City set to put the brakes on transit facility location

A crowd of about 300 jammed Kin 1 Thursday to voice their opposition to a proposed new transit maintenance facility on 18th Avenue and Foothills Boulevard. Bill Phillips photo


It appears the city’s new transit maintenance facility will have to park it somewhere else.

Mayor Lyn Hall, at the request of councillors Susan Scott, Garth Frizzell, and Brian Skakun is bringing forward a motion that council rescind the first two readings of a bylaw that would have opened the door for the facility to be built near Foothills Drive and 18th Avenue.

The proposed location drew the ire of the community, many of whom felt it was the ‘right project, wrong location.’ Close to 300 people jammed Kin 1 in early May for a raucous information session, most of whom objected to the location.

“In the month of April and to date in June, council has received numerous public feedback noting concerns regarding the location for the proposed facility,” says Mayor Lyn Hall in a report going to council Monday. “Further, the comments received at the public information meeting, held on May 11, 2017 resulted in additional comments by the public in opposition to the development proposal.”

He said major themes from the meeting and written correspondence that were outlined in the report that council received at their April 3 regular meeting, included:

  • Loss of greenspace within the City of Prince George and impacts on wildlife in the area;
  • Negative impacts (e.g. noise, pollution, traffic) on the adjacent recreational uses in the area, and to nearby residential uses;
  • Air quality concerns connected with idling buses;
  • That the location is inappropriate for the proposed use and should be located in an industrial area;
  • Concerns with slope stability of Cranbrook Hill; and,
  • Danger of the site becoming contaminated.

BC Transit, along with the city, announced the proposed location for the $23 million facility earlier this year. Fifty per cent of the funding will come from a federal green initiative and the province, in the lead up to the election call, announced it will fund one-third of the project.

The motion going before council Monday will direct city administration to meet with BC Transit regarding potential alternate locations to facilitate their proceeding with the development of a new Transit Operations and Maintenance Facility.

“There is no Plan B or C … all I can say is you would be putting federal and provincial money at risk,” said BC Transit’s Levi Timmermans at the May public information session. After a chorus of boos and jeers, though, he said he would continue to search for another site should the Foothills one be rejected. He added the funding would disappear if the project is not completed by March 2019.

  • Jo G

    “There is no Plan B or C”

    And therein lies the ignorance of such people. Any reasonable project manager would have stated that there are alternate plans, but that they cannot share them at this time. Anything less makes them look totally unprofessional in the eyes of those in the audience who understand how such projects work at the best available standard. The City should accept nothing less. We have gotten too large and complex to accept anything less.

    The ignorance of the vision statement encompassed in the high level goals of a relatively recently minted OCP through the MyPG process is unbelievable. The notion that the OCP is just a piece of paper that can be changed at the highest level is promulgated by too many people at City Hall working at the top administrative levels. What is true at the hundreds of low level policies, does not extend to the high level vision the Citizens of Prince George expect.

    The justification report brought by the Development Department was amateurish. We need well qualified planners back at the Council table the way we used to have decades ago who understand that fact.

    We also need City Managers from those eras back at the Council Table heading up administration. We need a person with much broader knowledge of the dynamics of cities who understand the business of operating a City without brokering everything out to those who have been promoted one step too far and have reached their level of incompetence.