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October 27, 2017 5:42 pm

Citizens Rise Up to Protect Greenspace From Destruction

Saturday, May 6, 2017 @ 6:58 AM

Mike Morris, Shirley Bond and Mayor Lyn Hall at announcement of the preferred site of the new Prince George Transit Facility. Photo 250News

Prince George, B.C. – The proposal to locate a new BC Transit operations and maintenance facility in a very popular and well-used greenspace at 18th Avenue and Foothills Boulevard has become a highly visible issue in the city as residents step up to the plate to passionately voice their opposition.

Susanne Williamson speaks on behalf of a large and growing group of concerned citizens who are against the plan and want to save the greenspace  “We oppose this location because of a variety of factors including the use of the area for recreationalists, for wildlife, for maintaining habitat connectivity with the university.”  She says  the  proposed location is also  bad for  residents “This proposal would be putting an industrial area with, at its maximum capacity, a bus transiting in and out of the facility every minute in a residential neighbourhood.”

Following the first public information meeting on the proposal on March 8th, a Facebook group was formed and an online petition launched.  Williamson says they have collected postal codes on their online petition  which  already has nearly 1,600 signatures from  residents throughout  the City.

The petition will be submitted to Council for the meeting on third reading and the public hearing as the proposal  requires both a change to the Official Community Plan, and rezoning of the property.

The project represents a $23 million commitment to Prince George transit.  The City would contribute 17 percent of the cost, up to $3.8 million.  Some of that contribution would be in land, some in cash.  Williamson  also raises concerns about possible hidden costs she  believes could  hit the $5 million dollar mark.

“For $5 million Council could also be choosing to remediate an existing industrial site and have it ready to be developed into a bus service yard” says Williamson

An Open House, which the City is hosting to provide residents with more information on the proposed transit facility, will take place on Thursday, May 11th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the 2nd floor lounge at the Kin Centre.

The exact date for third reading and the public hearing has not been set.



Yes, this must be stopped. Use the old Kenworth location. Some renos will get it up and running in no time.

    I would imagine that site would be pretty expensive to buy.

      It won’t be cheap but I’m guessing 10% of $23 million. Anyone look it up on BC Assessment website?

Once again we have a situation where the City wants to locate in a certain area, for various reasons. The problem is none of the reasons make sense to the citizens of Prince George.

This reminds me of when the City wanted to locate the community energy system at 4th and Scotia St. East of Queensway with all its attendent industrial traffic and pollution.

With five or six industrial parks in the City one would think that we could find an appropriate location for this terminal without going into the area of 18th and Foothills.

Once again these decisions are being pushed by City staff who have various and sundry reasons for their decisions, however once again they are forgetting who pays their salaries.

We pay City staff to make the right decisions, and to be honest and upfront about how they arrive at their decisions. Seems they like to hide behind closed doors, in closed meetings, to make these decisions, and the public only becomes aware of whats happening after the fact.

Now we are faced with a confrontation because the City tried to do an end run on the people who use this area rather than locating an industry in an industrial park.

    Why do proponents of the 18th and Foothills site want to put it there?

      There is a piece of property close to the site that was for sale but I see a sold sign recently appeared on it. Was that for this development or??

      Maybe because some insider owns a chunk of the land ?
      I cannot see any other reason for putting the SPCA and a bus maintenance facility in an area that is zoned for recreation and residential dwellings.

      This area was zoned residential. The land owner put a road in and was about to build a home. Last fall the city bought him out and is rezoning the area.

    “Once again these decisions are being pushed by City staff who have various and sundry reasons for their decisions, however once again they are forgetting who pays their salaries. ”

    It doesn’t matter who pays their salaries, once you get on with the City (or any taxpayer funded organization) you’re pretty much untouchable. You can be the most incompetent person out there but there is zero accountability to the public.

    It’s a system that really needs to be changed. Give the power back to the people, put ‘service’ and ‘civil’ back into the job.

    “Once again these decisions are being pushed by City staff who have various and sundry reasons for their decisions, however once again they are forgetting who pays their salaries.”

    Palopu – stop blaming City staff for any agenda they may or may not have. They can make any recommendation they want. The buck stops with Council. Period. If the BC Transit operations and maintenance facility is approved for this area because greenspace/residential has been re-zoned – hold the people making the final decision accountable.

      Why should we stop blaming City staff?

      They have been hired as “experts” in their area. They are the ones who are the first filter of a proposal such as this.

      They recommend some, and they oppose some.

      Council then decide whether to go against the recommendation or support the recommendation.

      In this case, planning recommended support. Not only that, but the City Manager rubberstamped the recommendation of the department she oversees.

      Apart from one Councillor, the rest voted to “hear” the public.

      So, this will be a test of Council and how much they “hear” the public.

      This property should never have been earmarked by the City for a light industrial use. It should have been off limits from the beginning.

      Once again, City Council does not care about the stress they create among its residents. Council was elected to reduce such stress and City Administration was hired to provide Council with well researched justification reports for such proposals which they either recommend or deny. They have typically shown that they are incapable of providing that research.

      And all that from heads of departments who earn well over the $100,000 figure.

      The blame game solves nothing. It requires action.

