Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The City inherits a pulp mill, an arraignment date for an accused murder suspect and an attempt to change the nature of investigating police involved investigations, some of the items of note for Wednesday.

PRINCE RUPERT OWNS A PULP MILL - AT LEAST FOR NOW-- The deadline passes and the City of Prince Rupert takes the keys to the Watson Island gates, gaining custody of most of the buildings and land on the site, but not all. (Daily News Archive Story)

Harbour Theatre prepares for its fall presentation of Habeus Corpus, auditions for the play take place October 1 and 2 at the Tom Rooney Playhouse on Third Avenue West. (Daily News Archive Story )

The arraignment date for Edward Dundas has been set for October 19th after a Monday court appearance via teleconference took place, with Mr. Dundas appearing from Prince George. Dundas is accused of the murder of his father and the attempted murder of his Uncle from an incident in August. (Daily News Archive Story not posted)

The Sports section offers up some helpful NHL hockey pool advice with a look at some of the more prominent would be picks for the 2009-10 NHL season, the paper also has details on the annual Basketball camp set for PRSS over the Thanksgiving Weekend, featuring camps for both Grades 3-7 and 8-12.

CBC Northern BC, Daybreak North
Taking ownership of a mill-- The CBC examines the latest developments from Watson Island, asking questions of Acting Mayor Kathy Bedard as the City takes control of the property. (listen to the report here)

Greening the Economy-- The prospect of a potash terminal for the North Coast is the subject of an interview with Canpotex representative Jon Somers (listen to the report here)

Police Investigating Police-- With another high profile police involved shooting taking place over the weekend near New Hazelton, NDP MP Nathan Cullen provides some background on the NDP's plan to table legislation to change the current system of police investigating police (listen to the report here)

Daily News Front page, headline story
Prince Rupert owns a pulp mill - at least for now
By George T. Baker

The Prince Rupert Daily News
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The City of Prince Rupert is now the owner of the Watson Island Pulp Mill.

As acting Mayor Kathy Bedard and city chief financial officer Dan Rodin waited patiently for the clock to strike 4:30 p.m., they would not make any official comment about the pulp mill and who might own it.

"Given the history of this, we weren't prepared to comment one way or the other until 4:30 p.m." said Bedard.

However, it seemed unlikely that at the last hour Sun Wave Forest Products BC, a subsidiary of the China Pulp and Paper Group, would come running in with a cheque for $6.5 million to save its property from reverting back to the city.

"We have not received anything from SunWave and we have had no communication with SunWave in a while," said Bedard once the clock struck the magical minute.

Although more than one potential buyer is showing some interest in the property, one of which is Lax Kw'alaams, no agreements had been signed by the tax deadline.

However, while the city now takes control of the major piece of property on Watson Island it does not mean that SunWave is done with Prince Rupert or Watson Island.

The shadowy company still owns property, which Bedard said could be the pulp mill's landing dock area. "We have staff working on that right now," said Bedard.

According to an outside source, the Watson Island property falls under several deeds. And although the land on which the mill sits is now in the hands of the city, another part, namely the right of way for the extensive waterline, still belongs to Sun Wave. This portion consists of over a hundred lot numbers and extends over approximately 3,000 acres along the line.

The change in deed does bring to end one of the most disappointing chapters in the history of the mill that once employed hundreds of locals.

Skeena Cellulose was once 68 per cent owned by the province and 32 per cent owned by the Toronto Dominion Bank. It was then Dan Veniez and his NWBC Timber and Pulp company that attempted - though unsuccessfully - to make a go of it in 2001.

The pulp mill fell into receivership and was then purchased by Sun Wave Forest Products with a major tax concession by both the City of Prince Rupert and the District of Port Edward.

In June 2005, the company made a $1.8 million offer for the Watson site plus a $1.5 million offer for Skeena's Carnaby Mill in Hazelton. The city supported the offer, however, the court-appointed receiver said it was significantly lower than the $6 million market value of the Watson site alone.

In July of that year, the B.C. Supreme Court approved the purchase of the two sites for $3.3 million. The China Paper Group then went to the Chinese Government for approval of funds for the deal with a deadline of August 11, 2005.

The city agreed to give SunWave a five year tax concession with the understanding that the company would be engaged in activities that would provide local employment opportunites by 2007.

But with all that promise, nothing seemed to come through and no employment activity began.

When no activity appeared to be forthcoming, city council cancelled Sun Wave's free ride and the city put the property up for tax sale in September 2008. This gave Sun Wave one year to produce the With no buyers, "The ultimate would be to have someone operating the pulp mill, but the city gave up on that some time ago," acknowledged Bedard.

"But for the first time in 13 years we are in charge of our own destiny."

A press released issued last night by the city declared that the city expects that "the outstanding property tax revenues, as well as other revenue, will be received." But no indication is made as to how this will come about.

When asked if the public would be approached for contributing ideas, Bedard replied that with Mayor Mussallem and some council members currently engaged in the UBCM in Vancouver, she felt that no decisions could be made concerning the City's next move until their return, when all could sit down together and discuss options further.

It's the economy (September 30, 2009)

Saturn takes its final orbit, the banks aren't very impressed with credit card reforms and Japan's recovery loses its steam, some of the items of note for Wednesday.

