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 development concept plan for West Ridge presented to the Planning Advisory Committee in April 2012 included specific designated park areas.
- Developer presentations made to Council in May 2012 included supporting documentation and drawings describing the development and identified 3 park parcels.
- QB Council approved and passed the re-zoning bylaw in July of 2012, enabling residential subdivision, but did not zone all the originally proposed park areas as park land as was planned.
- In July 2012, Town Planning staff advised the developer that park designation was required as a condition of final approval of the plan. Only 2 of 3 parcels were subsequently designated, excluding the largest 3rd parcel, present Lot 23, with no explanation for the alteration to the development plan
- The Developer was assessed development costs of $180,075.00 for the establishment of park areas.
- The exclusive sales marketing Realty agency provided purchasers maps of lot layouts indicating greenspace and purchasers believed the parks to be a feature.
- A planting and an irrigation system was completed on all park lands in accordance to the 2012 Landscape Plan including Lot 23 now the subject of Bylaw 741.
- Parks & Recreation crews have annually maintained all the landscaped areas.
- Only since the Notice of Bylaw 741 in January 2020, did the West Ridge owners learn that the lot (Lot 23) was not designated park, as required in it’s 2012 development approval and remained zoned a residential lot.
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.