Sechelt Council has turned down a motion to give first reading and hold a public hearing on a major residential and commercial development on Sechelt Inlet proposed by SSC Properties.
The vote, at the March 7th council meeting , was six to one against, with only Councillor Darnelda Siegers in favour.
Prior to the vote, Mayor Bruce Milne said he is concerned about the scale of the project and its impact on the rest of the community.
“This is not a 14-lot subdivision, this is not a four-acre subdivision. This is the most significant zoning that would impact Sechelt by 30 per cent of its current population and would totally disrupt all of the planning that’s been done for the past 15 years about where growth might be, all of the investment that’s been done over the past 15 years,” Milne said.
The proposed 170-hecatre (420-acre) development area lies between Porpoise Bay Provincial Park and Sandy Hook, about five kilometres from downtown. It specifies a base density that would allow for 950 to 1,300 residential units, along with commercial, retail and mixed-use properties. Some residential buildings could be as tall as eight storeys.
“If you see the number of times the planner’s report [on SSC’s proposal] uses the word ‘risk,’ I realize it’s our responsibility to avoid those risks for the District and for the economy of the District of Sechelt,” Milne added. “The most important thing we can do now is to say this is in fact not even ready for public hearing. It’s not ready yet.”
Siegers said she wanted hear from the public about the proposal.
“I’d like to see if the community is in support of this,” she said.
Councillor Darren Inkster also said prior to the vote that he’d like to hear public input, but later went against the motion.
Both Councillors Alice Lutes and Doug Wright echoed Milne’s concerns about the possible negative effect that such a large and relatively remote new urban hub might have on downtown Sechelt and the District’s infrastructure.