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REPORTING · 26th September 2013
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council on Monday, September 23rd began with a public hearing relating to the Parking of Recreational Vehicles on Private Property.

Only one written submission was given to Council and the writer was opposed to people being able to park trailers in their yards.

Gord Klassen got up to speak against the proposed bylaw. “I do have recreational equipment and I store it in my front yard. I do not have the room in my front yard with the restrictions you’ve listed in the proposed bylaw to actually park them there in order to get out. I cannot do that legally under that proposed bylaw,” said Klassen.

He explained he uses his recreational vehicles during the winter time to go snowmobiling or King Crabbing from his boat when the weather permits. He stated if he could park it back far enough, he would not be able to get it out again. However, the measurement does not permit it.

“In effect, what you are doing is you are infringing upon my right to live my life as I see it and that’s being active in the wintertime. My activities are ATVing and snowmobiling and fishing as I have said, I cannot do that with this proposed bylaw, you are restricting me. This is my property and I don’t think you should be infringing upon my right in saying I cannot park in my property and do what I wish to do in this Northern Community. There is not allot else that I like to do and that’s what I do. With this bylaw, there is no possible way I can do that,” said Klassen.

He stated he hoped this did not go through and did not know the precise reasons for this bylaw. He thought it was snow clearing. He stated he could not afford to move somewhere else, Cablecar and Strawberry Meadows are not affected. He wanted to see the bylaw struck down so the people who could not afford room at the ‘mismanaged’ marina can park their boat in their yard and go catch a winter spring or king crab.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan wanted to know where he lived and how many vehicles he owned. Klassen replied he lived on Ketchika Street and he owned 2 vehicles. They could not park the recreational vehicles on the driveway because he and his wife work different shifts.

His recreational vehicles are a boat and an ATV Trailer which he parks in his yard. He cannot park them in his back yard as it backs onto a field next to Kildala School. In the winter, there is too much snow.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated he was not certain the bylaw put any restrictions on front yards which were not already in place. City Planner Gwen Sewell stated there are current restriction on putting vehicles in front yards and they are trying to balance the interests of snow clearing by allowing RV’s to be clearly parked in a driveway rather than the boulevard space which is for snow clearing.

Councillor Phil Germuth stated he has had people calling him concerning the distance which the Recreational Vehicle has to be pushed back from the Boulevard. He was told RV’s are allowed in the Driveway. They have to be 4.5 metres back from the road for snow clearing to pack snow during winters where the snow cannot be contained in the boulevard.

Germuth wanted to know what flexibility they would have for people with nowhere else to put their RVs. Sewell said there is a Development Variance Permit Application which allows a Resident a temporary variance of a bylaw.

Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know if the Staff was aware of the dynamics of the Klassen Lot. Sewell said he did not step forward in advance of the public hearing. Councillor Edwin Empinado if the old bylaw gave him an impediment.

Klassen said he was not aware of what the old bylaw was, and Council would have to tell him what it was. He stated most of this bylaw seemed new. Germuth wanted to know if the District ever asked him to move his vehicles for snow clearing. Klassen replied no, he thought this was a new proposed rule.

Empinado asked him to draw his property so he could understand his concerns. No drawing was produced. Councillor Mary Murphy stated she was under the impression that there was not much change in the bylaw other then it allowing for people who parked in the back yard to have more room to park in the side and the front.

The bylaw came up later in Council and Feldhoff made a motion to delay second reading until they can learn more about Klassen’s property. He also wanted to clarify the old and the new bylaws. Germuth stated it is possible that Klassen was in violation of the old law but in all the years he has been living in Kitimat, he has never created a problem or had anyone from the District visit him.

Goffinet hoped staff would look at other properties as they may be impacted as well. The motion was called and carried.
Opportunity Knocks ?
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 26th September 2013
As much as I can sympathize with people in the same position for Mr.Klassen, dont people know when they buy this stuff that they need a place to park it? In the summer the streets are an obstacle course obscuring your vision of children playing in the streets .In winter creating a snow clearing nightmare and lastly an eyesore .
Maybe for the time being they should be allowed to park in the yard, only because there are not any available storage places. This can be a wonderful opportunity for some one to start an RV storage facility . Just an opinion.
Concerned Resident
Comment by . on 26th September 2013
I sure hope that council can move forward quickly and complete this RV parking bylaw. Winter is nearly upon us and people are busy putting away the recreational trailers and such. I know on my street snow clearing is tough for the District because many people have done reno work and put in a double driveway where there was only a single one. Our snowblower operator now struggles to put snow where it needs to go and in the past 2 years my driveway has been filled in several times. Off topic a bit but would like to point out to anyone that may read this that last year I had a bad experience with our District yard in regards to clearing my driveway. I ended up having to spend about 6 hours clearing the blown in driveway myself as they did not show up to clear the snow. I truly hope that nobody has to have this as it is anything but fun after you have worked all day and come home to find this. This topic is in relation to the RV parking bylaw because if my neigbour did not park their RV on the front lawn the snowblower would have no problems. Let's get going on this council members and then enforce the bylaw as you have it written!