Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Tuesday, April 20, 2010)

Everybody is talking cruise season, tracking a cougar and no budgetary concerns over Watson Island spending at City Hall, some of the items of interest from the Tuesday news offerings.

Daily News, front page, headline story
CRUISE SHIP SEASON IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER IN RUPERT -- The Daily News offers up its preview of the upcoming 2010 Cruise ship season on the North coast.

Tuesday's edition of the daily paper provides some details of the workshop planned for this week by the North Coast Transition society, the workshop takes care providers into the shoes of battered women and outlines the realities of their day to day lives. The "In Her Shoes" session will help explains some of the factors involved in one of the city's major social issues.

Conservation Officers were seen around the city over the weekend as the search for an elusive cougar prowling the city's neighbourhoods continued on, the Daily News provides some of the officer's thoughts on the cougar situation in the city including some helpful tips for residents to follow.

The Tuesday sports section features details of the weekend golf action featuring Northwest High School golf teams, which saw Kitimat's Mount Elizabeth team leave town in victory.

 (Daily News Archives for April 20)

Cruise ship season is just around the corner in Rupert
"In Her Shoes" workshop raises awareness 
Celebrating Earth Day in Prince Rupert 
Recycling depot considering reduced hours 
Delivering the message on cougars around town

The Northern View
Drugs, disturbances and theft among RCMP calls for service -- The Northern View provides the weekly crime report courtesy of the local detachment of the RCMP (see article here)

The Northern View
City increasing fees and taxes in budget-- The weekly paper provides a look into the upcoming increases to fees and taxes as the City continues to seek out ways to work its financials (see article here)

The Northern View
Port Edward increasing taxes -- Taxes are going up but will apparently be buffered by lower assessments in Port Edward as the District offers up its financial plan for the next year (see article here)

The Northern View
Watson Island not a big budgetary concern -- Spending money on maintenance on Watson Island isn't a major concern for the city at the moment, with the money apparently coming from the city's reserves, as opposed to taxes. The Northern View provides some of the background from Dan Rodin's offerings on the topic of Watson Island spending (see article here)

The Northern View
Port Ed pleased with bus service -- They're onboard the bus in Port Edward, expressing much satisfaction with the transit service between the District and Prince Rupert (see article here)

The Northern View 
UNBC discusses student teacher challenges -- Challenges that face student teachers in Northern British Columbia were explored through a UNBC presentation to School district officials last week, the Northern View provides some of the background on those concerns (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
2010 Cruise Season around the corner -- CFTK joins the preview party with their observations on the upcoming cruise ship season (see article here)

CBC News Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the Daybreak North website on Tuesday

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here 

Daily News, front page, headline story
Cruise ship season is just around the corner in Rupert 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News 
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

 The Norwegian Star, carrying 2,500 passengers, will begin regular Thursday evening visits beginning May 13.

In 2009 Prince Rupert hosted an estimated 54,500 cruise ship passengers, a total the Prince Rupert Port Authority anticipates will be replicated in 2010.

 “While down from in excess of 100,000 passengers hosted in 2008, the cruise ship industry remains a strong development opportunity for the community, contributing significantly to the local and regional economy,” says PRPA Vice President Marketing & Business Development Shaun Stevenson.

Since Northland Terminal opened in 2004, it is estimated by the port that guests and crew have spent $38 million in the community including tours, restaurants, attractions, supplies and services.

The Museum of Northern B.C. has been steadily busy on cruise ship day.

“In 2010, the Museum of Northern BC will continue to be a key tourism attractor for the cruise ship industry. In 2003 the Museum developed the highly acclaimed shore excursion programs which incorporate both the Museum’s world class collection and the Performance Longhouse,” said Museum director Robin Weber.

This year, to help maintain the cruise tourism presence, the Museum has also agreed to step in to fill a much-needed bus tour niche until the industry rebounds. Also this season, the Museum is operating the community’s Visitor Centre, providing cruise visitors with essential information on all the area’s attractions and services.

“We anticipate a busy season showcasing the community to the thousands of visitors from across the continent and around the globe,” observed Weber.

According to the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the Alaska cruise market will contract by an estimated 140,000 passengers in 2010 due to the loss of four cruise ships from the British Columbia – Alaska cruise theatre.

 “The decline in the Alaska market, despite growth in the cruise industry worldwide, has been attributed to regulatory and taxation regimes introduced by the State of Alaska over the past three years, which have dramatically increased the operating costs for cruise lines and negatively impacted the competitive position of Alaska as a global cruise destination,” stated the port authority in a press release.

“Considering the globally competitive nature of the cruise business and the issues cruise lines are grappling with in Alaska, we are pleased to be maintaining our current level of business,” said Stevenson.

“We have a strong partnership with the cruise industry and have demonstrated the viability of Prince Rupert as an attractive and profitable cruise destination over the past five years. We should be well positioned to participate in the growth and expansion of the industry if the current barriers to growth in the Alaska market can be overcome.”

 “The key will be to continue to develop capacities and services to contribute to improving the guest experience in Prince Rupert,” Stevenson added.

One of the newest ventures in developing that capacity is the community of Metlakatla’s brand new 65 ft. canoe. Ryan Leighton of Metlakatla Development Corporation said the canoe will be managed by Seashore Charters during the upcoming season.

 “We are advertising the canoe as an opportunity for people to paddle across the harbour, walk through trails for an interpretive tour, experience a traditional welcome, and then sit around with elders at a picnic type of atmosphere,” Leighton said.

“People love it because they don’t normally get that kind of experience,” he added.

Metlakatla Development Corporation purchased Seashore Charters, prior to the cruise ships returning to Prince Rupert in 2003.

 “It’s been an addition to our business that we look forward to every year. To have the docks filled with people definitely creates a buzz,” commented Leighton.

Another venture, created around the arrival of cruise ships was the Ice House Gallery, located in Atlin Terminal. The gallery will celebrate its sixth anniversary this May and according to board member Marvin Kristoff - despite the decline in cruise ship days from two to one a week - the sales actually rose in 2009.

Kristoff is also a fireman and noticed the sales at the Prince Rupert Fire Museum increased as well.

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