The announcement Monday that the federal government intends to turn the private port of Kitimat into a public port, an announcement confirmed by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver in Terrace, Tuesday, came as a surprise to Rio Tinto Alcan, which now operates the port.
This morning RTA issued a brief statement:
This announcement was not discussed with Rio Tinto Alcan in advance.
We are endeavoring to have meetings with the federal government to gain clarity on this announcement as it specifically relates to our operations in Kitimat.
On Wednesday, Kitmat Mayor Joanne Monaghan told CFTK news the community was never consulted.
Monaghan told CFTK she still hasn’t been able to get anyone with the federal government to tell her more about the plan.
Since today, Thursday, is budget day, it is likely that federal officials would be unavailable for further comment until next week.
Who pays for upgrades?
Another point that is unclear from Monday’s announcement is whether or not the federal government fully intends to take over the navigation aids and enhancements on Douglas Channel and the BC Coast. If so, that means that the Canadian taxpayer would become, at a time of budget cuts, responsible for millions of dollars that Enbridge Northern Gateway has consistently said that the company will pay for.