Globe and Mail-- Bombardier laid the track long ago for deal in China
Globe and Mail-- Canada's flat growth in July dampens optimism
Globe and Mail-- End of the road for Saturn as Penske walks away
Globe and Mail-- Banks balk at new credit card rules
National Post-- Tax hikes loom in the post-crisis world
National Post-- Hamilton sues over $10-million ABCP loss
National Post-- GM's Saturn faces full eclipse
New York Times-- G.M. to Close Saturn After Deal Fails
New York Times-- Tariff May Further Strain U.S.-China Trade
Times online UK-- PM unblocks the cash pipeline
Times online UK-- US hopes lifted of early exit from recession
Telegraph online UK-- The Government has turned regulation into a cash-raising enterprise
Telegraph online UK-- UK banks in landmark bonus reform pledge based on G20 agreement
Telegraph online UK-- Bankrupt Cayman Islands to get £38m bail-out
Telegraph online UK-- IMF's credit-constrained vision of the world economy is the wrong bet
Guardian UK-- IMF: UK faces credit rationing or higher interest rates unless Bank prints more money
Guardian UK-- Japan's economy slowing as stimulus wears off
Sydney Morning Herald-- Global bank losses hover at $3.9 trillion
Sydney Morning Herald-- Financial crisis 'causes more disputes'
Sydney Morning Herald-- Demand for credit weakest in 16 years
Sydney Morning Herald-- Marketing Myer: No sale for instos
People's Daily on line-- China to continue loose monetary policy, stressing domestic consumption People's Daily on line-- Bombardier bags majorrailway deal
The Times of India-- Bharti-MTN merger deal called off with South Africa rejecting the structure
The Times of India-- ATF prices slashed by 2.1%; effective midnight

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The city gets itself a pulp mill site, recognition for success on the open seas, fighting to reverse a government decision and opening day gets closer for the City's Green gym, some of the items of the Tuesday news cycle...

LOCAL TEACHER AND SAILOR HONOURED IN SAILING MAGAZINE-- A local teacher and sailing enthusiast is among twelve nominees for the Seafaring Person of the year, moving from the land locked life of the Okanagan to wide open seas of the North coast (Daily News Archive story)

The North Coast Transition House will host a rally on Sunday to increase awareness in the staggering number of Aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing. The Sunday rally gets underway at 1 pm at the Museum of Northern BC (Daily News Archive story )

The North Coast's MLA has continued his quest to reverse plans of the Federal government to de-staff the lighthouses of the North Coast. The latest steps towards that goal were outlined in the Tuesday edition (Daily News Archive story here when posted)

The Sports section features a review of the recent trip to Prince George by the Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby club.

Northern View, web extra
City of Prince Rupert now owns a pulp mill-- Once again the weekly paper is the first of the main regional media operations to report the details on the handing over of the pulp mill to the City of Prince Rupert. Their Tuesday afternoon article includes the surprising revelation that Sun Wave will continue to own some aspects of the Watson Island property, leaving the City to take care of those areas it no longer wishes to be involved with (see article here)

CFTK Television News
Time to get active-- CFTK provides an update on the status of the City of Prince Rupert's outdoor gym project, which is still on track for opening in the second week of October (see article here)

CBC Radio North, Daybreak North
Under the Gun-- The weekend police involved shooting of Rodney Shane Jackson near Hazelton is examined in a radio report (listen to the report here)

Front page, headline story
Local teacher and sailor honoured in sailing magazine
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Prince Rupert Daily News
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Elementary school teacher Mae Jong-Bowles is a force to be reckoned with.

While she's probably less than five feet tall, she looms large in her endeavours, the most recent being learning to sail.

In this month's cruising magazine, Latitudes and Attitudes Seafaring, Jong-Bowles is featured as Seafaring Person of the Year. Twelve nominees were sought and Jong-Bowles's husband Marty nominated her.

Last week in the legislature MLA Gary Coons shared her story. "Today I would like to share a motivational story about a constituent of mine from Prince Rupert, a teacher, a good friend and a magnificent sailor," Coons said.

Jong-Bowles grew up in the Okanagan valley near the West Bank area. Her dad drove a tractor and seldom drove the family car into town.

"I remember getting saved from drowning a few times. Once my sister pulled me out of a swimming pool and another time a friend pulled me out of a lake," Jong-Bowles recalled.

So, when her husband decided they should buy a sailboat so they could sail the world, Jong-Bowles said she reacted hesitatingly.

"I said "uh… yah" because it wasn't in my comfort zone."

She began taking adult swimming lessons, but said it took a long time to learn how to swim. In the last few years, she has been swimming about four times a week.

In December 2007 the couple bought Wild Abandon and sailed her home the following summer from Victoria to Prince Rupert.

"We were 28 days at sea and spent much of the time on the southern part of the coast because we knew we wouldn't be back again for a long time."

On that trip, Jong-Bowles learned how to navigate and use a GPS to plot the boat's position on the chart.

"I had to calculate the deviation from magnetic north, based on the charts to give us our course to avoid natural hazards and to find a safe route," Jong-Bowles said.

Chuckling she related one time when she gave Marty a position and he said, "Do you want us to go back the way we came?"

It turned out Jong-Bowles had the chart facing the wrong way.

Another time, because their boat's navigational table faces backwards, when she calculated the deviation, she added rather than subtracting and that would have taken them too close to the islands ahead.

Her husband would have the deviations, but realized that Jong-Bowles needed to tackle them because she needed to be able to see and know where they were going for her to stay in her comfort zone.

Part of that comfort level has also been the challenge to get over seasickness.

"You stand on the deck and you feel seasick or you stand below and you feel seasick. The Pacific swells can be great. Jennifer, our daughter, were doing charting below and while we're feeling seasick, Marty's up above thinking it's a great day because he's been out in big seas."

In June 2008, Jong-Bowles took a week long Herizen Sailing For Women course out of Ladysmith aboard the 44 ft. sailing vessel, Voyageur, sailing around the Gulf Islands.

It was a practical way of obtaining her boat operator's card and her Canadian Yachting Association Basic Sailing Certificate.

"Everything I learned I'd already learned from Marty, but the course added confidence and cemented my knowledge," Jong-Bowles explained.

Praising her husband's patience and willingness to teach her the complexities of sailing, Jong-Bowles said she's learned the importance of listening for directions.

"For anybody who is at the helm it's important to be alert, especially in and outside the Prince Rupert Harbour, because the wind can change," Jong-Bowles said, adding, "You can't change the wind."

A sunny day in Venn Passage near Metlakatla demonstrated that fact fiercely to Jong-Bowles and her daughter. The wind was good and everything was steady and the next thing they knew, something happened that knocked the boat flat.

