Friday, July 09, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead Thursday, July 8, 2010

A first hand look at the devastation of the gulf for some North coast residents,  City council seeks answers over the closure of the Daily News, and the Mayor wants the forestry office back, some of the items of note from the Thursday news files.

Daily News, front page, headline story
NORTH COAST DELEGATION ENGULFED BY THE DEVESTATION-- A report back from a delegation of local Coast First Nations who have travelled to the Gulf of Mexico to see first hand the destruction of the marine environment from the BP Oil spill crisis.

Prince Rupert City council takes an interest in the closure of the Daily News, seeking answers to their questions as to what led to the decision to close the 99 year old city institution.

The city administration is on the defensive over the cost of liquor licensing in the city, with Prince Rupert ranging in the middle of the provincial  listings for liquor licensing at $1,210 dollars, significantly more than neighbouring Terrace which charges but 500 dollars. The city attributes a good portion of that cost to the need for higher requirements of policing of the bar scene.

The sports section featured a review of the Founders Cup action at the golf course of the weekend past.

(Daily News Archives, Thursday, July 8, 2010)

North coast delegation engulfed by the devastation
City council wants answers regarding Daily News closure
City defends liquor licensing

The Northern View
Mayor says Prince Rupert forestry office should re-open, but Minister says it's still too early-- Mayor Jack Mussallem outlines his thoughts on the topic of the province re-opening the recently closed local forests office in the city (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Copper Mountain fire nearly contained -- The first of the season's forest fire battles has almost been won just east of Terrace (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Local Business takes the HST in stride -- Prince Rupert's Adventure Tours finds a way to adapt to the changing tax times when it comes to the HST (see article here) (Sahar Nassimdoost offers up this video report on the story)

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
North Coast delegation engulfed by the devastation 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski, 
Staff Writer 
Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, July 8, 2010

 Coastal First Nations received the opportunity to get a close-up look of the aftermath from the BP spill — and it isn’t pretty. Far from it.

A delegation of First Nations from B.C.’s North Coast have returned from a trip to the Gulf of Mexico where they met with Native Americans to see how their culture is surviving the oil spill.

 “We didn’t go down to look at the oil, we went down there to talk with the people,” said Art Sterritt, CEO of Coastal First Nations. He was one of four people on the trip.

 “We wanted to see what the impact was. Some of the people we talked to work in the oil industry, some in the fishery. In many ways, it was a bit surprising that even people that work on the rigs were extremely concerned about their food source, not their livelihood,” Sterritt said.

It’s a concern Sterritt likened to that of the North Coast.

“We’re concerned about our clam beds and everything we harvest. Their shrimp fishery is like our salmon industry used to be,” he said.

Sterritt identified loss of culture as a biggest concern he heard from locals.

“These are people that have survived hurricane after hurricane. They live with devastation and are resilient.

 “They’ve been wiped out, they rebuild and go back to fish again. This is different and has got them scared. They are trying to maintain optimism,” he said.

The night they visited one community, locals had a celebration and there were First Nations dancers.

The next night the community planned to bring in a comedian because they felt they needed to lighten up.

According to Sterritt, 31,000 people are involved with the spill cleanup, but it’s all cosmetic.

“The cleanup people will tell you that. Crews cleanup a beach and the next day it’s back to the way it was. They are not making headway,” he explained.

Another local told Sterritt there’s no sense of how much oil there is and how much is coming in. “The number one concern, he told me, is trying to keep people there.”

During a visit to a beach at Pensacola, Florida on July 3 where normally 10,000 people enjoy the sand and sun, they saw maybe 200 people there.

They visited another beach at Grand Isle, Louisiana and there wasn’t a soul to be found.

 “These are places that have houses on stilts. The people adapt to storms going by, but with the oil spill businesses have shut down. We talked to families that are sending their children away for health reasons.

“Everywhere we went we saw the sheen and smell of oil, even when we were 50 or 150 miles away from the blowout,” said Sterritt.

The delegation was advised not to subject its ocean to an oil spill disaster by people in the Gulf of Mexico.

“They told us to stop a disaster form occurring by stopping tanker traffic. An old Cagun said to us, ‘if humans can make it, humans can break it’,” said Sterritt.

“People have to come together. They’ve never been able to rely on government and the state because they rely on oil.

“People in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi all told us oil doesn’t have a culture. It doesn’t have a conscience,” Sterritt commented.

The challenge as Sterritt sees it is to encourage B.C. and Alberta to do a better job.

 “They are smart people in both provinces that can figure out better ways than exporting crude oil and jobs,” he suggested.

Sterritt said Coastal First Nations had invited several mayors to join them on the trip and offered to pay all expenses. 

“We were very disappointed we couldn’t get a single mayor to come with us,” he said.

 Mayor Jack Mussallem said he was aware of the opportunity, but it looked like it was going to conflict to some prior commitments.

 “I told them I’d be interested in going, but the trouble with these things is sometimes you can make it, but other times you can’t,” Mussallem said.

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