Watson Island Seaport Terminal

August 1, 2012 Watson Island Development Corporation (WatCo) confirmed today that it has presented an offer to purchase the former Skeena Cellulose pulp mill properties in Prince Rupert and Port Edward.

About This Project

Prince Rupert and Port Edward have accepted a conditional offer from Watco to purchase the former pulp mill site, a site which the communities acquired through a tax sale process. Watco is a venture made up of Metlakatla First Nation, Lax Kw'alaams First Nation, Colonial Coal and Hillsborough Resources. Sale conditions include the development, approval and funding of a remediation plan for the land, which is contaminated as a result of decades of pulp mill operation. WatCo has offered to fund the planning process and make a significant contribution to the cleanup, pending provincial government approval.

Watco has purchased the property to develop a seaport terminal and industrial park. The eventual re-development of this industrial property will be a huge benefit to the economies of Prince Rupert and Port Edward. Currently there is a need in the Northwest British Columbia to invest in Industrial Land Developments. Demand for such lands is growing most notably in response to the expanding opportunities arising from the increasing transportation and logistics industry in Prince Rupert driven by the increased traffic at the Port of Prince Rupert.

WatCo plans to redevelop Watson Island as a bulk shipping terminal, with a supporting industrial park. Watson Island is an ideal site for a bulk terminal, as its existing marine and rail infrastructure can readily accommodate smaller bulk vessels, including Handymax-sized ships.

The terminal could accommodate a range of commodities, including coal. Watson Island is also one of the closest points in North America to Asia, allowing for a shorter shipping route than other major ports.

The redevelopment of this site offer a unique opportunity for Watco and the communities. This site has the advantages of having transportation infrastructure in place in terms of rail, ocean and road access and could host a variety of potential uses. The redevelopment and re-use of Watson Island could contribute economic and social benefits that include: increased tax revenues at all levels of government, community revitalization, business opportunities, economic development, and new employment opportunities.

Project Status

Estimated Project Start Date

Estimated Completion Date
Status: on hold

Project Partners

Metlakatla First Nation
Lax Kw'alaams First Nation
Colonial Coal International Corp.
Hillsborough Resources


Proponent Contact

Watson Island Development Corp.
Tel: 1-866-380-0108

Economic Development Contact

Paul Vendittelli
Economic Development Officer
City of Prince Rupert

Northern Development Initiative Trust

© Copyright 2013-2019 Northern Development Initiative Trust. All Rights Reserved.