A public hearing on the proposal has been set for Tuesday, April 22, 7 p.m., at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.
Councillors Mary Brouilette, Bill Luchtmeijer and Dave Willie want the Regional District of Nanaimo's Growth Containment Boundary to be expanded to match the town's boundary.
If the RDN board agrees, the town, without consulting the RDN, can then expand its Urban Containment Boundary to match the town boundary.
Lands now outside the designated urban-growth areas can then be developed. These include a $12-million residential subdivision proposed for the Pheasant Glen Golf Resort, a residential subdivision on 31 hectares owned by Island Timberlands, and the Milner Gardens estate lands.
The town wants the RDN to consider its application to be a minor amendment to the RDN's Regional Growth Strategy.
Planner Luke Sales said a minor amendment could be approved by August. Approving
it as a major amendment might take two years, well beyond the November municipal elections.
Even a minor amendment has to flow from a "full" Official Community Plan review but "full" isn't defined.
The town is saying the review took place at a public information meeting March 4. Resident Fox McKinley told council "it's very troubling to see such a significant change to the Official Community Plan without due process."
The current process is "unfair... undemocratic... incomplete... disingenuous," he said. "This is clearly a major amendment."
He called on council to "reconsider its current posturing" and to table the matter until after the November elections.
Deb McKinley told council the change will open all rural acreages to development. She and her husband, she said, are considering converting their acreage to the Qualimore Mountain View Agri-Inn and Resort, with a 48-room hotel, a restaurant and more.
That's what would happen, she said, "if you open the floodgates to unencumbered development."
Coun. Brouilette reiterated that the proposal "has nothing to do with Pheasant Glen.
"This is just a governance issue, not about a particular development," she said. "It should have been done years ago."
Coun. Luchtmeijer said the Pheasant Glen proposal brought to light that because of the boundary variations, "we had to look to people who don't even live in our community to make a decision," such as regional directors from Cedar and Coombs. Council is "just trying to set the ground rules," he said.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek said it's not about needing outside approval but about managing growth to keep the town attractive.
"I think it's a big issue," he said. Coun. Scott Tanner called for holding off until the completion of a full OCP review starting next year.
"This has absolutely everything to with Pheasant Glen," he said. "It's sitting on the back burner waiting."
© Oceanside Star
- See more at: http://www.oceansidestar.com/news/boundary-battle-heats-up-1.949797#sthash.eQQpoMk8.dpuf