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REPORTING · 8th February 2013
Walter McFarlane
Watch the Council Meeting online on our video website here

Sean Crockett, Vice President of Business Development for Peace Trailers Industries (PTI) presented to Kitimat Council on Monday, February 4th.

“PTI is North America’s Largest Integrated Provider of Superior Workforce Accommodation. At PTI, we build, we own and we operate open lodge facilities to help attract, support and retain workers who are critical to regional economic development. We want to be a part of the solution in the District of Kitimat,” said Crockett.

He told Council they have submitted an application for zoning suitable for a 2100 bed facility located in Strawberry Meadows, past the hospital on Loganberry Road within walking distance of the downtown core.

Crockett also told Council PTI has already held an open house and are committed to the public consultation process.

“We look forward to community support, creating local jobs, and benefits and being a part of the community,” said Crockett.

PTI is opening a local office at the City Centre Mall. He thanked Council for their hospitality.

Councillor Phil Germuth wanted to know how many individual projects PTI had operating in Canada. The response was 6 major open lodges totaling over 10,000 beds. They also have smaller projects and temporary projects. Germuth wanted to know how many projects were built in an existing community. Crocket told him they are developing two facilities in communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They have two in Alberta which are in walking distance of municipalities.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff went to the Information package for a letter from John Rigoni. In his letter, Rigoni asks 64 questions about the lodge. Rigoni also expressed concern because after the boom Kitimat experienced in the 80s, there was a multitude of empty apartments.

Feldhoff wanted to know if PTI had also received a copy of this letter. He was told they had just received it that day. Feldhoff wanted a copy of the response as well. Crockett expressed they would be pleased to provide the responses.

Councillor Mary Murphy stated their presentation was well received and they are planning another one. Crockett stated the next one will most likely be at the end of February, once they have an opportunity to garner some of the feedback.

Feldhoff wanted to ask what an open lodge meant. Was it open to anybody or was it open to contractors. He was told it was geared towards industrial clients; would secure contracts for certain numbers of rooms over certain time periods. Feldhoff clarified it was not fishermen coming for the summer. He was told it was not typical; however, they do work with the community to find out what the needs of a community are in terms of services. If it would put them in direct competition within the community, they do not do it.

Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know more about the proposal. He was told they were moving as quickly as they can and they want to have their surveys done by late March. Councillor Corinne Scott wanted to know how they would receive more feedback, through Council or through open houses. She was told preferably through both.

Councillor Edwin Empinado wanted to know more about how PTI would listen to the concerns of the community. “It’s very important that this is a consultative process. We’re a very flexible in terms of the scope of the facility details. What we’re looking for through this application is support for the zoning that’s necessary for the concept of the business and then we’re going to work with you on the development permits which specify the details of that,” replied Crockett.

He added they need direction from Kitimat because communities mandate parts of their scope. This varies from community to community. Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know if they will present to the Advisory planning committee. Rob Greaves replied they would present again on the specifics of the new document.

Community Planner, Gwen Sewell told the Council this is a complex application and calls for a very significant change within the Official Community Plan. They are running two consultations at the moment, one municipally at the District of Kitimat offices and PTI is doing their own consultation as well.

After a discussion on camp, Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to amend the Official Community Plan and Zoning with respect to the selected site, commence review and consideration of the application and refer it to the Advisory Planning Commission.

“There will be many opportunities for the public to provide input, both to PTI and to Council with respect to the zoning change and the OCP modifications. We have to remain open to input from the public and this sets in place [from the meeting at the Rod and Gun], my sense is the community is excited,” said Feldhoff.

Scott asked questions about the changes which needed to be make.

Germuth wanted to know what kind of public consultation was required. He wanted to know if a town hall meeting was required. He was told it was optional. A public hearing was required though. Sewell told him how many options the community had to give input to Council.

Germuth made an amendment for a public town hall meeting to start the review. He expressed the project deserves to have a town hall meeting to gain further input from the community. Feldhoff expressed the motions were to start the process. He did not want to commit to a town hall meeting until they knew they would have to have one.

“Let’s start the process, and when we get into that process, we can still have the ability to request a town hall. You may be surprised how the information is flowing and be satisfied the process used for all the other OCP amendments and zoning changes is adequate. I’m not against having a town hall meeting in the future but I don’t want to tag that on, right up front at this point and time,” said Feldhoff.

Germuth wished to add to the amendment but Monaghan tried to cut him off so the Council could vote on it. He stated he did not wish to delay another investment. Feldhoff said he was worried the amendment might slow down the process.

Goffinet expressed he understood where both Councillors were coming from. He suggested the town hall meeting be a part of the review, rather than kick it off because the review started after the current meeting.

Gurmuth admitted his wording of the motion was too hasty and he had made a mistake. He agreed to change his motion to make the review a part of process rather than not being able to proceed until after the town hall meeting had concluded.

Monaghan tried to tell him this was not what Goffinet had said but she was corrected by Goffinet. The amendment as amended was called and carried four to three with Monaghan, Feldhoff and Murphy opposed.

Scott wanted to know what zoning was being planned because the documentation suggested M1 Manufacturing as the zone for the Lodge. Sewell told her she did not know what the end result would be. It would be custom crafted as the Council passed the bylaw.
58 years in Kitimat
Comment by Ferd on 12th February 2013
When I heard about the proposal to place a camp in the heart of town I was mortified. Having lived and worked in camps near Fort McMurray I can tell you categorically that a camp in town is a bad idea from so many perspectives that council needs to stop entertaining the thought without delay. Put the camp where it needs to be which is near the proposed projects. I have lived in Kitimat as long as or longer than most people and I for one would appreciate an orderly development to the infrastructure required for all of the proposed projects.
Temp vs Perm (to add)
Comment by Sheila on 10th February 2013 my previous comment, unless that is, the units were being purchased by the District/town.
Re Temp vs. Permanent Units
Comment by Sheila on 10th February 2013
Speaking as former employee of PTI in Alberta a number of years ago (both in purchasing and unit maintenance) the modular units were owned, maintained and operated by PTI, so once they were no longer needed, (such as at a rig site) the units were taken back to the holding yards.
Mr. Rigoni's Letter
Comment by estannus on 9th February 2013
I'm wondering if Mr. Rigoni wants to see a temporary camp that would be removed after construction workers left. Or, if Mr. Rigoni was implying that facilities quickly built for construction purposes were left vacant as these facilities were not desirable places to live.
Just a thought
Comment by Larry Walker on 8th February 2013
And what happens to the 2100 units when the construction is done and the workers move back home. Will Kitimat be stuck with a bunch of empty run down dwellings to deal with. Or are we also expecting a population boom after and where will it come from RTA?
Absolutely not!!!!
Comment by John on 8th February 2013
Can you imagine having 2100 contractors living in the heart of the community? Leaving all their garbage, using our amenities? along with the other social issues... drugs, prostitution... we are talking about increasing the population of the town by 25% in one year. How are we going to digest this? How about its effects to the recovering housing market? Once they are in town, they won't have any motivation to buy or even to rent a house? They won't ever bring their families to a camp, no matter where it is located. When the project is completed, we will have an ugly structure standing sadly reminding us the good old gas boom day...