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Variances approved for Kiwanis seniors' housing: Town of Gibsons briefs

Briefs from the Town of Gibsons regular council meeting Nov. 16
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Briefs from the Town of Gibsons regular council meeting Nov. 16:

Kiwanis inches forward

Council approved two variances for the Kiwanis Housing Society’s seniors’ housing development.

The variances are for 1.2 metres of extra height on a proposed addition to the existing housing and for 2.8 metres of extra height on a proposed new building. 

Staff and council noted that without a variance, the development could be built outward to the property lines. (This way the buildings are going up rather than out.) 

The municipality received three letters of support.  One, from a neighbour of the development ,spoke against the variances, saying that the development would have a “very significant impact” on their life, affecting their view and their property value. 

Council passed the variances with the condition that that the developer will work with the neighbour on a landscape plan to minimize the impact of said development. 

Park Road rezoning adopted

Council adopted a zoning amendment at 834 Park Road, changing the zone from Single-Family and Two-Family Residential Zone to Cluster Residential. The rezoning is for a 28-unit multi-family residential development. The site currently has one single-family home. 

Coun. Annemarie De Andrade voted against the bylaw, reiterating her stance of needing to understand the water situation before supporting increased density. 

Ensuring municipal cash flow

Given the volatility of extreme climactic events and the pandemic, council authorized a short-term borrowing bylaw allowing the municipality to borrow up to $3.5 million to cover cash shortfalls. 

 The revenue anticipation borrowing bylaw is an annual task – it expires every year – and usually the municipality only authorizes up to $100,000 in spending, said the bylaw’s staff report. Last year, the town approved $3.5 million to enable COVID-19 response, should it have been necessary and this year chose to keep the higher authorization limit. 

The Community Charter allows municipalities to access up to 75 per cent of the taxes imposed the previous year (for Gibsons that was $3,909,672) through this kind of borrowing bylaw. 

Gibsons hasn’t historically needed to rely on this mechanism to cover cash shortfalls, said the report – utility billing in the spring and fall and business licence renewals in December have provided cash flow.

The town is not required to borrow the funds, said staff at the meeting, nor would it if they didn’t need to. 

Concern for pulp supply

Mayor Bill Beamish will sign onto a letter from the BC Pulp and Paper Coalition seeking provincial help in fast-tracking initiatives to ensure fibre supply for B.C. pulp mills. Given supply losses to fire and pine beetles, two to three pulp and paper mills as well as many more sawmills, veneer plants and shake and shingle mills are forecasted to close if mitigation measures aren’t taken, suggests the letter. Among the priorities: Renewing Forest Enhancement Society of BC funding, logging waste recovery, commercial thinning and salvaging fire damaged wood. 

“As much as the forestry industry, there’s a lot of concern about it, this particular pulp and paper plant is the largest employer on the Sunshine Coast. You have to recognize that as well,” said Beamish, also noting that burned trees cannot go into pulp and paper. 

Telus fibres

Telus has installed a fibre optic cable from in front of the Gibsons Quay building, down Gower Point Road and the length of the Government Dock, reported Coun. David Croal. “It should provide decent WiFi to the marine community and also support the Gibson’s Yacht Club with their weather cam,” he said.

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