In October

TPP welcomed by Rupert in the fall and signs of development in the winter

A 2015 news review of October, November, December in Prince Rupert

OCTOBER

INQUEST AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The results of the inquest into what led Angie Robinson to take her son’s life and then her own offered 25 recommendations to prevent such an incident from happening again. The inquest looked into disability support, child safety and domestic violence, as well as the divide between urban and rural British Columbia.

After hearing the testimony of witnesses, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice said it demonstrated the lack of support for the North Coast. Some of the jury’s recommendations included training, a review of funding to First Nations support and ensuring the equality of access to services.

TURNED AWAY

Exploratory workers who were on their way to do work on Lelu Island for the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal were turned away by members of Lax Kw’alaams.

A group of five surveyors were also prevented from conducting sampling on Sept. 28, when members of the Lax U’u’la Camp told them they weren’t authorized to work there and walked them off Flora Bank. The Port Authority was aware of the contractors’ work for Pacific NorthWest LNG and has authorized the company to continue preliminary geotechnical site research and data collection for its environmental assessment.

ELECTION RESULTS

It was the longest election in modern Canadian history with 11 tireless weeks of political campaigns. October was the peak of election season when the all-candidates debate for the Skeena-Bulkely Valley area made a stop in Prince Rupert. All five of the candidates for the area — NDP, Liberals, Conservatives, Green Party and the Christian Heritage Party — spoke in a forum at the Lester Centre of the Arts.

The candidates discussed issues including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, First Nations rights and title to the land they occupy and the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal on Lelu Island.

Skeena – Bulkey Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen was re-elected with more than 51 per cent of the vote but his NDP party was dealt a crushing defeat by the new Liberal majority government. The party fell from 95 seats as the official opposition to a mere 44 seats.

MASSIVE INTERNATIONAL TRADE DEAL SIGNED

This month the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed by the federal government, which could signify a massive and inevitable growth in trade and potentially more traffic volumes at the Port of Prince Rupert.

Business leaders in the area welcome the TPP including the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Prince Rupert.

The TPP awaits ratification by the recently-elected Liberal government, but Justin Trudeau had supported the deal during his election campaign.

 

NOVEMBER

Big dreams and a nightmare

Union representatives react to the news in November of the closure of the Canfisco salmon canning operation.

File photo/Northern View

Union representatives react to the news in November of the closure of the Canfisco salmon canning operation.

WATSON ISLAND DISPUTE

The dispute over the ownership of Watson Island was reignited when the Sun Wave Forest Products owner, Ni Ritao, said the settlement agreement with the City of Prince Rupert was “null and void.” He said the agreement signed in 2013 by Sophia Liu on behalf of the company was done without his legal authorization.

The city responded saying the proper protocols were followed and in August it contracted the NRI Group to decommission the mill.

SALMON CANNERY TO END OPERATIONS

The Canadian Fishing Company (Canfisco) announced that the salmon cannery operations are shutting down at the Oceanside plant. The company blames the move to low returns on salmon in the area over the past few years. A projected 600 jobs will be lost.

The United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union responded to the news.

“[Canfisco] doesn’t deny that they’re sending more and more product to China to be processed and we’re very concerned because we believe that fish caught on the North Coast ($400 million worth every year) — we should be processing that here and not sending it to Vancouver or offshore,” said UFAWU northern representative, Joy Thorkelson.

The union plans to reach out to the provincial and federal governments to mandate that fish should be processed in the area they’re caught.

HAYS 2.0 — CITY COUNCIL DREAMS BIG

The Prince Rupert Northern View publishes an exclusive  special report on Hays 2.0, a visionary plan by the City of Prince Rupert to bolster the community to new heights.

It’s a 25-50 year plan to open up the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route and become a central hub for global trade. The name Hays 2.0 refers to Charles Hays, the founder of Prince Rupert and the former president of the Grand Trunk Railway. To learn more about the ambitious plan visit the story online at www.northernview.com

PHILANTHROPY IN RUPERT

Local businesses donated $2 million to “good causes” on the North Coast in 2014 found a survey by the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce.

OIL TANKER BAN PROMISES

Northwestern B.C. NDP MP Nathan Cullen states he will press the new federal Liberal government to legislate a ban on oil tanker traffic on the north coast. Recently-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged a tanker ban as part of his election platform for the west coast.

 

DECEMBER

Development is coming

Prince Rupert’s annual Winterfest was again a smash hit in December 2015.

File photo/Northern View

Prince Rupert’s annual Winterfest was again a smash hit in December 2015.

FLIGHT SERVICES DROPPED

Hawkair ends its service to Prince Rupert Airport between Dec. 1 until May or June 2016.

A couple of full-time staff and some casual workers lost their positions.

The president of Hawkair, Jay Dilley, said it will move its services to Kelowna during the slower winter months. The airline will return next year when traffic tends to increase.

FEASIBLE OR NOT? REACTIONS TO HAYS 2.0

Hays 2.0 plan receive mixed reactions and some question its feasibility. Expert in operations and logistics at the University of British Columbia Sunder School of Business, David Gillen, said that economically it doesn’t make sense due to the cost of fuel and that there’s already established competition from ports like Singapore.

On another note, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen sees the plan as a way to create future jobs in the area, the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s manager of corporate communications, Michael Gurney, said the Port was not consulted but welcomes to discuss the plan with the city.

THE TERMINAL LOOKS TO EXPAND TO MEET FUTURE DEMAND

DP World and the Prince Rupert Port Authority announced a ‘Phase 2 South’ feasibility study to raise the terminal’s capacity from 1.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to between 2 and 2.5 million TEUs. The study will look at container volume growth forecasts for trans-Pacific trade and examine marine liner services.

This announcement came while the ‘Phase 2’ northward expansion is underway.

EVICTIONS AROUND THE HOLIDAYS

Bailiffs representing the Stonecliff property owner gave eviction notices to tenants at the Port Edward trailer court after nearly two years of dispute over the property. The process involved moving vans and transporting the residents’ property out of the park.

Over the past year, tenants repeatedly challenged eviction notices. The president of Stonecliff, Victoria Beattie, said the timing of the eviction was “terrible.”

EIGHT-STORY CONDO COMPLEX APPROVED

The Bill Murray Drive 72-unit condominium complex is given the green light by Prince Rupert city council to move forward with its plans. The project by SwissReal Group will also include a medical building alongside the units.