A delegation from China visited Kitimat last week to check out its suitability for a break bulk dock they are looking at building.
And, says mayor Joanne Monaghan, they were “very enthusiastic” about what they saw and learned.
Monaghan said the company many represented – Bei Da Huang – is one of the largest agricultural groups in China.
She said the main agricultural products of the company are listed as grain, oil plants (canola), sugar beets, meat, milk, fruit and aqua products.
It is now looking to expand its operationsinto Canada.
It also owns tracts of land in Saskatchewan and mining properties in Western Canada and needed a facility to get those products to China.
Filling in some of the background, Monaghan said at the time Rio Tinto Alcan purchased the former Eurocan dock, there were five industries that had been looking at shipping through Kitimat.
She therefore put the word out that Kitimat would be interested in someone building a dock here.
That included premier Christy Clark when she was up here last month.
“All of a sudden this group popped up and wanted to see what we had in the way of locations for a wharf.”
Monaghan said the company had looked at Prince Rupert but that port was not set up for their kind of products.
Another member of the delegation was more interested in what was happening on the LNG front – he represented a pipe manufacturing company, Han Feng Evergreen.
The delegation would now go back to China and look at the logistics.
They also want to meet with Clark when she visits China next month.
“I know most of her time is already booked up,” Monaghan conceded, but nevertheless hoped the premier might be able to find some time for them.
As for the delegation’s reaction to its visit here, “They were very enthusiastic and didn’t even know Kitimat existed,” she said.
She added on their next visit, company representatives would be talking with CN and the Haisla.
Monaghan said that with all this potential development, “we’re going to have to start going down the [west side of the] channel more and more – and that’s going to mean Crown land.”
And get the government to designate the access road as a provincial highway.