In answer to a petition opposing the location of a proposed housing development on 11th Ave. E., Paul Lagace tenant advocate with Prince Rupert Unemployment Action Centre responded with a supportive petition on March 8. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

In answer to a petition opposing the location of a proposed housing development on 11th Ave. E., Paul Lagace tenant advocate with Prince Rupert Unemployment Action Centre responded with a supportive petition on March 8. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Two petitions stir up affordable housing debate with opposite views

Contrasting opinions from city residents regarding proposed Prince Rupert housing development

Two petitions — one in favour and one opposed — to a 70-unit affordable housing development slated for 11th Ave East are highlighting the stark and contrasting opinions as to where people should live in the city.

The first online petition, posted on March 6 on by a group identifying themselves as Concerned Citizens of Prince Rupert (CCPR), opposes the Lax Kw’alaams WAAP Housing Society (LKWHS) construction saying the location isn’t suitable nor is the prospect of having more people live in the area. The proposed development is a partnership between LKWHS, BC Housing and the City of Prince Rupert.

But a second petition, called Revive Prince Rupert 2021/2022, and begun by Prince Rupert Unemployment Action Centre housing advocate Paul Lagace, rejects those statements.

The Revive Prince Rupert petition gained more than 430 signatures in less than two days, while the CRPR petition was closed down with 90 signatures after just one day. The petition website does not list the names of initiators or reasons a petition is closed.

“We do not believe this location has been well-thought-out beyond the immediate future and the housing pressures that come along with that,” states the CCPR petition. “As it stands now, a lot of stigma is attached to high-density BC housing/apartment sites – this stigma serves to draw a line in the sand between various socioeconomic groups and as a result, we continue to see blatant racism/classism run rampant in this city.”

“From a practical standpoint, surrounding property values fall, affecting those pre-existing in the neighbourhood, and the area becomes less desirable. This can be seen in most of the high-density buildings and their surrounding neighbourhoods in Prince Rupert.”

“The area of interest is currently zoned residential and we firmly feel that a large-scale project such as this one would have a negative effect on the area,” the petition in opposition states.

Some of the language used in the CRPR petition was not helpful, and “it did spark a division that we don’t need,” Legace said in response.

Lagace did say some of his own language is tongue-in-cheek but that the subject matter is serious.

“As it stands now, a lot of stigma might be attached to a 70-unit BC housing/apartment site, but not in our neighbourhood – we will welcome these folks with open arms. This stigma might serve to draw a line in the sand between various socioeconomic groups – but again, we firmly believe that housing should not be a privilege but a basic human right – a necessity that we all need access to. And since every person and family in the city needs this, as a result, we stand united with our fellow citizens, so that we will no longer see blatant racism/classism run rampant in this city,” Legace’s petition states.

“From a practical standpoint, surrounding property values should increase, and the neighbourhood becomes more desirable. It is a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.

The CRPR petition also cites ecological and environmental concerns as the signators are ‘deeply saddened’ to lose a wooded area nearby which is outlined in a map attached to the petition. As well, traffic density is an issue that needs to be considered for safety.

“Why are we considering destroying one of the last remaining forested areas within the city. Hays Creek runs through the site where there are fish and other habitats among the lush forest. We regularly see deer, wolves, and eagles inhabiting this land,” the CRPR petition states.

“I was amazed how you can talk so much about forests, birds and trees, which I love too, yet forget the people equation,” Legace said.

Legace points out that the map attached to the original petition showing the forest area to be demolished is not the portion of land designated for construction.

“It’s very misleading. If you look at that you think they’re ripping down the entire forest …” he said. “(The area) is overseeing basically a cliff. It’s all dead wood, you can not walk through there. It’s non-accessible. … It’s particularly misleading.”

READ MORE: Proposed residential rezoning draws ire of local residents

Legace said there is cost-effectiveness to housing density and with the lack of available land any new housing should be welcomed.

“New housing in the city should be exciting,” he said citing the recent example of the Cedar Village housing complex built in the city.

“The bar has been set. So why should we expect that bar not to be raised,” he said. “I’ve heard of some of the design work (for LKWHS) and it’s going to be amazing.”

“Everybody’s saying we need affordable housing. There’s a housing crisis, even the people that wrote that petition agreed,” he said. “… We need something to do, now. So, if we’re in for that, why can’t we all be in it together? Really, affordable housing needs to be in every neighbourhood.”

“I think we need to embrace everyone. That’s really what it comes down to it. Let’s start getting rid of the ‘us and them’.”

“That might be pie in the sky idealism, but I believe in that stuff. I believe that’s a kinder Prince Rupert. That’s the Prince Rupert I want to live in. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for.”

K-J Millar | Journalist 
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attend an apartment fire on the morning of April 11 in a building at 521 Fulton Str. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Sunday morning fire rouses tenants

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attended an apartment fire at 521 Fulton St.

Bears are waking up hungry and starting to forage, Conservation Officer Service said on April 9. Prince Residents are advised to keep garbage in sealed containers to lessen bear attraction. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Keep bears wild – they are not teddy bears

Conservation Officer Service warns bears are waking up hungry

Prince Rupert couple Alvin Tait and Loni Martin have postponed their wedding two times due to COVID-19 affecting the marriage rates in Prince Rupert. (Photo: supplied/L.Martin)
No marriages in Prince Rupert in 2021 so far

Weddings down 23.9% in P.R. since COVID-19 with B.C. wedding industry loss at $158 million

Three North Coast organizations are granted funding to promote multiculturalism and support anti-racism, Jennifer Rice MLA announced on April 8. Conrad Elementary School students recognized the first Black Shirt Day on January 15, 2021, to advocate for anti-racism. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
North Coast organizations to benefit from anti-racism funding

$944,000 granted in provincial funding to aid multiculturalism

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Most Read