AFTER nearly 40 years of being in the marina business, the Kitimat-Stikine regional district is selling MK Bay Marina at Kitimat to the Haisla Nation.
In a deal set to close Dec. 4, the Haisla Trust Society is to acquire the lands, improvements, buildings and all equipment.
Through its corporate business arm, Haisla Business Operations Inc. and its business partners, the Haisla Nation will upgrade, manage and develop the MK Bay Marina, located southeast of Kitimat and adjacent to Kitamaat Village.
Sale negotiations had been underway for years and also involved Rio Tinto Alcan which had owned the land on which the marina is located in the first place before selling it to the regional district in 1975 for the development of a public recreational facility.
The sale agreement contains a covenant so that marina will continue to operate as a public facility.
“[The] Haisla Nation commits to ensuring the public recreational marina maintains a minimum baseline of 1150 linear feet, 7 boathouse spaces and 117 slips of recreational moorage space in alignment with the current configuration. Haisla Nation intends to run a public marina that is equal or superior to the existing marina in terms of quality, public access and level of service,” states a Nov. 19 regional district press release.
Current employees will transfer over to the new ownership structure.
Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross noted that the marina is right in middle of Haisla territory.
“It generates economic activity and we think its future is even brighter with some upgrades and a greater ability to take advantage of the current and future economic activity on the Douglas Channel,” he stated in the regional district release.
The Haisla Nation is also discussing the development of a commercial loading facility on adjacent lands that are owned by Rio Tinto Alcan.
Rio Tinto Alcan official Paul Henning called the sale a “bold step” by the regional district and said it clears the way for more development in the area.
This isn’t the only recreational facility to be owned by the regional district over the years.
At one time it also operated a ski facility at Kitsumkalum Mountain north of Terrace beginning in the mid-1970s. It ultimately suffered because of lack of snow.
The regional district subsequently sold its ski lift and lodge in the 1980s to what is now the Shames Mountain ski operation owned by the My Mountain Co-op.