Our future is bright even with pullout: Rice

Despite the end of Pacific NorthWest LNG, the North Coast is still in business, says Rice

Editor:

Reaction to Pacific Northwest LNG pulling out in Prince Rupert has been as diverse as the people who reside here – many are not surprised considering global market conditions, some are celebrating the protection of salmon habitat off Lelu island and there are those who feel the wind has been knocked from the sails and all economic opportunity lost.

I can appreciate the range of reactions felt by all.

We all care deeply about our community.

We all want to see Prince Rupert thrive with people working and services we count on in place.

We all want to build a better B.C.

We must remain optimistic about our future in the Northwest. Our economy is diversifying, industries expanding and new projects are coming to fruition.

The recent arrival of three Mallaca-Max gantry cranes to the Fairview container terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert equates to an increase in shipping capacity by half-a-million TEUs. Two hundred new good-paying jobs have been created from the expansion alone.

AltaGas’ propane terminal on Ridley island is already under construction. This export facility adds value to a B.C. natural resource, creates approximately 200 constructions jobs and will see 40 permanent jobs locally.

Raymont’s logistics and container loading facility is also underway and will handle export of Canadian pulses and grains, and there is more growth in agriculture products to be grasped.

Pinnacle Pellet which turns wood waste into a product in demand saw an increase in output by 22 per cent last year.

The City of Prince Rupert has made giant strides in reclaiming and preparing Watson Island to get back on the tax roll.

Cruise tourism is on the rise.

There are other LNG projects in various stages of review processes.

While none of these projects singularly have an investment dollar amount equivalent to what was proposed with the Pacific Northwest LNG project, collectively these contributors to our local economy are invaluable.

Developing a diverse range of small, medium and large industries is what creates stability in small communities like ours. Diverse industries protect us from the volatile fluctuations of boom/bust economies.

Rest assured your government is working hard to diversify and strengthen our economy, and create more jobs.

Regardless of your reaction to Pacific Northwest LNG’s decision, there is much to embrace and already celebrate in Prince Rupert.

Our collective future is bright.

Jennifer Rice

MLA – North Coast