Custom Search
Top Stories
Go to Site Index See "Top Stories" main page
REPORTING · 22nd February 2016
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council started off with the fourth and final installment of the Public Hearing for Riverbrook Estates 3rd Phase, a manufactured home park. The park is located next to the 1st and 2nd Phase which branch off Liard and Nadina Street.

There was an additional letter to the Council from the Luso Canadian Club on Konigus Street. They have a new executive and were concerned about the entire development having an effect on the facility. The club holds regular functions outside their club and they wished to see a fence erected between their club and the development to ensure the safety of the families and those who rent the facility. They expressed this would cut down on traffic in the area.

Rick Thompson who lives on Konigus returned to Council. Thompson presented to Council at the previous meeting and this time he brought photos of the flooding problems on Konigus. He suggested ditching.

Thompson expressed he had talked to Kerkhoff about ditching and was led to believe the ditching would be done later on in the development process. He expressed it has been several months and there is still no ditch.

“I wasn’t sure this was a one-time event at my place because I’ve had no flooding since and the way that the preload almost disappeared on the one side makes me think there was this ‘push’ that was let go,” said Thompson.

He said he was not an expert on ditching but the water flows right from the Riverlodge to the Creek through the property. He pointed out Kitimat gets some pretty big rains.

Mayor Phil Germuth expressed he did not know if they had the authority to change something and wanted advice from staff. Thompson pointed out he does not know who is responsible for cleaning out the beaver dams, but if there is impaired water in the area, this could be a part of the problem.

Councillor Edwin Empinado wanted to know if Thompson had shared the pictures with engineering.

“It was October 12th, at which time I raised the concern with Mr. Kerkhoff and he said that he would look at it, so we got together later on the 28th, he said he’d look into it but was busy. He obviously is busy, but you can imagine, if you have water flooding through your home, what’s busy. Who’s too busy to put a ditch in for someone whose home is flooding? Whose responsibility is it,” said Thompson.

The second presenter was Leo DeSousa who is associated with the Luso Canadian Association. He expressed there have been a few changes to the proposal. He asked why residents of the area were not notified by mail. He had not received any notifications at his house on Dease Street.

He pointed out there have been major changes in Kitimat, such as the destruction of the view at the grave site. He asked for a fence between the Luso and the Riverbrook Estates. He also wanted to know what changes have happened to the proposal.

Germuth expressed the changes are done by public notice. Germuth expressed notice was only given within 90 metres, and more than likely, DeSousa’s street was outside the 90 metres.

“But I still have to live with that, because 90 metres does not delineate problems associated with low income housing and trailer courts. I find it humorous how you come up with 90 metres when it affects more than just 90 metres of this vicinity,” said DeSousa.

He pointed out these properties might not be kept up, but he would like the wall kept up to a standard. He was told by Germuth they were dealing with Phase 3, which is away from the Luso. The phase he is talking about is Phase 1.

Germuth stated it was well publicized and everyone knew about it. Gwendolyn Sewell, from the planning department explained everything was in a development handbook and the Municipal website. Residents were notified on Liard and Nadina Street. Ads were published in the newspaper and the municipal bulletin boards. DeSousa expressed he has no idea where these are.

Germuth expressed Phase 1 was completed last year, but also had to clarify Phase 1 was where the town houses were going. DeSousa asked if it was too late to get a fence. The reply was it was up to the developer but this was more applicable to the Phase 1 application.

DeSousa asked Council to reconsider 90 metres as being too small. He was told the consultation zone was increased on several applications.

Goffinet asked if they had discussed the fence with the developer. DeSousa expressed this is the first time it has come to his attention. He expressed they received the letter at the end of 2015 and they had to wait for a change in the executive before they could address it.

Administration told Council the Luso would have been in the consultation zone for Phase 1.

Anna Cabral, who wrote the letter from the Luso expressed they were late. She expressed they hold a lot of events for the community including weddings and some are held outside in good weather. This includes children playing games. They are concerned about changes in the neighbourhood around the club which they may have to worry about if they hold an event.

