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NK 2



LNG Still Keane On


Inside N 2 K Port’s Plans

Visitable Home

Diversity key to Port Authority success

Terrace designer’s twist on new construction

Wholesale Pizza Smithers companies after Northwest markets

Concrete Man Burns Lake operator cemented in service

Proud to be serving the North Coast


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Brett Jeffrey | | 250.641.2441 Terrace • Vancouver • Calgary • Edmonton • Fort McMurray • Bonnyville • Lethbridge





Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Todd Hamilton Prince Rupert Ed Evans, Sales Melissa Boutilier, Sales Kevin Campbell, Reporter Terrace Rod Link, Editor Bert Husband, Sales Erin Bowker, Sales Kitimat Louisa Genzale, Sales Cameron Orr, Editor Smithers Grant Harris, Sales Nick Briere, Sales Alicia Bridges, reporter Houston Mary-Anne Ruiter, Sales Burns Lake Laura Blackwell, Sales Flavio Nienow, Editor Fort St. James/ Vanderhoof Pam Berger, Sales Vivian Chui, Reporter Barbara Latkowski, Reporter Haida Gwaii Quinn Bender, Sales Stacey Marple, Reporter N2K CONTACT INFO:

Vanderhoof Fort St. James Burns Lake Houston Smithers Terrace Kitimat Prince Rupert Haida Gwaii

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N2K is a Black Press publication mailed or delivered by carrier to 31,500 homes and businesses throughout Northwest B.C. Our Head Office is located at: 737 Fraser Street, Prince Rupert, B.C., V8J 1R1 250-624-8088 Fax: 250-624-8085



orthwest B.C. LNG project investors are not day traders. Granted, current events are given some notice, but when one is making a final decision on whether or not to invest billions of dollars, there is a much longer view. Nobody invests a stack of money this large based on spot prices or what somebody said on Tuesday, last week, or expresses an opinion on what will happen next month or next year. These investments are based on decade-long, even decades-long, forecasts. Understandably, many impatiently await the final investment decisions that will kick off an era of unprecedented economic activity in Northwest B.C. And while we wait, it is equally understandable why some pessimism has arisen. But as David Keane, BC LNG Alliance president, noted in the story by Kitimat’s Cameron Orr, he isn’t surprised by the pace of the decision-making process nor is he overly concerned with current political or economic conditions. Keane remains keen on LNG in Northwest B.C., even if the due diligence isn’t moving as fast as some in our corner of the world would like. And while there may be some pessimism out there, optimism is extremely high in other areas. The Prince Rupert Port Authority, in a story by Rupert’s Kevin Campbell, is coming off another record year and president and CEO Don Krusel is fully engaged in a diversification and expansion program to guide the port through 2020. Smithers food companies aren’t limiting themselves to just the shadow of Hudson Bay Mountain. A story by Smithers’ Alicia Bridges highlights the efforts of a pizzeria, a sausage manufacturer from Telkwa and others expanding into the wholesale market and their success is evident on grocery shelves and freezers at supermarkets from Prince Rupert to Prince George. In Fort St. James, Barbara Latkowski profiles the work of a society to provide television, radio and internet solutions to its remote community and Burns Lake’s Flavio Nienow reports on how a concrete company continues to succeed. Northwest B.C. is a resource-based economy ... we all know this. What you also need to know is that in a resource-based economy while there may be some downs, there are also ups. We enjoy bringing those ups to your attention. Todd Hamilton N2K Publisher

Out-of-area subscriptions now available e-mail: View our e-version for free at:

NK 2

KEANE KEEN LNG projects still very much alive 7

Volume 2 • Issue 8

December 2015


PORT UPDATE Diversification key to port success 9

HOME SMART HOME Terrace designer changing the way new homes should be built





CONCRETE MAN Burns Lake company cements its place in the community with customer service 12

WHOLESALE BULKLEY VALLEY Smithers and Telkwa food companies finding success in regional market

GOOD MORNING FORT ST. JAMES FSJ T.V. and radio society volunteers looking after their community

SAFER OPTION? Black unfazed by Enbridge future 20




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Site preparation activities underway Marc Maeseele, Senior Project Manager for LNG Canada

