Terrace RCMP, WorkSafe BC and BC Highways were on scene after a logging truck had flipped over on the Sande Overpass on April 1. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)

Top 2019 news stories in Terrace

Highlights from this past year that made headlines

JANUARY

Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) customers paid less for gas in 2018 with the forecast of paying less again in 2019 compared to previous years.

A 1.3 per cent drop in 2018 from 2017 and a further 1.4 per cent decline in 2019, mostly from reductions n the cost of delivering the fuel, mark a modest reversal of a pattern of increasing rates which began when the utility began losing large industrial customers.

“PNG continues to work to get new customers to fill the unutilized pipeline capacity and continues to work on a potential expansion pipeline,” says Janet Kennedy, PNG vice-president.

In anticipation of a positive LNG announcement property values in Terrace shot up nine per cent in the last half of 2018.

The BC Assessment Authority released its annual snapshot last week of the real estate market across the province from July 1, 2018 — with Terrace seeing its single-family residential properties for 2019 now averaging $312,000.

In contrast, the 2017 assessment for family homes in Terrace dipped 1.3 per cent to $286,050.

The provincial transportation ministry has found a new location for its Hwy 16/37 weigh scales which need to be moved to make way for a new roundabout which will replace the four-way stop there.

It’ll be moved further east along Hwy 16 in Thornhill to property already owned by the provincial government. That location, somewhere on the Thornhill Frontage Road between Crescent Street and Kirkaldy Street, is the second site chosen by the ministry because a first favoured location is part of a planned land transfer from the province to the Kitselas First Nation tied to an LNG benefits agreement signed between the two parties.

As much wood as possible should be used in the construction of the new Mills Memorial Hospital, says Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc.

A member of the consultation committee set up to monitor construction and other plans connected to the project, Leclerc said wood in the public areas of the hospital, for instance, would create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Along with promoting wood use, Leclerc is joining Thornhill regional district director Bruce Bidgood, a member of the Mills project committee, and Skeena BC Liberal MLA Ellis Ross in calling for as much use of local labour as possible and structuring contracts to that local companies can bid.

The City of Terrace is reviewing their emergency response procedures to railway accidents after a resident voiced concern over the increased shipment of dangerous goods in the area.

Anne Hill gave a presentation to council on behalf of the advocacy group North West Watch on Jan. 14 on Vopak Pacific Canada’s proposal to build a bulk liquid petroleum export facility on Ridley Island in Prince Rupert.

According to Vopak project documents, the development will require an increase of 240rail cars per day travelling through the area to B.C.’s north coast, 60 for liquefied petroleum gas, 90 for clean petroleum products, such as diesel or gasoline, and 90 for methanol.

A higher volume of exported goods from Terrace is needed to make a transloading facility “financially viable” for the municipality, according to a draft market analysis from the first phase of the feasibility study.

The purpose of the study is to identify a preferred location within city limits for a terminal that would allow cargo to be transferred from truck to rail, and vice-versa.

A grant of $100,000 from the provincial Rural Dividend Fund was used to finance the two-phased report, which is part of the city’s 2016 Economic Development Strategy.

After five years of steady increases, Coast Mountains School District 82 saw student graduation rates fall by eight per cent in 2018.

The overall completion rate for CMSD82 (Terrace, Kitimat, Hazelton, Stewart) was 77 per cent for the last school year, down from 84 per cent in 2016/2017. Completion rates for graduating Indigenous students also fell, from 73 per cent to 65 per cent. Sixty-six per cent of students with special needs received a diploma, down from 71 per cent last year.

Superintendent Katherine McIntosh said the combination of smaller student cohorts and increased enrolment for the Evergreen program, rather than the Adult or Dogwood programs, could also provide an explanation for the decline in graduates.

The City of Terrace pushed for approval of a federal and provincial grant worth $10 million to improve transportation access and safety to the Bench area from downtown.

If approved, the city would pay 10 per cent of the project, or $1 million, with the remaining $9 million portion coming from a federal-provincial Rural and Northern Communities program.

The city said the project would provide “critical access improvements” for all modes of transportation along Lanfear Dr., which turns into Thomas St. leading up to Uplands Elementary. It would be the city’s largest infrastructure project to date.

FEBRUARY

It was a busy year for Terrace RCMP. The area’s new inspector Jayson Lucash, presented the annual and quarterly reports to council for 2018.

Over the last year, Terrace RCMP received 12,440 calls for service with 8,589 occurring within the City of Terrace — an increase of about 7 per cent from 2017. Break and enters into businesses, drug trafficking, harassment, fraud and stolen property were among some of the crimes seeing increases beyond the five-year norm. Bike thefts saw the most change, increasing by 186 per cent from 23 in 2017 to 66 in 2018.

Addressing mental health and addictions through partnerships with external agencies, improving road safety by targeting impaired and distracted drivers, and more community outreach are priorities for the detachment moving forward.

The City of Terrace applied for a new provincial immigration pilot program to attract foreign entrepreneurs to establish new businesses here.

The two-year Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot program launched in early January for communities with populations less than 75,000.

Eligible applicants must meet minimum requirements that include a net worth of $300,000, employment of at least one full-time Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and a $100,000 investment into the community.

Skeena Sawmills Ltd.’s new $20 million pellet planet now has a way to export product from Terrace overseas, solidifying a new category of value-added wood products for the city.

The sawmill announced their subsidiary Skeena Bioenergy has entered a long term agreement with international supplier Pacific BioEnergy of Prince George to ship all of its production to Japan power producers via port facilities in Prince Rupert and Vancouver.

The plant is located adjacent to the Skeena Sawmills mill on Hwy 16 west of Terrace and is expected to start production in March 2019, producing around 75,000 tonnes of pellets per year.

Terrace Search and Rescue coordinated with the Royal Canadian Air Force’ search and rescue squadron, based at Comox on Vancouver Island, to mount a dramatic rescue of two skiers stranded in the Shames Mountain backcountry Feb. 9.

