Development Moratorium on Flora, Agnew, and Horsey Banks Announced
Thursday, January 17, 2019
The Prince Rupert Port Authority announced today a land use decision that ensures the protection of important marine habitat within its jurisdiction. The Port is imposing a developmental moratorium on Flora, Agnew, and Horsey Banks that will prohibit any industrial development in this marine area adjacent to Lelu Island.
Through the environmental assessment of the Pacific Northwest LNG project by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in 2016, the review determined that a terminal project could be developed without significant adverse environmental effects in the area. However, in order to mitigate environmental risks, the project concept was complex and costly featuring a 1.6 km suspension bridge to avoid environmentally sensitive areas. The Port recognizes that any development in this marine area would be a challenge and acknowledges there are lingering concerns and uncertainty related to how a development in this area may pose risk to the health and ecology of the Skeena River estuary and its role in supporting healthy salmon populations in the system.
“We recognize the importance that a healthy salmon population has to our communities, in particular First Nations, and we share this value,” said Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “We know that this site has both challenges and concerns with development and there are superior development sites available for future projects at the Port of Prince Rupert that are broadly supported by our stakeholders.”
The decision to impose a developmental moratorium on this marine area was made through an ongoing dialogue with hereditary and elected leaders from Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams.
“The hereditary leaders of the Gitwilgyoots tribe of Lax Kw’alaams welcome the moratorium on industrial development on Flora, Horsey and Agnew Banks,” said Wii Smooygit Lyoon’anns (Carl Sampson Sr.). “The decision signifies a recognition of the concerns raised in regard to potential environmental impacts that port development could have in the area.”
“The Metlakatla First Nation welcomes the development moratorium on Flora, Agnew and Horsey Banks in Coast Tsimshian territory,” said Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor for the Metlakatla First Nation. “These areas are part of the Skeena River estuary and provide important juvenile habitat for several species of salmon that are of critical importance to our members. This moratorium is a positive step toward ensuring the sustainability of this vital resource.”
“We are pleased with the decision to impose the developmental moratorium on Flora, Horsey and Agnew Banks within the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Land Use Plan to guide future port expansion,” said Mayor John Helin of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation. “We feel that this moratorium is in keeping with our mutual goals of safe and sustainable economic growth.”
The moratorium will be formalized in PRPA’s Land Use Management Plan, as part of a review of the plan beginning later in 2019. The land use plan review will include public consultation. PRPA undergoes a review of its Land Use Management Plan with the purpose of informing and guiding future development of federal Crown land within its jurisdiction.