Do the math

During the public meeting held at the Qualicum Beach Community Center in November to discuss the Pheasant Glen proposal, mayor Teunis Westbroek confused me by advising everyone that while comments and questions from those concerned residents in attendance were welcome, council was not there to answer questions.

Pheasant Glen has a town approval in place to build 225 vacation-use units on their property. Given the real estate and investment climate that exists since that approval was granted, it appears a sound business decision was made to request a modification of that approval to reduce the number of units and to include a residential component in the development; why build something the market won’t support?

The last time I checked, there were almost two pages of For Sale listings for units in The Beach Club vacation property and I noticed that some listings included the terms “aggressively priced”, and in one case, an owner offered to guarantee the purchaser a four per cent rate of return over the next three years, comments that are not normally offered for even modestly “hot” investment properties.

Based on the closing comments at this meeting from Coun. Scott Tanner and his desire to reject the modification request without discussion, I ask him:  what don’t you like about the modified proposal? It’s a question that I’ve yet to hear answered.

The proposal, with the residential component, gives local residents an opportunity to purchase units for their own use. I don’t expect many of us would purchase a vacation use property in our own community. Tanner said “residents do the bulk of their shopping in Nanaimo.” I took his comments to mean that me and other tax-paying local residents (voters) don’t financially contribute to the local economy; what I believe he was saying is we need tourists, not more residents.

I’m not sure where Tanner shops, but on behalf of my modest household of three, we spent more than $4,000 in this area in November, expenditures that included: car and house insurance, dental/orthodontic expenses, town water bill, bike repairs, golf clubs (yes, from Pheasant Glen) and Quality Foods grocery cards that include a contribution to Oceanside Minor Hockey.

If Tanner has a pocket full of 225 out-of-town investors who aren’t concerned about a rate of return and have their own financing sources (chartered banks aren’t directly financing vacation units) and tourists who will be here for 300 days/ year and spend similar amounts of money on a consistent basis, I also ask him: where are they and why haven’t you shared them with the community to date?

And, for the person who questions the revenue projections put forward by Pheasant Glen as “smoke and mirrors,” I wonder if he’s done the math on the revenue, jobs and future that are created for this community from a well-planned project that never gets done?

Larry Chand

Qualicum Beach

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