Recent History – 2002
April 17, 2002
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
It’s official — it’s a nature park.
City council voted 5-1 Monday to give fourth and final reading a public reservation bylaw that preserves Dawson Creek’s last untouched forest as a nature park
The move means that the city’s last untouched green space, about 45 hectares (70 acres) of land in the 1900 block of 102nd Avenue will remain that way, under the city’s official community plan.
But it also means that a new home will have to be found for a proposed soccer park.
Coun. Paul Gevatkoff was the lone council member to vote against the bylaw, contending that no other viable spot for a soccer park has been found yet.
He also disputed Mayor Wayne Dahlen’s assertion that the site could prove to be Dawson Creek’s version of Stanley Park. Gevatkoff said that contrary to popular belief there is plenty of development in Stanley Park.
“This bylaw is for preservation,” he said. “I think there are a lot of things that could be done with this land.”
The South Peace Junior Soccer Society also made a last-minute plea to change council members’ minds. In a letter to council, the society executive said that the soccer park would cover only 12 acres of the site.
“We believe that the portion of the property we evaluated is very suitable for development of a soccer park and we continue to believe that the option of development there should not be so quickly discounted,” the executive said.
But neither Gevatkoff nor the society was able to sway other council members. Coun. Bud Powell said he’s made his decision and that he’s not willing to re-open the issue.
“I think that 25 or 30 years from now, people are to approve of the tough decision we’ve made,” Powell said.
Under the city’s official community plan, the land was designated for residential development and for a soccer park. But just as council was about to give the soccer park the green light, a movement to preserve the land as a nature park developed.
It will now take a two-thirds majority of council to rescind the decision, and only after the public gets a chance to force a referendum on the issue through a counter-petition.
Meanwhile, the search is on for people interested in sitting on a parks advisory committee that would not only develop long range plans for green-spaces and recreational areas in Dawson Creek but also locate new areas for soccer fields.