I am writing to you today because I (and thousands of other area residents) have serious concerns about what is going on with Town Council and town hall staff in Qualicum Beach.
Since the election of Councillor Adam Walker to the provincial legislature and the medical leave of absence of Councillor Robert Filmer, the three remaining council members have been ramming through development proposals, at least one of which will require changes to our Official Community Plan. There has been a great outcry, especially over the latter situation, with a petition containing 6,000-plus signatures opposing this desecration of our OCP. But last week council gave second reading to said proposal, which will go to public hearing and, no doubt, get third reading, in February.
I am asking you to please put a halt to all council actions until the town’s residents are once again represented by a full council of five members. Although Adam Walker was elected to the provincial legislature in October the township has yet to appoint an electoral officer to organize a by-election. My understanding is that your department has instructed that an electoral officer not be appointed now until the future of Robert Filmer is settled. While I certainly understand the sense in trying to minimize cost and effort when it comes to a by-election it should be noted that Councillor Filmer did not announce his leave until fairly recently. Many town residents feel that the by-election should have been called long before Councillor Filmer’s impending absence was announced.
Finally, there is great concern here at the number of in-camera meetings being called by Council. In the past week there has been one regular public meeting and two in-camera meetings. Tomorrow another in-camera meeting is scheduled. We know for a fact that this council is not averse to doing public business behind closed doors. I cite their in-camera decision in late October to demolish a beloved local heritage landmark. Only five long days of protests by hundreds of supporters, extensive lobbying and letter writing managed to turn around the situation regarding St. Andrews Lodge. If Adam Walker had not given local citizens the heads up regarding the impending demolition the lodge would now be nothing more than a pile of rubble.
I know that as someone who comes from an area that treasures its beautiful environment and its history, you will understand all too well the concern of the thousands of local residents who are appalled that their lovely small town’s ambiance is on the brink of desecration. I beseech you to please suspend all council actions until we have a full and fair by-election and are fully represented on Council.
Thank you for your time and consideration.