The PRSC

The PRSC Limited Partnership was formed as a result of one landowner falling upon hard times, and the idea of a “joint venture” being adopted as a solution to that difficulty.

In 2003, Norske Canada, then-owners of the paper mill, were independently approached by the Powell River Regional Economic Development Society (PRREDS) and the Sliammon Development Corporation (SDC) – the intent was to simultaneously acquire waterfront landholdings deemed non-essential to mill operations – and to help the mill survive.

Others had expressed interest in the land, but to their credit Norske Canada saw value in the idea of collaborative solutions.  A memorandum of understanding was duly constructed and signed in 2004, two long years of discussions followed, during which Norske Canada became Catalyst Paper Corporation.  Finally, in 2006 it was announced that an agreement had been made between the Powell River Waterfront Development Corporation (PRWDC), Catalyst Paper Corporation, and Tees’Kwat Land Holdings (TLH) to form the PRSC Limited Partnership.

This trilateral partnership lasted for several years, during which two land parcels were sold by them.  The PRSC Limited Partnership was restructured in 2014, when Catalyst removed itself from the equation.  Specifically:

source: PRSC background document (Sept 2015)

From my perspective, the most profound change was the initial sale of 325 hectares of land to the PRSC – without dealing with the timber rights associated with trees growing upon them.

In earlier contracts (in fact there were at least five of them), the company known as “558654 British Columbia Ltd” had granted one-time timber harvest rights to MacMillan Bloedel Limited for “the timber growing on the land as of May 31st, 1998”.  These licenses were “grandfathered” and passed from owner to owner, involving Pacifica, Weyerhaeuser, and most recently Island Timberlands.   With the exception of Millennium Park, these timber licences remain in effect to this day.

Imagine that for a moment.  You just bought a piece of property.  Only you can’t develop it because somebody else owns the trees.  You’re not allowed to cut the trees yourself.  You don’t know exactly when or how the trees will eventually be cut, or even if the trees will be cut, because the timber licensee may change its mind and simply decide to wait until more favorable market conditions emerge – for it.

You can sell the land, sure, but because that same grandfathered timber license will be attached to the property, your selling price will be lower compared to other properties that are not bound by such encumbrances.

What a deal.

[UPDATE: Dec 2018.  The PRSC has been dissolved.  See here]


Click on any thumbnail to see full-screen images of the changes in land tenure over time…