At that time you could stand on the Bridge over the Adams River and (if you were there at the right time) you could actually see the Emerald Green of the river turn Crimson as Millions of sockeye entered the channel. It was a sight to see. Damn but it was a sight to see.
Those same fish come from the Fraser run every four years and they go past Kamloops up the South Thompson to the Adams. The last year was 2006 and the next run will be 2010.
With the downgrading of the Fraser Run this year I doubt the Adams Run will have but a handful of Sockeye next year as that run will most likely be decimated as well.
But I will be there with my new family in hopes they can see that which I witnessed so many years ago.
Gordon Campbell your policies have destroyed one of the wonders of the world.
A letter from Alex Morton:
This week the Fraser River sockeye run was critically downgraded. This was no surprise to me as I looked at this generation of Fraser sockeye and they were infected with sea lice near the fish farms from Campbell River to eastern Johnstone Strait. While they are bigger than pink and chum salmon when they enter the sea, they are damaged by the lice, you can see an image on the website www.adopt-a-fry.org The pattern keeps repeating. If they caught farm lice when they were young, they never come home. As soon as the farm salmon are removed, they do come home.
Actor William Shatner is lending his star power to our efforts and wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His letter is on our website.
One of the signatories on our letter to the Minister of Fisheries generously donated his services to produce a full page information ad on salmon farms. You can see Gary Dunham, of Mercury Graphics in Langley BC's work on the "Action" page at www.adopt-a-fry.org Thank you Gary for your patience and talent.
Many people have heard about the salmon farming controversy, but they don’t know the specifics. I have included some of the many issues that are causing the problems with this industry. I would really like to hear from you about which local newspapers this should appear in. If you could send me a link to the paper that would be really great. Any financial assistance in running this ad in your community would also be welcome.
The downgrade of the Fraser sockeye is a warning we can choose to ignore or react to. Alaska is seeing huge sockeye returns and they do not allow Atlantic salmon to be penned on their salmon migration routes. We can make many guesses as to what happened to our sockeye, but it does not make sense to ignore the one that has been researched and published and seen worldwide. Commercial, sport and tourism operators are taking losses to protect our wild salmon and yet the fish farms just keep getting bigger and more numerous.
There is something very wrong here and if we want our wild salmon we need to speak now or forever lose our fish.
Police on scene at 8:42 confirm the drive of the pickup is injured. It is apparently a neck injury. He is conscious and smiling. A witness has just reported to the detachment.
Further unconfirmed reports say that the driver of the sports car was observed passing on a double solid yellow line.
I have picked up(on my scanner) that an analyst is coming from Ashcroft which is about two hours away. There is one fatality and the JAWS were needed to extract someone. It is unclear to me at this time if it was the fatality or one of the survivors. There is a little girl receiving medical attention from having an airbag blow in her face.
There are two EMS vehicles (that's two ambulances with two paramedics each) on scene. And these are the people that are on strike because the Gordon Campbell administration won't talk to them Campbell just keeps having the rules changed to suit his agenda.
Family Victim Councilors have been summoned to the 100 Mile hospital.
I might also add that this hospital has been in a slow shut down since last January. First the maternity ward then rotating shutdowns in the Emerg. This is the kind of services we are receiving from this government.
There also at least 5 RCMP on scene. It didn't take them long to respond and they are doing a fine job today.
UPDATE 4:15 PM. Highway 97 North of Lac La Hache is open to one lane traffic
After reading this judgment I found a couple of interesting submissions and reasons for judgment. Not the least of which involves the following:
 The only harm that I can infer would accrue to the defendant from a preservation of the plaintiff’s option to purchase pending a hearing of the issue on the merits is that the defendant would be delayed or hindered in marketing the premises in the intervening period of time. The defendant states in submissions that an injunction would prevent the defendant from dealing with the premises in accordance with its mandate from the provincial government to divest itself of all its real property. There is no evidence as to the terms of any such mandate or what losses may occur if there are delays experienced. The defendant also suggests that an injunction would be in place for some time as this action is unsuitable for Rule 18A summary disposition given the conflicts in evidence the require findings of credibility to resolve.
So BCRP tells the court that a interim interloculatory injunction prevents them from doing the governments bidding ie : divesting itself of all real properties. They say this has been mandated. Yet they fail to show evidence in court?
It will be interesting to see the final results of this iterim injunction.
Many Many thanks for anonymous for forwarding us this information. Gary E
CN (in fact all Canadian Railways) are required to publish on their website a three year advance list of lines and sidings to be shut down. This and a Saskatchewan airport spur are the only ones listed to date
Province British Columbia
Metropolitan Area Vancouver
Siding / Spur Lulu Island Spur
List Of Metropolitan Sidings and Spur to be Dismantled
Revised October 21, 2008
* - Revision
I have yet to study any laws or read any exemptions to this requirement so as far as I am concerned they stand.
The rail line closures are quite extensive but at present there are no BC lines published on the website
More to follow, Gary E
Many thanks Koot for opening up my world on Run of River Projects.
The letter below was penned by Gabriela "Storm" Grabowsky, who has the misfortune of living right in the way of Gordon Campbell's dream of giving away the resources of British Columbia to the already rich, and often Eastern or even foreign Corporate bottom feeders. It has been published in the Valley Voice - Voices from the Valley, letters section. It needs to be made accessible everywhere possible because it shows the human side of the Greed Power Devastation and Destination Spa for Rich Outsiders Industry. People who hold the "pioneer" values that built this wonderful province, like Mick and Storm, have no place in Gordo's dream of total Corporate Control of Everything!
