REPORTING · 8th November 2014
Leonard Kerkhoff came to Council again on Monday, November 3rd to speak at the public hearing for Riverbrook Estates, on camera, to the people who disagree with his project.
“First, I would like to address the petition I received, signed by around 300 people, plus or minus. There was some discrepancy in some of the names and I don’t know exactly what the final number… I wanted to touch base with a couple of the points that had been raised and the concerns and I want to address these concerns on a point by point,” said Kerkhoff.
He stated the concerns are: unacceptable levels of noise pollution and congestion on the three streets in the area. In addition, he had a problem with people signing the petition who were living on Kingfisher who would not be affected by the Noise pollution and traffic congestion in the Kildala neighbourhood.
Kerkhoff stated the noise pollution would not hit unacceptable levels because the site would neither be industrial or manufacturing. He expressed the noise would not be more than what is there now, the motorcycles and ATVs.
As for traffic, traffic studies were done showing there is not going to be congestion, just a marginal increase in traffic.
People were concerned about adverse consequences coming from overbuilding housing in Kitimat. Kerkhoff referred back to the Housing Action Plan which was released last month.
“It identifies that the needs, the shortages in today’s market and key indicators, rising prices, falling days on the market. It identifies need for accessible housing, population and change in demographics, the need for smaller homes and homes for less children, more single person households all relating to a smaller housing requirement,” said Kerkhoff.
He stated overbuilding was a risk that the developer was taking. There was a lot of reason for the developer and the investor to not build the housing all out and flood the market with too many units. They will keep it small until major decisions get made in the LNG sector.
“We feel that our proposal provides a unit mix, meeting the intentions of the OCP, reflects changing demographics and housing needs as evidenced by decreasing number of people per household. The density falls well within the original town’s scope, and construction will be phased per market demand ensuring that the market is not flooded,” said Kerkhoff.
He stated the application would provide access to several needs in the Housing Action Plan. However, he suggested Council adjourn the meeting to a later day because of discussions which are taking place with BC Housing and they wish to make a few density changes to the process. He asked for a month or so.
Councillor Mary Murphy asked if Kerkhoff had contacted anyone who has signed the petition, sat down with them and talked with them about their concerns. She called the petition vague.
Kerkhoff stated he has contacted several of the people who signed the petition. He said their concerns are all over the map. The residents near the construction are concerned about traffic, residents from other parts of town are concerned about overbuilding. He said everyone is looking at it from a different angle.
Councillor Edwin Empinado thanked him for addressing the public comment.
It was time for Council to make their decision, end the public hearing which has been going on for months or put it off to January and let the next Council suffer with it.
Feldhoff stated they have had the proponent present to them many times. The Council could move forward with option B and if the low income housing comes forward, they would deal with that. He expressed he was ready to make a decision that night.
“We have enough information I believe to make a decision on the town homes and the residential component. I believe for that reason, we should conclude it, provide some certainty, we’re here to make decisions. We’ve been at this for a very long time,” said Feldhoff.
Councillor Phil Germuth seconded it, he expressed he was ready to make a decision as well. Empinado expressed he was not. He stated they need to do a study on the sewers as well.
Murphy said she was ready to vote on this. She claimed she talked to people who had signed the petition. Some are concerned because they had been told the sewer would back up, because you cannot put new plumbing next to old plumbing without destroying the old plumbing. Others do not want to see affordable housing in the area and some are worried about how the value of their home will be affected because they are enjoying the increased value to their homes.
Germuth pointed out there were some concerns on traffic congestion at the Traffic Committee Meeting. The traffic study which had been performed was done at hours of the day when the area would not get the most traffic, it had not been done at shift change time. In addition, something else which had not been considered was the lodge being built in Strawberry Meadows. Council was told the busses would not be going through the downtown core, they would be going around Quatsino. This was also not factored in.
Murphy asked Germuth why he did not want to wait for a proper traffic study. He did not answer.
