Council not so sure about participation in health network

Qualicum Beach town council members aren’t really sure if they want to be part of the Oceanside Community Health Network.

They will hang in there for now, with a request to the Vancouver Island Health Authority for information on just what dollar amounts their participation will mean.

Council was responding to a staff recommendation to endorse the concept, which was laid out, in a fashion, by a VIHA delegation to council Sept. 9.

Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said he believed there are other groups based in the community doing the same if not similar work espoused in the presentation of this network, which aims to link health services in the region.

“There’s nothing being presented here that hasn’t already been done by other groups,” said Luchtmeijer, who added that the presentation from the VIHA officials came “without a clear mandate and without a clear budget.”

Coun. Scott Tanner said he wanted to see the town be part of this network.

“If there is a request for funding, it can come back to council,” said Tanner. “I think this is a bonafide, genuine group and it would benefit the Town of Qualiucm Beach to participate.”

Coun. Dave Willie said the Sept. 9 presentation was “poor” but he said he was in favour of the staff recommendation because he believes it’s better for the town to be part of the discussion.

“I want to see what the concept is,” said Willie.

Coun. Mary Brouilette said her concerns centred around what kind of budget impact this would have on the town.

“I think it’s very premature and I wouldn’t support it at this time,” she said.

In the end, after an amendment to remove part of the staff recommendation that called for the town to be a visible sponsor of the network, council passed a motion to endorse and participate in the network.

Also from town council’s regular meeting Monday night:

• Coun. Luchtmeijer asked staff what was happening with the 90-day eviction notice issued by council almost four months ago in regards to the person living rent-free on the town-owned  Heritage Forest property.

Staff confirmed the person on still living on the property. “The instructions of council are being looked at through legal advice,” was the response from CAO Mark Brown.

• Council passed a motion to accept a staff recommendation to hire SNC Lavalin to complete phase one of the Waterfront Master Plan for $99,993. The money represents two-thirds of the grant funding the town received for the plan.

• Council gave the first two readings of a bylaw that would create an inter-municipal business licence.

• Council gave first reading to a bylaw that would make an amendment to the Official Community Plan to  include a language requested by the Regional District of Nanaimo in regards to the RDN’s regional growth strategy, despite the comments from Coun. Willie, who is the town’s representative on the RDN board.

Willie said he would vote for first reading to get the item on the table for future discussion.

“I’m having a tough time being consistent with a regional growth strategy that I don’t see much consistency in,” said Willie, making reference to developments happening in the RDN between Qualicum Beach and Parksville.

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