Councillors in Gibsons passed second reading for the Gospel Rock Village project Tuesday, after hearing details of the affordable housing agreement and community amenities being proposed by the developer.
The project, slated for Block 7, is the first to come forward under the Gospel Rock Neighbourhood Plan. It calls for 360 units to be built in three phases with a mix of apartments, townhouses, single-family homes and commercial space.
Director of planning Lesley-Ann Staats told councillors that Greenlane Homes is offering 36 purpose-built rental apartments – bachelor as well as one, two and three bedroom – as a housing contribution.
“The developer has initiated dialogue with the Sunshine Coast Housing Society to explore operating the rental units according to a mixed income model, which would be a part subsidized model,” she said.
The community amenities agreement would see 10 per cent of the property set aside as park, including areas such as the waterfront, Cross Rock and Little Africa. Thirty-six per cent of Block 7 would remain green space protected by covenant or a stewardship agreement with a nature conservation group.
The agreement also includes provisions for a public washroom, and a park plan with trails and other improvements as well as $200,000.
Coun. Jeremy Valeriote called the package a “comprehensive list of benefits,” especially the inclusion of a variety of rental units as the affordable housing contribution. “I was pleased to see the distribution of [types] of rental units. Twice in the last couple of weeks I’ve listened to the minister of municipal affairs talk about a boom of 600-square-foot condos in Coquitlam that clearly nobody was planning to live in. So the full range of bachelor to three bedroom was important to specify.”
Road access, traffic and pedestrian safety and infrastructure have been areas of concern for some residents as the application moved forward.
Under the amenities agreement the developer is offering to complete pedestrian, cycling and vehicle safety improvements along Gower Point Road between Franklin Road and the town boundary.
The Town will also require upgrades to Chaster Road between Mahan Road and Shaw Road, completion of a Shaw-Inglis extension study with a cost-recovery and funding strategy, and a financial contribution to the eventual construction of that extension as a condition of the development going forward.
Director of infrastructure services Dave Newman advised council to reject a Ministry of Transportation request to have the developer fund improvements to Chaster beyond the town boundary.
Mayor Wayne Rowe said he agreed, and that the focus should be on preparing for the Shaw-Inglis extension and necessary improvements to roads within the town. “We’ve made it clear that it’s intended to be the primary access to that development,” Rowe said. “I would rather see the resources put into that, Gower Point Road down by the waterfront, and what we have to do in terms of the Chaster Road area within the town limits. Hopefully the Ministry of Transportation will find some money in their budget to help improve the road in their area.”
A public hearing on the Gospel Rock Village application is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 23 at Gibsons Legion.