Town of Gibsons staff have been directed to work with Greenlane Homes to figure out how to protect buffer lands that fall just outside a proposed conservation covenant area at the Gospel Rock development.
The motion was made at an in-camera session during a regular council meeting on June 1 and came less than a week after the town lifted a stop work order that had been imposed on the developer after it breached development permit conditions.
At the June 1 meeting, council voted to direct staff to work with the company “to develop solutions to protect a buffer area adjacent to the proposed Conservation Covenant Area on Block 7 so as to ensure the sensitive lands outside the covenant area … are protected as quickly as possible.”
Two trees in the designated conservation area were damaged during tree removal in December, and a buffer zone at the edge of the protected area was improperly flagged. One tree was scarred but none were cut in the protected zone. An environmental monitor also wasn’t on site to oversee tree removal, resulting in the imposition of a stop work order in December and $900 in fines for Tree Preservation Bylaw infractions.
In a May 26 announcement that the stop work order had been lifted, the town said “the developer has been working closely with town staff to implement tree protection measures to ensure that the development proceeds as proposed.”
With the June 1 resolution passed, the areas to be protected are included in a 2019 Diamond Head Consulting map as part of a development permit issued by the town. They include the buffer areas next to a proposed conservation covenant, which has yet to be finalized.
When the meeting minutes were reviewed at a July 6 regular council meeting, Coun. Annemarie De Andrade defended her decision to oppose the motion during the in-camera session, describing it as “awkward.”
She said she made an original motion for staff to work with the developer as well as the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA) and The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC).
“I thought it was really important because the SCCA is the organization that has been, since the onset, involved in the conservation of Gospel Rock and they are fully aware of the ecological value of the area,” she said, adding she opposed the motion because she felt not including the SCCA and covenant partner TLC “would not be appropriate.”