Where is justice for those with no money?
I live on a remote rural acreage with a river running through it. I have been here since 1993 and own both sides of the creek. We call the place Rainbow's End Ranch, because of the glorious water.
Now there is a corporation from Quebec that proposes a tunnel and dam to divert this water for hydro production. I have heard that 80% or 90% or no significant water loss will be involved. (These people keep changing their story.) Axor Corporation, under the guise of Purcell Green Power, has vastly more money then I do.
I have inquired with local lawyers as to what my rights are in these circumstances. I have been given to believe that ascertaining these rights under riparian law may well cost me my home!
I live on a disability pension of around $10,000 a year. I have no wish to lose my land and my home to save my water. This as you can imagine is somewhat of a dilemma for me. I have few debts, am pretty self reliant, and at 60 have no wishes to become homeless trying to pay for lawyers. Where is justice for those of us being besieged by huge corporations?
A dam 13 km above my land in a precipitous valley does not bode well. The water in Glacier Creek is a crystal clear blessing. The damage this corporation proposes to the ecosystem is unacceptable to those of us who hold Nature near and dear.
The $50,000 these people promise to give the community for their co-operation (to spend how they wish) is rather like the 30 pieces of silver somebody else was sold out for. How can justice be served when the odds are so astronomically uneven? Justice costs money, so where is justice for those of us who have none? What would you do in my place? I love my home. Water is essential. Glacier Creek is unique. It belongs to future generations not generators.
People work hard all their lives to enjoy their senior years This is a prime situation of the Gordon Campbell Government backing big business at the expense of the little guy.
It's time for everyone to get involved. Don't think for one minute you are exempt. Just look at what VANOC is trying to do to your right under the constitution for Free Speech.
I commented on this article and I believe that civil disobedience may now be in order.
It's time to stop this dictator in all aspects of this provinces giveaway.
I am awaiting a ruling in the BC Supreme Court this morning in The Basi-Virk case (#23299) to see how I can proceed in that matter. The decision has already been made for any RUN of River Project that I can make it to.
How to Fight Glacier-Howser River Privatization
Save Our Rivers Society - Monday, 20 July 2009
If we get through we will update here as well as at Laila's site.
For updates go to http://www.kelowna.com
or to: http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090718/BC_west_kelowna_fire_090718/20090718/?hub=BritishColumbiaHome
If anyone has any further information you can post here or at Laila's site. Or maybe one of your favorite bloggers has something posted.
-For accommodation, donations or to provide volunteer assistance call: (778) 797-2269.
-If the public wants to know the Air Quality Health Index for their region, log on to www.airhealthbc.ca or call (250) 952-2039.
-For those with less severe respiratory symptoms, there are several walk in clinics open today in Kelowna, including Mission Medical Centre. This can save valuable emergency room time.
-If you have questions or concerns about the evacuation or evacuation alerts, call (250) 469-8490.
-For help with pets in West Kelowna: BCSPCA (250) 861-7722.
-If you need a place for horses call Kim at (250) 215-0144 or SPCA at 250-861-7722 and if you have a place for horses call (250) 503-8859.
-If you see a downed power line call 1-888-POWER-ON.
Kelowna Fire Department press release/edited
At 6:12 p.m. the Kelowna Fire Department responded to a fire at the Tolko Mill at 820 Guy St.
Initial reports were 25 foot flames coming from the building. KFD responded with three Engines, two Ladder Trucks, one Command Unit and one Safety Unit.
Once on scene crews found fire in a hog pile near the Log Decks extending to the building along with multiple spot fires in the upper levels of the building.
While battling this blaze crews noticed multiple spot fires in another area of the mill approximately 400 feet from the original fire and additional crews were called in to assist.[snip....]
The questions now become: Why did the hog fuel pile start burning in the first place? Were there no sprinklers set on the pile? If there were, were they operational? If not, why not?
There will be a lot of explaining to do when this is over.
Forest service update: More recruits on the way
Sunday, July 19th, 2009 | 8:10 am
B.C. Forest Service press release 8:07 a.m.
The wildfire burning in the area of Glenrosa, in West Kelowna, is now estimated at 300 hectares in size.
Working in unified command with the West Kelowna fire department, the BC Forest Service’s resources on site include 45 fire fighters, seven helicopters, several pieces of heavy equipment, water tenders and air tankers. Another 80 BC Forest Service fire fighters are on route to the fire this morning. Fire investigators will return to the site today, and a Type 1 Incident Management Team, as well as Structural Protection Units, are also on route to the fire.[snip....}
Where's the Martin Mars Bomber? Is it o the way or is it on site?
Sunday, July 19th, 2009 | 3:18 pm
July 19, 2009, 4:14 p.m.: Tom Wilson, spokesperson for the emergency operations centre, tells AM 1150 that there is likely another press conference later tonight.
July 19, 2009, 3:50 p.m. A new concern on the Westside after reports of a gas leak.
July 19, 2009, 3:33 p.m.
Knox Mountain Park: The park is closed due to risk of fire hazard.
July 19, 2009 3:15 p.m.
Rose Valley: All access points off Westlake Road going west and north into Rose Valley are shut. There is no way to get through. Everything east of Westlake is on evacuation alert. The road is lined with trucks and all ready to go, they are lined with ATVS bicycles, trailers.
EOC press conference reveals 6,500 homes and 17,000 residents have been affected through the order and alert process.
