The public had another opportunity to air their opinions on a proposal for temporary workforce accommodations in the Strawberry Meadows subdivision, and again the issue boiled down to not so much a problem with the company but rather their proposed location.
The public hearing on May 28 had many people airing concerns, some with particular issues, some firmly opposed, and some in favour.
PTI’s director of business development, Bob Greaves, started public comments off, saying he believes the company is a solution to wild fluctuations in the real estate market, saying Kitimat has been through boom-bust cycles before, and that their proposal could help solve that issue.
He was followed by the reading of a written public comment from a letter from Doug and Cheryl Groves, saiying they’re opposed to the facility so close to the City Centre.
As landowners on Dewberry Street they feel any changes to the zoning in the area would be a breach of trust.
Land developer Jack Oviatt, who sold the land to PTI Group for this project, remained in favour of the development.
Referring to the presentation from the District of Kitimat about other developments in the area, Oviatt questioned whether any other project, like the Rio Tinto Alcan camp, has legacy funding the same way PTI is being asked to provide. (It’s being proposed that PTI pay $500 per bed to be used to fund a possible future affordable housing development.)
He also pointed out that PTI has agreed to complete Loganberry Street and the intersection at Quatsino.
Traffic concerns were a top issue for many people at the meeting. Luella Froess spoke about the even now “overused” Haisla Bridge, and the potential strain of this development on it.
She also wondered about what effect the development would have on the hospital, which now doesn’t have enough room, she said.
The issue of traffic was echoed by Dan Stenson, a long-time bus driver in the community. He said traffic today is double than it was even two years ago, and as a member of the District’s traffic committee, he has seen no plan to deal with the traffic, and that the small intersection at Quatsino and Lahakas is not large enough to sustain new traffic loads.
Bill Kearley spoke opposed to the project, dismissing Greaves earlier comments that Kitimat has seen a boom-bust cycle, saying Kitimat has even sustained Terrace in tough times.
He repeated his desire, (as reported earlier in the Sentinel) to see the town purchase land from Strawberry Meadows for its own future development.
There were many more speakers at the public hearing, all providing a perspective as council decides what to do with a rezoning and OCP amendment bylaw, which at the time of the meeting had passed second reading.