Lets hope The George debate comes down to something more relevant than obstructed views, Landing business conditions, web travel searches, and Prowse Road repairs.
Conference centres are all the rage in small town B.C., to wit: Salmon Arm, Nanaimo, Nelson, Sooke, Sidney, Kimberley. In B.C. we used to just cut down trees, build houses, and then sell them to each other. Now we all get a convention centre too!
Is this what they call progress?
Perhaps a con-centre is a good idea, (although one wonders who’s attending all these regional conferences). Perhaps viability demands 100-plus rooms.
If the developer can present a proposal for a hotel/conference centre that the Town is comfortable with, let him take the risk. That is the free market at work.
But note that 32 per cent of the complex is residential. Remove that, and you remove three storeys and most of the objections. The developer is asking for unreasonable height allowances to tack on 62,000 square feet of residential housing for a now “guaranteed” profit in the tens of millions of dollars.
That is no longer the free market, rather it is a massive subsidy! What is the town getting in return? Is there even any guarantee that these units don’t become short-term rentals in a 150-room resort complex?
The Town has let Lower Gibsons flounder for far too long. It’s great that investments are being proposed, but best to proceed with caution.
The council’s obligation is to make the best deal, not to take the first offer.
The waterfront, land, developer, and the Landing are not going anywhere.
Is something not quite right here? Is the outcome predetermined? Or is this a case of the developer starting high so that council can “negotiate” a “compromise?”
Are the Town and council up to the task?
Alan Donenfeld, Gibsons