Update: 5:30 AM July 20,2009 Our family has juat found out that family and friends are noy yet in danger in the area. Although a change in wind direction may affect some.
In 1976 Quebec was given a tax on cigarettes to pay for this boondoggle. It took 30 years to pay the debt.
In 2007 BC was given a Revenue Neutral Tax on gasoline. This so-called carbon tax is only at the pump. But I ask why are the biggest polluters in the province not being taxed for killing us. Some say its because the Liberals don't want to kill their cash cow. They're probably right. What I would like to know is where is the money going? Maybe the same place as Quebecs but in a different time and place. Gordo can tell us.
How long will it take us to pay our debt?
The BC Rail Investment Partnership will provide $1 billion in new investment to B.C. and help create jobs and new opportunities for railway communities.
Investing in the BC Rail System
Continued Public Ownership
New legislation will legally protect BC Rail’s rights-of-way, railbed and tracks under public ownership. In addition:
· CN will pay the Province $1 billion in cash to acquire the outstanding shares of BC Rail Ltd., along with the right to operate over BC Rail’s railbed under a 60-year-lease, which is renewable for a further 30 years.
· BC Rail’s railbed will remain in public hands – under the BC Railway Company, which remains a provincial Crown corporation – with CN assuming responsibility for rail transportation and infrastructure maintenance.
· Railway infrastructure will be returned to the Province in present condition at the end of the lease.
No More Public Debt
The BC Rail Investment Partnership will eliminate BC Rail’s current debt of more than $500 million, saving $30 million a year in interests costs. This will free resources to be reinvested in the rail system. In addition:
· The partnership will eliminate taxpayer risk for new investments, and protect taxpayers from asset write-downs that have cost the Province $860 million over the past 15 years – ensuring that taxpayers’ money is available for vital public services like health care and education.
· CN will assume responsibility for maintenance of the railway and cars, which costs BC Rail $40 million a year – representing $3.6 billion in avoided costs to the BC Railway Company over the next 90 years in today’s dollars.
· CN will pay a forecast $8.3 million in municipal taxes, based on current assessment values, beginning in the year the partnership is completed – four-and-a-half times the $1.8 million currently paid by BC Rail in lieu of taxes. This will provide $750 million of revenue for communities over 90 years in today’s dollars.
600 New Cars
CN will purchase 600 new centrebeam cars to increase capacity for forest shippers, and upgrade 1,500 boxcars, to help ensure customers have access to rail cars when and where they need them. Faster transit time will also improve car availability by 800 cars.
Lower Rates and Costs
CN will establish an Open Gateway Rate and Service Commitment, to ensure shippers will retain access to competing railroad alternatives at Vancouver at rates lower in aggregate than current BC Rail rates. The Open Gateway rates are backed up by a service commitment that will ensure shippers using BC Rail to reach competing railways in Vancouver receive the same service as shippers using CN – all with the added benefit of a 30 per cent reduction in transit times between Prince George and Vancouver. In addition:
· Shippers will receive an average rate reduction of seven per cent for interline rate shipments.
· Combined savings to interline shippers from rate reductions of $7 million annually.
· Shippers using the BC Rail system will no longer be subject to additional switching at the Vancouver interchange, helping further reduce transit times from Prince George.
· CN has committed to establish future rates using the “rail cost adjustment factor” calculated by the Association of American Railroads and approved by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. This will provide greater certainty for shippers.
· Improved shipping times will also reduce operating costs, helping to secure jobs in the forest products sector.
Improved Access to Markets
B.C. resource industries and shippers will have access for the first time ever to an integrated, continental rail network that will open up markets in the U.S. and Asia, reduce operating costs, and transform Prince George into a major new continental gateway.
CN is the only railroad connecting directly with BC Rail at Prince George and North Vancouver, and offers BC Rail shippers the shortest and fastest route to key U.S. markets – 700 miles less to Toronto and Memphis than competing carriers, and 650 miles less to Chicago. The partnership will mean:
· A new Chicago Express will be established in the first quarter of 2004 by integrating the CN and BC Rail networks at Prince George, providing access from Prince George to Chicago in four days, reducing transit times by up to two days or 35 per cent, and making B.C.’s resource industries more competitive in the U.S. market.
· Grain shippers and the forest industry will now have improved access to Asia through the container terminal expansion at the Port of Prince Rupert. Located 440 miles closer to Asia than other North American ports, the Port of Prince Rupert offers shipping times 1.5 days closer to markets, significantly reducing travel costs for shippers.
Long-Term Protection of the Rail Network
CN is committed to strengthening BC Rail’s rail system.
At present, BC Rail and the Province can arbitrarily discontinue routes and impose rate increases, with no avenue for appeal. For the first time, BC Rail shippers will have access to new regulatory protection under the Canada Transportation Act, which will now apply to the BC Rail system. In addition:
· CN will re-open the Dawson Creek-to-Hythe line, to facilitate grain handling from the Peace region. Maintenance and repair work will be conducted in the spring, with a planned re-opening next fall. If future traffic on this subdivision increases, CN has committed to investing in the track to accommodate increased capacity.
· CN will continue the D’Arcy-Lillooet and Takla shuttle services.
· The track to Tumbler Ridge, which BC Rail was intending to dismantle, will be kept on the ground for a minimum of five years, allowing time for communities and industries to plan future operating options.
· Access to existing routes will be guaranteed through a moratorium on any operational discontinuance for at least five years.
