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REPORTING · 23rd March 2013
Walter McFarlane
There was a public hearing concerning the rezoning of Forest Hills via Bylaw on Monday, March 18th at the Regular Meeting of Council.

“The bylaw is: the OCP, or the Official Community Plan, Forest Hills Zoning Map Amendment Bylaw #1, 2013,” said Warren Waycheshan, Deputy CAO.

The Bylaw relates to the completion of Wakita Avenue, creating 38 multifamily dwellings near the corner of Wakita Avenue and Nalibila. In a memo to Council, administration explains this is to create dwellings for the rental market and affordable homes in Kitimat.

“The current housing market may be described as robust. Home priced for the market and in good condition are selling quickly, according to Manuel Leite of REMAX. Over the past twelve to eighteen months, there has also been significant investor interest in available and potential multifamily sites. Few lots of this type exist in the District of Kitimat,” wrote CAO Ron Poole.

The memo described the neighbourhood as desirable, close to schools, churches and stores. It also talks about the need for further rental units.

In an attached map, the housing development is described as Phase 5, which is to be zoned for Multifamily Apartment or Terrace. In addition, it amends several other lots on the map, rezoning them. It also outlines phase 6, which adds another street at the far end.

There were two presentations from the public. The first came from Will Robinson, a resident of Wakita Avenue.

“Some of the changes seem ok. When I did, move onto the street, about 3 years ago when we bought our lot there and were looking into building there, we had to submit a plan that the building was a one family dwelling and I was kind of under the understanding that that was what that area would be,” said Robinson. “I know that some future development would include multifamily dwellings, some of them were going to be removed, some of them were going to move somewhere else.”

He stated at the top of the street, there is a section for 38 multifamily dwellings. It was not going to affect him. He was concerned the entrance was to the dwellings was going to affect the people who had already built at the top of the street on Wakita.

Robinson expressed with phase 6 planned, the street was likely to become very busy. He pointed out there was an access road which goes out onto the highway. He told Council he had used it several times on the way to the dump.

“It’s a dangerous entrance onto the main road there. You don’t get a lot of visibility from traffic coming up the hill by the cemetery. That should be considered. I’ve heard that that is possibly wanted to be a paved road, which makes it kind of a through way from Nalabila through Wakita onto the highway,” said Robinson. “My concern with that […], I don’t want people thinking that is a shortcut coming to town or leaving town rather than coming out the normal way we have now.”

He stated there is a school zone on Nalabila and he was concerned people might take Wakita to avoid a School Zone.

Robinson suggested the upcoming phases be single family dwellings rather than multifamily dwellings. He concluded his presentation.

Councillor Corinne Scott clarified his requests in regards to the 38 houses. Robinson expressed it would not affect him but there are people who built houses there not realizing they built their houses on the corner of a 38 house complex.

Councillor Mary Murphy wondered what happened to the gate the entrance of the highway to Wakita which was there to stop traffic and quads from getting onto the road. Robinson explained when there is construction work on the subdivision by JHW, they hall material from their pit on Forest Ave. The gate is still there and it is open. He added that he heard District Engineer Tim Gleig has proposed paving it.

He talked about the about people using recreational vehicles on Wakita. They bring their bikes down the road, some of them quickly, some of them slow, but not many of them walk their bikes down the streets. One was pursued by a police car but an obstacle allowed the individual to get away. Robinson pointed out there are children living on the street, as well as retirees.

The second speaker was Chelsea Fladhamer. She agreed with the concerns about the traffic on her street and the road on Forest Avenue being a concern. She asked if the dwellings would be duplex townhouses or apartments. She said the neighbourhood would have some input on it.

She stated she agrees with plans to move multifamily housing to single family housing but there still would be multifamily zoning in the area. She was concerned with this.

There were no questions or presenters so the public hearing ended.

Later in the meeting, Council approved gave the bylaw 2nd reading. Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted further information on the comments which were made, including where the entrance to the multifamily dwelling would be.

It was called and carried.