rupert blue print in motion can be found from this video overview from CN.

More background on developments at both the Port of Prince Rupert's Fairview Terminal and with Canadian National can be reviewed from our archive pages below:

Fairview Container Terminal
Canadian National Railway

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

ORCA LNG receives NEB export approval for planned Prince Rupert LNG Terminal

ORCA LNG has yet to
announce where in the
Prince Rupert area that their
proposed shipment terminal
will be located
A first step for one of the proposed LNG terminals on the North Coast gained some momentum on Monday, with the approval of the National Energy Board for export shipments for a proposed LNG shipment facility to be operated by a company known as Orca LNG.

We last heard of their interest in the region back in September of 2014, when Orca LNG first submitted their application with the NEB, which at that point had not identified where exactly they planned on building their liquefaction storage tanks and terminal facility.

To this point, the company still has yet to develop any form of presence in the community or through any kind of website update.

The approval from the NEB provides for a 25 year licence to start on the date of the first export, with an early expiration clause in effect should exports not take place within ten years of yesterdays approval notice.

The approval notice however is just the start down the road to a potential export terminal for the region, to provide readers with some sense of the time lines in place.

The Pacific NorthWest LNG project, which at the moment is the one on the North Coast that has the most momentum, received its NEB approval back on March 31st of 2014, that after starting their application process on July 5th of 2013

You can review the ORCA LNG Decision from the National Energy Board from their website.

What few items of note that we have found regarding Orca can be found on our archive page, see the 2014 archive.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Prince Rupert shut out from Monday's funding flurry

The Province of British Columbia
and Federal Government travelled
the Northwest on Monday with
funds for infrastructure projects
British Columbia Transportation Minister Todd Stone and Prince George area MP Bob Zimmerman made the rounds of the Northwest on Monday, making announcement after announcement of provincial and federal funding for a number of transportation and infrastructure projects in the region.

Yet, the GPS coordinates taking funding from community to community seemed to stop just a little bit outside of the Terrace city limits, as the Prince Rupert wasn't to be found on list of five infrastructure programs announced on Monday.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, the Terrace area benefited from two major announcements, with over eight million dollars in funding directed towards an expansion of the Terrace airport, while the announcement of funding for an overpass on Highway 16 near Exstew.

The Highway improvement will be of particular help when it comes to residents of the North Coast making the trek into Terrace for those frequent shopping trips, or to make air connections through the soon to be expanded Terrace airport.

The two officials weren't finished however with just those announcements, later in the day a roads project for Kitimat was announced, which will see 200 thousand dollars in road improvements made to the turn off to the Kitamaat Village.

As well, both Kitimat and Stewart will receive infrastructure funding to be put towards projects in those communities.

The Federal and Provincial governments will provide $1.2 million dollars each towards Sewage Treatment Plant retrofit project in Kitimat.

“Mayor and Council of the District of Kitimat are very grateful for the support of both the Federal and Provincial governments in approving our application to upgrade our Sewage Treatment Plant under the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund. Upon completion the plant will provide for an estimated future stable population of approximately 12,000 people -- Kitimat Mayor Phil Vermouth

While the landfill in Stewart will receive 863,306 dollars from the Federal government and a matching amount from the Province to be used  for an Environmental Management System and Waste Transfer station.

“This is great news. I would like to thank Council and Administration for having the foresight to apply for the grant to fund this important project. On behalf of Council and the community of Stewart, I would like thank the federal government and the Province of British Columbia for making such a crucial investment in our infrastructure.”-- Deputy Mayor Patricia Lynn of Stewart

Considering many of Prince Rupert's current infrastructure concerns, its surprising that the frenzy of funding announcement didn't include something (or anything) for the North Coast.

Particularly since Mayor Lee Brain mentioned infrastructure as part of his comments during his time in Victoria last week.

Speaking on the steps of the Legislature last Tuesday afternoon, the Mayor gave a fair bit of his time to a new initiative called Rebuild Rupert, something that the City hasn't fully explained to its residents as of yet.



Hopefully at some point in the near future, Prince Rupert will be the backdrop for some of these travelling funding presentations, with word on some of our infrastructure issues finding some forward momentum.

 For the moment, considering Monday's string of announcements, it would seem that civic officials in Terrace, Kitimat and Stewart have had a bit more success in getting their message across and accessing the funding to move forward with their projects.

