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BC Regional Series: North Coast

Bordering the Pacific Ocean, British Columbia’s North Coast region is rich with forests, mountains and rugged coastlines. This is where the breath-taking scenery of the North Coast combines with quality outdoor recreational attractions, a robust transportation hub and deep-water container port in Prince Rupert, an abundance of natural resources, and countless business development opportunities related to ongoing port development and expanding new sectors.

Historically, commercial fishing, logging and mining have been very important to the economy of the North Coast. The economy has begun to diversify in recent years as a result of new capacity at the Port of Prince Rupert and a rich blend of natural resource and clean tech developments in Terrace, Kitimat and Stewart.

Tourism is a growing sector in the North Coast where the natural landscapes makes the region popular with those who enjoy spending time outdoors. Th pristine wilderness provides a home for many species of wildlife, including grizzly bears, cougars, wolves and salmon. The Kermode bear, also known as the Spirit Bear, is a rare cream-coloured bear found in some areas along the coast. Wildlife viewing tours showing whales, grizzly bears and other fauna at locations like the Khutzeymateen eco reserve are run in the region.

One of the key economic drivers for the North Coast is the Port of Prince Rupert. It is located at the mouth of the majestic Skeena River, and is Canada’s Northern gateway for trade between Asia and North America.  Prince Rupert has the world’s second deepest, natural, ice-free harbour and is North America’s closest port to Asia. Already among the fastest growing ports in North America, the anchorage has received more than $300 million in funding from the port authority, the federal government’s National Trade Corridors Fund, CN Rail and Metlakatla Development Corporation (MDC).

Three enhancement projects are funded and underway at the Port of Prince Rupert. Enhancements will include a new double-track bridge across the Zanardi Rapids, rehabilitation of an existing single-track bridge, and expansion of a causeway between the bridge and Ridley Island. The improvements will also expand roadways, rail infrastructure and a utility corridor to enable train access for the Ridley Island Export Logistics Platform project.

The community of Prince Rupert has a big vision for its growth as part of the Redesign Rupert community planning process and Vision 2030. The city has long been a major force in fishing and seafood harvesting and is now establishing itself as a hot spot for renewable energy, aquaculture, cultural and eco-tourism opportunities. It is ideally situated for wind and tidal power generation and the nutrient rich waters of the North Pacific are a perfect location for shellfish aquaculture.

Terrace is preparing to take advantage of major developments occurring in mining, green energy and LNG, and has become the location of choice for many established businesses and entrepreneurs. Boasting the largest regional population base in this part of the province, Terrace is the service, educational and medical hub of the region. It is centrally located at the crossroads of three major highways, with proximity to deep water ports, rail service and a bustling airport. Check out this video highlighting three key areas for development and investment in Terrace.

Learn more about these communities and other economic development opportunities and supports from Ecotrust and city economic development organizations like Prince Rupert EcDevTerrace EcDevKitimat EcDev and the Lax Kw’alaams Business Development Lp.

You can also visit our communities page or contact the regional representative. Stay tuned for future blogs on other regions of British Columbia, or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter for regular updates.