Two motions passed by the Village of Granisle council are setting the stage to explore the idea of expanding the village’s boundaries and of potentially purchasing provincial Crown lands for commercial and industrial use.
Both were introduced by councillor Kathy Bedard and seconded by councillor Calvin Thompson.
The boundary expansion motion directs village staffers to “investigate the process of expanding the municipal boundaries by 25 kilometres to the north, west, and south directions.”
Speaking later, Bedard described the motion as one that will provide the needed information the potential for the village to further its goal of becoming a desired location for new residents and new businesses.
“We’re already known as being one of the most affordable places to live,” she said in noting the 2021 census now places the Granisle’s population at just under 300 people, a 10 per cent increase from the last population count. “We have amazing amenities here.”
Bedard’s suggested 25 kilometre expansion radius to the north, west and south would take in Mill Bay and points south down the road toward Topley.
“Our tax base would increase,” said Bedard.
“It might be 25 kilometres or 20 kilometres, it’s something that remains to be seen but the idea here is to put this out for discussion. At least we’d be expanding our boundaries,” she added.
If the village’s boundaries were to expand, Bedard said it would then make sense for the village to purchase Crown land to encourage commercial and industrial use.
“We’re surrounded by Crown land here,” said Bedard.
As it is, Bedard said there is significant logging activity already taking place on adjacent Crown lands.
“I’m not against logging, but why not have a say in how the land is being used.”
The prospect of a boundary expansion and Crown land purchase would require extensive contact not only with the provincial government but also the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and local First Nations.
The idea of local governments purchasing Crown land is not new in the northwest. The City of Terrace has acquired nearly 2,000 acres of Crown land south of the Northwest Regional Airport for industrial use, a concept that includes the Kitselas First Nation as a partner.
Bedard said her two motions should not come as a surprise to Granisle residents and others.
A consultant, and prior to her election to council last fall in a byelection, Bedard wrote a land use plan for the village.
“It’s what I ran on,” said Bedard of her position on the future of the village.