A proposal for the site of the former Wynken Blynken Nod Backpackers Bed and Breakfast was stuck between rising seas and a view corridor.
At the Town of Gibsons Jan. 17 committee of the whole, staff introduced a proposal for a four-unit townhouse development at 528 Marine Drive that would require Official Community Plan and zoning amendments as well as a flood exemption for a 7.5-metre setback from the sea rather than the requisite 15 metres. The committee, however, denied the project saying it was asking for too much and because of concerns with the sea setback and that the design jutted 1.5 metres into the Heritage Hills view corridor.
The proposal for three-bedroom townhomes included a 6.1-metre flood construction level, so the seawalk-level section was uninhabitable and designed to be flooded by surging seas.
The committee acknowledged the difficulty of building on the narrow (14-metre deep) lot next to the sea and though it rejected this iteration, encouraged the developer to go back to the drawing board and work with the Advisory Design Panel on possible solutions.
Architect for the project Paul Lebofsky commented that the height restrictions came about in the ‘90s, before climate change was a big topic. “You could build down to the beach on the other side,” he said. “Our lowest habitable floor is 14 feet, nearly two storeys higher than that. We’re asking to go four feet additional height. That’s the tradeoff.”