Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Mayor Pond Promotes Watson Island as Energy Hub at Vancouver forum

The City of Prince Rupert is spreading the word of the potential for Watson Island to become a Global Energy Hub citing its direct access to Asia as a key element of the city's sustainable development initiative.

Mayor Herb Pond who is in Vancouver as part of the UBCM Housing Summit made a side trip today to promote Watson Island's opportunities to delegates at the Globe Forum 2024, Mr. Pond noting of the advantages that the Industrial site offers the global business community.

“We’re here to tell potential partners that Prince Rupert is open for business. Prince Rupert has unique competitive advantages and today we’re opening a fast-paced, formal program to secure sustainable economic growth on the North Coast. It’s incumbent on us to do this work, for current and future generations of Rupertites.”

The announcement released by the City today outlines the scope of the city's call for a Request of Expressions of Interest, which is now available on the City's website which you can review here.

The city notes that a targeted request for proposals (RFP) will follow in fall 2024 and formal lease agreements could be in place by end of the year. 

The process is administered by the City’s wholly owned development arm, Prince Rupert Legacy Inc. 

Two significant land parcels are included: 

Watson Island – 75 free acres, brownfield site well-suite for larger scale projects. The Watson Island site currently is the host of the Pembina LPG Terminal.

Lot 444 – 2200 free acres with waterfront access, greenfield site well suited for a range of energy initiatives. Lot 444 which is across from Seal Cove was once the proposed location for the Exxon LNG project, which was cancelled a number of years ago.

The city's prospectus outlines that  proponents with strong, actionable project concepts are encouraged to apply through the REI in order to advance to the RFP phase of the process.

The city outlines that innovative energy projects include, but are not limited to: 

Hydrogen production and export
Biomass production and export 
Wind generation 
Run-of-river or tidal energy production
Innovative energy equipment manufacturers 
Other innovative energy technologies

The deadline for submissions has been set for August 30, 2024

The Globe Forum 2024 is a three day gathering of leaders and change makers, working to accelerate solutions for resilience, regeneration and a net-zero economy. It started on Tuesday and continues through  to Thursday.

Premier David Eby at Glove Forum 2024
(from twitter - X)

BC Premier David Eby addressed the gathering today, Nathan Cullen the Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship was featured as part of the conversation at a morning session today at the event.

If the plans to turn Watson Island into an Energy Hub sound familiar, that's because they are.

That announcement was the last heard of the project, which so far does not seem to have advanced, or at least announced any plans for momentum.

Last year, Prince Rupert's Economic Development Officer  Paul Venditelli had visited Houston Texas, seeking to generate some enthusiasm for Watson Island from the Hydrogen energy industry.

As was the case for Pattern Energy, there have been no updates on that civic mission.

More background on the City's vision for both properties can be explored through the information statement released this afternoon.

More notes on Civic themes related to Watson Island can be reviewed here.


  1. I wonder who actually runs Legacy Corporation these days? The two most recent financial statements (2021, 2022) are blank where the Directors signatures should be. The new web page only gives the City's general email address and phone number. The "Full Request for Expression of Interest" document contains no contact names. It seems odd to launch what is presented as a major initiative without identifying someone as the public face for the project.

    1. The legacies run legacy.
      AKA senior administration at city hall. Not city council.
      This is another Hail Mary attempt after years of lobbying for PILT help, Port tax cap exemption and RBA’s.
      Mark August 30th 2024 on your calendar.

    2. Thanks. Do the "legacies" include the legacy managers, as in former managers whose best years were quite a whole ago, who for reasons best known to the council continue to be directors of CityWest? Hopefully some information will emerge at some point about the significance of August 30. Nothing bad I hope.

    3. Legacies meaning second generation Rupertites, some of which are the kids of former city hall employees.
      August 30th is the deadline for Watson Island responses.
      The city has gone down this path before, launching grandiose expressions of interest only to receive little or no interest.
      Wheelhouse - one response
      Gateway Redevelopment - No response (I think)
      Tax exemption for downtown improvements - one response
      The parcel of land opposite Oliver lake and the Ridley Island turnoff - No response (I think)
      Lets see if that trend changes on August 30th.

    4. What’s on August 30th?

    5. I wasn't aware that "second generation Rupertites" have a different status than the rest of us.