George site cleared, still no word on start of construction

The old homes have been removed from the site, but it’s still not clear when construction might begin on a major hotel and marina complex on the Gibsons waterfront.

The George Hotel and Residences was one of the files highlighted by director of infrastructure services Dave Newman during a Nov. 20, 2018 committee of the whole meeting.

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The demolition of buildings on three lots on Gower Point Road was delayed briefly when WorkSafe BC imposed a stop work order last August over concerns about how contractors were dealing with materials that could have been contaminated with asbestos. The Hyak Marine building and the fuel tank remain.

Newman told the committee that the developer has applied for building permits, but they won’t be issued until the terms of the land-exchange agreement that will allow for the closure of Winn Road and building a public plaza in its place are met, and the design of the off-site improvements is approved.

He also said the demolition and other site preparation work has meant occasional closures of Winn Road, but a temporary trail is being constructed along the south property line to provide an alternate route for pedestrians.

The next phase of work will be soil remediation, which is governed by a development permit that was approved in August 2017.

The remediation work includes a process called deep soil mixing, which was described in Newman’s written reports as mixing a “cementitious grout” with the existing soils to improve the bearing capacity.

“This has obviously been a contentious project and staff are certainly committed to making sure we keep the aquifer at the highest priority of this whole process,” Newman told the committee.

In response to a question from council, CAO Emanuel Machado said the Town’s approvals are not dependent on the ongoing Environmental Appeal Board process.  The Gibsons Alliance of Business and Community (GABC) has challenged the province’s acceptance of a site remediation plan.

A hearing is scheduled for late October.

“That’s nothing to do with the Town’s own permitting,” Machado said. “The issue is between the ministry and [GABC]. It’s being discussed at the Environmental Appeal Board, but our understanding is that it doesn’t impact the ongoing work.”

The project’s developer, Klaus Fuerniss, told Coast Reporter he is not prepared to comment on construction timelines at this point.

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