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Venture Way development clears first council hurdle

venture way

Gibsons council’s committee of the whole is recommending a rezoning and Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment for Lot 13 on Venture Way go forward to first reading.

The proposal was first brought forward by Shazach Holdings last November, after councillors turned down an idea put forward by the Calvary Baptist Church for an affordable housing project for seniors on the site.

At the time, councillors said they didn’t want to lose any industrial land.

Shazach’s proposal calls for 42 market rental housing units, combined with commercial, light industrial, and live-work spread over two buildings.

One building would house the light industrial space and three live-work units, with the residential part on the second floor. The other building would have light industrial and commercial space on the ground floor and purpose-built apartment units on the second, third and fourth floors.

The company also owns the neighbouring Venture Way property that is the current site of Gibsons Recycling, and its long-term plan calls for the two lots to be connected.

Coun. Stafford Lumley asked whether there was enough demand to support this type of development. “From what I can see, this is quite a big undertaking,” he said.

Julian Burtnick of Shazach Holdings was at the meeting and said the company thinks it would be a good fit.

“We have other buildings in other towns where we are at 100 per cent occupancy and have waiting lists, so I believe there’s an opportunity,” Burtnick told Lumley.

The potential loss of land for medium or heavy industry was raised by Coun. Silas White. “This is a compromise, but we clearly do need industrial land in our OCP and for job creation and for businesses that are looking for warehouses and manufacturing and the kind of uses that are now being taken out,” said White.

“It’s going to provide more light industrial and service commercial and it’s also going to provide 39 market rental apartments, which I think is desperately needed in Gibsons,” said Burtnick.

Coun. Charlene SanJenko said the idea of the development as a transition from the purely industrial uses on Venture Way and the more residential areas nearby is appealing.

The rezoning will likely go to council for first reading later this month or in early May.