Residents Show Opposition to B.C. Transit Facility Plan
Video shows size of crowd gathered for public information meeting
Prince George, B.C. – While the Midway has set up on the Exhibition Grounds in Prince George, City staff had to work hard last night to prevent a meeting in the Kin 1 Lounge from turning into a circus.
The meeting was to share information and collect comments on the proposed amendment to the Official Community Plan and a rezoning application to allow the construction of a proposed $23 million dollar BC Transit facility.
The location is west of Foothills and south of 18th Avenue, in an undeveloped area near Ginter’s field, a popular off leash dog park. It is also an area which many citizens have adopted as a greenspace. With the exception of a sliver of land that is up against a hill ( for slope stability purposes) the property has never been zoned as greenbelt said Manager of Planning and Development Ian Wells. He told the gathering the property in question has always been zoned for residential, and open to the development of single, multi family or mobile home park uses.
The site is one of three considered for possible use by BC Transit, and those who attended the meeting wanted details on the other sites which were scratched from the list of possibilities. That is information they were not about to get as the City never reveals such information because of the possible impact it may have on the owner’s ability to sell to another potential customer.
Lack of information was a recurring theme from those who stepped up to the microphone to ask for details from either the City staff, or the representatives from BC Transit. They wanted a complete breakdown on the budget and the costs to the City and a variety of studies . “Have you done a socio-economic assessment on the benefits of this greenspace to the community” asked one woman. Levi Timmerman of B.C. Transit had a simple answer to that “No” was his response. There was also no study done on the noise impacts to the residents of the Carriage House apartment buildings just north of the proposed site.
While the public hearing, where Mayor and Council will make the final decision on this project, has yet to be scheduled, residents expressed frustration that they don’t have all the information they need in order to prepare their case for presentation at that public hearing.
Although OCP amendments and rezoning issues are to be decided on land use issues only, Susan Williamson spoke up “This is not a simple land use decision and if you are not getting that, then you need to open your ears.”
Each and every person who rose to speak against the project had their presentation punctuated with applause. The lone man, a bus driver by profession, who spoke in favour of the proposal drew boos and hisses from the crowd.
B.C. Transit points to two other communities which have transit facilities in similar style locations. Whistler’s is, like the proposed P.G. site, adjacent to a Hydro substation, across from greenspace and residential area. The facility in Kamloops in bordered by a BMX park, and across from a residential neighbourhood.
Two City Councillors, Susan Scott and Jillian Merrick, were present for at least a portion of the meeting, One woman noted that Mayor Lyn Hall was quoted as saying he won the election to be Mayor “by inviting the public to the table to speak. Well, we’re here, where is he?”
B.C. Transit’s Levi Timmerman was asked what “plan B’ would be should Mayor and Council reject the proposal “Plan B is that we probably wouldn’t be able to proceed with a transit facility at this time” he then added “If we are unsuccessful, I would endeavour to find an alternate site.”
Why have an OCP when it can be changed willy-nilly? That proposed bus facility, in that location is ridiculous; nothing more then industrial sprawl and a vain attempt to hood-wink the residents of Prince George. It’s time City Council and Company either get on the ball, or on the bus!
Council has changed the OCP numerous times. Please keep this in mind – 6 of the current Councilors sat on the previous council! Before the Haldi Rd OCP public meeting, each Councillor gave an emotional statement saying that the project was so desperately needed. That wasn’t what was at issue! Land use was. The fact that the infrastructure was NOT in place should have made the decision an easy one – to deny changing the OCP. The warning cry went out then – if the OCP is allowed to be changed willy-nilly, NO neighborhood is safe.
And here we are today. All we’ve heard is how wonderful it’ll be to access gov’t money (taxpayer money), how much cheaper this will be for Transit because deadheading cost will be reduced, and all the enhancements the City will put in place (traffic lights) once this project goes ahead.
We can’t make this another neighborhood’s problem. Look at what’s happening on Otway Rd. A clear message needs to be sent to Council – stop the latest piecemeal approach to planning the City!
Otway road is an industrial site. Riverview road in North nechako is already very loud and i’m pretty sure that metal fabricating plant isn’t even operational yet, but their building is enormous. I wouldn’t buy on that gorgeous LOOKING road for anything. I bet the residents hate the City for that crooked deal at 6161 Otway road last year!
