Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Monday, February 22, 2010)

New marine regulations are now in effect, Hobiyee organizers seek a rental break from the city of Prince Rupert and Naikun issues lay off notices, some of the items of note in the news for Monday.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
COMMERCIAL VESSELS ' WARE NEW REGULATIONS FOR LICENSING -- With new certificates for navigating the waters of coastal BC now mandatory, the need for marine education is a constant exercise in learning. The Daily News looks at some of the providers of that education on the local scene and what the requirements are now Under the Shipping Act of 2001.

For the first time, NWCC is offering an Integrated Bachelor of Science Degree, in affiliation with UNBC the Prince Rupert campus now offers the program after five years of consultation and planning. The various courses will include those taught in house at NWCC and through teleconferencing with the Prince George campus of UNBC.

The finishing touches are being made to the plans for a March 6th homecoming for Iona Campagnolo who will be the featured attraction at this years Prince Rupert Regional Community foundation. The Daily News provides a review of her 37 years on the North coast, when she held a number of high profile positions both in government and private industry in the city.

The Sports section featured a comprehensive review of this past weekends activities at the All Native Basketball Tournament

(Archive for Daily News Articles for February 22, 2010 )

The Northern View
No new items were posted to the Northern View website, with the exception of the posting of results from the All Native Basketball Tournament (see results here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Meeting in Kitimat This Week to Discuss Employee Buy-in of Eurocan --Wednesday night provides for an information session from the local Kitimat unions seeking to put together an employee funded buyout of the recently closed Eurocan mill (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Cullen Impressed by Economic Forums on Haida Gwaii -- The NDP MP for Skeena- Bulkley Valley shared some of his thoughts from his recent tour of Haida Gwaii where he listened to the concerns and success stories of Islands residents (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Support Needed for Hobiyee-- Local organizers of the upcoming Hobiyee gathering in Prince Rupert approached city council on Monday night seeking free rental of the Civic Centre for the two day event, Council citing financial stresses approved a 2000 dollar grant to the organizers but offered to write letters of support to local communities seeking their assistance for the event (see article here)

Just in time for Tee off -- The City signs off as a guarantor for the Golf Course which is currently seeking a 40-thousand dollar loan from the Northern Saving Credit Union. The Golf Course plans to replace and upgrade equipment to maintain the city's golf course (see article here)

Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
Layoffs at Naikun Wind as company awaits word from Hydro -- Naikun has issued layoff notices in a bid to conserve cash while it awaits a decision on its proposed energy plans for BC Hydro. While stating that they are still confident of a positive response from Hydro, at the moment the company has no revenue coming in and wants to get a better handle on its expenses (see article here)

BC British Columbia, Daybreak North
Lost in Sleep --
A look at a study into sleep disorders and First Nations and how it could be used to provide mental health programs for communities such as the Hazeltons (listen to interview here)

The full list of current Daybreak North interviews can be found here.

Daily News, front page, headline story
Commercial vessels ‘ware new regulations for licensing
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News

Monday, February 22, 2010

New certificates for masters and mates of fishing vessels, first introduced under the Transport Canada Shipping Act 2001, are now becoming mandatory.

For example - as of 2010, every captain of a commercial vessel such as a tugboat, water taxi or cargo vessel, must have a Masters certificate and every crew member must have a Marine Emergency Duties certificate. And many other courses are now required.

“They actually started the process in 1991,” said Mike Calli, a local instructor of marine courses in Prince Rupert. “I wasn’t involved until 2002 when I started teaching courses. Since then, regulations have been constantly changing.”
According to Calli, marine standards are set by Transport Canada and different course providers can improve on them.

In Prince Rupert, in addition to the courses taught by Calli at his Capp’s Marine Education business, there are courses offered at Northwest Community College by visiting and local instructors.

Calli says what drives him to teach courses is - he doesn’t ever want to recover a floating body out of the water again, or have anyone else experience it.

His estimation of people who have not taken the courses they need out in the waters is 75 percent. A percentage he thinks is conservative. Corp. John May of the RCMP West Coast Marine Services North said he doesn’t think it’s quite that high, although he is aware that there are people out there who don’t have the proper qualifications.

“Any of the qualifications are good. There has been a history of boats not being up to standard, but that’s not isolated to the North Coast,” confirmed May, adding that his department is out on the water all the time.
Both May and Calli agree, however, that the waters are a dangerous place and the more safety training and gear you can add to vessels, the better.

And because requirements are constantly changing, May said it’s routine for his department to be constantly in communication with Transport Canada.

“We are lucky to have them right here in Prince Rupert so we can make sure that we’re up to date,” he said.

Calli agrees and conveniently has his office located next door to the Transport Canada office in the Ocean Centre Mall. “I’m always over there asking questions,” he confirmed.

And, he said, he’s not critical of the changes being made, in fact he applauds the action Transport Canada has taken in revising the marine requirements.

“Ottawa doesn’t leave a stone unturned until they have all the answers,” Calli said.

“I like that. It takes time, but I like it that way because then the regulations, once they are in place, don’t change. They targeted the tug boat industry first and made sure it was in correct working order.”

Calli believes there are two main factors that keep vessel owners away from updating to the required certificates. One is the cost and the other is the fact that many have been away from school for a long time and are afraid of failing.

“There are guys out there that say they’ll wait until they are caught and that they aren’t going to do anything about getting the necessary courses. I find, as a trainer - if you bark at them, they’ll never come back. It’s all about figuring out how to communicate in an effective manner,” he explained.

He’s had many people on course who have come to realize that they can do the upgrading. “Everyone’s a learner and they come at it with a different approach. In my own experience - I’ve been there, I’ve struggled and I’ve slipped up. Over the years I’ve seen that it’s the nitty-gritty that scares people away.”

Recalling one of his Vietnamese students, Calli admitted there was a language barrier, but in the end the student left with a big smile.

There are many funding sources out there, but people have to make the applications, he noted.

At Northwest Community College the marine courses being offered in the month of March are already full, said campus manager Wendy Prystay. They are bringing in Capt. Bob Kitching, an instructor from Ladysmith, to teach this session. Local instructors, David James and Phil Paulson, also teach at the college as required.

“The college is partnering with BC Hydro, Gwaii Trust and the Prince Rupert Aboriginal and Education and Employment Strategy program to offer the courses,” commented Prystay. “People are coming in with different skill levels and their practical experience is honoured.”

According to Prystay, there are learners that may not have had a lot of schooling, but have had hands on experience. The instructors are more than willing to help with a variety of learning methods, she added.

By April when the federal government reconvenes, Calli said, there will be some new and stricter guidelines in place.
Standing next to the bulletin board in his office, Calli said he receives everything from Transport Canada by email and snail mail. It’s a lot to wade through, he admits, but says it is all about trying to provide people with the ability to do their jobs.

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