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Gibsons Briefs: Community amenity policy headed for more debate

At its Oct. 19 meeting, Gibsons council sent its policy update for contributions from developers seeking zoning changes back to committee for further discussion.
Gibsons Town Hall
Gibsons Town Hall.

At its Oct. 19 meeting, Gibsons council sent its policy update for contributions from developers seeking zoning changes back to committee for further discussion. In addition, staff were asked to show how the proposed community amenity contribution (CAC) rates compare to the contribution levels negotiated in the past. 

“It will never be perfect, but if we are tweaking the bylaw, it needs to go back to committee” said Mayor Bill Beamish.  During the inquiries portion of the meeting, resident Judith Bonkoff questioned the adequacy of the contribution target rates recommended in the policy revision. In her assessment, those rates could result in less funding coming to the town from major developments, such as The George. Beamish suggested a change to reflect those as “minimum target rates.”

Coun. Stafford Lumley said the policy, which received a committee recommendation for adoption on Oct. 5, was “too vague on details.” He said he wanted to see “fairly strict” guidelines set out so that developers know in advance what scale of costs they are facing. 

The policy revision recommends applying CACs to all new residential developments that require rezoning approvals.  Currently, they are applied to projects with 10 units or more.

Parkland rezoning next steps

Council gave third reading to a bylaw to permit 18 cluster-style units rather than single-family or duplex housing for Lot 37 on Wright Road in the Parkland subdivision at the meeting. Director of planning Lesley-Anne Staats said the bylaw will be referred to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for its approval. Additional steps required before council can consider bylaw adoption are securing the community amenity contribution and housing agreement related to rental housing on the site with the developer.

Stormwater impacts

With the change of seasons, the focus for Gibsons public works crews shifts from drought to dealing with excess runoff, according to a briefing by director of infrastructure services Dave Newman at the meeting. Crews, he said, were well prepared for the rainfall events over the previous weekend, with inspections on culverts and the drainage system done ahead of time. He noted that the most significant impact was felt at the wastewater treatment plant.  When compared to dry days, the stormwater inflow and infiltration more than doubled the amount of water coming into the plant. 

In response to concerns raised by council members about water levels running along Reed Road, Newman said: “If you were to stand at the corner of Reed and Payne during a storm event you will see a tremendous amount of water coming from the regional district into the town… Most of the water that you see coming down in the channel along Payne Road comes from outside the town.” He acknowledged the need for discussion about stormwater among the regional district, MOTI and the town to address stormwater management issues. “We can’t be operating in isolation of each other.”

Motion rescinded

Council rescinded a motion to invite the owner of 718 North Rd. to resubmit a temporary use permit application to provide a site for recreational vehicles and that the application fee be waived.  That action was endorsed at the Sept. 21 meeting but staff had not advised the property owner of the motion. In raising the motion to rescind, Beamish commented that the waiving of a fee would set a precedent for future applicants.

Grants approved

Six projects were awarded a total of $9,500 from community assistance and COVID-19 community grants programs at the meeting. The Kiwanis Seniors Housing Garden Group, the Mushroomania Festival Society and the Sunshine Coast Baseball Association were each granted $2,000. The Society for Atmosphere Solutions was awarded $1,500 for its wood stove replacement program. Awards of $1,000 were approved for the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society and Mother Bone’s community theatre and arts project.