A worker accommodation company that has purchased property just north of Churchill Drive in Thornhill has told nearby residents it has no immediate plans to do anything with the land.
“They might use it at some point for lodging, or infrastructure,” said Kitimat-Stikine regional district Thornhill director Ted Ramsey who attended an April 24 meeting called on short notice by the Edmonton-based PTI Group.
Churchill Drive residents, worried about the impact of worker accommodation facilities, have started a petition opposing commercial development of the land.
In anticipation of liquefied natural gas plant construction in Kitimat requiring living quarters for thousands of workers, the company has already received zoning permission from the District of Kitimat to construct accommodation within that municipality’s boundaries.
Ramsey said PTI officials told the nearly 20 people who attended the meeting held at the Skeena Valley Golf and Country Club that the company sometimes holds onto property for several years before developing it.
PTI purchased the Churchill Drive area land recently from local company M & M Ventures headed by local developer Mike Scott. As part of the sales deal, Scott has started clearing the land of merchantable timber.
The PTI presentation introduced residents to what the company does, Ramsey said, and highlighted some of the positives that worker accommodation can have in terms of staffing jobs and using other local labour.
“I liked the presentation, they did a good job,” said Ramsey, adding that of particular interest was a PTI assertion that any worker lodging would entail a contribution towards developing sewage and or water systems on site.
“If a sewer line is something they do want then we are certainly into listening to them,” said Ramsey, who has been a proponent of moving Thornhill out of its reliance on isolated septic systems.
Ramsey said he is glad that Thornhill is standing up and asking questions about the direction the community is heading.
Jonathan Lambert, a Churchill Drive resident who organized the petition, said the PTI meeting should not be regarded as public consultation.
“This is not legitimate public consultation. They gave us 24 hours notice and it was largely up to us to talk to tell our neighbours,” he said.