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REPORTING · 29th January 2015
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council on Monday, January 26th began with a public hearing concerning the rezoning of the land relating to the Haisla Town Centre.

Dennis McKenzie expressed interest in having a question answered regarding the amount of forest which would be left below Albatross and how it would be managed in both the short and long term. He explained he lives on Brant Street and his neighbours are also concerned about the trees in their back yard.

He told Council he was told when he bought his home it was parkland and untouchable. He stressed this was not an official statement but something which was told to him when he bought his house.

The next presenter was Leonard Kerkhoff of Kerkhoff construction with Brent Robinson and Jake Duncan. He started by running Council through how the buildings would look before answering the question which had been asked during the earlier presentation.

He hoped to get started on the first building in the next month or two. He did show Council they need to get the development permit and the building permit in place. They want to start it on March 2nd.

He said they are planning to put a covenant on the title to protect 60 metres of the treeline. “We will only be taking out as many trees as we need to to build a building. The remaining trees will be protected,” said Kerkhoff.

He added the houses on Albatross will be high enough to see over the town centre and the houses on Brant street are even higher.

Kerkhoff explained to Council they commissioned a traffic study for the intersection of Haisla and Tsimshian. It showed a few extra lanes are needed at the traffic light.

He expressed the Microtel building looked like a ‘wet sponge’ and it reduces the quality of the building. This was something he did not want to have to the buildings he was planning for.

Council asked a lot of questions about the tree line.

Kerkhoff asked Council to look at 2nd and 3rd reading later in the meeting rather than just 2nd reading. They were not ready for final adoption.

Council determined it was time to adjourn the public hearing. During this time, Councillor Larry Walker asked if the forest which was in question was unique to Kitimat and was planted by the Scouting organization. He was told the trees there were outside its native range but not far outside its native range.

Council gave the bylaw 2nd and 3rd reading. Feldhoff expressed it allows the developer and the Council to move forward.

Walker was concerned about whether or not they would be able to extract people from the top of the building in the case of a fire. Fire Chief Trent Bossence expressed the answer was no, the ladder will not reach the fifth story.

Walked asked if Council was liable in the case someone lost their life on the top of the building if it burned down. CAO Ron Poole expressed Vancouver and Victoria have high rises. Bossence told Council they look at the suppression of the fire service and the rescue capabilities. The code takes into account for there to be another way to get people out.

Mayor Phil Germuth asked if there was going to be a sprinkler system. He was told the answer was yes, and there would be a way for the fire fighters to get their water to the roof of the building. In addition, it will have ways to withstand fire for a certain amount of time.

The motion for 2nd and 3rd reading was called and carried.