A site overview how how Terminal A will be expanded.

Hospital Beach not going anywhere yet as Rio Tinto Alcan plans wharf expansion

An expansion of RTA's Terminal A is planned to begin next year following the earlier sale of Terminal B to LNG Canada.

With Rio Tinto Alcan having offered up their Terminal B wharf to LNG Canada for their purposes, RTA now turns to expanding their Terminal A to meet demands.

The company held an open house last Thursday evening that provided an overview of their proposal, which they hope can begin construction in late 2015, once all their permits are in place.

The new terminal, will basically lengthen their existing terminal outwards, reaching directly across from Hospital Beach.

Vice-president of Business Development and Strategic Projects Paul Henning, who guided open house visitors through the proposal, said that there is potential for short-term closures of Hospital Beach over this time, although the reason would be heavy industrial traffic on the road, rather than construction on the water.

That said, the company is looking for a “long term” solution for Hospital Beach.

When asked by the Sentinel if there was existing RTA land that could serve as a potential replacement for Hospital Beach he cautiously offered up an area at Minette Bay as a possibility, but he didn’t want to hype that option up too much at this stage.

“We think that from a recreational perspective it could be a nice balance,” said Henning. “If I had a hesitation in saying that it’s because it’s not instant, it’s not something we can pull up to now this afternoon and it’s ready to go.”

He said that it does hold potential for a long-term plan but he also said it could not work out there.

“We hear the community loud and clear about it’s the only coastal community without its own waterfront access. We like to be part of that solution,” he added.

The construction of Terminal A’s expansion will be Shell Canada supported he said, but managed by Rio Tinto.

“We call it the replacement infrastructure project,” he said.

With an anticipation of receiving required permits by 2015, he hopes work begins in earnest late that year, with the bulk of the project completed in 2016 for a 2017 launch date.

The new terminal would allow two Handymax vessels (which are 46,500 dead weight tonnes), which maintains the capacity the smelter had between uses of Terminal A and B.

The anticipated 2017 start up date will coincide well with other projects in the area, said Henning.

“That’s nice because really the LNG facility will then be in construction and we’ll be stabilized as a smelter operation and be able to get out of that [wharf] and allow LNG Canada to move on.”