It was a half-full auditorium at Revelstoke’s Community Centre on the evening of Tuesday, July 26 as many residents turned out for the public hearing on the proposed Camozzi Bench tree hotel.
This controversial development has caught the attention of the community, since Revelstoke Mountain Resort and its parent company Northland Properties Corp. came out in strong opposition — to the extent of creating a website, ads and a phone survey against the proposal.
The hearing took about three hours and it was expected that city councillors would make a decision on whether to pass the third reading of the rezoning application. But Coun. Scott Duke brought forward a motion to hold the decision making for the night, due to an already long evening and wanting time to contemplate all the comments.
All councillors except for Coun. Nixon, who wanted to move forward with the third reading, voted in favour of this motion.
Councillors will meet on Wednesday, July 27, at noon in council chambers to make their decision.
The Mountaineer live-streamed the public hearing and will again live-stream council’s decision making. To see the videos from the public hearing, go to our Facebook page.
Camozzi Bench developer David Evans, who is also behind the Mackenzie Village housing project on Nichol Road, was first to speak at the public hearing.
He has been active in the lead up to the hearing, disputing claims made against his development, and he took the chance to further outline his development and clarify arguments that RMR had previously raised.
“I didn’t quite think it would be quite this difficult, but I’m happy to see the high level of support and the turnout here tonight,” Evans said.
Watch Evans’ full statement on the Revelstoke Mountaineer’s Facebook page (fast forward to 1:30), after the Mountaineer live streamed the hearing.
RMR CEO and president of its parent company Northland Properties Corp, Tom Gaglardi, lives in Vancouver and he made the effort to be present at the hearing.
He discussed his company’s role with RMR and their resuscitation of the resort when it nearly went under during the financial crisis in ’08. He said his company was open to developers, if they worked with RMR on RMR land.
“We want to see development as much as anyone.”
Gaglardi called on city councillors to uphold the city’s end of the Master Development Agreement and not allow Evans to gain an unfair advantage by buying cheap rural land and converting it to commercial. He said RMR was an important investment for his family.
“We’re not perfect, we’ve made mistakes for sure, but I can tell you that we’re committed to Revelstoke.”
Watch Gaglardi’s full statement on the Revelstoke Mountaineer’s Facebook page (fast forward to 35:30), after the Mountaineer live streamed the hearing.
Many people showed up to the hearing and they came prepared with pages on pages for their speeches, and even cue cards.
Robert Powadiuk, one of the original partners in the resort, said he had traveled about 13 hours to Revelstoke, for the chance to have his voice heard. His view was against the development and said allowing it to go ahead would be a betrayal of the MDA’s founding concept.
“One reality is indisputable,” he said. “In the darkest [part] of the world recession the Gaglardis kept the lights on in the resort, and by keeping the lights on in the resort, they kept the lights on in the city.”
But Fraser Blyth, from Selkirk Planning and Design, has worked on the proposed development plans and says the idea of Camozzi Bench has always been to not compete with RMR, but to provide something completely different and innovative.
“I honestly don’t believe this will have a negative effect on the the resort and city,” he said. “David Evans has invested a lot in this community, and to see the resort and community suffer would be to see his own investment suffer.”
The Mountaineer live-streamed the public hearing. To see all the videos, go to our Facebook page.