Many started off 2011 with a dip in the ocean for the Polar Bear Swim. This year the swim will take place at 1 p.m. at Rushbrook Floats and will include hot dogs and hot chocolate.

The year in review: January 2011

It didn’t take long for Prince Rupert to welcome its first new resident of the year, with a baby boy being delivered just hours into 2011.

New Year’s baby

It didn’t take long for Prince Rupert to welcome its first new resident of the year, with a baby boy being delivered at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital just hours into 2011.

Stephanie and Colin Watkins welcomed baby Talon Watkins at 12:17 p.m. on January 1.

Talon weighed in at seven pounds, seven ounces and will be a new baby brother for two older sisters.

Fairview traffic up, RTI shatters its record

In perhaps a bit of foreshadowing for the year to come, the tonnage handled by Fairview Terminal jumped 29.5 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009 based on numbers released by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. Ridley Terminals, meanwhile, handled a record 8,299,868 tonnes, up 99.5 per cent compared to 2009.

Realty numbers a mix of good and bad

Container traffic and coal weren’t the only numbers to rise in 2010, as the number of properties sold in Prince Rupert through 2010 was up from 115 to 117 and the number of houses sold was up from 95 to 97. The average selling price of a home was up slightly to $179,090, but the total value of the properties sold was down $500,000.

Referendum proposed

The idea of a referendum as part of the November municipal election was brought up by Mayor Jack Mussallem. The referendum was to look at the possibility of a new emergency services building to house the RCMP and the fire department due to the condition of those two buildings. Just before the elections in November, council decided to scrap the planned referendum.

Gitxaala take the City of Prince Rupert to court

Kitkatla filed papers with the Supreme Court of BC on January 10 in relation to the sale of Watson Island by the City of Prince Rupert. In the claim the Gitxaala asked that the court stop the City from selling or redeveloping any portion of the land “without written acknowledgement from the Gitxaala Nation that the Gitxaala Nation has been consulted and sufficiently accommodated”. Mayor Jack Mussallem said he wasn’t sure that municipalities had a duty to consult on the sale of the because that as traditionally with the provincial or federal governments, though Chief Elmer Moody said in the statement that was the case as municipalities are “creatures of the crown in right of British Columbia” and “are bound by the honour of the Crown and owe a constitutional duty to consult and accommodate where the decisions of the municipality may impact Aboriginal rights or title”. This story would continue to develop throughout the year.

The battle over Halibut

Prince Rupert charter boat operators and hobby fishers took part in a letter-writing campaign to get the Federal Government to increase the share of the Pacific halibut quota that is reserved for the recreational fishery.  The campaign was initiated based on concerns that the Halibut season would be cut short in July due to the low quota, 12 per cent, set aside for sport fishermen. The season did end early, with several charters in September being cancelled due to the closure.


Port Ed School

On January 11 the District of Port Edward took the first steps towards a new school in the community, giving first three readings to a bylaw that would allow them to borrow $2 million to construct a facility attached to the municipal office on Pacific Avenue. Plans for the building, which comes with a price tag of $2.5 million, call for a storage room, washrooms and a front office where the ramp and walkway to the community hall now sit and an extension that has two administration offices, a classroom for kindergarten to grade two students, a classroom for grades three, four and five, a multi-purpose classroom and a library, with the hall running between the rooms and the side of the community hall.


RTI plans expansion to double capacity

On January 18 Ridley Terminals Inc. signed an agreement with US –based Arch Coal.

While not extremely significant on its own, RTI Chair Bud Smith said the revenue from this contract would be used to repay about 75 per cent of the loans needed for company’s planned expansion. The expansion would double the capacity of the current terminal.

“It will represent one of the largest infrastructure investments in some time at Prince Rupert,” said Smith of the expansion.


Business Excellence Awards

At the end of January the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce handed out their annual Business Excellence Awards during a gala dinner at the North Coast Convention Centre.

The Business of the Year Award finalists included the Canadian Fishing Company, Prince Rupert Home Hardware and Northern Savings Credit Union, and the 2010 Business of the Year in Prince Rupert was the Canadian Fishing Company. The Rookie Business of the Year award went to Stuck On Designs; Small Business of the Year: Trades, Industry and Transportation was awarded to Kristoff Trucking; the Small Business of the Year: Hospitality, Tourism and Service was awarded to Opa Sushi; the Small Business of the Year: Retail was handed out to Farwest Sport and Cycle and the Aboriginal Business of the Year was given to Gutter Brothers.

The Excellence in Customer Service Award was presented to HawkAir; Cowpuccino’s won the Community Involvement Award and Dave’s Oyster Bar was named Business Newsmaker of the Year.

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