Accessing Information at the Town of Gibsons

Anyone following the saga of "The George" over the last three years will know that attempts to access information from the Town of Gibsons about anything related to the hotel, condo and marina proposal have been met with resistance. 

In response to inquiries, Mayor Wayne Rowe’s rote reply has been that he "could not recall" secret meetings he attended, critical information discussed in meetings, nor which of the George project property real-estate transactions he handled for his client Klaus Fuerniss.

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Emanuel Machado has also become evasive about answering questions on issues of contaminated site clean-up, geotechnical reports and Ombudsperson complaints, to name a few. When asked, if the Town had received legal advice about the mayor's perceived conflict of interest with the George developer, Machado flatly refused to answer the question. 

As a result, GABC has been forced to file Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to get answers to these serious questions and concerns.

Town of Gibsons lost $200,000 over failed arbitration

The Town of Gibsons has lost more than $200,000 in arbitration after attempts to more than double the Marina lease rental fees failed.

Documents recently released via a Freedom of Information request reveal that in 2013 the arbitrator appointed to settle the dispute between the Town and Gibsons Marina Hotel Inc. (GMHI) over the rental fees for the next 30 years did not agree with any of the Town’s arguments for higher rates. The Town paid the legal costs and arbitration fees in 2013 and 2014.

GMHI sold the Marina to Marina Hotel Holdings Ltd (MHHL), a Klaus Fuerniss enterprise, in May this year.

Town of Gibsons to Empty Parks Acquisition Fund

At their November 3 meeting, Gibsons council gave first reading to a plan to transfer all funds out of the Parks Acquisition Reserve Fund, a total of $338,000, and place them in the Capital Projects Reserve Fund, with the intent of donating $275,000 of the total to a non-park project, the expansion project of the Gibsons Public Market.The bylaw is on the council agenda for possible second and third reading Tuesday night.

We believe that allocating these funds for projects unrelated to parks acquisition is entirely inappropriate.

The expansion of the public market is not the issue—we consider that the concept of a public market is a good one. But the simple fact is the market is not a park. It is a property and business development project.

Spot-zoning for "the George" granted - NEXT STEPS

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.