Prince Rupert Mayor Seeks Help in Dispute with Port Edward

Brittany Webster

The dispute over tax revenue and services between the Prince Rupert and Port Edward has reached a new level.

Bell Media has learned that after their mutual aid agreement for firefighting lapsed in February, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain wrote to B-C's Minister of Municipal Affairs seeking help.

The letter alleges Port Edward had threatened to cut off water to industries on Watson Island and consequently Ridley Island and has "no will to legitimately participate in meaningful dialogue".

Port Edward Mayor Knut Bjorndal denies the allegations.

"We never phoned the proponents of Watson Island. The only conversation I had was in Lee Brain's office in the end of February saying that we could turn off the water to Watson Island. So anybody who called the proponents would have to be the city of Prince Rupert, because we don't talk to the proponents on Watson Island, they aren't within our municipal jurisdiction."

In his letter, Brain said it is time for the province to bring forward a resolution, and the best outcome would be to de-incorporate the District of Port Edward.

Brain adds that de-incorporating Port Edward would end their contentious revenue-sharing agreement for Ridley Island and the city could deal with the North Coast Regional District to provide firefighting and other services to Port Edward.

Bjorndal says the district opposes both de-incorporating or amalgamating, alleging Prince Rupert wants all the tax benefits from industry on Ridley Island, but Port Edward is the impacted community.

"This is just Prince Rupert's way of bullying us with the ministry, and I don't think that's the proper way to go."

Municipal Affairs has confirmed it's in conversation with both municipalities.

The City of Prince Rupert has declined further comment.

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