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October 28, 2017 4:21 am

Residents Stand Up for Park

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 3:59 AM


Director of Planning Ian Wells, apologizes to  area residents over tree clearing incident in North College Park – photo 250News

Prince George, B.C- “It was a miscommunication” that’s how Director of Planning for the City of Prince George, Ian Wells, describes an incident which saw a contractor knock down trees in a park in College Heights.

Residents in the area of North College Park were gathered together last evening for a meeting with Wells at the tennis courts on Eton Avenue after they complained to the City about the clearing.treescut2

The meeting was called to explain the situation that developed late last week when residents saw numerous trees had been cut in the North College Park. ( photo at right shows  downed trees in the North College Park)

Wells says there was a discussion with a developer who wanted to use some of  the park to build 8-12 units for seniors housing.   Council had previously approved examining parks in the City for possible “repurposing” or development, but in this case, the process that was to be followed, wasn’t.

“I apologize for the process” said Wells to the gathering of about 60 area residents. “How we typically go through this process is we start looking at all of our parks in the City with the intent of potential repurposing and disposal. Typically what we do is seek Council’s approval to go meet with the neighbourhood and talk about what our visions are for the area and gauge the neighbourhood for ideas on what we can do to develop the area.” Money from the sale of such property would be used to improve other parks in the City.

Wells says in this case, Council had not given approval to move forward on this project.

The developer had hired a contractor to do some geotechnical work,   and, without approval from the City, the contractor went into the park and started taking down trees to clear an area where that geotechnical work could be done.

north college parkWells says the trees that have been cut will be removed, and the City will look into possibly replanting, but assured all in attendance, the City will not be picking up the tab for the work. He said his department had planned to bring the item forward to Council at the May 25th meeting for possible approval to begin discussion with the neighbourhood, but that is not going to happen now “It shouldn’t have happened this way” said Wells, “We want to be open and transparent so we’ve asked them to stop the work, and we are not proceeding with this process” says Wells.

Area residents were not happy with what they were hearing, unconvinced that the matter has been put to rest for more than a short period of time. “We live here because of this park , we use this park” said one man. When asked what they would like done to possibly improve the park, most residents said simply “Leave it the way it is”.

The park, which runs from McGill Avenue on the west to Simon Fraser on the east, provides residents with a link to nature including the bears, moose, foxes, birds and frogs that live within the park. “The urban landscape in Prince George is changing” said one woman, ” We need these places, we are seeing more and more high density development, and it’s just not right, you can’t replace this once it’s gone.”



easier to ask forgiveness that permission.

easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

I think he knew what was going on but got caught with his pants down , so to speak….

This is the kind of thing that should see heads roll at city hall. There is no excuss for this kind of slight of hand when it involves fiduciary duty for planning managers that work for the city making plans with our parks for the sole benefit of developers.

If the geo tests could have been done without the tree removal, then it would have been no harm no foul. I would be pissed if this happeneed across the street from my house. Come on Eagleone, its not just the developer that benefits, the proceeds from that sale will go to improvements at OTHER parks. Im sure the residents at that meeting would have felt MUCH better if that had been brought up as the silver linning lol. A shame.

Or perhaps the “miscommunication” was more of a language barrier.

The planning department of this City has basically had free rein for years. Their attitude leaves a little to be desired. Perhaps its time for some more shake ups at City Hall.

Whenever a subdivision is put in the city takes a percentage of the land being developed for a park for the neighbourhood. Now they are “repurposing” them. The city is taking the parks and reselling them.

This deal sounds like it was already made. This property obviously wasn’t going to be put on the open market if the developer was already investing money into it.

City planners have their hand in the developers pockets. Just look at how land was cleared first at University Heights and then Creekside – then the city magically approves an amendment to the existing plan. Nobody does geo tests with tree removal – what a stupid excuse!

What a surprise, the City Planning Department made a mistake. Instead of just saying they wanted to be open and transparent with all of their plans and processes, it sure would be nice if they were actually held accountable. How many miscommunications and delayed/cancelled projects has there been in the city over the past few years.

