The Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District’s (SQCRD) request for a formal name change to the North Coast Regional District (NCRD) was officially granted by way of a Letters Patent issued Sept. 19 from Peter Fassbender, B.C. Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.
The process to change the name to better align with geography and similar regional district names across the province started in November 2015 and included stakeholder, First Nations, residents and government input. All responses were positive and generally supportive throughout consultation, reported regional district corporate officer Daniel Fish last week.
“The board of the NCRD would like to take the opportunity to thank stakeholders for taking part in the consultation process and would also like to thank Minister Fassbender for his advice and efforts in the initiative to better align the name of the regional district to current geography,” said NCRD chair Barry Pages.
NCRD to meet with Ministry on Marine Safety
The NCRD board voted to delay comment submission on improving marine safety and formalizing a tanker moratorium in northern B.C. to an in-person meeting with B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak at the Union of B.C. Municipalities that took place last month in Victoria. The Government of Canada asked stakeholders what the most important issues to be addressed in concerns to marine safety are, and what actions can be taken to improve marine safety. The government also asked what the issues are in the government’s commitment to formalize a crude oil tanker moratorium, and how the environment can be protected while economic impacts are minimized.
“The board has had a lot of discussion around marine response safety in general, particularly around the Simushir incident (Russian cargo ship that lost power and drifted off Haida Gwaii for two days) and I know directors [Mike] Racz and [Des] Nobels met with Minister Polak. Shortly after that we did see the interior version response plan that the province put out. So I think if staff could put together that information that we’ve been talking about – we do have a meeting with Minister Polak again at UBCM and we can have more discussion around this,” said Chair Barry Pages.
Pages attends ‘Mayors and Chairs’ roundtable
NCRD Chair Barry Pages attended the inaugural ‘Mayors and Chairs’ roundtable, held in Prince George in early September and said that much of the discussion focused around how to bring benefits to the north, specifically with the Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA), a revenue sharing body consisting of northwest B.C. regional districts and municipalities that “pursue resource benefit sharing discussions and negotiations with the provincial government, federal government and major resource companies.”
The roundtable was co-chaired by the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA).
“There was a lot of discussion around communities and their infrastructure needs and how the RBA [could solve that]. The NCLGA has been very keen on trying to line up some meetings with Minister [of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development Peter] Fassbender, and as you can see there has been hesitance from the province to have further discussion around the Resource Benefits Alliance,” said Pages, adding that existing funds of a rural dividend, the Pine Beetle Fund and the Forest Enhancement Fund aren’t working for the north.
“There was also some discussion around gas stations closing down and the remediation process taking 25 years, tying up a lot of good land in the community and not being able to be utilized. So the next steps were to speak as a collective voice with the RBA and getting it working for the north,” said Pages.
Woodworking Community Award
The City of Prince Rupert was recognized for its airport upgrades at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Victoria last month.
Wood WORKS! BC presented an a 2016 Community Recognition Award to Mayor Lee Brain on Sept. 28 for being an exemplary advocate for wood in a community project — in this case it was the Prince Rupert Airport upgrades and expansion.
The original airport was built in the 1960s by Transport Canada and the city commissioned Urich Laska Architectural Corporation and Moore Wilson Architects Inc. to design the upgrades that were officially completed in September.
Teleconference meeting switched to in-person
The Oct. 21 meeting for the NCRD, originally scheduled for a teleconference session between members, has now been switched to an in-person meeting.
The regular board meeting will take place Friday, Oct. 21 at the Coastal Business Resource Centre at 344 2nd Ave. W. at 7 p.m.