Years of talk, consultations and planning are now manifesting into true work as LNG Canada begins limited site preparation activities. That’s how Marc Maeseele sees it. He’s a Senior Project Manager at LNG Canada, and he’s now overseeing approximately 100 contractors on site as the project continues to advance towards a final investment decision (FID). Maeseele said investigative work has been underway at the site for a while now, but with a number of permits in hand for various work, the time is right for certain seasonal activities to get done. “We are preparing to do some seasonally sensitive activities that are scheduled around fish spawning and bird nesting seasons,” he said. In short, in order to not cause disturbances to on-site waterways while fish are spawning, or to trees when birds are nesting, contractors must go in when they won’t be interrupting any sensitive ecosystem activities. “By completing these seasonally dependent activities now, we will ensure

LNG Canada is in the best position possible to begin construction should the project move ahead,” he said. Maeseele points out that the contractors were hired from the local area. They have all been going through the company’s rigorous safety training and site orientation program. “The activities we do now are utilizing local contractors and local people. Our goal, whenever possible, is to ensure the economic benefits from this work remain in the local area.” While there are about 100 people expected to do work on the site throughout this holiday season, Maeseele said the work might increase to 250 or 300 through to the time when the company may make an FID on whether the project will proceed into the construction phase. Yet whether employing 10 people or 100 people, Maeseele emphasizes the need for safety when it comes to any work that happens for LNG Canada.

This space is a collaborative promotional venture by LNG Canada and N2K Editor Cameron Orr

“Success means to start out on the right foot. We have to be equally safe on day one as we do on day 100,” he said. He said that with the good consultations done to date with the local communities, now is an opportunity for LNG Canada to demonstrate how it will follow through on its commitments to the community – from minimizing construction-related impacts to maximizing local benefits. “This is where the rubber hits the road.”

LNG very much

ALIVE “These companies aren’t going to make long-term decisions based on the spot price of crude oil.”

- David Keane

Global competitiveness key to LNG final decisions


By Cameron Orr

he head of the BC LNG Alliance is pressing on with their public awareness campaign that LNG in Northwest B.C. is still very much alive. President David Keane was joined by the group’s Director of Communications Jas Johal, to tour Northwest communities and drive home the point that proposed LNG projects are still moving along. “I think people get concerned when they don’t see projects moving quickly to final investment decisions. I think we have to remember these are highly-complex projects with a lot of moving parts that have to come together at the same time in order for a company to declare final investment decision,” Keane said. He added that the projects don’t follow political timelines too, responding to a question about the sort of pressure that may come with a provincial government very keen on seeing the industry develop. Keane continues that the pace of work isn’t surprising to him. “I don’t think it’s going any slower than it was expected,” he said, noting there are challenges in trying to make projects economically competitive on a global scale.


And it’s not a matter of prices being up or down today. “These companies aren’t going to make long-term economic decisions based on the spot price of crude oil,” he said, rather decisions are made on forecasts on prices and demand. Keane also sees no problem with the federal government change following the election. He said early conversations with the Liberal party have been encouraging. “I’ve had conversations with the Liberal party previously and they’ve been supportive of the economic development of this. Of course they want to make sure ... it’s done in an environmentally and socially responsible way.” Keane said smaller scale LNG projects could be online by 2018 or 2019 but says the larger projects may take to 2020 or 2021, depending, of course, on when a company makes its final decision. The real work left, he maintains, is being competitive with other countries such as Australia and Russia. “We have to be competitive on a global basis or we’re not going to get to a final investment decision.”




We’ve heard from local women that equal access to opportunities and gender equity is important - we think it is too. Local women have also told us that they want to have an equal say in conversations that impact their family and community. As a result, we created the Professional Women’s Network.

There are lots of different

challenges that we face as women and as individuals, and even for me as First Nations…I think it’s really important for us to work together to the places that we want to be.

