Year In Review: News highlights 2015 January-March

This is the first part of The Terrace Standard's annual year in review of significant news events of the past year.

  • Dec. 28, 2015 6:00 p.m.

YEAR OF THE HOTEL: The spring of 2015 saw three major hotels

BELOW IS THE first part of The Terrace Standard’s annual year in review of significant news events of the past year.

January

The BC Assessment Office’s 2015 report shows Terrace and Kitimat experienced the highest jump in average property value in the entire province through 2014. The average value of a Terrace house rose 30 per cent, from $244,000 to $317,000. This made Kitimat number one and Terrace number two on the list of municipalities with highest property value rise for the 2015 assessments around the province.

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Riding a wave of increased taxes from new business and home construction, city council drafts a preliminary budget with zero tax increase for residents, and later in the budget period announces a one per cent decrease in business tax.

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After signing an impact agreement with Pacific Northwest LNG in late December, the Kitselas First Nation and provincial government announce the Kitselas are to receive a portion of an annual $10 million payment from the province to be divided between all of the First Nations who have traditional territory over which the pipeline crosses. However, the dates for deciding dividing the money are pushed back into 2016.

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Debate over whether Thornhill should become part of Terrace advances as The Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce sends a letter addressed to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development as well as to the City of Terrace and the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine calling for the ministry to examine alternatives to incorporating, including boundary extension and amalgamation between Terrace and Thornhill.

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The sudden bankruptcy of Williams Moving and Storage of their Terrace outlet and closure of their Terrace operations on Kalum Lake Road leaves 17 employees scrambling to figure out what they will do next.

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BC Stats comes out with population count saying Terrace’s population dropped from 11,688 in 2011 to 11,265. With Terrace feeling busier than this new number suggests, the city finances its own population count in the fall showing a population of over $12,000 including the homeless population.

 

February

The Red Chris mine near Iskut receives a permit to begin filling a tailings facility at its Red Chris gold and copper project northeast of Terrace. This comes after much controversy because of the failure of another Imperial Metals tailing pond at Mount Polley in 2014, which Tahltan and other stakeholders say was too similar to the one designed for Red Chris.

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Conflict comes to a head between Kitimat-Stikine regional district directors and the  Residents Advocating for a Sustainable Inclusive Environment (RafaSIE) with the RDKS seeking legal advice to stop what they say is a continual flow of harassment by a group questioning its long-standing plan to open a new landfill near Lakeslse Lake and charge residents for a recycling program they may not use.

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Near record snowfall descends on the area Feb. 5-6, leaving 115 centimetres of snow, even so much snow that Shames Mountain is closed because the staff can’t make it to the hill.

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City council approves on Feb. 10 the offer by the two local Rotary Clubs to put in a splash park in George Little Park.

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Tragedy strikes the Southside when a 16-year-old shoots a 15-year-old on Feb. 9.

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Directors of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district vote to support a bid by Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen to ban bulk oil exports by tanker off the north coast.

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A letter from the provincial Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development minister Coralee Oakes to the Kitimat-Stikine regional district says incorporation might not be the best option and that amalgamation should be looked at too. An amount of $60,000 is given to help the regional district with a “study services, governance and planning in the Greater Terrace area.”

 

March

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) says it has plans to close the border between Stewart, B.C. and Hyder, Alaska during overnight hours beginning in the spring – but residents and business owners from both communities say the move will have several negative effects.

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A UNBC faculty strike starts March 5 to protest low salaries and other issues making attracting and retaining faculty difficult for the northern university.

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City council decides to use a portion of its surplus to hire a bylaw officer.

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The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announces that it will be investing in new traffic lights at the Sande Overpass and widening the south intersection in general, a project that is completed in the fall.

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The union representing Alcan workers announces that it will be challenging the company’s plan to increase sulfur dioxide  (SO2) emissions in its modernized smelter, as the new smelter begins to ramp up its production. Alcan continues to assert that its overall reduction in emissions in other chemicals justifies the 30 per cent increase in SO2. Those who oppose say scrubbers should be installed.

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A gruesome tale is revisited and murdered officer paid homage to when the city decides to follow an RCMP recommendation to name the public park in Mountain Vista after Constable Mike Buday. Buday’s death was chronicled in the 1985 book Descent into Madness about a psychologically unstable man who shot Buday when he and a team of RCMP approached his remote camp near Atlin Lake.

 

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Terrace’s Co-op lands a hard sell to developers

City takes down ‘for sale’ sign, turns attention to more urgent projects

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

Two Terrace homeless campsites levelled

Private property owners brought in crews to clear trees, brush

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

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Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

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