Friday, September 26, 2014

Local environmental group fears oil terminal development bound for Ridley Island

In a week of talking points out of Alberta suggesting the need to re-think the Northern Gateway strategy (see this item from Wednesday), the prospect of any shift toward Prince Rupert for development of an oil shipment terminal has local environmentalists raising their alert levels.

Thursday at the Civic Centre, the Prince Rupert Environmental Society hosted what seems to have been a timely meeting to go over that topic. With the group ready to share a collection of items that they believe suggests that the foundation for oil shipments out of the North Coast may be in motion.

Their discussion points which suggest that the Ridley Island industrial area may one day host a shipment terminal can found on the website

From their on line presentation, a section called BC Oil Terminal Plans hosts a link to what the organization believes are indications that their worst case scenario is getting closer.

Among their main item of note, the recent development of the Ridley Island Rail-Road utility corridor, which is now nearing completion.

The Environmental group has made note of the similar nature of the North Coast corridor, to one created in Washington state. A transportation network which originally was created for a potash terminal development, but apparently is now destined to host an oil by rail yard and terminal.

A scenario that the Environmental Society seems to suggest sounds very familiar and highlights their fears of the prospect of a similar plan for the North Coast as well.

Along with the Rail and utility concerns, the Society also finds cause to worry over the fate of Ridley Terminals and potential re-purposing of land there for possible use as an oil terminal.

Beyond their website offerings, the group is also looking to promote viewings of a documentary feature on the BP Oil Spill, a film titled Pretty Slick, They hope to share the documentary widely in the community, looking to provide more background on their concerns over the impact of oil on seafood.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, Mayor Jack Mussallem was quick to knock down any thoughts of an oil terminal development for Prince Rupert, a collection of talking points for the Globe and Mail that would seem to put him firmly in the corner of the efforts of Prince Rupert Environmental Society.

In particular, his focus on the fishery and comments as to his thoughts on the importance of the industry to the region, surely will have been noticed by the Environmental movement on the North Coast.

The Mayor certainly won't be alone on those issues, in recent months at least half of the members of Prince Rupert City Council have weighed in a number of times on issues related to Industrial development and the impact on the fishery and other aspects of North Coast life.

Making for a vocal group that at least to this point, don't seem interested in welcoming any form of oil related development in areas of their overview.

The Port has repeatedly stated in the past that at this time no oil terminal or shipment plans are in development, suggesting any such discussions were more of a concept than a project.

The latest declaration on the topic coming in the same article as the Mayors No Oil in Rupert review in the Globe and Mail, where the Port deflected talk of oil terminals, advising that at the moment the bulk of their available industrial lands were targeted for other industrial uses.

Should that situation change in the future, it would seem that the push back towards any form of development will have a fairly strong platform against the concept already in place.

Our archives host a number of items on Port of Prince Rupert related items, as well as information related to the concept of Oil shipment and terminal development,  you can review them at these links:

Oil Terminal Proposals for the North Coast
Northern Gateway Archive
Port of Prince Rupert

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