Thursday, November 26, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Seeking an inquiry into the Skeena fishery, money for the pulp mill site and more fall out from the aborted sailing of the Northern Adventure, some of the items of note for the news on Wednesday.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
THE 'TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE' PHILOSOPHY ON COMMUNITY ECONOMICS-- The WWF hosted a games day on Monday with local residents taking part in "The Future Game" learning how to develop the skills to lead to a more sustainable economy for the region.

Both Prince Rupert City council and representatives of Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District have asked Fisheries Minister Gail Shea to not forget about the Skeena. With DFO set to launch an inquiry into the crisis on the Fraser River, local representatives are looking for a similar investigation into the situation on the Skeena River.

With a cost of almost $100,000 a month to take care of the Watson Island pulp mill site, City council amends its five year plan to accommodate those unplanned expenses.

Minor hockey in the city was the focus of the sports section for Wednesday.

(Daily News Archive Articles links for November 25th )

The Northern View
No new items posted to their site for Wednesday

Nisga'a Museum construction continues-- An update on the progress of the Nisga'a museum in Greenville (see article here)

CBC Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
Dire Straits on Hecate Strait Part II-- Further investigation into why the Northern Adventure sailed headlong into a storm on Sunday night/Monday morning (listen to interview here)

CBC Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
Preventing intervention in the Northwest-- A look at the pending closure of the only youth addiction facility in the Northwest (listen to interview here)

Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
Haida to vote on Naikun project-- The Haida will be given the opportunity to vote on the Naikun Wind project once council elections are completed on December 5th, a general vote not a referendum will be used to determine what participation if any the Haida will take in the project (see article here)

Daily News, Front page, headline story
The ‘triple bottom line’ philosophy on community economics
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Local leaders recognizing the need for working together to develop economy.

Local residents and representatives from Northwest communities took part in the WWF hosted “Futures Game” on Monday, hoping to learn about the skills needed for developing a sustainable economy for the region.

Participants mapped out possible scenarios that would make them choose between prioritizing community, environment and economy. It’s called the “triple bottom-line” and it’s reasoning is this – you can’t have an economy without a healthy community and environment.

But even as those scenarios were worked out, the most interesting lesson that may come from the full day project is that leaders need to have a common focus to actually meet all three targets.

Event facilitator David Beurle, Director of Innovative Leadership Australia, said that this type of planning is especially crucial at a time when the region is in economic flux.

“Now is the time to think about where the community wants to go rather than panicking and taking the first offer that comes in,” said Beurle.

The Northwest took a major hit when West Fraser Ltd. announced they would be closing the Eurocan Pulp Mill. A little more than 500 people will lose their jobs when the pulp mill closes its doors for good in January, but the download will be significant on the community as retailers, contractors and civic leaders lose a major source of revenue.

Which is why some leaders in Prince Rupert believe that the time is right to band together and work towards certain goals – perhaps the most immediate being the Canpotex potash terminal.

Prince Rupert Grain president Jeff Burghardt, who attended the games workshop Monday, believes that the Prince Rupert community could do more to influence Canpotex decision concerning to the proposed project on Ridley Island.

Burghardt emphasized the importance of the potash terminal project to Prince Rupert’s long-term viability at the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce meeting last week.

“It is important to work with the City, the Prince Rupert Port Authority, First Nations groups and Canpotex to facilitate and encourage solutions to the difficulties that we seem to have had through this project coming to fruition,” said Burghardt.

The Canpotex potash terminal project has received a lot of attention since executives hosted a public forum in September to discuss the potential project with locals.

The forum did not result in any guarantees between the community and Canpotex, but it did clearly illustrate Prince Rupert’s desire to house such a project considering the employment and economic activity that would result from the terminal.

Potash is a mineral used by farmers around the globe, but it is mined in only a handful of countries, with Canada, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Israel and Jordan accounting for roughly 90 percent of world supply.

Canpotex is considering 10 million tonnes of new capacity by expanding its terminal in Vancouver, British Columbia, or by building a new terminal either at the northern port of Prince Rupert or at Cherry Point in Washington state.

And there is good reason for the planning, even during an economic recession when a lot of companies are rolling back plans for capital expansion.

“You can’t drag this out for too long,” said Beurle.

In the last year, both B.C. and Saskatchewan have seen trade with China increase by 20 per cent, and with increasing demand for domestic food supplies, there is a real need to corner the Asian market while it is still open.

But when it comes to where Canpotex decides to increase its capacity, it isn’t as obvious. Simultaneously, the company has been looking at expanding existing facilities in Vancouver or building a new terminal on Ridley Island.

The company has built a business plan that’s very similar for both places with capital costs, investments and terminal running costs, working for both communities.

A decision is expected by the end of the year and that decision may rest on the type of support Canpotex receives from the community.

Last month, however, it was revealed that the Coast Tsimshian had begun a litigation process over First Nations consultation regarding the environmental screening the project would go through.

The issue seemed to raise the temperature of the city, creating some division. Mayor Jack Mussallem responded by making a special trip to Vancouver to help resolve the outstanding issue between the Coast Tsimshian and Canpotex.

An agreement between Canpotex and the Coast Tsimshian was signed, but Burghardt said the litigation and public reaction showed that all community leaders need to be much more active in pursuing consensus towards the project.

“When I say that, it is imprecise to know exactly what difference those sorts of things can make. But locally, we all want the very best for all of the residents of our region. And that puts an awful lot of obligation on our part to find the solutions,” said Burghardt. “We ought to let them know that we can be creative and supportive in finding those solutions.

Mussallem agreed with Burghardt’s message and said it was very important locals got the gist of what the PRG’s leader was trying to say.

“We are watching very closely and giving a hand where needed for the proposed Canpotex potash export facility. We are well aware that they are having a board meeting in December and Prince Rupert will be on an even playing field with Vancouver,“ said Mussallem.

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