The City of Prince Rupert council and citizens all around this community should thank their lucky stars there is a Port of Prince Rupert.
There are 400 cities and towns east of here that would trade our circumstance for theirs in a flash.
Although it doesn’t seem to phase the members of Prince Pessimistic, or as alluded to in last week’s editorial — the glass half-full, dismiss or analyze-to-death groups — we have, unfortunately, over the past decade seen opportunities for economic prosperity vanish time-and-time again right before our very eyes, Canpotex is the latest.
It hasn’t been entirely Prince Rupert’s fault, but past administrations, and to a certain extent, this one, sure haven’t helped. They’ve been very good at complaining and whimpering about their plight, but little else.
However, for nearly a decade there has been a glimmer of increasing hope continuing to shower its benefits on our community. Daresay, the economic saviour of this community after the collapse of the fishing industry, pulp mill, etc …
Yet, the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA), or as they wish to be called now, the Port of Prince Rupert, were the whipping boy of city councils and far too many in this city and outlying villages and districts.
Last week, after years of unrealistic demands, ignorant accusations and, if one were to look closely enough, extreme fiscal miscalculation by the City of Prince Rupert, a cheque to the tune of $5.3 million for payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) will be entering our city’s coffers.
To put this into some sort of perspective, if one was to place a loonie at the door of the City of Prince Rupert council chambers and line them up end-to-end along Highway 16 (why don’t we call it the Yellowhead like everyone else in Canada), the loonies would stretch along that long, yellow line to downtown Terrace — about 140 kilometres or so.
Or if StatsCan is even close, it is representative of nearly $400 for every, man, woman and child in this city.
But, for a moment, forget about that long line of loonies. The $5.3 million is a drop in the bucket of the significance of the Port of Prince Rupert on our economy and our lives. Countless millions have been spent, and continue to be spent, in community investment projects, let alone the jobs, both direct and indirect, that flows from the Port.
The Port of Prince Rupert ain’t perfect. Nothing is.
But after more than three decades of reporting on and watching corporate influence on communities, the PRPA is darn close.
Now, if only the city can double down on its newfound pragmatism and spirit of cooperation to publicly support LNG and get Watson Island off the liability side of our balance sheet, we just might have the foundation for a real Hays 2.0.