Kimberley City Council voted to proceed with a zoning amendment to allow for a five building townhouse development (20 units in total) to proceed on Fernie St. in the Townsite area. The developer is Lois Creek Developments.
The proposed amendment changes the zoning to allow for 20 units, some for rental, some for sale. Current zoning allows for 16 units, with eight duplexes.
The proponent says that the development falls fully in line with Kimberley’s Official Community Plan, and is part of a meaningful solution to Kimberley’s housing needs. Existing water and sewer can be used. They also provided a traffic study, which said there would be 10 additional trips in the morning peak hour and 12 additional vehicles in the evening peak hour.
Council received a great deal of feedback from residents, most not in favour of the development.
A major concern was traffic volume, and some questioned the use of peak flows. A resident called into the public hearing on the bylaw and said that when she bought her house on 6th Ave. in 2005, the area was quiet. She felt it would be a zoo up there with the addition of the townhouses. She was also concerned about adding traffic with the lack of a second route out of Townsite in case of an emergency.
Another caller asked why not just leave the zoning at the current 16.
As Council discussed the zoning change later in the meeting, Manager of Planning Services Troy Pollock said that all concerns had been discussed with the proponent, and that it was felt that the development would diversify and add to Kimberley’s housing supply. He added that there is a secondary route out of Townsite on Teck property, and Fire Chief Rick Prasad confirmed that there was an agreement from Teck that the city could use it if needed.
Coun. Jason McBain said the peak flow method of traffic study was widely used and credible.
“Fourth Avenue has certainly been able to handle it before, with traffic when the mine was operating,” he said. He said concerns around on-street parking were legitimate but that the project had not yet gone through the development permit phase when such things were worked out.
Coun. Sandra Roberts said that the reason housing prices were high was that there aren’t enough places to live, and that Kimberley had to make the best use of available land. If no developments proceed then those who wish to buy a house will never be able to, she said.
Coun. Kent Goodwin said that while this particular change might not be too great and he would support it, there needed to be a broader look by Council at how much growth Kimberley’s infrastructure can handle.
“Kimberley is a good place to be and people want to come here,” he said.
Mayor Don McCormick said he has been asking developers to build more high-density buildings and that is exactly what this developer was trying to do.
“The only way costs go down is with more units,” he said. “One person with a choice of five places, costs go down. One unit with five people wanting it, costs go up.”