Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine gives third reading to controversial Hazelton area bylaw amendments

·2 min read

The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine gave third reading to bylaw zoning amendments for Two Mile and South Hazelton at a regular board meeting on Feb. 26.

Now, the regional district needs to wait for Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to review the amendments before they can be adopted.

Backlash from residents of the Hazelton area prompted the RDKS to undergo two public hearings and two virtual engagement sessions regarding the amendments, which would clarify language, explicitly stating that campers, recreational vehicles and park model trailers are not “dwellings”. It also changes the definition of “mobile home” to add more detail.

“I feel that most people in opposition, if not the majority believed or were under the assumption that the regional district was imposing these bylaw amendments to suddenly restrict or ban people from living in a recreational vehicle, camper or bus,” said Dean Paranich, area director for Hazeltons rural areas, during the meeting.

Paranich said that the reason those types of dwellings are not regarded permanent residences is not because the RDKS is restricting them, but because they do not meet B.C.’s building code, fire code and are not eligible for a civic address.

“I felt that that message was just not being heard, or if it was heard and understood it was just not accepted.”

The regional district held two virtual public engagement sessions where members of the community could ask questions in an attempt to counter misinformation that was circulating online.

“Unfortunately these sessions which would have provided a great opportunity to clarify the intent of the bylaw amendment proposal and how it related to what is currently allowed as far as a permanent dwelling, were very poorly attended with only one person from the community that called in,” Paranich said.

The zoning amendments cannot be adopted until they are reviewed by Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure because it includes land that falls within 800 metres of a provincial highway. The timeline for adoption depends on when the regional district receives a response.

Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News