Minette Bay West Concept Plan

What is the Minette Bay West Concept Plan?

The Minette Bay West Concept Plan is 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 this project is to create a concept plan for Minette Bay West that identifies recreational opportunities while respecting environmentally- and archaeologically-sensitive areas. The final plan will be based on public and stakeholder input as well as scientific evidence of site limitations. Once complete in Summer 2017, the Minette Bay West Concept Plan will be used by District staff and Council to seek government grants, encourage legacy projects, and guide capital spending for amenities in this new recreational area.

The project team for this endeavour includes the District of Kitimat, Haisla Nation and experts in the areas of biology, archaeology, landscape architecture, forestry and other disciplines. Consultants on this project include: Urban Systems, Kleanza, Silverwood Consulting, McElhanney, Archipelago Marine Research and Murdoch de Greeff Inc.

To ensure that the environmental integrity of the site is preserved, the final Minette Bay West Concept Plan will be 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.

What is the current status of the project?

        

Phase 3 - Final Plan (February - Summer 2017)

We are currently evaluating three concept plan options for the Minette Bay West site. These options were prepared in Phase 2 based on community input, our Guiding Statements, and site investigation results (see Bio-Inventory & Archaeological Overview Assessment). The options represent different themes of community input and different community priorities for 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 concept plan options were presented to the community at an Open House on February 28. Details about this event are provided under the "Phase 2 - Concept Planning" heading below. If you missed the event, please click here to view or download the display panels.

For approximately one month (March 2 to April 3), the project team collected input on the three concept plan options via an online survey (referred to as Community Survey #2). Community members were asked to indicate their preferences for different recreation amenities in the three options and provide comments. Community Survey #2 closed at 8 am on April 3.

On March 13, staff delivered a project update (PowerPoint) presentation and report to Council at a Committee of the Whole Meeting. The intent of the presentation and report was to update Council on the Minette Bay West Concept Planning process. At this meeting, Council approved a motion to extend the deadline of Community Survey #2 from March 20 to April 3.

A project booth was set up at the Spring Craft Fair on April 1 at Riverlodge. Staff were available throughout the event to provide information and answer questions about the concept planning process, as well as to encourage community members to fill out our online survey.

The project team recently prepared a new Summary of Community Engagement (2016-2017) and presented the report to Council at a Regular Meeting on May 1. This 46-page report includes input collected from every engagement event and initiative for this project between October 2016 and April 2017, including: two open houses, two surveys, booths at four community events, and workshops with stakeholders and Council. Key messages and themes arising from informal engagement with community members (including e-mails, phone calls, in-person meetings, letters, and presentations to staff and Kitimat Council) are also documented. Project team responses to frequently asked questions, concerns and inquiries by community members are provided in Section 4 of the Summary of Community Engagement (2016-2017), as well as in our 2017 Fact Sheet/FAQ handout.

The project team is currently undertaking an empirical study of bear seasonal habitat use and suitability in the Minette Bay West area. This study was recommended by our environmental consultant, Silverwood Consulting, in their 2016 Bio-Inventory. Silverwood subsequently advised DOK to undertake a bear study in spring 2017, prior to preparation of a final concept plan for Minette Bay West.

The Minette Bay West Bear Study is being undertaken jointly by Silverwood and McElhanney. The Bear Study has been divided into two stages; stage one included a desktop exercise to assess bear seasonal habitat suitability in Minette Bay West and the surrounding area, and a preliminary assessment of human/bear conflict risks. Stage two, currently underway, includes a detailed site survey and field assessment. Bear Study results will be shared with the community through the project e-mail list and will be posted on the project web page. More information about the bear study is available in our 2017 Fact Sheet/FAQ handout.

A final Concept Plan for Minette Bay West has yet to be prepared. Timeline for refinement of options into a Final Plan, including the preparation of a phasing strategy and cost estimates, is Summer 2017. A final Concept Plan for Minette Bay West will be based on many factors, including community input, bear study findings, environmental and archaeological considerations, Green Shores principles, our Guiding Statements and others.

Please check back for more updates as Phase 3 progresses.

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

Phase 2 commenced in late October 2016 with the launch of a community survey, 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.

Opportunities to Get Involved

The project team is currently evaluating community feedback received with respect to three concept plan options for the Minette Bay West site. For more information about the three options or the current status of this project, please scroll up to "What is the Current Status of the Project" near the top of this page.

Previous Opportunities - A number of events and engagement opportunities have occurred to date, including: 

  • Phase 1 Community Open House (October 26, 2016);
  • Booths at Annual Kitimat Fall Craft & Gift Sale, Love Kitimat Trade Show, and Light Up Kitimat outdoor festival (November 4, 5, 25 and 27);
  • Community Survey #1 (October 26 - November 28); 
  • Stakeholder Visioning Workshop (November 30);
  • Phase 2 Community Open House (February 28, 2017);
  • Booth at Spring Craft Fair (April 1); and
  • Community Survey #2 (March 2 - April 3).

The project team recently prepared a new Summary of Community Engagement (2016-2017) and presented the report to Council at a Regular Meeting on May 1. This 46-page report includes input collected from every engagement event and initiative for this project between October 2016 and April 2017, including: two open houses, two surveys, booths at four community events, and workshops with stakeholders and Council. Key messages and themes arising from informal engagement with community members (including e-mails, phone calls, in-person meetings, letters, and presentations to staff and Kitimat Council) are also documented. Project team responses to frequently asked questions, concerns and inquiries by community members are provided in Section 4 of the Summary of Community Engagement (2016-2017), as well as in our 2017 Fact Sheet/FAQ handout.

E-mail List - If you would like to be added to our e-mail list for this project, please send a request to dok@kitimat.ca with MBWCP in the subject line. We send e-mails to provide information at key points in the planning process.

Project Resources

The following documents, maps and other resources are intended to provide information and context for this planning process. We will add new resources to the list below as they are developed or collected:

Background 

Videos

Phases 1 and 2

Phase 3