Terrace city council approves inland port OCP amendments
Terrace city council has approved the proposed OCP by-law amendments related to the controversial inland port project spearheaded by Progressive Ventures. The port would facilitate the transfer of goods between trucks and trains and provide space to some new businesses.
The next step would be passing zoning by-law amendments, followed by obtaining various municipal and provincial permits required before construction. The lack of industrial tax within the city was a considerable part of the deliberations. Councillor Sean Bujitas says budget and taxation way heavily on him since the city doesn't have a large revenue stream.
"Kitimat put a 1% tax increase, and they see almost $300,000 in revenue, which is mostly paid by industry. Terrace puts a 1% tax increase, and we see $140,000, which is pretty much paid by commercial and you and I. If we want the province to continue supporting us, we need to prove we have done everything we can to support ourselves. The port itself will not create a lot of jobs, 20 to 25, but it will create spin-off jobs. It will also lend support to the industrial park allowing products built there to be easily shipped. This support might be the catalyst to get the Skeena Industrial park going. Terrace is at a crossroads, but the crossroads are highways 16 and 37, and in order to stay relevant, we need to diversify and be open to business or lose our status of the services and supply center of the northwest."
As the inland port project winds its way through the approval process, worried area residents expressed their concerns over the development, such as increased traffic, noise pollution, building on prime real estate that can negatively alter the cities aesthetic and affect the Keith Estates Neighbourhood concept plan.
Several councillors said they expect to see Progressive Ventures take steps to mitigate community concerns as the development process continues. City council was pleased with the amount of public engagement they received regarding this project. However, there were concerns mentioned by council about inaccurate information being spread throughout the community.