Investing in Jobs and Opportunities
$135 Million for Northern Communities
Proceeds from the partnership will be used to establish a $135-million Northern Development Initiative to support investments in forestry, pine beetle recovery, transportation, tourism, mining, Olympic opportunities, small business and sustainable economic development:
· $25 million for an operating endowment, with the interest used to support the operations of the Northern Development Initiative, centred in Prince George.
· $60 million divided equally among four regions – $15 million each for Prince George, the Peace, the Northwest and Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet.
· $50 million for a general trust to support cross-regional investments, economic development and job creation.
The initiative will be administered by a board, to be established by future legislation, and assisted by a regional advisory committee for each of the four regions to provide input to spending priorities. The Province will make the initial appointments to the board. It will include people with the range of skills required, along with representatives selected by the regional advisory committees. The regional advisory committees will include community representatives that may include mayors and MLAs.
Prince George Gateway to the North
The BC Rail Investment Partnership will open up the Northern Corridor from Alberta to Prince Rupert, transforming Prince George into a major new continental gateway and creating new economic opportunities across the North in resource industries and tourism:
· Head office for the new Northern Development Initiative.
· The Province will provide $4 million to the Prince George Airport Authority to support its $10 million worth of improvement to the terminal and runway. These improvements will create up to 75 direct jobs over three years at the airport and a further 300 jobs in the region.
· A new B.C. North Division office will be established, ensuring better service and improved responsiveness to northern shippers, particularly in the forest and grain industries – 75 per cent of B.C. forest shippers are located within 200 miles of Prince George.
· CN will establish a new $1-million state-of-the-art wheel shop at the BC Rail mechanical complex. The new wheel shop will allow CN to bring back wheel repairs that it currently contracts out to U.S. suppliers, and to repatriate BC Rail wheel work that is now outsourced in Tacoma, Washington. CN will perform wheel work from its Western Canada operations in Prince George. Its Eastern Canada wheel work will continue to be performed in Winnipeg.
· CN will bring new locomotive and freight car repair work to the Prince George mechanical complex.
· Together, the new B.C. North Division office and wheel shop will help retain a total of 580 jobs in Prince George for the combined CN and BC Rail workforce – a decrease of only 25 BC Rail positions, including 15 involuntary departures.
· CN will begin paying municipal taxes in the year in which the partnership is completed. Based on current assessment levels, the City of Prince George would receive over $825,000 compared to the current amount of $372,000 paid by BC Rail in lieu of taxes.
· CN would work closely with city on redevelopment plans for its downtown yard. CN would continue service to nearby shippers, but also create opportunities to improve the quality of life in Prince George.
· Surplus rail yard land would be available for commercial development in the downtown core.
· CN would donate part of the existing yard to the city to expand the scenic Cottonwood Park, thereby expanding the city’s recreational system.
· A smaller CN yard would reduce the city’s cost to build a new crossing of the Nechako River. Currently, the preferred route calls for a bridge to span the width of CN’s Prince George yard.
· The Province will also negotiate with the community on the transfer of other non-railway lands currently held by BC Rail, to help meet local needs.
Major New Expansion to the Port of Prince Rupert
The BC Rail Investment Partnership will help transform the Port of Prince Rupert into a major new North American gateway, fuelling new economic and tourism opportunities:
· The Province will provide $17.2 million to the Port Authority to support the port’s $62-million redevelopment plan, including development of a container terminal facility.
· CN will also directly invest up to $15 million to construct terminal trackage and upgrade rail infrastructure to accommodate double-stack operations.
· The Province will continue to work aggressively with the federal government to secure additional funding toward the port’s redevelopment plan.
· The port redevelopment will create up to 500 direct jobs in the northwest region.
· This opens the door for new opportunities to enhance B.C.’s northern transportation and trade corridor with Alberta.
New Benefits for Squamish
The Province will help facilitate a major new redevelopment of the Squamish waterfront and downtown core by transferring 71 acres of BC Rail’s non-railway lands that were leased to Nexen. The Province will also continue working to identify other adjacent parcels that could potentially be made available to Squamish.
· CN will actively support the introduction of new tour trains between Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and northern B.C., beginning with a request for proposals for new partnerships to operate passenger-tourist services.
· CN will work with the Province to facilitate the upgrading of the Sea-to-Sky Highway and ensure rail alternatives for a successful 2010 Olympics.
· CN will begin paying municipal taxes. Based on current assessment levels, the District of Squamish would receive over $650,000 compared to the current amount of $321,000 paid by BC Rail in lieu of taxes. The Resort Municipality of Whistler would receive $55,000, compared to the current amount of $27,000. And the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District would receive over $495,000, compared to the current amount of $56,000.
· In addition to the Nexen site, the Province will also negotiate with the community on the transfer of other non-railway lands currently held by BC Rail, to help meet local needs.
$15-Million First Nations Benefits Trust
A $15-million BC Rail First Nations Benefits Trust will be established, to support economic development, educational advancement and cultural renewal for the 25 First Nations along the BC Rail corridor. This may include funding to: build capacity and provide seed-capital for aboriginal enterprises and joint partnerships; protect and promote First Nations’ languages; and support initiatives for aboriginal youth apprenticeship training.
The trust will be administered by a board to be established by future legislation. The Province will make the initial appointments to the board. It will include First Nations representatives and others with expertise to meet the priorities of the trust.
· All railbeds, rights-of-way and tracks will remain legally protected under continued public ownership, with no change in ownership or use of the railway line.
· As operating partner, CN has extensive experience in working with First Nations, supports the treaty process and will respect existing agreements and protocols with BC Rail.
