A propane export terminal will be built on Prince Rupert’s Watson Island.
Pembina announced its final investment decision on Nov. 29. The Calgary-based company will develop its project on the site of the former pulp mill 16 years after it closed.
“We are finally turning the page to a new chapter in the storied saga of Watson Island, as what was the story of economic downfall and hardship is now the story of prosperity and renewal,” Mayor Lee Brain said on his Facebook page.
The $270 million terminal is expected to be in service by mid-2020 once Pembina receives regulatory approval. The project will export 25,000 barrels of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) a day. During the construction phase, the company plans to hire up to 200 people, and once the facility is operational there will be between 20 to 30 full-time positions.
“We are very excited to progress the Prince Rupert Terminal and continue working with the local communities, stakeholders, First Nations, and governments in the area,” said Stuart Taylor, Pembina’s senior vice president, in the press release.
Pembina will be the first company to make Watson Island profitable for the city since the pulp mill shut down in 2001. The Skeena Cellulose used to be the city’s largest employer and tax payer making up approximately one-third of the city’s annual tax revenues.
“Getting Watson Island back on the tax roll has been the key priority of this council, and receiving this final investment decision from Pembina will provide us with additional lease and tax revenues to support community services and infrastructure,” Brain said in the press release.
Watson Island will also be renamed Watson Intermodal Trade & Logistics Park. The city hired a contractor to dismantle the former pulp mill site in 2015 and announced recently that the work is 90 per cent complete.
In June, Pembina representatives made their first public appearance at a city council meeting and suggested that a final investment decision was merely months away.
This is the second propane export project planned for the North Coast. AltaGas announced its final investment decision in January 2017 and the company is currently building its facility on land leased from Ridley Island Inc., from the Prince Rupert Port Authority. The AltaGas project will ship up to 1.2 million tonnes of propane a year.
Residents are invited to learn more about the future of the former pulp mill site on Dec. 6 at the North Coast Convention Centre from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.