Atlin Ave. homeowners who oppose the development of Westview Park brought their concerns to city council on Sept. 30, asking councillors why the idea was being pursued at all.
Bob Warren, Judy Warren, Charlotte Rowse and Bill Kristmanson took advantage of the Committee of the Whole public question period to ask council questions on a wide range of topics related to the development, including why the public notice didn’t mention the area proposed for development is park land and how it plans to address the Blue Heron rookery found at the site.
“These notices are put out with legal requirements in mind, and I am not sure the city planner considers Westview a park … I believe the city has gone out and had someone identify where the nests are and what the setback requirements to be considered are. Should the city proceed, the setbacks would be considered with the rezoning,” said Mayor Jack Mussallem in response to those particular questions, while encouraging the group to make their voices heard at the Oct. 22 public meeting on the matter.
“I think on Oct. 22, all of your questions will be answered. If they are not, you can contact myself or [city manager] Mr. Long.”
Mayor Mussallem noted the development is being looked at to create housing that can accommodate retirement age residents who don’t need a large house and don’t want to do maintenance, such as mowing the lawn. However, Rowse said that argument doesn’t make sense.
“If I want to move into a condo as a senior, I want to be downtown where I don’t need a vehicle to get around … this was a crazy idea,” she said.
“It is going to be a park and it should stay a park.”
Following the question period, councillors thanked the group for coming and weighed in with their thoughts on the proposal.
“I am not in favour of condos in that area, but I did favour re-development of some of that area … what that looks like in the end is something we will have to decide,” said Councillor Gina Garon.
“I really, really value the parks we have in Prince Rupert. As someone who grew up in Prince Rupert, we need to keep what we do have because we have sacrificed a lot in the past years,” added Councillor Judy Carlick – Pearson.
Other councillors said that they too would be looking for more information from the Oct. 22 meeting.
“We didn’t know some of the information brought forward tonight … we were looking at this area to put more on the tax role, but if there is information that points otherwise we will consider that when making the final decision because a final decision has not been made,” said Councillor Anna Ashley.
“There is some information that needs to come to the meeting … I have also heard from citizens that the sewer lines on Atlin and Graham could not handle a large influx of new lines,” said Councillor Joy Thorkelson.