The skiers left from Shames Mountain earlier that morning to travel through the backcountry to Anderson Cabin. After trekking 20 kilometres over 12 hours, they found themselves stuck on the northeast side of Mount Amsbury, along the Repeater Ridge.

A crew flew from Comox to Terrace in a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter used for air and sea rescues. The two skiers were located just after midnight the next day, and the pilot was able to successfully land, retrieve the skiers and fly them to the Northwest Regional Airport. BC Ambulance Services transferred them to Mills Memorial Hospital. Both were treated for hypothermia, one for frostbite.

Kitsumkalum chief Don Roberts was voted in for a seventh two-year term in band elections held Feb. 21.

Roberts received 122 votes, besting Troy Alexander Sam who received 70 votes and Janice Pearl Robinson who received 34.

Seven band councillors were also elected — Cynthia John received 162 votes, Lisa Wesley who collected 156 votes, Kathy Wesley who had 142 votes, Kenney Brown who received 139 votes, newcomer Aaron Horner with 136 votes, and Wayne Bolton who got 128 votes. Troy Sam may have lost the run for chief, but won a seat on council with 118 votes.

The City of Terrace received around $8 million from the province’s new infrastructure grant program announced in Terrace Feb. 16.

This was the largest grant the City of Terrace has ever received and represents one-third of its annual budget.

The money was part of the $100 million Northern Capital and Planning Grant announced by BC Premier John Horgan.

WestJet cancelled its twice-weekly Terrace-Calgary direct flights just six months after introducing the service.

“While we understand this may come as disappointing news for the community, the route was not performing to expectations and as a result the decision was made to discontinue the service,” said WestJet official Morgan Bell.

The service cut the travel time between the Northwest Regional Airport and Calgary to just over two hours, avoiding having to fly to Vancouver first for a connecting flight.

The City of Terrace will spend up to $10,000 on two electronic vehicle charging stations to join a charging network throughout the region.

The Charge North Electronic Vehicle (EV) network plan includes six regional districts and 37 municipalities across northern and central B.C.

The stations must be located on municipal property, have a power source close-by and be within walking distance of local amenities and services, and have good linkage to Hwy 16 in both directions.

Terrace resident Ben Korving was in Ottawa Feb. 20 to watch as his idea to end the use of single-use plastics in Canada was presented as a bill to the House of Commons.

Korving’s proposal won Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen’s Create Your Canada contest in November, which gave a riding resident an opportunity to see their ideas turned into a private member’s bill and possibly passed into law.

MP Nathan Cullen brought Bill C-429, the Zero Waste Packaging Act, for first reading to the House of Commons. If passed, the bill would amend the 1999 Canadian Environmental Protection Act and come into force a year after receiving Royal Assent.

MARCH

Nathan Cullen announced he would not be seeking re-election in the 2019 federal election.

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP made the announcement on March 1 beside the Bulkley River in Smithers.

“I’ve been incredibly proud in some of our accomplishments; not just protecting the Sacred Headwaters, achieving the Great Bear Rainforest agreement, defending the North Coast from oil tanker traffic and fish farms, but also attracting more attention, putting Skeena back on the map, bringing national attention to what we’re doing in the Northwest because I think we have an incredible story to tell,” Cullen said.

Canada’s gun advisory committee now has Indigenous representation from B.C.’s rural north.

Christine Creek, who is the lands director for the Tahltan Central Government and manages environment, wildlife and resources throughout the territory, was appointed to the committee along with former B.C. Supreme Court judge and attorney general Wally Oppal as the committee’s new chair.

Creyke’s appointment marks the first time since 2017 that the CFAC has had Indigenous representation.

A woman arrested for the alleged stabbing death of an 85-year old man is facing manslaughter charges.

Veronica Leanne Bolton, 34, appeared in a Terrace courtroom via video conference for a bail hearing in relation to the death of Rene Fagan.

Police received a call around 10:30 p.m. on March 6 about a suspicious vehicle with blood on its exterior in downtown Terrace, which led officers to the 4700 block of Soucie Ave. There they found Fagan unresponsive on the ground with apparent stab wounds. He was transported to hospital and declared dead shortly after.

With industrial development and an expected economic boom, the City of Terrace will need to find revenue to patch up much of its infrastructure as it degrades over time.

When it comes to Terrace, the city owns $292 million in assets. Overall, the city’s assets have about 29 per cent remaining life, meaning 70 per cent of the assets’ longevity, or $204 in financial value, has been used.

Sewer systems were evaluated at 24 per cent remaining life, and underground water systems at 25 per cent. General capital assets have 32 per cent left, with buildings seemingly worse off in comparison at 29 per cent. Currently 36 per cent of the city’s infrastructure is working past its life expectancy, with water systems at 45 per cent, sewer systems at 44 per cent, and 32 per cent for general capital.

In a reversal of what Dr. Jaco Fourie, Northern Health Authority’s northwest medical director, described as a “dark time” for local medical services in early 2018, recruitment efforts have managed to double the amount of physicians practising in Terrace.

A wave of retirements and doctors moving on for various reasons resulted in the doctor shortage crisis, leaving as many as 10,000 people without a family doctor.

Fourie said although numbers could fluctuate, the health authority was expecting 28 family physicians to arrive by the summer, with some physicians also working in the Mills Memorial Hospital’s emergency department.

The Terrace Downtown Improvement Area (TDIA) society hired Nisga’a-based security company Northern Valley Rangers to run daytime patrols to improve public safety starting March 4.

The two-month pilot project was a part-time contract of 22 hours per week and is costing the TDIA approximately $18,000.

As part of the TDIA’s movement to improve public safety downtown, they also put $10,000 aside to offer a matching grant of up to $500 to each business owner to help reduce crime by changing their changing their “environmental designs.”

Students at Coast Mountain College joined in celebrating a provincial announcement to eliminate any future interest accumulated on student loans.

Ravi Kahlon, BC’s Parliamentary Secretary for Sport & Multiculturalism, stopped by CMTN in Terrace on March 14. He met with alumni, staff and students to discuss the announcement in a round-table discussion on what this means locally.

