COMMENTARY · 28th March 2010
Headline - Rio Tinto Alcan launches $1 million fund to stimulate aluminium fabrication businesses in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region
Rio Tinto Alcan has been in Kitimat 50 plus years, in fact they built Kitimat to house their workers (a company town). They have gained billions of dollars in profits from the sale of aluminum and now power and I see very little evidence that they put anything back.
The potential to offer incentives to investors to set up symbiotic manufacturing facilities looms large in Kitimat and has since the start. Now with our access to a deep sea harbor, good rail access, adequate road access and even Airline access; it’s a “No Brainer”.
But RTA continues to suck the Billons out and only put wages back, I say shame, shame when will RTA support our community like they do in Quebec.
Two Sides to that Coin
Comment by Michael Avery on 31st March 2010
I have seen a lot of pulling back of Alcan (now RTA) over the years. The hand over of internet access to OSG, selling of property (like the guest house on Albatross), closure of the dock, among other things that can be said to be non-community.
I think all this started though after the NDP (gov't at the time) cancelled the Kemano Completion project. This was after Alcan had spent about 500 million and had the second tunnel ready to go.
Right after that Kitimat took Alcan to court for not living up to it's agreement after just getting betrayed by the government of the day. I did find it amusing for awhile though as both sides fought some of their battle in the form of political cartoons in the local newspapers.
I'm not saying Kitimat didn't have a point, but it was bad timing.
These actions were bound to engender some bad feelings about our province and our community. Let's not forget that RTA is based in Montreal, where perhaps their community feeling is more heart felt. Having lived in Montreal for 5 years I can say that I find the people there hold a grudge more than out west.
Kitimat council is not called the "Council of No" because they get along with business.
It's only now that our town and land values in a death spiral that economic development has become a vital agenda.
So although RTA may be pulling away from our community, it hasn't really been getting along with us too well of late.
Perhaps it's time for some bridge building with RTA to create a more friendly atmosphere.
My two cents. Spend them as you will.
Comment by Danny Nunes on 30th March 2010
This isnt even a question of biting the hand that feeds because that hand hasnt fed anyone or anything for quite some time...at least not in Kitimat.
I gave Alcan the benefit of the doubt much like the commentors here because I couldnt just condemn them outright years ago because yes they have in fact provided the community with employment for over 50 years and yes they also have made all sorts of contributions to local charitys as well....but its time to stop pretending that is still happening.
How many years frankly have we heard promises to modernize in Kitimat....over a decade now and yet we have seen nothing...well thats not true actually....we see a region being completely wiped out and yet people still want to grovel for scraps like a dog at a dinner table...you arent getting anything....you can sit there and whimper all you like but your master will just continue to eat and laugh at your despair.
I know all too well the true reality of this dire situation. Kitimat did not bite the hand that fed it...the hand that fed it slapped it in the face and so did all the major industrys that also once called Kitimat home.
Where is Methanex...gone
Where is Eurocan now? gone.....took a very nice subsidy and showed everyone just how little good corporate citizenry extends.
Corporations dont have feelings...you cant piss them off or make them take there ball and run because in the end...its all about money..and if theres money to be made they will do whatever they please so dont give me this BS that they will walk...if that was the case that would have occured a decade ago.
If anything you should thank people in Kitimat for actually attempting to go to court and trying to get a fair shake for your resources so they wouldnt just be given away for free with no benefit because there has been none...tell me a single new job thats been created in over a decade....not just some money to fund an event that benefits no one but a few upper class citizenry.
But I know all too well how the other side will respond....oh you are so negative blah blah blah...reality is not negativity, fact is not negativity.
And if you want even more proof about the future of Rio Tinto in this region...why dont you have a talk with Paul Henning and ask him how many pots are currently burned out in kitimat at this very moment....If you get an honest answer please tell him to go before Kitimat Council and tell the public live on tv because only one kitimat councillor has the guts to ask that he come before them and tell them the truth.
Oh and pick up copies of the Ingot dating back to last year and keep a close eye on any mention of "emissions" and "fluoride" and see just what the future plan....really is.
Uncle Al is Crock Full!
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 30th March 2010
Then there are those who watch Rio Tinto Alcan reduce their workforce to a skeleton crew of what it used to be, with a promise to reduce the workforce again after modernization. Believe me companies come here to make money not fishing for compliments. They'll come here to exploit a situation or resource and make money. Man up, you don't have to kiss someones butt cause they give you a job, they get something back for their investment and in some cases a lot back. It's the way the companies have treated the town not the way the people have treated the companies that count here.Methanex and Westfraser please take a bow! Believe me a few letters to the editor gets people thinking and talking not discouraging bussinesses from coming here. Anyone who says a company didn't come here because of some lettrs to the editor is stringing you a crock of b.s. How much kicking in the guts do people have to take. Well some people can chase a company down that downward spiral kissing their butt all the way..not me!
Comment by Bob McLeod on 29th March 2010
The tone of this article is one of the reasons that would make any company shy away from investing in a community.
Why would anyone want to invest where they are not wanted or respected and are subjected to elected officials who seem to want to micro-manage their business?
The power sales court case and the resulting community division should be things of the past, but unfortunately there are those that can't move forward. Until they do, the town will continue it's downward spiral.
Hold your breath
Comment by Domingos Rocha on 28th March 2010
That is a sign that they RTA are stimulating economic growth ,and it should and very well may happen like that here as well, once the infastructure is updated as promised.,then it would be more appealling with cooperation from others to promote aluminum fabrication industries into the area.