Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Skeena's Ellis Ross shares of the community work of the 'Garage' in Terrace

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross saluted the work of Sharon and Sid
Bandstra who have helped with community work for the homeless
in the Terrace are through the work of the 'Garage'

Members of the British Columbia Legislature gained a short overview on Monday of some of the community work taking place in the Terrace region, with Skeena MLA Ellis Ross sharing some background towards the work of the Garage. 

The Garage, located on Calum Street in Terrace,  is a non-profit, community space Society that was created following the purchase of an old Shell Gas station by Sid and Sharon Bandstra to be put to use as the community asset.

"In Skeena, we've had a few town hall meetings to discuss the growing number of people experiencing homelessness and addictions-related issues in Terrace. 

Terrace has been fortunate, as there are a number of organizations that have been in place to support those in need, but also because the citizens themselves want to be part of the solution. 

Sharon and Sid Bandstra, who are with us today, are two of those people that want to do their part in helping their community. Out of their own pocket, they bought the old Shell gas station and converted it into a centre for those peoplethat have been in place to support those in need, but also because the citizens themselves want to be part of the solution. Sharon and Sid Bandstra are with us today. 

They are two of those people that want to do their part in helping their community. Out of their own pocket, they bought the old Shell gas station and converted it into a centre for those people who need not just help but also a warm and friendly place to gather. 

It has become such a success that many of the existing programs in Terrace start to gather there. As well, now, there is incredible collaboration happening at what is now named the Garage. The newly formed Garage is a non-profit community space society and is also home to the Terrace church's food bank, which now operates weekly. 

The Garage has hosted numerous events in partnership with other non-profits and government-funded programs, and they are just getting started. I've watched this idea grow from a dream to a reality.

Every time I drop in, I can't help but notice how vibrant and positive people are. the Garage is making connections between those who are down on their luck with the community and with programs that can and do help. 

This is the kicker. Against my advice, the Garage has not asked for government support or funding. Sid and Sharon are doing this on their own pocket, because they care not only for the people but for their community. This is an amazing and inspirational story. 

The impacts are already being felt across Terrace and the neighbouring communities. On behalf of Skeena and on behalf of this House, I would like to thank Sharon and her husband Sid for establishing and operating this much-needed community centre. I look forward to making it grow. 

There's not enough time in two minutes to explain all the exciting things that are happening at the Garage. It's because of the citizens of Terrace, B.C. and their surrounding communities, but especially Sharon Bandstra, who is with us in the gallery today."

The video of his presentation to the Legislature can be reviewed below:

A feature in a Christian themed publication the Banner provides some further background to how the initiative came together in the Terrace area.

You can learn more about the Garage and the work there, from their Social media Stream 

More notes from the BC Legislature can be explored through our archive pages.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Civic Centre Parking lot hosts Community EV Charging station

The Civic Centre is the latest location for EV owners to
get a charge with two stations in place at the Arena Parking lot

The latest location for Electric Vehicle owners to get a charge has been introduced, with the City of Prince  Rupert installing a charging station  in the Civic Centre parking lot, directly in front of the Arena entrance by Hays Creek.

The ChargePoint station features two charging terminals for use on either side of the traffic island.

The City announced its plans to place the EV Charging stations at the Recreation Centre back in November of 2022

The City at the time noted how the stations would be able to charge a vehicle from Empty to Full in about one hour's time

An original plan from 2021 was to also install a charging station in the Cow Bay Area, though there have been no updates on that initiative since. 

The BC Hydro Charging station was the first public
station installed in Prince Rupert in late 2020

The newest charging station is part of the ongoing addition of units to the community, the first of which was a BC Hydro station adjacent to Mariners Park and the Court House downtown, that EV Station opened in the fall of 2020.

School District 52 is also about to join the shift  towards EV Charging, with plans recently noted by HyperCharge  of a Level 3 charging station to be placed at Charles Hays Secondary on Prince Rupert Boulevard.

A second station is planned for the Booth Maintenance Building.

No timeline has been announced as to when those two stations will be going into service.

Across Northern BC Charge North continues to add stations in communities along the Highway 16 corridor, with service for the Northwest now noted as available from Haida Gwaii to Prince George.

You can learn more about the Charge North plans here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Funding for British Columbia Libraries gains shoutouts from area MLA's

The Province announced some additional funding for
Libraries across BC on Friday.

Friday's announcement of funding for Libraries across the province is getting some additional push from NDP MLA's in the Northwest, with both Nathan Cullen and Jennifer Rice making note of the distribution of 45 million dollars to all of the province's 71 Public Libraries.

The one time grants will be in addition to the annual operating funding that libraries receive. This will give libraries flexibility to address local priorities, including longer hours, bigger digital collections and better access to literacy and lifelong learning opportunities. 

