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The George (proposed)
11-14-2013, 03:28 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-16-2013, 11:06 AM by Skook.)
#1
Brick  The George (proposed)
Huh
The proponent for the G~orge Hotel/conference centre/condominium complex is hanging his hat on the “notwithstanding” clause in the Town of Gibsons’ recently passed Harbour Plan. The clause, if allowed, would basically nullify any requirement or community value in the Plan. Good thing too, because the G~orge project defies just about everything specified in the Plan--height requirements; massing; views; shadowing; and setbacks, with its encroachments on public land, sea, and airspace, for example. Proponent’s plans are to have this a done deal before the next election.
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11-15-2013, 06:12 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-15-2013, 07:46 AM by Skook.)
#2
RE: The George (proposed)
Welcome aboard, Jez!! It's great to have a new contributor on Sunshine Coast RE issues. Big Grin

With Jez's permission, I am posting some pics and background links until she gets the hang of the using the VanPeak post editor - which I am sure will not take long.

The 'George Hotel' proposal is proving to be as contentious an issue as the Gospel Rock development because of the size and height of this proposed new hotel coupled with the fact it's location would be right in the middle of the bay in Lower Gibsons.

The images below show the location and inital hotel proposal which was soundly trashed by the town council and the public.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=545]

A few weeks ago, the developer came back with a new design shown below and Jez will have more to say about this.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=546]

Here are some Coast Reporter story links for background info on this hotel proposal:

November 15, 2013: George benefits called ‘immeasurable’
November 8, 2013: New George Design splits project in two
August 17, 2013: Gibsons APC weighs in on original George proposal
July 27, 2013: Gibsons Council briefed on (George) hotel application

Town of Gibsons - George Hotel info page You can download the developer's new proposal package (.pdf) right off the top. Lots of renderings/plans.
Town of Gibsons - Harbour Plan info page


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11-17-2013, 02:20 PM,
#3
Bug  RE: The George (proposed)
Sad
Gibsons Advisory Planning Commission (APC) sat on November 15 (for over 5 hours) and deliberated over the proposed George after a presentation by the developer's team (planning consultant, architect, landscape designer, and financial analyst). Commission members had a lot to say about size, massing, scale, height, views, setbacks, public spaces, public amenities, and character. I’d say that if Council accepts their resolutions/recommendations, the proponent’s team has a lot of work to do.

The "notwithstanding" clause, which the developer has used as virtually his sole guiding principle for the project, was discussed. Although it was put into the Harbour Plan, like a poison pill IMO, because this project was on the horizon, it was never envisaged that an exception of this magnitude would come forth, opined the chair. One member pointed out that the clause says a project outside the guidelines "may" be approved, not that it would necessarily be approved. The clause does have criteria attached, and there was general agreement it is not a carte blanche.

Winegarden Park, the public park in the centre of the harbour area, will suffer so many impacts the commission decided it needed a separate session to address those once more is known about the specific implications. The long side of the 98-foot-high condo building of the complex abuts the park with no setback at all and looms over it, casting shadows across this popular area. The existing band shell, which is raised and lowered with underground mechanics, and its concrete stage would have to be moved. The open water in front of the park would be taken over as marina space for the hotel. No compensation is ever entertained. The town and the people are supposed to be grateful for the "improvements" the developer is providing.

Although it is outside the commission’s mandate (they deal with form and character, DPAs, variances, zoning bylaw amendments and such), they did recommend an economic analysis by an independent expert. Very wise as the figures released publicly to get the general public/taxpayers and local business all excited are pure smoke and mirrors--unsubstantiated by anything.

The commission also resolved to recommend to council that the project come back to the APC for a second look once all their many comments are addressed and that it be accompanied by a 3-D computer modelling of how the project will look as a person walks through town and around the complex. The proponent has resisted this request in the past and today showed up with a table-top maquette of the complex "instead." Of course, it shows no relativity to other buildings and features of the town.

Despite the many reservations voiced and resolutions for change passed over the course of the deliberations, one member pushed hard at the end to have a resolution stating that the Commission supports the project. Huh It was finally agreed to, subject to the concerns raised being addressed. More about these concerns in future posts.

Jez
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11-17-2013, 02:46 PM,
#4
RE: The George (proposed)
Excellent post, Jez.

A development of this magnitude cannot help but have a dramatic impact on the character of lower Gibsons and the whole Bay area. It certainly merits extreme caution and intense study by the town council. The greatest fear is that the town leaders grasp at the proposal as a means to turn around a moribund economy and rush the processes. It will take vigilance and involvement on behalf of the public to ensure this doesn't happen.

I look forward to following your updates.
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11-17-2013, 03:08 PM,
#5
RE: The George (proposed)
Thanks, Skook. You are sooo right about impact, the caution necessary, and the tendency to grasp at this project. So many of us are fearful that the careful scrutiny will not be there because of the grasping. The business/developer folk have successfully spread this notion of a moribund economy here. Actually, at an economic forum held several months ago, an economic consultant described where the real strengths in our economy lie, and despite the hysterical “Gibsons is dying! The George will save us” mantra, the town is not doing badly. For instance, professional services are a hugely growing sector, not always visible because people can often work these jobs with a computer from home. Retail isn’t doing great maybe, and sometimes that’s because people aren’t very good at it, had an idea, but not a business plan. Real estate I don’t have to tell you. To my simple mind it looks like lots of build-out at prices people, young ones especially, can’t afford. (You can set me straight!)
And the thing you are really really so right about is that it will be the people, lots of them, who can save the waterfront. The developer has been using a huge PR campaign. Lots of us are seduced. The rest of us are dismissively, and derisively, labeled naysayers. So we have our work cut out for us.