Interested in joining the Professional Women’s Network? Want to learn more? Email Miranda Mandarino at:

BG Canada is proposing an LNG facility on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert, BC. Stay informed about what we’re doing in the community by signing up for our email updates using the form on our Contact Us page. We’ve recently updated our website so we encourage you to take a look around and explore the new content! Visit

Irene Mills

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Herb Pond


SIDE Diversification of Prince Rupert Port operations in focus


By Kevin Campbell

he comparison of a west coast port authority and a lengthy novel aren’t made too often, but Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO Don Krusel used that exact simile to update the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce in November. “I find it very hard to contain a discussion on what’s happening with the port in a single year. It’s kind of like reading one chapter in a story in the middle of a story and expecting everybody to understand what the theme and ending is all about,” said Krusel. The CEO dived into the port’s activities with the business leaders of Prince Rupert and explored the impact of the port’s activities specifically on the community through its Community Investment Fund – a fund designed to raise money for community legacy projects and non-port related activities. $100 million has been invested in capital works in the community and over the next two to three years, the community can expect to see another $100 million invested in legacy projects, Krusel said. “We had a record year of $26.3 million in net income in profit [in 2014], so why is that important to this


“However much money is made by the port authority is reinvested into the community in one form or fashion.” - Don Krusel community? Well, unlike most other commercial entities who have shareholders and have owners to draw on that profit, we do not have shareholders or owners. So, however much money is made by the port authority is reinvested into the community in one form or fashion,” he added. While 2014 was a record year for the port in many more ways than just net income, with records in grain and container shipments acquired, 2015 is shaping up to be a bit of a transition year as the port delves into probably its main focus heading into the next decade: diversification. See Page 10


In 2014, the Port of Prince Rupert’s cargo breakdown by volume saw three main areas of traffic: container, coal and grain. The direction of those three facets of the port are veering in different directions, which is one of the main arguments in favour of diversification. If global trends hit one industry hard, then the other port tenants can pick up the slack. 2014 container traffic (29 per cent of overall tonnage traffic), grain (30 per cent) and coal (37 per cent) make up a vast majority of the traffic seen through the port’s facilities. The coal industry in particular is taking a hard hit this year and the demand for the resource has been in decline for a couple years now. The Fairview Container Terminal on the other hand, is seeing exponential growth. As the fastest-growing container terminal in North America, the terminal’s traffic numbers are up 31 per cent compared to 2014 on a year-to-date basis, with still two months to go. In 2013, the port introduced the Westview Wood Pellet Terminal, adding another piece of the pie. The 2015 forecast for the Westview terminal is 788,000 tonnes, which is up 54 per cent, year-to-date. Those numbers make up two per cent of the port’s current cargo breakdown, and it will make up two per cent of the 2024 projected cargo breakdown, but it’s an early

indicator of things to come. The port is calling their expansionary actions part of their 2020 Gateway vision. The anticipatory 2024 model of cargo traffic includes coal, LNG, container, break bulk/ other bulk, potash, grain, pellets and project cargo. “The plan will bring more than just 100 million tonnes of cargo, but also diversification. No single commodity will make up more than 25 per cent of the pie. It ensures the economy will manage the ups and downs of individual sectors. If we are successful of full build-out [of the diversification model] and we bring all those pieces of infrastructure to the community, the revenue to municipality would go - Don Krusel our to $60 million a year ... It’s a light at the end of the tunnel and something to focus our collective energies toward building a strong community,” said Krusel. Another main thesis by Krusel in the presentation was the emphasis on keeping the port’s competition at bay; namely the Ports of Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles and Los Angeles’ adjoining port, Long Beach. “One of the big risks that we have is that some of our traffic is discretionary traffic, meaning they don’t have to come to Prince Rupert. They could go to [any of the above listed] ports.” See Page 11

“It’s a light at the end of the tunnel ...”

“We don’t have to choose berthing structures over fish habitat. I believe we can have those side-by-side.”

- Don Krusel

“There will always be container ships going to those ports. The reason we’re growing and expanding so rapidly right now is because we have a competitive advantage. But the competition is breathing down our necks,” said Krusel. There are two long-term challenges the Port of Prince Rupert faces, with their effects already being seen today, said the president. One is the sheer amount of time and resources that are needed in order to establish a facility in order to respond to market trends. While it takes only a couple years for drastic changes to occur in the oil industry or coal markets, or topically for Prince Rupert, the LNG market, it often takes a decade or longer to capitalize on those opportunities in order to properly plan, design, develop, get environmental approval, construct

and raise the hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure required to build for these opportunities. The second continual challenge the port faces is “finding a path forward while having a vibrant economy and at the same time, having a vibrant environment,” Krusel said. “We want to be able to walk down a pathway where both those important aspects of the community can be met. I have to believe that if we can put people on the moon and back; if we can explore the outer reaches of the solar system, that we surely can have faith in the science and technology where we won’t have to be put in a position where we choose one or the other. We don’t have to choose industry or environment. We don’t have to choose berthing structures over fish habitat. I believe we can have those side-by-side.”


