Project Website: http://georgegibsonsresidences.com/
August 25, 2020
OIPC Order F20-31
Today, the Town of Gibsons released documents in response to a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) request for access to records relating to the Town’s decision to issue development permits to the George Hotel and Residences project.
In 2017 the Town processed a request for records related to a hydrogeological review of the design for the proposed mix-use development. In its review of the request, supported by legal advice, the Town withheld documents under s. 13(1) of FIPPA.
The purpose of s. 13(1) of FIPPA is to allow full and frank discussion of advice or recommendations on a proposed course of action by preventing the harm that would occur if the deliberative process were subject to excessive scrutiny. It applies not only when disclosure of the information would directly reveal advice and recommendations, but also when it would allow accurate inferences about the advice or recommendations.
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC (OIPC) agreed with the Town in its decision of July 13, 2020 and said:
“I accept the CAO’s evidence that he did consider whether to disclose the disputed information despite the application of s.13(1). I also find there is no basis to interfere with the CAO’s exercise of discretion in this case.”
“Subject to paragraph 2 below, I confirm in part the Town’s decision to withhold the disputed information under s. 13(1) of FIPPA.”
- Town staff have met with the property owner and secured a waterfront pathway through to Winegarden Park. Before the trail can open, a footbridge needs to be installed. Currently, staff are awaiting an estimate for that work.
- On April 7, 2020, the Town received a letter from the developer requesting that the expiration of the related Form and Character Development Permit (DP-2018-05) and Winn Road Land Exchange Agreement be extended, due to COVID-19.
- On May 5, 2020, staff presented the request to the Planning and Development Committee (PDC), which recommended that the expiration date of DP-2018-05 and the Land Exchange Agreement be extended to June 1, 2021, subject to an updated landscape estimate. The PDC also recommended that the developer be directed to remove the construction fencing, that the appearance of the site be improved by grass cutting and weed removal, and that staff work with the developer to investigate opportunities for a waterfront pathway to be added prior to construction beginning.
- On May 19, 2020, Council resolved that DP-2018-05 be extended to June 1, 2022, subject to an updated landscape estimate and that the Land Exchange Agreement be extended to June 1, 2022, subject to the Town securing an accessible pathway through The George property to access Winegarden Park. The Council further resolved that staff work with the developer to secure a permanent accessible waterfront pathway on the foreshore on the Town’s existing sewer right of way if the development does not proceed.
03-26-2020: The Town of Gibsons has received several questions about a referral from the Province of BC regarding a request by George Gibsons Development Ltd. to amalgamate three water lot leases that partially front the Town. Questions have also been asked about a related decision by the Town to relinquish its interest in Water Lease No. 237789. The following document has been prepared to provide historical and present-day information about the referral and the water lease, with the goal of clarifying a complex topic.
For further information about Crown Referral File No. 2411955 – Foreshore Lease Application for the“New Marina at the George” please see this Staff Report dated March 3, 2020.
For more information about the George Hotel and Residences Rezoning Process, please refer to this Staff Report, dated July 19, 2016.
On January 30, 2019, the Town issued the developer a Preliminary Layout Approval (PLA). Shortly after that, all structures were removed from development site and a temporary trail was constructed along the south property line of the site to provide an alternate route for pedestrians. Conditions of subdivision approval include but are not limited to entering into a service agreement that includes the construction of the Waterfront Walkway and Plaza, dedicating the Plaza as road, registering right-of-ways and covenants to provide maintenance of the Plaza, Waterfront Walkway and Pier, and a cash contribution for the upgrade of Prowse Road Lift Station.
Council have previously approved a Land Exchange Agreement and have completed the Road Closure Bylaw necessary to close Winn Road. A new road dedication will be created that is the same land area as Winn Road but shifted and realigned to match the planned Plaza area. A significant amount of work, including extensive peer review by hydrogeologists and geotechnical engineers working for the Town, was conducted to arrive at the current approved methodology for ground improvement and excavation. The safety of the aquifer continues to the be the key focus for staff and other professionals working on this project. The planned excavation will not be encroaching into the glacial till layer that protects the aquifer.