Councillor Rob Goffinet expressed that they should not decide because the developer needs further information on the design. Feldhoff argued Council could move forward with the exception of the apartment and deal with it later, down the road.
“I cannot believe that we are talking on these terms when the developer has asked us for more time,” said Mayor Joanne Monaghan. “When a developer asks for information and wants more information from BC Housing, there is a reason for it. Perhaps they haven’t explained everything to use and they don’t have to.”
Whatever motion to close was withdrawn and Murphy made a motion to adjourn the public hearing to a later date, which was called and carried.
Comment by Voter on 10th November 2014
Thanks for the long winded, condescending and fear mongering comment aimed at Phil.
People see right through your attempts and will only push more votes towards Germuth.
You folks really need to update your woefully outdated playbook and actually admit you are telling others how to vote.
Growth in Kitimat
Comment by E.Stannus on 9th November 2014
First of all, I would like to say that I have never heard any councillor or prospective councillor say that they are going after RTA. I have heard some say that they support keeping the air quality clean and that industry should put in the necessary technology (scrubbers in the case of RTA) to preserve our air quality here. Why would we not want to preserve our air quality here? Kudos to those who speak out publicly- Kitimat needs more politicians like this.
Secondly, Kitimat's slogan is " A Marvel of Industry and Nature". Industry is important but we also live in a gorgeous setting that should be kept desireable to attract people to live here with their families. If our air quality/water quality is compromised by pollution from industry, how will we attract professionals and entrepreneurs to live long-term in Kitimat. Our water and air quality are a precious asset that we should not give away freely to multinational corporations.
I don't think it is unreasonable to request large companies to install technology to keep our environment as healthy and pristine as possible.
I'm a little confused....
Comment by Brad Opheim on 8th November 2014
In a previous article ,Nov 8th " Housing supplements..." 2 counselors express their disappointment at the lack of rental supplements for "working people".
In this article the same 2 counselors are ready to vote against a housing project that would help create more, housing and in turn more affordable housing options. More supply means prices come down, people trade up into newer homes , and sell or rent out their old ones. That's the only way housing prices can come down "increased supply", (other than a total economic collapse in the community)
The proponent has also stated they are working with "BC Housing". BC Housing for those who don't know is the government body that provides direct rent subsidies for low income, seniors living , and assisted living facilities.
Counsel has been criticized for years for saying "no" to pretty much everything. ( Think Trafford Hall) Kitimat is finally on the verge of seeing growth in all sectors that will create opportunities for our children to stay in our community instead of having to leave to find work,and for others to come and make Kitimat their home.
So my question to "the just say no" crowd is how do you get rents or housing prices to come down here? Or is that the plan? Just say "no" to every developer and then no one will want to invest in Kitimat and then after we are plunged into another economic wasteland? ( remember prior to 2010).
While we are at it maybe those counselors and prospective counselors that support going after RTA ( really means suing RTA) over the " SO2 emmisions " please raise your hands so the whole community knows your intentions. Investors are always impressed when they get attacked/disparaged or sued by the communities they want to invest in.
I have lived here for over 44 years, and plan on retiring here. I want a to live in a vibrant growing community that has the infrastructure to support the needs of the entire community. I would like to see opportunities for my son to also stay in Kitimat to live and work.
If you want growth and renewal in Kitimat then there has to be a positive "investment" climate in the community for that to happen.
Mayor and counsel has to be looking at ways to say "yes, how can we make it happen".
I'm not telling anyone who to vote for. I am however saying if you want positive economic growth find out who is going to support that goal and vote for them. Find out what they (counselors )are "going to do" based on previous voting record or public support to make/keep Kitimat moving forward in a positive direction both economically and socially.
"Just say no" maybe good drug policy but not good economic policy. Just my opinion.
PS should of mentioned the "just say no" reference has NOTHING to do with Enbridge, and only refers to council/city pre 2011.