Jezebella

(11-17-2013, 02:46 PM)Skook Wrote: Excellent post, Jez.

A development of this magnitude cannot help but have a dramatic impact on the character of lower Gibsons and the whole Bay area. It certainly merits extreme caution and intense study by the town council. The greatest fear is that the town leaders grasp at the proposal as a means to turn around a moribund economy and rush the processes. It will take vigilance and involvement on behalf of the public to ensure this doesn't happen.

I look forward to following your updates.
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11-19-2013, 04:53 PM,
#6
RE: The George (proposed)
This proposal looks to me unfortunately similar to the Watermark in Sechelt, the same 'I wish to look down on you nobody' height and mass, two twin towers tight together, the same disdain for pedestrians and anyone else who might otherwise enjoy a water view. Perhaps too the same market result and disappointment to the community; sellers lose, project is mostly empty most of the time.
Economic impact on Gibsons, nhil, and opportunity lost, once a bit of a construction boom is done.
But there is the 'notwithstanding clause' which does not allow the proponent to go ahead anyhow, it says Council may consider, and having considered may say 'absolutely not, not in our town'. Gibsons has for years had better mayors and councils than Sechelt, so I am optomistic that they will toss George on its head.
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11-20-2013, 05:40 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-20-2013, 07:08 PM by Skook.)
#7
RE: The George (proposed)
Welcome, HenryH, to VanPeak and to the Sunshine Coast forum!

It's great to read another's view on this hotel proposal for Gibsons. In particular, to read your interpretation of the "notwithstanding clause." My thoughts are that those concerned with this development should not take that clause for granted but still show up "en masse" at every council meeting where the issue will discussed. If the council has doubts about this proposal, the public's presence will let them know they have support and they can then use that support to justify their decisions and actions when facing the developer and his suporters.

Look forward to reading your contributions in the future.
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12-05-2013, 11:12 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-11-2013, 05:54 AM by Skook.)
#8
RE: The George (proposed)
On a recent Sunday morning, a group of people curious about how high a 125-foot hotel would really be went down to the waterfront with a cluster of helium balloons on a 125-foot string. This bouquet they anchored on the beach path at the very level and spot where the George would sit. Passersby out for a stroll were astounded, not surprisingly because the slick PR campaign orchestrated by the proponent has minimized height and size at every turn. For example, they are calling this a six-storey hotel. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me in every city I’ve lived in a storey has been 10 feet tall, which would make this monolith the equivalent of 12 storeys.

Take a look:

[Image: attachment.php?aid=583]

When residents in the neighbourhood up from the waterfront behind the George looked out their windows to see the balloons bobbing high in the sky, many were irate. Angry They had been told the hotel and condos would take only a little “nip” out of their view. The proponent had promised one pictures to prove it, but these were never forthcoming. Now he knew why. His view would be obliterated.

It seems they feel the value of their properties will decline. That may be true, but they can take heart. The money will likely remain in the community. It will just be in the proponent’s pocket.

(Note: additional balloon pics have been added in a second post under Skook's name. It is on page 2 of this thread)

December 11, 2013 Update:

Photo taken from Winegarden Park next to site of proposed George Hotel and condo residences.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=608]

Photo submitted by Gibsons resident Suzanne Senger to the Facebook page, We Love Gibsons BC, on November, 24, 2013. The two people in the park (see arrow) put the balloon’s height in perspective which indicates the overall height of the proposed Hotel at its waterfront location.


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12-06-2013, 05:55 AM,
#9
RE: The George (proposed)
What a brilliant idea!!. This is "citizen activism" at its best and most creative. These are exactly the actions needed as you move ahead. Take every statement issued by the developer concerning this proposal and test it. Let the results speak for themselves. Well done, citizens of Gibsons!
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12-06-2013, 01:26 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-06-2013, 01:29 PM by Skook.)
#10
RE: The George (proposed)
Now that I have seen your pics, Jez, here’s what I think. The experiment should be done again and this time all residents impacted by the hotel’s presence should take photos from their homes. That would, I think, give a better sense of hotel’s height and it’s effect on home owner views as you move up in elevation from Gower Point Road.

I pulled some info from the developer’s latest presentation package. He offers these "key stats" (found on pg. 7):

[Image: attachment.php?aid=584]

So, what’s he saying here? That you would only see 6 storeys of the hotel if you stand on Gower Point Rd and 8 from the water? Is there really that much of a difference in elevation between the waterfront and Gower Point Rd? The artist rendering appears to be above Gower Point Rd so that doesn’t make sense. You need to get a picture of that balloon from the intersection Gower Point & Winn, too.


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