Back in September Pinnacle Renewable Energy, for the first time in public, outlined their plans for a pellet export facility in Prince Rupert at the old Westview Terminal. City council was so supportive of the proposal that they voted to write a letter of support for the terminal right then and there without any further information.
Fast-forward to Monday, and the City of Prince Rupert is now seeking an extension on an already-underway environmental assessment. That’s understandable to an extent, as three weeks does seem like a small window to properly research and prepare input on any concerns about the proposed pellet terminal and everything that a project of this size entails.
But for the City to ask that the project be put on hold until a waterfront plan agreed upon by the City and the Prince Rupert Port Authority is in place is not only ridiculous but sends a seriously negative message to any potential investors.
This is a company that has gone through all the proper channels in getting the project to the point where it is, that is looking to spend millions of dollars in the community and is looking to create new short-term and long-term jobs in a community that greatly needs it, and the City of Prince Rupert is asking them to put their plans on hold until the City gets what it wants from the Port Authority.
By the time the City consulted with the Prince Rupert Port Authority, came up with a draft that was agreeable to both parties, took that draft to the public, got feedback, revised the draft, and voted on the new waterfront plan, the pellet plant could be delayed many years while people in the community continue to look for work.
This is even more negative in light of the fact that, whether they like it or not, the City of Prince Rupert has no control over what does or doesn’t go on along the waterfront. None. Whether or not you believe the Prince Rupert Port Authority has the social license to pursue this development, the fact is they have the legal right to do it. And that is all they need.
This whole thing doesn’t send a message to investors that Prince Rupert is open and inviting for new business, which is a message that the City should be putting out there for the world to see.