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A Tribute to Jack Talstra

Jack Talstra Rick Brouwer December 2014

In the fall of 2014, we said goodbye to former SNCIRE board member Jack Talstra. Here's is SNCIRE's tribute to him that was published in the Terrace Standard on December 14, 2014

Dear Sir:

Jack Talstra, Terrace’s former mayor of 23 years, left us on Sinterklaass, Dec. 5, a Dutch family holiday celebrating Saint Nicholas, “the good saint”.

Jack gave us the gift of himself, and he definitely was one of Northwest BC’s good saints.

In the days after Terrace’s 2008 municipal elections, when I asked Jack if he would be interested in being on the board of the Skeena Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics (SNCIRE), he said that since he wasn’t mayor anymore, Hilda, his wife, had told him it was time to “do nothing” for a while.

Plus, times were still tough, and he had things to attend to at his law firm.

But … he still signed on, and Jack was on the board of SNCIRE from its inception in 2009. He was chair until just last year, and he stayed on, even through his illness.

Jack did this because, regardless of whether he was in the mayor’s chair, simply a citizen, the chair of a non-profit, or a business owner, he believed in the people of Terrace, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Thornhill, and the entire northwest.

He believed that we deserved to have a real say in our destiny, and to be active participants in shaping our future.

Jack knew that we needed economic activity to support the services and facilities we need, and the arts and culture we deserve. He believed that our natural resources, especially our forests, were key to that future.

He often said what we needed was more research and innovation in the Northwest.  He believed that working together, as a region, we were stronger.

Someone once told me that Jack was incredibly shy but he still did what he did because he believed the community of Terrace and the entire Northwest needed a voice – and he was willing to help.

He was a champion for us all, though he would never have used that word.

Jack was a friend, but I still didn’t get to know him half as well as I would have liked – and I’ll bet that many people feel the same way. I know he was quietly proud of his family. He was a strategic thinker.

He believed everyone had a right to speak, and was always genuinely interested in what they had to say.

And I know this: he believed in the strength and potential of the people of northwest B.C. And because of his belief, so do many other people. And so do I.

Thank you, Jack.


Thrive North Business Planning Feb 27, 2015

Thrive North business planning session

Do you want to:

  • Bring your ideas to life?
  • Develop new skills to grow your existing business?

Thrive North's FREE business planning session in Terrace on February 27, 2015 will provide guidance on effectively business building and communicating a business planimproving a launch, and leveraging networks of people to further your business.

 Join other entrepreneurs Community Futures 16/37 on Feb 27th from 1pm to 4pm in a planning session on how to start and grow your own business.

You will get:

  • The chance to talk with business experts about owning and growing your business in an informal, friendly environment.
  • Opportunity to network, discuss possible business ideas and get feedback and advice.
  • Learn more about available entrepreneurship and educational tools that can boost your chances of success.

Coffee, Tea and snacks will be provided.

Get more info and register at

Thrive North is an exciting new initiative to enhance entrepreneurship opportunities and empower youth in the Northwest region. Through the partnership with Futurpreneur Canada, BG Canada and other local organizations, young people in the region can access financing, mentorship and the resources necessary to launch and grow their own businesses. 

Drum roll, please...

Northwest Innovation Challenge winners organizers and sponsors group photo

What an amazing night! Almost 100 people came out to see much the creativity and skill of Northwest BC innovators. So impressive!

And the winners of the Northwest Innovation Challenge prizes worth $8,500 are:

Terrace Community Forest Prize $2,500
Awarded for the most innovative use of a bioproduct
Winner - Giuliana Hauknes of Prince Rupert & Christine Moody of Skidegate for 'Project Hlaana', natural spring water that has been infused with traditional herbs, medicines, and berries, all found on Haida Gwaii.

Mountain Prize (First Place) $1,750
Awarded based on the criteria: strength of innovation, regional relevancy, impact, appeal of proposed display and enthusiasm.
Winner – Brandon Greenall of Hazelton for 'Pop Can Solar Heater' made from upcycled materials

Tree prize (Second Place) $1,250
Awarded based on the criteria: strength of innovation, regional relevancy, impact, appeal of proposed display and enthusiasm.
Winner – Naomi Gourlay and Carmen Nyuli of Smithers for 'Ms.Fitz Saddle.Bagz', removable saddlebags that can also be used as fashionable hand and shoulder bags for women.

