Riverbrook Estates gets approval on their slimmed down rezoning request

Months-long process to get a plot of land rezoned in Kitimat concludes with approval for a potential townhouse complex.

It may have been a slimmed down version of what the proponents were originally looking for but the Riverbrook Estates project received its zoning changes approved last week.

Kerkhoff Construction was originally seeking to build a 217 living units area, at the back end of Liard Street, but based on community concern about density reduced their proposal to 199 units.

Even so, that wasn’t quite enough to make people happy and the proponent eventually cut their rezoning application in half, which will allow for a first wave of townhouse construction, along with single family homes, which the property is already zoned for.

The new rezoning allows for 47 townhouses, or ‘multi-family’ developments.

Leonard Kerkhoff had maintained throughout the lengthy rezoning process, which began last summer, that the buildings would be built only when there was proof of a market. Basically, if no one was going to buy them, they wouldn’t build them.

Still, reducing the scope of their zoning application will give council more control on how that property develops in the future.

A proposal for two apartment buildings, one operated by BC Housing, is still in the air at the moment.

With the application reduced so much there was not much further opposition to the project ahead of final adoption, although there was comments from retired firefighter Rick Thompson regarding a fire hydrant which, with the new development, could become inaccessible or be removed entirely, which may limit the fire department in that area.

Fire Chief Trent Bossence later explained to the Sentinel that his own understanding is that the fire hydrant in that area was already deemed, by past fire chiefs, to not be needed and was already slated for removal, although the work has not yet been done.

As for fire access, Bossence said he and the District of Kitimat building department will be evaluating the need for that hydrant, and fire department access in general will also be reviewed, and any recommendations will be forwarded to the developers.