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REPORTING · 30th October 2014
Walter McFarlane
Leonard Kerkhoff was at Kitimat City Council Committee of the Whole on Monday, October 27th to present to Council about Riverbrook Estates. He expressed he will be up again next week for the Public Hearing. He showed Council all the slides he had showed in the past.

“The big thing that has happened since the last time I was up was the Housing Action Plan has been released, officially to the public and there is a lot of information in that report, I’ve gone through it three different times, tagged it, highlighted it. Lots of information, lots of statistics,” said Kerkhoff.

He expressed there were some items which applied to Riverbrook Estates and there were some key indicators to a housing shortage in Kitimat. This includes the raising prices and falling rates in the market, the need for accessible housing, a decline in the population from 1981 to 2011 and the number of households remaining the same and there less children and more single person households which have led to the requirement for smaller homes.

He expressed there were several developments, but the developers are deciding when to build the homes based on what the market determines. He expressed there was no choice for smaller units in the new developments.

Kerkhoff showed Council a slide of several charts from the report, showing the changes in Kitimat’s housing make up. He also showed Council a chart from last week’s presentation on the history of Kitimat showing the Kildala makeup. He expressed Kitimat is still at 9 people per acre, and it was planned for 18 people per acre.

“We feel that the unit mix meets the extensions as outlined in the OCP, reflect the changing demographics in housing and this is evidenced by the decreasing number of people per household in Kitimat. The density falls well within the original town plan scope. Approval upfront for the project with phasing in the works determined by market needs falls under the control and risk of the developer and the investors. This is in line with other developments in Kitimat and elsewhere in the province and Canada,” said Kerkhoff.

He told Council his project would meet the needs outlined in the Housing Action Plan. They are working with BC Housing and Industry. There is interest in the site which is being put on the table and they are going through the process.

“We are really providing a product mix, that’s targeting smaller demographics which are clearly identified throughout the action plan report,” said Kerkhoff.

Councillor Mary Murphy asked if Kerkhoff has contacted the people who had signed the petition against his development. The response was he had not because he wanted to talk about it at the public hearing so if the people who signed it showed up, he could touch on the items which the public are concerned about.

Murphy also wanted to know how far along they were in the non-profit building. “They are putting out an expression of interest for non-profit housing societies and what they’ve advised us in the next 2-3 weeks, it should become an official process,” said Kerkhoff. “They are quite interested in our site. They are looking at networking with the not for profit society to try to put together a package deal.”

Murphy’s next question was in regards to the presentation by Paul Lagace, a housing worker who expressed he was neither in favour of or opposed to the project. She asked if Kerkhoff was meeting with the housing workers in Kitimat to find out what the deficiencies and problems were.

Kerkhoff expressed they have met and Lagace is looking at a different segment of the market. He told Council The project would fit into the model but would not meet Lagace’s Concerns with Renovictions and people who cannot afford the raising rents.

Feldhoff expressed the new housing may be able to help those people indirectly, if people move from the other facilities into Kerkhoff’s project. Kerkhoff agreed, as the market was built on supply and demand.

“Right now, there’s no supply and high demand. If we can put some more supply on the market, it should relieve it, in the older product, creating a more cost effective product,” said Kerkhoff.

He expressed the rest of the housing would be a lower price than some of the current stock. There were no further questions so the meeting moved on.
Comment by mmurphy on 31st October 2014
remember you can question on anything in the pls do
What phase would be built first
Comment by a neighbour on 31st October 2014
What part/area of the development would be built first if the rezoning is approved? I'm not sure if this has already been addressed but I haven't heard yet and will be attending the meeting again on Monday.