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Developers want more growth in Qualicum Beach
Realtors and developers in Qualicum Beach want new land freed up to work with — and they’re not finding it in the draft OCP.
Speaking at a special open house to discuss the new official community plan (OCP), realtor Dave Bryant said the draft plan contains nothing new in the way of development opportunities.
Clearly disappointed that proposals for development had been rejected in the plan, Bryant urged council to reconsider their priorities.
“Island Timberlands was blown out of the water,” he said. “What’s wrong with including projects like this in the document so we can work over the next five years to bring great, innovative ideas to the table? There are no new ideas, no opportunities, nothing big.”
Bryant said while council’s plan in the last OCP had been to densify the village neighbourhood area of the community, this had not come to pass, and likely wouldn’t, given the development cost charges (DCCs) and other impediments.
“We don’t see very much opportunity in the village neighbourhood over the long-term,” he said. “The homes are too new and they have too much value to try to tear them down, redevelop and subdivide. It’s not going to happen.”
Because of this, he said, Qualicum Beach is losing out.
“We can do some cutting-edge stuff, solar, geothermal and different housing sizes,” he said. “You have the opportunity to do these things, but we don’t have the opportunity to have new land available and that’s really disappointing.”
Town planner Luke Sales agreed there are challenges to developing the village neighbourhood, with its newer homes and established neighbourhoods, but he stressed opportunities do exist.
“Every situation is different and it would have to be done piece by piece,” he said. “We are not dealing with a green field situation anymore and we are dealing with a limited land base. Development in the village neighbourhood is difficult and that is one reason why we are talking about an infrastructure review.”
Head planner Paul Butler agreed.
“We are trying to find solutions to the downtown area,” he said. “We haven’t had a lot of takers, so we need to sit down and figure out why and what incentives will motivate people to develop in the downtown.”