Funds will be distributed to libraries by March 31, 2023. 

If the plan is an equal distribution of the 45 million dollars, that would be an additional 633,000  and change for the Prince Rupert Library.

The full announcement from the Province can be reviewed here.

The Library was also part of the Current City of Prince Rupert Budget planning presentation of last week, with needs for Heating improvements noted as part of the Capital Spending requests from CFO Corinne Bomben. 

Some news from the Library made for some conversation at the most recent City council session, with councillor Teri Forster advising Council that the Library had recently completed its Strategic Plan.

So far no details have been released related to that Strategic Plan and the vision that the Library Board may have for the facility and its future.

The Prince Rupert Library has been in its Sixth Avenue West home since January of 1971, and renovated in 1982 and again in 1987.
In recent years the aging facility has seen a number of repairs required for its aging infrastructure.

Some of its history can be reviewed here.

The topic of replacement for the Library comes up for discussion from time to time with some unique ideas put forward towards what a new House of Reading should look like, though few steps forward have been found yet towards that goal.

More notes from the Legislature can be reviewed here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Victoria Viewpoints: Saturday-Monday, March 25-27, 2023

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Provincial scene for  Saturday-Monday,  March 25-27, 2023

Globe and Mail


Vancouver Sun 

Victoria Times-Colonist 

Victoria News


The Tyee                                                                   



Ottawa Observations: Saturday-Monday, March 25-27, 2023

Our compilation of some of the stories of note from the day, reviewing the political developments from the Federal scene for  Saturday-Monday,  March 25-27,  2023

Federal Budget Preview




Toronto/Vancouver Star

Toronto Sun

National Post



Health Care Town Hall Tonight as NDP MP's seek your feedback on health care themes and issues

Some of us have received our own personal robot-call invitation, the details towards tonight's Telephone Town Hall coming over the weekend as Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach's recorded message outlined what's on tap for the night.

Bachracah and NDP Health Critic Don Davies will be hosting the event which starts at 6:30 PM, with a wide range of topics on their list such as the challenges facing health care in Canada, recent funding towards health care along with concerns over potential privatization.

Dental Care, Pharmacare and access to doctors are sure to be part of the discussion; as well as questions from those participating through the phone connection making for part of the night's agenda.

If you didn't get a phone call and want to participate, all you have to do is access this link at 6:30 when the Town Hall starts and you'll hear more about how to have your voice heard.

Notes related to Health Care in the Northwest can be explored here.

Further items of interest when it comes to the work of the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP are available from our House of Commons Archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

BC Legislature returns to business today ... time will tell if Prince Rupert's 65 Million in funding becomes a theme for discussion in the Chamber

Premier David Eby on March 17th announcing 65 million
dollars in funding for Prince Rupert's waterline infrastructure
issues. A financial distribution that is starting to gain some
notice in other parts of the province
(Photo from BC Gov't)

The British Columbia Legislature returned to business today, the two week Spring Break at an end, the elected MLA's will take to their chairs and assigned speaking times to re-engage over any number of pressing issues facing the province these days.

Among the potential discussion topics that are likely ahead the need for infrastructure assistance for communities around BC. 

And the last two weeks have certainly delivered a conversation starter for MLA's from across the province, that after Premier Eby's St. Patrick's Day announcement of 65 Million dollars of funding for Prince Rupert's waterline challenges.

A promise of assistance that was as might be expected, well received by Prince Rupert officials.

Council offers much in way of gratitude for Province's 65 million dollar waterline funding; warn of race of other challenges still to take on
Photos and statements the focus following Province's 65 Million dollar infrastructure funding announcement for Prince Rupert 
City of Prince Rupert to receive 65 million dollars towards aging water distribution system

Prince Ruperts woes made for a cause that was as noted on the 17th, one that was advocated well by North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice; an MLA who many soon hear her name mentioned a few times in both the Chamber and the  corridors at the Legislature.

Prince Rupert's windfall of financial assistance has not gone un-noticed in other locales, and in one instance at least, though we imagine we'll discover more soon, constituents in other communities are going ... 

Hey Dave, where's our cash?

One contribution to that theme comes from a letter to the editor of the Coast Reporter on the Sunshine Coast,  which pretty well lays out the template we imagine for others to come from the Kootenays to Vancouver Island and on through the Okangan, Thompson, Cariboo and into the Peace Country.

The opening line one which expresses 'shock' at the fortuitous moment for Prince Rupert, while a call for local MLA's on the Sunshine Coast to get on to their work in accessing similar amounts for the local issues of the region.

Mr. Eby was quite generous with his funding for Prince Rupert this month, now it seems that with Pandora's box having been opened,  there will be a few across BC looking to see if he's got any more in the vault for them.

You can follow the work of Ms. Rice and the rest of the Northwest contingent at the Legislature through our Archive page.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.