Thursday, June 25, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Prince Rupert Chamber splits from the provincial body on steelhead salmon, are we on the cusp of the rise of the voting machines and the quest is on for a new fire truck for Prince Rupert Fire Rescue. Some of the items of note in the Wednesday edition of the Daily News.

LOCAL MERCHANTS VOICE DISPLEASURE WITH STEELHEAD RECOVERY PLAN-- The local branch of the province's Chambers of Commerce has stepped up to offer a go slow on the recently adopted motion of support for the Steelhead Recovery Plan. The local chamber has offered up its opposition to a Smithers based initiative in support of the Steelhead plan, with a number of member groups involved in the Prince Rupert fishery, the Steelhead plan has become a controversial issue around town and the local Chambers move represents that concern of its members. (see story below)

The City of Prince Rupert is giving some serious thought to doing away with the paper ballots and the time honoured X marks the spot. Monday nights council meeting debated and put forward for further votes the prospect of leasing voting machines for our trips to the polls every three years. The motion to investigate further was passed on Monday night with only councillors Thorkelson and Kinney expressing their opposition to the idea of voting machines (see blog item)
The City of Prince Rupert is pushing ahead with its plans to replaces a pair of Fire department apparatus, including the Bronto skylift truck, seeking to replace them with a multi use vehicle called the Quint. The decision to put the prospect to tender was reached after a recommendation by Fire Chief Ron Miller at a closed door meeting on June 8th.

The 700,000 dollar truck would consist of a 75 foot extension ladder, a first line pumper, and includes cabinets for rescue tools and has capacity for two small water tankers as well.

The City had originally made plans to acquire a Quint last year, but the successful bidding company defaulted on their bid, leading council back to the beginning again.

The Sports section featured a story on the recent shooting competition at the Prince Rupert Rod and Gun Club.
Total pages in the Wednesday edition (18)

Front page headline story:

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Page one

The Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce has taken an unusual step. .

The local merchants association announced last week that it opposes a policy passed at this year's BC Chamber of Commerce in Prince Rupert that supports a Province-wide Steelhead Recovery Plan.

The Policy "Maintaining a Vibrant Sport Fishing Industry in British Columbia," was passed at the meeting and it was one of the more contentious issues introduced at the AGM.

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce introduced it.

Smithers is a popular destination for sport-fishermen, the main predators for Steelheads.

The reason for the opposition isn't so much with the policy as much as how it was created, said chamber president, Deb Stava, in a press release.

"While the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce is supportive of such a plan, we felt that the development of this policy lacked the fuller consultation required to support any changes to fish-stock management, for our region," said Stava. "Further, that the recommended changes had the potential to negatively impact other stakeholder groups.

The local chamber voted against the policy paper at the annual general meeting held in town last month but the policy paper had enough votes to pass.

Bart Carrigan, the policy chair for the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce said the reasons why the Chamber did not support the policy was because members felt that the preamble for the policy was reflective of only one view and one specific user group - the sport fishing industry.

"The Prince Rupert Chamber represents members from both the commercial and sport fishing industry and feel that the policy should have been more inclusive of all user groups,' said Carrigan.

Friends of Wild Salmon representative and former commercial fisherman, Des Nobels, was happy on the one hand that the chamber had considered the voice of their commercial fishing members but said he wished that the opposition had been stronger.

"In light of the important role commercial fishing has in the Prince Rupert economy, I would have hoped for a stronger statement from chamber to oppose a policy that would have a detrimental effect on commercial fishing," said Nobels.

Nobels added that he thought this was not a conservation issue but a commercial issue as the protection of steelhead salmon fisheries would mean that commercial fishing might have to give the sport fishermen in the interior more access to salmon.

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