160 Van Arsdol Street, also known as ‘the castle’. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Prince Rupert City Council unanimously denies Van Arsdol subdivision

The public wrote 18 letters against the proposal

Eighteen letters were sent to council regarding the proposed subdivision of the ‘castle’ at 160 Van Arsdol Street. Approximately 20 people came to the Oct. 30 council meeting in person to find out what would happen to the historic property in Prince Rupert.

At the Committee of the Whole, two members of the public spoke out against the planned changes. One of them was Judy Warren, who was on the Heritage Advisory Committee for more than 30 years and worked on the Quality of Life Official Community Plan.

“We were a planned city, and that plan is still excellent today. We have good, sound bylaws and zoning,” Warren said. “We are all tired of every few months having to write letters and come to council to say ‘no’ to speculators who wish not to abide by the OCP (Official Community Plan) bylaws and zoning. The castle is the second most significant heritage home in the City of Prince Rupert and deserves protection.”

She asked council to give the planning committee the power to reject such proposals so that neighbourhoods don’t have to intervene.

Councillor Wade Niesh said, “I do not believe that we should be setting the precedent of making non-conforming properties all over this town, because everyone will want to do that in order to split up the properties. On a personal [note], I can’t believe they would think about destroying that beautiful house, but that’s not why we’re here.”

Councillor Barry Cunningham said that when the council decided at the last meeting to put the variance application to public notice, the public has since responded “with a resounding no.”

“To be clear to folks that are here, council has a legal obligation to accept any proposal that comes forward,” Mayor Lee Brain said. “It’s not council necessarily bringing these things forward as it is developers … Personally, I’m not in favour of this either. I believe this is a poor idea and a poor proposal … why would you ruin such a beautiful property and also add unnecessary density?”

Council’s unanimous decision to deny the Van Arsdol variance proposal was met with applause from the gathered crowd. Some stood in a standing ovation.

Other bylaw and zoning variance permit proposals were moved forward by council. Niesh said he is in favour of the plans for a three-unit condo at 134 1st Avenue West, because it meets objectives to refurbish, build a tax base and bring more density to the downtown area.

Cunningham said, “These are the types of variances I like to see to pass because it’s improving the neighbourhood and it’s improving the quality of the house. This is a win-win.”

City of Prince Rupertcouncil briefs

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

Just Posted

Aimed at success – the launch hit the target

Prince Rupert teen Brendan Eshom launches educational software app that hits Apple’s “Top Charts”

Getting a head for cancer research

Prince Rupert Cops for Cancer want to flush away the illness with loads of donations for research

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Most Read