"The wind had hit us. Later we learned that a wind tunnel or sheet had shot down at us and there was water bubbling all around us. Jennifer did the right thing and turned the wheel hard. Marty gave instructions and we had to move fast to release certain sheets and to get ourselves steady."

Jong-Bowles said she and her husband often submit photographs to magazines and mysteriously they'll show up in others, but when their copy of Latitudes and Attitudes Seafaring arrived last week and she saw she was picked as a nominee she jumped for joy - literally.

"I had tears in my eyes. It was very exciting."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All the news that's fit to liberate...

It was perhaps the fastest moving edition of the Yukon News in history, and yet few if any of the residents of Dawson City actually saw the news.

In what has been described as a mystery, 420 copies of the Friday edition of the Yukon Post went missing from their delivery location of the town Post office. No one saw the eager reader, who must have moved quick to make sure that nobody had access to the news that day, save for the sixty residents who request the paper be placed in their mailboxes.

The disappearance left residents to wonder about what happened and if the two main topics of that edition had anything to do with the empty newsbox.

Interestingly enough there were two controversial topics covered in the missing edition for the day, the details on the bid for the Mayoralty of a former Mayor and MLA, Peter Jenkins, who will apparently head into the campaign with a bit of political baggage to carry, some of which was reviewed and outlined in Friday's paper.

The city's controversial sewage treatment plans were also covered in the missing edition, featuring details on the background of the project and the emotions that it has raised in the town.

Both articles were available on the papers website;

Pirate Pete seeks Dawson mayor’s seat
Dawson out on a limb over sewage

As the paper is given out free, the disappearance of all the copies is not being treated as a crime as no such provision under the Criminal Code covers the "theft of Free newspapers", though one suspects a cause could be made for public mischief if nothing else.

The Yukon News plans on reprinting both articles in their next edition, the paper which is printed three times a week will no doubt be keeping an eye on their delivery spot just to be sure that the news arrives to those for whom it was destined.

With the paper making use of its Internet portal to deliver the news, we imagine that this means that the next step for the News grabbers might be to knock out all Internet access to the community.

CBC News-- Newspapers vanish in Dawson City

It's ours, now what do we do with it?

As four thirty came and passed on Tuesday, there was no delivery of a cheque of 6.4 million dollars in payment of back taxes from Sun Wave, nor was there any rush of buyers to take over the moribund pulp mill at Watson Island and the surrounding land there.

And with those windows of opportunity closing, the City of Prince Rupert and its beleaguered tax payers become the owners of the industrial site on Watson Island, though what the residents think they have; may not necessarily be what they have to offer for sale.

In an interesting revelation in the Northern View Tuesday night, during the course of the handover to the City, it was revealed that some of the property at Watson Island is still in the hands of Sun Wave, which apparently has paid taxes on some parcels of the land, but not on others.
In effect it would seem cherry picking those areas where they might make money and handing back to the city that section of the industrial site that they no longer wished to be bothered with.

It's an expensive return policy we seem to have inherited, the monthly maintenance and upkeep on the site is estimated at around 100,000 dollars a month, a potential 1.2 million dollar annual charge that will have to come out of the city's already stretched financial portfolio if the property isn't moved in short order.

Then there's the strange arrangement where Sun Wave will still control some portions of the site, which could make for a rather unusual situation for the City trying to sell a property that doesn't include some key areas of the site.

Now that the keys are hanging up on the keyboard at City Hall we can only hope that the oft stated dedication to transparency and accountability will be put in motion, as the City outlines how they will pay for the ongoing maintenance on the site, how if at all, it will impact on taxpayers and what impact Sun Wave's continued control over some of the site will have on potential sale opportunities in the future.

The City heralded its new (if defaulted) acquisition with a short media release which advised that they anticipate "outstanding property tax revenues, as well as other revenue, will be received".

Podunkians can only hope that proves true, and one hopes that it all arrives sooner, rather than later.

Terrace traffic stop results in major drug bust

A Prince Rupert man, as well as a resident of Terrace were arrested and face numerous charges after suspicions during a routine traffic stop turned into several arrest warrants and the investigation of several residences in the Terrace area on Friday.

By the time all the paper work was filed, there had been raids on three locations, a house in the 3800-block of Dobbie Street, a house in the 4700-block of Straume Avenue, and a residence and a shed in the 4800-block of Walsh Avenue.

Terrace RCMP seized marijuana, cocaine, cash, weapons and drug-packaging equipment as part of their investigation, which is ongoing.

The materials seized across the city indicate a multi faceted street drug operation, which has now been interrupted. The two men arrested were released, but the RCMP Federal North District Drug Section is seeking further information from the public about any of the happenings at the properties searched over the weekend.

The Province-- Two men arrested in Terrace drug busts
Terrace Standard-- Police seize drugs, guns, cash

It's the economy (September 29, 2009)

Deflation on the horizon, looking to expand on the Pacific rim and are some banks too small to bail out, some of the items of note for Tuesday.

Globe and Mail-- Deal would exempt Canada from Buy American provisions
Globe and Mail-- Deflation taking root in global economies
Globe and Mail-- Canada ordered to pay hefty lumber tax to U.S.
National Post-- Canadians more optimistic about economy
National Post-- Canada looks to expand trade in the Pacific Rim
National Post-- G20: Bureacratic megaproject
National Post-- Iran as vital as banks
New York Times-- Too small to bail
New York Times-- Taxing Banks to Pay for, and Prevent, Future Bailouts
Telegraph online UK-- Bank of England has no plans to lower rate on reserves
Telegraph online UK-- Mervyn King can avoid being misunderstood on sterling by avoiding the topic
Telegraph online UK-- Isa handout may be a sop, but investors should seize it with both hands
Telegraph online UK-- Gordon Brown: 'City is ideologically bankrupt'
Guardian UK-- UK economy shrank by less than expected
Guardian UK-- Giant South African diamond worthy of crown jewels
Guardian UK--London Underground slams Tube Lines' plan for tube overhaul
Sydney Morning Herald-- US panic at China's new ship killer
Sydney Morning Herald-- Asian shares buoyed by US mergers
People's Daily on line-- China honors role models of ethnic harmony, stresses common prosperity
People's Daily on line-- Deputy Minister: "we don't support high house prices"
The Times of India-- 'Indian economy to expand by 7% in 2009-10'
The Times of India-- Govt positive towards Bharti-MTN deal: Pranab

Podunk Below the masthead, Monday, September 28, 2009

The future of the North is on the rise, some valuable lessons on depression for students and rural health care are some of the items of note in the news cycle for Monday.

