Transit Site on Foothills A No Go
Prince George, B.C. – As expected, Council for the City of Prince George has unanimously decided to scrap the Foothills-18th Avenue site as the site for a new BC Transit Operations and Maintenance facility.
Councillor Garth Frizzell says staff followed the process in locating a property that would be acceptable to B.C. Transit “They crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s” but says Council is listening and that is why that site is being rejected.
There was a major community outcry over the site, with thousands of people signing petitions and hundreds turning out to a public meeting on the proposal. The site would put an industrial use in the west bowl area, and would take away what has become a popular greenspace in the City.
“I truly saw first and second reading as a way to find more information for myself and Council and from the public itself, and it certainly did that” said Councillor Susan Scott. She noted people were telling her they didn’t want the project to go away, “but that it be more appropriately located.”
Councillor Brian Skakun says if there is an upside to this matter “It brought people together” He said “The opposition made it clear there was no need to go a public hearing.” He said rejecting this site opens the door to find another location for the Transit facility.
Councillor Frank Everitt said he believed people took issue with the proposal “Rightfully so, they sent email, they had conversations” He said his job is to “Listen and to make the best decision for the community” and rescinding this site was the best decision . He said finding a new piece of property will cost the City more money, but that’s what the residents wanted.
It was clear members of Council suffered abuse, both verbal and written from those who disagreed with Council giving the project first and second reading. Those readings are needed in order to move to a public hearing where the public can speak up on a project.
Both Councillors Jillian Merrick and Terrie McConnachie were walking an emotional tightrope as they spoke of how the public had treated them.
Mayor Lyn Hall noted this was a difficult and contentious issue, and it won’t be the last one this Council will have to face “We know we are making tough decisions, but we are setting the right direction for the community”
Administration will now work with BC Transit to find a new site for the $23 million dollar project.