REPORTING · 3rd November 2011
When you say you "Added more sanitary facilities and supported ongoing river bank cleanup" are you talking about those portable toilets at the make shift camp ground across from the Eurocan pump house?
I have been asking for Council to take serious the issue of Riverbank Camping for 3 years. The response from Mayor and Council was " go ahead and try you will not succeed. Well I say it's not over until the Fat Lady Sings (in my case Fat Man Sings).
My first hurdle was the Director of Recreation of the day, he was sitting on a study done on Riverbank Camping that was and is still relevant. I obtained a copy, read it and did my own study albeit high level. I walked the Riverbank, talked to campers and day users on several occasions to gather research.
My findings and those of the recent study where similar the riverbank is an undeveloped asset that would if properly managed support expanded tourism and after an initial modest capital cost could actually pay for itself or if wanted make a profit.
Without Council support all I could do was request the Director of Recreation look at my findings which indicated that the majority of present users would be in favor of paying. And that as a stop gap it would be good to add some maintenance.
“More sanitary facilities” was the most requested need and second was keeping the area clean, third was maintaining the access so vehicles would not be damaged as campers have to go to town to stock up on groceries and use other local services. Joe agreed that he could fit some of that into his budget.
At that point Eurocan announced a closure and my attentions where diverted to that issue and it consumed me for some time.
At the same time Joe and his department was working on my recommendations. He added more Jonny’s and found a riverbank camper that was willing to be the cleanup guy. The road was under a different department and I made my request to the City Manager.
I have a vision shaped by the previous study and my own research of how the Riverbank could be many others in the community would like to see us develop that asset as well. I know that the landowners along the bank are open to discussing the possibility of having an overall plan as I contacted all of them.
Kitimat owns the important areas but it would be good to have an overall plan that would fit into the OCP and be environmentally, and socially acceptable.
As your Mayor I would support acting on the study and opening up the OCP for review as many changes have taken place and will take place in the next few years.
Thanks for the response
Comment by Aaron von Schleinitz on 7th November 2011
Thanks for clearing this up for me Randy. I like the initiative you've taken on this issue and like where you're headed with it. I know this shanty town frustrates a lot of Kitimat citizens as these people slowly degrad that section of the river bank and pay nothing for it. All when Hirsh creek sits empty.
I am, however, not so happy with the free facilities they recieve. It takes a toll on that area having them there and costs us to maintain it.
I hope I see some changes in the way things are done there in the next three years.
Go for it!
Comment by FayEllen McFarlane on 2nd November 2011
Every time we drive down to the riverbank or along the road to Alcan Beach on the other side of the river and I see all those campers taking advantage of our community I feel frustrated! I believe that Kitimat should create campsites and proper facilities along the river bank and charge a fee for their use to at least cover the upkeep and maintenance of the area. I'm sure it could pay for itself!