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Residents concerned about re-zoning

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Mar 25/05) - Several residents turned out at town council chambers Monday evening to voice their opposition to a proposed gas station on Kingmingya Road across from Northmart.

The Northwest Company, which owns the two tracts of land in question, has asked council to consider rezoning the property from Community Use to Special Development in order to pave the way for a gas station it wants to build. Currently, one tract is used as a parking lot for the department store.

"This hearing shouldn't have even been necessary, (the request) should have been refused outright," said resident Vince Sharpe, who argued the project would have no benefit to Inuvik. "We already have enough service stations."

Other concerns included the welfare of students walking to and from school in an area that is already considered 'high traffic'.

Appearing on behalf of the District Education Authority, board member Nick Saturnino said the DEA is neither opposed to or in favour of the gas station but would like to see a sidewalk installed.

"As long as the safety of the children is taken into consideration," he added.

In his presentation to council about the $500,000 project, The North West Company category manager Paul Hughes called Inuvik a "key market."

"The bottom line is we think this town needs another gas station and by creating competition, the price (of gas) could decrease," he told The Drum after the hearing, adding that he agreed a sidewalk is needed.

After the presentations, councillors Karen King and Paul Komaromi talked about residents' overwhelming opposition to the project - expressed either verbally or in written statements.

"In 10 or 15 phone calls there was one in favour and all the rest were opposed," said Komaromi.

Councillor Denny Rodgers was the only councillor to come out in support of the gas bar.

"I need to find a good reason to say no to this," he said.

"The biggest issue is the concern about children. Maybe Northmart would consider putting a sidewalk in there."

In the past, council has turned down similar rezoning requests, one of which would have allowed a gas station to be built behind The Roost restaurant and another which could have seen one built on the site of the Capital Suites apartments.

A decision on the matter is expected to be announced at Wednesday night's council meeting.