SOCIAL REASONS THE APPLICATION SHOULD BE REJECTED
The highest and best use of the Crown land described in this application is for the Town of Gibsons to maintain it for its original intended use as a natural space, public park and recreation area for the Gibsons community, the general public, seasonal residents, visitors to Gibsons and future generations.
- While the property is under Town control, public access and enjoyment of the land is assured. The applicant also holds a commercial lease at Hyak Marina and the sublease of Gibsons Marina. At Hyak the applicant attained permission from FLNRORD to use the commercial moorage for private use. At the Gibsons Marins the applicant creatively manages a moorage 'waiting list' and charges a fee to be on the list, when there are empty slips in the in the Marina. The only way to ensure these lands are managed to benefit the public is for the lease to remain in the control of the public body.
- Gibsons’ public foreshore and water lot is a key part of Gibsons’ signature waterfront greenspace and the last remaining natural open area in Gibsons Harbour. The scenic and recreational value of this open area is fundamental to maintaining the scale, character and natural setting that Gibsons Harbour is renowned for. If this application is approved, the character of Gibsons Landing – which is a defining feature of our Official Community Plan, lifestyle, and tourism branding and marketing for many local businesses – would be lost.
- Private commercial marina use on DL 5327 (in front of Winegarden Park) was never anticipated in the Town of Gibsons’ Official Community Plan. The Town hid from the public that it had unilaterally changed the use of our “park, recreation open space” water lot to “marina commercial” land use in 2015 and that it intended to give up our public water lease to allow a land-use that violates our existing lease agreement with the Province. Residents only learned in December 2019 (through the proposal made by the applicant) that the Town had abandoned its lease to The George (May 2018) – with no compensation for this public asset.
- Residents could be restricted from the waterfront walkway/public plaza during certain hours and might be excluded altogether. If privatized, The George Marina would be gated and locked.
- Dredging the harbour to accommodate large vessels indicates the applicant's intent to reserve waterfront use as much as possible for high-end clientele for The George Hotel and Condos, rather than for the public. If this public land is allocated to the applicant, access for local residents, recreational users and tourists not staying at The George would not be assured.
- The applicant intends to encompass our transient moorage (A-Dock) into The George Marina. Since 2015 (when the applicant became owner of Gibsons Marina), he has consistently raised Gibsons Marina moorage rates, and is now charging a fee to be on a waiting list for moorage while Marina slips sit empty. Locally, tensions are already mounting around pulci access, docking space, fees and the waiting list to get in to our public marina. Given the applicant's past and current modus operandii, we dont belive the applicant can be trusted to manage public lands for the benefit of the public.