Staff are working with the developer to execute the terms of the Land Exchange Agreement which encompasses lot consolidation, road closure, and creation of an ‘airspace’ parcel. This airspace parcel will allow the parking lot to extend under the planned Town-owned Plaza.
Next steps will be for the developer to commence remediation of the site as well as ‘deep soil mixing’. This deep soil mixing mixes a cementitious grout with the existing soils to improve the bearing capacity of the soil. The deep soil mixing methodology was also reviewed on behalf of the Town by a leading expert in the field. (see video below for more details)
The building permit is being processed by staff but will not be issued until all terms of the Land Exchange agreement have been executed and civil design for off-site improvements have been finalized with staff.
Council approvals for this project have been completed. Moving forward, all remaining permits, processing and inspections will be conducted on a staff level. As the project progresses, staff will provide updates to Council and the public.
Council approved an extension to June 2020 for the Completion Date of the Land Exchange Agreement. (See table below for details on Land Exchange Agreement.)
Aquifer Protection and the George
The Town has followed an extensive and exhaustive review process to ensure that the Gibsons Aquifer will be protected once the George Project gets underway. This video summarizes the results of this review and explains how the site clean-up and subsequent construction process will take place so that our Aquifer remains safe at every stage of site development. We have also provided responses to a number of Frequently Asked Questions about Aquifer Protection.
George Hotel and Residences Development Application
The George Hotel project received approval of the requested Official Community Plan amendment and Zoning Bylaw amendment on October 6, 2015. Since then, the project has worked on further details and review, in preparation for start of construction. All necessary Town Development Permits have now been issued and the project is ready to start construction. This web page will continue to provide regular updates on the status of this significant project.
|Building Permit ready||The Building Permit is ready to be issued once the developer decides to proceed
The Town Development Permits (see further down this page) and Building Permit allow for the following next steps:
Development Permits issued
|Development Permit for Form and Character (DPA5) Issued June 1, 2016|
|Environmentally Sensitive Areas Development Permit (DPA2) Issued July 7, 2016|
|Aquifer Protection Development Permit (DPA9) Issued July 22, 2016|
|Aquifer Protection Development Permit (DPA9) Issued Aug 2, 2106|
|Environmentally Sensitive Areas Development Permit (DPA2) Issued August 1, 2017|
|Geotechnical Hazards Development Permit (DPA1) Issued August 8, 2017|
|Aquifer Protection Development Permit (DPA9) Issued August 1, 2017|
|Development Permit for Form and Character (DPA5) Issued June 1, 2018|
Project description, drawings:
The project includes the following:
- 39 residential units
- 116 hotel rooms
- Conference centre, including spa, pools, lounge / café (level 1)
- Waterfront restaurant on a proposed pier in the Gibsons Harbour
- underground parking stalls
- New waterfront public walkway, along the shoreline as well as public access to part of the proposed pier
- Inclusion of a portion of Winn Road as part of the development site and providing a public plaza that will retain public access to the waterfront
The following link provides a copy of the approved design of the buildings:
The Town and the applicant have entered into a Development Agreement, that outlines conditions and commitments that have been agreed to for the process of detailed design and for construction.
For detailed information about this proposed development, please review the documents in the Reports and Related Documents section below.
Reports and Related Documents
|Timeline review process||Links to Reports and Documents from the Review Process
|July 31, 2017||
|July 11, 2017|
|June 20, 2017
|June 20, 2017
|April 18, 2017
|July 19, 2016|
|May 17, 2016
|Oct. 14, 2015
|Oct. 6, 2015|
|Oct. 1, 2015|
|Sept. 24, 2015||
|Sept. 15, 2015|
|July 28, 2015|
|July 21, 2015|
|June 16, 2015|
|May 12, 2015||
|September 30, 2014|
|July 15, 2014|
|June 3, 2014|
|March 25, 2014||
Appendix A to staff report – Design Package for Rezoning, Marked up with Changes in response to Advisory Planning Commission Recommendations, dated 2013-12-20
|January 14, 2014|
|November 15, 2013||
|November 12, 2013||
|July 23, 2013|
|Town of Gibsons
Director of Planning
Town website: www.gibsons.ca
|Applicant||Klaus Fuerniss Enterprises Inc.
c/o Art Phillips, Planning Consultant