Sechelt council approved a development permit for the Telus Marina project at its March 1 council meeting.
Telus is proposing several uses for the property at 5981 Sechelt Inlet Road: as an access point to reach the kids’ summer camp, tourism accommodations, a floating dock marina, a marine maintenance facility and gathering spaces. Two restaurant concepts are in development, presenters associated with the project said.
The site is made up of three properties consolidated into one, and covers three development permit areas (DPAs): one for the marine, foreshore and shoreline, one for form and character for commercial areas outside of downtown, and the third for business and industry. For all three DPAs, the staff report said the development supports the objectives and substantially meets the relevant guidelines. The Official Community Plan designates the property as working waterfront.
Of two proposed new buildings, a two-storey build would house the primary restaurant with four tourist accommodation suites and an event rental space. A partial third floor would include a rooftop patio. The second proposed building is for the boat maintenance shop, caretaker suite, a multi-purpose room and gathering space, and would have direct access to the boat launch.
As for the marina, the number of berths will increase, and it will be a private marina.
Previously, the site was used as a marina and a metal fabrication facility, and was also home to a single detached residence. The small house and former industrial metal building have since been demolished.
Telus plans to open the site by late 2024 or in 2025.
Telus’s proposal requests a reduction in the natural boundary setback from 15 metres to 7.5 metres for foreshore restoration and naturalization. This would include removing an existing seawall and adding a public boardwalk that connects to the existing walkway.
The staff report notes traffic was the most commonly identified concern at a public information meeting hosted by Telus last September. In response, Telus has offered to post signs that indicate there is no public parking in the Edgewater strata. Buses will be used to transport the camp attendees to and from the launch site.
Staff said the parking will be able to be shared among the site’s different uses and analysis by the transportation consultant determined that it could meet the threshold in Zoning Bylaw 580 for a 25 per cent reduction in required parking spaces. Telus proposes to offer 88 parking spaces, less than the 25 per cent reduction from 109 spaces.
An existing forest grove will act as a buffer to the neighbourhood. A presentation from Telus representatives at the meeting also addressed water concerns, and stated that an existing on-site well will be used for irrigation rather than potable water.
Development cost charges (DCCs) are estimated to generate $95,662. Additionally, a “security of $1,013,375 or 110% of the estimated cost of on-site and off-site landscaping works will be required prior to building permit issuance,” the staff report states.
Councillor Adam Shepherd, who is council’s liaison with community associations, spoke in favour of the project and thanked Telus for the “investment in the community.” He said the public information meeting, which took place last September, received a lot of support. He highlighted parking and boat traffic as community concerns. As for boats, presenters said it would be one or two a day going to the camp, and that the project is still in the planning stages.
Councillor Darren Inkster commented on the proposed environmental features as well as the visual character and said the project “checked a lot of boxes.” He asked about consideration for eelgrass near the dock, to which a presenter said realignment of the floating dock will take the eelgrass bed into consideration (though the dock is not part of this application). Inkster also expressed a desire for continued community feedback.
Coun. Dianne McLauchlan asked about site contamination, staff noted that the development permit won't be issued until a release notice is received from the Ministry of Environment. Staff said that letter of release is pending. A building permit and servicing agreement are also still required.