Before 1950 the Kitimat township was a small fishing village at the head of the Kitimat Arm of the Douglas Channel, a deepwater fjord.
The company built a dam, 16 km (10 mi) tunnel, powerhouse, 82 km (51 mi) transmission line, a deep sea terminal and smelter.
The company also designed, laid out and assisted with the initial construction of the city.
At the time, the combined development was considered "the most expensive project ever attempted by private industry." Alcan employed the services of city planner Clarence Stein in order to ensure the community design facilitated an environment that would attract and retain workers, although Alcan intended it to not be a company town.
Today, Kitimat benefits from the quality of planning resulting from the Garden City design concept.
Stein's design kept industry well separated from the community with large areas for expansion.
He also created looped streets surrounding an urban City Centre Mall and linked by over 45 km (28 mi) of walkways connecting to all areas of the community.
The neighbouring community of Terrace is also in advanced stages of approval for a number of clean energy projects along with the associated infrastructure for linking those projects to the provincial electrical grid.
Air services for the community are provided through Northwest Regional Airport, with connections to Prince George, Smithers, and Vancouver.
All this led to the identification of the Eutsuk/Ootsa/Nechako River drainage basin as a potential site for a sizable reservoir.