” Typically what we do is seek Council’s approval to go meet with the neighbourhood and talk about what our visions are for the area and gauge the neighbourhood for ideas on what we can do to develop the area.”
Yeah right, just like the city did with the Haldi Road proposal.

How many mistakes is this for the planning department since they are no longer headed by a planner?

How many mistakes should a department, a department manager, a city manager and a council allow before an adjustment is made to avoid so-called mistakes?

In what forum will that review, resulting determination and adjusted preventative procedure take place in the case of an organization which represents the people of the community and abides by their will?

Number of years ago a well know developer in the city said green space is wasted space. Folks keep an eye on our park land less it disappears piece by piece.

sqrlly hit the nail on the head. And yes tree removal is not required to that extent to do geo studies. And this is my neighbor hood !!

From the Community Charter.

Reservation and dedication of municipal property
30 (1) A council may, by bylaw, reserve or dedicate for a particular municipal or other public purpose real property owned by the municipality.

(2) As a restriction, a bylaw under subsection (1) that reserves or dedicates property

(a) as a park or public square, or

(b) for purposes related to heritage or heritage conservation,

may only be adopted by an affirmative vote of at least 2/3 of all the members of council.

(3) A bylaw that removes a reservation or dedication referred to in subsection (2) may only be adopted with the approval of the electors.

(4) A bylaw that removes a reservation or dedication under subsection (1), other than one referred to in subsection (2), may only be adopted after the council

(a) gives notice of its intention in accordance with section 94 [public notice], and

(b) provides an opportunity for persons who consider that they are affected by the bylaw to make representations to council.

(5) Bylaws adopted or works undertaken by a council that directly affect property reserved or dedicated under this section must be consistent with the purpose for which the property is reserved or dedicated.

(6) A reservation or dedication under this section does not commit or authorize a council to proceed with implementation of the purpose for which the property is reserved or dedicated.

The question we may want to ask Council is whether the so-called North College Park is actually a dedicated park as defined in provincial law, or is it simply a “P” zoned area which is a land use which can be used for many purposes including rezoning.

We moved to Prince George in 1972 and settled in College Heights after living in several areas of the city. The main attraction was the parks and green spaces close to residences to raise our family. It is a travesty to think a park in a well established area would be chopped up for housing when there is so much undeveloped space to build on. The park on Eton was one of my favorite places to walk among the trees, bike and explore nature with our children. Shame on you city planners, leave the parks alone, there is plenty of space for developers to build on without wrecking our established parks.

The city of Prince George cleared off the only greenbelt on Lansdowne Road-directly across from a large mobile home park and fenced it off for an unsightly PUBLIC WORKS STORAGE YARD.
This property was the only greenbelt which the residents of the three mobile home parks could use to walk their pets and thereby avoiding having to walk only on the roadway. Also handy for the SPCA volunteers who walked the animals enclosed in the shelter.
Was there any public consultation with those approximately 170 or so residents in the immediate vicinity???
I never heard of any.
Now we have the evidence that Mr. Wells appears to be onside with developers and the adjoining residents to parkland can simply stand by and watch the destruction of that property they believed to be park land.
I am certain there is no such thing as dedicated parkland in Well’s plans, or the developers.
The controversy over greenbelt was simply put by the former By Law Manager.
Quote–It belongs to the city and they can do whatever they want with it.
Obviously the man knew what he stated to be fact –and Mr. Wells is hell bent on proving residents have few-if any rights–and don’t they all realize that when looking at the City’s past history in dealing with residents. Unacceptable????
Says WHO???

So I guess this means if I get a little cold next winter and I can’t afford a big gas bill because my city taxes are to high, the city is ok with me dropping a few trees at the nearest park?

The City has no idea what a park is. We had a green belt behind our property in Pinecone sub. The City called it a park. It really didn’t start to look good until the pine beetle killed all the pine. Its just a waste of useable land.

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