REPORTING · 27th September 2013
Michael Langegger, a member of the Rod and Gun Club, Regional President for the BC Wildlife Preservation and long-time resident of Kitimat presented a number of concerns from the public concerning Public Access to roadways around Kitimat.
“We’re seeing a lot of our road accesses throughout our community being restricted, largely due to LNG pipeline and road upgrades with possible long term restrictions coming in play. One of the things I would like Mayor and Council to really address, is to learn from the past and not end up with a situation like we have with Rio Tinto having all of this private property and denying access to the public,” said Langegger.
He expressed he did not want future generations to be entrenched in the same manner. He wanted the access to outdoor recreation to be protected and maintained as it is a lifestyle for many people in the community. He wanted Council to engage the proponents of projects to emphasize the need to maintain the access and try to regain it where the town has lost it.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated Mayor and Council is trying to get access to the local waterfront and they are concerned about the lack of local waterfront.
On a query which Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked about a letter Langegger wrote to Council. In the letter, Langegger stated that Kitimat residents no longer had access to the Kitimat River Estuary which has been lost over time due to private interests, recently by the acquisition of the Eurocan Haul road which was obtained by Rio Tinto Alcan.
He wrote about the Bish and Wedeene Forest Service roads which are also being limited to the public. He expressed the closure of Bish is coming and closure of Wedeene is being hinted at. However, Wedeene is used to access many different forms of recreational activities.
Langegger explained in response to Feldhoff’s question, that he was stopped at a road block while he was going to set up a trap line on the Wedeene Forest Service Road. He told Council he asked the workers at the road block why access was restricted and set up with no consultation. While he was there, others wanting to use the road showed up as well. He stated he understands that these are workers doing their job.
He talked about the workers about events and places where people go when they use the roads. After the conversation, he called their superintendent and left a message but did not receive a call back. At a later date, the road block would be moved down the road and information would flow freely which Langegger felt was fair because they are trying to keep the public out of a work zone.
“Comments were made that down the road, there may be further restrictions or closures,” said Langegger.
He said he was concerned these construction crews might be blasting and have the road shut down to protect public safety but they may also be trying to keep the public away during times when there is no work going on. He expressed concern that this is what is going on in the Bish Creek area. He stated he is concerned with the lack of consultation about closing these are public roads.
Feldhoff inquired about trap lines and Langegger explained a little more about it.
Councillor Empinado told Langegger that the Council met with proponents at the UBCM convention. They are trying to lobby their way through the impacts. However, he expressed there are lots of things going on which the District does not know. The Provincial Government will be keeping the District involved so they can relay the information to the people of Kitimat.
Councillor Phil Germuth expressed the Council is working with proponents to try and keep things open. He stated it happened last year with the boat launch and now they are hearing about problems on the East Side of the Channel with the Clio Bay.
“I believe this Council is committed to work with the proponents on that one and hopefully getting input from the citizens at their open houses that public access still needs to be there if that project goes ahead in any way, shape or form that they could possibly do it,” said Germuth.
Councillor Rob Goffinet said the letter contained a lot of information and was positive. It told Council what points to raise when they were in Vancouver. Goffinet stated he wanted to hear more about the Radley Park concern.
In his letter, Langegger stated: “I have been advised that recreational campers have [been] turned away from Radley Park due to full occupancy. Unsubstantiated claims have been made that out of town workers have taken up residency in the park and needs to be investigated and curtailed if in fact this is occurring. Radley Park is not intended to be a work camp.”
He did not speak to the Radley Park issue. Monaghan thanked him for coming in.
Comment by Pierre on 1st October 2013
was told the estuary was going to be re opened 3 years ago. getting pathetic around here now. i realize workers need to do work and safety is the most important , but that being said why do the have to put the pipeline right along a road that is used by every person that likes the outdoors around here. the estuary will never be opened to the public again . they wouldn't even let me spread my dogs ashes down there. my father hunted down there for 40 years for migratory birds and i have since i can remember being able to walk. there should be a happy medium.
Comment by i . s. on 27th September 2013
in regards to radley park and camping there is a complete lack of campsites in kitimat period ,is there any plans to expand on this . two years ago there was 80 thousand put away for radley park and the decision was made to do nothing , so the money i think went to something else.if you look at ferry island in terrace they have expanded quite significantly over the years with sites with electical hook ups , hopefully kitimat can start acting on these issues waiting longer shouldnt be an option.
More focus needed here...
Comment by Allan Hewitson on 27th September 2013
I am pleased to see others concerned about access to former rural road in place for past resource activities - used for recreation and now in danger of being shiut down incrementally without notice consultation of any other information.
I have written about this concern several time in the past few years in my opinion column in the local newspaper.
I am concerned that many designated recreation sites, parks, campsites, access to fishing sites etc. are affected by this flood of seemingly random shutdowns.
I am also aware that when others, council etc. demur about these situations (i.e. beach, boat launch, there is often a quick reversal, a re-opening -- but always accompanied by a denial of liability.
Outsider resource companies coming to our community seem to make speedy arbitrary decisions about road access - without consultation or any knowledgeable understanding of the implications and consequences of their actions.
A bland notice in the vague small ad columns is not a sufficient notification of decisions that alter our recreational accesses.
Comment by Andy Brousseau on 27th September 2013
I'd like to thank Mike for his contributions to all "recreationers" in the area. The back-roads around here are very important to many of us and even though I understand the use of our land is being changed forever, it shouldn't change the way we live. We should have access to any and ALL waterways and hunting areas. Sad to say, but I can foresee some kind of confrontation on our back-roads, whether it's by person to person or worse in my opinion, by vehicle. It's unbelievable how many vehicles and people are out there, so I urge people to be careful and drive with caution at all times. I hope we can get more dialogue on this. It is important! The way it's going, recreation is not going to gain here...only lose!