the northern view, october 16, 2013
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DESCRIPTIONOctober 16, 2013 edition of the The Northern View
VOL. 8 NO. 43 Wednesday, October 16, 2013 FREE8
Councillor calls for pit bull ban
Rampage face-off with Ice Demons
Students learn re safety lessons
Doctors warn of paramedic crisis
KISS THE FISH
BY SHAUN THOMAS PORT EDWARD / The Northern View
Plans for an oil refinery on the North Coast are underway, although discussions are very preliminary in nature.
A letter from Lax Kwalaams Mayor Garry Reece to members of the band indicates a meeting took place on Oct. 4 in the community, to provide Eagle Spirit Energy an opportunity to present their idea on the construction of an oil refinery and the shipment of oil from Grassy Point.
However, details of any such plan are sparse. Eagle Spirit Energy chairman and president Calvin Helin said the group was undertaking
community discussions before making any public comment, and a representative for the Ministry of Natural Gas Development said the ministry was made aware of the proposal but have not had formal discussions with the proponent.
Should the idea proceed, it would be the second oil refinery proposed for the Northwest, joining the proposal by Kitimat Clean Ltd. to construct a refinery in the Kitimat Valley.
This isnt the first time Grassy Point has been on the map for potential energy developments. Four companies have submitted proposals to develop LNG export terminals on the site, including Australian energy giant Nexen, Australias largest
independent oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Korean-based SK E&S and a partnership between Imperial Oil and ExxonMobile Canada.
Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings Ltd. was formed last September, with the Aquilini Investment Group providing the financial backing for the company. The stated objective of the company is to assist aboriginal communities and individuals to become successful with managing economic opportunities in their traditional territories.
Details on the meeting were not available, and Lax Kwalaams Mayor Garry Reece did not immediately respond to requests for comment by the Northern View.
BY MARTINA PERRY PRINCE RUPERT / The Northern View
The Prince Rupert School District expects it will have to cut jobs next year to make ends meet.
School District 52s board of education has to find more than $1.4 million in cost savings to balance the coming school years budget following a new provincial f r a m e w o r k agreement to give raises to school support staff.
S e c r e t a r y -treasurer Cam McIntyre, said an agreement for support staff wage increases in British Columbia has required school boards in every British Columbia school district to create a savings plan for the current and upcoming school year to fund the raise in pay.
More than $100,000 in savings is needed this year, and almost $200,000 the following year.
School district must find
Oil refinery proposed for Grassy PointDetails on Eagle Spirit Energy plan scarce
Martina Perry / The Northern ViewPrince Rupert Middle School teacher Crystal MacLeod puckers up to kiss a sh after students exceeded their fundraising goal for the 2013 Terry Fox Run. For more on this story, see Page A12. See SCHOOL on Page A2
Job losses expected
$1.4 million in cost savings to balance the coming school years budget following a new provincial f r a m e w o r k agreement to give raises to school
S e c r e t a r y -treasurer Cam
There will need to be some
degree of staffing reductions.
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In terms of the 2013-2014 school year, McIntyre said there are three things that could cover the wage hike, the first being an unrestricted surplus still available in the budget. Furthermore, the districts director of instruction, Ken Minette, is working half-time and one of two speech pathologists budgeted for this year is away on leave.
The combination of those three things will allow the board to fund those wage increases in the first year without having to take from other aspects, McIntyre said.
But in the following school year, a steeper increase in support staff pay, as part of the agreement amongst other factors, will make balancing the budget more difficult.
Ongoing changes to funding protection will mean the district will have $371,736 less in funding in the 2014-2015 school year. The biggest factor, said McIntyre, is that the board approved the current years budget by using the majority of what was left in surplus to balance the budget. McIntyre said the surplus of $857,196 will be gone by the end of the current year.
Additionally, the support staff contract will once again increase, with $193,035 needed to be found. Together with the other factors, Prince Ruperts school board will have to deal with a cost pressure of $1,421,967.
The board is going to be facing a very significant challenge overall to balance the budget over the next year, McIntyre said, adding there are additional cost pressures expected beyond the $1.4 million.
Eighty-six per cent of our costs are wages, and in order to find $1.4 million in the budget there really is not much question that there will be some degree of staffing reductions in 2014-2015, McIntyre later said.
Tina Last, board chair, said the district is between a rock and a hard place with the decision.
As the employers we want to recognize the value of our employees ... I dont think anyone anticipated that local boards of educations were expected to find that increase. We all know it should happen, its just how, she said.
Weve got some hard decisions to make going forward, and it looks like its going to be on the backs of our teachers and support staff. Thats not the first and foremost thing we want to look at, Trustee Janet Beil said, adding the district should look into selling old schools to gain much-needed funds.
In the meantime, the district does have a number of cost-saving ideas and is planning to meet with teachers and support staff to talk about the possible impacts of the framework agreement. To prepare, the board will start its budget consultation process early in the year.
Candidates ready for byelection
BY SHAUN THOMAS PRINCE RUPERT / The Northern View
There is one certainty heading into the Nov. 16 City of Prince Rupert byelection: the new face at the council table will be a male one.
Six people put their name forward by the 4:30 p.m. deadline on Oct. 11to run for the seat vacated by now-MLA Jennifer Rice. The candidates, alphabetically by last name, are Barry Cunningham, Larry Golden, James Kirk, Len Lovering, Wade Robert Niesh and Gurvinder Randhawa.
SCHOOL from Page A1
Surplus to be spent
Trustees of the Prince Rupert School District will need to nd a further $1.4 million to balance the budget in the years to come.
Trustees facing hard decisionsSix men seek vacated seat
Airport loan info session set
BY SHAUN THOMAS PRINCE RUPERT / The Northern View
After two councillors expressed concern about the alternate approval process for the $7 million airport improvement loan, the City of Prince Rupert has now scheduled a public information session to provide residents further details on the loan, how it will be used and how it will be repaid.
The meeting will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in the lobby of the Lester Centre of the Arts.
By Shaun ThomaSPRINCE RUPERT / The Northern View
Port Edward councillor Dan Franzen pulled no punches on Wednesday night when talking about the pit bull that charged and attacked his dog while out on a daily walk.
According to Franzen, he and his dog were walking on their usual route when the pit bulls owner let the dog out to urinate. But when the pit bull saw Franzens dog, the animal quickly attacked, biting and scratching his pet.
The fact that the dog bolted out of the house makes it dangerous. I personally feel the dog should be put down ... on this walk before we have encountered two wolves that never bothered us, three bears that never bothered us and a deer that never b