REPORTING · 8th April 2012
Councillor Corrine Scott has been advocating for improvements to the Downtown Core of Kitimat to improve accessibility. During the 2012 budget meeting of February 29th, she talked about how several of the sidewalks around the mall area were uneven and were a hazard to people with disabilities.
At the time, the Kitimat Daily Reported:
Councillor Corrine Scott stated something should be done about several uneven walkways in the mall area which are difficult for people with disabilities to navigate. She suggested repairing them and charging the business owners who own them.
“We don’t need their permission. We can pass a bylaw, as far as I’m aware, that we can do improvements to the City Centre and if they wish to petition against us, fine,” said Scott. “We need to coordinate so all the all the sidewalks are equal and matched in our down town core.”
She stated she understands businesses would not want to spend the money. [Mayor Joanne] Monaghan suggested waiting until they hear back from the mall owner. Scott pointed out he did not own the [part] of the down town core she was talking about.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff suggested putting this off to another meeting.
On Monday, April 2nd, she returned to Council with a motion for the District of Kitimat to apply for community revitalization money from Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDI Trust). She provided Council with an overview of NDI Trust’s requirements and asked them to consider a different motion then what was provided.
“That the Council look at establishing a revitalization tax exemption policy and bylaw,” said Scott. “The goal of this community revitalization program through NDI is to encourage developers to invest in down town or community renewal projects including new market and non market housing, commercial mixed use development, green use development and facade improvements.”
She stated the municipality could have a revitalization tax exemption bylaw to attract investment and increase the tax base of the community. This would be an incentive to encourage people to renovate their businesses for beatification. The policy to allow them tax exempt status on increases to their assessment for a period of time. The money would come from a grant from NDI Trust.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff placed a tabling motion onto the table until they hear back from staff on this topic. The motion was too different from the motion he had prepared for. In addition, they have just finished the budget process and have sent their policy guide which includes where they stand on tax exemption into the BC Government.
“In the past, we have argued vociferously not to put them in place for reasons of equity. I think I would prefer to move cautiously, particularly because we haven’t had a chance to think about this,” said Feldhoff.
He said there would be good reasons to move ahead with this but he would like to hear from staff. Councillor Rob Goffinet agreed.
Councillor Phil Germuth stated NDI Trust would make up the money. Mayor Joanne Monaghan said the Council wants to table it to confirm this. The motion was called and tabled.
Scott’s motion differed from the one she had proposed to Council in documentation. Her original motion was for the Distict of Kitimat to apply for Community Revitalization Grant Money from NDI Trust for Council to use for City Centre Revitalization.
Comment by LINDA HALYK on 9th April 2012
Who is our council??? It seems the only way to get a motion passed and not tabled is by having the [Feldhoff] councilor in charge of Kitimat agree with it.
Comment by Linda M on 8th April 2012
As someone who has spent some time in a wheelchair and with a cane I can say without doubt the sidewalks are bad for people with disabilities all over Kitimat. Curbs are too steep for wheelchairs, I tripped in big potholes, big cracks ect... It was terrible to go anywhere.
Council shouuld focus some of their attention on the rest of Kitimat. Disabled people would like to go places other than the mall, without putting themselves in peril.
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 8th April 2012
I agree in trying to persuade business to improve their look,but to say they need a tax deferral to do it is a stretch. Property values have sky rocketed,you can't get any commercial property in town. Previous councils have missed the boat on this issue. Past years were the time to be giving tax breaks for improvements when business was slow and values were down. If business owners want a break on their property taxes they should be forced to tear down their dilapidated buildings or sell them to some one who is willing to put up a new structure. We all know what buildings I am referring too. PS. If council wants to be pro active instead of reactive ,can someone on council find out what is happening over at the old Eurocan site.The stench has been getting worse since the mill shut down. What conditions has the ministry of Environment put on the site for clean up? Something fishy is going on and it is time to ask a few questions.Apache is setting up camp on the site and if there are any biological hazards there workers who stay in the camp must not be exposed to any thing that may cause them to become sick....never mind what may still be leaching into our ground water. Look forward to watching council meetings where this is brought up.
Comment by larry on 8th April 2012
maybe council should look at finishing the side walks down the hill. you can go for a nice walk down kuldo or columbia but then your just dumped out onto quatsino with no sidewalk. i realise that its not anywhere that counsilers would walk but theres a lot of people in the apartments i watch walk on the road all winter and in the summer the kids going to soccer on the shoulder of the road. i guess they ,ll wait till someone gets hit before doing anything