George aquifer motion stalled

John Gleeson/Staff Writer / Staff writer
January 10, 2014 01:00 AM

Gibsons Coun. Dan Bouman's pre-emptive move on the George Hotel and condo project was stalled Tuesday night after Bouman was absent from council due to a family emergency.

Placed on the agenda one week before the George application was scheduled to come before council's committee of the whole, Bouman's motion would have required the developer to pay for a new aquifer study and other consultant work.

"Our community is rapidly polarizing over issues of mass, form and character of development in Lower Gibsons," Bouman wrote in comments attached to his notice of motion. "I take the view that consideration of what the aquifer environment will allow takes precedence over consideration of what developers, the public or even council might wish to do."

A study undertaken for the developer by Horizon Engineering "is very narrow in scope and does not, in my opinion, satisfy the cautionary and credentialed recommendations of Waterline's geo-hydrological experts," Bouman wrote.

Waterline Resources, which conducted the Town's aquifer mapping study, said it was "imperative" to protect the confining layer over the Gibsons aquifer and classified the George site as "highly sensitive."

Bouman's motion was for the Town to retain Waterline Resources to draft terms of reference for an aquifer study; for the developer to ensure the study is undertaken by a qualified professional hydrogeologist; and for Waterline to peer review the study on behalf of the Town.

The developer would be required to foot the bill for all the work.

The motion also specified that the study would be delivered to mayor and council prior to any public hearings on the project.

A final clause would direct staff to estimate the aquifer's total replacement value in dollars.

Mayor Wayne Rowe said Bouman would have the opportunity to bring the motion forward at a later date if he chose to.

The director of planning is expected to present a report on the George project at the committee of the whole meeting this Tuesday, Jan. 14. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.

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