REPORTING · 8th October 2014
Bill Kearley came before Council on Monday September 29th with a presentation about the recent zoning changes in Kitimat, to increase density.
“We’ve been told that low income could be as high as $90,000. That was a stretch. What I’m trying to get at is a low income in the neighbourhood of $35,000 to $40,000 putting 10% down or 20% down on any one of these units would require a payment of $1200 a month. I haven’t heard any developer yet talk about strata fees, potentially 3-5 hundred dollars a month per unit. This does not fit a low income family or an individual,” said Kearley.
He told the Council they were living in a dream world in regards to interest rates. They are currently set at 6%-9% compared to the high interest which he had to go through. He stated as far as low income goes, they are non-existent.
He said there would be new people coming into town who want to buy a new unit. However, he expressed it would be healthy for there to be demand on the housing, and unhealthy to put a flood of accommodations on the market as it is detrimental to people who own property.
He suggested that there may be some new people who want to earn some tax free equity by fixing up some of the older houses in town. He said it would benefit the entire town without putting new housing on the market.
“Right now, without considering Wakita’s development and Oviatt’s development, this town will support just shy of 14,000 people. With Oviatt Developing, Wakita Developing, Konigus, duplexes etcetera, I don’t see there’s reason to densify like this when the town could quite easily, with these Wakita and Oviatt developments, be near the neighbourhood of 16,000. We still have close to 100 houses on the market, having more, won’t fix anything,” said Kearley.
He pointed out a lot of retirees have their equity in their home, if they decide to sell and move, they could do so. However, having a lot of homes on the market could destroy this equity.
“I’ve been doing a lot of homework and a lot of talking to people. It’s just that the fact that we could end up with a huge amount of accommodations in town that doesn’t get used. It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” said Kearley.
He stated people would want to see the horseshoe on Liard and the Cul-de-sac on Nadina finished. That way if someone wants to buy a lot and build a house, things are fine.
He wanted to know how many of the people who bought Baxter Townhouses were out of town speculators, and how many were local.
“I think Kitimat has to look out for itself, we are a very capable community that can look after our needs and develop our own future. There has been, with the very odd exception, a very good community plan laid out,” said Kearley.
“It’s not right for the community to have this kind of densification,” concluded Kearley.
Councillor Edwin Empinado stated that their concern is not with the people who come to the community and can afford housing, it is with the people who come to the community who cannot afford to housing.
Community Planner Gwen Sewell told Council there have been three housing studies done recently.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan and Kearley got into a debate about how many people were currently living in town. He pointed out the town was at 9,500 and Monaghan stated it was more than this. Kearley stated the town can hold about 14,000 people. What bothers him the most about the development is the concentration.
Councillor Mary Murphy told him they have been working on housing workshops with the community for three years. Councillor Phil Germuth pointed out, none of the studies told Council they need to increase density.
Comment by Bill Kearley on 16th October 2014
Yes, we are in a dream world at this time with rates at 3.5 to 4 % . A more normal rate of 6 to 9 % is realistic . The way it is worded in this article is not correct.
Excellent well thought out presentation
Comment by Larry Walker on 8th October 2014
I would just like to add one more thought to it. We must find a way to incentivefy (new word?) the owners of some of the run down residential property here in Kitimat, to take the time, effort and money to fix them up a bit. I am sure their neighbours would greatly appreciate it.