Housing and ‘renovictions’ subject of presentation at Kitimat Council

A Kitimat pastor takes aim at landlords for high rents, while a property management company defends their social conscience.

Pastor Don Read, with the Kitimat Ministerial Association, spoke up on behalf of Kitimat’s vulnerable when he suggested that property developers in Kitimat for the most part lack a community conscience.

But the owner of property management company Kiticorp says the accusations that included his company are unfounded.

Pastor Read was reacting to an application by Kiticorp to renovate the exterior of their Viewpoint Apartments on Albatross Street.

While the permit is needed just for outside renovations, he feels it will tie in to internal renovations, which is at the core of what some are dubbing “renovictions” — renovations which are leading to evictions.

Kiticorp wasn’t spared from Read’s plea to look out for those without a voice in the community.

“The latest application by Kiticorp for a development permit on Albatross Street, to me, is an example of continuance of a corporate policy that actually puts profits above individual people,” he said. “When we have developers that have no clear social conscience or long-standing ties to our community, where our community becomes a place where they’re just in here to get exuberant financial gain, when developers like this are not held in check, when their unbridled greed becomes the basis for how decisions are made, and when we allow these corporations to treat long-standing members of community, in essence, with contempt, what we’re really doing is forfeiting our leadership.”

But Kiticorp owner Eli Abergel takes exception to his company being portrayed in a negative light and said that there is absolutely no malice in decisions by the company.

“When we started working in Kitimat we actually increased the rental pool dramatically. We increased the number of units that were available to be rented in Kitimat,” he said.

He refers to the Kuldo Apartments where he said 40 per cent of their units were vacant and uninhabitable.

“It bothers me. I have a social conscience and Kiticorp supports the local arena and we support a lot of different local businesses from advertising to plumbing to electrical to local labour. We’re working hard to do our best with the resources that we have,” he said. “There’s no malice involved and we’re not trying to be greedy, we’re just trying to work within the marketplace in the business that we’re in.”

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