COLLABORATING TO DEVELOP THE 'NEW NORTH'-- Tim McEwan, the head of Initiatives Prince George was in the city on Friday, outlining his thoughts on the future of the North and the need for communities to collaborate their efforts to develop the potential of Northern BC. (Daily News Archive Article )

Students of the city's two high schools and the upper grades of the elementary schools had the opportunity to take in the lessons provided by a travelling group known as Reach Out, the sessions which took place at the Lester Centre of the Arts offered an education on the topic of depression and how it impacts on high school life. (Daily News Archive Article )

The Sports section featured a review of the pre season game between the Prince Rupert Rampage and Terrace over the weekend.

CBC North, Daybreak

Rural and Remote health care is the topic of an upcoming Northern Health conference and the CBC offered up this report. (listen here)

Cleaning Prince Rupert's shores was the subject of another segment of the Daybreak show on Monday, with a look at Prince Rupert's participation in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. (listen here)

Front page, headline story--
Collaborating to develop the 'new north'
By Monica Lamb-Yorski

The Prince Rupert Daily News
Monday, September 28, 2009

According to Tim McEwan, President and CEO of Initiatives Prince George, communities in the Northern B.C. have a reputation for collaborating.

"At the Business Council of B.C. they were discussing that the 40 communities of the north work
together," McEwan said at the Northwest Community College, Prince Rupert campus, on Friday evening.

McEwan was in Prince Rupert Friday as part of the Community Speakers Series developed by UNBC's Community Development Institute.

And while he spoke before a small group of people in Prince Rupert, those listening represented the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Port Edward and Prince Rupert's Economic Development office, the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce and the Community Futures Development Corporation out of Terrace.

Initiatives Prince George is a municipally-owned corporation mandated by the City of Prince George to undertake programs and projects designed to grow and diversify the local economy.
"Our dynamic marketing programs integrate investment attraction, trade development, tourism promotion and events for Prince George. We also take a proactive role in assisting the completion of major business deals that have strategic value for our community," states the corporation's website.

Originally from Trail, McEwan studied at UVIC and was the founding executive director of the BC Progress Board. He has been part of the Business Council of B.C., the BC Business Summit and has worked for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum in the area of land claims and land use conflicts. He sits on the Prince George Native Friendship House board and the board of Focus Foundation of B.C.
While he has only been the CEO of Innovations Prince George for 18 months, he is already convinced that the future of B.C. is in the north.

"As we develop the new north we know that its future will be related to its past. A past that's related to natural resources and a future that's growing a knowledge-based economy built on homegrown talent," McEwan said Friday.

Citing a local example of homegrown talent, McEwan talked about NWCC's School of Exploration and Mining in Smithers and how the program is building capacity with First Nations. "When mining opportunities open up, First Nations will be able to take advantage of employment opportunities," he said.

And when it comes to working with First Nations and developing economies, McEwan used the term "social license".

"It has to be respectful and productive," he explained. "Today's resource developers understand that they have a corporate social responsibility. If they don't we're left with prolonged uncertainty. We have to focus on deepening our relationship with First Nations."

McEwan also believes environmental assessment processes are presently being duplicated by different levels of government.

"There's no reason in my view why the federal government has to repeat provincial government
environmental assessments," he added.

Without flinching, McEwan said he is absolutely thrilled that the federal government has agreed to contribute to the costs of building the transmission line along Highway #37 in Northwestern B.C. and is sure that the province will also help fund the project.

McEwan explained that he has been working closely with Powerline Coalition Co-chair Elmer Derrick, Gitxsan Hereditary Chief, and Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO Janine North, to develop the project.

"We will be meeting next week regarding the transmission line," McEwan said.

Describing the opportunities in the north as staggering, McEwan noted the northern part of the province produced 12 percent of the province's economy in 2008, totalling $3.8 billion. Twenty-nine percent came from forestry, 30 percent from natural gas royalties and 41 percent from other natural resources.

He's convinced the forest industry will come back and that one of the keys to success is to open up a larger Asian market.

"Ministry of Forests statistics suggest that we will have record sales to the Chinese market this year," he added.

Calling natural gas royalties, the province's "economic bullet", McEwan cited the 800 trillion feet of gas in place at the Horn River Basin in northeastern BC as an economic boost that could see BC rival Alberta in 20 to 30 years.

McEwan is excited about the possibilities in the north and emphasized how Prince Rupert and Prince George can work together to do joint marketing and have a unified voice that opens up the corridor to investment.

The container port in Prince Rupert has been an exciting development making Prince Rupert the northern port and Prince George the transportation hub.

Other advantages could be gained by promoting international education. "It's a direct way to market Northern BC," McEwan said.

As the decade of preparing to host the Olympics comes to a close, McEwan is advocating the next ten years become a "Northern Decade".

"There needs to be a better understanding between north and south where we're not pitted against each other," he said.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meet, greet, eat and repeat, it's UBCM time in the Big City...

Five days to better government, or at least a comparison of notes on what's new in the world of municipal responsibilities, that's what is in store for our Mayor, civic administrators and whatever city councillors and Regional District members took to the skies this weekend for the UBCM convention in Vancouver.

Using the theme of "A province of Champions" this year's convention offers five days of meetings, information sessions, meet and greets and shopping expeditions for the province's civic leaders.

