TERRACE MAYOR Dave Pernarowski has a new job working for a company that wants to convert an abandoned mining town northwest of here into an energy hub.
Pernarowski took up his position with Kitsault Energy as its community and First Nations director in early February and spent part of last week at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry conference in Vancouver.
Kitsault was built specifically as a town to house those who worked at a nearby molybdenum mine and their families on Alice Arm but was abandoned in the early 1980s after being open only for a short time when the mine closed after the price for the ore collapsed.
It has been maintained ever since and the site was put up for sale, eventually being bought by real estate and medical technology entrepreneur Krishan Suthanthiran in 2005 .
He initially viewed it as a location for a number of purposes, including a high-end resort, by emphasizing its remote and pristine attributes.
That direction’s now changed with a growing number of companies wishing to build natural gas pipelines to the coast to feed planned liquefied natural gas plants to then supply growing energy needs in Asia.
“Mr. Suthanthiran sees this opportunity as a real benefit to the region in terms of providing an ideal location for LNG operations (shortest pipeline route, existing community infrastructure to accommodate up to 1000 people, deep water access), creating jobs in the Nass Valley …,” said Pernarowski of the formation of Kitsault Energy.
The BG Group is one company wanting to build an LNG plant near Prince Rupert.
It has chosen Spectra Energy to build a pipeline from northeastern B.C. to its planned plant location and Spectra has picked out three route options, one of which would enter the water in the Kitsault area before turning south to Prince Rupert.
“Kitsault Energy would be interested in forming partnerships with any major LNG proponent looking for a suitable site,” said Pernarowski.
“There are a limited site options for LNG terminals and deep water ports in the region. We feel that Kitsault provides a very unique opportunity in location and existing infrastructure to these LNG proponents.”
Suthanthiran made his fortune in real estate in the United States and then branched out into the medical technology field, including oncology services and products, and has manufacturing facilities in Canada.
He’s also established a foundation called the Best Cure Foundation which its website says is to “eradicate contagious disease, malnutrition and poverty, and provide superior healthcare at low cost.”
“I’m excited to be involved with an organization that will bring jobs and economic prosperity to the region and that is focused on giving back through a foundation that seeks to promote global healthcare and education,” said Pernarowski.
Pernarowski said he was asked by Suthanthiran to join Kitsault Energy.
He had been working as an account manager for industrial supply company Acklands-Grainger, a job he had taken just a few months before joining Kitsault Energy.
Prior to that, Pernarowski was with the Provincial Networking Group, an agency that works with people who have developmental disabilities.