“The more traffic you have, the more people you have, the greater the concern is for safety, in particular, children. It has always been a safe place to let kids play outside and you really don’t have to worry very much about anything,” said Cabral.

Germuth expressed the letter would have been sent out over a year ago, but they should consult the developer.

The Developer, Leonard Kerkhoff was next. He said the concerns were traffic and water. He said they could accommodate a fence as a small token for the Luso’s sake. The trees were going to go away and the area was now zoned for single family.

He expressed the water drainage issues came from a significant storm in the fall and there have not been any problems since this. They will be putting catch basins in to divert the water as the development proceeds. However, none of this is in place so drainage is an issue. They do plan to put in a ditch to move some of the water around but over a month ago, it was a bog.

Once they get to the manufactured home park, they will be looking at the grading and the infrastructure. Finally, they do not think there will be a traffic impact on the Luso’s traffic because there will be no access on Konigus.

Goffinet asked if Kerkhoff could meet with the executive of the Luso. Kerkhoff said he would be accessible to meet with them.

Feldhoff asked about clauses in the bylaw which permit a boarder or a bed and breakfast and asked if it would be alright if there was only one boarder and no bed and breakfast. Kerkhoff said it would not make a difference, because there was possibly insufficient parking for a bed and breakfast. As for the boarders, the same bylaw applies everywhere else in Kitimat and he was not certain why it would not apply here.

Feldhoff also asked about affordability, clarifying if the lot and home would work out about $150-$200 thousand. Finally, he asked if there would be a meeting between Kerkhoff and the engineer regarding drainage. Tim Glieg, Department Head of Engineering expressed they did meet. Kerkhoff went over the meeting.

Empinado thanked Kerkhoff for coming to Kitimat and answering the questions. Goffinet asked about the roads and the flood covenant where the structures have to be .6 metres above the road.

There were no further questions so Kerkhoff sat back down. Council finally decided to close the public hearing and move on with the Bylaw readings.

Second and third reading were moved by Councillor Claire Rattee. Walker expressed he could not support the bylaw because it would drop 70 units into an existing subdivision.

“It’s like changing the rules after the subdivision has started. I personally feel, I can’t validate it, that certain land values, in particular, the two streets that will be the access and egress of the subdivision, will drop in value. I also think the life style of all the people living in that area would be subject to change,” said Walker.

He expressed he could see the day coming when they would have to put funds into place to pave the dike road. Walker was in favour of the phase being completed before moving on to the next stage.

Germuth stated there is a difference between a manufactured home and a trailer.

Feldhoff felt all the issues that had been raised had been addressed. “We have been very open and very thorough in our consultation and it’s time to move this forward,” said Feldhoff.

Murphy expressed she likes this motion the way it is. Council has been trying to find a solution to affordable housing for some time and people do not like getting affordable housing. She expressed she thought this would fix the problems at the trailer courts.

Feldhoff wished to strike the option for a bed and breakfast from the bylaw and reduce the number of lodgers from 2 to 1. Through discussion it was revealed there might not be enough parking spaces at each trailer to accommodate a bed and breakfast on the site, although there was a possibility for it depending on the number of cars involved. It was pointed out that the parking of bed and breakfast guests would not be allowed to spill over into the visitor parking.

“I have seen spillage, in the last couple of years, onto residential streets. Parking on some streets I’ve been on is something and one of the concerns that has been raised with the development of Riverbrook Estates is traffic and these are small lots, affordable homes, they are fairly affordable as it is and indirectly, they will contribute towards affordability in the broader community as well. I think it’s a good balance,” said Feldhoff.

Walker expressed it was a good argument, however, if residents can only have one lodger and a couple wants to move in, will it be discriminated under the bylaw. Feldhoff explained he wants there to be only one lodger in addition to the family. A couple with children can only have one lodger.

The amendment failed. The main motion passed and Council moved on.