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View Full Version : Bowen Island: Inn project “over as far as I’m concerned”

Rusty Gull
Oct 14, 2008, 4:41 PM
The inn project at Artisan Square is “over”

By Julie Andres - Bowen Island Undercurrent

Published: October 02, 2008 4:00 PM
Updated: October 03, 2008 9:55 AM

Change is in the air at Artisan Square, but an inn, again, doesn’t appear to be in the cards for the little village on the hill. That project is “over as far as I’m concerned,” said landowner Doug Berry on Wednesday. “I don’t know what Johnathan [Brownlee] us doing now.” Brownlee applied for rezoning late last year to build a 20-room, four-storey inn at Artisan Square, but fire safety and sewage capacity concerns, among others, ground the project to a halt over the past few months. The plans called for over two times the floor space than is currently allowable and an increase in height from 9 to 15.27 metres. At a July 28 council meeting the draft bylaw to allow the inn was read for a second time, but it carried a list of eight conditions that made continuing the project difficult and costly.

Municipal planner Jason Smith said that the inn application hasn’t been officially withdrawn, but he added that it is in the hands of the proponent and nothing new has come to the planning department lately.

This week Berry had blasting and excavating crews on the site to prepare the land for building, but he’s not yet sure what he wants to construct. He said that it could be apartments or commercial space for current businesses that need to expand. “I’ll draw up preliminary plans and apply for a development permit next,” he said.

Berry and Brownlee co-own the adjacent building that houses The Galley Bistro and Lounge. Berry said that there have been buyers interested in that property and the site that he is now clearing, and he would prefer to sell. “I would love to not build another (expletive) building on this (expletive) island,” he said. “I’d like to be tripping around Europe, you know?”

Dirt and debris from the Artisan site (on which former councillor and business owner Al Leigh and his family operated a gas station until the lease ran out in 2005) was being transferred to property Berry owns on the north side of Grafton Road.

In 2004 Berry applied for rezoning to build a 15-room inn on the Artisan Square site; as part of the application he promised land for the Leighs to relocate the gas station to the Grafton property as well as neighbouring land for green space and a skateboard park. The rezoning bylaw for Berry’s inn project was read three times, but in June, 2005 council unanimously voted to postpone the final reading due to a covenant that would have allowed Berry to develop in the green space areas. In the June 17, 2005 Undercurrent, Berry is quoted as saying, “The final set of conditions are so onerous there is just no way I can meet them”.

The gas station deal and skateboard park plans fell apart as a result; Leigh claims to have spent $60,000 preparing the site and he and Berry have been in litigation over their contract since 2006.