See our Council Archive page, for a look at some of the Prince Rupert discussion points from past council meetings, included in those discussions are a number of concerns on infrastructure.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review


Monday, July 27, 2015

Terrace Airport to receive Federal and Provincial money for expansion plans

Terrace Airport expansion plans
will benefit from 8.8 million dollars in funding
from the Federal and Provincial government
It was infrastructure Announcement Day in Terrace today, and with both provincial and Federal representatives in town, some welcome funding for the Terrace area was delivered this morning, with the Terrace Airport expansion plans receiving a financial boost from today's news.

As we outlined on the blog earlier, British Columbia Transportation Minister Todd Stone was in Terrace along with the MP for Prince George-Peace River, outlining details of upcoming investment in the Northwest.

Along with an announcement on funding for a project between Terrace and Prince Rupert on Highway 16, the pair announced details of provincial and federal commitments to the Terrace airport.

BC Transportation Minister
Todd Stone was on hand in
Terrace for today's announcement
A combined investment of 8.8 million dollars split evenly between the two levels of government, contributing just a shade over half of the 16.4 million dollar cost of the airport project. The Terrace-Kitimat Airport Society will be providing the remainder of the funding for that expansion.

The ambitious plans for the Terrace airport facility will see 1,573 square metres of new building added to the current complex, as well as renovations to be made to the existing 1,110 square metres that make up the Terminal today.

When completed, there will be new facilities in place for such airport features as check in counters, baggage security, passenger screening, offices and improved parking access to name a few of the new design features.

Ron Burnett, the President of the Terrace-Kitimat Airport Society marked the announcement of additional funding and how it will impact on development plans for the airport.

“The Northwest Regional Airport is excited to progress with this important expansion project, in partnership with the federal government and the B.C. government. This is an important milestone in our continuous efforts to improve safety, security, capacity, and efficiency of travel for all of our customers. These enhancements will help improve the flow of passengers and goods, which will encourage more regional economic growth.”

You can review the full announcement from today here.

The Terrace Airport has more background available on their Master Plan Concept, which you can review here.

The Terrace airport has in recent years become somewhat of a hub for travel in the region, with Air Canada, Hawkair, WestJet and Central Mountain Air all offering services through the Terrace facility.

More Aviation notes in the Northwest can be found from our archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

Highway 16 to receive major funding for overpass between Prince Rupert and Terrace

BC Transportation Minister
Todd Stone made a pair of infrastructure
announcements in Terrace today
Should construction timelines prove quick, sometime in the not too distant future the last remaining rail grade crossing between Prince Rupert and Terrace, at Mile 28 of the Yellowhead highway will be replaced by an overpass.

The announcement of the 37 million dollar infrastructure program for the Northwest  was made today by both the Federal and Provincial governments. The breakdown in funding will see will 17.5 million dollars in Federal funding and 19.5 million from the province of British Columbia allocated for the project.

British Columbia Transportation Todd Stone and the Federal Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River made the joint announcement in Terrace this morning. No timeline on the highway improvement project was provided as part of today's backgrounder on the announcement.

The rail crossing, located just east of Exstew, has been a frequent bottleneck of late owing to the number of trains travelling to the Port of Prince Rupert, making for lengthy delays in travel with the increasing frequency of travel to and from the Port. will benefit from 17.5 million dollars in Federal funding and 19.5 million from the province of British Columbia.

The work involved in the project will see the realignment of approximately two kilometres of the highway and building a grade separation on Highway 16 to carry traffic over the CN railway line.

The Federal and Provincial Governments are combining forces
to eliminate the last level crossing on Highway 16 at Exstew

While today proved to be a fairly good day for the Terrace region, no announcements related to any infrastructure or transportation issues in Prince Rupert or the North Coast were made as part of today's media event in the Terrace area.

For more items on Transportation on Highway 16  corridor see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

BC Finance Minister quoted in Malaysian media as saying Petronas LNG development to start in September

Finance Minister Mike de Jong
is making a bit of news in Malaysia
this week with talk on LNG
He's only been overseas for a few days now and already Finance Minister Michael de Jong is seemingly making headlines in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

As we outlined earlier today on the blog, the Finance Minister is in Malaysia as part of a six day visit to the region to update officials on the recent passage of the LNG Agreement with the Malaysian state owned energy giant Petronas.

In stories posted to the business pages of some English language Malaysian newspapers today,  Mr. de Jong has apparently told a press conference that he believes that construction will start this fall, perhaps as soon as September.

