Minette Bay West Concept Plan

 

What is the Minette Bay West Concept Plan?

The Minette Bay West Concept Plan was a planning and design exercise for 191 hectares of municipal land on the west side of Minette Bay (see below or click here to see a map of the study area). These lands, known as District Lots 95 and 471 or “Minette Bay West”, are designated as a park in Kitimat’s Official Community Plan and are zoned for greenbelt uses, including forestry and environmental preservation. The location presents a significant opportunity to provide public access to the ocean, which is a key priority for Kitimat Council.

                

The intent of the planning process was to create a concept plan for Minette Bay West that identifies recreational opportunities while respecting environmentally- and archaeologically-sensitive areas. The project team for this endeavour included the District of Kitimat (DOK), Haisla Nation and experts in the areas of biology, archaeology, landscape architecture, forestry and other disciplines. Consultants on this project included: Urban Systems, Kleanza, Silverwood Consulting, McElhanney, Archipelago Marine Research, Murdoch de Greeff Inc. and LM Forest Resource Solutions.

To ensure that the environmental integrity of the site is preserved, the Minette Bay West Concept Plan was based on Green Shores™ principles and guidelines. Green Shores is a program of the Stewardship Centre for British Columbia (SCBC) that promotes sustainable use of shoreline ecosystems. The four Green Shores principles include:

  • Preserve or restore physical processes;
  • Maintain or enhance habitat function and diversity along the shoreline;
  • Prevent or reduce pollutants entering the aquatic environment; and
  • Avoid or reduce cumulative impacts.

The Minette Bay West Concept Plan is enrolled in the Green Shores for Coastal Development program and it is intended that Green Shores certification be pursued as the project is implemented; level of certification is to be determined. More information about Green Shores for Coastal Development is available in the Credits and Ratings Guide for Waterfront Properties, 2016 edition. In June 2017, SCBC recognized DOK for environmental leadership and commitment to Green Shores. Minette Bay West is the first park project in BC to be premised on, and enrolled in Green Shores from the outset. For more information, please visit: http://stewardshipcentrebc.ca/minettebaywest/.

What is the current status of the project?

        

Phase 3 - Final Plan (March - September 2017)

Phase 3 commenced with a community survey (Community Survey #2) which was available from March 2 – April 3. Community members were invited to indicate whether they support any of the three concept plan options prepared in Phase 2, and to indicate specific preferences regarding amenities within the options. This survey was advertised widely via posters, e-mail, Facebook, our project web page and other communication methods. On April 1, staff attended a project booth at the Spring Craft Fair at Riverlodge Recreation Centre to provide information about the survey and encourage participation before the deadline.

In May 2017, the project team released a second Summary of Community Engagement and presented the document to Council. This report included input collected from every engagement event and initiative for this project between October 2016 and April 2017. Project team responses to frequently asked questions, concerns and inquiries by community members are provided in Section 4, as well as in a May 2017 Fact Sheet/FAQ handout.

From March to June 2017, project team consultants McElhanney and Silverwood completed a study of bear seasonal habitat use and suitability in the Minette Bay West area. The final bear study report was presented to Council on July 10; click here to view the presentation slides.

In July and August 2017, the project team evaluated all of the public input received through the planning process (including recent e-mails, letters and other correspondence) and integrated and balanced this input with site investigation findings (environmental, archaeological, bears), Green Shores principles and guidelines and other considerations. The result is a package containing a refined concept plan, cost estimates, visuals, proposed phasing, preliminary management strategies, and other details.

The concept plan package was presented to Council and the public at a Regular Meeting on September 5. This meeting was livestreamed and can be watched here. A motion was passed by Council to approve the Minette Bay West Concept Plan in principle, and proceed to the next stage of the project. The next stage is to undertake detailed design and environmental and archaeological investigations for implementation of Phase 1 of the plan, starting in Q3 2017.

The Minette Bay West Concept Plan, an attached Summary of Community Engagement - Version 3, and the cover report to Council, can be viewed here (see pages 31-138). Information about implementation will be added to this page once detailed design and site investigations are underway.

Phase 2 - Concept Planning (October 2016 - February 2017)

Phase 2 commenced in late October 2016 with the launch of a community survey (Community Survey #1), followed by a number of opportunities for public input at community events throughout November. District staff had project booths at the Annual Kitimat Fall Craft & Gift Sale, Love Kitimat Trade Show and Light Up Kitimat outdoor festival.

A visioning workshop was held at Kitimat Public Library on November 30 with project stakeholders. Over 40 stakeholders attended the event, including: neighbouring property owners, DOK Advisory Commission members, representatives from local interest and user groups, and others. 

All of the input received throughout Phase 2 was compiled in a Summary of Community Engagement document. The project team used this document and the Phase 1 site investigation findings to develop Guiding Statements for the Minette Bay West site. The Guiding Statements include a vision and eight broad goals, as well as objectives or ways to achieve each goal.

Three concept plan options were prepared based on our Guiding Statements, Summary of Community Engagement and Phase 1 site investigation findings (see Bio-Inventory & Archaeological Overview Assessment). The options represent different approaches to developing the site, ranging from maximizing environmental protection (Option 1) to maximizing recreation opportunities (Option 3). Option 2 represents a balance. A summary table that compares key features of the three options is available here.

The three options were presented to the community for review and comment at an Open House on February 28 at Riverlodge Recreation Centre. District staff and members of Council were available to discuss the planning process, present and explain the three options, and answer questions. Attendees were encouraged to provide feedback through a comment form, face-to-face conversations and a comment board. If you missed the event, you can view or download the display panels here.

Phase 1 - Site Investigation (July - October 2016)

The District of Kitimat began working on Phase 1 in July 2016. Consultants including biologists, archaeologists, landscape architects, foresters and other professionals were engaged to study and document the resources on the site, as well as to identify opportunities and challenges for recreation. Staff from Haisla Nation’s Lands and Resources Department also participated in this work.

In July 2016, a drone was flown over the site to capture high resolution imagery of all 191 hectares. Click here to see a video taken by the drone. Environmental and archaeological site investigation, as well as site inventory and analysis, was undertaken from August to October. Sample photos from our site visits and field work are available below:

An environmental (Bio-Inventory) study and Archaeological Overview Assessment (AOA) were completed in October. Key findings from these studies and the results of other work completed in Phase 1 were presented at a Community Open House on October 26. The event included:

  • Display panels to summarize results of Phase 1 (click here to see the panels);
  • District of Kitimat and consultants present to talk about the project, provide information and answer questions; and
  • A comment board and survey for hand-written feedback.

Project Documents and Resources

Background 

Videos

Phases 1 and 2

Phase 3