By George, the news is out. A visionary businessman is boldly going where many have feared to tread in the past. Klaus Fuerniss, entrepreneur and calculated risk-taker, released his dream of a high-end complex on the Gibsonsí waterfront Sept. 8.
This is an initiative that seems to work on so many levels.
First and foremost, in our eyes, it will bring careers to people desperately wanting to do more than exist on half jobs that do little more than pay the rent. Many times our newsroom has written about the need for more industry for young people in the community. Almost daily we talk to youth who are working two jobs trying to make ends meet. They bemoan the lack of opportunities to advance their lives. They put off meaningful relationships, having families and making serious roots in the community. The money and the training just arenít there.
We think that could change. This new hotel and condominium proposal will require trained hospitality workers to make it work. And while it stands to reason that some of the most highly-skilled employees may come from elsewhere, it only makes sense to train local people to fill the majority of the positions. With the right attitude and coaching, a young person can have a career that will not only pay the bills but will give a lifetime of satisfaction.
There are several other reasons to like this plan. It will bring people with money in their pockets. And we all know what happens when you lay eyes on this beautiful place. Pretty soon youíre packing up and moving here ó†and glory hallelujah, the tax base expands and the roads start getting fixed, sidewalks are extended, and stores are getting so busy theyíre hiring more staff. Call us mercenary, but we canít see how that could possibly hurt our community.
There will probably be concerns the new hotel will cut into the existing tourism industry, that current hospitality businesses will be harmed in some way. We donít believe that would be the case.
For many years, thereís been no outlet for small conventions on our Coast. The George Hotel would change that. The proximity to the ferry, the ambiance of a small town and the general friendliness of our community would be huge draws. Word of mouth could make us a player in the tourism industry. Right now weíre probably the best-kept secret in B.C.
When George Gibson rowed his family to the Sunshine Coast all those many years ago, the First Nations people who had been here for centuries didnít block his way. They had a lot more to lose than the current citizens of Gibsons have.
We have a chance to build a beautiful, state-of-the-art attraction that will add years of employment to our gorgeous harbour. Letís welcome George back.