3 sites???? It was admitted last night that this was the ONLY site looked at. When asked point blank what other sites were considered they had no choice but to admit there are no other options on the table.
They looked at three sites. That was identified by Levi when I spoke to him at the first public meeting they had. He identified the sites at that time. One was on first avenue and the others were in the Carter Light Industrial area.
The reason they were rejected was because they had building on them which would need to be demolished and they had possible environmental issues with respect to possible fuel leakage I presume. That presented a time issue for them, in that they were not likely to be able to complete the project by March 31, 2019.
The time line for that would have been around October 2016 when City Council likely had the closed door meeting at which the administration would have been given the green light to buy the property now being considered.
Since the outcome of that meeting is still being kept under wraps by the City (god only knows why, other than that we are in Prince George) the above is my best stab at what transpired.
If they had bought one of those sites prior to the in-camera Council meeting(s) they could have been well underway with building demolition and the excavation of any contaminated soil they may have found. In fact, they likely could have made an offer that would put the cost of that remediation work onto the seller who should have done an environmental assessment before they put the site on the market.
They would also be well underway to completing Architectural/Engineering drawings by now to go to tender by say July. With a foundation permit, they could have started construction in August/September. That would have given them around 18 months to build the project.
What we are looking at is a typical government operation. Slow as molasses.
Then someone is lying. They said point blank that no other sites were looked at.
The City better not mess with people’s entitlement to leave dog crap wherever they please.
Your usual nonsensical comment.
Yet, you took the time to comment. Thanks gus, I feel special. :)
The people arguing at this meeting were doing so because they feel they are entitled to have this space to let their yappy dogs run free. This space appeals to them for the same reason it appeals to BC Transit, it’s a perfect central location. They don’t care about a “…socio-economic assessment…” they want the space for themselves because this space has always been there for their use. If someone did an assessment and that assessment showed that the economic benefits of the proposed maintenance facility outweighed the social benefits of green space, they’d come up with a different argument.
People need to start arguing to keep this space green instead of trying to argue against making it industrial.
It seems like this was project was thrown together in order to have access to federal/provincial funds. I would rather not have the funds than ruin this location. I have a feeling this will get pushed through by council. Between painting bike lanes just before the snow flies and this transit location the voters may have some ammunition for the next election.
I do not see that.
As I posted above, they had plenty of time but have been squandering it big time in order to try to save money by removing “greenfield” land and continuing the (industrial) urban sprawl BCTransit is supposedly against.
The end result may be that they will not get any and this City will bear the brunt of the financial damage if they will build a new facility in the future without federal money.
There is still time to go back to the source of the funds, tell them what is happening, get an extension, buy one of the “brownfield” properties and turn this into a real “green” community initiative, which would put the feds and the province into a much better light.
The feds likely do not know that this is happening. I do not know if Todd has been watching this. It might not be his party, but it is his government and he represents the people of this region. The property is in his riding.
Accessing Federal/Provincial funds for this project is what it is all about.
We could not do the project at all and transit would continue as it is to-day for many years into the future.
As long as you have Municipalities creating projects to meet the criteria set up by the Feds, or the Province, you are going to have problems.
We need to be able to access funds for infrastructure with no strings attached.
In this case we cannot use the Federal portion of this money (50%) for purchasing land, or leasing land, therefore we need to get the land from the Cities portion of the funding or BC Transit, or some agreement between the two.
It appears on the surface that the City bought this land for this project because it was much cheaper than any of the other three possible sights. Saving money (in this case) trumps putting this project in an industrial area where it belongs.
The City needs to re visit this whole project with a view to locating the transit facility in an industrial area, rather than antagonize a bunch of people just to save a few bucks, that will disappear into the sunset in any event.
