The District of Port Edward is getting ready for a bright future in the community according to councillor Murray Kristoff.
“It is very exciting times for Port Edward. We have a lot of interest from LNG, which is the big one, but there are small proponents looking at us that are by no means small – just smaller than the LNG project,” he said during the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Feb. 20.
“Land in the district will be developed in a very quick way compared to how it has been in the past. Port Edward has been very docile in terms of industrial use for years, but that is changing… Never in our wildest dream did we imagine having something of the magnitude of the LNG terminal located in our community.”
Last year the District of Port Edward sold over $1 million of land it held in reserve, and council is preparing for the additional strain future development will have on the resources in the community.
“We purchased some bigger tracks of land from the Ministry of Land in Smithers that we will be putting up for sale shortly, likely by the end of the next quarter. We bought 68 acres, so we’re looking at parcelling that out,” he said.
“We’re in the process now of re-doing our Official Community Plan to reflect more industrial uses that are coming.”
The development proposed for Port Edward should open up the town for further growth, with plans underway for a bypass road that would keep trucks from running through town and residential areas.
“It is going to be an expensive chunk of road, but it is going to fundamentally change Port Edward and open up huge chunks of land,” said Kristoff.
Should the terminal on Lelu Island proceed, the road leading to North Pacific Cannery would be upgraded and slightly rerouted, and a bridge would be installed to access the island. In town, Kristoff said council has had discussions with Pacific Northwest LNG about renting the old elementary school to be renovated for office space.
As well, the Port Edward Harbour Authority is undertaking a project that would allow heavier trucks and larger loads to access the docks across the tracks.
Kristoff said the increased interest in Port Edward comes down to one thing: Location, location, location.
“We’re near the water, we’re near the tracks and I think that is getting around to a lot of people,” he said.