"The construction will begin soon ... this fall.  All other prerequisites have been dealt with" 

As part of the media conference, the Finance Minister also noted that the LNG project heralds the rise of Malaysian trade with Canada, adding that when the LNG project is completed, Malaysia would immediately move into the number two position as a Canadian trading partner, the country currently is Canada's fourth largest trading partner.

Mr. de Jong also updated the Malaysian media on how he sees the Canadian Environmental Assessment process to turning out, indicating some sense of certainty in his mind that the review will provide for a positive announcement.

"Our central government environmental certificate is the remaining piece to this and we are working through the exercise. We are optimistic that in the very near future it will be concluded."

That timeline might seem just a bit optimistic at the moment, as the CEAA process has been in a bit of a holding pattern for much of the summer as the Federal agency seeks out further information from  Pacific NorthWest LNG regarding their plans for the Lelu Island site.

As well, the project will still require Federal cabinet input once an announcement is made on the CEAA process, something that could be affected by developments out of Ottawa with the upcoming Federal election call in the fall.

You can examine more of Mr. de Jong's talking points as reported by the Malaysian media from the items below:

Malaysian Insider -- Petronas' LNG project in Canada to kick off in September
Malaysian Star Online -- Petronas to start construction of LNG terminal in Canada in September

For further background on the Pacific Northwest LNG project see our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

With LNG agreement in hand, Finance Minster de Jong heads for Malaysia

Finance Minister Mike de Jong is in
Malaysia this week to discuss
the recent Petronas  LNG Agreement
with Malyasian officials
With last weeks vote from the British Columbia Legislature regarding the agreement between Petronas and the province now in the history books, B. C.'s Finance Minister is taking to the road to provide an overview of developments in British Columbia for Malaysian officials.

As we outlined on the blog last week, the Legislature passed the LNG Agreement on Tuesday afternoon, as the Liberal government used its majority to ensure the Agreement moved forward.

Mr. de Jong noted the progress that the province had made with its LNG ambitions in a statement prior to his departure for Asia.

“Now that the Province has met its obligations, we are an important step closer to the company’s final investment decision and the start of an LNG industry in B.C. ... We will keep moving forward to make this incredible opportunity a reality so we can build our economic portfolio, and create jobs and opportunities for British Columbians now and in the future.” -- BC Finance Minister Micheal de Jong is in Malaysia for further LNG discussions with the Malaysian government

A media release from Saturday outlined some of the focus that Mr. de Jong plans to bring to the discussions with Malaysian government officials when it comes to the future of LNG development in British Columbia.

Mr. de Jong will be in Malaysia for a total of six days, where he will discuss the ratification in the Legislature of the Agreement between British Columbia and Petronas, as well as take the opportunity to meet with other investors to highlight the potential of investment in British Columbia.

CBC-- Michael de Jong heads to Malaysia to try and close LNG deal
CTV -- B. C. finance Minister heads to Malaysia to discuss LNG deal
Global BC -- B. C. Minister off to Malaysia to discuss LNG deal

We imagine however, that one item that won't be on the agenda for discussion during his six day visit, will be some conversation on a recent Malaysian government order that places some curbs on freedom of the press in that nation.

A recent order from the Malaysian government will see two publications suspend their publications, after recent articles that were critical of the troubles of a debt-laden Malaysian Development fund.

Malaysia's Home Ministry suspends the The Edge publications over 1MDB reports
Malaysia suspends 2 Newspapers covering Scandal at State-Owned Fund

The decision to crackdown on the media by Malaysian officials, may provide for just a bit of ammunition for the NDP opposition and others that are concerned about the Province's recent agreement with the Malaysian energy company, which itself is a component of the Malaysian government.

The moves of the Malaysian government to limit the ability to report on troubling news, will we imagine be noted by  doubt by those in British Columbia who have expressed their concerns over what they believe is a deal that is far too friendly to the Malaysian energy giant.

More background on the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal can be found on our archive page.

While items related to events from the Legislature can be reviewed on our Legislature page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

A Port Edward primer from the Vancouver Province

Mayor Dave MacDonald was in Victoria
last week as the Legislature
approved the LNG Agreement with
Pacific NorthWest LNG
Last weeks passage in the Legislature of the LNG Agreement between the Province and Petronas for development of an LNG Terminal for Port Edward's Lelu Island has seemingly put the community on the radar of Vancouver's media.

This weekend found a look at some of the potential development ahead for Port Edward as the Vancouver Province looked at how a decision to build a terminal, if it is announced, will change the way Port Edward looks.

