Julie Kriaski admits there's not much she can do about a huge industrial park that will be built directly across from her home over the next few years.
But she and some neighbours are hopeful they can convince community leaders to change plans and keep heavy truck traffic away from their homes and children.
Appearing before MD of Bonnyville council Oct. 12, Kriaski pleaded with councillors to alter plans to build the main entrance to the proposed Matichuk Industrial Park — scheduled to be developed near Highway 660 and Range Road 455, about four kilometres north of Main Street in downtown Bonnyville — a couple of kilometres away.
Kriaski's home is located directly across from the proposed site and the main entrance to the industrial park would be located only metres from the driveway to her residence and property, where she lives with her husband and two young children.
Acknowledging she's unhappy the industrial park is being developed to begin with, Kriaski told council she can live with the development, but strongly objects to the current plan to have the main access road built along Range Road 455, suggesting it makes much more sense to access the park through Highway 660.
“The access road is my main concern,” said Kriaski, following her presentation to council. “I can live with the industrial subdivision, because I realize council isn't going to stop this park from being built because a few neighbours aren't happy about it.
“My main concern is over the main access road being along the same road where there are a great number of school buses picking up children. It makes no sense at all to have school buses having to worry about huge trucks when they stop to pick up every child. My main concern is the safety of my children.”
Kriaski told council she was “never informed” about the proposed industrial park and was only told by her neighbour Rita Normand, who sent a letter to council objecting to the industrial park and problems it would cause for residents in the area, which was read by Kriaski at last week's meeting.
Kriaski said noise and dust that would be caused by constant truck traffic accessing and leaving the industrial park would greatly affect the quality of life she and her family currently enjoy.
The value of her property will also be negatively affected by this development, she told council.
“If you were moving, would you choose to live in this location?” she asked council rhetorically.
“We're going to be surrounded by loud noise and pollution.”
The road she lives on was not made to handle heavy truck traffic, she said.
“The heavy volume of industrial traffic would lead to the rapid deterioration of Range Road 455 … that road was never designed to handle heavy industrial traffic,” she said. “How are school buses supposed to stop safely among heavy industrial traffic? How much do we value the safety of a child?”
Kriaski ended her presentation saying there are no residential neighbourhoods that would be affected if the main access route was approved along Highway 660.
“I believe the main access road should be Highway 660, where there are no houses,” she said. “The safety of our children must be the first priority.”
John Matichuk, the main developer of the proposed industrial park, said the first set of lots to be developed are all located near Highway 660 and the current plan allows for future access off that highway.
Matichuk disagreed dust would be a problem as Range Road 455 is now paved and oiled.
The proposed location is located near the Bonnyville Airport and none of those people complaining about the industrial park development has ever mentioned noise problems caused by airplanes, he said.
Normand's letter made many of the same complaints as Kriaski, stating there will be a high volume of truck traffic invading a very quiet residential neighbourhood and the road outside her home wasn't designed for heavy truck use.
There are five school bus stops within a few hundred metres near her home and having these buses travelling alongside heavy trucks during the school year is dangerous and unnecessary and changing the main access road to Highway 660 a much better option, said Normand in her letter.
After the public hearing, Reeve Ed Rondeau said he and members of council will take the information presented to them and consider all options before bringing back the plan to approve the industrial park for second reading in the near future.