Resort hotel OK’d for development permit

West Porpoise Bay

District of Sechelt council agreed in committee last week to issue a development permit for a resort hotel complex in West Porpoise Bay, subject to a series of conditions.

The Vanta Pacific Resort, to be located on one hectare (2.5 acres) at the foot of Ripple Way, was modified since the previous council gave the rezoning bylaw third reading in August 2013, municipal planner Angela Letman reported on Dec. 10.

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In its current design, the proposal’s first phase includes a hotel split into four interconnected buildings no higher than two storeys each, with a total of 20 guest rooms or suites, a restaurant, bar, spa, swimming pool, hot tubs and an accessible lift in the main building.

Excluding the exterior decks and balconies, the floor area will be about 1,400 square metres.

A second phase will consist of six self-sufficient, two-bedroom rental cottages, also two storeys in height, and a 300-square-metre convention centre for small conferences and weddings that will seat about 50 people, as well as a guest gym on the second floor.

With District staff approval, the developers have started clearing the undeveloped Ripple Road right of way, located south of the development.

In her report, Letman said the first phase would generate about $33,000 in development cost charges for the District and $23,000 for the second phase.

Construction is expected to take between 12 and 24 months, with the developers indicating they will hire local trades.

Long term, the business will create between 10 and 20 full-time jobs, as well as spin-off work from special events for local suppliers.

The changes to the proposal, which Letman deemed “very minor,” are not significant enough to warrant a second public hearing, she said.

One of the conditions of the rezoning bylaw specifies that site access will be from the south on Ripple Way while the current access from the north will be closed off. A statutory right of way will provide access for pedestrians and emergency vehicles.

For the first phase, Ripple Way will be constructed to a gravel road standard between Gale Avenue South and the development, but it “will definitely get paved for phase two,” Letman told council.

Among the conditions of the development permit, the applicant will be required to take out a landscaping bond worth $96,000 and obtain a heritage alteration permit prior to further land clearing and construction.

In a Nov. 10 letter, shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation council notes that a preliminary site visit in September 2013 identified “numerous unrecorded archeological remains within the application area.” The letter directs the proponent to obtain a site alteration permit from the province’s archeological branch, a heritage inspection permit from the Band’s rights and title department, and to commission an archeological assessment.

The Band has also requested information on the private marina portion of the development and discussed with the proponent the importance of protecting vegetation and trees on the site as much as possible during the construction phase.

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