NCRD in brief: Feb. 17 meeting

Tot park support, UFAWU update, Port committee options, AVICC membership

NCRD sends letter of support for tot park

The North Coast Regional District (NCRD) sent a letter of support to the City of Prince Rupert in its application to the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment Fund for the completion of upgrades to Mariner’s Park.

The city is seeking funds for the upgrades, which include the installation of a new toy, the removal of the old “Big Toy”, installing rubber mats to improve safety and accessibility for children, and expanding the size by 15 per cent.

Users of the park, including the Prince Rupert Lions Club, approached the city with funds and willing contracting partners late last year, but the wooden playground equipment in the park itself was handed over to the city 23 years ago.

The city continues to evaluate its replacement in its 2017 budget discussions, set to be finalized in May.

UFAWU-Unifor update board on closure

A letter sent by Christina Nelson on behalf of Prince Rupert Shoreworkers and UFAWU-Unifor provided some numbers on last season’s salmon harvest performance and worker hour numbers.

Overall, the 2016 salmon season on the North Coast was lower than average, but still significantly higher than 2015, explained Nelson.

Two million more pounds of salmon were landed at Canadian Fishing Company’s (Canfisco) Oceanside plant.

With gutting only instead of canning, Canfisco employed less than half of those employed in 2015 and 80 per cent fewer than in a normal canning year. 750 workers are employed in a normal salmon season; only 125 workers worked on a regular basis during the 2016 season,” Nelson wrote.

In 2016, workers gutted and shipped five million pounds of salmon, which provided 34,000 hours of work – that’s two million more pounds than in 2015, but 44,000 hours fewer with the loss of canning.

Had canning taken place, 130,000 more hours of work would have been added. Nelson asked the board to recommend to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans that a licence review of Jim Pattison Ltd.’s holdings, owner of Canfisco, take place with a view to limiting Canadian Fishing Company’s control over harvesting and processing salmon on the B.C. coast.

Port Edward asks to move forward on Port committee

NCRD director and Port Edward representative Dan Franzen asked the City of Prince Rupert to expedite its review of forming a committee to discuss the activities of the Port of Prince Rupert. The committee, to be made up of members from the port, NCRD, City of Prince Rupert and District of Port Edward, was proposed after a request by the NCRD to have a sitting member on its board of directors was struck down last year.

Franzen asked the city to move forward with its review of the proposal as the district would like to get started, he said.

New membership?

The NCRD has put in a formal request to join the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities area association (AVICC).

Because of more common concerns that the NCRD shares with other regional districts along the coast as opposed to the interior of northern B.C., the board felt the fit would be better.

We’ve got ferries issues, we’ve got a lot of coastal issues that it would be good to be a part of [with AVICC], so we’ve requested. We haven’t heard back yet,” said NCRD chair Barry Pages.

NCRD corporate officer Daniel Fish added that the membership of AVICC will meet at an annual general meeting in May to discuss accepting the NCRD into its membership.

The board would still be a member of the North Central Local Government Association even with the addition, the board said.