These 200,000 outstanding loans represent $1.24 billion in revenue. Borrowers will collectedly save about $22 million in interest payments over the next year. This write-of does not include existing interest payments but does stop future accumulation.

Terrace RCMP say the death of a man whose body was found in a wooded area in Terrace is not considered suspicious.

On March 22, police arrived on scene near the Terrace courthouse around 3:25 p.m. after receiving a report of a body found in the wooded area near Olson Avenue and Hanson Street. The man is believed to be a 49-year old Terrace resident, though RCMP did not release his name.

Police units including General Duty, Police Dog Services, and Forensic Identification Services attended the scene, along with BC Coroner.

APRIL

The Sande Overpass was closed for a few hours after a logging truck tipped over on its side, spilling its cargo across the road in the early morning on April 1.

The truck had been turning right onto the overpass from Hwy 16 eastbound when it turned over on the driver’s side. There were no injuries and no other vehicles were damaged. The driver was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Fire crews, WorkSafe BC and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement were on scene.

The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine (RDKS) stopped its Thornhill Governance Study from proceeding to the second stage due to an underwhelming amount of public input.

The RDKS launched their community outreach program mid-June last year to hear from Thornhill residents and businesses whether they would like to explore other options of governance. Only five per cent of approximately 3,100 adults engaged.

At stake was whether Thornhill wanted to incorporate as a municipality, amalgamate with Terrace, or remain a large unincorporated community under the governance of the regional district.

The Kitsumkalum Nation signed two LNG benefits agreements with the province to improve and grow their current infrastructure and economic opportunities. Kitsumkalum is set to receive $20.35 million over four years under the first LNG Benefits Agreement.

A $15 million payment will be used for land and economic development for Kitsumkalum to purchase private lands within their traditional territory. A $2.25 million payment will be put into a community development fund for social initiatives, with $2.35 million put into a legacy fund for education and skills training for Kitsumkalum members to participate in business or employment opportunities created by LNG projects.

In addition, Kitsumkalum will receive approximately $750,000 annually under their Coastal Fund Agreement, which exact amounts depending on the shipped volume of any current LNG projects or future developments.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans sought the public’s help tracking down those responsible for an illegal, large-scale dumping of Dungeness crabs near Hazelton.

On April 2, fishery officers in the Smithers Detachment received information from the BC Conservation Officer Service about 250 Dungeness crabs illegally discarded off the side of Hwy 16 between Moricetown and Hazelton, near China Creek.

DFO called the event a “serious occurrence” and believe it is linked with ongoing illegal fish-sale issues on the North Coast, possibly originating from the Prince Rupert area.

Evaporating funds led to the Ksan Society’s decision to close their donation room on Lazelle Avenue effective April 18.

This program offers a variety of clothing and household items, including toys, kitchenware, bedding and towels, for everyone to access three days a week for free. In previous years, the Ksan Society had received $100,000 from gaming, though this year they received $83,500.

When Ksan Society did not receive the total funding they applied for, the donation room had to be cut, explained Lisa Schmidt, director of counselling and support programs. She estimated the society would need to find $15,000 to reopen the donation room.

After more than 20 years teaching adults essential reading and writing skills, the Literacy Terrace Society closed its doors for good.

The society’s executive director Murray George put the blame on the province’s inadequate financial support for literacy programs. In a letter to volunteer tutors, he explained an increasing number of literacy associations are fighting for smaller and smaller cuts of provincial funding. And this year, a 25 per cent reduction in the maximum allowable grant, which for Literacy Terrace meant a drop from $40,000 to $30,000, signalled the end.

“That means there will not be an adult literacy program in Terrace. I’m really disappointed,” George said.

BC Housing extended funding of a Terrace damp shelter for one month just days after the regular spring closure.

The Ksan Society’s extreme weather shelter provides 23 beds from November 1 to March 31. The shelter closed as usual on April 1 this year, but within days the province reversed its decision over concerns of cooler, wetter weather and a shortage of beds in all other facilities.

Ksan Society director Amanda Bains said the shelter was full the first day it reopened.

MAY

About 50 students across all grade levels walked out of Skeena Middle School Wednesday in protest of staffing changes announced by the school district.

In a news release, Coast Mountains School District 82 said current Skeena Middle School principal Phillip Barron and vice-principal Cory Killoran would be leaving their administrative positions for teaching positions in September.

The students walked out of their classes at the start of their lunch out and gathered outside and the school district’s head office on Kenney Street, chanting “Save our principals.”

“They’re not only good principals, but good people as well. They look after us like we’re family,” said Grade 9 student Ryhan Nester.

Suwilaawks Community School parents want to know why its principal of eight years is getting moved back to the classroom this fall.

Pam Kawinsky is one of three administrators in Terrace moving back to back to a teaching position but a school district released posted on its website gave no detail as to the reasons why.

“We all learned [of this] two days ago,” said Suwilaawks parent advisory council president Nikki Villeneuve. “It shocked everyone.”

Many defended Kawinsky with examples of her dedication to the school and its students, and many wanted to know why the choice was made. In an emailed statement, the school district said they understood parents were disappointed with the changes, but they are common to all school districts for a variety of reasons.

Skeena River anglers were alarmed a DFO investigation into the Ecstall River fishing controversy may not result in any charges, nor is the department likely to formally close loopholes that can allow it to happen again.

Last August, DFO found guests of the Komoham Lodge, owned by BassPro owner John Morris, fishing for Chinook in the closed Ecstall River, a lower Skeena tributary near Prince Rupert.

DFO did not issue any fines when the group, all believed to be non-Indigenous, showed officers a food-fishing permit issued by the Lax Kw’alaams band. The private lodge claimed the fishing party, comprised mostly of wealthy, high profile Americans, was assembled as part of a relationship-building and scientific-research exercise with the Lax Kw’alaams over low salmon stocks.

Multiple shooting threats reported by Terrace and Kitimat schools left students, parents and teachers on edge.

Concerning messages were reported on four days between May 7 to May 13 by both Skeena Middle School and Mount Elizabeth Secondary School.