The Concrete

MAN “Concrete is in our blood.” - Gerald Sensenig


he Concrete Man, a Burns Lake family business, is one of several contractors in the region supplying ready-mix concrete. Nevertheless, general manager Gerald Sensenig says he does not see the other contractors as competition, “only friends in the same business.” “Yes, people do have a choice, and they need to ... we want to work for customers that hire us because they like what we do,” he said. That’s why Sensenig has been instructing his team to focus on service quality, as a way to ensure customers keep coming back. “A profit is nice too, but I often tell our workers, ‘The most important thing is that you make our customer happy.’”


By Flavio Nienow Although ready-mix concrete supply is the company’s most profitable service, offering a wide range of services has been vital to keep a steady cash flow, according to Sensenig. “We can have a couple of good years when we could possibly survive just doing concrete, but there are years when there is very little concrete and we need the excavating and gravel projects to survive,” he said. “We need to do more than one thing in this area.” The wide range of services includes concrete pumping, excavating, snow plowing and sanding, log hauling, as well as sand and gravel supply. Although clients are mainly located in the Lakes District, the company also works with contractors coming from other areas for industrial and commercial projects.

The Concrete Man has worked on projects at Huckleberry Mine, Eskay Creek Mine, Kemess Mine, Endako Mine and Rio Tinto. Over the last few years the company has also supplied concrete and gravel for the new Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre and for the rebuild project of Babine Forest Products. Sensenig started the company in 1999, initially forming and finishing concrete floors. In 2005, The Concrete Man bought a concrete plant in Burns Lake. Although the company currently has seven members on the team, they have had part-time help over the years when the company undertakes bigger projects. When The Concrete Man worked at the expansion of Endako Mine in 2012, for example, they had up to 12 workers at the height of the project.


One of the biggest challenges of the company, according to Sensenig, is how the work fluctuates. “One day we need five drivers for a concrete pour two hours away; the next day nothing is booked,” he said. The family business has been safe certified by both B.C. Construction Safety Alliance and B.C. Forest Safety Council. But perhaps the best indicator of the quality of their services might simply be the passion that lies behind their work. “I love to see customers forming a shape of whatever they want - shop floor, sidewalk, basement walls,” said Sensenig. “We get the pleasure of bringing them [customers] concrete in its plastic state and it turns into a rock shaped like they want that will last for decades.” “Concrete is in our blood.”



PIZZA “It often starts small and grows from there,” - Julie Dickson Overwaitea Foods

Smithers, Telkwa companies expand to serve entire Northwest


By Alicia Bridges

here was excitement in the Morsund family as they watched a man with a clipboard leave their new pizza-making space in Smithers in November. The building inspector had just approved the family’s renovations to a Fourth Avenue building, which is adjacent to their restaurant: Chatters Pizzeria and Bistro. The inspector’s permit made it one down, one to go for the new building, which just needed a health permit before opening its doors. When co-owners Chris Morsund and his mother Leslee received their final tick of approval, the space would be used to prepare some 1,300 pizzas per week. A mammoth, custom-made cooler had been installed to store the pies before they were transported to stores and Overwaitea Foods supermarkets between Prince Rupert and Prince George. To cope with the workload, the owners were also increasing their staff from 14 to 24. Chatters was just a restaurant when the Morsund’s bought it eight years earlier, but Chris started selling packaged pizzas to make them accessible to people in other communities.


