Bear Mountain work camp permit denied by PRRD

After hearing local residents complaints, the Peace River Regional District denied a temporary use permit for a work camp on Bear Mountain on Loiselle Subdivision.

The camp, which houses up to 30 workers for the Louisiana Pacific project, has been in operation since September 2017. However, they were only supposed to be there for six months, after they moved from two previous locations.

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Residents raised issue in particular with the noise from the onsite generation and truck traffic and potential road degeneration.

“We originally decided if it was a six month term, we could put up with this for six months, but we’re five months over the deadline now, which gives us cause for concern,” said Ken Paul at the August 9 PRRD meeting. “I can hear stuff from the ski hill, which is further away [than where I live].”

“I personally live directly across from this camp, so speaking to our realtor, it’s really decreased the desirability of our property should we choose to sell it,” said Sherry Loroff.

In the PRRD report, it was noted there was an active bylaw enforcement file opened as of April 24 in regards to concerns including excessive noise and the camp operating longer than permitted.

Garry Loiselle, president of Loiselle Investments, was at the meeting as a delegate to ask for the temporary use permit, which would allow them to operate the camp until July 11, 2019.

Loiselle said they shrouded the generator to reduce noise, and if the permit was approved, would get a new insulated generator. He added they looked into getting hydro power lines installed so “they could do away with the generator,” but the process had taken considerable time and wouldn’t be installed until at least next year.

He also noted the lack of communication with locals came as a result of the short amount of time they had to move the camp from two previous locations.

“Normally, if we had more time, we would have consulted, but we had to get the permits and these guys needed a home to live in, and as far as we see, it’s worked out very well,” he explained to the board.

In addition to the complaints from residents, it was noted the PRRD had granted a temporary use permit to Celtic Construction for 78 workers adjacent to the Louisiana Pacific site on January 11, which could be used instead.

“None of the workers want to live there, it’s living right at the jobsite under the power line, where the camp would sit right under there. And there’s the cost of moving it,” explained Loiselle. “If that’s the case, the camp would have been moved three times.

“[The workers] have a very pleasant atmosphere [at the current camp].”

Loiselle noted that after the camp moves he intends to develop the land into a subdivision, which will use the road created for the camp.

In the end, the PRRD carried the staff recommendation to deny the application.

“We have a choice to inconvenience 30 workers, or to inconvenience the residents,” noted Tumbler Ridge Mayor Don McPherson on the decision made by the board. 

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