More than 200 people have signed a petition calling on the Town of Gibsons to abandon plans to build an affordable housing project on the Charman Creek Lands, an area between the foot of Shaw Road in Upper Gibsons and Stewart Road in Lower Gibsons.
The petition was presented to council Oct. 2 by Sharon Danroth. Danroth said with a development on the horizon for Gospel Rock, the Charman Creek Lands represent the last chance to keep a significant plot of land in a natural state.
“To be able to direct people to this treasure of a hike, through this magical forest right in the middle of town between upper and lower shopping areas, is a real pleasure,” said Danroth, who owns a gallery in the Landing. “The value of this opportunity to forest bathe has not even begun to be taken advantage of as a tourist draw.”
In a letter to council, the group said while affordable housing is a commendable goal, the location should be reconsidered.
“All the people who’ve signed this petition love and are aware of the importance of this forest and I am sure would contribute to raising funds to purchase more suitable land for affordable housing,” Danroth said.
“This Town-owned land may seem like a cheap, short-term solution to the land needed, but in the short and long term the cost in habitat loss, the free ecosystem services they provide, the loss of natural capital to sustain our quality of life is an overwhelming cost to us all. Please don’t leave us bereft of all this as your legacy of office on town council.”
Mayor Wayne Rowe thanked Danroth and reminded her that a final decision is still to be made. “There’ve been no firm resolutions. That area is under consideration, but nothing has gone beyond that at this point.”
Concerns about how much land clearing might be needed for the housing project started to mount when people noticed trees had been marked. The Town later clarified that the marking was part of a survey to identify significant trees and “protect the trees by designing the proposed affordable housing development around them.”
The Town is planning an open house to present a final concept for the potential affordable housing project later this year.