Rock Prize (Third Place) $1,000
Awarded based on the criteria: strength of innovation, regional relevancy, impact, appeal of proposed display and enthusiasm.
Winner – Claire Lesawich of Smithers for 'Wood Ash replaces Road Salt', a research project that shows the advantages of using wood ash on roads for traction, instead of other materials such as commonly used road salt.

UNBC Northwest Prize $1,000
Awarded for most innovative entry that addresses the needs and opportunities of Northern B.C., the innovation that is most clearly "of the North, for the North". Preference  given to students.
Winner – Mike Sorochan of Terrace for 'Lightweight Collapsible Backcountry Ski'

People's Choice Award $1,000
Voted on and chosen by anonymous public ballot.
Winner – Mike Sorochan of Terrace for 'Lightweight Collapsible Backcountry Ski'


Congrats to Claire Lesowich!

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Congrats to the winner of SNCIRE's Pacific Regional Science Fair prize, Claire Lesowich for her project 'Traction'!

Claire tested five different traction/ice melters to see which one gives the best traction on ice. She expected the commercial, specially designed Ecotraction to be best, followed by the town gravel. Instead, her results showed that powdery wood ash was better and less messy than the others. This information will benefit anyone in the north who has a fireplace or access to wood ash!

Change is the only constant

money-treeLate last year, SNCIRE made a goal to raise $200,000. We got lots of support but not enough to be as effective as we would want to be. And unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees.

So we've downsized; we've closed our Terrace office and are now a virtual organization. We're still here. Our staff is still working. We've just slowed down.

Unless our state of affairs changes, at our 2014 AGM in May, we will propose to the membership that we take the steps necessary to formally dissolve the organization.

Now what?

We will continue our efforts to secure long-term fundng and sponsorships for SNCIRE through as we have shown great benefit to the region despite this economic reality.

We also still plan to do good work and have fun!

SNCIRE will host an Innovation Challenge over the next couple months that will end with an event in May, showcasing the challenge's submissions. The challenge aims to celebrate the creativity of the people of Northwest BC and SNCIRE's work over the last few years.

The event in May will correlate with our 2014 AGM. Details coming soon!

Keep up the good work!

Much work still needs to be done. The region needs to work together to create a vision and make that vision a reality.

Many passionate individuals and

organizations are doing incredible work to better our communities and we trust they will continue.

SNCIRE's staff and board members will also continue to work on behalf of the region in other capacities.

We genuinely believe that the region is able to take advantage of the opportunities happening in our backyard and create a Northwest BC that Northwest BCers want. We also believe that it will take leadership, support and action to drive today's economic boom into long-term prosperity rather than another social, economic or environmental bust.

WECD offers $100 million to private sector

For the first time since the 1990's, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WEDC) is offering funding to the private sector. The WINN program (Western Innovation Initiative) will provide $100 Million over five years to encourage commercialization of corporate projects. 

What is provided?

  • Interest free loan for up to 50% of project costs
  • Up to $3.5M/project
  • 20% of funding is reserved for projects needing less than $250,000

What projects are eligible?

  • Technical developments and demonstration projects
  • Market development and product commercialization

Who can apply?

  • For-profit corporations with less than 500 full-time employees (SMEs)
  • Must have a viable plan for commercialisation within 3 years
  • Must have confirmed non-government funding for 50% of project

How to apply?

  • Calls for proposals twice/year
  • Current call closes December 8, 2014

Go to Western Economic Diversification Canada website for more info.

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Community scenario plans are in!

Thanks to Karen Kun at Waterlution for hosting the Pipelines and the Pacific Coast scenario planning sessions in Terrace, Kitimat and Smithers with SNCIRE's Sarah Artis in October. (Pictured below struggling to get a photo of the beautiful view in Kitimat)

The scenario planning sessions in each community were similar and different in many ways. What they all had in common however was the passion and knowledge everyone who participated brought to the table. It's incredible to be reminded time and time again how much each of us love Northwest BC and our hometowns for so many different reasons. 

Next step in the scenario planning proces = collating all three individual community scenarios into regional scenarios. Stay tuned!

Check out the Pipelines and Pacific Coast project page for more info. Sarah and Karen Kitimat 320 x 240 lives!

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Go to and sign up. Be part of the conversation. Stay in the loop about what's happening Northwest BC! If you're an employer, post jobs. Community members - learn about skills training and work opportunities. Ask questions about what you need to get a particular job or work for a particular company. Be part of the region's success.

Ichinook is one of the Northwest Labour Market Partnership Agreement initiatives.