Four development proposals that have been on hold came to Sechelt Council for third reading on September 6. All four went to public hearing on August 23 after the revised Binnie traffic impact study was received, and feedback from that hearing was presented to council by staff.
Two of the four rezonings were for different sections of the Clayton Family Lands (to allow for a total of 25 new single family homes in Trail Bay Estates) and passed with minimal discussion.
But when the 136-unit Wesbrooke by the Sea proposal came to a vote, council was divided.
Councillor Alice Lutes was the first to announce that she would vote against the development. “After our public hearing and the discussions that took place I have some concerns around massing and the height,” said Lutes. “I also have some concerns around the public dedications for amenities.”
Mayor Bruce Milne stated that he had changed his mind about the project. “I’ve come to the conclusion that the Wesbrooke by the Sea is the right project at the right time in the wrong place,” said Milne.
Milne said the steep topography of the site was unsuitable, and he was also swayed by the number of residents who were worried about traffic.
Councillor Darren Inkster also said that he had heard from many residents opposed to the project, so he would not support it. “I have to listen to people who are most affected.”
However, Councillor Noel Muller supported Wesbrooke “because of the dire need for seniors housing and seniors housing options on the Sunshine Coast.”
Councillor Darnelda Siegers concurred. “I will support it as this point because there is a huge need and this developer has a good reputation and has been responsive and is willing to work with the community.”
Councillor Doug Wright also spoke in favour. “Yes, I can think of a whole lot of better locations, but the reality is we don’t have a developer sitting here with one of those better locations that’s willing to do it and put this kind of facility in this community.”
Third reading passed by a vote of four to three.
The other large development, Rockwood Ocean Stories (over 200 independent and assisted living units) was passed unanimously by council, although reservations were expressed about the height of the buildings.
Councillor Noel Muller also raised concerns about the possible impacts of the project on the Rockwood Centre, but said he would support it because of the need for seniors housing. However, he warned: “This is not the height of buildings in Sechelt going forward… this is a one-off.”
During the meeting a number of questions about traffic and new connector roads were raised by council. Councillor Mike Shanks, who has served on council for 22 years, noted that a previous attempt to put a connector through to Neptune Road was strongly opposed by that neighbourhood, so council voted to defer it. Staff agreed to check their records for that