News

News year in review: January to March

New Democrat Robin Austin, Conservative Mike Brousseau and Liberal Carol Leclerc ran in the provincial election.  - JOSH MASSEY
New Democrat Robin Austin, Conservative Mike Brousseau and Liberal Carol Leclerc ran in the provincial election.
— image credit: JOSH MASSEY

BELOW is the Terrace Standard's annual year in review of significant news events for the first three months of 2013.

January

THE YEAR got underway with a reaction to new fisheries legislation banning retention of trout and char caught in area rivers and streams.  Anglers are angry that the proposal was quietly posted on a government website for a public comment period of Dec. 13-31 right in the middle of the Christmas holiday season.

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The city of Terrace appoints a task force Jan. 3 to review the fate of the old Co-op property and make recommendations on its usage by the beginning of 2013.

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Business news from Jan. 16 sees the announcement of Terrace’s first new tourist and business traveller accommodation development in years. Smithers-based Sunshine Inn Estates Ltd. bought just over two acres of land with frontage on Hwy16 beside Kalum Tire and on Lazelle Ave. The owner, Kim Tran, said the approximately 100 room complex would cost anywhere from $12 million to $16 million. “This is going to be a very nice place. It’s going to have the latest in hotel design,” he said.

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In School news a Jan. 23 story reports on energy drinks and products like caffeine-infused gums and chocolate bars being scrutinized for health risks by Skeena Middle School, with the announcement of  a potential move towards being an “energy product” free zone. “It’s something that I can see us having a conversation about at our school in the near future,” says Skeena principal Phil Barron.

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Greyhound announces an application to cut services to Terrace has been approved, this on Jan. 15. The move is to reduce service along Hwy16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, from 22 weekly runs down to 14 weekly – or one way each day – after Greyhound cited it could cut its losses by $6.75 million by trimming service across the province.

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an Idle No MORE national day of action event attracting about 80 people was held Jan. 28 in George Little Park and featured a talk by Tahltan activist leader Lillian Moyer. Presenters spoke out about Omnibus Bill C-65 that takes power away from First Nations to control what happens on their lands. The movement gained momentum in 2012 and continues through 2013.

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a public budget session is held by the city Jan. 21 but only three people show up.

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City council hears a presentation by fluoride opponent Barry Prince Jan. 28. “It’s considered a neurotoxin,” said Prince, adding that having fluoride in the water was drugging people without their consent. No decision was made but a referendum to decide whether it should be taken out of the water supply was suggested.

February

Minister of energy and mines Bill Bennett makes the first of several visits to the region Feb. 5 and hears city council’s list of projects they want LNG money to pay for, including a new hospital, another elevated crossing over CN tracks, housing and new roads. Bennett says there might be a lag time before those demands are met.

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WITH WORK planned for new hospitals in Burns Lake and Queen Charlotte city on Haida Gwaii, Terrace is moved up the list of candidates for a new hospital. Preliminary discussions of what that might look like began in city hall.

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An agreement in principle for a future treaty signed by Kitselas First Nation Feb.16. Of 300 band members, 226 cast votes, with 149 saying ‘yes’ to the agreement and 76 ‘no’. Based on the agreement in principle, the Kitselas First Nation is to receive 36,158.7 hectares as part of a final treaty.

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The city finalizes a deal with a Chinese wood processing company YaoRun Wood Co. Ltd on Feb. 20 to lease its city-owned land in south Terrace for the next 10 years. YaoRun Wood Co. Ltd is to pay $10,000 a month, or $120,000 annually, to use the Keith Ave. land.

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A dog called Cane, locked in the Thornhill animal shelter for months while a court case was underway to decide if it should be put down after it attacked kids, is released on February 28.

March

Council meeting sees councillor Lynne Christiansen call for name change of Sockeye Creek back to what she and others in the community say should rightly be renamed Eliza Creek after the Kitselas sister of Chief Walter Wright and wife of famous pioneer Tom Thornhill.

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The Dasque-Middle hydroelectric project just outside of Terrace experiences problems in the wake of their prime contractor leaving the worksite. Dowland Industrial Works owes bills to local businesses and files for bankruptcy later in the spring.

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Terrace’s first consumer waste recycling program grinds to a halt when Waste Management decides to shut down their recycling depot on Keith Ave. by April citing unmanageable costs. After pressure from the public, city council commits $50,000 in the 2013 budget and says they are waiting for a provincial program to kick in in the spring  of 2014.

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The Dolly Varden and bull trout ban is finalized March 26. After several months of debate, the DFO enshrines new regulations on the fishing of these species that means only catch and release in Skeena-area streams. Rainbow and cutthroat trout fishing are also given new regulations.

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A Living wage proposed by Devin Pollitt is tabled indefinitely by city council, with talks of looking at it again some time in the future. The proposal from a team of UNBC students would have seen city workers guaranteed $17.65 an hour, and city becoming a Living Wage Employer.

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A local contractor, Bryco Enterprises, blocks the entrance to the YaoRun Wood log yard with heavy equipment the week of March 20. Bryco was hired by YaoRun to clean and level the site but YaoRun declined to pay some of Bryco invoices spurring his action.

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On March 26, city council turns down a Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce request to freeze tax mill rates at 2011 levels and also a request to form a committee to look at how property taxes are calculated in the first place. This request came from chamber efforts to keep property taxes low for business but would have shifted some of the burden onto the shoulders of residential taxpayers.

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BC Hydro has pushed the price tag of its Northwest Transmission Line to $561 million — past what was regarded as an upper-end cost just over a year ago. The new figure is listed in the provincial crown corporation’s service plan for the years 2012 to 2015 and was posted to its website in  February. It’s more than the range of prices provided in late 2010 – from $364 million to $525 million – and substantially more than the $404 million that was being commonly used in press releases and other government pronouncements for several years. The reason? More details, higher costs, says BC Hydro official Greg Reimer.

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