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MP Report from Bob Zimmer

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How Do You Feel About the Development of Our Natural Resources?

The debate over pipeline and tanker safety is currently happening in all corners of British Columbia and beyond. Our region is no different, with residents discussing the issue at the local coffee shop, over the water cooler at work, and around the kitchen table at dinner. It is important for me to hear your opinions.

In the coming weeks I will be sending out a newsletter to households throughout our riding highlighting our Government’s Responsible Resource Development plan as well as the important measures we are implementing to further improve pipeline and marine safety. Included in this newsletter is a section for residents to voice their comments and opinions on the issue of pipeline development and I am looking forward to hearing your views and opinions.

Few regions are as blessed with natural resources as Northeastern BC and this sector has been a key driving force for our local economy for decades. In fact, few jobs in the region are not directly affected by the development of these resources.

Perhaps this is why there are so many of us that are so fully engaged in this debate – the stakes for our region are high.

There is no question that the responsible development of our natural resources will create and sustain high-value jobs and economic growth for our region and generate billions of dollars in tax revenues nationally to help pay for important services like health care, education, and Old Age Security.

However, development will not proceed unless it can be done safely and responsibly. Our Conservative Government believes Canada is a world-class producer of natural resources, and that means we must have world-class safety and environmental protection.

The federal government has put in place strict rules and regulations governing the development and shipment of products like oil to safeguard public health and the environment. And we are determined to raise the bar even higher, based on sound science and world-class standards.

That is why our Conservative Government is implementing our plan for Responsible Resource Development. This plan will streamline reviews of major projects by ensuring more predictable and timely reviews, reducing duplication, strengthening environmental protection, and enhancing consultations with Aboriginal peoples.

Much has been said about natural resource development and as is the case with any controversial issue, those who oppose it are often the most vocal, while those who agree remain silent. This can skew a region’s perception of how its residents may feel about the issue.

As your federal representative, I cannot do my job properly without knowing the views of ALL of my constituents. That is why I am asking that all residents take the time to either fill out the form included in the newsletter or send me an email at Bob.Zimmer@parl.gc.ca.

Rest assured, my staff and I will be reviewing each and every one of these responses and all views will be carefully considered. I look forward to hearing from you.

Major power outage in Dawson Creek

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Hydro lists the cause of the outage as an equipment failure, and expects power to be restored by 1:30 p.m.

Within the coverage of that outage, another 19 customers are out of power because of a transformer burnout, in the area between 114 and 115 Avenues and 4 to 6 Streets. Their power is expected to be restored by 2 p.m.

Local Shoppers Drug Mart top Tree of Life fundraiser in province

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The Tree of Life campaign is run in stores across the country to raise money for local hospitals, with a focus on women's health. mong other efforts, paper leafs are sold in $2, $5, $10, and $50 denominations to customers, who write their name on them and have them posted in the store's windows.

Tammy bake sale, Store Manager, says her employees are thrilled to have helped make such a big contribution to the foundation.
 
"This year we really made the push to be the number one store and we beat it; our top rival was Chilliwack and we beat them," she says proudly. "It's a tremendous accomplishment for my staff and it's something my staff really strived to and really worked hard for."
 
In addition to asking customers to donate at the till, the store also raised $800 through a bake sale on a snowy October day, held a pub crawl, and auctioned off a gift basket.
 
Fort St. John Hospital Foundation Executive Director Ashley Bentley says this year the money will go to the Eastern Star Children's Fund, which purchases equipment for the birthing centre.
 
"Being one of the highest birth rates in Canada, we have about eight babies born a day on average in our hospital," she says. "We want to make sure that equipment is always available there in our hospital."
 
This year the big ticket item is a Neopuff, which gives a baby CPR through a mask if it is having trouble breathing after birth. Two of those, which run approximately $4,000 each, will be purchased along with other items like bottle warmers.