The school district said officials contacted RCMP and Safer Schools Together to investigate, while activating its multi-disciplinary Violent Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) process involving the RCMP and other community partners.

The provincial government shelved a planned vehicle overpass over the CN tracks where they cross Hwy 16, 50 km west of Terrace.

First announced in 2015 at an anticipated cost of $37 million — $19.5 million from the federal government — the cost would now cost more than $57 million if it proceeded. With the federal contribution capped at $17.5 million, the provincial contribution would then be more than double its initial $19.5 million.

With the project now on hold, it’s up to the federal government to decide what to do with that money. Area elected officials later argued the money should stay in the region for other highway projects.

Terrace Search and Rescue (SAR) partnered with the local branch of Yellowhead Helicopters Ltd. to train and operate for any potential rescue missions in the region.

On May 9, four SAR team members practised ‘Class D’ rescues across the Skeena River. Class D is defined as flying human cargo underneath a helicopter with a rope.

Their routine training with Yellowhead Helicopters will improve quicker response times and tighten rescue protocol.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix was in Terrace to announce the approval of the new Mills Memorial Hospital business plan.

The approval is a crucial phase in replacing the old facility as it commits provincial funding to the project and opens the door to the actual construction process.

The new Mills will have 78 beds, up from the current 44, and is scheduled for completion in 2024. A $447.5 million budget has been set out and $18 million of that will be for the new Seven Sisters.

The new hospital will serve as the Northwest region’s level-three trauma and inpatient surgery centre, providing immediate assessment, resuscitation, surgery and intensive care for injured patients.

The regional Seven Sisters mental health residential facility on the grounds of Mills Memorial Hospital will be torn down but a new one with more beds will replace it, provincial health minister Adrian Dix announced.

It will cost $18 million and the cost is blended in with the $447.5 million budget set for the Mills Memorial Hospital.

Demolition of the current Seven Sisters is needed to make room for the new hospital, and the new one will be located immediately adjacent to the new Mills, Dix said.

The new facility was estimated to open in fall 2020.

Fleure Koncek remembered the life of her late husband Petr Koncek who died tragically in a logging accident, leaving behind three children. The 46-year old was killed after being struck by a falling tree down the Douglas Channel near Eagle Bay.

Fleure said she knew the dangers of the profession all too well, and often asked Petr to stop because of the risk. But every morning he would leave, and every morning she would tell him to be safe, and that she loved him.

“People that I didn’t know Petr knew, all knew how he was. That’s when I realized he wasn’t just like this with us, he was like this with everyone he met. Nobody’s perfect, but he was pretty near perfect,” Fleure said.

A homeless camp set up on a vacant property across the highway from Walmart heightened discussions in Terrace about the city’s homeless population as city officials, the public and those affected add their perspectives to the situation.

It was believed that the initial closure of Ksan Society’s extreme weather shelter may have resulted in people setting up tents and temporary campsites in Terrace. City of Terrace staff responded to calls about temporary shelters set up around Ferry Island and the Skeena River.

Liam Jennisin, 22, moved to Terrace and was homeless living at the camp. He told the Terrace Standard that he believes other people are moving in to the city for job opportunities with LNG Canada and other industrial projects in the region.

He also called for a shelter or community service in Terrace to be available throughout the day so people wouldn’t be harassed for loitering.

JUNE

The Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) sought a gag order against its internet technology manager, Andre Cardinal, who said the executive has authorized an independent investigation into the caustic allegations he levelled against senior staff.

It’s alleged that Cardinal photographed financial documents from the desk of NLG chief financial officer Terry Holt and copied sensitive emails from other staff through a fake email account.

Cardinal however, did not keep quiet and alluded to significant power imbalances and nepotism impacting the nation’s democracy.

Northwest B.C. long-time advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women Gladys Radek said the National Inquiry’s 1,200-paged report on the genocide of thousands of Indigenous women and girls finally validates what families have been saying for years.

Radek worked closely with the National Inquiry as part of the National Family Advisory Circle, who brought the families stories forward and advised the commission on their recommendations. Her family still has no answers for what happened to their niece, Tamara Chipman, who disappeared while hitchhiking in Prince Rupert in 2005.

“It’s been a long road,” Radek said. “I’m just glad I was able to give the families their voice.”

As the world marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6, Terrace veteran Bill McRae recalled some of his story from the front lines of the historic landing operation that would begin the liberation of German-occupied France from Nazi control.

The 95-year-old remembered when the gates of his landing vessel dropped into five feet of water along the eight-kilometre stretch of a French beach codenamed “Juno.”

“You had to get out of there and get to shore. Lots of guys didn’t make it. They had some big battleships out there and they shelled the hell out of us,” McRae said.

Ninety-nine per cent of teachers within the Coast Mountain Teachers’ Federation in SD82 passed a non-confidence vote in Superintendent Katherine McIntosh.

Members of the Kitimat District Teachers’ Association, the Terrace District Teachers’ Union and the Upper Skeena Teachers voted overwhelmingly in favour of a declaration of non-confidence in the superintendent, who has held the position for the last five years.

“We have a number of concerns about her actions as well as her communications to teachers and other employees of the District. Further, we are concerned that the repercussions of her actions are now creating a divide in the community at large, as evidenced by recent parent rallies,” reads a letter signed by TDTU president Michael Wen and KDTA Kim Meyer to Board of Education chair Shar McCrory.

A Terrace man was attacked with a machete while biking across the Dudley Little Bridge near Walmart.

Darren Andreasen, 47, was biking home with two other bicycles tied to a mobile trailer when he says a man riding a bike camp up behind him “out of nowhere” and accused him of stealing the bikes. The man then allegedly took out a machete and swung the weapon, cutting the top muscle of Andreasen’s knee and then hit his leg and thigh with the back of the blade.

North District RCMP said the Terrace detachment had identified a suspect, but because the investigation is before the courts no further information was available.

On June 6, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen addressed the House of Commons for the last time in a career that has spanned 15 years and four re-elections.

