The BC Supreme Court has rejected a bid by the O’Shea-Oceanmount Community Association (OOCA) to quash the zoning amendment for the Eagleview Heights project in Gibsons.
The project, headed by 464 Eaglecrest Drive Properties Ltd., is slated for a five-acre (two-hectare) parcel at 464 Eaglecrest Drive and includes a mix of 87 townhouse and apartment units to be built out in three sections on the sloped property’s upper and lower benches.
Gibsons council passed the zoning amendments on June 19, 2018 and the OOCA filed a petition with the court the following month, after having opposed the project at several points during the approval process, citing concerns about height, density and traffic increases.
In the original petition, the association said the zoning bylaw “directly conflicts with the [Official] Community Plan, the effect of which, if left unchecked will dramatically alter the character and quality of life in their community and will, even more importantly, undermine the importance of the [Official] Community Plan.”
At the heart of the claim is the way allowable density for the property was determined. The OOCA argued the development should have been restricted to a maximum of 48 units.
In a written decision handed down May 5, Madam Justice Palbinder Shergill concluded that in her view, “the petitioner relies on an overly rigid reading of the OCP, and loses sight of the overarching purpose of the OCP. It is intended to guide and to achieve a balance between preservation and development… Any shortcomings or flaws that may exist in the decision to pass the amending bylaw are not sufficiently central or significant to render the decision unreasonable.
“Reasonableness ‘takes its colour from the context,’ such that a bylaw will only be set aside where no reasonable body, informed of the ‘wide variety of factors that elected municipal councillors may legitimately consider in enacting bylaws,’ could have passed the bylaw... Having regard to the whole of the circumstances in this case, I am unable to find a conflict between the OCP and the amending bylaw.”
Shergill also found the Town was entitled to costs.
Mayor Bill Beamish announced the Town had received the decision in its favour at the May 5 council meeting and drew council’s attention to the section where the judge discussed the community association’s claim that the rezoning was “founded on incorrect or misleading information… [and] that the staff for the Town incorrectly told the council that the new bylaw was compliant with the Gibsons OCP, when in fact it was not.”
“I bring that up only because I don’t like to see staff inappropriately criticized in what is a public forum,” Beamish said. “I want to again thank staff for their diligence on this file and for the amount of stress that they go through when they sit before council and they make recommendations and they do their best job and then they’re characterized as presenting false or misleading information to council in a court case.”