Monday, July 14, 2014

Is Prince Rupert council Overstepping its Lelu Island Observations?

Prince Rupert City Council
In recent months, whether it is through project updates, or conversation around the Council chamber, there has been a fair amount of focus by members of Prince Rupert City Council on the progress of the planned LNG development at Lelu Island.

With the Pacific Northwest LNG proposal the only one that seems to have much in the way of actual momentum at the moment, finding the right balance between economic development and attention to environmental concerns appears to be key to the economic planning for the region.

And those have been the twin themes of late, that are making for much in the way of interesting discussions around the North Coast. Particularly as both Prince Rupert and Port Edward seek to try and realize the benefits from the growing path of LNG development in the region.

With Port Edward looking to reap a fair reward from the development by way of their proximity to the Pacific Northwest LNG project, the frequent reviews by the City of Prince Rupert when it comes to the proposal within the District boundaries, may be starting to raise more than a few eyebrows around the District offices.

At the most recent Prince Rupert City Council session, Council Members heard a presentation from Dr. Barb Faggetter regarding development around Lelu Island, at the conclusion of her review Council members had a number of questions related to her presentation, covering a wide range of topics.

Mayor Mussallem took advantage of the presentation, to inquire as to her recommendation as to what may be acceptable locations for LNG development in the region.

Her reply in response to the Mayor's question, observed as to how she was against development of the Pacific Northwest project at the location proposed near Flora Bank, offering up Ridley Island and Grassy Point as other locations that might be a better choice for LNG development.

As a followup to last Monday's review, the Mayor expressed the opinion that the topic is of interest to all, but with a reminder that the proposed project site is located in the District of Port Edward. And towards that observation, he asked if Dr. Faggetter had been invited to Port Edward council to deliver her report as she had done for Prince Rupert.

She advised that the subject has come up and that he is hopeful of having that opportunity sometime in the future.

Questions of concern regarding the Lelu Island site have not been an unknown discussion point at City Council in the past, with Councillor Joy Thorkelson first commenting on the issue much earlier in the process.

Back in 2012, she and then Councillor Rice (now MLA Rice) as well as Councillor Ashley used a city council session to offer up their observations on the development, when word of the proposal first was delivered by Pacific Northwest LNG.

Port Edward Council
All of the attention and suggestions from the neighbours, both past and present, might be raising a bit of concern in Port Edward.

Perhaps even offering the opportunity for some, to suggest to their counterparts from Prince Rupert Council that they may be wading into issues outside of their municipal overview.

More to the point, Port Edward  Council may find it rather interesting that Prince Rupert council continues to provide for much in the way of overview and contribution on the topic of a major development in Port Edward.

Especially of note for Port Edward officials no doubt, is the fact that the City remains hopeful for progress when it comes to the BG Group proposal for Ridley Island and Imperial Oil's Tuck Inlet project for land that the city recently obtained at Lot 444

Both of those proposals fall within the City of Prince Rupert municipal boundary, though the Ridley Island proposal is located on Prince Rupert Port Authority land.

Prince Rupert's interest on other matters from Port Edward has already been mentioned in passing at the District office.

Port Edward Councillor Knut Bjorndal recently expressed some concern over Prince Rupert's thoughts on the theme of camping at Taylor Lake.

We imagine that when it comes to their economic development plans, Councillor Bjorndal and others in Port Edward, will continue to keep an eye on the frequent attention coming their way by way of Prince Rupert.

The nature of all that focus and council's frequent observations on the theme, could soon prove to be yet another growing source of irritation between the two communities.

At some point, Port Edward Council might even offer up some advice to their counterparts in Prince Rupert, suggesting that they to stick to their own knitting when it comes to matters outside of their own boundaries, expanded as they've become.

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