The Town of Gibsons and Klaus Fuerniss Enterprises have agreed on the terms of a land exchange agreement. The agreement spells out the steps and conditions for the exchange of a portion of Winn Road, of approximately 10,000 square meters, for a new Town-owned public plaza of equal size. This plaza will be located between the two proposed buildings of the George Hotel and Residences and it will provide improved pedestrian access to the new waterfront walkway. The waterfront walkway in turn, once completed, will eliminate a missing pedestrian link along the Harbour shoreline, connecting Winegarden Park with the Gibsons Marina area.
The land exchange agreement contains a number of covenants and statutory right of ways to ensure that the public has unrestricted access over the new waterfront walkway. The developer is also required to construct and regularly maintain and repair the public plaza.
There are several steps that the George Hotel project needs to complete before the actual land exchange can take place, however. A road closure bylaw will be considered by Council in the near future. Moreover, three types of development permits require approval: geotechnical hazards, environmentally sensitive (habitat protection and site remediation) and aquifer protection, for which detailed design and peer reviews are still underway. The Town’s main goal is ensuring that the Gibsons aquifer is protected from the construction and existing site contamination. This process is taking longer than originally expected, due to the sensitive geotechnical and hydrogeological conditions of the site. The design and review process will continue until it has been demonstrated that the proposed project can proceed in a way that protects the Gibsons aquifer.
Contrary to some recent claims, The Town and the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) are in regular communication about the ministry’s review and approval of the necessary permits to address the site’s contamination, in accordance with the applicable provincial regulations. More information on this project can be found here: www.gibsons.ca/the-george.