“A lot of our business was out of town and we needed to start focusing on specialty items for them as well, and making it different for them so they can have access to something they probably can’t get in a smaller area,” he said. Morsund said the packaged pizzas are identical to the restaurant ones, and prepared raw so they can be cooked at home. Demand for them grew significantly since their first order of less than 50 pies a week in 2013. Based on that success, the family decided to focus on that side of the business, but they were running out of time and space to prepare the packaged pizzas in the restaurant kitchen. They decided to lease the building next door as a manufacturing facility and closed the pizzeria temporarily to focus on renovations. Carlee Morsund, Chris’s sister and Leslee’s daughter, is the sales and marketing manager for the business. As the family prepared to launch the facility and reopen the restaurant, she said it would provide a stable income which was independent of changes in the local restaurant market. See Page 15


Both Boston Pizza and Pizza Hut have opened in Smithers since October last year, bringing the total number of pizza restaurants to four. “It allows us to focus more on wholesale and that is a stable stream of income so that when new restaurants start or when they shut down or whatever your business isn’t interrupted,” said Carlee. “No matter what, when any restaurant opens up, everyone wants to check it out. “For us the timing kind of worked out, the transition phase of us doing this, and just being like ‘okay maybe this is a good time to focus on the renovations.” Chatters is not the only family business from the Bulkley Valley seeking opportunities to sell their products in other parts of the Northwest. Products from Telkwa business Rudolph’s Pure Sausage are being stocked by Overwaitea supermarkets in Prince George and Burns Lake. Owner Holger Rudolph hopes more stores will start selling his products because the local retail market was small. “Originally we planned to wholesale too but more retail,

Depot and Parts

but it is very hard to make retail here in Telkwa,” he said. Overwaitea Foods media spokesperson Julie Dickson said her company sought out products that customers were asking for in their communities. “Often that will then grow beyond a single store offering and it can be expanded to the region and sometimes to the whole chain but it often starts small and grows from there,” she said. Dickson said she believes public interest in local and artisan foods started to increase about ten years ago. Paul’s Bakery owner Sheona Sikkes approached Bulkley Valley Wholesale, which is owned by Overwaitea Foods, to see if they were interested in stocking her business’s famous cinnamon bread. In addition to stocking it locally, Overwaitea started shipping the product to Prince George, Kitimat and Terrace. Sikkes believes the supermarket’s increased interest in local products was driven by the public. “I think people are more interested in knowing where their stuff is coming from and people are getting more knowledgable which is brilliant,” she said.

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A Visitable

HOUSE Terrace design and construction duo building with a purpose


By Rod Link

endy Bal reaches toward the light switch. “Look. It’s not something you even notice.” But someone in a wheelchair would because the switch is four inches lower than the standard height, just as they would notice a nearby electrical outlet that is four inches higher than the standard. These are two of the design and construction examples that Bal, a Terrace realtor, and her husband Rav, have incorporated into a single-floor duplex newbuild on the Bench residential area. They hope to build more. In doing so they have their eye on what might be a niche market now but one which they are convinced will grow – purpose-built private housing for people with physical disabilities now or for those who want a place that already has what they will require as they age and their physical condition changes. Door handles throughout each duplex are of the level type for ease of handling as opposed to knobs. The laundry area is plumbed for a side by side washer and dryer as opposed to ones which can be stacked. “I know stackable washers and dryers are popular but even I have trouble reaching way back for that one sock


and the knobs (on a dryer) can be hard to reach,” says Bal of the reason for the diffence. Toilets are of the comfort height variety and have straight sides, eliminating the need for a lot of time on hands and knees while cleaning around. During construction, the walls around toilets, showers and bath tubs were reinforced for easier installation of grab bars if needed later on. Doorways to all of the rooms are three-feet wide making wheelchair or walker use easier. The ensuite bathrooms have enough interior room to make it more comfortable and efficient for a care aid to assist someone. Ceramic tile may be popular in kitchens elsewhere but in this duplex, the tile is a softer and warmer vinyl, making it easier on the knees and legs of people while they are doing the dishes or cooking. The tile is grouted to give it the appearance of ceramic and it has a slightly textured surface so that tips of canes or crutches won’t easily slip. There are also no transition strips between tile and carpeting, removing the slight bump that might impede a walker or wheelchair. See Page 17