· BC Rail’s real estate subsidiary owns a considerable amount of non-railway related land. First Nations, communities and tenants have expressed an interest in these lands. The Province will work with these groups to negotiate transfer of these lands.
· CN will retain BC Rail’s First Nations programming and current staff, and will also continue the D’Arcy-Lillooet and Takla shuttle services currently operated by BC Rail.
New Tourism/Passenger Services
CN and BC Rail are issuing a request for proposals for passenger-tourist train services. CN will provide access to the rail line on reasonable commercial terms to accommodate these services. New passenger-tourist train services would create hundreds of new jobs in B.C.’s tourism and hospitality industry.
THE NEED TO REVITALIZE BC RAIL
The Importance of Rail Services
Operating across the province from Fort Nelson to North Vancouver, BC Rail consists of 2,315 km of mainline, 740 km of industrial, yard and track sidings throughout the province, 121 locomotives and 9,002 rail cars.
Northern communities, resource industries, shippers and potential tourism operators require a competitive, sustainable railway system that helps ship goods efficiently and affordably. This is particularly true for the forest industry, which accounts for 75 per cent of BC Rail’s traffic.
They also require access to an integrated, continental rail network that enables them to competitively carry goods to markets in North America and Asia.
The Debt Challenge
Long-term financial challenges are impacting BC Rail’s ability to deliver efficient, affordable and competitive service to communities and shippers.
Over the past 15 years, BC Rail has cost taxpayers almost $860 million in asset write-downs, on top of its current debt of more than $500 million. These write-downs were as follows:
· 1989 – $81-million write-down for the Dease Lake extension project;
· 1999 – $617-million write-down for lines north of Prince George;
· 2001 – $36.4-million write-down for equipment related to passenger and intermodal rail; and
· 2002 – $124-million write-down for the business value of the Vancouver wharves.
These ongoing challenges, combined with the current debt, prevent BC Rail from providing the infrastructure improvements, efficient services and competitive rates that are required. Interest costs alone now total more than $30 million – roughly half of BC Rail’s net income.
The Need for Change
In September 2002, the Northern Priorities 2002 Transportation Symposium brought together a comprehensive group of stakeholders including local governments and industry representatives from across northern British Columbia to identify solutions to regional transportation challenges, including those associated with BC Rail.
A report of final conclusions and recommendations was presented to Premier Gordon Campbell by Prince George Mayor Colin Kinsley. It concluded that B.C.’s transportation infrastructure needed urgent renewal. One of the recommendations ensuing from this symposium was to seek an experienced partner to operate BC Rail.
The report noted, “A balanced solution to B.C. Rail’s financial difficulties could be a private-public partnership, with the provincial government as a partner. This would resolve some of B.C. Rail’s financial challenges and provide necessary infrastructure investment, while preserving the regional integrity of railway.”
In November 2002, the Province held a Northern Rail Conference in Prince George, bringing together shippers, railway community representatives and other stakeholders to further discuss the current and future state of BC Rail.
Concerns identified by mayors and shippers included:
· Declining services;
· Lack of available and reliable railcars;
· Uncompetitive freight rates; and
· Declining economic opportunities.
Conference delegates resoundingly agreed that maintaining the status quo is no longer an option. In order to become sustainable into the future, BC Rail must implement a new business model that will revitalize the railway and ensure it can compete in the North American market.
The Process to Secure a New Partner
Based on input from these consultations, the Province launched a process to develop the BC Rail Investment Partnership to eliminate the railway’s debt, provide new services and infrastructure improvements, help restore competitive rates and bring shippers back to the railway line, by seeking an experienced partner to manage the operations of the railway – one able to compete in the North American market.
The Province consulted further with mayors of railway communities and shippers and to develop a request for proposals that reflected stakeholders’ priorities in such a partnership. According to these priorities, each prospective partner needed to demonstrate how they would fulfil the following criteria:
· Community benefits – proponents needed to demonstrate how stakeholder groups such as employees, communities and First Nations would benefit from the proposal.
· Growth opportunities – proponents needed to accommodate access to the railway line for third-party passenger rail services on reasonable economic terms and identify any new opportunities for freight rail services.
· Sustainability– proponents needed to promote a robust and well-maintained transportation infrastructure that supports the long-term economic development and diversification of B.C. communities.
· Competitiveness– proponents needed to recognize industrial customers’ need for competitive freight rail services and rates while ensuring access to preferred markets and carriers for interline rail shipments.
The Evaluation Process
A request for proposals was issued on May 15, and on July 14 the evaluation committee shortlisted four proponents to submit more detailed business plans. Three detailed proposals were subsequently submitted by CN, CPR and OmniTRAX. Rail America, the fourth shortlisted proponent, formally withdrew from the competitive process.
The evaluation committee was comprised of four members:
· John McLernon, Chair of the Board, British Columbia Railway Company;
· Brian Kenning, Director, British Columbia Railway Company;
· Chris Trumpy, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Provincial Revenue; and
· David Morhart, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance.
Fairness Adviser’s Findings
The Province also appointed an independent fairness advisor, to independently assess and ensure that the process for launching BC Rail Investment Partnership is fair. Founded in 1965, Charles River Associates is a multidisciplinary consulting firm with internationally recognized skills and experience in economics, finance and transportation.
The independent fairness advisor was mandated to:
· Determine if competitive processes were undertaken; and
· Ensure that the Province received a fair value for the opportunities provided to operate and manage the freight railway and the Port Subdivision.
