Haldi area residents weren't surprised, but they were disappointed by city council's decision to approve an application to support the development of a residential therapeutic facility in their neighbourhood.
Council came to a vote after a marathon public hearing on controversial amendments to the official community plan and zoning bylaw Monday night. The 8-1 vote on both amendments (Coun. Brian Skakun alone voted in opposition) was taken minutes after midnight, following four-and-a-half hours of public presentations.
"The need for a recovery centre in Prince George, no one has ever disputed that fact," said Haldi Road Committee member Laura Jagodnik. "There are very concerning land use issues in the Haldi Road area and we feel that city council has not addressed them properly."
With the nod given to a text amendment in the OCP, the door is opened for a larger continuum of special-needs housing across Prince George.
"It is a city issue. We're all city residents," Jagodnik said, noting that the majority of residents in her community feel they should be seeking legal advice and that they will be in touch with their lawyer Roy Stewart today.
Northern Supportive Recovery Centre for Women spokesperson Dr. Michelle Sutter said she was very pleased with the passing of third reading and that the application could move forward to the final stages.
She said they will be applying for building permits for renovations on the former Haldi Road elementary school as soon as the application has passed fourth reading.
"For us and the people we want to serve, the sooner the better," Sutter said.