Residents oppose land development

A proposal for a subdivision in Thornhill is facing opposition from neighbourhood residents

Carol Haastjes has lived on Crescent St. in Thornhill for nearly 30 years, and in the Terrace area for over 50 years, and she says she often hears the sounds of people enjoying recreational activities in the wooded area near her house – and she doesn’t want that to change.

She’s just one of a number of people in her neighbourhood – on person alone collected at least four pages worth of signatures, she said – who have signed a petition asking the provincial government to deny the crown land sale application to M & M Ventures, the company which wishes to build a residential subdivision in the area Haastjes and her neighbours have used as a park for years.

Plans filed by M & M Ventures, a local company, envision as many as 124 residential lots being placed on the property, phased in 30 at a time until 2020.

“Leave the little park land that we have. Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” she said. “There’s got to be other places they can do this. There’s got to be somewhere out of town.”

The Skeena Industrial Development Park, owned by the City of Terrace and located south of the Northwest Regional Airport, is a more suitable space for increased development, she said.

Haastjes and her neighbours are worried that the proposed development will turn out to be a work camp, even though its application states it will be developed into suburban/residential use.

“With all the development currently underway in the Terrace area how do we know that this area won’t be developed into a massive work camp,” reads the petition, submitted to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources April 15 as part of the public commenting process. “Homeowners and families in the area do not want this land turned into a massive complex for migrant workers.”

But even if it were developed residentially, as the application states, Haastjes says she and her neighbours would still say no.

“Not there,” she said, noting that the wooded area is extensively used by horseback riders, people on ATVs, hikers, and neighbourhood children. “Our kids are grown up now, but lots of people’s aren’t… Would you want that in your backyard?”

And she stresses that the neighbourhood isn’t opposed to all development, noting that they are used to helicopters and are fine with the Bear Creek Contracting site and other established industries in the neighbourhood, but that this development will change the landscape of the neighbourhood too much.

She said she’s feeling confident the petition will make a difference and that she and her neighbours are planning on putting up a fight.

“I’ve lived here for 55 years and I plan on staying,” she said. “We want something to be left of our town when all of this goes away – and it will go away.”

M & M Ventures has filed a similar application with the provincial government to purchase undeveloped crown land behind Ecole Mountainview on the bench in Terrace for residential development.

Public comment on this proposed purchase is also being sought by the provincial government.