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October 27, 2017 6:37 pm

Park Saved But Not by Section 30

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Gallery fills prior to Council meeting start-photo 250News

Prince George BC- There is no plan  to  sell  any portion of North College Park,  there is no application to have  a piece of that park severed and rezoned,  but  North College Park  area residents launched a pre-emptive strike at last evening’s the Council Meeting.With a few exceptions,  every seat in the gallery was taken  by members  of the North College Park  Support Group.

In their presentation to Council, the group called for  North College Park  to be given special protection  by being  declared a “dedicated park”.

They outlined their shock  when a developer  did some test holes  for geo technical  research in the park  in May of 2015.   Manager of Development and Planning, Ian Wells   has been consistent in saying  then, and now,  that the work  was the result of a “miscommunication” between the City and the  developer.

Since then, the City  has  said,  on more than one occasion, that  there is no plan to sell  any portion of the park, there is no  rezoning application,  there is no development permit.

Yet,  the  developer  held an open house late last fall,   outlining  the details of what he hoped to  build .

The Support group says there has been no remediation of the  park, which   saw  trees downed,   earth upturned,  and patches cleared.  Wells  says  the site was reviewed and it was determined the best solution would be to let the  area  grow in   naturally.

The Support group called on Council to  impose Section 30 under the Community Charter,  which allows  a municipality  to dedicate  a piece of property  through bylaw.   It would take 2/3 of council to support such a move.

Council Garth Frizzell met with the group recently and  said  he hadn’t known about Section 30  before.  He was not prepared to  make such a request of Administration   saying he  needed to have more information.

In order to   make the  move,   a survey  of the property  would likely need to be done,   a bylaw drawn up,   and a presentation to Council made  at which  2/3 would have to vote in favour for it  to be  approved.  No one from  the City  or Council could recall that  process ever having been used in the past in Prince George.

Manager of Planning and Development  Ian Wells says  the City has already been directed that there will be no disbursement of any lands within North College Park  saying  there  are geo technical concerns  as well as riparian habitat concerns.

” I don’t think there is much more that can be said about the development” said Councillor Jillian Merrick  she says  her understanding of Section 30 is  that it is a long term  tool to protect something in perpetuity,  and not a “club to react to a bad development decision.”

Councillors said they  could not support making a move to  Section 30   but   all expressed   appreciation  for the efforts by the Support Group “In short,  you’ve been heard” said Councillor Garth Frizzell “Your message  has gotten through”.

To ensure that everyone in attendance understood Council’s reaction to  the request,  Council voted  against  asking Administration to create a  bylaw  under section 30 that would  make  North College Park   a “dedicated Park”.

Ian Wells says Parks staff will  be asked to  look at the site  once the  snow has melted to  see if there is remedial action that needs to be done  from a safety perspective.



If I cut a single tree down for a view they would throw the book at me. This guy goes into a park and treats it like private property bull dozing the area and simply miss communication? Sounds more like someone in the city hall planning department back tracking and butt covering to me. Someone over extended their authority for sure.

    It’s Wells and the planning department. Miscommunication is just another word for screw up. I think it’s premature to simply blame the developer. The city and it’s staff are also to blame.

      Maybe look into what credentials Well’s has got. I know he used to work for the Assessment Authority years ago. Is he actually a Certified/trained Planner?

    Agreed. Council must appear to do justice to this. Right now the opposite is the case.

      The goofy thing is that if you use simple common sense when looking at a city decision where Wells is concerned, I can guarantee you that he will choose the exact opposite. It makes no sense. Would love to see his credentials.

Whoops, right post wrong article! My apologies as I should have my morning coffee first! LOL

Tell Jillian to paint her bike route there, that way no vehicle allowed..lol

    shhhhhh, stop giving her ideas

Good for the neighbourhood for trying to stand up to city hall. Problem is anytime citizen do something like this it gives the city and developer ammo one way or another. One can look at many previous go arounds with this city.

As far as I am concerned the city does not actually listen to the people of areas except when it may benefit them. This mayor and council should be ashamed of themselves as they have favoured applicants more than they have the taxpayers in this city.

To me to not look into what the people of the city want – and what I understand is a majority of people want to keep our green spaces. Mind you they can put any bylaw they want in and it can be changed at anytime as we have seen over and over. The OCP is useless and only used for the city’s benefit and not the taxpayer.

