Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Monday, November 2, 2009

The Canpotex debate moves to Vancouver for a discussion, a bear wanders the west side and lots of discussion in Kitimat over the pending closure of the Eurocan mill, some of the items of note for a busy Monday news cycle.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
CANPOTEX NEGOTIATIONS ARE BACK ON TRACK-- Mayor Jack Mussallem and Port board member Frank Bartolo take on the roles of mediator, as they bring Canpotex officials and representatives of the Coast Tsimshian together in Vancouver. The result of their impromptu discussion session was that a framework is in place that will apparently see the First Nations pull the litigation set in motion regarding environmental screening procedures planned for the Canpotex potash project.

There's a bear over there, or maybe over there, reports have a large black bear roaming the Moresby Pond/Pineridge areas of late, with the Anchor Inn parkng lot and dumpster an apparent favourite location. Local RCMP members carrying shotguns were seen in the are over the weekend trying to locate the bear, so far the bear remains at large.

Security exercises took place last week at the various port facilities of the Port of Prince Rupert, as local officials prepared for the Olympics and any potential increase in security alerts that may come with the games. Current access to the port facilities and public areas of Ridley Island could be restricted during any increased security alerts and the prospect of losing access to the beach area at Ridley is a possibility as the Port increases its footprint out at Ridley.

Clarence Martin weighs in to discuss the First Nations language debate currently underway in the city. Martin who sat as a school trustee in the city from 1981 to 1989 believes that there is no reason to keep the Nisga'a and Haida languages out of the instruction models of the School District.

The sports page featured reviews of high school soccer, Rampage hockey and local flag football.

(Daily News Archive Articles for November 2 )

The Northern View
Confirmed H1N1 case in Prince Rupert school 'just the tip of the iceberg' says Northern Health-- Some background on the recent H1N1 advisory from the School District and its plan for the flu is outlined on the papers website (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Cullen Questions Subsidy in Light of Eurocan Closure -- Skeena Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen is expressing his concern over details of West Fraser Timbers share of Federal Government subsidy money at the same time as it closes the Kitimat pulp mill (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Cullen Calls for Stronger Civilian Oversight of RCMP-- The NDP MP for Skeena Bulkley Valley introduces a private members bill designed to create an oversight committee to investigate RCMP related in custody deaths and serious injuries. (see article here)

CBC Radio British Columbia, Daybreak North
Eurocan aftermath-- A report on some of the fall out in Kitimat regarding the pending closure of the Eurocan pulp mill (listen to interview here)

CBC Radio British Columbia, Daybreak North
Forest Minister on Eurocan-- An interview with BC's Forest Minister Pat Bell discussing the recent announcement of the closure of the Eurocan pulp mill (listen to interview here)

Daily News, front page, headline story
Canpotex negotiations are back on track
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Monday, November 2, 2009

A storm that appeared ready to sweep across the community has been averted through efforts by community leaders and executives at Canpotex.

During a meeting in Vancouver last week, Mayor Jack Mussallem along with Prince Rupert Port Authority board member Frank de Bartolo facilitated a meeting between Canpotex’s vice president of sales and marketing, Jon Somers, Lax Kw’alaams Chief Councillor John Helin and Metlakatla Chief Councillor Harold Leighton.
What came out of the meeting were the basic tenants of a framework for an agreement that would pull the litigation, set in motion by the Coast Tsimshian, from the federal court and put the proposed Canpotex potash terminal on Ridley Island back on track.

And in Prince Rupert, where tempers were flaring, the news could not have come at better time.
“There was good discussion, very good rapport developed and I think some trust was developed,” said Mussallem.

The meeting came at the height of tension in Prince Rupert. Locals, tied to a history that suggested a potash terminal would never come, feared the worst as rumours and leaked documents floated around town.

The Coast Tsimshian had been arguing that a decision by the Canadian Environmental Asessment Agency to complete an environmental screening rather than a full review was not consulted with them at any time and that this decision was made long before the April 1 announcement date.

According to them, the proposed project lies overtop of several important former sites, which were permanent winter villages, campsites and traditional use areas. They are also arguing that the project site and surrounding area are a fishing ground for both communities.

Feeling betrayed by the process, the Coast Tsimshian leadership felt they had no other alternative than to file an application for judiciary review.

Seeing an economic opportunity possibly slipping away, the city’s mayor also felt he had no other choice but to intervene directly on behalf of the city.

And so, Mussallem flew down to Vancouver on Wednesday and requested a meeting, with both Canpotex and the Coast Tsimshian, to sit down and have a discussion without lawyers involved. The aim being to see if some sort of arrangement could be made that would satisfy all parties concerned.

A deal, although not finalized, has been basically agreed upon.

For his part, Helin said he did not wish to go into detail about the deal, but said that both sides were able to work out an agreement that was mutually acceptable.

“Things are at a point where all sides can agree,” said Helin.

Although there is still one outstanding matter that needs to be finalized, Helin said he didn’t expect it to be a deal breaker in any way.

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