On Tuesday night at the regular meeting of Gibsons council, the spot zoning and Official Community Plan amendment bylaws for “the George” development were passed.
Each councillor and the mayor came to the table with prepared speeches, which they each delivered before saying they intended to support the bylaw.
There was NO DISCUSSION whatsoever of any aspect of the project.
Neither were there questions of staff, nor consideration of ANY of the concerns expressed so articulately at the public hearing.
Issues regarding the town’s legal obligations to deal with the contaminated site were completely ignored. Concerns over broken promises to ensure peer reviews of hydrogeological and geotechnical issues were, mocked and downplayed.
The vote was 4:0 in favour of every aspect of the bylaws as written.
This result was not unexpected. We have suspected for some time that the George was a “done deal” a long time ago, and Council’s well-rehearsed performance Tuesday night further validated these concerns.
As our supporters well know, GABC have said consistently for many years, that we would support a hotel project in Gibson’s Landing that:
A. Fits with the mandated village scale and character
B. Does not threaten the Gibsons Aquifer
C. Does not risk spreading toxic contamination in Gibsons Harbour
Unfortunately, The bylaws approved on Tuesday night do NONE of these things.
Moving forward, concerned citizens will be working to bring justice back to the town and our democratic processes, and to ensure that this project does not move forward, as proposed and without resolving the serious issues around the aquifer and contaminated site.
GABC is committed to helping support these actions to the best of our abilities; and we need your help. Please contribute what you can and help us get the word out far and wide that the Friends of the Harbour need support.
Our aim will always be: To get the best for Gibsons and beyond. You can count on that. We hope we can count on you.
Donations can be mailed to:
Gibsons Alliance of Business and Community Society
Box 1931, Gibsons, BC. V0N 1V0
Or donate via PayPal to: The Friends of the Harbour LegalDefence Fund
Please share this message far and wide and let’s work together to defend our harbour!
Brief synopsis' of each of the council members speeches:
Mayor Rowe reiterated the exaggerated fear-based rhetoric he’s been using to justify the project for 2 years.
Councillor White, who recused himself for conflict of interest early last summer, did not attend or participate.
After letting everyone know that he had never wavered in his support for the project,Councillor Lumley treated the gallery to a psychedelic “tour of [his] left brain”. His speech concluded with a denigrating comparison of project pros and cons, diminishing the vast array of citizen concerns over the project into one single issue: the height of the buildings.
Councillor Sanjenko, told the people that have “not felt heard” throughout the process that, if they want to be heard, they should get elected. She encouraged people to go out and buy one of the other properties with the residential tourist accommodation designation in the Harbour Area and build what they want.
Councillor Valeriote admitted that the Town “cannot easily accommodate buildings of this scale without losing our village character”, and suggested that in order to alleviate concerns about precedent and "send a very clear signal that we welcome development consistent with managed growth", Council should commit to adhering to the Harbour Area Plan height limitations for the rest of their term, with the exception of the two proposed projects currently before council - the George and Seaglass.