Members of the public demanded answers at Gibsons council Tuesday night after learning that an application was being considered for a 15-lot subdivision on one of the main properties included in the Gospel Rock neighbourhood plan.
Coun. Dan Bouman raised the issue during the meeting, and staff said the application for Block 7 had been in the works more than a year and was being processed at the administrative level because no zoning changes were required.
“It’s under current zoning and has to meet all bylaws for R-4,” said Dave Newman, director of engineering.
Asked by Bouman how the subdivision, if it went through, would affect the Gospel Rock neighbourhood plan, Newman said the development wouldn’t be inconsistent with the plan in terms of servicing.
“Servicing for sanitary and water would be consistent with the Gospel Rock plan. For roads, we still require adequate access for adjacent lands,” Newman said.
Whether the parcels could be later subdivided down to smaller sizes, Newman said, would depend on whether the land was rezoned for that use in the future.
On the status of the application, Newman said referrals from other agencies were being reviewed and added: “I’m not seeing any deal-breakers that will make it difficult for the development to proceed. I believe I have enough information to lay out a preliminary approval letter.”
The issue resurfaced during public inquiries, when resident Suzanne Senger asked Mayor Wayne Rowe to comment on the subdivision application when “here we are holding public hearings to give away the waterfront.”
Rowe replied that it would be inappropriate to comment one week before the public hearing on the Gospel Rock neighbourhood plan, which will be held on Oct. 11 at Elphinstone Secondary School.
Undeterred, resident Patricia Braithwaite said she was directly affected by the Gospel Rock plan and asked, “Why is there a public hearing to adopt a new plan when there’s an application to leave it the way it is? It’s a real contradiction, Mayor Rowe. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of us here,” she said.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, filmmaker Samara presented council with DVDs of his short film This Living Earth at Gospel Rock, shot entirely at the site.
The public hearing on the Gospel Rock neighbourhood plan starts at 6 p.m.