TURN right off of Hwy37 south of the Northwest Regional Airport and Jack Talstra Way takes you to the Skeena Industrial Development Park.

Seafood, alfalfa top potential list for industrial park

Add a seafood processing company to the potential companies interested in opening up shop on the Chinese-owned land in Terrace, B.C.

Add a seafood processing company to the list of potential companies interested in opening up shop on the  Chinese-owned portion of the city’s Skeena Industrial Development Zone.

Mention of the possibility came at a recent City of Terrace information session held to discuss a trip in May by the city and other local officials to the Qinhuangdao Economic and Technological Development Zone (QETDZ) in China which has a deal with the city to purchase nearly half of the 2,000-acre development zone just south of the Northwest Regional Airport.

Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc gave no further details of the seafood processing possibility but the news follows word that an alfalfa processing company, which first expressed an interest several years ago, has been conducting an ongoing business study.

Since its $12.4 million 2014 purchase agreement with the city,  the Chinese economic development zone has been looking for companies interested in its property here and it is represented in Canada by Taisheng Investments of Burnaby.

Taisheng managing director Richard Zhang confirmed the mayor’s statements about a seafood company expressing interest in the industrial park here.

“QETDZ has set up a team for the project marketing and promotion, attracting Chinese manufacturers to invest in this park. And I know some companies like alfalfa protein, seafood processing, etc. are quite interested in this project. The business study is on going,” Zhang said an in email.

Zhang said there are similar alfalfa and seafood processing companies in the industrial development zone located in Qinhuangdao and alfalfa specifically has a huge demand in the Chinese market.

“This project is still in initial stage for developing infrastructures, it is too early to release specific information of the investors to the public, but I may tell you that QETDZ has set up a team working on it,” Zhang said.

When first announced in 2014, the alfalfa-processing concept involved a facility on 33 acres taking alfalfa from the Prairies to produce livestock feed-grade and human consumption protein for shipment to China.

The plant would produce 10,000 tons of feed-grade alfalfa protein and 2,000 tons of food grade alfalfa protein for human consumption annually. The announced plan would create 170 jobs.

Zhang also said a detailed engineering design to establish infrastructure at the Chinese-owned portion of the industrial park here is underway and anticipated to be completed by the end of 2016.

An environmental impact assessment for waste water is about halfway complete and scheduled to be finished in July.

Although the city had no new information about the potential seafood processing company, city official  Brian Doddridge  did say an investor of potential businesses is expected to take a look at the industrial park later this year.

Other work happening on the Chinese-owned land at the industrial park includes drilling for water earlier this year.

Overall, the intent is to develop the site in two phases, with the first build out being 692 acres on the eastern corner of the property along Highway 37 South.

It expects land clearing to take place the second half of this year or in early 2017.

At the same time, the city says economic development officials at the Qinhuangdao Municipal Bureau of Commerce are asking for information on the property here.

City officials earlier this year said they were heartened by news that the national Chinese government’s finance ministry provides financial incentives for qualified industrial parks outside of China.

With more work going on at the land bought by the development zone, the city is also contemplating extending Jack Talstra Way, the road leading off of Hwy37 into the park itself.

A portion of the route has already been paved but the city is now planning a paved road further into the park area.

How long that extension will be and its proposed cost has yet to be determined.