A group of southeast Humboldt residents, namely from the Bill Brecht Park area, gathered in the gallery at Humboldt’s City Council Chambers to voice concerns about a proposed work camp to be established in their area. Based on their presentations and after deliberation, Council voted "no" on the residential location for the camp. 

Humboldt City Council entertained a public hearing and a report on amending the zoning on a portion of land south of Saskatchewan Avenue owned by KMK Sales Ltd. The intended contract zone would accommodate a work camp housing approximately 40 people in ATCO style portables for a period of no more than 36 months. The camp would provide accommodation for the contracted workers slated to begin work on the massive wastewater project designed to expand the city’s capacity. 

In compliance with local legislation, homeowners with properties within 75 metres of the proposed camp were sent a letter informing them of the intent. A group of residents showed up to the meeting with questions and concerns, one of which addressed the notification's timing before the public hearing. The letter to residents was dated March 1 with some of them receiving the letter only on March 6, one day before the deadline for receipt of written submissions addressing concerns or questions. 

“Receiving a letter on March 6 and having to have something to you by March 7 to me is pretty short notice,” said resident Sandy Weyland, speaking in support of others’ concerns, “This whole process seems a little rushed.” 

Area resident Charles Kiefer spoke on behalf of over 68 homeowners who signed a petition voicing concerns about the camp. 

“We are all opposed to having this piece of property rezoned. There have been numerous emails sent to (planning@humboldt.ca), and I urge you to read them. 

I am sure there are better areas suited for something like a camp, maybe the 1700 Block of 3rd Avenue. I believe at one time there was a camp back there; it’s an industrial area where things would be out of the way.” 

Kiefer went on to explain that the residents were concerned about the camp’s proximity to the school, the residential area, and the community's parks and recreation spaces. Potential noise issues, increased traffic flow, heightened need for security in the zone all merited concern, Kiefer said on behalf of the residential community. It’s an area that has seen an influx of young families, and concerns for children on bikes and for pedestrians were also high on the list.  

“We’re also worried about unsightly grounds, rowdy and unruly activity, comings and goings at all kinds of hours – there's a lot of things that can happen,” Kiefer continued. “Also resale becomes an issue. If I want to sell my house next year, then all of a sudden it becomes a problem for the area.” 

In fact, one of the delegation declared her intention to sell her house within the next few months, and she had concerns about the market value of her home given the intended camp’s proximity. 

Kiefer and other residents who had some first or secondhand knowledge of a work camp environment shared their concerns with Kiefer’s conclusion, “You don’t want that here.” 

In its report, the City noted that notice of the special meeting was posted at City Hall, on the City’s website and on its social media platforms for ten days prior to the meeting. 

Following the delegation’s presentation, Mayor Behiel brought the meeting out of public hearing and into a regular meeting. The meeting went into Committee of the Whole, which ended the public broadcast and dismissed the gallery.

Council emerged from the Committee of the Whole and voted to reject the rezoning proposal for that area, citing the proximity the camp would have to the school and the neighbourhood residences.