Kitimat residents comes together for work camp town hall

Residents in Kitimat discuss the issue of temporary work camps within the District at a town hall meeting on Tuesday.

The vision of Kitimat’s future is effectively what was up for debate, as crowds converged on Mount Elizabeth Theatre to voice their opinion on proposed work camps within the District of Kitimat.

Well over 100 people attended the District of Kitimat town hall, established to address a concern in the community over whether or not people want high-density worker accommodations in town, and more specifically downtown.

Stuck in the centre of the debate is the PTI Group, the company which has bought and is in the process of buying land in the Strawberry Meadow’s subdivision with the intention of building what they dub a ‘work lodge’ to eventually house up to 2,100 people.

But their proposed location is just east of the hospital, effectively abutting the downtown core, which has some people worried.

At nearly two hours of conversation and comments, it appeared the majority of those who spoke didn’t have any concern with the PTI Group itself or a work lodge within town necessarily, but many took exception to the location, and others wanted to ensure the town was taking into consideration all other factors, such as how sewage would be handled with such a development.

“I am a construction worker, I am part of the community of Kitimat,” said one town hall participant who had concern with the location. “We will deal with nothing but traffic, traffic, traffic,”

He later added, “The camp just is in the wrong place.”

Another member of the public said economic gain shouldn’t be the prime factor when talking development.

“I don’t want to see stuff destroyed just to have economic progress,” she said, adding she wants a community she feels comfortable in, with people she knows.

More comments covered issues such as needing a second crossing of the Kitimat river to questions on how infrastructure would be handled with the proposed lodge.

One retiree who recently moved to Kitimat said the town should consider slowing down and considering development thoughtful, suggesting there was no rush to bring everything to town at once.

“These companies are not coming here because they love Kitimat, they’re coming because of the sea port,” he said. “Lets build something we can all be proud of.”

However, there was some optimism as well. One long-time Kitimat resident, who said he recently signed for some acreage in Strawberry Meadows himself, is worried that the town, by turning down PTI, would be saying no to more development.

“For the first time in years I went into our mall and I saw something, you guys should check this out; there are stores in there,” he said. “Now we have a situation where someone wants to set up a tax-based business in this community and instead of something positive for this community, there’s nothing but negative.”

He admits being a reluctant Terrace shopper, and said if the town constantly turns things away, the “Alcan dollars” will continue to be spent out of town.

Kitimat Chamber of Commerce president Derick Stinson said a balanced approach is needed, and said the camp is a realistic option to handle additional people.

“I think as a community we want to be careful. We don’t want a ton of vacant properties,” he said about developing permanent homes instead of temporary housing. “We need to be realistic with the type of infrastructure we have in place.”

An employee of Strawberry Meadows developer Jack Oviatt spoke as well, reading aloud a letter written by Oviatt, who couldn’t attend in person. Oviatt’s letter was largely the same as a recent presentation he gave to Kitimat Council. (Sentinel, April 10, page 3.) At that meeting Oviatt said he was very comfortable with the plans by the PTI Group for their lodge.

Tina Perreira also spoke in favour of the plan. Identifying herself as one of two partners working to open a Mr. Mikes restaurant in town, she said businesses could prosper with operations like the lodge.

The town hall was a venue to gather feedback. Kitimat Council had not at the time considered any bylaws for readings and only has an application from PTI Group so far. When bylaws do come before the council a public hearing will eventually be scheduled for on the record comments, ahead of any policy decisions.

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Second World War prompts airport construction

And now it’s the busiest airport in the region

Trudeau announces bioregional oceans protection agreement in Prince Rupert

Agreement announced in partnership with 14 central and north coast First Nations

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read