In our Opinion: Port study casts a positive outlook

For the past couple years, the Prince Rupert Port Authority has been emphasizing diversity in its long-term modelling goals

For the past couple years, the Prince Rupert Port Authority has been emphasizing diversity in its long-term modelling goals in an effort to support resource cargo, which is experiencing a downturn in price or demand, with supplemental resource cargo which is in demand or experiencing growth that can prop up the overall gateway.

This was reflected in the PRPA study released Monday and in a November 2015 Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce public address by PRPA president and CEO Don Krusel.

“The vision of Prince Rupert as a leading North American trade gateway builds on our strengths and our track record. The question is, can we achieve it? We believe we can, but it’s going to take a vision that aligns the priorities, efforts and investments of local communities and First Nations with the economic opportunities that are presented,” said Krusel in the release.

Signs of conflict have arisen in the past months concerning the development of Lelu Island in particular. Area protesters have occupied the island and challenged (LNG proponent) Pacific NorthWest LNG from conducting surveying and modelling work off the coast of the island.

The PRPA and its terminal proponents will have to mitigate those environmental concerns, among other things, for the forecast to be fully realized.

And as noted in this week’s story about the PRPA study, the mayors of Prince Rupert and Port Edward also offered their support for the forecast.

What was also refreshing was the forward-thinking expression of support by Metlakatla First Nation Chief councillor Harold Leighton.

“Our community has seen tremendous benefit from the past and current development of the Port and we look forward to contributing to the immediate build-out and long-term operation of these important pieces of Canadian infrastructure,” said Leighton.

Also to be noted about the PRPA statement was their commitment, not only to jobs and economic growth, but to the community.

“The plan is designed to minimize gateway congestion, land use and community conflicts, as well as marine and environmental impacts,” the PRPA stated.

All-in-all, the Port of Prince Rupert’s forecast is not only substantial, it is a very positive message about this area’s long-term prognosis — both socially and economically.