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REPORTING · 28th April 2011
Walter McFarlane
Under reports at the City Council Meeting on April 18th, a report was delivered to Council on the topic of a Harbour Master. The report from staff looked at whether it was advisable to reinstate the Harbour Master Position.

The report included a history of the harbour. With the port being a private port and not a public port, the report concluded having a Federal presence would mitigate the advantage of being a private port. It was recommended the report to be received and filed.

Councillor Randy Halyk still wished to have a Harbour Master in Kitimat to advance economic strategies, grow the port and have local input and to oversee activities in the municipal bounders. Mayor Joanne Monaghan wished for this to be a notice of motion as it was lengthy Council needed some time to think about it.

However, Walter McLellen pointed out it fit with the report. Halyk said it was clear the port was stagnant and they need to increase activity. “We have a one horse port at this point, we have no way of turning our potential into anything,” said Halyk.

He said the private port scenario has not taken Kitimat anywhere. Councillor Mario Feldhoff did not see the activity being stagnant naming several projects including Rio Tinto Alcan’s Modernization and the LNG. He suggested moving economic development forward and further develop the port. He understood a harbour master managed the port activities.

Councillor Rob Goffinet said this was a serious change in the status of the private port. He was told a private port means less red tape for shippers. The motion would make the port a Federal jurisdiction which would be a big change. He needed more advice.

Halyk said they were already under federal jurisdiction as a private port and they do not have any Federal Buildings or departments, they have to come from Rupert. He said they could maintain a private port with oversight. He said there were some problems with vessels.

“Without having someone local who knows these things and can actually see it on the ground and address them, we run into a scenario where we don’t have any input,” said Halyk.

He said the port was being run by corporations which do not give the Council value other then jobs. However, there was potential for the port to be an import export scenario where small businesses can grow.

Monaghan said there were problems with what he was saying. The motion was called and failed. Only Halyk voted in favour.