Loney leads the charge in Senior Flyers win over Rangers

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The two teams first met two Saturdays ago in Spirit River, where the Flyers suffered an 8-6 loss at the hands of the Rangers, something they obviously had on their minds entering Wednesday’s tilt, as the Flyers came out looking determined and focused.

That's something Flyers head coach Darryl Leahy said they intended to do.

"That was the big plan tonight: play physical, stay out of the penalty box and come out with a win, and that’s what we did."

The first period belonged solely to Fort St. John, who outshot, outhit and outhustled Spirit River in every area of the ice. With Tyler Loney serving a penalty at 10:24, brother Brett lent him a helping hand, scoring a short handed beauty, keeping the puck on a two-on-one, and roofing the puck short side on his backhand, providing the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

The lead was doubled with 1:10 remaining in the first, as former Fort St. John Husky Kole Norris, playing his first season with the Senior Flyers, got the puck alone in the slot, made a nice backhand, forehand deke on Rangers goalie Scott Frayne, and slipped the puck low blocker for a 2-0 Flyers lead.

The first concluded with the Flyers up two goals, while out shooting the Rangers 13-4 in the process.

The Brett Loney show continued in the second, as the big number 22 continued to cause havoc for the Rangers. At 5:05, the Senior Flyers worked a power-play to perfection, cycling the puck in the offensive zone, as Girard DiCaire slid a pass over to his fellow point man, Brett Loney, who ripped a low one-timer to beat Frayne's five-hole.

With the scoreboard reading 3-0 in favour of Fort St. John, Brett Loney completed his hat-trick just 52 seconds later. With the Flyers once again on the power-play, Loney received the puck in the high slot, quickly wristing the puck low, and the puck eluded Frayne and slid five-hole, providing the Flyers a comfortable 4-0 lead.

Loney’s hat-trick goal was the eventual game winner as well.

With the game looking like it belonged to the home team, Spirit River spiced things up at the conclusion of the second, scoring twice on Flyers starting goalie Troy Hunt, the first coming with 1:58 on the power play, then again at even strength with 1:05 remaining, wrapping up the second with a 4-2 Senior Flyers lead.

Along with four goals, the second period also provided a few tilts for the fans to enjoy, as both Jeff Fast and Aaron Scheppers exchanged fists with Spirit River players at different times in the period.

The third period produced single goals from both teams. Fort St. John struck first, as Tyler Loney saw how much fun his brother was having scoring goals, that he decided to include himself in on the fun. After Kole Norris carried the puck into the offensive zone drawing two defenders to him, he centered the puck in front of the Spirit River net, which was whacked past Frayne by Tyler Loney, producing a 5-2 Flyers lead.

Spirit River managed to score one final goal before the game concluded, but it was too little, too late as time expired with the score reading 5-3 for Fort St. John.

Along with a strong outing on the ice for the Flyers, a solid performance was also demonstrated by Troy Hunt in net, making 24 saves for the win for Fort St. John.

Brett Loney finished the game with three goals, Luke Middleton wrapped up the game earning four assists, while Kole Norris scored once and earned an assist in the win.

Following the game, coach Leahy spoke about what his team did differently Wednesday then the game two Saturdays ago that resulted in an 8-6 loss

"First of all, we played a little more in their end. We came out of our end well and didn’t throw the puck away in our end, which was the big problem that we had in Spirit, and they didn’t get too many power plays."

The Flyers will have a week until their next game, being played Thursday, December 13 in Grande Prairie. Following that away game, the Flyers are back home on Saturday, December 15 against the Hythe Mustangs. Saturday’s game is a special one, as it will include the Flyers' annual Teddy Bear Toss.

PRRD Director Arthur Hadland running for Peace River North MLA again

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He claims to be committed to the same principles that inspired him to run then, saying, “For too long we've witnessed the inefficient and ineffective political games of the south." He adds, “It's time to take the north’s practical, can-do attitude to Victoria, and ensure our government begins working for the good of our community.”

