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Qualicum Beach boundary debate deferred

If there are changes to Qualicum Beach's growth containment boundaries, it seems likely they won't be happening for quite a while, possibly years.

Staff presented options Monday night for how council could proceed on this contentious file, but in the end a motion passed unanimously to defer the discussion, without any solid date for it to return.

Coun. Mary Brouilette put a motion on the floor Monday night that reflected one of the staff options to move forward with changes that could have the town's boundary and what's been called the urban containment boundary one in the same. The current urban containment boundary circles, approximately, the downtown village centre.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek and Coun. Dave WIllie said they preferred a different staff-presented option, one that would have council and the community wait to discuss such boundaries during the next Official Community Plan review, scheduled for 2016-17.

In the end, Brouilette and the rest of council agreed to defer the discussion entirely, without a hard date for its return.

"I think that (the OCP review period) is the appropriate venue to review the growth containment boundary," said Westbroek.

Before she agreed to the deferment, Brouilette made a pitch for changes to the boundaries. "This is about getting our border under our control (and not the regional district's)," said Brouilette. "It's not to do with any particular development. At the last OCP review, the public did want this (boundary changes) on the table, but the council of the day did not. It's a long process that needs to get started — I think it's an important issue for our community."

Willie said changes are neeed, regardless of when. He said growth strategies and similar kind of boundaries are not working well in other communities and they are forcing development outside municipal boundaries and on to regional district lands.

"Every day I sit at the regional district table another subdivision is going ahead (on regional district lands) between Parksville and Qualicum Beach," said Willie. "We have pushed the growth between the communities and that's not supporting our downtown, not supporting our schools."

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