“Because of the building code there is a lip from the outside to the inside but a ramp can take care of that,” notes Bal. There are no stairs from the garage to the inside and in each duplex there is plenty of space when entering the house from the garage to maneuver a walker or wheelchair. Bal is a relatively new realtor and credits her realtor father with first coming up with the idea for this kind of housing. “Now we’ve just taken it from there,” said Bal as she went through the list of design and construction features meant for easier living as people age. Lighting is either CFL or LED which not only reduces living expenses but means less maintenance because of their longevity. A main hallway is four feet wide which, as with other construction features, makes for easier use of wheelchairs and walkers. “Our contractor Ron Nuis (of RCT Contracting) even suggested that next time we could reinforce those walls so that if railings or grab bars were needed at some time, they’d again be easier to install,” said Bal. She’s had more ideas from other people too. “People have asked about a lazy susan so that you don’t have to reach way back,” Bal noted of kitchen amenities. There are examples in the region of social or public housing in tune with people with disabilities or physical limitations. In Terrace that list includes the rental Market Estates complex owned by BC Housing and the five new

“Research has shown this added cost to a new $400K [house] ... no more than $2K.” - David Block units added to the Tuck Ave. Seniors Housing complex last year. But the amount of private housing of the same kind is small. City of Terrace development services director David Block says there are examples of renovations such as adding ramps to provide access at homes with stairs. He notes however that such renovations are costly and often result in a less than attractive dwelling. The building standard with attributes such as those of the Bal duplex even has a name – visitable, says Block. “The costs to construct new dwellings, detached or multi, to visitable housing standards at time of new construction is usually a very nominal, if any, increase. Research has shown this added cost to a new $400,000 single family dwelling would be no more than $2,000,” he said. Both Block and Bal point out that many of the attributes of this kind of housing – no stairs, for example – would appeal to people of all ages and abilities. A visitable house is an investment as well as a purchase when considering the possibility of a later resale, said Bal.


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Fort St. James volunteers filling the television void By Barbara Latkowski


or the Fort St. James T.V. and Radio Society, it’s all about the community. The society, the largest of its kind in Canada, is a non-profit organization completely run by volunteers providing more than 30 television stations and six radio stations to the region. Dave Birdi, president of the society, says that throughout the years the society has always had a single vision; providing service for everyone. Initially, the society serviced Fort St. James only but that core wasn’t enough. Many lived out-of-town and these are the same people the society is still dedicated to reaching today. “This continues to be our mandate,” Birdi says. “This is for the entire community. We want to provide service to those in rural areas as well.” The society came together in 1970 and it has seen many changes over with years. Chester Hiebert, director of the society, said there wasn’t much television programming available back in the day. “In the early ‘70s, we pretty much just had one


“In the early ‘70s, we pretty much had one channel. Yes, it was very exotic.” - Chester Hiebert channel. Yes, it was very exotic,” Hiebert said. Five years ago, the society made the move to digital technology. “It used to be very challenging because of ranges and signalling but that has improved drastically with digital technology. The signal is stronger, more versatile and there is less interference. It’s also more cost efficient,” Birdi said. Today, the signal covers a vast range with four towers covering all areas of the District of Fort St. James covering Pinchi Lake to Dog Creek and beyond. See Page 19


The community as a whole contributes to these services and the channels reflect the community’s needs including gardening, movies, news, hunting and children’s channels. “Even with the CBC cutbacks, the station was pulled out of town and that did have an impact on us. We decided it was important to us so we re-added it to our programming,” Birdi said. “Our selection is diverse. It’s all based on what the community wants, it’s completely driven by the community,” Hiebert said. An average householder in Fort St. James pays about $5 per month for the service. But the society’s services don’t just stop in the home. The society recently added television services at the medical clinic for patients waiting for appointments and also upgraded services at Stuart Lake Hospital. “A patient once told me that it’s crappy when you are sick but it’s even crappier if you have lousy T.V.,” Birdi said. The society, as well as various community volunteers and companies, came together and the hospital now has quality T.V. programming. Bob Hughes, acting secretary-treasurer, said the society would not be what it is today without support from the community. “We are always looking for new ways of providing service and there isn’t a company in town that hasn’t

