Thursday, June 10, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Wednesday, June 9, 2010)

RTI takes the board on the road, changes are in store for SD 52 and drugs and a sense of local denial are on the mind of a local advocate, some of the items from Wednesday's news files.

Daily News, front page headline story
LAX KW'ALAAMS WELCOMES TOP RTI EXECS TO COMMUNITY -- Details of the recent visit by the Board of Ridley Terminals to Lax Kw'alaams, the Terminal's executives held its June board meeting in the community, with more discussion with Lax Kw'alaams officials about opportunities for Lax Kw'alaams residents at the Teminals operations.

A local police officer receives a significant award  for his efforts in enforcement and awareness of drinking and driving. Corporal Phil Mager was inducted into the Alexa Team last month, an honour that is named after a young girl Alexa Renee Middlear,who four and a half at the time and was killed in 2008 by a suspected drunk driver.

Monday was financial disclosure day at City Hall as the city's Financial Officer Dan Rodin submitted the Statement of Financial Information for the year ending December 31, 2009.

The Sports section featured a review of the sporting activities planned for this years Seafest celebrations as well as a preview of the World Cup.

(Daily News Archive items Wednesday, June 9, 2010)

Lax Kw’alaams welcomes top RTI execs to community 
Local officer receives award
City expenses reported
Port Simpson community hoping for more answers 
Maher Terminals - making it all work right 

 The Northern View
Changes coming to Prince Rupert School District management with departure of Assistant Superintendent -- Some background on management changes set for School District 52 when the school year resumes in September (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Cocaine & Ecstasy Intercepted, say RCMP -- Memebers of the Prince Rupert Drug Section were involved in a Terrace investigation and arrest last week keeping a sizeable amount of cocaine and ecstasy off the streets (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Drug use in Prince Rupert-- The use of drugs continues to take its toll in Prince Rupert and a local man who works with those that are addicted has a challenge for city council to address the problem (see article here) (Sahar Nassimdoost's report for TV 7 can be viewed here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Carole James Travels Highway 16 -- The leader of the Provincial NDP will be in Prince Rupert on Friday and Saturday and then heads east as she travels through the northwest (see article here)

CBC News Northern BC, Daybreak North 
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
Lax Kw’alaams welcomes top RTI execs to community 
By George T. Baker 
Staff Writer 
Prince Rupert Daily News
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

 A meeting held in Port Simpson last week was termed “historic” by members of the Lax Kw’alaams community.

In what is called an unprecedented move, the board of Ridley Terminal Inc held its June board meeting in the comfy confines of Port Simpson.

Councillor John Helin, who organized the meeting, said that the chance to meet with RTI executives was great for the community, which signed a protocol agreement with the coal terminus operator nearly one year ago. He said he was pleased because they are not always granted the opportunity to meet with top Crown Corporation executives. 

“It was a good meeting where a lot of people turned out – a lot of elders – and some Grade 4 to 10 came and joined us,” reported Helin. “It was the first time that a Crown Corporation board has met on a reserve – across Canada, from what I am told.”

RTI Chair Bud Smith was similarly enthusiastic, stating that the meeting provided board executives and terminus managers a special opportunity to learn about the community they operate in.

“Our board meeting went very well,” said Smith. “We were honoured to be hosted by such gracious people and, by our own presence, privileged to demonstrate respect for the people at Lax Kw’alaams.

“The meeting with the community was simply outstanding. We had a very good and open conversation with Elders, artists, community members generally and importantly, students.”

The meeting included an update on the agreement signed on June 26 last year. The agreement was an opportunity to open doors for the Coast Tsimshian at RTI, including preferential treatment on contracts above $500,000.

This means those opportunities priced above the threshold will be divided into portions that would allow the Tsimshian to get involved in some capacity, providing job opportunities.

While no such big contracts of this sort have been accomplished as of yet, some opportunities - such as painting the exterior of the RTI complex, a large job that will require training for Lax Kw’alaams employees – is still in the future.

“We are working with [RTI], trying to get some of these contracts and jobs and trying to make sure they are set up to succeed and not to fail,” Helin explained.

So far, two secretaries have been hired by RTI from the band, and Materials Control Coordinator Dennis Blake said that he was very encouraged by the positive response he and other managers received at the meeting in Port Simpson.

“We added clarity to the expectation and realization that these [agreements] take time to evolve,” said Blake.

The greatest challenge is having a workforce ready to take advantage of the opportunities when they come - such is the janitorial contract for the site - but there has been no clear indication when the community can apply for those. 

Helin said he hoped that it didn’t take too long. His community still faces tough economic circumstances coupled with high unemployment and infrastructural needs that would only be improved by an increase in income levels in Port Simpson.

There is also the matter of who will run the terminal over the long-term.

A Ridley Terminal Users Group made up of northern coal mining firms remains keenly interested in the operation arm of the terminal. There has also been talk of amalgamation of RTI and the Prince Rupert Port Authority, which Smith was to be studying. 

PRPA does not currently have a protocol agreement in place with the Coast Tsimshian.

 Neither Blake nor Helin knew what affect a new ownership model would have on the terminal, but the likelihood was that governance would not play a detrimental effect on the agreement.

The Joint Implementation Committee, which comprises of Metlaktla, Lax Kw’alaams and a couple of representatives of RTI, meets at the lower level.

 “The pretence of this protocol committee is that it is a grassroots committee. So, the overall governance of our organization does not play into it,” said Blake.

No comments: