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REPORTING · 8th March 2014
Walter McFarlane
Councillor Mary Murphy made a motion to have a District of Kitimat staff person dedicated to deal with Housing issues and bring ideas to Council on Monday, March 3. Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated the Northern Development Initiative was providing funding to deal with issues such as this.

“I think we all know that Staff is involved in the Housing Committee but we have so many different Committees, they do try to make it to the Interagency Committee Meetings so we know what they’re doing. But we have all sorts of people approaching industry and putting funding away for low cost housing and I really believe that we need to have a dedicated person that’s going to deal with those issues and go to those meetings so we know what’s going on there,” said Murphy.

Feldhoff expressed he was opposed, housing is a very high priority but tripling the size of the planning department has not kept up with demands and there were things which should have been in place two years ago. He hoped to quickly close the gap. He said passing the motion would override staffing which is the responsibility of the CAO, who is well aware of Councillors priorities and would be the best person to respond to them.

“I don’t think we should be micromanaging. I think we should give our CAO some latitude in how to respond to this. The response may be suggested in the motion but I want our CAO to make that decision. We definitely need to pay close attention to affordable housing issues and I think the CAO needs to follow through on the direction and policy that we had in workshops and we will have in more discussions moving forward,” said Feldhoff.

CAO Ron Poole said there needs to be a strong focus on housing and this is already happening. They are looking at an intern to take some of the pressures off of their Planning Department.

Councillor Corinne Scott said she opposed as well. It should fall to administration. Germuth agreed as well because the planning department is doing a good job. They have followed through with everything Council has asked for.

Murphy said the Planning Department has been doing a good job. “Having said that, we have a housing report that was done in April, 2013. It was recommendations and identified some shortfalls and if we had had a person dedicated to working on that report and making sure that some of those suggestions and recommendations were implemented, we would have probably have started a lot earlier then now looking after some of the problems we have,” said Murphy.

The motion was called and defeated.