Residents oppose new development in Gibsons, including affordable housing units

In a disappointing display of NIMBY culture, local residents influenced Sechelt council to scrap a six-storey development proposal in Gibsons, which would have included some affordable housing units.

After a hotly-debated public hearing in which dozens of residents opposed the project, council voted to have the developer propose new plans for the midrise.

This is the second time the developer has been ordered to revise project plans, having knocked several floors off the design already. Sechelt Mayor Bruce Milne supported the revised project, but after the tense community meeting, he felt it unlikely that the rest of council would support it.

The problem? The sunshine coast, which sits north of West Vancouver and runs between Howe Sound and the Georgia Straight, is facing a housing shortage much like the rest of metro Vancouver. Home prices there have jumped by 70.3 per cent in the last three years, while 25 per cent of renters say they spend more than half their income on rent and utilities.

Embracing new development in the area would provide more space for affordable units, help relieve the soaring prices and provide more opportunities for young workers, families and retirees. But current residents, according to the mayor, are unwilling to support change, even it might have positive results.

Though there have been some notable projects approved for the region, including a single-family subdivision that’s under construction and a townhome project in Porpoise Bay, there’s room for more density, especially considering the area’s vacancy rate, which hovers near zero.

The problem with NIMBY culture is that it prevents responsible development, which has the potential to ease the lower mainland’s housing crunch, enhance the area’s liveability and welcome new residents. We need more of this type of density, not less of it.  

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