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And they're off.  The Canadian Rangers kick off the Winter Festival in Kitimat with their visit.  Here they are leaving the community on their training exercise to Churchill.
REPORTING · 22nd December 2009
Walter McFarlane
2008 was over. A new council was in place headed by Mayor Joanne Monaghan. Rio Tinto Alcan was slowing down its construction of the modernization project. The District of Kitimat was hammering out a new agreement with its union, the CAW. Things were about to get interesting.

Jan 1st: The first day of the new year began with a traditional New Year's Polar Bear swim down at Hospital Beach. A fire was lit to help the swimmers warm up and dry off after braving the chilly water. Rio Tinto Alcan provided the rescue service and the Marlin Swim Club organized the event.

Jan 2nd: The Kitimat RCMP had a standoff with an individual on Fulmar Street who was threatening others with a firearm. Fortunately, the RCMP were able to apprehend him without anyone being hurt.

Jan 3rd: The Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club held their Annual Open House. People came out to ski the trails and experienced what the club had to offer.

Jan 8th: Rodger Harris, BC Forest Safety Ombudsman attended the Annual Chamber of Commerce meeting to address economics in the forest industry and safety. Rather than talk to the subjects, he spoke about forestry industrial development.

Jan 12th: Tony Brady appeared before City Council to ask when the safety cameras which had been approved by the prior council would be appearing in the community. The response was that they would be able to give an answer following the budget process in May.

Jan 12th: Gord Lechner was at the Council representing CAW. The District of Kitimat and the union were negotiating the union contract with the city workers.

Jan 12th: Councillor Gerd Gottschling brought a New Year's resolution with him to City Council. In the resolution, he called for an action plan to hold Rio Tinto Alcan and the Liberal Government accountable in achieving a full modernized smelter in 2009. However, he had just gotten to the point where Richard Neufeld, at a convention in Fort Saint John had said that the Provincial Government would be willing to sacrifice a community, MLA or MP for the better of the Province when Mayor Joanne Monaghan shut down what he was saying. Paul Henning from Rio Tinto Alcan was present for the speech, he was meeting with City Council in Camera afterwards.

Jan 13th: Kitimat LNG announced that they had signed an agreement with Mitubishi. Mitubishi received terminal capacity and an equity stake in the LNG export terminal planned for Kitimat.

Jan 14th: A District of Kitimat Work crew was spotted clearing out ice and snow from the culvert near the Chamber of Commerce.

Jan 15th: The negotiations were successful and CAW ratified a new contract with the District of Kitimat.

Jan 16th: A Regional District discussion ended with a resolution to discuss the modernization project with Rio Tinto Alcan as well as with MLA Robin Austin. Discussion was made by several members of the board of Directors including Councillor Gerd Gottschling.

Jan 17th: MP Nathan Cullen held a discussion on the upcoming Federal Budget with the people of Kitimat and asked for ideas that would help Canada get out of the economic crisis which the world was facing. Topics included taxes, bailouts, infrastructure, small business, social safety nets and the environment.

Jan 17th: The Snow Valley Open took place at the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club at the ski trails near Onion Lake. The Open served as a trial run for the BC Winter Games which will be taking place in 2010. People of all ages took part in the races.

Jan 19th: A status report led to the District of Kitimat examining just what their priorities were. Two priorities merited long discussions, the first in regards to Rio Tinto Alcan Power Sales, the second, a bylaw regarding bears which had been enacted but had nothing to back it up.

Jan 19th: A motion was made to end business with Reputations Corporations. The business had been first hired by council to spread the word about power sales across BC. However, as time went on, they ended that contract and started a new one receiving clippings. Councillor Richard McLaren was opposed to utilizing this service due to its association with the Alcan Power Sales issue and council voted to eliminate it’s service although the vote was almost 50/50.

Jan 19th: Councillor Richard McLaren wished to discuss Councillor Gottschlings New Year's Resolution and his actions at the Regional District, and a motion was made to remove his status as a director. It was Trafford Hall who brought an end to the motion because he thought that it would break the District of Kitimat’s Bylaws.

