A major fire on Third Avenue at the New Moon Restaurant occured after a large brush fire burned up near Port Edward.

A major fire on Third Avenue at the New Moon Restaurant occured after a large brush fire burned up near Port Edward.

Fires, leaks and a big jackpot in the summer

A 2015 news review of July, August and September in Prince Rupert

JULY

FIRE AT NEW MOON

Two major fires in Port Edward and Prince Rupert kept the RCMP and the fire department busy one weekend.

On Third Avenue West, the New Moon restaurant and the apartments above were severely damaged. Some renters lost their home but no injuries were reported.

There was also a brush fire in Port Edward and local fire crews required additional assistance. Emergency crews called in a helicopter from Terrace and an air tanker from Kelowna to help out.  BC Wildfire Service began an investigation to look into the cause of the fire.

SMALL OIL LEAK FOUND IN THE HARBOUR

The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation cleaned up a fuel oil leak from an abandoned pipe in Prince Rupert Harbour.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) noticed a rainbow lustre in the harbour and discovered it was coming from an oil leak by the north shore.

The leak was caused by high temperatures that thinned the viscosity of the liquid resulting in a small drip. An environmental agency assessed the impact on marine life and vegetation following the clean up.

CONTAMINATED MINE TO SHUT DOWN

The Ministry of Environment ordered the Banks Island Gold mine to shut down after there were complaints of contamination.

Allegedly, there had been an unauthorized discharge of effluent in March and an unauthorized discharge of tailings into the environment in June putting the company in violation of the Environmental Management Act and its waste discharge permit.

MILLION DOLLAR RUPERTITES

A group of five friends shared a $1 million winning lottery ticket in the Lotto 6/49 draw.

Paul Horak accepted the hefty cheque on behalf of his friends.

“Everyone dreams about winning the lottery and that’s why our group bought tickets every week,” Horak said. “My dream was that one day we would win and that dream came true.”

The ticket was sold at the West End Grocery.

 

AUGUST

The Ghostbuster ectoplasm

Twenty-one regional districts and municipalities joined together to form an alliance to force the provincial government to share in the expected $35 billion in revenues coming from Northwest B.C. projects.File photo/Northern View

Twenty-one regional districts and municipalities joined together to form an alliance to force the provincial government to share in the expected $35 billion in revenues coming from Northwest B.C. projects.

ALGAE MUD HITS THE COAST

A massive algae bloom in the Pacific affected the Prince Rupert gill net fleet. The algae was reported on in July and continued to plague the coast in August.

Fisherman nicknamed the algae “mud” and said that it’s abnormally thick and difficult to see from the boat

The Canadian Fish Corporation started canning late due to the algae and lack of fish.

Coun. Joy Thorkelson referred to the algae as something like the ectoplasm from the 1984 Ghostbusters film. The fishing season was projected to be a bomb with less than one million sockeye to be caught due to the algae.

Scientists reported that ocean temperatures were three degrees higher than normal leading to the toxic algae growth.

RE:BUILD AND RE:DESIGN RUPERT

The city reveals a 20-year plan to improve infrastructure called ‘Re:Build Rupert’. The plan will take on a $288 million infrastructure deficit to improve roads, bridge upkeep, water dam and water line upkeep and a $150 million water treatment plant.

Mayor Lee Brain also revealed the tentatively approved Re:Design Rupert project. It was planned to be a public engagement and consultation process over 18-months to outline where the direction of the city is going.

The project will be coordinated by the University of Northern British Columbia’s Community Development Institute.

CLEANING UP THE MINE

Banks Island Gold started clean-up of the spill of water and sedimentation at the mine. The Gitxaala Nation demanded the mining firm leave Banks Island after it cleans up the damage.

Chief Clarence Innis said the band’s next step is to launch legal action against the company and the provincial government to ensure a clean-up and that the habitat is restored.

Later that month, Banks Island Gold mine operations went on hold until it determined whether or not it’s financially viable to continue after the pollution spill.

A REGIONAL ALLIANCE IS FORMED

The Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance was formalized on Aug. 15 when representatives from 21 municipalities and regions districts from Haida Gwaii to Vanderhoof met in Terrace.

The alliance’s purpose is to have the provincial government share a projected $35 billion in revenues from future projects expected to happen in the Northwest over the next 25 years.

 

SEPTEMBER

LNG terminal on Lelu faces title claim

A walk to raise awareness for missing and murdered women ends in Prince Rupert. Brenda Osborne and a group of First Nations people walked 2,435 kilometres from Norway House, Manitoba to the Nisga’a Hall in Prince Rupert.File photo/Northern View

A walk to raise awareness for missing and murdered women ends in Prince Rupert. Brenda Osborne and a group of First Nations people walked 2,435 kilometres from Norway House, Manitoba to the Nisga’a Hall in Prince Rupert.

ADDITIONAL MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES PLANNED

The North Coast and Prince Rupert announced additional youth mental health services. Northern Health will add a full-time psychiatric liaison nurse to the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.

The Child Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative will also take part in Prince Rupert. Members of the project planned to meet with community members to work toward better access to timely mental health services for youth and their families.

SCHOOL TO BECOME HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

The public heard plans to transform the former Kanata School into a 270 multi-family residential development by the Bryton Group.

The site will have nine three-story buildings, with 30 two or three bedroom units, 80 per cent will be two bedroom units and 20 per cent will be three bedroom units. Units could cost up to $250,000. Construction may start as early as spring 2016.

A CONCERNING REPORT

An internal audit on Petronas, the parent company of Pacific NorthWest LNG, raised concerns about how oil and gas platforms have operated.

The report found four problems that could have led to extensive damage to the facility and massive harm to the environment. For example, six pressure valves were discovered to be heavily corroded and were not inspected for two decades.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice said that the company’s track record is something the public should have known about before the BC Liberal government signed a 25-year deal with the company.

TITLE CLAIM MADE ON LELU

The Lax Kw’alaams First Nations filed a title action for Lelu Island and the Flora Bank and lay Aboriginal claim to the land.

Test drilling for the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal began this month. If the band is successful in establishing an Aboriginal title to the land it would obligate the government to gain their consent before allowing Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal development.

In response to the title claim, Chief Clifford White of the Gitxaala Nation called for unity among Tsimshain nations. White said it was “disappointing” and “irresponsible” to take an adversarial position with other Tsimshian nations.

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