Hadland was first elected to the P-R-R-D board in 2008, and is now serving his second term as Area C Director.
 
He counters the arguments of those opposed to independent representation in the legislature, by suggesting independent MLAs can clearly and effectively communicate the interests of citizens they represent, without having their  message shaped by political party spin-doctors and strategists.
 
An interview with Hadland will follow.

Antipasto sold at Dawson Creek church lunch could be unsafe to eat

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"I noticed a day or so later that some of the jars hadn't sealed properly and I got a bit concerned that perhaps the method that we used wasn't quite adequate enough," she explains."

The antipasto was made fresh on November 21 using an oven process, in order to make a larger batch. In the past they have also used a boiling water process without issue, but a call placed to Bernardin, the home canning product company, revealed that neither process is recommended due to the low-acid content on the antipasto.
 
A spokesperson told Davies that the only proper way to can the product is to use a pressure canner.  Her research also found that there should be no immediate problem as the antipasto was fresh, and that it should be refrigerated and consumed within three weeks of its preparation.
 
Davies says that no illnesses have been reported, and that only about 15 jars out of 110 haven't been accounted for.
 
"Because we sold some to the public, we thought it was best to alert them that there's a possibility that it may not be safe and that they shouldn't consume it; they should dispose of it."
 
Jars can be returned for a full refund at St. Mark’s on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or by calling 250-782-4680 to arrange for a pickup. The church would prefer that they are returned so they can be accounted for.

Manslaughter charge in Chris Ball beating case

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He later died when he was taken off life support on August 2.

The charges of aggravated assault will be stayed against both men, and Marchand now faces an additional charge of manslaughter. The decision to upgrade charges comes after Crown counsel reviewed enhanced cell phone video from the night of the incident.
 
Marchand remains in prison in Prince George, but that may change now that the charge he was detained for after his bail hearing is being stayed.
 
Both accused have elected for a trial by judge and jury, and a two-day preliminary inquiry is being scheduled to determine whether there is enough evidence to hold a trial for Metcalfe. Marchand has already committed to a trial. Crown counsel says that if there is enough evidence shown in the preliminary inquiry, a new indictment will be laid against Marchand in Supreme Court.
 
A focus hearing will be held before the inquiry. 

Huskies welcome Sexsmith to kick off December

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The Vipers have been slippery opponents for the Huskies this year, as the team has yet to hand Sexsmith a loss, and led both games entering the third periods, only to watch Sexsmith mount final frame comebacks.

The teams first met on October 25 in Fort St. John, when the Huskies suffered a 5-4 loss, allowing two unanswered goals in the third after leading 4-3.

Fort St. John’s third period troubles continued in the two teams’ next meeting on November 14, when the Huskies held a 2-0 road lead in Sexsmith entering the third, only to allow the hometown Vipers to score three unanswered in the final frame, emerging victorious 3-2.

Despite a tough November on the ice, the Huskies capped off the month with an emotional road win over the Fairview Flyers, when this time, it was the Huskies who mounted a late third period comeback, to win 6-5 in a shootout.

It was a significant victory for the Huskies, who not only snapped a four-game losing streak, but also snapped a five game losing streak to Fairview in the process.

Even though the team secured a victory in their last game, Thursday also marks the return of two Fort St. John forwards, Robbie Sidhu and Jamie Watson, both returning from serving one game suspensions handed out near the conclusion of the home game against Slave Lake on November 24.

The fun doesn’t end Thursday, as the Huskies hit the road for a little weekend getaway in Slave Lake, as the team will take on the Wolves both Saturday evening, and then again Sunday afternoon.

Both games can be listened to live on 100.1 Moose FM.

Entering the busy weekend, the Huskies occupy seventh place in the NWJHL standings, sitting just three points back of both Fairview and Thursday’s opponent, the Sexsmith Vipers.

