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REPORTING · 6th February 2016
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat Council has been holding a public hearing relating to a bylaw for Riverbrook estates Manufactured Home Park which has taken place at two meetings of Council, one on January 25th and a second on February 1st. The public hearing will continue on February 9th.

The bylaw will amend the zoning in the municipal code in relation to 167 Konigus. A report to Council explained that Leonard Kerkhoff has applied to rezone land in town to allow a 70 unit Manufactured Home Park.

Council was told they had a reply from a resident who came into the District of Kitimat Offices with several concerns. This person was under the impression that the District of Kitimat did not have to change the zoning of the land, which is currently zoned as forestry.

The individual told the District that half of the land which is going to become a manufactured home park is covered with water during the rainy months. In addition, he was concerned the developer was rezoning with no intent to sell. Finally, he was concerned this would add to the vacant lots in town while the community waits for a decision which may not come.

Council was still waiting on a report from the traffic committee so they decided to adjourn the meeting to a later date.

On February 1st, the public hearing resumed. Council was advised to hear any public comments and adjourn the public hearing until February the 9th due to a report from the Traffic Committee which would be on the agenda later that night.

There was an additional written submission, from the Leonard Kerkhoff of Kerkhoff Construction in regards to the letter from the prior week.

“As discussed, the complaint regarding flooding at, particularly the Elk’s Hall and the town homes on Konigus, are far removed from the manufactured home park site and so should have no bearing on the discussion and approval of the manufactured home park application,” wrote Kerkhoff.

His letter went on to say the Geotechnical Engineer has determined that pre loading the site will have no bearing on the sub surface water, which are governed by rain water, river levels and tides. Preloading may or may not be required.

In addition, they can put measures into place to ensure water does not drain towards neighbouring properties. They have also monitored the water levels of the nearby creek for a year to understand the seasonal fluctuations. He provided the data.

Kerkhoff was also asked if there would be offers made to tenants of the existing manufactured home parks to purchase land. The reply was: “This could be developed through agreements, registered on title as a condition for issuing subdivision, development permits, building permits, etc.”

Councillor Claire Rattee asked if the developer would be all right with concluding back the public hearing on another week. Council was told Administration talked with Kerkhoff and he was fine with it. Council agreed to conclude the public hearing at the meeting on February 9th.

Later in the meeting, Council had to deal with two reports regarding Riverbrook Estates. Councillor Mario Feldhoff had a question in regards to a covenant which will require floors to be .6 metres above the crown of adjacent roads.

The report explains the reason for this is due to the proximity to Sumgas Creek. Grading and Drainage plans will be required during the subdivision. Feldhoff’s question was about when the covenant would be drawn up. He was told it would prior to Final Adoption, the documents would be drafted after 2nd reading.

Council was also given three options for how this park could be run, as strata, as a manufactured home park or as a fee simple. The report explains the park was planned to be a manufactured home park with a single fee-simple owner. However, following discussions with the community, the developer decided strata titles might work out better.

Feldhoff wanted to know if the District of Kitimat would be maintaining the infrastructure in the strata park. The report states a strata council would maintain the infrastructure in this situation. Feldhoff was told by staff the existing strata groups vote on the level of service they want and how they charge their fees.

Feldhoff expressed he wanted to make sure the project remains affordable and while strata would have some advantages for the District, it has the potential to add to the cost and take away from the affordability. He was told the strata would be owned by a strata corporation which would decide how the property would look and maintaining it would be their responsibility. Their infrastructure would be less costly then the districts because it would be held to a lower standard.

Mayor Phil Germuth asked if the Manufactured homes will be affordable. He was wondering if the cost would range between $150,000 to $200,000. He asked if that was for one of the manufactured homes, but was told this would most likely be the cost for the lot with a dwelling unit on it. Administration asked the developer about this and were told Kerkhoff is buying a large number of units and would be able to negotiate a discount.

Councillor Larry Walker needed to know more about an engineering report that says there should be adequate room in the lift station, however, there is further investigation required. He asked who would pick up the costs for the investigation. The reply was the developer would be covering the costs.

Feldhoff stated in the second report, relating to traffic, the recommendation was to widen Nadina and Liard Street. However, this report recommends smaller roads for the park. He wanted to know when this would be determined and if there would be sidewalks. The reply the decision would have to be made before subdivision. There was another alternative which would be to ban parking from one side of the road.

Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know about a public information meeting for this project which was held on January 19th. He asked how it was advertised because he was not aware of it. The reply was it was advertised by the developer, hand delivering flyers to the immediate neighbourhood and there were possibly ads in the paper as well.

Walker expressed he concerned by parts of the document which stated final adoption could be put off until building permits are assigned, which could take until 2023. He was wondering why they were rushing to get this done. He was told this project could be four or five years and this project was planned in three phases. Phase one was approved, phase two delayed and this was phase three.

The traffic report was carried without any discussion. It left Council with several items for consideration. They felt the road leading into the Park should be private driveways. They were concerned with the safety of the residents of Nadina and Liard Street, despite the roads having the ability to take on additional traffic. They suggested parking restrictions on these two streets or widening the road.

The report concluded: “The actual impact will be dependent on future rezoning and development of the other lands.”

The public hearing will continue on Tuesday, February 9th.