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REPORTING · 2nd August 2014
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council dealt with a number of issues relating to the proposed Kingfisher Townhouse Development on Monday, July 27th at their Committee of the whole meeting. The first item of business was a public hearing on the issue.

The proposal has changed again, decreasing the number of units from 54 to 53, contained in 7 buildings instead of 8. The maximum lot coverage has been increased from 25% to 38% and the distance between the buildings has decreased from 9 metres to 3.5 metres.

There were many written submissions to Council. The people of Margetts street continued to express their concerns about the project. Some people were concerned because they did not receive notice concerning supplying written submissions to Council until 33 hours before the deadline.

“This is not the right build for this 2.6 acre site with the close proximity to the golf course. Building homes that would promote the Hirsch Creek Golf Course and the Green Space would be more in accordance with the area. The proponent development is for a narrow three story townhome with narrow green space and very little parking storage,” wrote Leland Harris.

He pointed out that town homes use tandem parking, a single lane where the car in the driveway blocks the car further inside. Most families with more than one vehicle park their extra vehicles on the street, in visitor spots and in the lanes.

“They will not be luxury retirement homes for golfers. They will be narrow, squidgy and dark with little direct sunlight getting in,” wrote Elizabeth and Jim Thorne. “You have an entire street full of people who object to the huge traffic increase and having their property values lowered.”

Walter and Karen Bothellho suggested Kingfisher, Margetts and the Hirsch Creek Golf Course parking lot may become the home to the recreational vehicles, boats, campers, which are owned by the people living in the housing development. They also wanted something in place to slow down the drivers.

Another point was that the two - three story townhouses were supposed to be perfect for retirees and the elderly.

“They would not be ideal for young families, so the possibilities are narrowing. I think Kingfisher Development Corporation would have some trouble selling these units at $300,000 a crack but perhaps they would have some success with the influx of temporary LNG and or Bitumen Terminal Construction related people who intend to make good money over their in and out sequence,” wrote Dave Galloway.

Galloway also wrote stated they expect the housing to be purchased to become low rental units as their value declined due to the overabundance of homes.

“The Council should guard against boosterism, enthusiastic and usually excessive support for something or someone, sand back and consider carefully, there will be plenty of time in the future if more housing is required,” wrote Galloway.

There were a number of people who pointed out the expected workforce in Kitimat will not replace the workforce which has been lost and the boom is still mostly speculation as a number of industries have not made their final investment decision.

“When all these contractors are gone, Kitimat will have the largest number of slum housing in the Northwest. Kitimat’s population has shrunk over the years but we are still building new homes. I think this is a mistake and we are all going to pay later,” wrote Tony D’Amico.

“Thus far, the District of Kitimat and the City Council have not been effective in dealing with derelict and neglected properties. It has been stated by Councillor Feldhoff that ‘Kingfisher is NOT Alexander.’ However, without careful planning after the boom, it could be. Are there any city bylaws that are or could be put into place to ensure that a similar situation does not happen in this location?” asked Rachael De Sousa and Spencer Edwards.

One point, which would come up later in the meeting, was who was responsible for the land which was being donated to the district, and who would be liable in the case it gave out and damaged the homes.

The Thornes wanted to know how the snow would be removed from the property without eroding the slope. Ken Maitland asked if the communities sewage systems could handle the capacity. The major concern was the development would not fit the character of the neighbourhood.

The final item the District of Kitimat received in relation to the public hearing was a petition opposing the proposed development. It included 115 names from around Kitimat.

Harris presented to Council in addition to his letter. He expressed gratitude to staff and the developer to taking the time to explain the development to him.

“Unfortunately, we still need to challenge all involved to make sure the community of Kitimat is the big winner in this development,” said Harris.

He stated the piece of property is not suited to the proposed density. He explained Margetts was the first part of a two part development which ended in a downturn in the economy. The lot is attractive 9 acre lot but only 2.6 acres are suitable for development.

It was rezoned for 36 units in the 80s, 40 recently and now up to 53. Harris expressed concern they were crowding the footprint. He expressed 53 homes would be very tight. He told Council the Golf Course as an asset to the community is extremely valuable and they should consider the rezoning is too much for that lot.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated there have been changes to the development based on the recommendations of the community. He was concerned that if Council disagreed with the proposal, the developer could build the 40 units instead but scrap the recommendations from the community. He wanted to know if this concerned Harris.

Harris stated no matter how the buildings were put into the layout, it would be crowded. “If you put that many 1000 square foot single family homes into that neighbourhood, it just does not fit. I understand and that’s my point is how we got to this 40 in the first place. When we originally talked and this piece of property was zoned for 25 potential multifamily,” said Harris.

He said the number of houses which were proposed may look good but after looking at this, it would not work. Administration stated the 25 was based on proven sewer capacity prior to testing, but the site is currently zoned for 40.

The public hearing will continue on Monday, August 11th.
Re: another unintelligent comment
Comment by roguemc on 5th August 2014
Don't be too hard on your self Bill, you made some very good points and I personally feel you should have more confidence in yourself. I especially enjoyed your comments on fire safety, and just the height of those structures and looking right down into your back yards!
That is why council should look into designing the land for single wide modular homes. They go up like mushrooms on a wet day, as opposed to town homes that take so long to build. Perfect for the slope because they don't weigh very much at all. Maybe that huge field at Alexander school could be put to use as well, how many units could we fit in there? Lets get an artists conception please.
Keep those ideas coming Bill.
another unintelligent comment
Comment by bill on 5th August 2014
They have every right to be concerned. Lets just let them build right on the property line, so when a fire breaks out we all burn, better yet let them make it 10 stories tall so our ladder truck can't reach! Zoning is in place for a reason, not to mention the traffic on this intersection, haha good luck
Over build
Comment by Vern on 2nd August 2014
Care must be taken not to over build in Kitimat . Who is going to live in all these extra homes . The LNG plants while I hope they come are not a sure thing yet and even with them a surplus of homes will remain .
Other side of the tracks
Comment by roguemc on 2nd August 2014
Of coarse Margetts St is concerned about multi dwelling units next to their fancy homes, might as well build a trailer park instead lol!!