The fairness advisor conducted 46 interviews with BC Rail employees, shippers, community and First Nations representatives as well as provincial staff and the evaluation committee. In an interim report to the Province, the advisor concluded that “the process established and implemented by the Province, the evaluation committee and its advisors was fair and impartial.”
It also found that “the evaluation committee struck an appropriate balance between sharing information with those who needed to know and protecting the confidentiality of the participants and ensuring the neutrality of the process.”
The report concludes “the Province designed and executed the process with considerable effort to achieve a result that will sustain economic development of the province, preserve competition among freight rail service providers, enable future access for passenger rail services, maintain positive community relationships, and minimize impacts to employees.”
WHY CN WAS SELECTED
CN’s proposal most fully met the evaluation criteria by providing the following benefits:
· Making Prince George home to a new B.C. North Division office for transportation, customer service, engineering, mechanical and general management employees
· Providing new work for the city’s BC Rail shops.
· Using the Prince George office to provide the forest products industry with high levels of service.
· Investing $1 million in a new state-of-the-art system wheel shop in Prince George.
· Relocating CN system freight car and locomotive work to Prince George.
· Leveraging its unique position in the North to take advantage of the strategic position of the Port of Prince Rupert and the Northern Development Corridor.
· Working actively with the Port of Prince Rupert to support a new container terminal.
· Supporting the introduction of new third-party passenger-tourist train tours on BC Rail and CN railway networks.
· Providing the shortest and fastest route to key North American markets for BC Rail customers.
· Strengthening the railway by ensuring competitive connections with U.S. carriers operating in key western U.S. markets.
· Creating a new Prince George-Chicago Express Train for B.C.’s forest products industry, shipping two days faster than BC Rail or any competitors.
· Making a significant new investment to serve customers with the purchase of 600 new centrebeam cars and 1,500 refurbished rail cars.
· Sharing significant cost-savings from integrated and expanded rail with shippers.
· Ensuring shippers have competitive options through an Open Gateway policy to ensure competitive access to other interline carriers in Vancouver.
· Creating new choices for shippers, including CN’s single-line services to key markets and continued competitive access to other railroads at Vancouver at lower average rates than now charged by BC Rail.
· Providing shippers with non-discriminatory traffic routing via competitive railroads at Vancouver at pre-established, public rates and service equal to what CN charges its own traffic.
· Demonstrating a comprehensive plan to minimize the impact of its operational plan on communities, including early retirement, attrition, relocation and retraining opportunities and generous severance.
· Demonstrating a capacity to find innovative opportunities to create new economic development and job opportunities in communities.
· Substantially increasing money for community services by providing $8.3 million in revenues to local governments.
· Demonstrating extensive experience in working with First Nations.
· Supporting the B.C. treaty process and honouring BC Rail’s existing agreements and protocols with First Nations.
· Ensuring rail alternatives for a successful 2010 Winter Olympics and successful upgrade of Sea-to-Sky Highway.
· Freeing up new lands for local economic development, community recreation.
Now that CN has been selected, the Province will introduce legislation to enact the BC Rail Investment Partnership and will conduct due diligence. Other steps include:
· Final report from the fairness adviser due in December.
· Review by Canada’s Competition Bureau.
It is important to note that all the new benefits and investments that will be generated are dependent on completion of the partnership. The partnership is expected to be complete and ready for implementation in the first quarter of 2004.
JOB IMPACTS AND BENEFITS
BC Rail has already reduced 650 positions over the past two years, due to ongoing financial challenges, and up to 300 additional positions would have been terminated without a partnership. The BC Rail Investment Partnership will result in just 180 involuntary departures provincewide over three years. This will be more than offset by significant new job benefits for the North:
· Excluding 115 employees who are already inactive, BC Rail currently has a workforce of 1,380 employees.
· CN’s plan will require a workforce of 950, resulting in 430 BC Rail employees affected over three years.
· Of these, 250 are eligible for early retirement, resulting in only 180 involuntary departures over three years, through attrition and severance.
· The majority of involuntary departures will be in the Lower Mainland.
· There will be a combined CN/BC Rail workforce of 580 in Prince George, a decrease of only 25 positions, including just 15 involuntary departures.
· This limited impact is due to CN’s mitigation initiative to in-source and repatriate significant mechanical work in BC Rail’s shop.
· New passenger-tourist train services carry the potential to create hundreds of new jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry.
· Reduced rates and faster shipping times will help secure vital jobs in the forest products sector.
· A major new expansion of the Port of Prince Rupert will create up to 500 direct jobs in the Northwest.
· The $10-million Prince George Airport expansion will create up to 75 direct jobs at the airport over three years, and an estimate 300 further jobs in the region.
· The $135-million Northern Development Initiative will create hundreds of new jobs in forestry, transportation, tourism, small business and community development.
The meeting will be held on July 15 at 7 PM at the Prestige Inn - 701 Lakeside, Nelson, BC
Mair joins Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee, Sage Aaron of the "Take Back the Power" campaign, and Lee-Ann Unger of the West Kootenay EcoSociety at the meeting hosted by local Nelson-Creston NDP MLA Michelle Mungall. Mungall, who expects a large turnout for the event, decided to host her own public meeting when the project proponent - Montreal-based construction giant Axor Group - and the provincial and federal governments declined multiple requests to hold a public comment meeting in Nelson, the region's largest city. The denial resulted in 1,100 people from around the Kootenays and province packing a recent meeting in nearby Kaslo (more than the town's population of 1,000!) to say a resounding "no" to the massive proposal and the BC private energy plan which has seen hundreds of rivers around the province claimed by private power interests.
