Saturday, October 15, 2005

K-Town Scores The Enbridge Pipeline

To hell with poverty
We'll get drunk on cheap wine
--Gang of Four

The former northern BC economic powerhouse, Kitimat, has been suffering because of Alcan's reneging on an ancient agreement: the aluminum producer would provide manufacturing jobs in return for the massive plots of land in northern BC used to make hydro-electricity.

Of course, with agreements to encourage aluminum production with a combination of supercheap electricity and access to northern rivers for turbine construction, Alcan has relied more the sales of electricity and has forgone upgrading the northern plant. The demise of the antiquated and environmentally dangerous aluminum smelter is imminent. Needlesss to say, there is a considerable court battle going on to resolve the issue.

In the midst of this ongoing saga, Kitimat has scored a coup: The Enbridge pipeline from Alberta:
$4-billion pipeline to land in Kitimat
GATEWAY I Enbridge project means thousands of jobs for northwest B.C.

Scott Simpson
Vancouver Sun; With files from Leanne Ritchie, Prince Rupert Daily News
Saturday, October 15, 2005

The final decision on a Pacific terminal for Enbridge's $4-billion Gateway pipeline project came down to money, with Kitimat announced Friday as the Calgary company's preferred location.

The sprawling pipeline project, slated to span some 1,200 kilometres from Edmonton to the Pacific Ocean, is expected to create a mini-job boom and economic spinoffs worth about $1.5 billion for the B.C. economy.

A route to Prince Rupert would have cost at least $500 million more than Kitimat, although an Enbridge spokesman said communities across northern British Columbia will benefit from the project.

The company expects unspecified "thousands" of jobs during a two-year construction phase and about 75 permanent jobs including about 35 at the terminal in Kitimat.

It's a start. With expansion of port infrastructure in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Port Alberni and now Kitimat, the Westcoast is looking like the jump off for the trade to the Far East.

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