Crews survey the damage at the scene of a coal train derailment where 27 cars came off the track near New Hazelton, spilling some coal into Mission Creek. If the Port of Prince Rupert’s (PPR) expansion goes to plan, CN will be shipping a lot more flammable gasses through the Bulkley Valley. (Emergency Management B.C. photo)

Prince Rupert port expansion could bring more flammable gases through Bulkley Valley

The port authority has seen an increasing amount of hydrocarbon gases over recent years

If the Port of Prince Rupert’s (PPR) expansion goes to plan, CN will be shipping a lot more flammable gases through the Bulkley Valley.

At Smithers council’s Oct. 8 meeting Ken Veldman, PPR’s vice president of public affairs and sustainability said the expansion could be rapid.

“Going forward the port expects to double its volumes again over the next decade,” he told council.

Coun. Casda Thomasked what types of goods PPR has been seeing being shipped more.

Veldman responded it was an extremely diversified list, but could be divided into two main areas.

The first is containers of goods such as agricultural products, proteins, forestry products, plastics and resins.

The other is a number of different hydrocarbon gases.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert Port Authority announces $161K and first projects in new Skeena River salmon program

“The other exports that we see a lot of growth in is what you’re already seeing in terms of LPGs (liquefied petroleum gases) and propane but other bulk liquids from that perspective … I mentioned Vopak [which] is looking at liquids such as methanol, butane, propane.

“As Alberta continues to ramp up its [manufacturing] from a refining perspective, diesel, gasoline, etc. etc. so bulk liquids I think will be one part of that.”

But while the increase in volume could mean a few more jobs, it will also certainly turn a few heads. In January, Friends of Morice-Bulkley and Friends of Wild Salmon hosted a talk at the Old Church in Smithers about the same Vopak deal referenced by Veldman.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert final Canadian stop in first successful shipment of semi-solid bitumen

Instead of excited, they were afraid of the potential repercussions of an explosion should one of the rail cars carrying flammable goods derail such as in the Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster where a 74-car freight train carrying crude oil derailed in downtown Lac-Mégantic, QC, killing 42, with five more missing and presumed dead.

“There are several proposals on the books that would dramatically increase the transport of dangerous goods by rail through communities and watersheds in north-central and northwestern British Columbia,” a description for the event read.

“The most current one is Vopak Pacific Canada which is a proposed project for bulk storage facilities (AKA tank farm) on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert.

“The proposal would result in the movement of 240 rail cars per day on the CN mainline (through Smithers to Prince Rupert) and 150 tankers on B.C.’s north coast and in the Skeena estuary.

“The proposed liquid petroleum products include diesel, gasoline, methanol, which are both volatile and toxic.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Town grants Chamber $20K

Chamber estimates up to $65K in lost revenue, turns to council for help

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New Salt Boutique the realization of a vision for owner Caroline Marko

Marko combines the rough and the soft in a minimalist, clean airy space

Coastal GasLink pipeline work ramps up

With spring thaw ending, workers start to arrive for summer season

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read