Watson Island is officially open for business once again.
As of July 23, Pembina can begin construction on the above-ground facilities for their propane terminal on the island.
“We can now look forward to seeing the site come to life with business — which will generate both tax and lease revenues to support city services and infrastructure improvements,” Prince Rupert mayor Lee Brain said in a press release.
The project is expected to pump more than $75 million into Prince Rupert via revenue, lease payments and property taxes.
Jaret Sprott, Pembina’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, said approximately $250 million has been invested in the project, and Pembina will employ between 150 to 200 people for the construction phase. Twenty to thirty permanent, full-time employees are expected to be hired as well.
The City of Prince Rupert was also recently awarded the Excellence in Economic Development by the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) for its work in returning the Watson Island site to an economic source for the community.
After the pulp mill was closed in 2001, Watson Island sat unused for years and became a financial drain on the city. Once decommissioned, Pembina announced its intent to create a propane export facility on the site in December 2017.
“We’re turning a page on Watson Island,” Prince Rupert City Manager Robert Long said. “It’s time to write the next chapter for this site, and for our community.”