Note: It's This Thursday!
The RDN is presenting an extensive free Zoom webinar on all aspects of owning a well which will help "private well owners protect the quality and supply of their drinking water." For more information or to register use this link: rdn.bc.ca/wellsmart
Note: It's This Thursday!
If you would like to send a letter of support for Qualicum Beach Becoming a Blue Community, here is the template provided by the Arrowsmith GroundWater Alliance:
Dear Mayor Wiese and Council,
I am writing in favour of Qualicum Beach declaring itself a Blue Community. I strongly encourage the Qualicum Beach Town Council to pass the following resolutions to:
By adopting these three simple tenets, our Town can contribute to the protection and preservation of a priceless and increasingly vulnerable resource—water!
Without water, we cannot survive. Without sanitation, we are vulnerable to pollution and disease. In fact, our town has shown that it already values and protects water for our community,so let us take the next steps. Passing the first resolution would officially confirm and acknowledge publicly that water and sanitation are human rights. In doing so, we will raise awareness in our own community and in Canada as a whole.
Passing the second resolution would recognize and promote the value of our local water, renowned for its good taste. Our Town would no longer offer more expensive and wasteful individual-use drinking water in plastic bottles in Town buildings and events. Instead, we can provide our own local water and encourage multiple-use containers that can be filled from our taps.
Finally, passing the third resolution would helppromoteawareness of our excellent municipal water and sanitation services and the need to protect and maintain water as a public resource for us now, our children, and future generations.
We urge you to make it possible for Qualicum Beach to join the seventy communities in Canada that have already become Blue Communities. It is a status for the Town of Qualicum Beach we can all be proud of.
Address: (Please put your full address, or, your town and postal code)
His Worship the Mayor and Council,
545 Nenzel Road Re-zoning Amendment
August 19, 2020
There are questions and concerns for Council to consider about the re-zoning of 545 Nenzel Road.
Mr. Sales responded to my question as to why this re-zoning amendment was not being processed as an OCP amendment. The answer wasn’t entirely clear and the reason for not processing the application as an OCP amendment was based on a number of various factors without explanation. Is Council also questioning why this rural 5 acre parcel outside the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) is being processed simply as a re-zoning? Is Council planning on adjusting the UCB to accommodate the development? And if not, why not? The re-zoning for 850 Eaglecrest Drive is also a rural property outside the the UCB, but is being processed as an OCP amendment. Why are these two re-zoning applications going through different amendment processes?
Regarding this development’s OCP non-compliance and conflicting OCP policies, planning’s August 19, 2020 memorandum states, “As a result, policies specifying no growth in this area must be weighed against policies that support innovative approaches to housing.” Depending on one’s view point, objectives and values, deciding which of the aforesaid conflicting policies should take precedence is a subjective choice. Policies related to housing are simple and straight forward. If one considers housing a priority a simple and immediate solution is to build more houses. Policies around land use, growth and environmental stewardship are complex. The broader issues of growth and land use have meaningful consequences now and in the future that can be either beneficial or harmful depending on how they are managed and implemented. I disagree with planning that the conflicting OCP policies related to Nenzel Road proposal are of equal ‘weight’.
Another consideration that has broader and longer term consequences is the direction this development proposal is leading Qualicum Beach. The future of Qualicum Beach, the future of people living here and future generations are dependant on the decisions and choices made today by their elected representatives. It is vital that our Council looks at this proposal from an holistic perspective and not solely as increasing housing stock. Residents hope that Council takes into account land use OCP policies, the environment, location, and the long term consequences of land use changes. We are told that Nenzel development would result in 6 rental houses, but there is more to this development than that single element. If Council votes in favour of the development, will there be a covenant attached to the development permit to ensure that the new homes remain as rental properties in perpetuity? It is not uncommon for a development permit to be awarded, but the final development ends up quite different from original plans. The applicant told the APC that he prefers to stratify the development.
When development occurs on the Island it normally entails tree removal, 634 Rye Road is an example. In the past we accepted this as normal and moved on. However, we have reached a point in time both locally and globally that we notice the impacts to our lives, environment and natural assets like clean water when altering land. These observations have compelled government, scientists and academics to look critically at how we use land. Unfortunately, our decisions are often short sighted resulting in profound affects on climate, natural resources, wildlife and people’s health.
As part of the process and decisions around development of rural land Council must consider the cumulative impacts on Qualicum Beach’s natural assets.
