COMMENTARY · 27th February 2013
I am Susan Jiang, from the Kitimat Hotel.
When I heard about PTI, I called our Mayor right way to confirm it with her. We had a chat and I asked her if she personally agreed for PTI to build a Lodge. She told me, the council will make the final decision. She encouraged me to join the meeting on Thursday at the Rod and Gun Club.
But I still want to express what I felt when I heard this news. I was told a few weeks ago when I was shopping in Overwaitea, when I met an old Irish guy, Shaw. He told me about the plan to build an over 2000 person lodge in town. I was shocked. I can not believe, in my mind, that the city is allowing them to do that?
Build a new Kitimat inside the old Kitimat?
Kitimat was so depressed for so many years. Before I moved here for the business, I had no idea where Kitimat was, how was this town? How everything was going to go with my business; everything was new and a challenge for me.
Just imagine, how much we were suffering during the recent depressed times? We had hope we could be benefit from new industries such as Alcan , KLNG, and other oil and gas companies.
Kitmat people have hoped or dreamed for getting booming again. Yes, before the Alcan camp was built workers stayed in town. Apartments got more people, more benefits to Kitimat people, but not for too long. Alcan pulled everyone from the town to the camp, the workers lost LA and were forced to move into the camp. The apartments got empty again, for over 1.5 years; mostly there still is not over 500 people in the camp. The local businesses did not get any more benefits, Alcan built their own world, built the biggest liquor establishment in north west BC.
Kitimat is a very civilized town. We are waiting for the industries coming to Kitimat where everyone can benefit. Young people can get good training and get good careers. The young generation do not have to leave the town to find a good paying job. Our residents can get benefit by renting their house or whoever invested their own properties, town houses and apartment might get full. We get more business when more people stay in town, which benefit our own people.
Personally I like mayor and council, they are nice easy going caring people, but in business wise and work orientation, I was, I am still confused with some of them.
Something is very common sense; everyone knows that, there is no need to explain why, first the work is for our own town, KITIMAT!
Mayor asked, how many hotel rooms do I have? Can I offer 2000 people or more workers accommodation?
I said, if in Kitimat every house or apartment, hotel, motel were full then there is maybe a need for another worker camp to come out, I agreed, but Alcan has their own camp, KLNG will build their camp and yes it seemed every company will build their own camp, why do they need Kitimat? How do the Kitimat people benefit? Build over 2000 people camp lodge inside the town of Kitimat, has that happened in any town in history?
How will they guarantee every house, every motel and hotel will be full after they build the camps? We should learn from the Alcan camp experience
Yes, the project is millions and billions, where is that goes later on? Yes, big corporation they come and go after the project with their profit, nothing left for Kitimat, who care about Kitimat, we need real promise and actions for Kitimat.
For my personal opinion, mayor and councils should learn from other towns in BC. Develop and expand Kitimat, some percentage of the lodging should be to build houses, town houses and apartments.
Let them invest in Kitimat and let the investment stay in Kitimat, first for meeting Kitimat people needs. Get all apartments and town houses fixed and rented and book and blocked motel and hotel, rest are build houses. Investment stays here.
Big companies can afford to build anything. They come in Kitimat and can make millions of dollars. Why let them to keep everything? Some investment which benefits industries should get directed to Kitimat. I think that fairness is key for anyone.
Build nice houses and apartments for next generation. Mayor and council should be encouraged to advise the big companies. Leave some before you take the big chunk. Build nice houses, pay property taxes like other residents. Buy a lot, build an apartment or town house. Then after 10 years, when they make enough to leave or they sell out to whomever, they might want to stay in Kitimat.
Kitimat mayor and councils should work and consider the benefit for Kitimat people that is what they should do. Say No to big corporations which come to Kitimat without any devotion, who come in only to benefit for the industries. Say yes to Kitimat, let people who have devoted to this town for so many years, have faith and hope for Kitimat.
Just come to my mind, meant to be a very friendly recommendation. Why we not suggest PTI build new residence Zone called PTI. PTI zone just like new residence zone like other zones, keep working for our generation.
A camp by another name
Comment by One who votes on 2nd March 2013
Camp workers are not part of the community, like PTI explained in there presentation, there could be a pub, corner store, games area, 3 fantastic meals a day, more than all the comforts of home. So except to work, why would they leave the camp? There groceries and supplies will be in such volume that they are not bought locally. They dont bring families, so our schools and infrastructure will still be struggling.
I find it very ironic we dont have a decent campground, yet we are becoming camp town. We have lots of rundown, empty building, and vacant lots, Nechako center, the townhouses across from Pine plaza, the old motel across from Rosarios, half of service center are just some examples. Lets develop those areas before we add another camp.
We NEED FAMILIES, not transient workers .
Comment by Norm Delong on 1st March 2013
It is with great concern that I wight this letter,Why has council not asked the residents of Kitimat what they would like to see. I feel Camps belong out of town, they do nothing to inhance our quality of life. If you were to look at Fort Mcmurray Alberta the camps our out of town and the motels, hospitals, schools, ice rinks,pools and such are in town. We could also look to Dawson Creek BC, they went through this same problem and they decided camps belong at work sites not in town, they are now a community which is growing with a good tax base and a better quality of life. We want Kitimat to grow and prosper, not roll up and move on in 20 years. The residents of Kitimat are Kitimat should they not have avoice.
I tend to agree with the writer of this article
Comment by Larry Walker on 27th February 2013
Great letter and you make some very good recommendations. I do not want to see this town become another "Grand Isle". Hope to see you at the meeting this Thursday.