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Britannia tower shortened

Following a public outcry among Britannia Beach residents the extensive renovation plan the B.C. Museum of Mining will have to ammend its renovation plans.

Following a public outcry among Britannia Beach residents the extensive renovation plan the B.C. Museum of Mining will have to ammend its renovation plans.The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) board voted to impose a maximum height to buildings allowed in the museum's location.The revised version of the bylaw rezoning the site for the museum expansion, which came before the SLRD board at Monday's (Nov. 24) monthly meeting, appoints 15 metres as the maximum allowable height for buildings on the site.The previous 30-metre limit would have permitted a 24-metre tower that spurred residents to object to its possible obstruction of views and central placement in the site."This whole monstrosity of a building slopes up to 50 feet just before it, so we are going to have this great big building out front andthe tower is going to be on top of that," said resident Bernie Caufield in early October. "So people from somewhere else can get up and look out at my now-ruined view."Museum president Mark Germyn said last month the organization appreciates the residents' concerns, but "we don't think it does really impact their sightlines to the oceanfront when you look at the actual configuration of the residential area, etc."Neither Caufield nor Germyn could be reached for comment over the SLRD decision. SLRD Administrator Paul Edgington said during Monday's meeting that the reduction of the building height limit to 15 metres came about as a direct reaction to resident opinions expressed at a Sept. 18 public hearing about the proposal."It's certainly reflective of community desire that was the direct result of public input at the [hearing]," he said.At the hearing, more than 15 residents said they felt that their views would be blocked or that the central tower would be an eyesore.Only a few residents said they felt the tower would not block views, and the proposed visitor centre would serve as a strong tourist draw.Others said they felt the tower would be acceptable if it were located next to the mountain instead of in the middle of the site next to the highway. Edgington said the 15-metre height limit would be in line with other buildings in or proposed for the area."There was considerable concern in the community about the height of the proposed building," he said, adding, "This was responsive to public input."According to a Nov. 24 staff report from SLRD Strategy Planner Kim Needham, the applicant and staff proposed the height reduction to address the residents' concerns. The 30-metre height allowance had been initially requested to make room for a theatre within the tower, Needham wrote."The new townsite will help to revitalize Britannia Beach and will create an interesting hub for both locals and visitors. The plans provide for an attractive retail area that pays tribute to the historical roots of the Britannia Beach area," Needham wrote. The Museum of Mining's expansion proposal includes the 11,000-square foot visitor centre immediately east of Highway 99, featuring a theatre and viewing deck plus commercial, artisan and cultural spaces.

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