An open house in Gibsons, organized by proponents of a new multi-family residential development, attracted a strong turnout from residents on March 1.
According to Timothy Ankenman of Ankenman Marchand Architects, 78 people signed into the event, held at the Gibsons Public Market.
The new multi-family development is proposed for a steep five-acre site stretching between Stewart Road in lower Gibsons and Eaglecrest Drive.
“We hosted a workshop with 14-15 real estate agents on Sunshine Coast and asked what’s needed,” said Ankenman, in a phone interview. “There’s a huge inventory of single family homes, but lots of empty nesters want to stay in community and don’t really have a way to do that.”
Sixty condo units are proposed for the upper bench of the site, to be accessed from Eaglecrest Drive. A second cluster of 20 units, plus additional affordable housing units, would sit at the bottom of the site, accessed from Stewart Road. The slope in between is slated to be retained as green space, with public pedestrian access through the site, connecting the upper and lower town.
“My firm is really interested in the co-housing philosophy,” said Ankenman, noting that they designed the first co-housing development in Vancouver. Their plan incorporates communal amenities, such as gardens, a shared workshop, and an outdoor kitchen.
Ankenman Marchand has been consulting extensively in the community, working with groups such as the Affordable Housing Society, the Chamber of Commerce and the Coast Car Co-op.
“We’re treading very, very carefully,” said Ankenman, “so when we finally make an application everybody wins.”
Response at the open house was largely positive. “All but a very few people who filled out the exit surveys felt the project was heading in the right direction,” said Ankenman.
A development proposal has not yet been submitted to the Town of Gibsons, but is expected within the next few weeks. Donna McMahon