Wednesday, April 13, 2016

AltaGas looks to be Propane Pioneers on the North Coast

Representatives from AltaGas appeared
at Monday's Council session with a look
at their plans for a shipment terminal at
Ridley Island
Prince Rupert City Council received a preview of what the AltaGas Propane Shipment facility proposed for Ridley Island is going to look like, as representatives from the Alberta energy company delivered a ten minute presentation for Council members on Monday.

David Markham and Jennifer Osmar of AltaGas provided an overview of the nature of international demand for propane and how the company is now turning its focus to Asia as the United States becomes more self-sufficient in the resource.

They outlined what the terminal complex would look like on a site at Ridley Island and noted that the propane would be delivered to the facility by way of the Canadian National rail line into the region.

The area in red indicates where
AltaGas plans to construct its
Propane Export Terminal at
Ridley Island
The regulatory process for the proposed development will be handled by Ridley Terminals, as Alta Gas is sub-leasing their site from RTI, they noted that the construction phase will require 200-250 construction workers, with the creation of fifty full time jobs at the facility upon completion.

The pair also advised Council that the company currently operates a similar facility in Washington State, adding that the Prince Rupert plans would create the first of its kind of propane shipment facility to be built in Canada.

The AltaGas reps also issued an invitation for City council members to tour the facility in Washington State, which would be along the lines of what they have proposed for the North Coast.

Should the terminal project move forward, they observed that it would add to the diversification of shipments out of the Port of Prince Rupert and to the economic base for the city.

Following the ten minute presentation, the Alta Gas representatives answered a range of questions from the city's councillors.

Council members focused mainly job creation notes and safety concerns related to the transportation of propane by rail, as well as the prospect of additional expenses or training that may be required for the city's Fire Department when it comes to a new form of industry in the region.

The safety aspect was one of particular interest for Councillor Thorkelson who had a number of questions on the theme, with a focus on potential dangers related to the transport of the propane along the rails lines near the Skeena and Bulkley Rivers.

She and Councillor Cunningham also had questions on the impact of a major project on the socio economic conditions of the city, calling attention to the current housing concerns of Council and whether AltaGas had any plans to invest in affordable housing in the community or through a financial contribution towards that issue.

What the proposed propane export
terminal will look like upon completion 
Mayor Brain noted for the AltaGas reps that the City has a Planning for Major Projects initiative and it has identified projects such as this as one which would see some investment in pressure points towards contributing towards a sustainable community.

While the AltaGas representatives did not make any commitments on those themes, the did note that they would be holding a number of community engagement sessions and were willing to discuss many issues with council and the city's residents.

The timeline for the project would see much of this year taken up by the environmental review process and consultation with the community, with hopes for a final investment Decision on the project to arrive by the end of the year.

If approved the project would start construction in 2017, with the first shipment of propane anticipated to commence in 2018.

A more expanded review of their presentation to Council can be found from our Council Timeline feature here.

The full presentation can be viewed at the City's Video Archive, it is the first item of business for Council on the night.

For more items related to City Council developments see our Council Discussion archive here.

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