Monday, March 15, 2010

Bill Belsey's back and looking for a conversation

“Sun Wave Investments still has an interest, and I would say a vested interest, in that property...Sun Wave would like to have that property back." -- Bill Belsey spokesman for Sun Wave Forest Products, throwing another log on that fire of intrigue over the ongoing efforts to sell the Watson Island pulp mill site.

The last we had heard of the former MLA for the North coast, Bill Belsey was heading off southbound in the motor home to seek out some sunshine and the life of leisure. So it was a bit of a surprise to see him resurface on the local scene as the apparent point man for the Sun Wave group, the one time owner and delinquent tax payers who currently are involved in court appearances with the City of Prince Rupert over the status equipment at  the old pulp mill site.

A surprise course of litigation, that seems to have slowed down to glacial the process of selling that property for employment generating possibilities and removing the burden of monthly maintenance fees from the City of Prince Rupert's financial accounts.

Earlier this week The Northern View outlined Belsey's duties on behalf of the Sun Wave group, apparently the conduit from which Sun Wave would like some form of communication from the City.

From his efforts we learn that Sun Wave still has desires to retain ownership of the property, something which most likely won't be well received by weary taxpayers in Prince Rupert, but might find some traction as this process winds its way through the British Columbia legal system.

In what seems to highlight the bizzarro nature of this whole mess, Sun Wave which was thought to be out of the picture back in September when they tossed back the keys back to the city .  Now for the moment is one of the few participants in the fun and games of this Watson Island fiasco which has some kind of actual idea to share as to what they would do with the site. Lax Kw'alaams also offered up a hint as to what they might do with the property if they were the successful bidder, but for the moment it seems all bids are on hold, all plans on the back burner.

Of course the already burned residents of Prince Rupert might ask why they didn't follow through on some of these ideas prior to September, but then that's the kind of thing that keeps lawyers heavy in billable hours we imagine.

What seems worrisome to those not sanctioned to the many in camera sessions at City Hall, is the ever changing dynamic of this process.  From the hopeful statements of the Mayor in September that it would be a quick process of turning the property over to another owner, we now find that potential sale process stalled and the very real prospect that it may drag on for the foreseeable future.

High among the main concern for local taxpayers is the prospect of as Mr.Belsey puts it the "costly litigation path we are going down." 

The lack of information on the issues surrounding Watson Island is leaving residents frustrated at the latest developments and concerned about a potential black hole of debt while the issues amble along at their own pace.

So far Mr. Belsey seems to be the one doing the most of the talking, it might be helpful for the residents of the city if their elected officials might weigh in with some reassuring advice along the way here.

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