“How do you, in a 10-minute speech, sum up 15 years in politics?” Cullen said. Despite the challenges and sacrifices the job requires, Cullen said the experience was more humbling than any other he’s ever had, and used the final sentences of his speech to thank his constituents.

Twenty-eight Skeena Middle School students dismounted their bikes in front of Terrace City Hall to tell council they wanted to see changes made to the city’s bike lanes to make them safer for cyclists. The Grade 9 class had been doing research on the subject for the last month.

Along with Lanfear Hill, routes coming over the new and old bridges connecting Terrace and Thornhill, Kalum Drive, Keith Estates and the downtown core were areas where students said they felt unsafe in their presentation.

Mayor Carol Leclerc thanked the students for their presentation and made a motion to refer their recommendations back to staff.

The family of Sheldon H.J. Stoughton raised their concerns to the Terrace Standard after the 67-year old waited weeks to start treatment after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

A Northern Health spokesperson said the time frame for treatment depends on a variety of factors, however Van Horlick said she was anxious to see her father start chemotherapy as soon as possible. “[Chemotherapy] can at least make him more comfortable and alleviate his pain,” she said.

After the story was published, the family reached out to the newspaper with an update that Stoughton has started treatment, though he sadly passed away in September.

Municipal and provincial leaders joined the Ksan House Society to celebrate the opening of almost 100 new affordable homes in Terrace.

The housing is divided between two separate building projects — Sonder House, a supportive housing project for the homeless and at-risk on Olson Avenue, and Stone Ridge Estates, an affordable housing project with modest rents for middle-income earners on Haugland Avenue.

“Having both the new affordable housing and supportive housing programs adds significantly to our portfolio and gives us the opportunity to provide a better housing continuum to the community of Terrace,” said Amanda Bains, executive director of the Ksan House Society.

Terrace’s first recreational marijuana store opened its doors to eager customers on June 19.

KJ’s Best Cannabis located in the Gobind Mall on Lakelse Avenue is a bright open space with menu screens on the wall, with products for sale including pre-rolled joints, bud and cannabidiol oil encased in packaging in locked display boxes.

Customers leaving the store did complain about the prices with pre-rolled joints started at $10 and oils starting at $40. Others said they appreciated the safety and quality guarantee of store-bought cannabis.

The Tahltan Nation voted in favour of a Cooperation and Benefits Agreement worth an estimated $380 million over the next 50 years with Seabridge Gold’s KSM gold mine project.

The project is estimated to deliver between $1.6 billion and $2.2 billion in wages for Tahltan workers and $1.5 billion in construction and operation contracts.

JULY

A group calling themselves the Concerned Nisga’a Citizens protested outside the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) building in Gitlaxt’aamiks to demand answers to leaked government documents.

The move followed a government investigation and gag order against former IT manager Andre Cardinal who released sensitive information on NLG’s spending on lawyers and consultants, along with a letter alleging nepotism, excess spending and harassment.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced widespread closures to salmon fishing throughout the Skeena watershed this summer, but also a few openings for prized chinook.

A quota of two chinook per day, only one over 65 cm, was immediately permitted on the Skeena mainstream and sections of the Bulkley, Kitsumkalum and Morice Rivers. Otherwise, chinook fishing was closed upstream of the Sustut River and on all tributaries the length of the Skeena.

DFO also reduced the coho quota to two per day in the Skeena Watershed.

Coast Mountains School District announced the three Coast Mountains School District administrators leaving their positions can stay where they are — for now.

Skeena Middle School principal Phillip Barron and vice principal Cory Killoran, along with Suwilaawks Community School Principal Pam Kawinsky will remain in their positions for a one-year transition.

Board chair Shar McCrory had to pause three times as the crowd applauded, whistled and cheered the names of each administrator at the regular board meeting.

Area teachers issued a declaration of non-confidence in the Coast Mountains School District 82’s board of trustees. Members of the Coast Mountain Teachers’ Federation voted 98 per cent in favour of the motion.

Federation members tried four times to meet with the school board before holding the vote of non-confidence.

The non-confidence vote in the trustees followed the vote of non-confidence in SD82 Superintendent Katherine McIntosh, where members of the teachers federation voted 99 per cent in favour of the motion.

Mills Memorial Hospital is to get a new CT scanner by the end of the year, replacing one purchased in 2006.

“The new unit is an improvement on the old, in terms of advanced technology, resulting in slightly faster scans, better quality images, and lower doses of radiation to the patient,” explained Eryn Collins from Northern Health Authority.

The $1.65 million machine was celebrated along with the completion of renovations to the intensive care unit (ICU) and emergency ward.

Air Canada announced they are ramping up their service to the Northwest Regional Airport this fall with an added flight to Vancouver and daily non-stop service to Calgary.

The airline had previously increased its daily summer flights to Vancouver from four to five. Additionally, the new Air Canada Jazz year-round daily service to Calgary was set to start Oct. 28.

The company’s director of government relations, Serge Corbeil, said the surge in Northwest development projects are directly behind the decisions.

The body of a missing Terrace rafter was located on the Clore River east of the city.

Kitimat RCMP received an SOS message from an Inreach Device geo-tagged to the remote location. A message indicated two men had capsized their raft, and while one managed to swim ashore, the other was swept away.

Search teams found the second man deceased downstream in the water. He was 41 years old.

Two missing teens were announced as suspects in two homicides and one suspicious death in northern B.C.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, both of Port Alberni, were reported missing after their pickup truck was found on fire on Hwy 37 south of Dease Lake on July 19.

RCMP officially named the two suspects in the homicide of Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese, two tourists who were found shot south of Laird Hot Springs on the Alaska Highway on July 15, as well as another man found two kilometres away from the missing teens’ truck.

The Tahltan Nation Development Corporation secured $13 million in funding from the provincial and federal governments to bring a fibre optic line to Iskut, Dease Lake and eventually Telegraph Creek.

Stakeholders said the technology will allow for important cost and time-saving access to telehealth, distance education and digital business opportunities.