Thursday’s game is being played at the North Peace Arena, with the puck set to drop at 8 p.m.

Progress and Petronas going ahead with proposed LNG plant

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The feasibility study has been completed, and it is now moving into the pre front-end engineering design phase. This phase will nail down the project's scope, as well as the timeline, costs and labour force requirements.
 
Initially, the plan is to build two liquefaction plants, with the option for a third in the future.
 
Petronas has applied to takeover Progress, but the acquisition has been blocked by the federal government. Progress says that if the deal is approved, production at the facility will increase 60 per cent from about 3.8 million tonnes a year per plant, to 6 million.
 
If the project goes ahead, the investment is expected to be between $9 and $11 billion.

Local couple claims $1 million lotto prize

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They received their cheque for $1,000,001 and a free play on November 20.

Both the Jones' come from large families, and told the B.C. Lottery Corporation they will be sharing their winnings with their loved ones.
 
"I couldn’t believe the number of zeros,” says Robert. "It was such a happy moment. The store clerk even high-fived me when I brought my ticket to the counter!"
 
The winning ticket was sold at an undisclosed location in Fort St. John.

Rescheduled Senior Flyers, Rangers game hitting ice tonight

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Tonight’s game will be game two of a home-and-home series which started two Saturdays ago in Spirit River, where the Rangers emerged victorious 8-6 in an offensive outburst from both clubs.

Even though the majority of the planet's moustaches were shaven off December 1, symbolizing the end of another Movember campaign, the Flyers will still be donating half of the gate proceeds from tonight’s game to their team fundraising campaign.

Tonight’s game begins at 8:30 p.m.

Crew Energy buyer of Terra Energy's Montney assets

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36,000 acres of land in the Monias area will be sold immediately for $22 million. Then the company has an option to buy an additional 90,000 acres by March 15, 2013 for an additional $56 million.

Crew Energy says these assets, particularly those in the first transaction, are in a "sweet spot" for wet gas, and will result in "enhanced economies of scale and improved economics". With this acquisition, and the purchase of land in the Kobes area, Crew has increased its Montney land ownership to over 150,000 net acres.

New Aboriginal entrepreneurship program coming to Fort St. John

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The training includes workshops, mentoring, one-on-one business training, referrals and follow up. It also includes a coaching component for those requiring additional one-on-one support for pre- and post-business start-up. 

"Mentorships and coaching are important pieces of any successful new business," says Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Ida Chong. "This program will provide support and inspiration to about 435 
Aboriginal entrepreneurs, setting them on a path to participate more fully in B.C.'s economy."
 
The program will be funded until March 31, 2014 and is expected to support approximately 435 people. It will be available at the NEABC as well as in Prince George and Cranbrook.
 
The announcement, made by Premier Christy Clark at the Success Through Sharing  Symposium in Vancouver, comes just days after B.C. Hydro announced $100,000 in funding for Aboriginal trades training in the region.

Feel good paying for parking tickets with return of Toys for Tickets

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The program was started up again Monday, December 3, and is providing tickets drivers the unique opportunity until Monday, December 17 at 4:30 p.m. to hand in their toys.

Donations are being accepted at Fort St. John City Hall during regular business hours.

Residents also have the opportunity to bring cash instead, which will also be donated to the Salvation Army.

Last year, the program helped raise almost 200 toys, along with $1,340 in monetary donations for the Salvation Army.

For more information on the program, contact the City of Fort St. John at 3-1-1.

NEAT takes home $10,000 from Fuelling Change competition

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The finalists are chosen by votes on social media, and although "Green Freight" didn't receive enough votes to win in the $100,000 category, every project that qualifies receives $10,000. Program Coordinator Karen Mason-Bennett says that funding will be used to explore food security options in local communities.

"I think we're going to be looking at opportunities to develop programming, but it also allows us the opportunity to partner up with existing programs such as the community garden and some of the Health Unit initiatives," she explains. "It just allows us to bring a little bit more time and people to the table."
 
