City council voted in support of a proposed 20-home subdivision on Barr Road, in the area of Dawson Road and Glenview Elementary School, on Monday night.
Council voted in favour of the first three readings of a rezoning bylaw to facilitate the development, following a public hearing. A vote on final reading will be held at a future date.
Ellen Barr, the owner of 2989 Barr Road, is looking to extend Barr Road and build homes on a 1.79 hectare (4.4 acres) section of the undeveloped, 19.5 ha. (48 acre) property.
City council received nine emails and letters in opposition to the development from area residents, with raising concerns about increased traffic, the lack of sidewalks and streetlights on Dawson Road for students going to Glenview Elementary, and loss of animal habitat.
“Traffic volumes generated from the site would be very low,” L&M Engineering community planner Ashley Thandi said, on behalf of the developer.
The site’s proximity to public transit and other services make it “ideal for a low-density infill project,” she said.
Installing sidewalks and streetlights on Dawson Road – other than a set of lights at the intersection of Dawson and Barr Road, was outside of the scope of the project, Thandi added.
In a report to city council, city director of planning and development Deanna Wasnik wrote that the development is considered low-density and is not expected to have a significant impact on area traffic. As a result, the city did not require the developer to do a traffic impact study.
No opponents of the project appeared during the public hearing.
However, in a letter to city council, Dawson Road resident Patrick Stapleton said Dawson Road was a quiet street when he bought his home there in 1989, but isn’t anymore.
“The quality of the environment of (the) Dawson Road area has deteriorated rapidly since the City of Prince George approved multiple residential subdivisions at the north and south ends of Dawson Road,” Stapleton wrote. “Traffic from the north end of Dawson Road… speed daily along Dawson Road creating unnecessary noise and hazard to the school children travelling to and from Glenview Elementary School and other pedestrians.”
There are no curbs, sidewalks, gutters or storm drains on the road, Stapleton added.
“Dawson Road does not need another subdivision in our area to further create more residential noise and traffic to further destroy the privacy and quiet environment that we once enjoyed on Dawson Road,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, I am too old to move away from this deteriorating area of Prince George so here I must stay.”
Long-time area resident Mavis Christie, the former chairperson of the Glenview Elementary parent advisory committee, said she’s concerned about additional traffic along Dawson Road as children walk to and from school. Christie said parents have advocated to the city to build sidewalks for students, with no result.
“You try to drive down Dawson Road at 8:00 am and see the congestion of vehicles and children walking on both sides of the road,” Christie wrote. “Does the city plan to make it safe for children and put sidewalks in from Austin Road to Cluff Road? This should be part of the developers plans as there will be significantly more traffic to this area.”
In a letter, Dawson Road resident Deborah Kopp said she isn’t opposed to the development, but the area has outgrown its current infrastructure.
“Dawson Road is the one and only access to Glenview Elementary, it is a very narrow unlit road with no sidewalks with one corridor to walk or drive into the school with no additional gates or walkways for foot traffic, because of this it forces all children and vehicles travel Dawson (Road). Through out the winter months it is significantly narrower and at times reduced to single lane traffic and at times can be hazardous,” Koop said. “…(We) are desperately needing to improve the safety of the neighbourhood with the installation of sidewalks, crosswalks, signage and lighting and look at development as a whole rather than focusing on subdivision by subdivision.”
Kopp recommended the addition of a walkway to connect the new development directly to Glenview Elementary, so students from that area don’t have to walk along Dawson Road.
Thandi said the developer is considering that suggestion, but they “have to have a conversation with School District 57 to see if they would be willing to provide a gate.”