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REPORTING · 11th December 2014
Walter McFarlane
At the Special Meeting of Council on Monday, December 8th, Kitimat Council received a presentation from Leonard Kerkhoff of Kerkhoff construction. He was there to bring the new Council up to speed on his proposed development project, Riverbrooke Estates prior to the public hearing which is set for Monday, January 5th.

He expressed he did not want to see the public hearing be adjourned to a later date an additional time or turned down. He also told Council this is the same report he delivered a few weeks ago.

He explained this proposed project will build around 200 units of housing divided between single family dwellings, apartments and in the Kildala Neighbourhood near Liard and Nadina. The project will be built in phases. Integrated into the project are walkways, pathways and parks spaces.

Kerkhoff told Council his homes would be varied in building exteriors, elevation and not the “square boxes” which were built 40-50 years ago. He told Council he expected the current decline in the market to turn into an upswing in 2015.

Riverbrooke would provide a bit of everything, not just single family homes. He expressed there are more single person households where families have less children. Other developments are just offering single family homes with little variation.

On the topic of accessibility, the apartments will have elevators and adaptable units. Some of the townhouses will also have adaptable units which can have an elevator installed in them.

“In summary, we feel that our application, it meets the intention as outlined in the OCP, reflects changing demographics and household needs. Information we’re getting from our realtors: You gotta keep it small, price points are very sensitive, as soon as you push it into a single family price point, it becomes a little sensitive, unaffordable for a lot of people who still want new product. They’re moving into town, they’re used to living in decent accommodations down from wherever they come from. They come to town and they’re not willing to live in a 30 or 40 year old home,” said Kerkhoff.

He expressed there was opposition to this and they wanted to start building next spring. He stated once they see what happens with the industries, they could end up scaling it back. Kerkhoff said he was willing to ask Council for the single family lots and the first phase of townhomes as an initial phase. When they see how the market has changed, they will talk about rezoning the rest of the area.

Councillor Mary Murphy asked how Kerkhoff was doing with BC Housing. Kerkhoff told her it has been taking longer than anticipated. There is still no word from them. He expects it in June or July. If they do come to him in March, he will bring a rezoning to Council for it and the rest of the site.

Kerkhoff promised to get the changes to his plan to Council for next week so they can do some preliminary work prior to the public hearing, rescinding one of the readings so there can be some changes. In addition, Mayor Phil Germuth asked him if he could provide additional drawings of what the plans for the single family homes are.

There were no further questions so Kerkhoff returned to his seat and the meeting progressed.