The pole raising feast

After the friendship pole was raised in Kitimat, the Haisla Nation hosted a feast for both communities at Kitimat’s Riverlodge Recreation Centre.

The headtable, from left to right members of the District of Kitimat Council and the Haisla Nation Council, Kitimat officials and the Haisla hereditary chiefs. (Robin Rowland)

Carver Gary Wilson was the host and master of ceremonies for the feast (Robin Rowland)

Hereditary chief Sammy Robinson  (He’mas C’esi) addresses the feast. (Robin Rowland)

Cyril Grant Jr.(He’mas Sanaxaid) addresses the feast. (Robin Rowland)

A chief addresses the feast. (Robin Rowland)

A  man addresses the feast on behalf of his clan. (Robin Rowland)

Spirit of Kitlope dancers (Robin Rowland)

Spirit of Kitlope Dancers (Robin Rowland)

Spirit of Kitlope Dancers (Robin Rowland)

Spirit of Kitlope Dancers (Robin Rowland)

Portraits of the speakers at the Kitimat The North Matters forum

The North Matters group held a forum, LNG Myths, Facts & Benefits in Kitimat, BC, on May 2, 2018.

Here are the portraits of the speakers.

Fort. St. John, BC, Mayor Lori Ackerman. (Robin Rowland)

Elected chief counsellor of the Haisla Nation Crystal Smith (Robin Rowland)

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth. (Robin Rowland)

Energy blogger Vivian Krause. (Robin Rowland)


A snowy Remembrance Day in Kitimat, November 11, 2017

A near blizzard did not stop the people of Kitimat turning out for the Remembrance Day service on November 11, 2017.

Building a snowman before the Remembrance Day service (Robin Rowland)


Laura Mckenzie and Linda Lewis checking the wreaths prior to the service (Robin Rowland)


An RCMP officer leads the colour party (Robin Rowland)


The colour party (Robin Rowland)


The RCMP march to the cenotaph. (Robin Rowland)


The invocation, left to right, Dwight Magee, Royal Canadian Legion, Rev. Dr. Dona Lethbridge, Legion chaplain, Marg Bogaert, Royal Canadian Legion. (Robin Rowland)


Cubs and scouts at the Remembrance Day service (Robin Rowland)


Lucy Beatty of the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary lowers the flag during the two minutes of silence (Robin Rowland)

A moment of silence. (Robin Rowland)


Veteran Jason Parrill lays a wreath on behalf of Canada. (Robin Rowland)


Anne Berrisford lays a memorial wreath  for Captain (Chaplain)  D. Schmidt. (Robin Rowland)


A cub lays a wreath. (Robin Rowland)


Mayor Phil Germuth lays a wreath. (Robin Rowland)


The wreaths (Robin Rowland)

A Mountie salutes during the playing of O Canada. (Robin Rowland)

Kitimat christens new SAR 63 rescue vessel, Snowflake Responder III

Snowflake Responder III

Snowflake Responder III, Kitimat’s new Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Type II Falkins Class rigid hull inflatable dedicated rescue vessel practices in Kitimat harbour after the boat’s official christening, October 25, 2014. (Robin Rowland)


Kitimat’s Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 63 (SAR 63) christening its new enclosed rescue vessel on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at MK Bay marina. Almost all the more than $600,000 need for the state-of-the-art rigid hull inflatable Type II Falkins Class dedicated rescue boat was raised locally by the Kitimat Marine Rescue Society with support from local businesses, the District of Kitimat and individuals as well as grants from BC gaming.

As SAR 63 says on its website:

RCM SAR 63 Kitimat is located at the head end of the Douglas Channel on the North Coast of B.C. The station was founded in 1988 and is supported by the Kitimat Marine Rescue Society. The area served is from Kitimat to the Hecate Straits. Mission distances and durations are the longest of all RCM SAR stations. The nearest Canadian Coast Guard station is 130 nautical miles with response time in a 8 hour window. The Kitimat Station is considered a prime resource in the area.

The Douglas Channel and area reach 80 kilometers inland from the inside passage. The narrow fiords through the mountains produce extreme winds and temperatures. In winter the salt spray freezes before it lands on the boat and crew. Minus 20 is not uncommon.


Snowflake Responder III, left, and the open Snowflake Responder II, tied up at Kitimat’s MK Bay Marina. Snowflake Responder II is an open 26 foot (eight metre) rigid hull inflatable powered by twin 200 horsepower outboards. Cruising speed is 35 knots with a range of over 200 nautical miles.



Kitimat mayor Joanne Monaghan waits to speak at the start of the christening ceremony for the new Snowflake Responder III.


