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Letter to the editor: Regional district board must respect public wishes

It was embarrassing when three elected directors/city councillors pleaded lack of understanding of the process and lack of public input and information.
RDFFG
(via Hanna Petersen)

WCOL’s application for a Non-Farm Use permit for the Pineview Extraction Plant went to the Regional District (RD) on Nov 18, 2021. Pineview residents have followed this proposal since June 2021. We met with RD and developed a clear understanding of the process and policies regarding this application.

One week prior, the directors received the agenda and 1,000+ page attachment (public document). A detailed report explained the issue, relevant policies and process.

RELEVANT POLICIES:

  1. Agricultural Land Commission Act. Must consider all applications in the context of Section 6 of the Act, which focuses on the preservation and enhancement of agricultural land
  2. Agricultural land Reserve General Regulation and Agricultural Land Reserve Use Regulation. The proposed facility is not a permitted use of the land.
  3. Pineview Official Community Plan (OCP) Bylaw No. 2302. The proposal is not permitted.
  4. Zoning Bylaw No.2892. The proposal is not permitted.
  5. RD-15-19 Agricultural Land Reserve Applications Policy. Public input is not required but allows public input through unsolicited written comments; over 200 were submitted.

It was embarrassing when three elected directors/city councillors pleaded lack of understanding of the process and lack of public input and information. Terri McConnachie and Kyle Sampson were elected in 2018 and Lyn Hall was elected in 2012. They have dealt with ALR applications. They should understand the process and policies associated with their role as a member of the Agricultural Land Use Standing Committee.  The 1000+ page agenda attachment including 200+ written public comments, technical agency referral comments does not support this application.

The chaos and misdirection resulted in postponing the decision until corporate advised them. A stall tactic spearheaded and dominated by the city councilors/directors. A perceived conflict of interest? This application is the linchpin to the new pipeline and separation Plant located in the City of Prince George boundaries. It is no secret that Mayor Lyn Hall supports WCOL and its projects.

Our locally elected regional directors have all the information and grassroots insight needed to make this crucial decision. It would be negligent to pass the decision on to a provincially appointed committee.

I ask Directors Hall, McConnachie and Sampson, to remove their City of PG hats and do what is correct even if they do not agree with it or to excuse themselves from the decision-making process. Heavy industry does not belong on agricultural land.

Write or phone these directors if you share my concerns.

Jan Erricson

Prince George