Over the course of those five days, our elected officials and administrative officials will have had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the major issues of the day and perhaps some of the lesser ones.

Monday was the arrival day, a chance for the delegates to wander around the Vancouver convention centre, do a bit of networking, take some tours and sit in on some study sessions.

Tuesday offers a number of workshops to drop into, whether it be Championing sustainable Transportation in small and mid sized communities, a sure bet for early risers with a 7:30 am start time, or perhaps delegates may wish to pick up some pointers on how to develop some practical partnerships with First Nations in the afternoon, there's much to do and much to see as the convention gets rolling.

New Delegates have the chance to learn the ropes at 4:50 pm and then can head off to join all the delegates at the Welcome reception from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, (though one wonders if the newbies have to buy the first round?).

Wednesday is the official opening day of the UBCM deliberations, O Canada at 8:30 am and the Presidents opening address just before the session is officially underway at nine.

Two key policy papers will be introduced during the convention, the subject of Police services and their affordability in the province and how that could impact on RCMP negotiations across the province.

The other policy paper of interest will be focused on the topic of how to strengthen the Regional District system of government in the province.

A full slate of events is planned over the following three days, including the always well attended Municipal Marketplace, described as "The place to do business with local government".
One stop shopping for municipalities looking for equipment, information services or any other item that could strike their fancy (consultants and contract workers anyone?).

Once they have the shopping carts full there are meetings and discussion sessions, both formal and off the cuff meetings that may provide for some helpful assistance to localized problems.

From there through to Friday's closing remarks from Premier Gordon Campbell, the city's reps will be blitzing through the convention seeking out provincial cabinet ministers and fellow civic officials seeking common ground, perhaps some solutions and in the case of Prince Rupert a little helpful advice on the merits or lack of it seems in the upcoming arrival of the HST.

The city issued a call for an Emergency resolution motion, one that was worked on by city council over the last few weeks (though not unanimously), advising that we should withhold support of the tax until the province implements exemptions and credits for those items that previously were not taxable, how it will be received and what success the city has with its resolution will be of interest to all, though we suspect that all of those cabinet ministers that our officials will be chatting with will see things a little differently.

Friday's wrap up takes but half a day, with a Federal address from Stockwell Day at 8:30 am, the installation of officers for 2009-10 and then the Premier's final address to the convention at 11 am, they bang the gavel at noon bringing to an end this annual trip down governance lane.

By Monday we will surely be hearing of all the progress we have made on any number of files with the province, our travelling delegation will file their travel expense forms.
And by the time that council next meets in chambers here, we surely will be provided with some of the details of how our crew spent their week on Vancouver's waterfront and what success they found and benefits they have delivered to us from their efforts.

The truly dedicated of policy followers can keep track of the daily events from the UBCM website, which has a copy of the entire conventions itinerary from the opening registrations of Monday to the final declarations of Friday.
Further details on the convention can be found from the pocket planner, or from the Civic Net site which outlines the year round functions of the UBCM.

It's the economy (September 28, 2009)

Your big screen, LED HDTV is already out of date, get ready for 3D TV, door to door gold deliveries, we are not alone in our Internet service complaints and the final decline of the US dollar?, some of the items of note for Monday.

Globe and Mail-- A report card on the world's central bank chiefs
Globe and Mail-- How the crash is changing popular culture
Globe and Mail-- Bombardier speeds ahead in China
Globe and Mail-- The next dimension in home viewing
National Post-- Canadians sitting on 'massive' cash mountain
National Post-- No guarantee rates will stay low, Carney warns
National Post-- Scotia first Canadian bank to deliver gold to your door
New York Times-- Safe, sound and no rebound
New York Times-- Testing the Dexterity of a Crisis Manager
Times online UK-- House price fall slows to lowest level in a year
Times online UK-- Broadband reliability brought into question
Telegraph online UK-- Governments can survive recessions, but not in this case
Telegraph online UK-- Germany's protectionist bombshell
Telegraph online UK-- Mervyn King's Swedish visit rattles pound over policy fears
Telegraph online UK-- Mandelson to extend vehicle scrappage scheme
Guardian UK-- US dollar set to be eclipsed, World Bank president predicts
Guardian UK-- Iceland one year on: small island in big trouble
People's Daily on line-- China boosts int'l use of RMB with sovereign bond sale in Hong Kong S.A.R.
People's Daily on line-- Non-tradable shares to flood markets in October
The Times of India-- Durables eye a cracking Diwali
The Times of India-- RIL diverting govt’s revenue’

When the score seems to be the last thing that matters

The Prince Rupert Seamen travelled to Prince George over the weekend to take part in the UNBC Wolfpack Rugby tournament, an opportunity to seek out some out of town competition, return the travel favour of those PG teams that make the trek to Rupert from time to time for friendlies and to build up the sport of rugby across Northern BC.

And as can be seen in a Prince George Citizen article on the weekend activities, while the scoreboard final results weren't particularly close, neither were they particularly important, the respect that the Prince George teams have for their Terrace and Prince Rupert competitors is in the end probably the main part of playing the sport and hosting the event.

With fall heralding the end of the rugby season, the Seamen can begin to make their plans for the 2010 campaign, knowing that there is always a game to be had all be it after an eight hour ride down the highway.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's the economy (September 27, 2009)

One thing is certain, their turbines will look real nice on their HDTV's, profits fall in China and the Euro debate continues in England, some of the items of note for Sunday.

