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Ginter’s Green Forever to present case to council on Monday

A Prince George citizens group is leading a campaign to preserve an existing park, neighbouring escarpment and off-leash area from future development.

Ginter’s Green Forever (GGF) will make a presentation to Prince George city council on Mon, Aug 15 to urge council to permanently protect the forest and surrounding escarpment around Ginters community park.

The presentation will highlight the need to change the Official Community Plan (OCP) to remove two proposed roadways that would dissect Ginters Meadow Park and help protect the surrounding forest and escarpment above Ginters Park.

There are currently three trails in the forest that start on University Way and meet the existing off-leash trail in Ginters, that is enjoyed by hundreds of people each day with their families and dogs. On any given day, the other trails are frequented by cyclists, people on horseback or hikers.

Ginter’s Green Forever director Jenn Matthews says the need to change the OCP is needed to preserve the existing green space and ensure Ginters is a place where people can continue to come and recreate with their families and pets.

“Adding four lanes of traffic through Ginters will permanently destroy the existing park,” said Matthews. “The OCP needs to be updated to recognize, value and protect existing greenspace and the forest for future generations to enjoy.”

Currently, the OCP contains two major road expansions. Left unchanged, Massey Drive would expand up to Tyner Blvd and Foothills Blvd would extend to Ferry Avenue.

James Steidle, also a director with Ginters Green Forever, says sacrificing parkland for urban growth isn’t a good model for development. “The city’s vision for development around Ginters is out of touch with future challenges,” he added.

“The model of development is expensive and bad for the environment,” Steidle said. “Expanding two major roads into a popular and well-used park isn’t the way to go.”

With the city seeing record housing starts again this year, the need for expanding and protecting existing parks is a very important, Matthews said.

Statistics from the city’s webpage detail a 47 % increase in housing starts (665) last year; those record numbers are being surpassed so far in 2022.

To draw attention to the OCP for this area and the City of Prince George’s plan for urban sprawl into the area surrounding and including Ginters, Matthews said GGF started a petition to the City to show support for protecting Ginters and surrounding area.

In just over five weeks, that petition has drawn well over 3,000 signatures already, Matthews said.

“The support for protecting Ginters and surrounding area has been huge,” she said.

In addition to the roads, a private developer is trying to sell 161 acres of land along the steep escarpment that borders Ginters. The second phase of this development would see additional forest removed almost to Shane Lake around UNBC.

Matthews said the petition has the following asks:

  • That the OCP is updated to recognize, value, and protect existing greenspace and urban forests prior to further development.
  • That the City engage in a consultative process with its residents on how development of the forest around Ginters Meadow and the surrounding escarpment proceeds, or even if it should.
  • That the City commission a hydro-geotechnical analysis of the Cranbrook Hill Escarpment from Tyner Boulevard to Foothills Boulevard. The investigation should include the cumulative effects of large-scale removal of the forest along the western edge of the escarpment above Ginter’s Meadow, and the impact of the residential housing developments currently underway and planned for the future.

With the upcoming municipal elections and our current growth, Steidle says it’s important to have this discussion about park preservation now.

“Prince George is growing quickly and that makes the preservation of green space now and for future generations vital. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever”. 

Matthews says all concerned residents should relay their feelings to city council and join GGF at the upcoming council meeting on August 15 at 545 pm.

“It’s a great opportunity to be heard and show council that people care about existing parks,” she said. “Parks need green space around them – not more paved roads.”

 

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