Ray Pedersen and Kristi Farrell plan to bring a Syrian family to Rupert.

Syrians to Prince Rupert, video and story

A group in Prince Rupert is looking to sponsor one or more Syrian families to live on the North Coast (with video).

The Canadian government promised to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees and a group of like-minded people are looking to sponsor a family to live in Prince Rupert.

Kristi and John Farrell and Ray Pedersen have joined forces to figure out how they can bring one, two, or hopefully five families to the North Coast.

“It feels like an obligation if we have the fortitude to do it,” Kristi said. Both her and her husband own and operate Opa Sushi and Cow Bay Cafe.

Over the past 12 years the Farrells have brought foreign workers into the area, providing employment and even helping with immigration papers for residency in Canada.

“We know how to bring people into town and make use of the resources,” Kristi said. Between the three of them they have two rental homes to offer.

Pedersen owns Slate Consulting Group, a head-hunting company that operates in the Asia-Pacific region.

“It’s tough to recruit people for business in entry level jobs in Prince Rupert,” Pedersen said, which is why he feels that if they’re able to bring Syrians to the community they won’t have a problem finding employment and filling the gaps.

He said that almost everyone he’s spoken to so far, including churches in the city, are willing to help.

There may be an absence of Syrians in Prince Rupert but it’s a multicultural society with a history of accepting newcomers in need of refuge.

“It’s a grand experiment. We’re so multicultural here. We have a history of providing shelter to people,” John said.

In the late 1970s, the government accepted 60,000 refugees from Vietnam for resettlement in communities across the country. Don and Alberta Seidel along with some other members of the Annunciation Church, put together a committee to sponsor Vietnamese refugees.

“It was gratifying at the time. A little bit of a grind,” Don said. He’s offered to provide advice on bringing Syrians to Rupert.

The challenges the Farrells and Pedersen are facing now is finding a handful of people interested in becoming a sponsor.

There are two main ways for the public to sponsor a refugee. The most common means is through a sponsorship agreement holder (SAH), which is an organization, usually a church, that has a legally binding agreement with the government.

The second way is through a group of five sponsorship. Kristi, John and Pedersen make three— they need another two sponsors. This could be an individual or a family who are permanent residents of Canada, members of Prince Rupert and have $5,000 for a contingency fund. The actual cost of sponsoring could be significantly less once fundraising and in-kind donations are taken into account.

The group are also searching for people willing to offer support for when the newcomers arrive.

Those interested can meet the group on Monday, Jan. 18 at the Community Futures office at 7 p.m. For questions call Kristi at 250-600-1647 or email Info@opasushi.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aimed at success – the launch hit the target

Prince Rupert teen Brendan Eshom launches educational software app that hits Apple’s “Top Charts”

Getting a head for cancer research

Prince Rupert Cops for Cancer want to flush away the illness with loads of donations for research

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read