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

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

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.