Changes to Qualicum Beach’s urban containment boundary (UCB) and whether or not to extend it to include other properties with proposed developments provided the final motion as the committee of the whole wrapped up its Official Community Plan policy review on Thursday (Feb. 15).
The developments included in the motion were: Pheasant Glen Resort development; Island Timberlands, for land adjacent to Pheasant Glen; Berwick Road agricultural land reserve (ALR) for a residential development; Eaglecrest Drive for a residential development; Laburnum Ridge, which is town-owned property; and the airport lands which are mostly town-owned.
There were three possible motions on the floor: that specific properties included be identified as requiring further discussion on their development potential; that the UCB be amended to include all the properties; and that the UCB be amended to include the entire Town of Qualicum Beach.
The motion to include all properties listed failed, but the motion to include two specific properties into the UCB, Laburnum Ridge and the airport lands, passed.
Coun. Neil Horner put forward a motion to consider only the Laburnum property and the airport lands. Horner, who said council members were made to feel ashamed whether they allowed or disallowed urban sprawl, said it was “shameful” for people to buy property on outskirts of town and then try to flip it for residential.
Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said all of the properties suggested are within the town boundary and deserve equal treatment and equal opportunity.
“Picking favourites leans toward undue influences on council and staff to promote issues that we may not be in favour of,” said Luchtmeijer, adding that choosing the Laburnum property and airport land could be seen as picking favourites.
About five people in the gallery got up to speak on the UCB motions. A number of people agreed there needs to be well-planned growth and development, provided it’s in suitable areas, such as within walking distance to amenities.
One of the people to address council was Kari Knutson, who said she has lived in Qualicum Beach for about 40 years. In her time living in the town, Knutson said, she has seen a lot of changes.
“I can tell you when the block that is now Pharmasave was just bush, or the block of Chilham Village, for that matter,” Knutson said.
She said her “walk down memory lane” was to make a few points about the town she loves and wants to see thrive.
“For this to happen, it obviously needs to continue to grow. It needs to grow in a way that serves all demographics. We need to welcome new development in a controlled manner, but nonetheless, development,” Knutson said.
Knutson said she grew up in the Eaglecrest development, which only became a part of the town in the 1990s, and said she remembers watching Eaglecrest and Chartwell being developed.
“Imagine not having those neighbourhoods. Where would all of those residents live?”
Knutson said growth “isn’t scary when done right,” adding that keeping the UCB the way it is doesn’t make any sense to her.
“I understand… the fear of change, but let me ask you: If I knew your address, what would I remember about it from 40 years ago? Bush, most likely.”
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