As I sit here writing this editorial, in the back of my mind I’m pondering questions for yesterday’s all-candidate’s debate (look for coverage online and in The Northern Connector).
One question I keep going back to is what role the candidates see themselves playing in making the numerous projects proposed for the North Coast a reality. And the natural progression from there, since the successful candidate will be representing a region that extends far beyond our communities, is what they will do to make projects in the region a reality. I think that’s important because when the region does well it impacts the entire North Coast and communities up and down the line.
And when you look at it from that perspective, it’s pretty tough to argue that the next few years and the years beyond that are looking pretty bright for the northwest as a whole.
Looking at Prince Rupert you have the ever-elusive Canpotex and Watson Island looming in the background as potential projects, but you also have the doubling of capacity at Ridley Terminals to meet demand, the increasing use of Fairview making a business case for phase two and CN and Lax Kw’alaams signing an agreement for a transload facility. And for people who have been looking at the North Coast, the agreement between the Prince Rupert Port Authority and the Coast Tsimshian provides a level of certainty that is rare to see.
To the east, First Nations and BC Hydro are making quick work of agreements for the Northwest Transmission Line that will open up the North for multiple mining operations, Kitimat will be heavily booming for the next several years with the modernization of Alcan and the old Skeena Sawmill property has been purchased to begin operation shortly to prepare logs and lumber for export to the Asia-Pacific.
With everything coming down the pipe for the northwest, it is tough to argue that the economy of the region is going to be much, much different than it has been in the past several years and that the future is bright.