Thursday, January 14, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead, (Thursday, January 14, 2009)

Prince Rupert and Putian City exchange pleasantries, the Northern BC winter games is looking for volunteers and more questions about the staffing of Watson Island, some of the items of note for Thursday.

Daily News, front page, headline story
PROMISING RELATIONS BETWEEN RUPERT AND PUTIAN CITY -- Our intentions are friendly, as both Putian City and Prince Rupert exchanged letters of intent to establish friendly relations between the two cities. Mayor Mussallem and a delegation from the Chinese port city discussed a number of issues on how best to further economic ties, with the visitors particularly interested in the local forestry industry, though primarily their interest appears to be in timber exports.

With only a few more weeks to go, local organizers of the Northern BC Winter Games are getting ready to take to their posts and welcome our visitors. With the opening of the Games fast approaching, the organizers have issued a call for more volunteers to help make sure that the games run smoothly for all involved.

The cost of running Watson Island while under control of the City of Prince Rupert has been given another look over, with the Daily News filing a Freedom of Information request. They discovered through that filing that the city is currently paying independent contractors up to 78 dollars per hour to keep the site functional. The hiring of the contractors came after the City terminated the five previous PPWC employees on site, a move that has proven to be controversial and one which many wonder if it was the best course of action. In the course of the Daily News article, Mayor Mussallem was asked why he gave the directive to remove the union workers, but he declined to answer advising that legal reasons were behind his silence on the issue.

The landlords of the Westview Child Care Centre take their case to the Daily News outlining their point of view on the recent rent increase, an increase from 500 to 1500 dollars that could threaten the existence of the Child Care centre. Basically suggesting that they were only asking the proper market share, going so far as to say they made allowances for the soft commercial leasing market when they decided on the 1500 dollar mark plus utilities.

The Sports section carried over more details on the front page story about the BC Northern Games arrival in February. As well, the Daily updated a story from last year with details of how the plans for a trail that would run behind the rod and gun club is now officially off the books, a decision that has come as some relief to the rod and gun club members.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for January 14, 2010 )

The Northern View
Prince Rupert mayor optimistic of third ship calling on Fairview Terminal -- Mayor Mussallem chats up the positives to the Prince Rupert Rotary Club, offering up his thoughts on the possibility of an extra container ship calling on Fairview Terminals (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Union Concerns Over School Closures -- Like Prince Rupert potential school closures are making for the topic of debate in Terrace, CFTK News offered up some details on the possible changes in Terrace (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
The CBC's technical woes appear to be continuing, as they miss their target date of providing on line content on the Daybreak site, the notice that they return on January 12th is still in place, but the updated content isn't.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
Promising relations between Rupert and Putian City
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Thursday, January 14, 2010

The distance between China and Prince Rupert may have become a bit shorter this week.

A letter of intent for the establishment of a friendly relationship between Prince Rupert and Putian City, The People’s Republic of China, was signed Wednesday in Prince Rupert and officials from both sides of the world were smiling.

Situated on the central coast of Fujian Province, Putian City has the only port in China with special authority to import lumber and logs. Government officials and business leaders from Putian said they see Prince Rupert’s port as a logical venue for doing business.

Seven delegates from Putian, representing the city and the provincial governments, and two lumber companies already buying lumber from Coast Tsimshian Resources of Lax Kw’alaams, were in Prince Rupert for two days. They were here to determine how best to establish economic cooperation, especially in timber exports.

“We think northern B.C. is a major source of timber. Prince Rupert is a major gateway for export and we want to establish a good agreement and cooperation. This is why we have signed the letter of intent,” Ruan Jun, Putian City’s Vice Mayor told the Daily News. “We want to increase the import of timber from Prince Rupert and are also trying to find opportunities to invest.”

The delegation toured Ridley Island, the Fairview Container Port, and the Industrial Park. They also met for two hours with City officials from Prince Rupert and Port Edward, and representatives from Coast Tsimshian Resources, Quickload Inc., Maher Terminals, Prince Rupert Port Authority, the Ministry of Forests, and lumber companies from Terrace.

“We discussed the timber profile and how to cut costs,” said Eric Sankey of Coast Tsimshian Resources. “They were concerned about hauling, loading and export limits. I was mostly there as an observer.”

Raymond Zhu, Senior Manager, Greater China Section from the Ministry of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development in Vancouver, who held a similar position in China for 20 years, said it has been rewarding to work in Canada.

“Now I am on the other side helping B.C. companies market themselves in China,” Zhu said. Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Officer Nellie Cheng, who formerly worked in the same department as Zhu, and has been in Prince Rupert since the summer of 2009 was excited by the end of the first day of the visit.

“They want to determine how to logically ship logs and timber from here. They really want to figure out how to do business.”

While in Prince Rupert, Ruan Jun was also encouraging Mayor Jack Mussallem to lead a delegation to the fifth international timber and trade show in Putian City.

“It is a platform for trading and investment and it takes place in mid-May,” said Ruan Jun.

He added that there will be companies and governments from 30 countries attending.
When she was governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin attended the conference, and another year appeared by video conference, noted Ruan Jun.

Mussallem told the delegation he is hopeful the relationship will grow between the two cities and thanked them for being interested in the North Coast.

In response, Ruan Jun said with the agreement signed he is hoping the export of timber will double every year.

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