Mayor Lee Brain and former mill workers toured Watson Island on Nov. 26. (Mayor Lee Brain Twitter)

In Our Opinion: Watson reborn

Smaller projects on the North Coast require less time to acquire regulatory approvals

After many years as the thorn in the city’s side, Watson Island has found a bud that could bloom if all conditions are right.

With the vestiges of the pulp mill uprooted from the site, the brownfield is ready to foster a new industry.

Pembina Pipeline has decided to build a $270 million propane export terminal on the rebranded Watson Intermodal Trade and Logistics Park. The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) project will be the second of its kind on the North Coast. Slightly smaller than its neighbouring project on Ridley Island, Pembina will ship 600,000 tonnes of propane a year, half the amount of what AltaGas is shipping once its facility is up and running.

There seems to be a lot of excitement and confidence, especially considering this project, unlike AltaGas, has yet to receive the regulatory and environmental approvals. Perhaps lessons have been learned from the withering liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

READ MORE: Pembina to build propane terminal on Watson Island

Instead of proposing a massive facility unlike ever seen before on the North Coast, these are baby projects in comparison that don’t require the same intensive process — if any — for approvals.

Years of investing in the idea of LNG, and under the many wilted projects, an unsuspecting growth is emerging with a similar acronym — LPG.

READ MORE: WCC LNG office to close in Rupert

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