Council OK’s form, character for first phase of Gospel Rock

After asking Greenlane Homes to reconsider some of the design elements for the first phase of its Gospel Rock project, known as Touchstone, councillors in Gibsons have signed off on the form and character development permits for the project.

Phase 1 includes a hotel, retail and commercial space as well as an apartment block and townhouse fronting a crescent road at the northern end of the Block 7 property.

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At a Sept. 17 planning and development committee meeting, Greenlane Homes representatives were told the proposed design needed “softening” and that the councillors would like to see material and colour palette samples to make it easier to visualize what they were seeing in the architect’s drawings.

The developers were back before council Oct. 15 with revised drawings and a box full of material samples. The main design changes included lighter colours and swapping big timbers on the building exteriors for wood accents that reflect the craftsman style. 

Coun. Stafford Lumley said he was impressed with the changes themselves and the developers’ willingness to make adjustments and come back with a new plan quickly.

“I appreciate all the work you’ve done and the care you’ve taken in design and trying to fit into this community the best you can with this development,” he said.

The only councillor who voted against approving the development permits was Annemarie De Andrade, who stressed that her no vote was not driven by strong objections to the revised design, but her desire to have the new plan go back to the planning and development committee, which includes two members of the general public with an architecture background, for review before making a final decision.

“I would like both of them to see this one more time. I know this seems like a delay but I’d rather get this right,” she said. 

Mayor Bill Beamish said he did not see the need to send the application back to committee. “There’s a limited amount we can do on form and character and I think we’ve done a lot… I’m comfortable with what I see.”

Questions were also raised by members of the public at the meeting about the tree cutting taking place on Block 7. A representative of the developer said the logging on the area for Phase 1 is a reflection of the fact it will be the commercial hub and require things like underground parking, while much of the rest of the wooded area will be protected under covenant.

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