Editorial: Dickinson prepares for rush hourDickinson commissioners are headed in the right direction as daily life in Dickinson and all of western North Dakota picks up speed.
Dickinson commissioners are headed in the right direction as daily life in Dickinson and all of western North Dakota picks up speed.
Their approach to handling what could end up as temporary housing for hundreds, maybe thousands of people heading to western North Dakota to work in thriving oilfields is responsible and forward-thinking.
These living arrangements — man camps, crew camps or whatever else they may be labeled — are starting to make their way into the area and though it is no easy task, the city is taking it on.
Commissioners are doing their best to look out for both sides, trying to ensure the camps are friendly but also aesthetically pleasing.
Other towns are also concerned and have seen dissent from residents with not-in-my-backyard attitudes. But do we leave people homeless, sleeping in cars and hiding out in back alleys or allow man camps, creating a safe environment for all? Though many may not approve, the city is working on a way to make it work.
Residents in some areas have concerns about housing for a few dozen workers. What happens when a request for a 500-person camp comes in? With the leaders’ foresight, Dickinson will be prepared.
There are hardships that come along with the perks of being in the center of an oil boom, and having this ordinance in place is a great start.
The camps are not real property or mobile homes and an ordinance would set permit fees, locations and other standards. It also gives the city power to revoke a permit if the standards are not met.
Having an ordinance and the rules in black and white will make it easier on newcomers looking for places to lay their heads and to permanent residents who may be uneasy with so many fresh faces in town. Everyone knows what is expected.
And maybe Dickinson’s foresight will provide insight for other area towns facing the same challenges.
Now is also the time for anyone concerned about this progress to chime in on the plan. It’s not set in stone and changes will be made.
With this, the city can check one item off of a list that will only continue to grow along with the industry.
Dickinson Press Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride sit on the Editorial Board.