Duncan Peacock, president of the Kitimat Marine Rescue Society and veteran member of Station 63 speaks about the new vessel prior to the christening ceremony.  (Robin Rowland)



Sammy Robinson, the eleventh Haimus, hereditary Chief of the Haisla Nation at Kitimaat Village, explains that he will use a traditional Haisla blessing for a new canoe, a ceremony that hasn’t been used for decades, during the christening of the Snowflake Responder III, as Duncan Peacock, seen reflected in the window, listens. (Robin Rowland)


Sammy Robinson prepares to bless the Snowflake Responder III and banish any hostile spirits from the boat. (Robin Rowland)



Sammy Robinson uses down feathers as part of the blessing ceremony.  (Robin Rowland)



Kitimat mayor Joanne Monagahan uses the traditional bottle of champagne (inside a safety jacket) to christen the Snowflake Responder III as coxswain Christopher Peacock watches. (Robin Rowland)

The Snowflake Responder III does a demonstration practice in Kitimat harbour (Robin Rowland)


Snowflake Responder III (Robin Rowland)


Approaching the dock at MK Bay Marina. (Robin Rowland)

The Snowflake Responder III is a Falkins Class Type II Vessel with the following specs:
– LOA: 33′
– Beam: 11’9″
– Draft: 28″
– Top speed: 40 knots
– Cruising speed: 30 knots
– Crew: 4 to 5
– Maximum capacity: 12
– Stretcher capacity: 3
– Gross weight: 17,000 lbs
– Engines: Twin D6 Volvo
– Horse power: 435 per engine
– Propulsion: Twin Hamilton Jet Drives
– Service years: 30
– Range: 240 nautical miles
– Infrared heat sensor: “FLIR” M626

Haisla Nation celebrate Kitimat’s no vote in Northern Gateway plebiscite (in digital Tri-X)

Boy with no Enbridge cloak

A member of the Haisla Nation dances with a cloak saying “No Enbridge,” in Kitimat, April 12, 2014. (Robin Rowland)

Residents of Kitimat, BC, voted “No” Saturday, April 12 in a plebiscite that sort of asked them if they supported the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker terminal project.

The vote was 1,793 opposed versus 1,278 who supported the project — 58.4 per cent to 41.6 per cent. The plebiscite called by the District of Kitimat Council caused rifts in the community during the campaign and raised tensions with the Haisla Nation. If it ever goes ahead, the Northern Gateway terminal would be in Haisla traditional territory and most members of the First Nation oppose the project.

It was a municipal plebiscite, called by the District, and that meant that only residents of the municipality could vote.  So members of the Haisla Nation who actually live in Kitimat could cast ballots, but members of the Haisla who live in Kitamaat Village, a federally designated Indian Reserve, could not.   All the same, many Haisla felt that they should have some input on what goes on in their traditional territory.   Some of the Haisla decided to demonstrate against the vote as polls closed. When the “No” result was announced, the demonstration turned into a celebration.

I was shooting on assignment for The Canadian Press and filed two images, one of a Haisla drummer that appears in The Province  and a dancer, in the Globe and Mail.

Many of the images of the celebration, taken at night with flash, were rather noisy.

So I decided to try a technique I’ve used before with night shots, converting to black and white. After a couple of test images, I decided to go for 1960s look, using the Tri-X  emulator in Photo Effects 8.  (For younger folks, Kodak Tri-X black and white film was the standard for journalism for decades before digital).


Spirit of Kitlope dancer

One of the Spirit of Kitlope dancers at the No vote celebration, Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Robin Rowland)

Haisla members with flag

Haisla Nation members hold a flag at the celebration. (Robin Rowland)

Nathan Cullen

Skeena Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen speaks to members of the Haisla Nation at the celebration. (Robin Rowland)

Gerald Amos

Gerald Amos speaks to a crowd of Haisla and Kitimat supporters at the park across from Kitimat’s City Centre Mall. (Robin Rowland)

Spirit of Kitlope

Spirit of Kitlope drummers and dancers at the No vote celebration. (Robin Rowland)

Spirit of Kitlope drummer

A Spirit of Kitlope singer. (Robin Rowland)


Haisla drummer

Haisla drummer at the park celebration. (Robin Rowland)

Kitimat Modernization Project aluminum smelter upgrade in black and white

Rio Tinto Alcan Kitimat Modernization Project

The sun sets over the Rio Tinto Alcan Kitimat Modernization Project construction site March 4, 2014. (Robin Rowland)

Updated (below) with the arrival of the Delta Spirit Lodge.

