City council was faced with almost nothing but objection from the public on the issue of proposed changes to allow a proposed woment's treatment centre in the former Haldi Road school.
Council chambers were stuffed Monday night as residents took the opportunity to speak out to mayor and council about the offered amendments to the official community plan and zoning amendments.
After an initial presentation by proponents for the Northern Supportive Recovery Centre for Women, it took nearly two hours before council heard another presentation in favour of the application.
Opponents from both inside and outside of the Haldi Road neighbourhood expressed concern over a plan they characterized as the city trying to "fit a square peg into a round hole."
"We need to work with [the OCP], not alter it every time the wind blows," said Terry Mann.
The proponents of the Northern Supportive Recovery Centre want to convert the former Haldi Road elementary school into a 30-bed residential women's facility. In order to do so, they require a change to property's zoning as well as the city's document guiding land use - the OCP, last officially upgraded in June 2012.
The subject property, 5877 Leslie Rd., is designated as Rural B under the OCP, marked for "moderate-intensity rural residential use" with a minimum lot size of one per two hectares.
The amendment would "permit affordable housing and/or special needs housing, at densities council considers appropriate, in all the residential area including rural areas."
While the potential changes to the text of the OCP help make the application a better fit in the city "it doesn't change the fact Haldi residents have spoken up... and don't want a women's treatment centre in their neighbourhood," said Debora Munoz.
According to members of the Haldi Road Committee, the group of residents who oppose the application, 71 per cent of the neighbourhood is opposed to the proposal.
The group also brought forward a 1997 subdivision proposal for the area that didn't meet the approval of the city's planning department due to servicing difficulties and the change to the character of the neighbourhood.
"It's interesting how planning departments decision can go from one extreme to the other [one the same property]," said Tracy Kettles.
Area resident Peter Goudal spoke up in support of the plan, offering that the amendment would provide those with a requirement for special needs housing a choice to not live in the bowl area of Prince George.
Presenters expressed dismay over a five-minute time limit set out at the beginning of the public hearing by Mayor Shari Green. Once everyone had a chance to speak once, the floor was opened up again for those who required more time to finish their presentations and take questions from council.