The Sturgeon’s on the Fraser project received new life Monday evening, as district council fulfilled an election promise to bring “McBarge” to public hearing.
The proposed $10-million floating restaurant and marina at the foot of Horne Street had been stalled under the previous council, as the planning department considered the application incomplete without acquiring adjacent land for parking, referred to as the uplands.
Mayor Ted Adlem moved that the previous CD-21 zone for the foreshore area of McBarge be rescinded of first and second reading, so that the new incarnation, CD-23 zone, could pass first and second reading and proceed to public hearing, now slated for Jan. 30.
Adlem said during question period Monday evening that even if the foreshore zoning is approved, a second zoning application and public hearing would still be needed for the uplands. That would require the developer, Howard Meakin, to either acquire or come to an agreement with the present landowner for the 0.67 hectares at the former Meeker Cedar Mill site.
The whole project had become a chicken-egg paradox, since Meakin was reportedly reluctant to acquire the land without approval of the project, while the district would not approve the project without a land use plan for parking.
During question period former councillor Mike Scudder, who presided over the first application for McBarge, asked whether staff in the planning department have since changed their opinion that the project was considered incomplete.
But Chief Administrative Officer Glen Robertson was quick to say it wouldn’t be fair to ask staff to provide an opinion.
“One of the things we promised very loudly is that [McBarge] would go to public hearing,” said Adlem.
Coun. Larry Nundal added that staff are paid to make recommendations, but ultimately decisions are made by the council.
“The bottom line is we made a decision. There will be a public hearing,” he said.
McBarge is currently moored east of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in Burrard Inlet.