Since Planning is attempting to avoid an OCP amendment and a change to the UCB for 545 Nenzel Road application, the memorandum to Council neglects to include OCP policy 6 Section 2.1.1 where it lists the supporting documentation for any UCB expansion. One of the six documents is an environmental impact assessment that identifies environmentally sensitive areas. The memorandum did acknowledge that some of the property was within Ecological Development Permit Area of Aquatic Habitat Greenway. Plannings response to this is that the development itself is outside the boundary of the DPA. Properties in this area are within Beach Creek watershed. Aside from Beach Creek there is abundant wildlife in the area around Nenzel Road. An environmental assessment must be a necessary requirement as part of the application process.
If Council chooses not to consider how much the community values the natural environment as expressed in the OCP and the community’s desire to protect rural land, and instead chooses to re-zone rural parcels for subdivision such as Nenzel Road and 850 Eaglecrest Drive, then we only need look at the urban sprawl of our neighbours in Parksville for a clear image of what Qualicum Beach would be like if we go down that road of up zoning rural parcels. The decision to go ahead with processing 850 Eaglecrest Drive proposal has already set a precedent with Council’s action to undertake a Comprehensive Plan for the Estate Residential Lands in the future. It is highly likely that Nenzel Road development will set a similar precedent if that is the intention of this Council.
Another disturbing aspect of Council’s support for re-zoning rural land outside the UCB is the contradiction to Council’s proclamation over a year ago, that OCP policies related to UCB and rural land would be respected and that residents need not worry about urban sprawl into rural areas. The public is entitled to know Council’s true intentions when it comes to rural land and the UCB.
How much has it cost the taxpayers to extend water main infrastructure to Nenzel Road for 545 Nenzel and Pheasant Glen?
In summary, in terms of transparency, collaborative community planning and public interest, I would expect Council to be eager to engage and include the public in these major decisions involving rezoning of rural land and diverging from the OCP before this application is moved further along in the process.
578 Maple Street
August 12, 2020
Dear Mayor and Council,
I am writing you on behalf of the Friends of the Qualicum Beach Forest(FQBF) a group formed last spring. We are a community movement committed to protecting, restoring, enhancing, and maintaining our urban trees and forest on public and private lands in the Town of Qualicum Beach. We have as a primary goal the engagement of our community for a joint collaboration with the Town on the design and implementation of a Tree and Vegetation Management Plan, with the associated bylaws.
This is an exciting time for us as the Town begins to consider the long awaited draft Tree and Vegetation Management Plan prepared by Jeremy Gye. I would like to make four recommendations as follows:
First, FQBF recommends that the name Tree and Vegetation Management Plan be changed to the Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP). This would signify it is more than a tree and vegetation management plan (trees are vegetation). Rather the use of this term (UFMP) speaks to the urban forest, public and private, in a holistic sense as interconnected with all the benefits an urban forest provides. This is illustrated on page 8 of the draft plan by Gye. We recommend that the Town consider our trees as Municipal Natural Infrastructure Assets. In a submission to the mayor and council of Campbell River in November 2018 Greenways Land Trust put it this way:
Trees provide essential municipal infrastructure functions in storm water management, air quality improvement, energy savings, property value increase, and carbon sequestration, in addition to their inherent habitat value and aesthetic for the community. Whether the tree is on City property or private property has no impact on the value of that tree.
This holistic view of an urban forest is consistent as well with the definition of the urban forest from the British Columbia Toolkit: “The total collection of trees and associated plants growing in a city or Town. It includes trees in parks and yards, along roadways and paths, and in other areas, both on public and private lands.” 
Use of the term UFMP would put the plan at the same level of other strategic and holistic town plans including the Official Community Plan, the Sustainability Plan, and the Waterfront Master Plan. It is noteworthy that page 40 the Town Community Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2020 explicitly states that “Qualicum Beach has not adopted an Urban Forest Master Plan.” The expectation is and has been that Qualicum Beach have an Urban Forest Master Plan explicitly so named.
Second, the relation of the Community Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2020 to the UFMP needs to be made more explicit. The CCCAP has nine overarching areas of focus, six of which are goals of the OCP and the UFMP including the wild/urban interface for fire, natural asset management, urban forest resilience, watershed management, invasive species and climate change integration. The UFMP needs to make explicit reference to the CCCAP which is highly supportive of the necessity of a UFMP. For example, the task force recommendations of the CCCAP noted above should be considered as part of the UFMP.
