Council turns down offer of park lands from townhouse proponent

Accepting the park land could increase District of Kitimat liability.

A proposed donation of parkland by a developer on Kingfisher Boulevard has been rejected by the District of Kitimat after council couldn’t support the potential liability.

It wasn’t unanimous but the majority of council sided with a legal opinion which was reported to them at the August 5 meeting.

Phil Germuth moved to deny accepting the parkland, which is a sloped area behind the proposed Kingfisher Development Corporation’s townhouse complex. The parkland also borders Margetts Street and other existing park space in the area.

Germuth said he didn’t want to see the District of Kitimat on the hook years down the line if erosion begins to impact the developments on the property.

Mario Feldhoff, however, believed there may be value in having the land.

“If we go back 101 years or whatever and we look at Stanley Park or some other areas where the council of the day made a decision…in the long term there’s benefits to the community,” he said. “I think in this particular case the risks are minimal.”

He said there may be uses for the land that can’t be foreseen today.

Rob Goffinet sided with the legal opinion that the town could be liable for future problems.

“I would concur with legal and engineering opinion that we should lower our liability because we are entertaining densifying the development at the top of the slope, therefore we must be clear to the developer and to ourselves and the community that we’re not willing to accept the potential liability of increasing density at the top of what everyone agrees…is unstable ground.”

The report to council on this issue confirmed the town could be liable for issues on the land.

“As the proposed park lands include sloped areas  the District would need to provide signage and possibly fencing, depending on the location of the public access/trails,” reads the report. “Additionally, any slippage, instability or other hazards on these proposed parklands that affects the proposed multi-family development (or other properties) will be the responsibility of the District of Kitimat.