Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New look Colonial Coal website still features Watson Island as high on company radar

We haven't heard much from the City of Prince Rupert of late when it comes to the status of the legal situation related to the Watson Island industrial site.

But if the entries on a newly updated website for Colonial Coal are any indication, the Vancouver based company still has its eyes set on the North Coast for potential investment.

The proposal for development of the one time pulp mill site remains one of the three major projects listed by the company, sharing webspace with two coal developments that the company is currently working to develop.

A string of press released related to Colonial Coal's interest in Watson Island is also archived as part of the information on the website.

Among some of the background notes from the company are the original announcement of August of 2012, as well as the announcement of the commencement of litigation related to the industrial site that began back in March of 2014.

Watson Island, still a key element that Colonial Coal is focused on
in its newly revised corporate website

Notes related to Watson Island can also be found in the company's Annual Financial Statement released in January, which lists the Industrial site as one of its ongoing concerns.

The Company’s principal activities include the acquisition, exploration and development of coal properties located in Canada. The Company is also pursuing the acquisition of Watson Island, located just outside of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, for the purpose of developing a seaport terminal and supporting industrial park.

The plans for Watson Island also are key to the information flow from the website where it's noted that Colonial Coal intends to "create a new shipment terminal and industrial park, providing permanent direct and indirect jobs and significantly expanding the city's industrial tax base".

A further listing on the website for watdevco.com which it would appear has been created to provide more background for the development plans, features the notice that the website is under development.

Since announcement of litigation of 2014, the City has been involved with what now has become a lengthy legal process and one which shows little indication of winding down any time soon.

Though there have been few updates from City Council for the public related to that process, or how much longer it is anticipated to carry on for.

As part of her update to Prince Rupert City Council on May 9th, the City's Financial Officer Corinne Bomben outlined some background of the elements to the annual Audited Financial Statements.

As part of the three page preamble to the Statements, she included some notes related to the second year of Prince Rupert Legacy Incorporated.  The CFO noted that of the $1.3 million budgeted by the City for planning for Major projects, $900,000 was spent by the City, the balance of the dividend from the Prince Rupert Legacy Incorporated was directed to roads and the dismantling of Watson Island.

The full overview of those Financial Statements can be found from the Agenda for the May 9th Council session, running from page ten to 47.

Watson Island is also noted in the financial listings of the Statement on pages 37 and 38, having provided for Revenues of $509,794 with a Budget variance listed at 389,794, with Expenditures of $1,359,148 and a budget variance of -$1,239,148.

And while the topic of Watson Island was not part of the Public discussion related to the City's recent Budget process, an indication as to how much the City has spent on legal fees for 2015 related to the ongoing court case may be outlined shortly.

In the weeks to come, the City should be releasing the final notes related to it's financial process with the delivery of its Statement of Financial Information for the year, listed among those entries should be a breakdown of expenses paid out by the city over the last year.

In 2014, the City paid out close to 700,000 dollars in legal fees, though no breakdown was provided as part of that report at the time as to how that legal advice had been directed.

The controversial Industrial site also returned to the news cycle in October of 2015, when a ghost of the past returned to offer up a declaration, with the former proponent of the Sun Wave organization offering up  a number of objections to past events related to the industrial site.

That surprise announcement resulted in one of the few responses of late from the City related to the Watson Island story, with a media release that outlined the city's response to the objections.

The industrial site was also the focus of an online auction in November of last year, where many of the aging assets of the old mill site were placed up for bid.

However, since that time Watson Island has been a topic that doesn't seem to generate much in the way of updates from the City, either through Council sessions or by way of the city's website.

Leaving residents perhaps to still wonder what the future of the site may hold, or when the legal process currently underway may finally be resolved.

You can review some of the past items of note related to the Watson Island files from our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

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