The City of Prince Rupert is working with the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society to decommission the Moresby Park fuel tanks.

The City of Prince Rupert is working with the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society to decommission the Moresby Park fuel tanks.

Moresby fuel tank removal gains traction

The longstanding Moresby Park fuel tank decommissioning project is gaining some traction after the NCSFNSS has applied for a DFO grant

‘Re-mediate Rupert’ isn’t one of the modern pillars of governance that Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain has initiated, but maybe that’s next, the mayor joked at last Monday’s council meeting.

The longstanding Moresby Park fuel tank decommissioning project is gaining some traction after the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society’s (NCSFNSS) executive director Robert Grodecki and city director of operations Richard Pucci presented a request to council asking for a letter of support in seeking a grant.

“The city owns several decommissioned bunkers and fuel tanks in Moresby Park. The engineering department is working with [NCSFNSS] to come up with a cost-effective way to remove the three large tanks and associated piping,” said Pucci.

The City of Prince Rupert purchased the tanks and piping from the Department of National Defence decades after they were constructed and used in the Second World War. The feds have rejected any re-mediating responsibility of the area. The conditions of the sale made it clear that the city was to pay for any costs related to the state of the tanks or their removal.

The item has been on the city’s agenda since the late 1980s with communication occurring back and forth between the city and federal government in trying to obtain funds to help with the decommissioning.

“In 2005 the [NCSFNSS] was founded. It’s a non-profit organization made up of five Tsimshian Nations: Metlakatla, Gitxaala, Gitga’at, Kitsumkalum and Kitselas, and we also partnered with the Haisla Nation,” Grodecki explained.

“We primarily do two things; fishery science and policy work, and marine planning … We became aware of an opportunity to seek a grant from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Habitat Restoration Fund … Our board and our staff thought it would be an excellent opportunity to assist with some of the work,” said Grodecki.

While the DFO grant wouldn’t cover the entire cost of the project, it would contribute a “sizable” amount, Grodecki added. While the city has fully funded the project, staff are still seeking cost relief avenues to offset impacts to the taxpayer, explained city chief financial officer Corinne Bomben.