You can’t even compare PG to whistler and Kamloops. They do not have industry in every corner of their city, Kamloops utilizes their river system appropriately, they don’t have saw mills downtown on what should be park on the river. The City of PG just last year re-zoned more green space on Otway road to appease a company and were given half the land “if the re-zoning is approved”. Sounds like a bribe of sorts to me. This company had purchased this land with the current zoning as agriculture and requested a re-zone to lite industrial. This will be effecting many residents in North Nechako with even more loud industrial noise than they already have. What good is that land now? It’s beside a huge metal fabricating plant. It’s time the City used appropriate land that has already been destroyed and deemed industrial before destroying yet more of this city. I would like to see where this bus terminal is exactly in these two cities. I dont trust BC Transit or our city council and mayor at all. No body should. They came across as dishonest last night. I hope they have one heck of a fight on their hands.
“they don’t have saw mills downtown on what should be park on the river.”
I guess its to bad the city planners wernt around in the early 1900’s when industry built on River Road. The city built around industry, industry did not build around the city.
Do the residents of North Nechako realize they live on the old Takla Forest Road and it was an industry only area till urban sprawl.
Simple fact, this city built around industry, industry did not build around the city.
As for the topic on hand, the 18th avenue transit facility is a bad idea and I support the opposition to it.
“Simple fact, this city built around industry, industry did not build around the city.”
I will tell you one other simple fact. Every other City in the world was built around industry and people gathered around it for the jobs.
Most other cities in the world transition from that to relocate industry when the opportunity arises, to more appropriate locations.
The mill should never have been rebuilt in the same location. The only reason it was is because this City and this Regional District did not plan ahead and have heavy industrial land ready for the next such facility. Other cities do.
Typically, over time, heavy industry shrinks in size, rebuilds and cities reconfigure themselves to take over that land for residential, commercial and park uses.
Whether it is Chattanooga or Toronto or Vancouver, that is the pattern.
It is those fossils who think like you that stop this natural progression of human settlement at the end of the last century and going into this century.
Gus, the point was simple, the original argument was whether an industrial application should be allowed to move forward in a residential area, but laker used a complete opposite example, an industrial application encroached by residential and city as a knock towards the city planners.
Its very simple to me, if the residents are willing to foot the bill to move the industrial applications, make sure the owners and operators are compensated, everybody agree’s, great move the industry. The problem as I see it is the nay sayers want industry shut down to suit their needs with no thought towards the consequences towards those who own and operate the business’s and those who work there.
It irks me when I listen to people complain about industrial noise in their back yards when they industry was there DECADES before they purchased their homes nearby. Have a look around before you buy, if you see industry too close, that is your problem not theirs.
People are worried they may have to drive another 10 minutes to let their precious little animals off for a run, lol.
That is NOT the issue. Wow.
There is a lot more to this issue than dog walking or running. This transit facility is an industrial endeavor, and they want to change the OCP and locate it in a green space that is zoned residential, and partly park.
Prince George has at least five industrial parks, all of which could accomodate this facility, so why this location?? That’s the real question. Why did the City go out of its way to locate this facility at Foothills and 18th?. People need to see the documentation that got us to this position.
Perhaps its time to get all the information through the **Freedom of Information Act** so we can see the process that transpired.
Go and do some research. do a count of people with dogs and others without dogs.
While you are at it, go and find the moose, fox and even the occasional bear who also leave their droppings everywhere. They do not have anyone picking up after them. They simply fertilize the flora.
Dog feces is not fertilizer, in fact, dog feces can carry a whole host of harmful parasites and other nasty stuff. You’re the google expert, look it up.
Could the City not utilize the former Inland Kenworth property on Quinn St? Or maybe the former LEJ International property on 1st Ave? I believe that both sites are up for sale and are already zoned to suit the need.
There appears to be alot of citizens who are being very vocal in their opposition to this project’s location… maybe Council should move on to a different option.
You got that right.
I suspect either site is to small for the transit facility.
You do not suspect properly. The Quinn property is more than they need. The one on First is tight but doable.
People are forgetting about the City property in the Queensway Industrial area. The City planners have been forgetting about that whole region.
The area is under the 200 year flood plane. So is First Avenue.
This is the perfect opportunity to show how to build in the floodplain by elevating the property. The property is against the hillside, so it would be relatively easy to bring fill in.
I haven’t heard anything about how this development fits into the plan to extend Foothills Blvd through this corridor to connect up with Massey. If extending Foothills is eventually going to happen, the concerns over the transit facility seems like a mute point.