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helped out,” Hughes said. Hiebert couldn’t agree more. “When you get the community, as well as companies and corporations involved, it benefits everyone.” The society deals directly with suppliers such as Bell and Shaw. “It’s ideal because we can bypass the middle people and they really do try to help and cater to our needs,” Birdie said. For the society, it’s always about finding new ways to benefit the community. Along with various radio stations, people can access free Wi-Fi service in various locations in town. “Even people camping at Stuart Lake were amazed that they could camp, have Wi-Fi and television in such a beautiful location,” Birdi said. With 31 television channels, the society is hoping to add two more high definition channels by the end of the year. “With the services we are currently providing, we are the largest T.V. and radio society in the country. Our business model has attracted many other communities who are looking into implementing a system like ours,” Birdi said. But the society’s 12-member committee seems to have fewer meetings today. It is keeping busy by responding to requests from the community. “Tell us what you need and it gets done. We have willing volunteers. It always gets done,” Hiebert said.


Prince Rupert: 250-624-2577 • Queen Charlotte: 250-559-4222 Masset: 250-626-3225 • Toll Free: 1-888-624-2577

Oil by rail


Kitimat Clean refinery project unfazed by Enbridge prognosis


By Jeff Nagel and Cameron Orr

.C. oil refinery proponent David Black says his $22-billion proposal won’t die with the apparently thwarted Northern Gateway pipeline – he aims to bring oil sands bitumen across northern B.C. by train instead. The Victoria businessman, who is majority owner of Black Press and this magazine, spoke recently at a Rotary Club meeting in South Surrey. Black’s Kitimat Clean proposal calls for a refinery between Terrace and Kitimat that would process bitumen into gasoline, diesel and other refined fuels for Asian markets. He said the federal Liberal government’s move to formally ban crude oil tankers from B.C.’s north coast means the Northern Gateway pipeline plan is “pretty much dead” but that shouldn’t block tanker exports of refined fuel, which would be less damaging than a spill of crude or bitumen at sea. Black said his plan to carry oil by rail will be far safer than the crude oil trains that have been vulnerable to fiery disasters elsewhere. He said he’s in talks with CN Rail to load rail cars with undiluted bitumen, which would be much thicker – virtually solid – compared to the diluted bitumen that moves through pipelines or the light oil that’s often carried by train. The bitumen would be heated at the beginning and end of each rail trip to make it flow for loading and unloading from tanker cars. Black argues it would be unlikely to leak or burn


“It’s safer and way easier.” - David Black

if a train derailed. “It’s safer and way easier,” he said, estimating six trains a day would run every four hours. Black continues to pursue environmental approvals, and believes that with green lights from regulators and first nations, oil shippers and financiers will come on board. But his is not the only such proposal. Pacific Future Energy, led by a Mexican conglomerate, initially tried to buy Black out and has since proposed a similar refinery with the same technology. Its backers include SNC Lavalin and prominent aboriginal advisors. Pacific Future initially proposed a site in Prince Rupert but Black said that firm is trying to strike a deal with the Kitselas band for the same site Kitimat Clean had chosen. There are other potential sites with different first nations, he said, but they’re less suitable. Black is not concerned that low oil prices will also doom his refinery dream. See Page 21


He said he believes low prices as well as the U.S. rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast will make his option for reaching lucrative Pacific markets increasingly attractive to oil firms grappling with narrowing margins, particularly in Alberta’s oil sands. Black maintains a refinery can’t be built in Alberta itself because of opposition from multinational oil firms that own Texas refineries, and because the large prefabricated modules that can be assembled on the B.C. coast can’t be hauled inland. His proposal would use an unusual technology – adding $5 billion to the costs – that slashes the carbon emissions to less than one third of a conventional refinery. Black argues the “greenest refinery in the world” would largely offset the higher emissions of oil sands bitumen and forge a political solution for Canada’s energy policy makers. “It cleans the whole industry up,” Black said. “We’re not in the dirty oil business any more. We get huge value add. And it takes away the issue of a heavy oil spill at sea.” Bitumen oil, he said, is a fairly solid substance that requires diluent material to pump it in a pipeline. In a rail car it just has to be heated to be poured in and then re-heated at the other end to enter the refinery. For the journey the material is so solid that he said in the case of any derailment of the train there’s a good chance the bitumen might not even leak out of the rail car. “As it cools a few degrees it sets like wax,” he said. “That’s what you’re shipping. If there’s a derailment it’s not going to run out of the car.” Oil by rail was not always in his plans though. “I lived in Williams Lake for 10 years beside the rail line and I knew how many derailments there were continually. It’s just an ongoing fact of life in the rail business,” he said. “So I thought this could be a disaster.” But he said consultations have changed his mind. He said the bitumen has to be heated to 60C to be poured in to rail cars. When it arrives at the refinery steam coils built in to the

