City of Prince Rupert moves to protect watershed area

The City of Prince Rupert is beginning to get a handle on how newly-acquired lands, gained in a recent boundary expansion, will be used.

The City of Prince Rupert is beginning to get a handle on how newly-acquired lands, gained in a recent boundary expansion, will be used.

In May, the provincial government approved the city’s request to include a parcel of land located generally to the north of Prince Rupert across from Fern Passage, commonly referred to as Lot 444, within the municipal boundary.

The city’s original rationale for the expansion was to include Prince Rupert’s watershed within the boundary, and shortly after receiving approval it was announced a LNG facility was being considered at the site.

To complete the process, the city had to include the land in the Quality of Life Official Community Plan and assign it land use regulations.

Prince Rupert city planner Zeno Krekic recommended that the lower portion of the land parcel be used for public facilities so if the community expanded in that direction residents could have access to the waterfront, and that the upper portion be designated as a new heavy industrial zone.

The only issue members of council had was the 30-metre buffer zone in the M5 zoning, with Coun. Barry Cunningham saying it should be increased so development is further away from the community’s water supply.

“That means someone could legally build within 30 metres of the watershed,” he said.

“I don’t like the idea of [the upper portion] coming to the edge of the lake there … it’s leaving it wide open for development right there against the watershed.”

Originally there was one public hearing planned for all amendments on July 28, however members of council agreed the zoning of Lot 444 should have a separate meeting which was scheduled for Sept. 15.