Terrace, B.C. council approves rezoning for huge Bench development

Council also resolves to support climate change initiative and rehabilitate land where an old mill used to be

Rezoning passed by council

The new owner of the five-acre piece of land at 3725 Thomas Street said last night he wasn’t aware of previous studies that found Lanfear Hill unstable.

Speaking at a hearing into his plans, developer Kenneth Kim from Vancouver explained his project to the ten or so residents who showed up bearing a petition of 75 signatures against his stated idea of a 69-unit townhouse complex on what is known as the old Kerby property at the top of the hill.

Despite the concern, council voted unanimously to allow the rezoning from R1 single family to R3 multi-family usage.

The main concern of nearby residents was traffic at the corner of Lanfear hill where the street intersects with McConnell Ave. and Thomas, and the fact that previous studies on the solidity of the hill suggested that greatly enhanced traffic could cause the hill to slide.

Kim said he hadn’t anticipated the pushback against a project which would fit with the official community plan that calls for densification of the bench area.

“We were assuming, maybe incorrectly, that our proposal, with the zoning we are applying for completely in line with the city’s [official communtity plan], so we thought there was no need but we were mistaken,” said Kim of missing the first public meeting that was then rescheduled to last night because of the concerns raised.

“Were you aware, that residents are aware that the hill has always been deemed unstable,” asked nearby resident Amanda Checkley who attended the meeting with her husband Jim.

“We really weren’t,” said Kim.

Council was advised by city staff that the potential stress on Lanfear Hill would be dealt with in the coming geotechnical studies that will be part of the city’s traffic master plan underway this year, and that a further study would need to be completed by the developer at the development permit stage.

Kim said the design would be done slowly, with building not starting before 2017.

Council to support climate change warning stickers at local gas stations

Last night council also heard from delegate Matt Hulse, BC Campaign Director for Our Horizon.

Hulse was visiting from Victoria where he leads an initiative to have stickers containing awareness-raising images and text placed on gas pump handles to remind those fuelling their vehicles of the growing impact of climate change and the need for alternatives to gas-powered vehicles.

Hulse said that North Vancouver was the first municipality to incorporate the stickers, which also require special covers for the gas pump handle. He said it only cost that municipality around $1,000 for 66 gas handles.

Council voted unanimously in favour of a resolution introduced by councilor Lynne Christiansen to have staff look into the cost and feasibility of paying for such a sticker program within the city.

The other resolution was to support a larger resolution to be introduced at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities this fall calling on the province to support and pay for the program.

Only councilor James Cordeiro voted against the second resolution, saying it was premature to support a UBCM resolution.

City to rehabilitate more brownfield sites

The Keith Estates Neighborhood idea to turn the large strip of land on the Southside that was formerly the Skeena Cellulose mill into a mixed-use neighbourhood has received a boost as the city decided to do the necessary environmental work on three sections of the contaminated land.

The decision was made in-camera to “proceed with the remediation of the properties at 3111 Kenney Street and 5014 and 5020 Keith Ave.”

Once the city has received the environmental clearance for the properties then the plan is to sell them, says the release.