Third, given that the Town is undergoing an update of their “Asset Management Strategy” as outlined in a document of February 5, 2020 this would be an opportunity to include our trees and urban forest as natural infrastructure assets. According to the “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability” a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development, “A healthy urban forest is one of the only municipal capital investments that will appreciate in value over time.” Trees have value. We must value our trees.
Fourth, and key to our group, is the need for the Town to clearly articulate how citizens may be engaged in the design and implementation of a UFMP and accompanying bylaws. It is the historical norm and expectation of the citizens of Qualicum Beach that in plans of this magnitude that they be involved. While we are in a Pandemic critical social functions have not been discontinued and many businesses have managed to adapt and continue their activity. We all recognize that education is a priority and we must ensure it happens even in a Pandemic. The same goes for democracy and citizen engagement. Engagement of citizens in the design of the UFMP is essential and where there is a will there must be a way.
Finally, we urge that design and approval of the Urban Forest Master Plan and the accompanying bylaws be done at the same time. Indeed, Gye’s draft plan already has significant elements of both. There is ample research on bylaws in other BC municipalities that we are willing to bring to your attention if it would facilitate the process.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that the Friends of the Qualicum Beach Forest sees itself as constructively engaging with the town to ensure that we get the best Urban Forest Management Plan and set of bylaws possible.
Jay Smith, PhD
Spokesperson for the Friends of the Qualicum Beach Forest
587 Spruce Street
Arrowsmith Parks and Land Use Council
Brown Property Preservation Society
Chartwell Residents Association
Communities Protecting Our Coast
Eaglecrest Residents Association
Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region
Qualicum Beach Residents Association
Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers Society
Qualicum Nature Preservation Society
Qualicum Woods Residents Association
2 https://www.iclei.org/ Please note that the ICLEI played a key role in the preparation of the Adaptation Plan.
Mr. Mayor and Councillors,
I am compelled to express my thoughts regarding the discussions and decisions reached during the subject meeting. Very important comments were touched on that did not necessarily reach a logical conclusion. Let’s begin with the Todsen development proposal. During the APC meeting, which resulted in a 3-2 favourable vote, one member commented that the proposal would look better than what currently exists. During your meeting, Mr. Sales was asked what is the state of the property. His answer was that the land had been essentially cleared about 5 years ago. Council never did ask who or why that woodland was cleared. My recollection was the land was cleared by the property owner and it was done in anticipation of some development. Council commented that infrastructure to accommodate the Cottages development was “oversized” to accommodate a future development on this property. All of this anticipation and accommodation was taken while this property was outside the Urban Containment Boundary and well before any development was presented to the public. Good planning or putting the cart before the horse?
Council pointed out the “iconic” meaning of the Estate Properties and cautioned that nothing should be done until the next OCP review. Council was reminded of a long standing bylaw protecting trees and vegetation on the Estate Properties, but that protection excludes what is now the Todsen property. No one has been able to offer a clear explanation why that is the case. An opinion was raised that a comprehensive plan for the future of the Estate Properties should be established, as a priority, in “fairness” to the developer. In conclusion, Council did not move to 2nd reading, but did ask for a lift analysis and traffic study prior to a public hearing - to be held by the proponent. What is council’s priority? Expediency for the developer or protection, and restoration of woodland?
How can Council appreciate the “iconic” value of the Estate Properties to our Town and next discuss proceeding with the Todsen proposal which is part of the Estate Properties and outside the UBC? I recall assurances made by several councillors during the RDN discussions in late 2018 that Qualicum Beach was certainly capable of making its own land use decisions without RDN involvement. It was said the Town would continue to utilize the UCB to prevent sprawl and limit servicing expectations. In early 2019, when asked directly what indentions existed to modify the UCB, two council members replied with “nothing” or “no changes are anticipated”. One and a half years later, after several changes to the UCB, after assurances during the RDN discussion, and adoption of the OCP, hear we are discussing this proposal. So our inexperienced council and our highly experienced staff have led us to this point - I call it “never, never-land
Next we have the Nenzel Road project. Several council members expressed their satisfaction with this development with the usual terms of rental inventory, land use, density etc. None of these attributes were mentioned in discussing the Todsen project, I suspect because that project does not satisfy any of these objectives. But I digress. The significance of this proposal is the request to subdivide the property to 1. protect two existing homes and property and 2. to facilitate financing using collateral of the subdivided land. While one councillor argued this request was not the same as what was previously granted to Pheasant Glen, it seems to me to be very similar, just bigger stakes. Mr. Sailland explained at some length how this is a common practice used by developers to help finance projects. One council member questioned if it was appropriate to consider proponent financing methods when discussing subdividing properties. Another councillor expressed concern that by agreeing to this request, a precedent becomes established that could lead to the erosion of and development of the 5 acre properties that comprise a meaningful portion of our Town.
