Work underway on $90-million road, rail and utility corridor in Prince Rupert
Work on the Ridley Island Road, Rail and Utility Corridor kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony on March 8.
Phase one of the $90 million project includes the construction of an eight kilometre loop of five rail tracks, a two-lane road and port-owned hydro lines. The result will be opening up 400 hectares of industrial land on the island for projects like the Canpotex potash terminal and BG Group LNG export terminal.
"This isn't just something for the people of Prince Rupert or the region, projects like this are critical for us as a province and as a nation. As trade with Asia grows, B.C. needs to lead the way," said Minister of Infrastructure Mary Polak, noting that competition is fierce among west coast ports.
"This brings us into the realm of competition... This is one more way we see Prince Rupert as becoming the top of the chain."
Funding for the project came in the form of $30 million apiece from the Prince Rupert Port Authority and CN Rail and $15 million apiece from the provincial and federal governments. The 90 workers needed for the project, however, will be mostly comprised of First Nations from Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla.
"This is huge for my people... We now have 16 members of our nation hired for this project and we will be looking for more," said Lax Kw'alaams mayor Garry Reece.
"This is a huge day for all of the North Coast."
Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO Don Krusel said the start of construction has been five years in the making, and work is expected to wrap-up next December.
"We often lose sight of the fact that we are building much more than rail and road, much more than terminals. We are building tools of trade... And it is through these tools of trade that our economy can advance," he said.
"We really are building trade and growing prosperity."