TNDC will tap into the optic strands from the BC Hydro Northwest Transmission Line first from New Aiyansh to Iskut, followed by Phase 2 from Gitanyow to Dease Lake.

It was announced that Terrace’s only bowling alley will stay open for one more season before the pins are packed up and the business closes its doors next year.

Terrace Bowling Lanes was sold to the City of Terrace to allow the city to expand its operations in the future as the city’s population is expected to double in the next 10 years.

The bowling lanes first opened in 1956 and has been owned and operated by the Mumford family for the past 46 years. It is the city’s only bowling lane.

The city said they will lease the properties back to the family for $1 a month for the next nine months so it can operate the 2019-2020 bowling season from September 1 to May 31.

A retired senior Northern Health Authority official said he is convinced hospital food would be different if top managers ate the same food that’s served in their facilities.

Former chief medical health officer David Bowering said reliance on what he termed “corporate food” continues to increase and that healthy, fresh food is increasingly “becoming a distant memory.”

While Northern Health does strive to meet a provincially-mandated target that 30 per cent of food prepared is sourced locally, most recent reports indicate Northern Health’s food is now 19 per cent local, up from 16 per cent.

AUGUST

Rogers Communication partnered with the Nisga’a Nation, celebrating the completion of cellular service in the Nass Valley.

Five network sites have been constructed and funded by the Nisga’a Nation, operated by Rogers to connect 1,200 residents in Gitlaxt’aamiks, Gitwinksihlkw, Laxgalts’ap, and Gingolx.

The Northern Steelhead Society’s advocacy efforts to fill the 40-year old Exstew borrow pit finally paid off.

Thousands of young salmon out-migrating to the ocean move into the borrow pit to escape the fast-moving currents fueled by spring run-off, then become trapped and die when river levels drop.

The Ministry of Transportation told the Terrace Standard $300,000 was taken from the now-shelved $57 million vehicle overpass project which would have spanned the CN rail tracks west of Terrace to fill the pit in August.

The City of Terrace cut down a 104-year old tree downtown because of safety concerns.

The tree was first planted in 1915 by the city’s founder, George Little, on the corner of Lakelse Avenue and Emerson Street.

Though the city knew the tree was aging, a recent powerful windstorm heightened the need to take the tree down before it fell on its own.

Extremely low sockeye returns continued to trigger widespread conservation measures on the Skeena River.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) issued a complete closure of recreational fishing of all salmon species in the Skeena Watershed, followed by a closure of the Skeena River to all First Nations sockeye harvesting.

The mid-point estimate for the season was just 409,400 sockeye, barely meeting the minimum threshold for a First Nations fishery and far below the 800,000 threshold for recreational fishing.

Terrace said goodbye to Brolly Square.

The Greater Terrace Beautification Society (GTBS) removed all planters and decorative art on the site in preparation for drilling by property owner Imperial Oil.

Dave Gordon, vice-president of GTBS, said it was costly for the organization to dismantle the park. When the drilling started last fall, the society spent $3,500 to remove planters and some art pieces.

He estimated it would cost another $7,500 to take the rest of it apart.

The Tahltan Nation purchased a five per cent stake in three run-of-the-river projects on the Iskut River in Northwest B.C., marking the largest clean energy investment in B.C. history by a First Nation.

The $124.3 million purchase from Axium Infrastructure Canada and Manulife Financial Corporation is in what’s collectively known as the Northwest British Columbia Hydro Electric Facilities.

The asset is valued at over $2.5 billion.

After a controversial end to the school year, Coast Mountains School District 82 superintendent Katherine McIntosh took up a temporary assignment with the Ministry of Education until 2020.

McIntosh was set to start her new role on Sept. 1 to “support the work provincially on the implementation of the Framework for Enhancing Student Learning,” according to a Board of Education press release.

The board also extended the appointment of Janet Meyer, the school district’s director of human resources, as acting superintendent until August 2020.

Terrace Crime Severity Index spiked by 25 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

The annual figures released put Terrace crime in ninth place on a list of 175 B.C. municipalities.

By comparison, Terrace’s CSI is roughly double the B.C. average of 87.67, though officials urged caution when interpreting the data.

Ohio parents Carla and Herb Sill visited Terrace Search and Rescue to thank them for finding the body of their son, 26-year old Warren Andrew Sill, seven years ago.

While producing an educational film, Warren’s vehicle was discovered abandoned at the entrance of the Whiskey Creek Trail, 80 kilometres east of Terrace. Four months later, Terrace SAR swift water rescue teams found Warren’s body near a waterfall site that could not be accessed through the summer months.

Before they left, the couple presented Terrace SAR with a $10,000 donation for the construction of their new headquarters on Greig Avenue.

A 1950s-era building next to the St. Matthew’s Anglican Church on Lakelse Avenue was demolished.

Inactive since January, Bishop of Caledonia David Lehmann says property owner, the Diocese of Caledonia, had decided to demolish the old building which had asbestos in the walls.

Norman and Linda Frank were walking down Clinton Street when they saw the excavator tear into the second floor. They had gotten married inside the building in 1981.

Left with few options and long waitlists, Terrace seniors are staying in hospital beds for months until availability opens up at the city’s only long-term care facility.

Christene Sinjur spoke about her father’s experience. The 80-year old had been awaiting placement at Terraceview at Mills for six months, costing the family $1,500 a month.

Northern Health estimated the number of seniors awaiting placement at Mills averages between two to six people with an average waiting time of six and a half months for Terraceview.

The ‘for-sale’ sign advertising the city-owned former Terrace Co-op property along Greig Avenue to potential buyers was taken down.

The city said it received no proposals for the 2.78 acre property and took the sign down to focus on more paramount projects.

SEPTEMBER

The province told the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine it’s not their responsibility to provide road-side signage informing drivers that Hwy 37 does not have cellular service.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the province “is not a cellular provider and would need to exercise caution communicating on behalf of another agency.”

RDKS director Tina Ezterza who lives in Dease Lake, says she’s disappointed with the response — especially considering it was written during the high-profile murders in northern B.C.

