City planner Zeno Krekic said the land being owned by the city and nearby utilities made it attractive for development.

City of Prince Rupert told to leave Westview Park alone

A large, vocal crowd delivered one message to the City of Prince Rupert council at a public forum last week: Leave Westview Park alone.

A large, vocal crowd delivered one message to the City of Prince Rupert council at a public forum last week: Leave Westview Park alone.

The forum was held to outline the possibility of the city creating a condominium complex on Westview Park and  the adjoining lands.

The city wants to develop a high-end, multi-family dwelling after identifying a need for one in the Quality of Life Official Community Plan in 2008.

“There are people in Prince Rupert that are getting older that no longer wish to live in houses and do the maintenance and landscaping required for an individual home,” said Mayor Jack Mussallem.

“If there was a facility where they could have a condominium or townhouse … in a nice area with a possible view, it would be welcomed and appreciated,” Mayor Mussallem said.

The city would sell the property, with the money going into the city’s lands sale account and being earmarked for development of other lands within the municipality. It would also generate further funds by putting another piece of property on the tax roll.

But the idea has met strong opposition; not to the condos, but to their suggested location.

At a public forum held on the subject last Tuesday, city planner Zeno Krekic said the city looks at a number of considerations when planning a project, including ownership of land, land-use regulations, sensitivity concerns and if services are available. Considering those factors, Krekic selected an area on Atlin Avenue that previously held the Transition House, as well as the adjoining lands to the southwest. The land is owned by the city, is already developed making city maintenance easier, and the land is already fully developed with water, sewer and utilities.

While the Westview Park and adjoining land isn’t zoned for residential use, it’s located on a favourable, family-oriented neighbourhood equipped with an outstanding view.

However, at the forum, Rupertites highlighted several issues with developing the area.

A main concern is that Westview Park is home to a Great Blue Heron nesting site, known as a rookery.

Krekic admitted the city wasn’t aware of the rookery, but said the city worked with consultants who suggested a 60-metre buffer zone around the rookery.

Prince Rupert’s Cynthia Spilsted argued 60 metres wasn’t enough when compared to other buffer zones, saying in Minnesota a 180-metre buffer around the outer edge of a rookery was required.

“If they go, they will not come back … to build, then say ‘oh dear, we made a mistake the herons are gone’, [would be] a little too late because you can’t give them an apology card … we’re losing too much in this town.”

An issue for several of the meeting’s attendees was the potential loss of another recreational green space within the community.

“This entire parcel of land, which was intended for public use is even more valuable today … people need these precious, undeveloped spaces,” Atlin Avenue resident Leslie Rowlands said.

Julie Slocombe, a mother who lives on Alpine Drive, said the loss of the park would mean her children would lose the only forest they can play in without crossing the highway.

“My children are outdoor children, they do not spend a lot of time in doors. They like to go trump through the forest,” she said.

“That is the only park my children can play in.”

People also referred to the Quality of Life Official Community Plan (QLOCP), saying developing condos in the area would go against it. The QLOCP designates the area as P1, or public facilities, which restricts its permitted uses to park and recreation facilities, public institutional facilities, education centres, cemeteries, resource lands and activities and accessory buildings and structures.

Krekic said the area could be rezoned by following the proper legislative process.

It was also argued that creating condos at the Westview park and adjoining lands went against the QLOCP’s suggestions for areas for new residential development within the plan.

Emergency access was a concern for Atlin Avenue resident Linda Scott, who said within the community plan the section of town containing Atlin and Graham Avenue was not suggested for future development because of a lack of emergency access.

“I don’t think any kind of increased residential density in that area is a practical thing to think about,” Scott said.

Other concerns expressed were that increasing the number of families in the area would mean an increase in traffic in a tight area. People said Atlin would need to be widened for safety, and questioned if the aging 2nd Avenue bridge was strong enough to deal with an increase.

No one at the meeting spoke in favour of the idea, including city councillors Judy Carlick-Pearson, Nelson Kinney and Anna Ashley. All three said they were not in favour of a housing complex being put in the area.

“Let’s keep our parks. We have to do it,” Coun. Kinney said.

Coun. Ashley reminded people the meeting was held to gather input on the concept.

“No decisions have been made. We are listening to everything that you say … I do believe it’s a bad idea. But we have to let that democratic process happen,” Ashley said.

Krekic will give a report to council on the meeting before the end of the year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

North Coast BC NDP MLA Incumbent is seen with her wife Andrea Wilmot and their son Lua, as well as their dog Duncan. Preliminary results on election night Oct. 24 show Rice is in for a third term. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Poppy donation boxes have been delivered to restaurants, cafes, stores and places of businesses in Prince Rupert by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 127 for the 2020 National Poppy Campaign. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
National poppy campaign restricted by COVID-19

Prince Rupert Royal Canadian legion expects less donations to offer vital assistance to local vets

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read