Friday, December 16, 2016

A Skeena Pulp Mill Christmas Greeting from China

Just in time for the Holidays!
Watson Island has popped up
in the global news cycle
The one thing about the holidays is that you have a chance to catch up with old friends and see how things have been going since you last touched base.

For the City of Prince Rupert, a newspaper article from the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post is bringing some interesting tidings of the season when it comes to the ongoing story of the Skeena Pulp Mill.

The featured character for the article is Ni Ritao, who last appeared on the radar in Prince Rupert a year ago with this full page ad in the weekly newspaper just before Halloween of 2015.

An apparently unexpected intrusion into the day to day life of the city at the time, and one that provided for a rare comment from the City of Prince Rupert when it comes to events related to Watson Island.

However, it seems that a new chapter to the tale is to come, with his story now making for a feature story in the Asian newspaper, which has posted the results of their review of the story online, offering some new details when it comes to the latest developments in the long running saga.

The article by the SCMP's Ian Young notes that the Chinese businessman is still trying to regain control of his investments in the province, with the investigative piece reviewing his legal troubles both in Canada and in China since the saga first began in 2015, making extensive use of the court proceedings in China, as well as those in British Columbia.

Beyond the focus on Ni Ritao's Chinese legal woes, the Post traces a fair bit of the history of the Skeena Pulp mill during the period of 2005-2008 and puts some renewed attention towards his subsequent legal actions with the City of Prince Rupert.

The article provides a fair bit of background on the Skeena pulp mill days and Ritao's involvement with the industrial site, noting that the issues related to the ongoing court case with the City have yet to be resolved.

"Prince Rupert has been pursuing Ni’s firms through the BC Supreme Court as the city seeks to sell off the mill assets. It is currently petitioning the court to order Sun Wave to hand over a written authorisation to sell the assets under the terms of the 2013 settlement. The City of Prince Rupert - which has sought a confidentiality order for the case and for the petition to be heard in-camera - did not respond to requests for comment." -- Part of an extensive article in the South China Morning Post related to the legal issues betweeen Ni Ritao and the City of Prince Rupert.

The South China Morning Post is not the only place where it seems a lack of comment is to be found when it comes to how the Skeena story is playing out in the courts.

Prince Rupert City Council has taken the in camera approach to the issue to heart locally as well, having yet to provide any form of public update for the city's residents as to the progress, or lack of such as the case may be, when it comes to the pulp mill site.

It's an approach which makes Watson Island a topic which rarely seems to be mentioned during City Council's public sessions, and for the most part continues to leave it to the city's residents to foot the bills at the industrial site while the situation follows its own timeline and path.

Considering the attention that the story is apparently generating beyond the city's limits, the Mayor and City Council might want to consider some kind of an update for the city's residents. Putting aside a bit of time for public discussion and comment, as well as to give us an idea as to where we stand at this moment on the issue and if the end of this never ending saga is anywhere in sight.

You can review the full article from the Hong Kong paper here.

A trip down the Watson Island memory lane can be found on our archive page here.

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