A Terrace man was nearly struck by a stray rifle round while doing household chores in his backyard.

“We heard this kind of whirring and a thud. We looked around [inside] the house and there it was: a bullet, just sitting on the stairs next to the broken window,” the resident said.

Terrace RCMP responded to his call within minutes with five officers on hand. Police believe the shot was a result of poorly planned target practice and was thought to have originated several hundred metres away from the south side of the Skeena River.

Terrace’s first forum on homelessness crisis in Terrace took place on Sept. 3 before more than 100 people at the Terrace Sportsplex banquet room.

City council and staff heard from business owners, people experiencing homelessness, community members and social organizations over two hours.

“Mental health is huge. Addiction is huge. You can put someone in a house, but if you don’t get those supports for them on a pathway to a better lifestyle or a better life, you’re missing a few of those key pieces. That’s what we’re going to make sure of,” said Mayor Carol Leclerc.

New student housing will replace more than 40-year old buildings at Coast Mountain College’s Terrace campus thanks to a $18.7 million investment from the province.

Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark was in Terrace Sept. 6 to deliver the news as students began their first week back in class. In all, 71 beds will be replaced and 33 new ones will be added. The total cost of the project is $19.7 million with the college coming up with the remaining $1 million.

Construction is set to start next summer on the first of two three-storey residential buildings to replace four obsolete structures. The second is due for completion in the fall of 2021.

With an increasing number of dangerous goods expected to come through Terrace in the coming years, CN Rail held a two-day seminar to help responders in the area prepare in case a train derailment spills a dangerous good into a local waterway.

CN Rail staff, CN contractors, Kitsumkalum, the Terrace Fire Department, plus other industry and stakeholders gathered from Sept. 10-11 along the Skeena River to learn about on-water containment and other recovery strategies through a mock derailment scenario.

For the last 30 years, Rod Wheeler has made a trip to Terrace from his home in Atlin, B.C. to pay respects to his son, Craig, who died in a plane crash in 1989.

Skylink Flight 070 crashed into an old-growth pine forest near the Northwest Regional Airport, killing everyone on board. Rod visits the site where his 19-year old son died by Beam Station Road every Sept. 26 at exactly 8:26 a.m.

“This is the place where I lost my son,” Rod told the Terrace Standard. “He was a great kid. He was loved by everybody.”

A Terrace couple won the Lotto Max Extra draw, taking home the winning prize of $500,000.

Long-time Terrace residents Tammy and Herb Bahm matched all four Extra numbers in the Aug. 16 Lotto Max draw.

“I called Herb because he was at work and we both couldn’t believe it,” Tammy said. “It’s surreal, but it feels awesome.”

The Upper Skeena Recreation Centre in Hazelton officially opened Sept. 14.

Doug Donaldson, MLA for Stikine, and Phil Germuth, chair of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, cut a ribbon to officially open the state-of-the-art $20 million, 54,000 square-foot facility more than 10 years in the making.

OCTOBER

As climate strikes around the world took hold for the second week in a row, Terrace rallied on as well.

Approximately 150 people showed up in front of City Hall at 5 p.m. Sept. 20 to make a stand and continue to raise awareness about climate change.

“It brings so much joy to my heart that I’m not alone, I used to think this is just me trying to do something crazy,” said Leticia Kistamas, founder of Plastic Free Terrace.

For the first time, the province committed to negotiating a revenue-sharing agreement with northern local governments.

Premier John Horan made the announcement in speaking to local government leaders at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver.

It followed a long-standing lobbying campaign by 18 municipalities and three regional districts in northwestern B.C. gathered together as the Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance.

New Democrat Taylor Bachrach was elected to be Skeena – Bulkley Valley’s next MP after winning the 2019 federal election Oct. 21.

Bachrach won the riding by more than 3,000 votes over his closest competitor, Claire Rattée of the Conservative Party, outgaining her in the final vote total by 16,670 to 13,637. Bachrach won 40.9 per cent of the popular vote to Rattée’s 33.4 per cent.

There was a change in the new Mills Memorial Hospital construction project but it won’t affect its budget, say authorities, nor the signing of the project’s construction contract now tagged for October 2020.

Instead of two construction contracts, the Seven Sisters demolition, needed to make room for the new Mills, and replacement on the same property has now been rolled into the larger Mills plan with the expectation of keeping within the projected overall capital cost of $425-$450 million.

“With this we might even get more companies interested and we believe there will be efficiencies by combining both,” said Andrea Palmer from the Northern Health Authority.

NOVEMBER

Chinese distributor of liquefied natural gas, Top Speed Energy, wants to build a processing facility near Terrace, next to the Northwest Regional Airport.

The project, called Skeena LNG, would be located on Qinhuangdao Economic and Development Zone lands within the Skeena Industrial Development Park, just west of lands owned by the Kitselas Development Corporation.

Top Speed sent a letter to area residents near the site, seeking feedback on a facility that could process 150,000 tonnes of LNG per year — about 0.6 per cent of the capacity of LNG Canada’s multi-billion-dollar facility under construction in Kitimat.

Taylor Bachrach held Terrace for the New Democratic Party in the Oct. 21 federal election but lost Thornhill to Conservative candidate Claire Rattée, according to poll by poll results released by Elections Canada.

Bachrach, who won the Skeena-Valley riding overall, collected 1,698 votes to 1,396 for Rattée within Terrace, a slimmer victory than was achieved by NDPer Nathan Cullen in the 2015 federal election.

Thornhill was a different story this time compared to 2015 with Rattée taking 745 votes to Bachrach’s 641.

Terrace RCMP said the death investigation of a Kamloops man in Thornhill was not considered suspicious.

Around 5 a.m. on Nov. 10, police were dispatched to investigate a report of a man in the roadway on Thornhill Frontage Road, which runs parallel to the north side of Hwy 16.

Officers then located the man identified as Bruce Frisk who was found unresponsive and later died in hospital. Based on post-mortem testing results, combined with a police investigation, the RCMP found Frisk’s death to be ‘non-suspicious.’ The BC Coroners Service is continuing its work to determine the cause of death.

