The Village of Port Clements is looking at developing a container port in the community, though one that would be on a much smaller scale than Prince Rupert.
“Port Clements feels that prohibitive transportation costs have a major negative impact on the economic situation on Haida Gwaii and we seek to address this concern via a community-owned container port and barge,” said Port Clements mayor Wally Cheer in a letter to the District of Port Edward, noting that part of the reason for this endeavour is rising ferry fees.
“We are particularly concerned about getting this project running in light of recent BC Ferry indications that cuts in service and/or increases in prices are in our near future.”
In the letter, Cheer said the goal is to build a container port/barge facility in the community that would be able to load and offload barges and containers at all tides. Port Clements would then purchase or lease a self-loading barge to be used as a transportation link between Haida Gwaii and communities along the north and mid-coast that “do not have enough volume to run regular barges on their own”.
And while Cheer was looking for a letter of support for the proposal, councillors in Port Edward seemed in favour of the project but passed on sending a letter.
“The more transportation we can get to Haida Gwaii the better. Once they get further along I think we can give more input,” said councillor Knut Bjorndal.
“It looks like a good idea to me. Another mode of transportation to Haida Gwaii, beside BC Ferries, is a good thing,” added councillor Christine Mackenzie.