Watch Damien Gillis' 5 min or 2 min video of the event here: http://saveourrivers.ca/video-library-mainmenu-29/393-glacier-howser-kaslo
Read Rafe Mair's recent FLOW article on the meeting and project proposal: http://saveourrivers.ca/latest-news-mainmenu-38/sors-blog-mainmenu-43/397-rafe55
The Nelson meeting will involve short presentations by the four guest speakers, followed by audience questions and discussion - but the primary focus is for the public to have an opportunity to write informed comments to the Environmental Assessment Office regarding the project. All necessary supplies will be made available.
Those who cannot attend the Nelson meeting can send their comments on the proposed project to:
Save Our Rivers Press release from Rafe Mair
In a campaign started by BC Mary near the beginning of this month to write letters to politicians to halt the obscene giveaway of some lands owned by BC Rail there was virtually no response. BC Mary received a email from Leonard Krog telling us what we already knew. This government is giving away our province and doing it in such a way that it may well be irretrievable.
The NDP says the don't have the wherewithall to fight this in court. Why not? They have more lawyers than the car salesmen on the other side of the house.
What's worse is it turns out that Krog's Letter to BC Mary was a form letter sent to everyone else who wrote in. See House of Infamy Everyone except yours truly. All I received was a email telling me that my email was received. The difference in Mary's letter was that it was addressed to her.
Being a rabid socialist I have supported the NDP and the former CCF since 1964. I absolutely hate what big business has done to this world. And done it in such a way that governments have to give them welfare to dig themselves out of the hole.
Why are governments doing this? Well it's because they are afraid of the unemployment and welfare numbers that would result with the collapse of the economy. But the corporations accept the money and the execs still fly around in their gas burning private jets (when they could just as easily use the phone or internet) and give themselves obscene bonuses for being able to collect this welfare.
But today my friends things have changed between myself and the NDP. Unless they come up with a plan to fix this problem (the giveaway of BC Rail)by the end of this summer the cash (what little we have) from this house will dry up and I will do everything I can to change other peoples thinking as well.
I mentioned above that all I received was a auto response from the NDP. Well I also wrote the Coast Salish Nation. In particular the Squamish Band asking if they were aware of any giveaways of the land on the North Van waterfront formerly occupied by BC Rail and BC Rail Transport. To date I have received no reply.
Non response from anyone on a matter as grave as this can only lead me to believe that the web of complicity is far greater than anyone of us could imagine.
So, if this land transfer should happen their is only one thing to do. Use every means in our power to legally bring down this government. And I might add to search for a better opposition.
Gordon Campbell I know you read this blog. Either stop the mass giveaway of our Rail, Hydro, Ferries, and Rivers, and the mass killing of our wild salmon, or Resign.
Rafe here ... I received this today from a German woman which I thought you would find of interest.
Please pass it on to your address book.
To the Honourable Gail Shea,
Dear Minister Shea,
I am writing to you from Germany because I am outraged about your “donation” of $ 1 million to the aquaculture industry of British Columbia. Certainly I have read about the BC Supreme Court´s decision that not the BC Ministry of Agriculture but the DFO is responsible for aquaculture at the Pacific coast. I imagined that the main task of the DFO would be protection of the native species and I hoped that you would really make a difference.
If you had given money to Marine Harvest for developing land-based closed containment for their Atlantic salmon or at least for taking their “farms” out of the migration routes of the Wild Pacific salmon I would have applauded your action. But giving money to them just for putting new chemicals (against Kudoa) into the ocean is just disgusting!
Even the boss of Marine Harvest, the Norwegian billionaire John Frederiksen, mentioned in an interview that salmon farms shouldn´t be positioned next to salmon bearing rivers. The BC Royal Commission on Aquaculture came to the conclusion that most people of coastal communities oppose fin fish farms and they suggested closed containments. In the recent BC election almost all coastal communities voted NDP, the party which opposes salmon farming. And according to the research Alexandra Morton has done salmon farms are a threat for Wild Pacific salmon. HOW MUCH EVIDENCE DO YOU NEED? If the Wild Pacific salmon runs collapse the whole eco-system of the Canadian West coast will be in jeopardy. Do you really want to risk it?
My impression is that you either have no idea about your duty as a Minister of Fisheries and Oceans or you have taken bribes from the salmon farm industry.
If I do a trip to BC again I will certainly NOT visit communities which promote salmon farming. I will spread the news here in Germany to others who plan a trip to BC. If you kill the Wild Pacific salmon you will kill the tourism in BC as well!
Adress and e-mail edited out by Gary E to protect MS Hanko from crackpots (in The PAB) and other wierdos
"It is a commonly held belief that the greatest risks to Canada’s water resources under NAFTA are related to exports. In fact, the more immediate area of public policy concern is not water exports but water use in Canada by firms that are American or have US investors.
Private sector firms issued water licenses by government – be it for hydroelectric generation or for snowmaking – hold NAFTA rights far superior to any rights held by Canadians if those firms are American or have American investors."
For anyone who thinks that Campbell is not giving away our province and setting a precident for the whole country this is a must read. Including the FatCat PAB
Number One. CanWest Global Manitoba. Is this how you dig up your information or are you just loaning your address to Campbells PAB because his is probably overloaded with the overpaid fatcats?
