Westview Terminal

Westview Terminal

Pellet terminal will be constantly monitored, residents and City need convincing

Both the Prince Rupert Port Authority and Pinnacle Renewable energy say pellet terminal approval is good news for everyone.

The wood pellet terminal being proposed on Prince Rupert’s waterfront has received environmental approval, which removes the last major obstacle before construction can begin.

Both Pinnacle Renewable Energy and the Prince Rupert Port Authority are saying that the approval of the $43-million project is “good news” for Prince Rupert. But it appears that neighbourhood residents and city council still need some convincing.

The project is expected to create about 24 direct jobs at the terminal itself such as material handling workers.

According to Pinnacle’s CEO, Leroy Reitsma, the company will be negotiating a employment agreement with the local First Nations, but there will be jobs open to non-aboriginal residents as well.

Both Pinnacle and the Port Authority say that the building of the pellet terminal will meet the demand for wood pellet shipping capacity that is badly needed by BC’s lumber industry. That means the terminal will be supporting hundreds of other BC jobs in a hurting industry.

The two organizations are also pleased with how the Environmental Assessment was conducted, and the proposed mitigation measures and regulations that the working group has come up with.

“At the end of the day, I think we achieved the right balance between the economic and societal demands on this project,” says the Port Authority’s director of Public Affairs, Ken Veldman.

The mitigation measures being proposed revolve around constant monitoring of the dust and noise coming from the terminal to make sure they stay within their limits.  The details of what the limits are still have to be worked out with the provincial Environment Ministry. If the facility does go over the limit, regulations will require them to fix it immediately.

With that in mind Pinnacle is also putting together extensive response plans so if something happens the company won’t have to spend time figuring out what to do about it.

And if all that doesn’t work, the port authority has the right to order the facility to shut down until the issue is solved.

The pellet terminal project has been met with vocal opposition from the residents of the neighbourhood near Westview Terminal, many of whom are not against having a pinnacle terminal, just having it so close to their homes. But Pinnacle has explained that Westview is really the only viable site, since the operation is too big for Watson Island and not big enough for Ridley Island.

Even though the public input phase of the project is now over, the port authority says it will be setting up a way for residents to make complaints about the noise or dust coming from the terminal and have them addressed by the port authority.

Ken Shaw is one of those neighborhood residents and has been leading the campaign against the project, even creating an opposition website. He says that the promises by the port authority to address complaints ring hollow.

“If they say they want a complaints line and want to engage in dialogue, their track record isn’t that good, they promised a complaints line for train whistling years ago and that has never been addressed,” says Shaw.

Both the port and Pinnacle point out that they have gone “above and beyond” what they were required to in terms of public input during the environmental assessment. That is true, admits Shaw, but argues only because no such public input was actually required because the assessment was a “screening;” which is less ring-depth because the site is already a well-used industrial zone.

As far as Shaw is concerned, the assessment has disregarded what residents were telling them.

Not so says CEO Reitsma. He says that the company has taken to heart everything that residents said during the public consultation phase of the environmental assessment, but admitted that not much of the plan has changed because of it.

The City of Prince Rupert appears to be still a bit skeptical of the pellet facility as well, even though it has received environmental approval. At their meeting on Monday, the city council decided ask the port authority to send representatives to explain what the impact of the environmental assessment findings will be on the community.

While the city has no legal power to affect the operation of the pellet plant or how the port authority oversees it, they are still wary of the concerns of the neighbourhood residents.

“The city is aware that some of the adjacent neighbours have concerns. And of course, the City is looking for assurances from the port for things such as noise and dust will not inhibit the quality of life there,” says Mayor Jack Mussallem.

According to the company, there are still regulatory issues to be worked out, but construction is expected to begin soon and the terminal will be ready for operation late next year.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prince Rupert couple Alvin Tait and Loni Martin have postponed their wedding two times due to COVID-19 affecting the marriage rates in Prince Rupert. (Photo: supplied/L.Martin)
No marriages in Prince Rupert in 2021 so far

Weddings down 23.9% in P.R. since COVID-19 with B.C. wedding industry loss at $158 million

Three North Coast organizations are granted funding to promote multiculturalism and support anti-racism, Jennifer Rice MLA announced on April 8. Conrad Elementary School students recognized the first Black Shirt Day on January 15, 2021, to advocate for anti-racism. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
North Coast organizations to benefit from anti-racism funding

$944,000 granted in provincial funding to aid multiculturalism

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Heavy wet snow fell in Prince Rupert on April 7, making the dock a Rushbrook slippery for vehicles. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Three back-to-back weather systems with snow down to sea level

April showers are supposed to bring May flowers — but not in Prince Rupert.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Alastair Grant
Flags drop, bells toll as Canadians remember special relationship with Prince Philip

‘He was often portrayed as a brisk or brusque, rough character… but it’s that other side of him, the caring individual who spent time with people and asked questions and showed compassion’

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Most Read