Key to the review from the Vancouver newspaper was some of the plans that Vancouver based developers are starting to put together for Port Edward, with the proposed plans of two groups gaining a bit of note.

Kevin Stunder's blue print for development would include a commercial property that he tells the Province he envisions looking like Vancouver's Olympic Village, featuring retail, hospitality and a grocery store to the District of Port Edward.

Among some of his projects, Mr. Stunder was one of the developers of the Watson's Landing project in Smithers of a few years ago, while more recently he has been involved in development of properties at Hudson Bay Mountain Village in Smithers

Another developer with an eye on Port Edward is Alture Properties which outlined for the Provinceincludes development of six acres of land for multi family development of condos and stacked townhouses.
The development of an LNG
Terminal in Port Edward will make
for significant change
for the community
article that their planning

Bob Payette, Port Edward's Chief Administrative Officer also provided the Province with a snapshot of some of the challenges that such a fast pace to development will be bringing to the community.

The prospect of large work camps in the area is one concern for residents of Port Edward, a topic that Mayor Dave MacDonald has been in discussion with Pacific NorthWest LNG regarding as plans move forward.

Mayor Dave MacDonald also notes that he has already been in conversation with the RCMP for the area, to ensure that any short term population surge related to LNG development is addressed.

Mayor MacDonald was in Victoria last week as the Legislature passed the Liberal's LNG Agreement with Petronas, offering up some comments on what the potential development of an LNG Terminal in his community could mean for not only Port Edward, but the entire North Coast.

The full article from the Province can be reviewed here, making for an interesting look ahead to where Port Edward is pointing its compass towards for the years ahead.

For more items related to events from Port Edward see our archive page here

For further background on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project see our project archive here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

BC Liberals make note of MLA Rice's Facebook page maintenance, wonder where Central Coast info has gone

A bit of political theatre played out over the weekend on twitter, as an executive of the BC Liberal Party made note of some subtle changes to the information flow from North Coast MLA  Jennifer Rice's social media portal on Facebook.

Laura Miller, who is the Executive Director of Today's BC Liberals, engaged in a fairly vigorous discussion with the North Coast MLA over the shifting focus of her Facebook entries of the last week and the apparent revision to the timeline of her activities.

Of particular note was what seems to be the banishment of a photo and synopsis of Ms. Rice's time last week on the Central Coast, which according to one of Ms.Rice's twitter notes in the back and forth with Ms. Miller, has now been moved to a photo archive.

However, if it is again available among her Facebook offerings, it would appear to be very hard to try and track down with a search of her political archive page.

For those wondering what all the controversy is about, the now missing/maybe moved, post in question can be reviewed below, taken from our blog post of July 24th (click on the post below to expand on the content)




That shift of information and sudden maintenance of her Facebook page, certainly has made the North Coast MLA the focus of some weekend attention.  With the MLA engaging in a fairly interesting exchange on why she was not in the Legislature for the Final Agreement vote of last week, as well as some of her thoughts on the Agreement between the Province and the Malaysian energy company Petronas.

Considering the focus that the Liberal government attached to all three NDP MLA's from the Northwest and their notes on LNG development during the LNG debate. Ms. Rice probably shouldn't be too surprised at all of  the attention to her absence in the Legislature and the nature of her ongoing response to it.

However, through her actions of the last week, Ms. Rice may have added yet one more item to the list for the Liberals as far as talking points on LNG for the future.

One imagines that her lack of participation in that final vote and the handling of her information updates over the weekend, probably will come up once again, particularly whenever the next Provincial election campaign comes down the road.

Some of the back and forth of the twitter conversations with a number of Liberal activists can be found below: (click on entries to expand)








Last week, clearly wasn't a great week for the North Coast MLA when it came to decision making,.

Ranging from where she chose to be during the final LNG Vote in the Legislature, to changing the recorded timeline of her Facebook page, which would appear to be redirecting any attention to her time on the Central coast.

And while it's interesting to watch how Ms. Rice spent her Saturday afternoon with the political types and the back and forth of the point/counter point aspect of the very public forum that twitter has become.  There would seem to be some people missing in the directed information flow.

Other than her twitter flare up of the weekend and a now rather hard to find entry to her social media flow, Ms. Rice hasn't had much to say on the topic of the missed vote of last week.

Particularly missing from her discussion points on the theme is something directed to those that should matter the most, the voters of the North Cost riding that she represents, that's an oversight that she might wish to address sooner rather than later.

For more items related to events at the British Columbia Legislature see our Archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review