An online petition opposing the location of a new BC Transit operations and maintenance facility in Prince George is gaining momentum.
As of Sunday morning, the petition had 880 signatures.
In early March the city announced it is hoping to locate the facility at at the corner of Foothills Boulevard and 18 Avenue. This has angered many residents who walk the trail, which joins up with Ginter’s Field, adjacent to the site.
“We, the citizens of Prince George and its surrounding communities, use the trails at the proposed future site of the BC Transit Operations and Maintenance Facility for recreational purposes extensively through all seasons,” reads the petition at Change.org. “The forested area at the corner of Foothills Blvd and 18th Avenue provides a natural extension of the Ginter’s off-leash dog park and forested trails leading up to UNBC for both residents and wildlife.
“The addition of this facility in the proposed location will increase traffic, emissions and noise for the neighbouring communities and contribute to ongoing air quality issues in the local airshed (‘the bowl’). The paved trail provides free, safe, accessible exercise opportunities for many seniors, dogs and families year round. Increased daily bus traffic to 18th and Foothills is also a concern in relation to heavy pulses of traffic associated with the soccer fields (both PGYSA, mens and women’s league) during outdoor season play, CN Centre traffic during major events and hockey games, Aquatic Centre & Ice Oval users during peak competition periods, Agricultural tenants (horses), and UNBC traffic passing through 15th and Foothills to the University Hill.”
The petition calls for an environmental impact assessment on the proposed changes to wildlife species and habitats to determine potential impacts of the proposed facility.
“Fragmentation of green space through development of proposals such as the BC Transit facility at this site is a leading contributor to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in urban interface areas,” it reads.
The city will be starting a rezoning process for the preferred site and a public information session was held March 8.
The location is more centrally located in Prince George than the existing site, which is located on the south side of the city. The proposed site is located behind Exhibition Park and at the bottom of University Hill to provide close access to a number of existing transit routes. This move is a greener alternative as it will help to reduce fuel consumption and costs, according to a city press release.