The new Bylaw No. 1996, 2011, requiring building permits for construction in all areas of the Regional District came into effect March 18, 2013, but has been met with opposition from many rural residents. PRRD Chair Karen Goodings says there was a lengthy discussion about the matter Thursday, but in the end it made more sense to wait and hear the public’s thoughts and concerns.
“It seemed to make, I think, for the most part, more sense to go out and find out from people exactly what portions of it they were most adamantly opposed to and how we could fix that,” she explains. “You can come up with a new bylaw and still people are going to be opposed to it, and what have you gained? So this way you have an opportunity to go out and talk to the people and say, what is it that’s so offensive?”
Instead, the current bylaw will be retained and the matter will be taken to public meetings, which Goodings hopes will be held in more rural areas this time.
“A determination will be made as soon as possible as to the timing for those meetings and the placement of those meetings,” maintains Goodings. “I am hoping we can spread it out and get out there and talk to the people that are affected that are not residents close to FortSt. John or Dawson Creek or Chetwynd.”
Going back to the essence of the old bylaw isn’t as easy as it may sound, as another new bylaw would have to be created to include any changes that may have happened elsewhere as well. Goodings hopes the public meetings will help clear up any misinformation, and be a space for logical discussion of solutions.
“This is written in paper; it’s not written in stone, so changes can be made.”