Summer break is officially over for Town of Gibsons, as elected officials returned to council chambers on Sept. 5 for two back-to-back meetings.
In the first meeting of the evening, council opened the floor for a public hearing regarding 426 Gower Point Road. The first storey of the building has been empty for a decade after the former Europa restaurant closed, and the owners want to make the building fully residential with a secondary suite. They have applied to change the zoning from mixed use commercial back to Single Family Residential Zone 2 (R-2), which will also require an amendment to the Official Community Plan (OCP).
Two readings were given on July 25. One submission was received before the public hearing, when a neighbour of the family wrote in support of the plans for the property.
At the hearing, no one stepped forward to speak for or against the proposed bylaws.
Mayor Silas White acknowledged that there was no public input and that council cannot receive more feedback regarding the application once the meeting is closed.
At the regular council meeting later that evening, council voted unanimously in favour of giving third reading.
Latest RGA update adopted
It’s official: Gibsons has updated its 2022 bylaw regarding Residential Guest Accommodation (RGA, also known as short-term rentals) to permit flexibility in which three months owners can offer their properties. Initially, RGAs could operate for three consecutive months. After property owners asked for more flexibility, council amended the bylaw to three selected months in a calendar year.
The change received three readings on July 4, followed by approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Councillor Annemarie De Andrade asked how the months will be selected, if selection will be on an annual basis and if the months can be changed later.
Mayor Silas White said there is no written policy explaining those details, which will be up to the interpretation of planning staff. He added that it has to be consistent for everybody and he’s “sure there will be a sensible approach.”