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City of Terrace sells former sawmill lands to local developer for $5.02 million

Terrace sells 15-acre former lumber land to Progressive Ventures for development
This 5000 Block of Keith Avenue property in Terrace, part of the 15 acres recently sold to Progressive Ventures Ltd., awaits future development, marking a new chapter for the former lumber company land. (Staff photo)

A deal between the City of Terrace to sell three pieces of land to a local developer ends its connection to a sawmilling company that went under more than 15 years ago.

The properties, one on the west side of Kenney just south of its intersection with Hwy 16 and two along the 5000 Block of Keith, ended up in the city’s possession through a tax sale when the Terrace Lumber Company could not meet its financial obligations.

Through legal notices, the city now says it intends to sell the three properties amounting to just over 15 acres to Progressive Ventures Ltd. for $5.02 million subject to adjustments and taxes.

The properties are zoned for light industrial use, a zoning that fits in with developments and businesses on Keith Ave. and adjacent to Keith.

The lands were once the property of Skeena Cellulose a major forest industry company in northwestern B.C. which was first threatened with bankruptcy itself in the late 1990s before finally closing down in the early 2000s.

Through local investors and with the support of the city, the Terrace Lumber Company was then formed to take over the closed Skeena Cellulose mill and its lands and restart the operation. Although it ran for a period of time it also ran into financial difficulty resulting its closure and the dismantling of the mill beginning in late 2006.

Once in the city’s possession, it approved of an extensive remediation program on the three properties so it could then receive an environmental all-clear from the provincial government.

The selling price was determined by a recent appraisal, said the city in a statement.

Revenue from the sale will be placed in a specific city fund and can then be used to acquire other lands, improvements or capital assets.

Progressive Ventures has yet to disclose how it wants to use the properties.

But its purchase, in a way, brings the lands and the former mill site together under one owner again because of the development it is now building along Keith from Kenney east toward the Sande Overpass which was where that mill once sat.

Called a transload facility, the development is intended as a central depot location to organize the shipment of goods and material back and forth between other locations in the northwest and beyond. As such, Progressive Ventures is billing the development as an inland port.

A first attempt by the city to sell the three parcels to a Lower Mainland-based real estate company called SwissReal in 2019 failed when that company chose not to follow through. The price then was $2.98 million.

SwissReal, however, is active on the bench at several subdivision locations.

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