Number Two. The Legislative Assembly of BC. Is someone there misusing their privileges? Or is the PAB misusing Public Funds?
Number Three. The Province of British Columbia. Now this is where that overinflated spin doctor bureaucracy should be siphoning our tax dolars.
Number Four. Some Friends in the United States near Quantico Virginia. Welcome folks. I sure hope your not helping this sorry excuse for a government leader here.
And last but surely not least The office if the premier. Gordo, do you know someone is using your email? Or is it actually you.
I must say it is sure nice to get noticed this way. It makes me feel real good that the messages are getting through. Because we wall know that you don't answer e-mail, phone calls, nor faxes.
RAFE HERE ...
In Monday's Tyee I'll let you know how the Premier gets his economic advice from a far right wing "think tank" that is so loony tunes that they've even had people who believe in slavery as Senior Fellows.
That's in Monday's www.thetyee.ca
And half the province listened to these guys drivel. Whats worse is canwest doesn't go after them like thy did Clark.
I have never seen a worse government in BC in my 47 years of voting. Come on Can West Get on the ball. I notice your shares are heading for the outhouse. Have you figured out why?
INVESTING IN THE BC RAIL SYSTEM
1) Continued Public Ownership
Ø BC Rail’s rights-of-way, railbed and tracks legally protected under public ownership through legislation.
2) No More Public Debt
Ø BC Rail’s $500-million debt eliminated, saving $30 million a year in interest.
Ø Eliminating future risk to taxpayers who have already borne the cost of $860 million in asset write-downs.
Ø CN assumes responsibility for maintenance of the infrastructure and cars, which costs BC Rail $40 million a year – equivalent to $3.6 billion over the next 90 years in today’s dollars.
Ø Increased municipal tax revenues of $8.3 million to take effect the year in which the partnership is completed – representing nearly $750 million over 90 years in today’s dollars.
Ø With the $1 billion in proceeds, these measures represent total benefits from the partnership of more than $5 billion.
3) 600 New Cars
Ø 600 new centrebeam cars to increase capacity and meet customers’ needs in the forest industry.
Ø Faster transit time will improve car availability by 800 cars.
4) Lower Rates and Costs
Ø Open Gateway Rate and Service Commitment ensures competitive access for interline shippers to other markets.
Ø Seven per cent average rate reduction for interline shippers.
Ø Reduced costs for shippers from faster transit times.
5) Improved Access to Markets
Ø Integrated North American rail network.
Ø New Chicago Express to reduce transit times from Prince George by 2 days.
Ø New access through the Port of Prince Rupert, reducing shipping times to Asia
Ø 30 per cent reduction in transit times between Prince George and Vancouver
6) Long-Term Protection of the Rail Network
Ø New protection for BC Rail customers under the Canada Transportation Act.
Ø Re-open Dawson Creek-to-Hythe line to facilitate grain handling in Peace region.
Ø D’Arcy – Lillooet and Takla shuttle services continue.
Ø Unlike today, when routes may be discontinued at any time, there will be a moratorium on operational discontinuance ensuring no route closures for at least five years.
Ø Commitment to maintain Tumbler Ridge infrastructure in place for at least 5 years.
INVESTING IN JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES
7) $135 Million for Northern Communities
Ø $135-million Northern Development Initiative for investments in forestry, pine beetle recovery, transportation, tourism, mining, Olympic opportunities, small business and sustainable economic development:
Ø $25-million operating endowment.
Ø $60 million divided equally to four regions: $15 million each to Prince George, the Peace, the Northwest, and the Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet.
Ø $50 million for a general trust to support cross-regional investments.
8) Prince George Gateway to the North
Ø Head office for the Northern Development Initiative.
Ø $4 million to Prince George Airport.
Ø New B.C. North Division office.
Ø $1-million state-of-the-art wheel shop in Prince George to accommodate new work for locomotive and car repairs.
Ø Surplus CN yard land would be made available for commercial redevelopment, with a portion donated to expand Cottonwood Park.
Ø Expanded municipal tax revenues of $825,000.
Ø The Province will negotiate with the city on transfer of non-railway lands.
9) Major New Expansion to the Port of Prince Rupert
Ø $17.2 million from the Province to support container development.
Ø Up to $15 million from CN for rail infrastructure at the port.
Ø Work with federal government to secure added funding for the redevelopment
Ø Up to 500 direct jobs.
10) New Benefits for Squamish
Ø 71 acres of BC Rail land, currently leased to Nexen, to be transferred to Squamish to facilitate a major downtown revitalization initiative.
Ø CN will facilitate the upgrading of the Sea-to-Sky Highway and ensure rail alternatives for 2010 Olympics.
Ø Expanded municipal tax revenues of $650,000 for District of Squamish, and $495,000 for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
Ø The Province will also negotiate the transfer of non-railway surplus lands.
11) $15-Million BC Rail First Nations Benefits Trust
Ø Will support economic development, educational advancement and cultural renewal for the 25 First Nations along the BC Rail corridor.
Ø This may include funding to: build capacity and provide seed-capital for aboriginal enterprises and joint partnerships; protect and promote languages; and support aboriginal youth apprenticeship training.
Ø CN to retain existing First Nations programs and staff.
Ø D’Arcy – Lillooet and Takla shuttle services continue.
Ø The Province will negotiate transfer of non-railway surplus lands.
12) New Tourism/Passenger Services
Ø BC Rail and CN are issuing a request for proposals to develop new passenger-tourist train services.
Ø These will create hundreds of jobs in the hospitality and tourism sector.
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