Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The tales of the Northern Adventure, downtown theft and vandalism and Prince Rupert's near million dollar deficit, some of the items of the news cycle for Tuesday.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
NORTHERN ADVENTURE WEATHERS UNEXPECTED STORM-- Monday morning's white knuckle sailing of the Northern Adventure is reviewed by the Daily News, featuring the viewpoint of BC Ferries Head office spokesperson Deborah Marshall, counter balanced by the passengers on the voyage.

Enbridge Corporations plans for pipeline project through the Northwest will have to receive a comprehensive public inquiry, that if the views of Prince Rupert council and Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District are considered. The two local governing bodies passed motions to that effect with the intention of sending a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask for an inquiry.

The high number of break and enters in the downtown area and vandalism concerns have once again given the business community to vent its frustrations with the ongoing situation. Included in the Daily's article is a rundown of a particularly active period of theft and damage in the downtown area.

The Sports section features a look at the volleyball season as it winds down, with zones recently having taken place and more to come over the next weekend.

(Daily News Archive Articles links for November 24th )

The Northern View
City of Prince Rupert looking at deficit in excess of $900,000 in 2010-- The Northern View outlines City council's deliberations as they weigh their options with nearly a 1 million dollar deficit staring them in the face for 2010 (see article here)

The Northern View
Northwest unemployment rate is stabilizing, but still high-- The latest statistics for unemployment are released and the Northern View offers up some interpretation (see article here)

The Northern View
Reece returning as Lax Kw’alaams Chief-- Some more background on the recent elections at Lax Kw'alaams (see article here)

The Northern View
A lot of attention coming to fishery-- Fisheries Minister Gail Shea cancels here planned trip to Prince Rupert, perhaps moving the visit into December. The Northern View also looks at the latest developments into the judicial review of the Fraser River fishery.(see article here)

The Northern View
Ferries meeting on Monday to discuss controversial Tsawwassen - Rupert route -- Some more background on the upcoming public meeting hosted by BC Ferries to look into the prospect of a Vancouver to Prince Rupert sailing for the Ferry Corporation (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
2010 Northern BC Winter Games Torch Lighting Today in Prince Rupert -- Details of the plans for Tuesday afternoon ceremony for the official torch lighting at the Civic Centre, heralding the countdown to February's Northern BC Winter Games. (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Public Review Process of Enbridge Proposal Drawing Nearer -- Details of the latest timeline in the public consultations for the Enbridge pipeline project (see article here)

CBC British Columbia, Daybreak North
Dire Straits-- Accounts of the tumultuous seas faced by the passengers of the Northern Adventure as the ferry attempted and then retreated from a crossing of Hecate Strait (listen to interview here)

Daily News, front page headline story
Northern Adventure weathers unexpected storm
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Passengers on BC Ferries Northern Adventure had a rough ride when the ferry set sail early Monday morning for Skidegate.

BC Ferries Manager of Communications Deborah Marshall confirmed that there were some minor injuries and that some cars were damaged by falling cargo during the aborted voyage.

“Crew members sustained minor injuries – bumps to the knee and head. I am not aware of any passenger injuries reported, but there was a lady who was eight months pregnant and I think she was upset by the weather, but as far as any physical injuries, not to my knowledge,” said Marshall.

Passengers were told at the terminal that the ship was turned back because storms over Hecate Strait were too strong to traverse the water, but some complained that they were not told on the ferry that they were heading back.

At 11 p.m. Sunday evening, when the ship set sail from Prince Rupert toward Skidegate terminal on Haida Gwaii, the Northern Adventure crew knew a storm was coming, but it wasn’t expected to become as bad as it did, according to Marshall.

At 4 a.m. the ship stopped and waited in Hecate Strait for the weather to improve. Instead it got worse, with heavy wind blowing through Prince Rupert Monday morning and gusts peaking at 43 kilometers per hour at 8 a.m.

Marshall said it was then that the captain of the ship turned the ferry around and headed back to Prince Rupert.

“What made us mad was that we were told nothing until we got back to the terminal,” said Lee-Al Nelson, a volunteer volleyball coach with the Queen Charlotte Senior Secondary “The call to turn back was made near Banks Island.”

Team members described the ship as moving in a “whirlpool motion” during the voyage.

Another teammate spoke of frustration while waiting in the terminal for word on whether they would leave soon or not.

Passenger Kelsey Lore told the Daily News that she had felt the situation was not right to sail before the ferry left the dock.

“You could see the waves coming into the inlet, which we thought shouldn’t be happening,” explained Lore.

The Northern Adventure replaced the Queen of Prince Rupert last spring, and has been sailing on the waters since 2007, but the ship has had its share of misadventures since it was put into operation on the North Coast.

Marshall said that the ship has been handling Hecate Strait as well as executives had hoped it would.

“It was just a bad storm. It was predicted, but not [predicted to be] as bad as it turned out,” said Marshall.

As for the cars, it looks like passengers with damaged cars are on the hook for the deductible.

ICBC spokesperson Mark Jan Vrem told the Daily News that he did not believe BC Ferries would be liable for the damage to the cars because the weather was deemed poor.

“If a driver had comprehensive insurance, than yes, falling objects are covered under the comprehensive policy,” said Jan Vrem. “Of course the customer would have to pay the deductible, but we, like any other insurance company that sold a comprehensive package, should be there for the customer.”

The only time BC Ferries would be liable is if the ferry sailing conditions were in calm waters, and it was judged to be human or ship error.

“If the BC Ferries Corporation had done something they weren’t supposed to, then we would take a look at it,” said Jan Vrem.

No comments: