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Beamish: Planning for the future of Gibsons

Beamish: Planning for the future of Gibsons

For a town just over four square kilometres in size, there’s a lot going on in Gibsons these days. Currently, there are about 600 new homes planned for construction over the next few years, in several multi-family developments. The growth is expected to generate many benefits, including a broader tax base, increased demand for goods and services from our local businesses, a boost in well-paying jobs (first in the construction industry and then in the professional industries required to serve the influx of new residents), and a wider variety of community amenities.

We also know that a significant jump in our population will bring many challenges. Some of these include the pressures associated with an aging population, the lack of affordable and workforce housing, and increased stress on our infrastructure services. Add to these the issues that are largely out of our control (such as underdeveloped transportation services and climate change) and you can see there’s a lot to consider when planning for our town’s future.

Thankfully, there are many organizations in Gibsons that are working hard to ensure that our community continues to thrive, from the Harmony Hall Seniors Association to the Gibsons Public Library to the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association.

As none of us works in isolation, and all share many of the same concerns, I have invited representatives from 25 of these local groups to take part in a half-day workshop on March 31. Patrick Weiler (our MP), Nicholas Simons (our MLA) and Councillor Chris Lewis from the Squamish Nation have also been invited to attend.

The session will begin with a presentation of the Town’s Strategic Plan, an overview of known development proposals and a summary of the report on future policing costs that was presented to Council in December 2019. After that, each group will have around five minutes to present information about the specific ways they expect to be impacted by Gibsons’ projected growth.

My hope is that by offering the chance for our town’s key organizations and leaders to come together, we will be able to identify more opportunities to support one another. I also believe the workshop will provide an excellent opportunity for some of Gibsons’ most engaged citizens to network and form new connections that will lead to mutually beneficial collaborations in the future.

The workshop is scheduled to run from 10am to 2:30pm on March 31 at the Gibsons Legion, and the public is welcome to observe the presentations and discussions.

Do you have some ideas about the upcoming meeting on Gibsons’ economy and community? Please feel free to contact me at mayor@gibsons.ca. I’m always interested to hear your thoughts.

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