Globe and Mail-- Interac ABMs to accept Chinese debit cards
Globe and Mail-- Shale plays put Alberta gas sector up in air
Globe and Mail-- Samsung looking to build Lake Erie wind farm
National Post-- GDP will be highlight of economic week ahead
New York Times-- The Mortgage Machine Backfires
Times online UK-- We are still a nation of shoppers, not squirrels
Times online UK-- Ministers just don’t know the damage they’re doing
Times online UK-- Inside The City: It can only get worse for UK finances
Telegraph online UK-- Thank heaven we didn't join the euro when Blair wanted us to
Telegraph online UK-- IMF set to unveil system for nipping future crises in the bud
Guardian UK-- Brown: Our bank bonus regulation will be toughest in the world
The Scotsman-- Insolvency fears if tax holiday comes to abrupt ending
People's Daily on line-- China's industrial profits fall 10.6% in first 8 months
People's Daily on line-- Union seeks duties on imports of Chinese paper
The Times of India-- Rupee likely to depreciate in coming week
The Times of India-- Diwali bonuses likely as India Inc turns optimistic: Experts

Funding request for Tsimshian Access Project gets A No!

The City’s attempt to secure 14 million dollars in grant funding to further examine the Tsimshian Access Project was turned down earlier in September, not part of a number of funding requests granted by the Northern Development Initiative Trust, a disappointment that was apparently expected by the City.

In an article in Friday’s Daily News, the City’s Bob Thompson outlined that the city did not learn that they were eligible for funding until a few days before the deadline and owing to that last minute nature of their request for funding, theirs was a rushed application.

Further investigation by the city found that their request for fourteen million dollars was almost half of the entire allocation of thirty million dollars particular to that part of the fund, making their request it appears a bit unsuitable for that particular pool of money.

And while that opportunity to access some cash has passed on unsuccessfully, the city remains undeterred, eager to seek out future funding sources to keep the project alive and on the books.

A first glimpse of a feasibility study for the project will be released in October, a document that should assist in the ability to access funding from various government options.

To that end, the City’s City Manager Gordon Howie will be bending a few ears during this weeks UBCM meetings in the Lower mainland, Howie has scheduled a meeting with some BC cabinet ministers to discuss the project further.

Using the power of their portal for good... The dog catchers of htmf

A lost dog, an Internet community and the readers that troll, click and post all came together last week as a "Be on the look out for" was issued for a lost dog on the east side of the city.

The search which covered a few days ended successfully with the dog and family reunited and the idle hours spent by Rupertites on hackingthemainframe put to the use of good.

As a gesture of thanks for the successful ending to the canine disappearance the family of Magnum took out an ad in the Daily News thanking those that found the dog and to all those on htmf that took up the cause of reunification...

The local portal last year found fame in the Daily News annual awards issue, as the city's most popular internet site, usurped this year by the City of Prince Rupert site.

Clearly a recount would be in order if pet owners had any say in the matter.

Podunk Below the Masthead, Friday, September 25, 2009

A health update for council as Councillor Gordon-Payne changes her hats for the session, Conserving the lands of Haida Gwaii and an attempt to secure funds to proceed on the Tsimshian Access Project is turned down, some of the items of note for Friday.

HEALTH SERVICE ADMINISTRATOR REPORTS TO CITY COUNCIL-- Councillor Sheila Gordon Payne changed seats for a few moments of Monday's city council meeting, assuming her new role as Health Service Administrator to update council on developments with Northern Health on the North coast and Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlottes (Daily News Archive story )

The BC Government is on track to preserving and protecting some 111,000 more hectares of land on Haida Gwaii, part of a group of nine conservancies announced last week, a development that has been welcomed by the Haida Nation (Daily News Archive story )

A grant application by the City for funding towards the Digby Island/Tsimshian Peninsula Access Project has been turned down, the request for funds was applied to the Northern Development Initiative Trust but at 14 million dollars was a little out of their scope of reference (Daily News Archive Story )

A number of local groups and organizations in the city applied for Tax Exemption status at the September 21st meeting of City Council, The Royal Canadian Legion, North Coast Transition Society, and School District 52 were among those outlining their case and seeking their exemptions. The Daily News article of Friday offers up an interesting review of the requests, including the apparent sighting of the ghost of former SD Treasurer Kim Morris (who last we had heard had relocated) making an application.(Daily News Archive Story )

The sports section outlined the progress of the cross country season at the two high schools in the city.

Front page headline story:

Health Service Administrator reports to City Council
By Monica Lamb-Yorski -

The Prince Rupert Daily News
Friday, September 25, 2009

In her role as Health Service Administrator for Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, Councillor Sheila
Gordon-Payne gave a report to City Council on September 21.

Her goal was to increase communication between the Northern Health Authority and the City of Prince Rupert.

She highlighted NH's new website and encouraged people in the community to check it out.
"There is a lot of information there about the H1N1 virus and key messages about what people can do, like hand washing and staying home if they are sick. People can dial 811 to receive counselling at home."

In regard to medical staff recruitment, Gordon-Payne said there are five physicians seriously interested in Prince Rupert.

"The Northern Health team, people in the community, City Council and physicians are picking up the phone and contacting them."

The new Campus of Care (replacement for Acropolis Manor) indicated there are 56 residents living in Complex Care and 10 in assisted living.

"I'm not saying everything is completely rosy there, we continue to work every day," Gordon-Payne said, asking people to consider how difficult it is for one person to move, let alone 66.

Referring to the old Acropolis Manor's demolition, Gordon-Payne said most of it has come down.
"We took out furniture and put it on the fourth floor of the hospital and have been attempting to distribute it to community groups. We salvaged some of the material and some of it wasn't."

Rumours have been floating around town recently that understaffing is creating issues with meal scheduling at the new care facility.

When asked by Councillor Kathy Bedard if there is a full contingent of staffing in the new Campus of Care, Gordon-Payne couldn't give an exact number, but said the square footage of the building is the same as the old manor plus that of the intensive care unit that was previously in the hospital.

The extra footage raises the question of need for more staff and this is being explored.

"Most of the rooms are single resident rooms and our question is - what time of the day is the best time to add staff? We're trying to determine when is our greatest need and how we can meet that."

Bedard inquired about a grand opening of the new facility and was told staff is waiting until residents settle in.

"We're also waiting to see when the Minister of Health is free and have heard he is going to be in Terrace in October, so possibly we could coordinate something then."