This is a critical issue that I believe council does not value enough. Establishing precedents can have a very long lasting impact. That is why extreme caution should be taken to avoid what one may think is a one-off decision as an effort to accommodate that becomes an unintended future consequence. In my opinion, council does not seem to give this matter sufficient weight in their discussions.
A council member suggested a moratorium on 5G cell towers. I do not recall Telus ever stating what level of service the proposed tower will initially provide. I do appreciate the health concerns expressed by many and the proposed location options near the elementary school and church. I also understand that the cell service from Telus in Eaglecrest is not acceptable. It is both a safety and convenience issue. But the 19A, Village Way intersection is an important entrance to our Town. The thought of a 150 foot monopole standing near this Town entrance is hard to imagine.
Perhaps Telus would fund a new sign to replace the current town, signage. It could read, “Welcome to Qualicum Beach! Enjoy our beauty AND our radiation. Or perhaps Council should insist that Telus disguise or camouflage the tower. I have seen this done quite well in the U.S. - at a considerable cost to the service provider.
To summarize, I believe that individually you each touched on some very important points. Collectively, in my opinion, you missed the mark. The Todsen property is either in the Estate Properties or it is not. I believe it is within the Estate Properties, it is outside the Urban Containment Boundary and should be governed accordingly. The precedent raised in subdividing the Nenzel Road property should be reconsidered for both the precedent relative to other five acre properties and if it is appropriate for council to make land use decisions to accommodate developer financing needs and/or wants.
996 Royal Dornoch Drive
The following reports on the Council Meeting of May 13th, 2020, it captures how each Councillor voted on critical issues.
Also, I have provided additional insight and background surrounding some of the decisions.
We do not have a newspaper, and you have a right to know what your Council is doing.
These opinions are my own alone. I encourage everyone to view the meeting on the Town Website
This COVID-19 crisis has brought out the best in many of us. The picture above shows Doreen, our Membership Chair, delivering some groceries to people in self isolation. If you are able to safely go to shop, ask around and some of your neighbours are in self-isolation because they were travelling, were exposed to someone who became ill or are at prime risk for complications if they catch the disease. Thank you Doreen for setting an example for all of us.
Mayor’s Meeting March 11, 2020
Thank you for this opportunity to speak on something that is deeply troubling to me. I have brought it up before but felt the response was canned rather than a response to my specific concerns.
My topic is
The inherent requirement of transparency for good governance in a democracy.
Why is transparency in government so important in a democracy?
This town is full of knowledge, experience and skills in our engaged citizens, who have come from all over Canada from every known occupation. Use this wealth of knowledge by allowing them to be informed and involved in real ways with council to build a better town and keep the reasons we all came and stayed.
FACT SHEET: The ‘Park” Lot 23 – West Ridge Way – Qualicum Beach 02/08/20
A Notice to Electors of Bylaw 741 was published January 7th describing a small park land exchange in the 49 home West Ridge subdivision of Qualicum Beach, at Laburnum and Claymore Roads. In fact, the infinitely small (10 M2) land exchange is incidental to the bylaw’s true purpose, which is to sub-divide a lot previously designated for park in West Ridge and to create two new residential building lots to sell. The 10 M2 triangle of land slated for exchange is an obstacle to the proposed street frontage for one of these lots.
The Process: AAP – Alternative Approval Process
Initially called a “Counter-Petition Process” and now “Alternate Approval Process”, eligible electors in the town are assumed to be in support of a bylaw unless a 10% threshold of electors submit formal ‘Electoral Response Forms’ objecting to its passing. This practice is being discontinued in many jurisdictions as it can be and is often mis-used to advance passage of bylaws under the radar of citizens most directly impacted by a bylaw. Bylaw 741 has the most impact on the 98 residents of the West Ridge subdivision, yet 801 of the entire 8000 Qualicum Residents are required to overturn the bylaw. This is fundamentally unfair and is a practice the Town can and intends to use for similar land exchanges and ultimately the sale of properties they wish to dispose of and benefit from.
Members and friends of QBRA are invited to write blogs on our site. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.