Rezoning Issue Sparks Call for Plan for River Valley
Prince George, B.C.-The rezoning of a piece of property on Otway Road was the subject of a public hearing that took 10 hours and 39 minutes over three separate nights, and 45 minutes of Council deliberation. It was the longest public hearing anyone can remember. (see previous story)
A recurring concern raised by the many who spoke against the proposal to have the property rezoned to light industrial, was the need to preserve the Nechako River valley and enhance it for the use of residents.
Mayor Lyn Hall referred to the public hearing as “The thin edge of the wedge, it creates other thoughts, it creates other ideas as we move forward as a Council and as a City.”
Mayor Hall says there is no question the City needs to be proactive in planning for the Nechako River Valley “We need to take a look at what’s happening not only along the bank where in fact you have North Nechako residents and you have industry. If we move down to the winery location, that’s indicative of what we can do on the river front, you go to Cottonwood Island Park, it’s much the same, There are areas within our city that we need to start to look at, concentrate, bite the bullet on budgetary requirements to meet the need and I don’t like to use comparisons, but I will in this case. I look at the City of Penticton, the City of Kelowna, the City of Kamlopps, have done a very good job. When you have a river, or a lake, or in our case two rivers going through our city that abounds with opportunity.”
Over the course of the three nights of the public hearing residents noted the benefits of green space and lack of access to the river. That there are opportunities for tourism and well being of residents when they have improved access to natural areas.
It was Councillor Terri McConnachie who pointed out that there is a variety of uses along Otway Road, industrial, recreational, and residential, she referred to it as a “collision of uses”.
Councillor Garth Frizzell made the motion that staff bring back recommendations to the September 12th meeting “to initiate a long term planning process for celebrating, preserving, protecting and enhancing Prince George’s river valleys”. The motion was unanimously appoved.
Councillor Albert Koehler said he thought that work would be “complimentary to what we are doing and I think it’s a good approach.”
It is thought this theme can be included in the “TalkTober” community consultations.