Foothills should probably not be extended. That plan may have made sense before the uni road was built, and if PG had major traffic conjestion problems. There just doesn’t seem to be the room. What would the purpose of the new section be? Along Foothills on its other legs a lot of extra room had been left between the fast, busy boulevard and the residences. There would be no such barrier on the (potential) new section. They would have to dig into the hillside to make room for the road at all, never mind to have some kind of sound barrier/fencing to block sound from the residences.
The plan should be scrapped, unless some realistic, affordable fix to that problem can be found.
What is with the rush on this development? I would propose that we use the Freedom of Information Act to find out what is really going on behind the scenes with this new bus repair shop. I have a feeling someone is profiting from this, and it isn’t the citizens of PG, and it isn’t the homeowners in that area who are opposed to this project. Lets follow the money, everyone knows that’s why decisions are made.
The spine road on the hill, Tyner Blvd, can potentially have a population the size of College Heights branching off it. It is only served by access on both ends. If the City ever grows to a population over 100,000 to 120,000, whether that takes 25, 50, 75 or 100 years, there should be another access near the centre of Tyner. That access is Massey going up the hill. If that gets built, then Foothills should get extended.
But that is for a future generation to decide. In the meantime, it is being used as a much needed greenspace.
Look at the Parks/Greenspaces in the western bowl.
Mooor’s Meadow, Rainbow park, Freimueller Park, Moran Park, the DP Todd/Heritage athletic fields, and more.
None of them are as populated as the UNBC connector trail and Ginters.
The spine road on the hill is a good point. But wouldn’t the road be too steep? Uni Way is almost too steep. in the winter it can be quite treacherous. Recall also the problems with erosion, slippage and drainage on that slope after the building of the Uni road.
All the residents living in that new subdivision will have to come up Uni Way and Tyner therefore. Traffic congestion will be a problem eventually I would think.
Perhaps we should consider granting the Ginters area a status of a ‘real’ greenway which should allow it a more protected status, since residents seem to like using it as a recreational zone? (I do not, I just notice that many people do)
Green spaces are GOOD, not sure why we are so determined to encroach upon them at every half a chance we get.
Boundary road is looking pretty empty. I know it’s not a central location but it certainly seems like a more suitable location for this facility.
Love the area..build it.
I have been trying to figure out why all of a sudden there is a need to build a bus facility and create a new industrial zone. Doing some research, I found out the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund that is proposed to fund the new pg transit station at foothills.
From a page on the government of Canada site through google.
Below is item d on the Ineligible list.
Land acquisition; leasing land, buildings and other facilities; leasing equipment other than equipment directly related to the construction of the project; real estate fees and related costs
To me this means that this project cannot purchase land, so the city and BC Transit must use land already in city inventory or available through crown grant.
This is why they want to rezone Ginter’s field and establish an industrial site on a green space next to residences and the provinces largest soccer pitch below the university on the hill.
Projects are required to be completed by March 31, 2018.
This project is intended to be rezoned, designed, engineered, get environmental assessments and approvals, plus permits, hire contractors, install city services and infrastructure, break ground, build, inspect and operational by then? There is of course the potential of up to one year extension.
In addition to this post on the free-4-all, there is the possibility that some of the proponents know that the time lines are too tight to complete the project within the mandated period, so they would end up with a high value industrial zoned property at city expense.
There is a property on Queensway beside Girard Financial Services that is for sale. This property is right beside a residential area that gets flooded in some years.
This subject property is zoned industrial and the sale price is $495,000.
I believe this to be another example of the outright profiteering by speculators with the support of city counsel, city planning department, and bylaw services.
It is time for the Manager of Planning to be replaced, and I would like to force another municipal election.
Is impeachment appropriate at this level of government or is there such a thing as non-confidence for city counsels?
Great to see concrete being poured in our dead economy build it before all the bleeding hearts and tree huggers shut it down like all the other projects they all try to shut down
I am sure you support saving some more money by getting rid of the planning staff at the City.
Who needs planning and building inspection?
Let us pour concrete in parts of the city that is used by people who live here for recreation and leave all the unused industrial properties to die …..
