The Kitselas First Nation is moving ahead with development plans on two parcels of land which form part of a land claims treaty with the provincial and federal governments.
It envisages a commercial development containing both a hotel and motel on one parcel and on the other, activity tied to the LNG Canada project at Kitimat.
The first parcel is located at the intersection of Hwy37 and the Max Neubacher Way leading to the Northwest Regional Airport and the second is located further south on Hwy37 toward Kitimat, approximately across the highway from the Onion Lake ski trail area.
The 32-hectare airport parcel and the 411-hectare Onion Lake parcel are currently Crown lands but are to be turned over to the Kitselas as part of an economic opportunity package ahead of a final land claims settlement.
But because of the lengthy process of transferring ownership, which could take up to two years, the Kitselas instead applied to the province for licences of occupation which can be granted faster.
The licence for the larger parcel has already been granted while the licence for the airport property is open for comment.
In a brief statement, Kitselas chief councillor Joe Bevan described the planned airport development as “preliminary”.
But the licence information for the larger parcel described activity as “imminent” because of the LNG Canada project.
In both cases, the business arm of the Kitselas First Nation, the Kitselas Development Corporation, is taking the lead.
Within the larger 411 hectare parcel, the corporation has already leased 25 acres to Coastal GasLink, the TransCanada subsidiary building the 670km pipeline that will feed the LNG Canada plant in Kitimat with natural gas from northeast B.C. – Coastal GasLink will use the property to store materials for the pipeline.
An additional 50-acre lease with Fluor, one of LNG Canada’s two prime contractors, is also in the works.
The Kitselas Development Corporation is also setting aside 10 acres for a worker accommodation camp, 10 acres for an RV Park and wants to log another 50 hectares.
The land at the airport, which is located on the south side of Max Neubacher Way leading to the airport terminal complex, is destined for a multiple commercial use, indicates details filed by the Kitselas for a licence of occupation.
A private air terminal, a 120-room hotel, a five-acre retail centre, a five-acre office complex, a truck stop and motel and a convenience store all figure in the Kitselas’ plans for the location.
While specific target periods for the businesses have yet to be determined, the Kitselas Development Corporation is also seeking a licence to log the location.
The licence of occupation application indicates the Kitselas wish to connect to the City of Terrace’s municipal utilities system and that it is also in discussions with the Northwest Regional Airport’s governing society on the same topic.
Sewage connections would be sought through the system being developed for the Skeena Industrial Development Park section owned by Chinese-owned Taisheng International Investment Services.
Also on the property is a bunker dating back to the Second World War when the location was first developed as an airfield by the Royal Canadian Air Force.