NEAT's Green Change project hopes to increase food security in the Peace Region, by growing fresh vegetables year round in insulated shipping containers. Those containers would have LED growing lights and a hydroponics system powered by alternative energy. The intention is to place these containers side-by-side on brownfield lots, so the produce would be available directly to residents.
 
The project is now on hold, waiting for a board decision on whether or not to go forward with it.
 
:46 "I think we'll just kind of evaluate the options we have available to us and then sit down at some point and figure out whether that's something that we really want to go forward with," says Mason-Bennett.
 
For more information on the "Green Freight" project, click here.

Travel advisories issued for Highways 97 and 52

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Highway 97 is affected from the junction with Highway 39 south of Mackenzie to Taylor, with travel not recommended unless absolutely necessary.

Three kilometres of Highway 97, from 12 to 15 kilometres south of the junction with Highway 52 in Arras was closed earlier today due to a vehicle incident. The road is now open to single alternating traffic.
 
 
 

Terra Energy sells off Montney assets to unnamed buyer

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The sale will reportedly occur in two stages, with the first one scheduled to close on December 14th, involving 57 net sections of rights in the Monias area for $22 million. The second part of the transaction consists of an option for the unnamed purchaser to acquire approximately 140 net sections of mineral rights by March 15th of next year for an additional $56 million.

Terra says the first stage sale will have an immediate impact in strengthening its balance sheet and reducing total indebtedness.
 
The aforementioned close is scheduled to occur  just two days after the final sale of what is turning out to be a disappointing 2012 series of monthly sales of B.C. government Crown petroleum and natural gas rights.

Trackers split weekend at home

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The two-game weekend began Saturday in Dawson Creek, where the Flyers played host to the Peace River Royals.

It was a tough start to the weekend in Dawson Creek, as despite outshooting the Royals 34-31, the team was unable to slip the puck past Royals' goaltender Jesse Pattison, while unable to take advantage of numerous powerplays, going 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

Sunday, the team seemed to locate their offensive touch, producing a much closer game against the Grande Prairie Sherpa Safety Storm. Sunday’s game in Fort St. John produced a total of 11 goals, with the Trackers emerging victorious 6-5.

The Trackers made sure to put an end to Saturday’s scoreless streak early in Sunday’s tilt, as Charles Dagostin scored just 11 seconds into the game for a quick 1-0 Trackers lead.

The lead only lasted until halfway through the opening period, as Grande Prairie tied the game at 1-1 at 10:04 of the first.

The second period began with the teams tied at 1-1, however, it was the middle frame where the Trackers did some damage on the scoreboard.

Ricky Bateman opened the scoring for the Trackers in the second, scoring back-to-back goals, providing his team a 3-1 cushion.

The lead was cut in half as Grande Prairie scored with five minutes remaining, but the Trackers showed their resilience, reclaiming the two-goal lead courtesy of a goal off the stick of Wyatt Gale.

The third period began 4-2 in favour of the Trackers, but Grande Prairie made things interesting by scoring to make it a one-goal game just 1:39 into the third.

The Sherpa Safety Storm went on the score two more goals in a row to retake a 5-4 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the game.

However, the lead change only seemed to motivate the Trackers, as Mark Readman scored with 5:21 left in the game to even the score at 5-5, which was followed by a game-winning goal from Wyatt Gale, who scored his second of the evening.

It was a big win for the Trackers, who showed some great character and tenacity, while goaltender Michael Chute made 33 saves for the win in net.

With the split weekend, the Trackers now sit fourth in the NAMHL’s North Black division with a record of 5-9-0 and 10 points, only trailing the third place Fort McMurray Barons by a single point.

The Trackers have a week to reflect on their weekend, then it’s a rematch of Saturday’s shutout loss to the Peace River Royals, taking place in Peace River on Sunday, December 9.