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Condos proposed for GBS site

Change is on the way for a piece of property in the Garibaldi Highlands which has sat mostly unused for most of the last decade. Westmana Development Corp.

Change is on the way for a piece of property in the Garibaldi Highlands which has sat mostly unused for most of the last decade.

Westmana Development Corp. is proposing a mixed-use development for the former Garibaldi Building Supplies site that will feature retail space on the ground floor and three floors of living units with parking under the power lines that run over the prime piece of real estate.

The property is bordered by the Petro-Can to the south, Hwy. 99 to the west, Tantalus Road to the east and the public safety building to the north. The RCMP had temporary buildings for a short time on a small portion of the site.

Peter Gordon of Cascadia Consulting is helping Westmana through the rezoning process. The site is not zoned for residential use at the moment.

According to Gordon, the project will raise the bar locally for building design.

"We're trying to keep it neighbourhood-friendly," Gordon said. "We're trying to establish a village atmosphere."

The property is located close to shopping, amenities and transportation links. Gordon said the project is being designed with an eye on reducing the reliance on the automobile.

The developer wants to incorporate rock and wood finishes into the four-story building.

The first draft of the plans for the development show a flat roofed building fronting Tantalus Road with entry to public parking at one end of the building and entry to the resident parking along the other edge.

Gordon is particularly fond of the drainage plans for the site. He said an engineered bioswell is going to be created down the centre of the parking area. The plan is to slope the site in such a way that all natural runoff will drain into the bioswell and disperse into the ground without impacting adjacent properties.

The three floors of condominium units will have between 69 and 84 units. The plans call for each unit to have laundry facilities, large storage spaces and decks.

As part of the developer's effort to reduce the reliance on vehicles, some thought is being put into sponsoring vanpool and car sharing programs for the building residents.

Gordon said the maximum size of the retail spaces is going to be restricted to less than 5,000 square feet to maintain the village feel of the development.

"They want to be in the ground by summer if that is possible," Gordon said.

A price range for the commercial spaces and the living units is not yet set. Gordon said the developer is still establishing costs and the price points are dependent on construction costs. The developer's consultant said the price range will be affordable for young families and downsizing seniors.

"We think it will be a very desirable element for the community," Gordon said.

A public information meeting is being held Thursday (Mar. 4) at 6:30 p.m. The meeting at the Sea to Sky Hotel will give residents a chance to review the plans, discuss the development and offer feedback. A formal presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the meeting will end at 8:30 p.m.

The developers plan to submit a comprehensive development application to municipal hall. A public hearing will held before the rezoning application is either accepted or rejected by council.

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