Jan 25th: Local Boxer Denys Baldock brought home the silver medal from the National Boxing Championships held over the January 25th weekend after a win, a loss and a by.

Jan 26th: Residents of Kitimat showed up at the City Council meeting ticked off at Richard McLaren because he forwarded an email. Heather Hall, wife of the Municipal Manager, Trafford Hall had commented on an article on the Globe and Mail website. One of this city's prestigious citizens had sent an email around calling for Trafford Hall's job because of this. The writer of email suspected that the commenter was Hall pretending to be his wife.

Jan 26th: After his first attempt to have Councillor Gottschling removed as a director from the Regional District failed, Councillor McLaren came back with proof that some councils decided to pull their representative. The motion to alter the District of Kitimat’s policies was called and carried although it would not be able to remove Councillor Gottschling from the Regional District.

Jan 27th: Ida Thomschke, Manager of Cook's Jewelers in Kitimat was pleased to present a check for $2160 dollars to Danuta Galary, supervisor of the Salvation Army. The money was raised through the sale of the Annual Christmas Angels. 108 angels were sold in Kitimat with the proceeds going towards the Salvation Army.

Jan 27th: There was a night of literature in Kitimat when the community gathered for a Literacy Night at Kildala Elementary School. A convention of tables to teach people about the literacy group in Kitimat were set up in the big gym while the library and classrooms were set up for members of the community to read to young children.

Jan 29th: Kitimat City Council and Officers from HMCS Calgary broke bread at the Chalet. HMCS Calgary was here to deliver the Canadian Rangers to their training exercise, and pick up Kitimat Cadets and take them to Rupert for training. Commander William Quin commented that the waters of the Sacred Circle made for good piloting training.

Jan 30th: The Canadian Rangers gave Kitimat Students a unique opportunity to look at some of the materials that the Rangers would be using on their trip across Northern Canada. In addition, they were taught skills such as mapping, global positioning and formation movement.

Jan 31st: The Canadian Rangers left Kitimat early in the morning on their snowmobiles bound for adventure, training and mostly… Terrace. The Route had been planned well in advance and took them through the backyard of the Kitimat Valley. Their final destination: Churchill Manitoba.

Jan 31st: Against the Prince Rupert Rampage, The Kitimat Ice Demons lost 6-4. However, they pulled it together the next day for a 7-1 win.

Commentaries:

Are We Doomed Yet by Walter McFarlane.

Beauty In Winter by Linda McGourty and Deer spotted on wild goose chase by Walter McFarlane.

Are you Handicapped by Linda McGourty

Haisla Watergate, BCUC Decision at Stake by Merv Ritchie.

I Have to Say This by Walter McFarlane.

Come back tomorrow for February. The winter Carnival was in full swing but the word Alcan was on everyone’s lips. Paul Henning tried to alleviate the fears of the Community through the City Council but follow-up presentations by the CAW questioned what he said. The community was introduced to the new Liberal Candidate for the 2009 election and the first 150 people got to try out the new pool.
Literacy Night in Kitimat.  Sidony Quixley in the School Library reads an Excerpt from "The Dragons Boy" by Jane Yolen
Literacy Night in Kitimat. Sidony Quixley in the School Library reads an Excerpt from "The Dragons Boy" by Jane Yolen
District of Kitimat workers clear snow from the ditch in front of the Chamber of Commerce
District of Kitimat workers clear snow from the ditch in front of the Chamber of Commerce
Ria Vandenberg from Terrace races around the tracks.  Her final time was 10:30 placing her 4th in the mini midget 4.5Km race at the Nordic Ski Club Snow Valley Open
Ria Vandenberg from Terrace races around the tracks. Her final time was 10:30 placing her 4th in the mini midget 4.5Km race at the Nordic Ski Club Snow Valley Open
Local Boxer Denys Baldock brought home the silver medal from the National Boxing Championships held over the January 25th weekend after a win, a loss and a by.
Local Boxer Denys Baldock brought home the silver medal from the National Boxing Championships held over the January 25th weekend after a win, a loss and a by.