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Controversial waterfront proposal goes back to drawing board

Controversial waterfront proposal goes back to drawing board

A proposed waterfront development by RTC Properties Ltd. in Sechelt has been sent back to the developer for changes.

The proposal to rezone three properties at Shorncliffe Avenue and Highway 101 to construct a 48-unit residential complex was the subject of a Jan. 11 public hearing, at which many local residents spoke in opposition. A petition was also presented with 250 signatures opposing the project. Concerns raised included the height and density of the development, its impact on neighbouring residential properties and on bordering Snickett Park, and removal of trees.

Sechelt Council received a report on the hearing at its Feb. 15 regular meeting. Staff recommended that the project, with minor amendments, receive second and third readings. The minor changes were a one-metre reduction in the height of the tallest building, and shifting the buildings slightly closer to Highway 101.

The proposed changes were not sufficient for Council.

Councilor Doug Wright said that while he favours density in that location, it was obvious that residents had concerns. “We heard very clearly from the community that the consultation did not meet their needs,” said Wright. “I think that the developer needs to go back to this community.”

Councilor Darren Inkster shared concerns about the height of the largest proposed building, describing it as “basically a wall along our highway”. He also identified the number of trees being removed and shadowing of existing properties as other issues.

Councilor Mike Shanks noted that he was involved in creating the Vision Plan for downtown Sechelt, which caps development at four storeys. “I too would not be supportive of six plus storeys going up on this particular property,” he said.

“We are in favour of the densification,” said Councilor Darnelda Siegers. “We want it to look different.”

Councilor Noel Muller also supported redevelopment of the site, but noted: “I was a little disappointed at the type of changes that came back after the public hearing.”

“My support personally on this evaporated at the public hearing,” said Mayor Bruce Milne.

“Nobody minds high end good development going through and we’ll find a way to do that,” concluded Milne.

Council voted unanimously to send the proposal back to staff, directing them to work with the developer on changes.

Donna McMahon

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