Gospel Rock developer presents new plans to deal with community concerns

Little Africa, Gospel Rock. Art by Pat Ridgway

Flashing beacon crosswalk, four-way stop at Pratt and Chaster, pathways for pedestrians and cyclists, and bus access to development proposed

By Margot Grant

The developer of Gospel Rock Block 7 has presented updated plans to Gibsons council following community concerns over increased traffic. 

Greenlane Homes is discussing the installation of a pedestrian-activated flashing beacon crosswalk on Pratt and a four-way stop at the corner of Chaster and Pratt with the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) and the Ministry of Transportation, said Edward Porter, senior urban planner with Modus, the consulting firm for the developer.

Pathways for pedestrians and cyclists could be constructed along Chaster Road to encourage non-motorized transportation to Gospel Rock, Porter said. The street design on Gospel Rock would support public transit, and Rosamund Road would be used as a secondary emergency way only.

The developer is discussing a conservation covenant and an eco-gift program with the Nature Conservancy of Canada as an added layer of protection for the greenbelt lands.
Fencing between homes will be limited — with exceptions for safety — to enhance the natural environment, Porter said.

The developer will prohibit stratification and short-term rentals in the 25 market rental units to be built in phase 1. In addition, secondary suites may be included in some of the 60 single-family homes to be built in that phase.

Councillor Stafford Lumley struggled to see how the market rentals could be called affordable housing, noting that  two-bedroom apartments would probably rent for $2,000 a month.

Councillor Silas White added “this is not affordable housing. The developer did nothing wrong, they simply looked at the town’s policies allowing for market rental as affordable housing, but municipal approaches to this subject are quickly changing. We could use developments like this to try and meet the needs of the community. We need more conversation with the developer about this.”

Mayor Wayne Rowe said market rentals are missing in Gibsons, and council needs to realize that development in the Gospel Rock neighbourhood is only possible if it starts with one big project to put in infrastructure.

Greenlane Homes will be asked to pay for a study of the cost of an extension of Shaw and Inglis roads as access to the Gospel Rock development.

At the end of the meeting, Area E (Elphinstone) resident Susan Rule presented a petition with 233 signatures asking the B.C. legislature to advise the Ministry of Transportation to require the Town of Gibsons and the developers to construct an access road to Gospel Rock within the town before any construction. Area E has 250 households and residents are strongly opposed to increased traffic on Pratt and Chaster Roads resulting from the development.

“We will proceed as we need to, in the interest of the town,” Rowe responded.

“I walked away angry and disappointed,” Rule said afterwards. “I felt like he was saying he doesn’t care.”

Project architect Qi Wan told The Coast Clarion that it is a pleasure to work with the Town of Gibsons. “They are very, very supportive.”

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One comment

  1. I am puzzled as to how the developer would be able to control short term rentals after the units have been sold? Isn’t this a town by-law issue, or do developers run the town these days?

    I agree with councilor White, $2,000/month is certainly not affordable housing for many, many people–if not most. But I get the impression that Mayor Rowe and his supporters would prefer only rich people lived in Gibsons.

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