Chamber manager Judi Ainsworth is disappointed the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce’s proposal for the OCP didn’t go through, but she’s not bitter.
The chamber proposal, to consider lands within a 20-minute walk of the downtown core for development, was rejected by council Feb. 23.
In a report to council, town staff said they didn’t support the idea for a number of reasons.
“Very few people will walk 1.5 kilometres for daily needs,” the report said. “As such, development beyond 400 metres from the downtown would result in more people depending on their cars, increasing greenhouse gases and would generally work against the goals of the Sustainability Plan.”
Commenting on the issue, Mayor Teunis Westbroek said the implications of the proposal could have led to a very different Qualicum Beach.
“When I asked how many people could be accommodated with the chamber proposal, based on conservative numbers, it would be about 26,000,” he said.
“If we used the density of the village neighbourhood, it would be more like 50,000, and I don’t think that’s acceptable — not what the community wants. It would destroy every reason that attracted us and made us want to live here in the first place.”
A motion to reject the proposal was passed, with Councillor Mary Brouilette away on holiday.
Commenting on the issue, Ainsworth said the point of the proposal had been to round out and fill in areas close to the downtown.
“We certainly have had some new development in Eaglecrest and will continue to have new development in those areas that are farther away from town,” she said. “The chamber was just looking to consider a number of things, not the least is the Sustainability Plan.”
“(That’s) where they said they wanted less cars and more people walking and cycling. It made sense to us to round out and fill in the urban containment boundary so there were areas where people could walk or cycle into town.”
The rejection, she said, was unfortunate.
“We are disappointed it has been shelved because obviously the chamber believes it’s a good thing,” she said. “It’s good for the community — and not just our seniors, but for our young families, too.”