      As I’ve stated in my post,and you reiterated in yours, the buck stops with Council. If the City Manager is not acting in the best interests of the taxpayers or vision of the City, then Council can make the decision to fire the City Manager. The staff get away with behavior because Council allows it to happen. Council will only get away with it, if the taxpayers let them. Remember, there are 6 people in those seats that were reelected. Haldi Rd ring a bell? Right project/wrong location.

      “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Once this goes to third reading you are hooped.

City could have requested another alternative spot be looked at from the planning dept. but did not.

Take a look at 99% of previous applications that have been before council and once this council makes up it’s mind and there is any attachment to provincial/federal money it goes through.

Betcha good old planning agrees with it. lol

    Wouldn’t the federal/provincial money be available at another site?

      There are conditions. The money needs to be spent by March 31, 2019.

      That means that projects should be funded that are “shovel ready”. In other words, zoning is in place, property is owned, and conceptual building designs are done.

      It was the province’s doing. How much the City was involved with the province in determining that the City and BC Transit were “shovel ready”, we do not know.

      That is the other side of this issue. Information is being withheld and created as close to the public hearing as is possible.

      The courts have ruled against such practices in the past. It is a typical PG methodology of handling such issue.

      We are in bad need of a functional provincial municipal auditor.

Good for the group organizing a push back, I wish them well. The whole idea of putting that bus facility in that location, when there are so many other locations ready for such a venture, is beyond belief; it just reeks and it’s not diesel fumes; this could be “buss-gate” in the making!

    Thought they were all getting swapped over to compressed natural gas?

There is zero common sense, logic or thought put into this. This has to be a crooked deal or these people in this photo smiling like they should be proud of re-zoning green space to industrial in a city with plenty of EMPTY industrial land. What is wrong with them???? They can’t seriously think this right. I feel it’s even a moral issue and it definitely lacks any integrity or they are completely incompetent. No scenario is good. Not the kind of people I will vote for come the election. I for one will NOT FORGET this.

    Although I’m no fan of Mike Morris (the 70’s are over dude, lose the stash) I’m pretty sure neither he nor Shirley Bond have anything to do with the proposed location.

      Whether they did or not is not the point, surely. The point is that by using the announcement as an opportunity to have a photo-op during an election and promote themselves and their party, they have tied themselves to the decision and must accept any fallout from the negative reaction by voters in PG.

      They personally did not.


      They could be coming out with a statement that they do not support this location and work through their Minster responsible to “discuss” the issue with the deputy and BCTransit and find another location. Even if it means talking to the feds.

      In fact, it is at that level that the initial error was made.

      They needed assurance that a site was “shovel ready” before advancing money to PG. They should have given money to another community that may have had a properly zoned site.

      “They could be coming out with a statement that they do not support this location and work through their Minster responsible to “discuss” the issue with the deputy and BCTransit and find another location. Even if it means talking to the feds.”

      If they had done that, they’d be accused of meddling in municipal affairs that are not their business. Mayor and Council are elected to do what’s best for the City, the last thing anyone wants is the Province meddling in their affairs.

The province’s contribution to this is money! The site selection has been handled by the city. I agree that this is a poor choice for a light industrial operation, and it should be located elsewhere,but for those that think someone is getting rich off the choice of land that’s a non starter. The city already owns the land.
There would be more chance to make an insider some extra dollars if they were purchasing an existing site somewhere else that is currently privately owned!
So put the conspiracy theories to rest, this is just a plain outright STUPID idea!

    The City bought the land for this very purpose. So, they may or may not own the land right now. It is actually not registered to the City as of a week ago in the Land Registry.

    Typically that means there is an offer to purchase pending rezoning.

This area was zoned residential. The land owner put a road in and was about to build a home. Last fall the city bought him out and is rezoning the area.

    It not only was zoned ….. It IS zoned!!

    And the zoning is AR, which means that it is primarily for “agriculture” which, in this case, is used for trees, shrub and grasses.

    A single family residential building is allowed to be built there.

I still can’t figure out where this is, behind CN centre?

    It is where Foothills Blvd curves into 18th Ave. 100 metres south of 15th and University Way intersection.

Probably one of the stupidest or most corrupt decisions to come out of city hall in a long long time. I can not see how they thought this location was acceptable for light industrial, especially after the hotel got turned down in this same area because it wasn’t fitting with the recreation zoning for the area. How is a bus terminal more fitting with its recreation planning then a hotel?

Come on CITY of PG – Build it there already.
New Builds needed in PG.
Come on People – Let the City Grow.
They know best.

    The City needs to densify. It needs to build infill in areas which have low densities.

    We have enough light industrial properties which have been abandoned by owners who have relocated to other areas in the City. Locating in one of several such locations would not spread into greenspace.

    In fact, BCTransit provides incentives to those cities who densify to make transit routes more profitable by having more potential riders within walking distance of bus stops. That this City does not help with that effort to increase efficiency is an understatement.

City has to smarten up! The Pomeroy Hotel sign on Hwy. 16 Is ready to fall down. Time for the city to bring this to a head. Also, the vacant property that they clear cut just up from Wal-mart. They have all this property cleared for business, if they aren’t going to develop why even sell it in the 1st place. At least the Best Western is moving along. But the city has to grab the bull by the horns, all these empty places downtown and they want to create a problem in a green space. Disgusting ethics!

Why not up on Boundary Rd? All kinds of land up there.

Who’s the lobbyist for this? Is it possible that someone will receive personal gains from this? Would not surprise me.

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