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REPORTING · 27th September 2012
Walter McFarlane
Reg Chamberlain presented a copy of a petition to Kitimat City Council on Monday, September 17th. The petition was to go to Rio Tinto Alcan and it concerned the closure of hospital Beach earlier this summer.

“My presentation pertains to RTA’s closure of Hospital Beach and Boat Launch,” said Chamberlain. “A group of us senior citizens got together and were tossing around, we weren’t very happy about the closure of course, about the beach and the ramp and we decided we would start a petition and we did.”

He told Council he would be presenting the petition to Rio Tinto Alcan on Tuesday, September 18th.

Councillor Phil Germuth said there was most likely a miscommunication or other circumstance behind the closure of the beach and the boat launch prior to consulting the community of Kitimat.

“While the possible closure was rumoured for, maybe about a year before it happened, nothing was done to discuss possible alternatives to give citizens and tourists alike waterfront access. The most obvious solution, in my opinion, would be for Alcan to build a road to one of their Minette Bay Lots, put in a picnic area and some room for some future campsites and other amenities to benefit our community. But for whatever reason, that was overlooked,” said Germuth.

Germuth told the community the Council would be meeting in October to discuss concerns and hoped the community would have water access prior to the beginning of the next boating season. He added if this happens, it would be a gauge to him of how successful the relationship building between Rio Tinto Alcan and the District of Kitimat has been.

Chamberlain expressed if Rio Tinto had met with the people of Kitimat first, they would have made a different decision. He told Council a lot of the people who signed the petition did it to vent. The people of Kitimat have been using the beach for a long time.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked how many people have signed the petition. Chamberlain replied there were 331 people, although several page were lost to water damage.

Councillor Mary Murphy stated she worked for Eurocan and there, the Haul Road had been used for public access to the water as well. However, Eurocan closed the road to the public after several near misses.

Councillor Edwin Empinado told Chamberlain the issue had already been brought forth by Germuth and in previous meetings with Rio Tinto Alcan. He looked forward to receiving the signatures.

Councillor Rob Goffinet expressed he had not heard about this petition prior to this meeting and wanted to know where it had been. Chamberlain told Goffinet, he had approached the Councillor to ask him to sign it and Goffinet chose not to.

Goffinet asked if the petition could be kept going so Council could get a better feel about who in the community would sign the petition. Chamberlain replied no, because he had a hard time getting a meeting with Rio Tinto Alcan.

Chamberlain has since returned from his meeting.

“They were polite and courteous but there was no commitment of any kind given. They could understand where we were coming from but they have a reason to keep the beach closed which I don’t really agree with, but that’s neither here nor there,” said Chamberlain.

The reason was to keep people from getting hurt while traveling through a construction zone. Chamberlain told us he had been down to Alcan and there is not much traffic. However, after the meeting, him and the group behind him felt discouraged. The petition will not continue.

Finally, we asked Chamberlain, after some discussion on the Kitimat Daily, if, in his opinion, Hospital Beach should be declared a historical landmark.

“I would have to say sure. The beach should be public, it should be a public beach. Even a provincial park, from there down to North Cove, but that’s just my opinion,” said Chamberlain.
Thank you kitimatdaily
Comment by Tom on 27th September 2012
With out the kitimat daily this information would not be in the public eye . The behavior of the concil and media is reprehensible . As a retired person I applaud the efforts of the petitioners and Phil . The rest should be ashamed of themselves . I guess the only thing left for us is civil disobedience . If anyone organizes it I'm in . Going to jail for our freedoms is a cheap price to pay . Maybe we should use our trucks to pull down the barriers . Where is Cristy Clark ? Where is Robin Austin ? Where Is Nathan Cullen ? Where are the people that are supposed to represent the people ? Btw it's city council not business council. Shame on all of you .