Pembina plans on hosting job fairs for potential employees and contractors in North Coast communities in the future for its proposed Watson Island terminal. (Contributed)

UPDATE: City approves permit to build propane terminal on Watson Island

City of Prince Rupert passes development permit to allow the $270-million LPG project to proceed

A propane export terminal will be built on Prince Rupert’s Watson Island. Pembina announced its final investment decision on Nov. 29. The Calgary-based company will develop its project on the site of the former pulp mill 16 years after it closed.

“We are finally turning the page to a new chapter in the storied saga of Watson Island, as what was the story of economic downfall and hardship is now the story of prosperity and renewal,” Mayor Lee Brain said on his Facebook page.

On Monday, Dec. 4, city council passed the development permit to allow the project to proceed.

“The majority of the site will be utilized for storage and transportation of natural gas products,” said city planner Zeno Krekic at council.

The terminal will only take up approximately 10 per cent of Watson Island.

The $270 million project is expected to be in service by mid-2020 once Pembina receives regulatory approval. The project will export 25,000 barrels of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) a day. During the construction phase, the company plans to hire up to 200 people, and once the facility is operational there will be between 20 to 30 full-time positions.

“We are very excited to progress the Prince Rupert Terminal and continue working with the local communities, stakeholders, First Nations, and governments in the area,” said Stuart Taylor, Pembina’s senior vice president, in the press release.

Pembina will be the first company to make Watson Island profitable for the city since the pulp mill shut down in 2001. Skeena Cellulose used to be the city’s largest employer and taxpayer making up approximately one-third of the city’s annual tax revenues.

“Getting Watson Island back on the tax roll has been the key priority of this council, and receiving this final investment decision from Pembina will provide us with additional lease and tax revenues to support community services and infrastructure,” Brain said in the press release.

Watson Island will also be renamed Watson Intermodal Trade & Logistics Park. The city hired a contractor to dismantle the former pulp mill site in 2015 and announced recently that the work is 90 per cent complete.

In June, Pembina representatives made their first public appearance at a city council meeting and suggested that a final investment decision was merely months away.

This is the second propane export project planned for the North Coast. AltaGas announced its final investment decision in January 2017 and the company is currently building its facility on land leased from Ridley Island Inc., from the Prince Rupert Port Authority. The AltaGas project will ship up to 1.2 million tonnes of propane a year, while Pembina’s project will ship 600,000 tonnes per year.

“They’ve seen some economic downturns in Prince Rupert, and now they’re back on the rise. This particular site is a great opportunity for Prince Rupert to see it develop, and develop in a way that’s going to help the community. It’s going to provide, long-term, about 20 to 30 family-supporting jobs, and in the construction phase it’s about 150 to 200 jobs,” Michelle Mungall, B.C. minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources, said on Nov. 30.

Game changing announcement for Prince Rupert!

Today Pembina announced they have made a Final Investment Decision (FID)…

Posted by Mayor Lee Brain on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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The City of Prince Rupert has rebranded Watson Island to Watson Intermodal Trade Logistics Park. (Submitted)

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