Kitimat Council Approves Rezoning for TSW's Housing Project

Hillary Johnson

The Tamitik Status of Women is another step closer to making their controversial supportive housing project in Kitimat's Strawberry Meadows, a reality. Council voted in favour of a rezoning amendment, following an emotionally-charged public hearing at the LUSO Canadian Hall Monday night.

Community members stepped forward to argue for and against the rezoning and Official Community Plan Amendment. Strawberry Meadows resident, Debbie Rauhanen, gave a tearful presentation opposing the bylaw.
"I will no longer need an alarm clock because the light and noise will be enough to keep me awake. What was the point of working so hard? I spent every night, all night long for months now, raking in my head trying to figure out the right words that would make you understand how we feel but I've come to the horrible realization that its actually impossible for you to know cause It's not your dream being destroyed, its mine."
But Haisla Elder Marilyn Furlan expressed support for such housing projects, and recounted her own personal experiences with domestic violence.
"You never know if your mom, your daughter, grandchildren will need this place whether for shelter or support that the Tamitik Status of Women offer."
After the public hearing, Councillor Lani Gibson spoke in favor of the project saying that Kitimat is in need of this facility and that it shouldn't be delayed any longer. She addressed the impacts facing the future neighbours and how there will be opportunities for consultations regarding concerns.

"There is no other housing project planned for our community. It takes years to plan and fund a housing project. If we say no to this tonight, what happens to those people?"
Council assured future discussions of compromise on this project to address public concerns.  This is the first hurdle in a long approval process required to complete this facility.

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