Oh, no, wait ….. why don’t we knock those building down, plant some trees and grass, create some pathways, a few little waterfalls and put in a picnic shelter, some benches and call it Carter Park. Oh, and do not forget the bus stops to drop off the 3 people who do not have cars. Make sure you use one of those 40 or so passenger busses to do that.
That would be true land-use recycling.
Bleeding hearts and tree huggers?
Obviously you do not live in the area where this facility is proposed to be built.
Maybe the city should build it in your backyard, since you are so committed to enabling every project that is ever proposed?
Maybe we could stop and THINK for a few seconds at least before committing huge $$$ to projects before signing the deal, and rezoning parts of the city? I guess that is something many do not do these days, think of the consequences of our actions!
Does the city still not own the property downtown where the old city yard was? If they do why are they not considering it? I know it is in flood plain areas but that area has not flooded for many years. They can engineer and build the property to utilize could they not?
Traffic is already a gong show on 18th. Nobody seems to be too concerned about the recreational traffic in that area. The amount of kids running back and forth on 18th to access the soccer fields is ridiculous. Then to add bus traffic to the mix is a recipe for disaster. All the traffic that accesses 18th from foot hills speed along the area. I travel that road multiple times a day, and my biggest concern is added traffic!! there’s plenty of industrial space around this town…why would the city even entertain this! Makes no sense.
Mean while the first world is moving ahead at breakneck speed . RethinkX.com there is no need to pollute residential areas with diesel fumes .
Where was Shirley Bond last night? She had her picture taken before the election at that site so I would assume she must think it is a great place to have a bus facility. Oh I forgot the election is over. I had to laugh last night when someone mentioned that there would be noise from horns and back-up alarms and was told there would not be any buses backing up on the site. This person obviously has no experience or knowledge of a repair facility. Another question is would they be running a night shift for repairs and service? I would not want to live in this area if it was to go ahead.
Shirley Bond has nothing to do with the location selected by the City.
axman did I say she did and how would you know.
Here we go again, When is City hall going to learn that we vote people out of city hall not in.
And I hope a lot of voters that voted Shirley Bond in live in this area. The ship for Libs in sinking.
The land right next to the highway at the North Nechako overpass has been empty for years, is the most central location in the city for dead heads being only 1km from the main hub at Spruceland, and requires no remediation. It’s shovel ready today with more land than the current location, and exists in an area already zoned light industrial with two very similar facilities on the same block.
Why ignore a piece of land like that and go through all the trouble of trying to use green space for light industrial unless there is corruption involved?
It’s all about land arbitrage. Use cheaper land that is zoned green space, or agriculture, or residential… then use it for industrial. It happens all the time in PG with impunity.
Look at the farmer fields around the city where agricultural land is just code word for light industrial that doesn’t have to pay light industrial taxes. The farm land at the drop into Beverley next to the highway must have over 100 pieces of heavy equipment on it now, the other property near Johnsons farm north of town is starting to look the same as its ‘farm house’ is actually a large industrial shop and the farm fields are more and more just a junk yard of industrial equipment.
Yet they only have to pay agricultural land taxes and we subsidize this as tax payers with empty industrial zoned land all over in every direction.
The quick ticket to being a millionaire … Buy land zoned residential in PG, then propose to sell it off for commercial or industrial and get it rezoned… and walla without doing anything but rezoning the land we have a new millionaire.
your confusing regional district land with city land, the places you mention are all in the regional district.
Just to help you in the future the Beaverly property is Dillmans place and the equipment is courtesy of Bidright and Danny Obrien, the north property was the home of JO Contracting who’s owner died in an unfortunate accident involving a tractor and are now in the process of liquidating the equipment.
That’s what happened at 6161 Otway Road. bought it zoned as agriculture and then put in application to re-zone, with the promise of land for the city if they approved the re-zoning to lite industrial and now that land is worth so much more than what they paid for it and the city took what really could be perceived as a bribe.
I read somewhere that it cost up to 140 million a kilometer for some of the skytrain line.The 23 million it’s gonna cost to build this bus stop would not build 200 meters of skytrain track.The rules the city must follow to obtain this loot the feds and the prov gov are dangling suck.Those brownfield sites are all ideal.I just love the passion of the people who appose this,they are well organized with quite a lot of support.
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