A general look at the land which RTA has gifted to the District of Kitimat.

A general look at the land which RTA has gifted to the District of Kitimat.

Rio Tinto Alcan hands 156 acres of waterfront to Kitimat

Fifty-six acres of waterfront has been given to the District of Kitimat from Rio Tinto Alcan.

(Corrected from an earlier copy saying it was 56 acres. Error stemmed from a typo in the original news release.)

Rio Tinto Alcan announced in an open letter November 12 that they are gifting 156 acres of waterfront to the District of Kitimat.

The land is on the western side of the Kitimat Arm, at Minette Bay.

In the open letter General Manager of BC Operations Gaby Poirier says that as RTA looks to having new neighbours to the smelter site “It is important now, more than ever, to ensure the people of Kitimat continue to have direct ocean access.”

The site is just south of Minette Bay Lodge.

Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan said conversations about receiving land from Rio Tinto Alcan has been ongoing for approximately two years, and efforts really tied in to RTA’s past temporary closure of Hospital Beach due to their smelter construction.

Monaghan said no firm plans have been established as to what the District will do with that land now that it’s in their hands.

In August this year, Vice-president of Business Development and Strategic Projects Paul Henning had hinted that land in Minette Bay could serve as a potential replacement if Hospital Beach had to be closed again in the future.

“We think that from a recreational perspective it could be a nice balance,” Henning told the Sentinel in August.

Future construction at RTA’s wharf could mean more short-term closures at Hospital Beach due to heavy industrial traffic, Henning also said at the time, but the company wanted to find a “long term” solution.”

Surrounding the 56 acres, designated as DL 471, is another District of Kitimat-owned parcel just to the south along the water, the remainder being privately owned lands, including two Rio Tinto Alcan parcels directly above DL 471.