cars are connected to live steam to loosen it again allowing it to be poured out. “It could go by pipe too, but rail, in many ways, is simpler.” As for the overall game plan for the refinery, he says he had some questions regarding the site to work out before he could submit his environmental description with the government, but said that description, the first step in an environmental review, would go in before Christmas. It’s a two-year process to get permits, and he said he’ll be seeking financing during that time too. Once financing and the review is done he said it will take up to six years to construct the facility. At those estimates the refinery could potentially be running by 2023.

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anfor’s planning and forestry activities received passing grades following an audit by Forest Practices Board. Canfor, which conducted the practices on behalf of Smithers forest licencee Lowell A. Johnson, were found to be in compliance by the independent forestry watchdog. “We are pleased to see that this licensee carried out good forest practices and fully met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act,” said Tim Ryan, board chair. Auditors examined operational planning, timber harvesting, road construction, deactivation and maintenance, silviculture and fire protection activities carried out between Oct. 1, 2013, and Oct. 9, 2015. The operations were located south of Chapman Lake, about 35 kilometres east of Smithers. The Forest Practices Board reports its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government.


Career Opportunities •

Chief Executive Officer Northern Savings is strengthening its ability to focus on our members and the long term future of the Credit Union. We are seeking a Chief Executive Officer who can inspire our staff and can engage our customer-owners and our communities to identify our credit union as their primary financial institution. The CEO will provide vision and leadership to Northern Savings while remaining accountable to our members, staff, and communities. Take up the opportunity to help shape and grow Northern Savings Credit Union. We are looking for an individual who knows financial services, the credit union difference and who excels at creating a dynamic team. For more information about Northern Savings Credit Union, visit For more about the CEO opportunity and to apply, visit


December 2015

Lands admInIstrator The First Nations Framework for Land Management allows First Nations to opt out of land related sections of the Indian Act thereby enabling us to manage our reserve lands under an overarching Haisla Land Code. The Haisla Land Code was ratified by the community last year. We are seeking someone who is qualified as a Lands Administrator or is likely to be qualified for the role by April 1, 2016. Full details can be found on: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume along with three references to: Stephanie McClure, Human Resources Manager Haisla Nation Council We thank all applicants for Haisla PO Box 1101, Kitamaat Village, BC, V0T 2B0 their interest, however, only Fax (250) 632-2840 those short-listed will be Email: contacted.


Providing the Facts

Photo credit: Santos GLNG

Pacific NorthWest LNG will create new local jobs that will give young people and future generations more opportunities to stay in northwest BC.

Will your project emphasize hiring local workers? Yes. We’re committed to hiring as many local workers as possible for construction and operation jobs at our facility. The investigative work we’re currently conducting around Lelu Island is already providing local jobs. Are you providing training before construction starts? Yes. We have already helped over 100 local people receive training through our Individual Training Sponsorship Program. We have also invested in numerous skills and education initiatives including Coastal Pathways, Adventures in Industry and the 150 Ton Master Mariner Program. Will I have to be a skilled tradesperson to get a job? No. A wide range of positions will be available through construction and operations. Here are just a few examples.

Jobs during construction: • • • • • •

Carpenters Labourers Marine transport operators Steam fitters and pipefitters Trades helpers Truck drivers

Jobs during operations: • Environmental management officers • Gas process operators • Health and safety officers • Office administration • Site security • Warehouse, shipping and receiving personnel

For more information, visit one of our community offices in Port Edward or Prince Rupert, or call 250.622.2727.

Canadian Energy. Global Reach.

Trade is building stronger communities. The Port of Prince Rupert is growing opportunities and prosperity by connecting the communities of northern BC. Last year, port activity was directly responsible for the equivalent of 3,060 permanent full-time jobs. Watch and share our video tribute to the workers and families of BC’s gateway industry: | @rupertport

Profile for Black Press

N2K - December 2015  


N2K - December 2015