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REPORTING · 13th February 2016
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council started off on Tuesday, February 9th with a public hearing relating to the proposed development of a manufactured home park adjacent to the Riverbrook Estates project which will be built off of Liard and Nadina. The Manufactured Home Park is the 3rd phase of the Riverbrook Estates project.

Leonard Kerkhoff, the developer, was scheduled to speak to the Council and answer questions about the proposal via phone but he could not be reached. However, there were three people who wished to address Council about the Riverbrook Estates project.

Rick Thompson was the first person to speak to Council. He expressed he has been having flooding issues with his property on Konigus which he has been working on with the developer relating to Phase 1 and the preload.

“I went around the neighbourhood to see where the ditching was, and I see there isn’t any,” said Thompson. “So I asked the city staff what they have in plan or in place for controlling this run off water and I’ve really been told nothing but in the next phase, which is now, I see they’re going to pre plan ditching. My point is, why wasn’t this done in the first place?”

He said Council has talked about how well the ditches were being cleaned. However, he has walked along the dike road and found there are beaver dams on the creek. He could not find how the run-off water could get away.

Mayor Phil Germuth expressed this did not have anything to do with the bylaw before Council, as it related to phase one and not phase three.

“Same developer and if they are going to preload, there are going to be more people with problems,” said Thompson. “It’s pretty obvious to see what is happening there and I’ve been dealing with this since October.”

He said the only reason his house has not flooded is because there has not been a heavy rain fall. He added he had this issue before with the ditch beside him. 10 years ago, he had the same problem because no one was doing work on the ditch to keep the water flowing away from his property.

Thompson explained, he was told by planning the land was owned by Dawson Construction. He had their permission to put a ditch there so he put in a ditch. Then the City filled it back in and sent him the bill.

Staff was asked for an explanation and they were told there is no requirement for the ditching. People can do whatever they want on their property but if it negatively affects anyone else, they become a nuisance. Thompson had provided information on the beaver dam and dealing with it takes time to work through the system. They thanked Thompson for walking them through it.

Next was Ray Hepting, who wished to make certain there were more tests of the land done in a year with more rain. He stated he might end up in the Manufactured Home Park and did not wish to have his posts sinking in. He told Council he lives in Jed Stumps and was expecting to get the boot someday.

Penny Spicer from Nadina Street was the next person to address Council.

“We’ve been noticed a big increase in water down at our place,” Spicer told Council. “The water has come up quite high to our place. Thankfully, we have a sump that runs, right now, it’s running continuously trying to keep up with the extra water. The photos show the sand and dirt coming from the preload down into the water where it pools.”

Spicer asked if there will be drainage prior to them doing work on the trailer court. She had pictures she wished to present to Council later.

Tim Gleig, Municipal engineer expressed if there is drainage taking place from one property to an adjacent property, this is something which can be dealt with through the current bylaws and legislation.

He explained the preload was consolidated with the construction the removal of the preload during the first phase would be dependent on whether the first phase goes ahead. At this time, the services will have to be installed, which includes storm drains. The other drainage issues would happen separate to the process, but they have no control on when it will take place.

Gleig added drainage problems in the area are not unique.

Germuth expressed they cannot take further information if they adjourn the hearing, but the problems seem to be from the first phase. He suggested taking the photos to staff as well as the developer.

Director of Planning, Gwendolyn Sewell explained to Council there was a section in their report to Council which explained preloading may not be required for the manufactured home portion of the site, and if it was required, measures could be put in place in the spring to ensure the surface water does not drain into neighbouring properties.

Council received a several letters with concerns which were responded to by the District of Kitimat in their Council package.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff was satisfied the Public Hearing could be closed and he wanted to give the bylaw second reading. However, other members of Council thought it would be a good idea to delay the public hearing until February 15th.

Feldhoff stated this was taking time and they have heard everything they could hear from the public and had a good report in front of them. Walker expressed he did not feel comfortable with this project. Rattee told Council they should close it.

The public hearing was adjourned to Monday, February 15th.

Feldhoff asked if there was going to be a covenant to sell units to people in the existing manufactured home park first. Council was told this would be done through another form of agreement. The work would be done between 3rd reading and final adoption.

Councillor Larry Walker asked if the land would be sold without a trailer. The reply was it would be sold with a manufactured home on it.

Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know if the flood level construction would be covered by the Covenant to build .6 metres above the adjacent roadways. Goffinet wanted to know about similar lands. He was told there are similar zoned neighbourhoods in the Kildala Neighbourhood which are built with flooding in mind.

Mayor Phil Germuth asked what security tenants would have if there is a problem which comes up down the line. He was also concerned about whether Council was protected. The reply was they were still in correspondence with the developer and the roads had to be the same height as on Nadina and Liard to have the same flood coverage as those lots

Walker asked about storm water run-off. He asked about if they would need lift stations. He was told the Administration still has questions about the survey and they will be looking for information from a hydrologist.

Feldhoff clarified this was an issue they still needed to have a discussion with the developer on. He was told it was correct.

Feldhoff expressed he was a little concerned with the potential for lodgers to rent from property owners in the Mobile Home Park because the lots in this park were smaller than other lots and homes in the community. He expressed he would like some discussion on this at a later time.

However, Sewell was able to provide him with a response now. She told him this was being done in respect to affordability, as lodgers and boarders were a source of income.

“Perhaps, this becomes more affordable if there is an additional cash flow source to the tenant of the park,” said Sewell.

Walker told Council he wanted to make sure the developer develops the land and was concerned that by rezoning it, it makes the land more valuable for the developer to sell off to another developer. He expressed they were doing this on the premise there will be an LNG. However, he also said the Final Investment Decisions keep getting put off. First it was 2015, then it was 2016 and now it is possibly 2017.

The reply from Sewell the property was zoned as R1b and in the 70s and has been like this since then. She explained it is customary to go through a number of rezoning applications before there is construction on the site. Finally, Council can give up to 3rd reading of the bylaw and the zoning will remain unchanged until Final Adoption.

“In all likelihood, this is the kind of diversity of housing we are trying to achieve in our community. It is an alternative source of affordable housing and it is something that we lack in this community. We all know, there will be more demand for housing if there is an FID then there would be without,” said Sewell.

Councillor Edwin Empinado wanted to know more about the level of rainfall and the water levels which were given in report to Council. Gleig explained the water levels were taking at the trestle where the sewer mane crosses the channel. The high water was at the beginning of October. However, the values do not vary too much. The District works on a ten year return period when dealing with storms and the dike is built to a 200 year period.

Sewell explained the geotechnical engineer did not see an issue.

There were no further questions so the motion to receive the report for information was called and carried.