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Dawson Creek council does 360 on boundary extension

Council supported bringing two rural parcels into the city boundaries until August, when it withdrew support. On Dec. 19, council changed its mind and decided to back the proposal.
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A pair of local developers will have an easier time bringing two rural parcels (highlighted in yellow) into the City of Dawson Creek after city council retracted its opposition to a boundary extension Dec. 19.

Dawson Creek City Council is once again backing a boundary extension application months after withdrawing support for the same proposal.

On Dec. 19, council voted to once again support Wayne and Kerry Hansen’s request to incorporate two rural parcels into the city of Dawson Creek, after a vote in August to withdraw support.

The properties—a 64-hectare section north of Highway 97 toward Chetwynd and a 125-hectare section between 219 and 217 Roads south of the Dangerous Goods Route—would provide land for industrial development in the city, the developers say.

Council had supported the application, which went through a referendum-like alternative approval process, until August.  

At a meeting that month, councillors opposed to the extension said the decision should be made as part of its South Peace Comprehensive Development Plan, a land-use document currently in development. Including the boundary decision in the plan would have further delayed the extension.

Wayne Hansen said he was happy the boundary extension had once again won council's support, but said he was frustrated the process had taken so long.

"It shouldn't have took two years," he said. "That's why our town is struggling."

Their application Monday included a letter from Fort St. John City Councillor and realtor Trevor Bolin, who said the land would provide revenue and jobs for the city.

Coun. Paul Gevatkoff, a supporter of the proposal, applauded after council voted Monday.

Mayor Dale Bumstead said improving economic conditions led him to change his vote on the boundary extension.

“Over the last two or three months, the amount of activity in our community and in the region (has increased),” he said, citing TransCanada and Pembina pipeline projects that have used industrial land in the city for works yards.

“The demand for industrial property is escalating very, very quickly,” he said. “It’s a lengthy process you go through for a boundary extension.”

“We’re going through the South Peace Comprehensive Development Plan and our Official Community Plan, but this probably gives this (property) a year head start.”

Coun. Mark Rogers recused himself from Monday’s vote. Rogers, himself a developer, at first denied the applicant’s allegation that he was in a conflict of interest, but since declared a conflict after looking at developing industrial parcels within the city.  

The provincial cabinet ultimately makes the decision whether to incorporate lands with advice from the municipality.

reporter@dcdn.ca