Friday, May 15, 2015

Mayor Brain says end to the Watson Island situation will come this year

Watson Island, it's a place that we haven't heard much about it of late in Public Sessions of City Council, but if comments relayed to the CBC yesterday morning reflect the current thinking at City Hall, there may soon be movement on one of the longest running stories on the North Coast.

Daybreak North's Carolina de Ryk hosted the Mayor for a short segment on Thursday's CBC daybreak program from City Hall, with Mayor Brain speaking a bit about the Homecoming 2015 celebrations that are now under way and also offering up some short notes on a range of civic issues of late.

One of these issues, provided for some thoughts on Watson Island, with the Mayor providing his thumbnail sketch that things are moving towards a solution.

As part of the conversation with the Mayor, Ms. de Ryk,  made note as to how the situation with that industrial site has been costing the City hundreds of thousands of dollars and asked Mr. Brain when it was going to end.

The Mayor told her that it was going to end this year, or as he put it actually very soon.  

Noting how they had put the bid process out for decommissioning Watson Island, and that the City needs to finalize some final legal arrangements, adding that they had hoped to announce something on the situation a few weeks ago, but at the last minute realized that they might not need to announce that quite so soon.

Still he told Ms. de Ryk that this year people will see the City move forward with Watson Island, noting that it's an issue that goes back to his days in high school.

When pressed further on what is holding up the process, he noted that it was one small legal piece, noting how they had a settlement with SunWave, with decommissioning as part of that settlement.

Adding that there is still a court case still with Colonial Coal, with those two pieces interacting with each other having stalled the announcement.

He added that he didn't consider it a major item, stating that it's a case of making sure that when the paper comes out that its all signed properly and that there are no headaches or any problems that are going to emerge afterwards.

Further to that theme, he noted that they wanted to do it right, done properly, diligently, methodically, so that its the right solution for the residents.

You can hear the mayor's observations to the CBC from this audio file, his conversation on the theme runs from the four minute thirty second mark to the 6 minute point

Considering the many twists and turns that the saga has taken over the years, we imagine that Prince Rupert residents are hoping that the Mayor's positive thoughts and impressions hold true and that by the end of the year the Watson Island file is part of the past.

Still, as the Mayor noted for Ms. De Ryk, there is still some legal work to be done as the current Watson Island file continues to work its way through the courts.

With the potential of further court sessions to come in the summer, we're reminded of that fond farewell of former Mayor Jack Mussallem and the cautionary note for the incoming council.

In his final comments as Mayor in November,  Mr. Mussallem observed on Watson Island as to what a hell hole it can be.

Indeed, the Watson Island story has been the thing of a modern day Prince Rupert horror story, one that as of yet has an ending to close the book on.

And while it's helpful to hear from Mayor Brain through a short audio clip from the CBC as to how things are moving along when it comes to the Watson Island file, perhaps a more expansive review for the city's residents could be provided.

Maybe even through one of the upcoming City Council Regular public sessions.

Offering up an opportunity for all of the Council members to provide some thoughts as to the timeline that the Mayor believes will deliver us from the Watson Island situation by the end of the year.

Just in case your memories are fuzzy as to the past accounts of the industrial site, a reminder as to just how long the current situation has been with us can be found from our archive page.

For more items related to developments at City Hall see our archive page.

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