On March 4, 2014,  Rio Tinto Alcan organized the first media tour of the $3.3 billion  construction project since the announcement in December 2011 that the project had received the go ahead from the RTA board.   The project upgrades the aging aluminum smelter, built in the early 1950s, using modern proprietary technology the company says will  increase production by 48 per cent, while reducing most emissions by about 50 per cent.

I converted images taken during the tour to black and white for this blog.

RTA KMP  Carbon South complex
Cranes operate in the area that RTA calls “Carbon South” where there will be the new modularized Paste Plant. Eventually, the Paste Plant will produce green anode blocks part of the electrical process that produces aluminum. (Robin Rowland)

Tower at  RTA KMP Carbon South

A tower under construction at RTA KMP Carbon South (Robin Rowland)

Construction cranes at RTA KMP Carbon South  Robin Rowland photo

Construction cranes at work at RTA KMP Carbon South (Robin Rowland)

 Recycling truck passes Potline One at RTA KMP  Robin Rowland photo

A recycling truck passes the 1950s vintage Potline One at the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter. (Robin Rowland photo)

Power grid at the RTA KMP high  voltage substation area  Robin Rowland photo

Part of the power grid at the RTA KMP high voltage substation area. (Robin Rowland)

Part of the power grid at the RTA KMP high voltage  substation   Robin Rowland photo

Part of the power grid at the RTA KMP high voltage substation area. (Robin Rowland)

High voltage circuit breakers at the RTA KMP  construction site  Robin Rowland photo

High voltage circuit breakers at the RTA KMP construction site. They are electrical switches capable of turning on power and turning off power to the smelter’s rectifier units which convert alternating current into direct current, part of the aluminum smelting process. (Robin Rowland)

Electrical equipment  with the new potlines in the background  Robin Rowland photo

The high voltage circuit breakers are seen at the RTA KMP construction site. The new potlines are under construction behind the circuit breakers and cable drums. (Robin Rowland)

Conveyer and transmission tower at RTA KMP  Robin Rowland photo


An old conveyer system and an electrical transmission tower at the RTA KMP construction site. (Robin Rowland)

Mt. Elizabeth and the RTA KMP construction site  Robin Rowland photo
Kitimat’s iconic Mt. Elizabeth is seen in the background of the construction site. (Robin Rowland)

Construction at the Anode Baking furnace site Robin Rowland photo

A platform lift outside the Anode Baking Furnace site. (Robin Rowland)

Construction equipment at the RTA KMP site Robin Rowland

A heavy duty front end loader at the construction site. (Robin Rowland)

Poline under construction Robin Rowland Photo

Construction at the KMP site. (Robin Rowland)

Construction at KMP  Robin Rowland Photo

Construction goes on at the Casthouse C area, with the future cafeteria and change house in the background. (Robin Rowland)

Update March 11, 2014

 Silja Festival aka Delta Spirit Lodge

On Monday, March 10, the Estonian ferry Silja Festival, renamed the Delta Spirit Lodge by Rio Tinto Alcan arrived in Kitimat to act as a bunkhouse/workcamp for about 600 workers who will be completing the Kitimat Modernization Project (Robin Rowland)

Canada Day in Kitimat, July 1, 2013

Riverlodge float in Kitimat Canada Day parade

July 1, 2013, marked Kitimat’s 60th anniversary, so the theme was “Pioneer Days.”  The float from the Riverlodge Summer programs took first prize for best float. (Robin Rowland)


Girl celebrates Canada Day

A girl celebrates Canada Day at the beginning of the parade. (Robin Rowland)


The RCMP and other first responders lead the parade. (Robin Rowland)

A boy and a fire truck. (Robin Rowland)

Museum kids in parade

The Kitimat Museum and Archives Museum Kids contingent. (Robin Rowland)


Child development centre float

The Child Development Centre also celebrated Kitimat pioneers. (Disclosure: I went to Grade One and Two in the long demolished Smeltersite School celebrated by the float) (Robin Rowland)

Boy on Canada Day float

A boy on the float. (Robin Rowland)

Gymnastics club float

The entry from the Kitimat Dynamics Gymnastics Club (Robin Rowland)


Riverlodge float

The winning float from Riverlodge Summer Programmes. (Robin Rowland)


Cowboys on the pioneer days float

A couple of young cowboys on the Riverlodge Summer Programme float. (Robin Rowland)


Renaissance costume

A girl in a Renaissance costume. (Robin Rowland)

Flamenco dancers

A flamenco dancer at the stage show.

Fireworks at Riverlodge finished off the evening.

Fireworks in front of mountains

Fireworks explode with the mountain at dusk as a backdrop. (Robin Rowland)

(Robin Rowland)
Canada Day fireworks

The fireworks finale. (Robin Rowland)