As a new resident and retired senior in the Qualicum Beach area, I am following the strata age bylaw with great interest. At the council meeting I attended, three of five members of the Qualicum Beach council voted in favour of this bylaw which is, at best, a shameless “workaround” to restrict the long-established rights of independent strata councils to set an age limit for their corporation.
The B.C. courts have previously ruled on this issue and found there are compelling reasons to support age limits for seniors who prefer to live in the typically peaceful, and secure, environment of an age 55-plus setting.
The supporting council members at this meeting were relying on an irrational argument that, “anyone opposed to this bylaw is against living around children.”
Nothing could be further from the truth, and this is certainly not the primary reason the courts have supported age restrictions in past judgements.
Apart from the impact on property values, from my experience as a property manager, I know most issues arise due to the lifestyle differences between the older folks and the 19 (just old enough to sign a rental least)-to-30-something age groups.
Many of the younger adults are on their own for the first time.
Vulnerable seniors are looking for “quiet enjoyment” and “safety” which, if compromised, leads to anxiety and distress.
Finally, the notion this bylaw applies only to new construction may be discriminatory in the sense that it would deny local seniors the option of moving into a new, age-regulated complex in their chosen community.
To attract families, the focus should be on creating more employment, not restricting citizens’ rights.