The province’s Rural Dividend Program has approved Terrace for a $100,000 grant request to explore the feasibility of a transload and logistics facility. The finished study will mark the first concrete action toward what could become a major in-land port.
The study will identify and investigate the best site within municipal boundaries, and assess the business case for all economic, commercial, financial and managerial components. Such a project has already earned the support of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Skeena Sawmills, Chinese developer Taisheng International Investment, Rio Tinto and CN Rail among others.
The city is now requesting proposals from consultants with a project start date sometime in June.
“I’m characterizing it as a 10-year vision for Terrace,” said Danielle Myles, the city’s manager of economic development. “So we’re looking at the rail-access needs for our rail industrial park that is being built out right now, as well as the needs of businesses that are already in Terrace that are looking to get into the rail business.”
The city will be pushing out the completed feasibility study to businesses, investors and stakeholders for maximum exposure.
“We want to get the word out about the opportunities with this,” Myles said. “When we reached out we received some strong and significant support on this — a good cross-section of businesses and interests.”
As the region diversifies its economy from forest-based to other industries, notably within the 2,400-acre industrial park development with lots for up to 30 factories, the city previously said a transload facility is vital for the offloading of raw material and the subsequent transport of finished product via the Port of Prince Rupert.
“We’re looking at our neighbouring community of Prince Rupert and all of the expansion plans with the port,” Myles said. “We’re part of that transportation network and we want to support what’s going on down there, because that access to trade networks is also critical to what we’re trying to do here in Terrace with our industrial park.”
The funding is part of nearly $8 million in 58 project grants awarded to local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations in rural B.C. The grants are intended to help fund projects that will stabilize rural economies. Terrace’s grant was one of seven awarded in the area. They are:
Tahltan Central Government is being awarded $315,000 to deliver the Tahltan Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program (Tahltan-ACE), in partnership with the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development (NCIED) and the University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.
Gitlaxt’aamiks Village Government (New Aiyansh ) is being awarded $288,000 to deliver the Nisga’a Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program (Nisga’a-ACE) in the four Nisga’a villages, in partnership with NCIED, the University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business and Nisga’a Lisims Government.
Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership is being awarded $100,000 to complete the feasibility phase of expanding a micro-hydro project on Pine Creek, near Atlin. It will also explore the potential for a 100-kilometre transmission line to sell power to the Yukon Territory isolated power grid.
The District of New Hazelton is got $250,000 for a northern B.C. tourism marketing initiative that both promotes the region as a whole and highlights local communities. Partners include Kermodei Tourism (Terrace), the Nisga’a Lisims government, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and Tourism Kitimat.
Nisga’a Lisims Government received $100,000 for its Hospitality Art Recreation & Tourism Ambassador program, which is a custom training course aimed at helping members of the Nisga’a community gain entrepreneurial skills and understand how to infuse their culture and traditions into setting up and delivering their own business.
Upper Skeena Development Centre in Hazelton got $90,000 for the Senden holistic land-based program that helps community members, especially youth, grow food sustainability, harvest wild food, and sell locally grown food and preserves on a small scale.