Gordon-Payne noted that some of the key things that were in Acropolis have been transferred over to the new facility.

Councillor Nelson Kinney asked if the community is any closer to getting a walk-in clinic and was told that at this point NH's focus is to provide care to the 6,000 or more people in the community that have lost doctors.

"The focus is connecting unattached people to a doctor for the long haul," said Gordon-Payne.

It's the economy (September 26, 2009)

Jobs a dwindling commodity in the USA, A nay vote on the Chinese economy and the Australian dollar is closing in on its US counterpart, some of the items of note for Saturday.

Globe and Mail-- The perils of a jobless recovery
Globe and Mail-- G20's big challenge is to make new rules stick
National Post-- Twin addictions
National Post-- Aussie invasion?
New York Times-- U.S. Job Seekers Exceed Openings by Record Ratio
New York Times-- Enter the Recession’s Waiting Room
New York Times-- China’s Mr. Wu Keeps Talking
Times online UK-- The magnetic pull of China for HSBC and Mike Geoghegan
Times online UK-- Same tune, different fiscal instrument on bank bonuses
Telegraph online UK-- Money figures show there's trouble ahead
Telegraph online UK-- No reform, just a cosmetic patch for a discredited, flawed regime
Telegraph online UK-- Future is looking bleak for private equity
Guardian UK-- Influential report calls for Northern Rock to be remutualised
The Scotsman-- 'Serious consequences' if investment chill continues
Sydney Morning Herald-- Upbeat G20's financial reform pledge
Sydney Morning Herald-- Household wealth is up after a long slide
Sydney Morning Herald-- US stocks falter on recovery worries
Sydney Morning Herald-- Aussie tipped for greenback parity
People's Daily on line-- Govt to raise oil reserve enough to last 90 days
People's Daily on line-- Ford to build new plant in China to make next-generation Focus
The Times of India-- 5% share in IMF is a compromise figure: PM
The Times of India-- We have limited scope for accelerating stimulus package: PM

RCMP involved in shooting north of Hazelton

A bid to effect an arrest of a suspect wanted on five Criminal Code warrants ended in a death on Saturday, as members of the Hazelton detachment of the RCMP and the Emergency Response Team shot and killed the suspect in the course of a planned operation to attempt arrest.

Mounties had been warned ahead of time that their suspect was armed with a rifle, a second person involved in the incident was taken into custody without injury or further resistance.

The police involved shooting which took place 70 kilometres north of Hazelton has now been turned over to Major Crimes Investigators, with an Inspector from the Delta police department taking the lead.

No further details regarding the incident have been released, nor the names of the deceased or the second person placed in custody been made public at this time.
Update: September 27-- The RCMP identified the man who was shot on Saturday as 35 year old Rodney Shane Jackson a member of the Gitanaax Band.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's the economy (September 25, 2009)

If nothing else teachers should at least get a good nights sleep, Canada to play host to G20 participants next year in Ontario and they're cutting back on the jobs at Lada,some of the items of note for Friday.

Globe and Mail-- RIM could lose market share, analysts say
Globe and Mail-- Teachers buys stake in Simmons mattresses
Globe and Mail-- Clunker hangover may hurt U.S. vehicle sales
National Post-- RIM, U.S. data drag Canadian stocks lower
National Post-- Potash: Bankers see logic to M&A but cost may block deals
National Post-- Transition to G20 will broaden 2010 summit in Canada
New York Times-- Group of 20 Agrees on Far-Reaching Economic Plan
New York Times-- China’s Threat Revives Race for Rare Minerals
Times online UK-- G20 proposes more tax haven sanctions
Times online UK-- Putin thaws on foreign firms as gasfield proves too big too handle
Telegraph online UK-- G20: Bankers evade bonus caps in leaders' agreement
Telegraph online UK-- G20: members commit to 'rebalancing’ global economy
Telegraph online UK-- The dollar is dead - long live the renmimbi
Guardian UK-- Cayman Islands resists taxing demands as it sinks deeper into crisis
Guardian UK-- World leaders relaunch G20 as top economic forum
The Scotsman-- Beware dangers of falling for 'phoney victory' over recession
The Scotsman-- Quarter of Lada plant jobs axed
Sydney Morning Herald-- ANZ to buy out all of ING JV
Sydney Morning Herald-- G20 stimulus pledge helps Asian stocks
Sydney Morning Herald-- G20 becomes main world economic forum
Sydney Morning Herald-- Forget Uncle Sam, what we need is another Churchill
People's Daily on line-- EU impose duties on Chinese seamless steel pipe
People's Daily on line-- PBOC governor: monetary policy should be in line with economic development
The Times of India-- Tata Motors plans to shut down one plant of JLR
The Times of India-- Air India headhunts for a COO

Podunk Below the Masthead, Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Daily News catches up with some visitors from China, a local resident will get to carry the Olympic torch and the Coast Tsimshian seek out a public forum for discussion, some of the items of interest for the Thursday news cycle.

CHINESE INVESTORS TAKE A TOUR OF PRINCE RUPERT-- A delegation of Chinese executives drop into Prince Rupert for a look around, all part of a four day tour of Northern BC hosted by a groupd of agencies in Prince George and Prince Rupert. As we outlined on the blog on Wednesday, the tour focused mainly on transportation and logistics during the course of the four day visit (Daily News Archive Story )

A local Zeller's employee has been selected as one of eighteen of the companies employees to take part in the 2010 Olympic torch relay in January. Joanne Nguyen will be grabbing her share of the Olympic torch memories on january 29 in the Williams Lake to Prince George leg of the relay (Daily News Archive story )

The finishing touches were being put on the items up for bid at the Prince Rupert Public Library Auction, taking place on Friday, September 25 at the Lester Centre of the Arts. There are about 25 prizes up for auction with the doors opening at 7 pm and the first auction call set for 7:30. (Daily news Archive story )

The Sports section previews the upcomig NHL season.