The family of a Terrace man who was killed in a hit-and-run a year ago made a third public appeal for more information to help solve his death.

Cameron Kerr, 30, was struck and killed by a vehicle in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 2018 while walking east on Highway 16 towards Terrace from New Remo.

“These past couple of weeks, our family has been trying to find new words to once again appeal to those who know who killed Cameron, to come forward with what they know,” said brother Garrett Kerr at the Nov. 15 press conference alongside RCMP. “It’s been the worst tragedy we can imagine.”

University of Northern British Columbia’s (UNBC) Terrace campus facility joined strikes for fairer working conditions and higher wages after talks to negotiate a deal fell through with administrators on Nov. 7.

The strike cancelled classes for almost a month as university administrators and faculty went to the bargaining table to negotiate a fairer working agreement for competitive wages and tenure.

Classes resumed on Dec. 2, though no deal has been reached between the faculty and administration. The parties have now agreed to binding arbitration.

The road to Telegraph Creek was closed for almost a month after a rockslide blocked off the main access into the Northwest B.C. community on Nov. 5.

Crews and geotechnical engineers were on scene since then, 19 kilometres east of Telegraph Creek, removing piles of debris and assessing the situation daily. A week later, four-wheel drive vehicles were allowed to drive through between certain times of the day.

Highway 51 was reopened Dec. 4 after the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure built concrete lock-block walls to support the slide area. The cost of the work was quoted at $300,000.

Mike Anderson spoke with the Terrace Standard after a horrific attack left the Terrace man with chemical burns on his face and damaged eyes.

Anderson was walking home Nov. 15 on Sparks Street near Davis Avenue around 8 p.m. when he was approached by two men, who then sprayed him in the face with what was suspected to be battery acid. Police said the two culprits remain at large.

Suffering from previous medical conditions, the community stepped up to raise money and help the Anderson family with their medical expenses.

Teamsters Canada union announced they reached a tentative agreement with CN Rail on Nov. 26 after a week-long strike across the country, including Terrace.

The dispute came when CN Rail confirmed early November that they were cutting jobs across the railway due to a weakening North American economy that has eroded demand.

At the intersection of Hwy 16 and Kalum Street, around 35 CN Rail workers from Terrace took shifts throughout the week to express their concerns regarding long hours and fatigue leading to dangerous working conditions.

Two people were arrested after a police chase in Terrace closed down the Dudley Little Bridge near Ferry Island on Nov. 29.

Terrace RCMP responded to a report of a possible impaired driver in a maroon Ford truck and located the truck shortly after on Hwy 16. The Ford truck crashed into two police cruisers and a civilian vehicle before coming to a stop.

A youth was arrested but the other suspect fled from the crash on foot onto Ferry Island, which led to a man-hunt involving RCMP and the provincial Conservation Authority to locate the suspect.

A Hazelton-area man was arrested for numerous offences including assaulting a police officer with a weapon, possession of stolen property, flight from police, obstruction, driving while prohibited, dangerous driving, and possession of property obtained by crime exceeding $5,000. The youth was arrested for possession of stolen property as well.

The highly-anticipated roundabout at the intersection of Hwy 16 and Hwy 37 has finally opened to traffic, replacing a four-way stop.

However, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says the project is not yet complete and construction work will resume spring 2020. At the time of writing, entry and exit points onto Hwy 37 were still slightly detoured to accommodate final construction tie-ins.

DECEMBER

A Gitaus family experienced tragedy after their home and most of their belongings were damaged in a house fire that also claimed the lives of two of their pets 10 days before Christmas.

The Seymour family woke up just after midnight on Dec. 14 to find their Tsunyow Street home on fire. They made a lucky escape, but two of their pets didn’t make it out.

To help, a relative organized a spot draw raising $1,000 for the family. E-transfers and other fundraising efforts were also organized.

A Kitsumkalum family lost everything in a house fire just days after the fire in Gitaus on Dec. 16.

There were six people from the Miller family living in the house on Spokeshute Road at the time, and while they were able to get out safely, the family was left with nothing.

With just days before Christmas, the Kitsumkalum Health Centre announced they were collecting monetary and clothing donations for the family.

Nearly 70 per cent of Terrace’s homeless people surveyed this past spring by social work students said they struggle with at least one form of addiction.

For the 2019 survey, the students counted 71 people who identified as homeless in Terrace between April 7 and 8. In 2018 the students counted 96 people who were found homeless on April 18.

Though organizers cautioned the survey only ran for 24 hours, the number of homeless people counted was not an accurate reflection of the total number of homeless people on Terrace’s streets.

Eliminating hanging flower baskets and reducing the subsidy toward the Suwilaawks Community School’s after-school recreation programs has helped reduce a first proposed eight per cent property tax hike to 7.4 per cent in a first pass-through of the City of Terrace’s budget plan for 2020.

But plans to hire more city staffers, hire two more firefighters and one RCMP officer remain in place as city council held its first budget planning session Dec. 17.

So far, the city is saying the tax increase amounts to $120 a year for the average city residential taxpayer.

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A majority of the $10 million would be used to widen Lanfear Dr. to 10 metres to accommodate new traffic, bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)

Terrace resident Ben Korving at a press conference in Ottawa Feb. 20 following the introduction of a bill he inspired that would make all plastics either recyclable or compostable. The bill was introduced by Skeena - Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen, seen here beside Korving. (Photo Courtesy Nathan Cullen)

About 250 Dungeness crabs illegally discarded off the side of Hwy 16 between Moricetown and Hazleton, near China Creek. (Contributed Photo)

Skeena Middle School students walked out of their classrooms May 1 in protest against staffing changes announced by SD 82. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)

Terrace Search and Rescue partnering with Yellowhead Helicopters Ltd. will improve quicker response times and tighten rescue protocol. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

The camp’s visibility to drivers on the highway has heightened discussions in Terrace about the city’s homeless population. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Amanda Bains, executive director of the Ksan House Society, left, and North Coast NDP MLA tour one of the modular apartments at Sonder House. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)

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