Surprised they are not getting the NIMBY attitude from some. After all it is for a senior home.(sarcastic) Just like the senior friendly subdivision according to Hall on the corner going into Westgate.

    You’re right about some on this council not seeking the interests of the public they represent and appearing to be seeking the interests of the developers instead! Kholer compared the situation presented to that of a homeowner who enjoys a vacant lot next to his house as his own private park! Did you really hear us? I can tell by that statement that we were still not heard. Talk about giving lip service to democracy and the will of the people they represent.

      Koehler was totally out of his element as acting mayor. That entire meeting should have been postponed until they had the council there. That was a horrible turnout for the sitting City Council.

A “dedicated Park” means nothing, they can still use it for roads, schools, hospitals, or anything else like a senior home or any other home care centre. I have seen dedicated parks destroyed in this town and other towns. We had a fight with City Hall regarding a dedicated park and that is when we found out that it can be used for public good -roads, etc.

    The only way that a piece of land can be never turned into a development is using the Nature’s Trust Conservancy.

Love the Jillian comment! She will never live that down! Can’t ever remember seeing the painted bike lanes doing justice down Domano, total waste of money when they could have replaced some sections of road for the price the taxpayers pay every year for these inane lanes!

    the bike lanes were installed to inconvenience motorists.
    and of course to hold the snow the city pushed off the roads, but that is okay they kept the sidewalks nicely plowed and sanded for the bikers.

Wasn’t there a miscommunication between the City and a developer that resulted in trees being cut down on the Brink development (or nearby) on North Nechako Road.

Remember the big hullabaloo about the womens treatment centre on Haldi road.

Remember the hand wringing about the dire need for the facility, and how the City changed the OCP and went to court twice to ensure that the land could be rezoned and developed. They won their court case, and guess what.

The developers walked away from the project, and the area is now being used for a dog kennel.

Where are all the concerned citizens who wanted a treatment centre. What is being done by the Government and the City to establish a womens treatment centre somewhere else in the City without upsetting people.

Seems we had no problem is finding an area to relocate the SPCA.

How can the City make such an effort for this treament centre, and spend so much money on court cases etc; and then not say one word, when the whole exercise is trashed.????

    The women’s centre never came about because Sutter and the crew belonging to the “Society” couldn’t get the money for all the upgrades needed for the infrastructure. It was BIG bucks to get the sewer/water and building up to snuff.

    There was a “miscommunication” or what I call inadequate supervision to protect the trees, when the medical building on Vancouver and 6th was built and they took down several heritage elm trees that were planted by Rotary in the 1950s.

    City Hall has not quality control of their management activities.

    The need to have quality objectives and measurable indicators which tells the public whether they are meeting the target 100%, 97% or whatever.

    The forest industry has to meet such quality objectives and get audited on their performance if they want to keep their “green stamp” certification.

    We are lacking a Municipal auditor in this City and in this province who are capable of doing their job as independent officers.

    These kind of situations would stop very quickly.

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.

I believe we do not have ANY section 30 dedicated parks or heritage conservation areas in this City. That includes parks such as LTM Park, Rainbow Park, etc.

If I am wrong, somebody please correct me.

Someone should put in a request at City Hall to see the list if there are any.

Time we protected our parks.

Notice that it take the electors to remove a dedicated Park.

    Here, here. If I had a table I would bang it…lol

    Should not the “developer” who messed up the vacant land bring it back to previous unadultered condition? Straighten up and bring in a tree spade and some larger trees to correct their error? Or did the city say go ahead and tear the land up? If the “developer” misunderstood taxpayers should not pay for their mistake, if those in city hall gave the go ahead – heads should roll

Dezell said he wasn’t prepared to pass this on to administration to review the impact Section 30 would have yet he voted it down! What? Here is council saying they’ve never seen anything like this in Prince George, also saying it needs research, yet what do they do? They make unlearned judgement calls on it and literally send it to the garbage can. And they certainly did what City Council wanted to do, not what the voters and citizens of Prince George wanted to do. Time for a change.

    I think you mean Frizzell. Dezell retired some time ago.

money talked and got its way.

Don’t worry the park won’t be sold it will always be public property. They are considering a 999 year lease though. The flower beds won’t be part of the lease, they will remain directly owned unleased assets of the city.

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