Northern View, web extra
Coast Tsimshian seeking a meeting with Prince Rupert residents-- Seeking to clear up any misunderstandings, the Coast TsimBoldshian put out the call for a public forum based on some of the local issues of the day for both First Nations communities and other residents of the region (see story here)

Front page, headline story
Chinese Investors take a tour of Prince Rupert
By Monica Lamb-Yorski

The Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eighteen senior executives representing Chinese Investment interests were in Prince Rupert Monday.

Chock full of questions about specific investment possibilities in Northern B.C., senior executives from China were in Prince Rupert September 21 to visit the container port and hear from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the City of Prince Rupert and the District of Port Edward.

Their plane arrived at noon and departed five hours later, and despite the pounding rain, the group liked what they saw.

"It was good," said Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Officer Nellie Cheng.

"These kinds of things really give people an understanding of what is in the north. They mostly visit urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver but this time they came here."

After touring Prince Rupert, many of the visitors told her "you have such a beautiful place."
Jointly hosted by Initiatives Prince George Development Corporation, Prince George Airport Authority, Prince Rupert Port Authority and Prince George Logistics Park, the four-day visit was billed as the Northern Pacific Gateway Trade and Investment Forum.

The visit began in Prince George on September 20 and involved tours of the new 11,360 ft. runway and fueling pad at the Prince George Airport, the Prince George Logistics Park and the CN Worldwide Intermodal and Distribution facility, extending to the Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert.

In a press release issued by Initiatives Prince George, Shaun Stevenson, PRPA's Vice President
Marketing and Business Development, noted that the northwest transportation corridor between Asia and North America, anchored by the Prince Rupert Gateway, links Northern B.C. with new opportunities in the Pacific Rim.

"This forum is one of those opportunities to reinforce the competitive advantages for Chinese businesses to invest in - and move their products through - northern B.C.," Stevenson said.

When it was his turn to welcome the representatives to Prince Rupert, Mayor Jack Mussallem told the delegates about a scallop farming project that is in the works for the North

There are three partners in the project. Dalian Blossom Enterprises Limited of China, Turning Point - involving First Nations from Bella Coola to the Queen Charlotte Islands - and the Canadian Fishing Company at its fish processing plant in Prince Rupert.

"We know where you're from and appreciate your interest," Mussallem added.

Cheng gave her Power Point presentation in Mandarin, talking about Prince Rupert and Port Edward as a link to the Pacific Gateway.

Bian Hong Deng, from the China Baobei International Investment Group, asked Cheng if there are any plans to export pulp and lumber and if there is a good place to set up a pulp mill.

When he was told that a pulp mill exists on Watson Island, Deng said he would be very interested in having a tour.

Before City Council meeting on Monday evening, Mussallem confirmed that a tour had been arranged and Deng took several photographs.

Another question from the delegates involved First Nations involvement in business and what the requirements are.

"If it has to do with retail and manufacturing, then the answer is no, but if it is outdoor and involves fishing or logging, there may be a requirement if it's on their land, "Mussallem said, adding, "First Nations are interested in doing business here."

Cheng said the visit gave her an opportunity to ask questions about some of the Chinese business successes.

She talked with Zhu Jiandong, the VP for COSCO Container Lines Americas, Inc.

"We talked a lot about Prince Rupert and ways we can promote Prince Rupert further," she said.
Another delegate from Suzhou Logistics Center Co. Ltd. talked about his company's specialization in services for transportation. The company has a new technology park and inside that they have developed a logistics park.

"His company has attracted various businesses such as reloaders," Cheng said. " I had read about the success and this time it was a good opportunity to talk to him and learn how they did it."

Cheng noted that one of the investors runs a tour company, China Youth Travel, and organizes tours all over the world. A few years ago he went to Barkerville and has been promoting it ever since, linking the Chinese visitors to the history of the Chinese and the Gold Rush in B.C.

"He was taking a group of people to visit Barkerville on Tuesday," Cheng said.

City Council scoresheet for September 21, 2009

The Wednesday, September 23 edition of the Daily News featured their regular scorecard on city council issues, this one featuring the deliberations and votes from selected items of the September 21 session.
This weeks feature appeared on page three of the Thursday edition, only Councillor Thorkelson was absent from the proceedings.

Question One: That the Macro Properties application to convert the Cedar Ridge Townhouses and the Boulevard Estates from rental to strata units be referred for public comments at the October 13 regular council meeting.
How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Absent

Question Two: Council will instruct staff to send a letter to the Federal Government opposing the de-staffing of coastal lighthouses.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Absent

Question Three: That After receiving a request from Prince Rupert Self Advocacy Group Council declared October "Community Living Month" and its focus to insure all students have access to learning, and are supported by the public school system.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Absent

Question Four: Council revised its original Emergency Resolution adopted on August 17 for submission to UBCM regarding the Provincial HST/PST. The amended resolution states that the UBCM does not support the introduction of the HST until such time as the Province of British Columbia has implemented a system of tax exemptions or credits for the HST of ALL ITEMS that were non-taxable under the PST.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- No
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Absent

City Hall Tracker September 21, 2009

The final session for September and the last one before our elected officials and administration staff head off for the UBCM conclave, where they will share their thoughts and ideas on civic governance with any number of fellow municipal and provincial government representatives. Presentations from Northern Health and the World Wildlife Fund and the discussion of tax exemptions and stratification plans for a local housing development were among their topics of discussion.

September 21, 2009

Regular council meeting Agenda for September 21, 2009
Committee of the Whole meeting Agenda for September 21, 2009
Notice of Closed Meeting for September 21, 2009

City council session for September 21, 2009

In attendance:

Mayor Jack Mussallem
Councillor Anna Ashley
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne
Councillor Nelson Kinney
Councillor Kathy Bedard
Councillor Gina Garon


Councillor Joy Thorkelson

Regular City council minutes for September 21, 2009

Daily News voting summary
Wednesday, September 22, 2009 edition

Attendance at City Hall to date archives

Upcoming events-- City council meeting Monday, October 13, 2009