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New fire hall site in Qualicum Beach is on parkland

A town official has confirmed about one-third of the site where Qualicum Beach's new fire hall will stand is designated as parkland.

That has at least one Qualicum Beach resident unhappy.

"We're building a $6 million focus building and that location is parkland — it was given in goodwill as parkland," said Tony Wilde. "There's a lot of wildlife in there. It's not just a piece of scrubland."

Site preparation work has already begun on the $6 million project off Rupert Road near the roundabout. Wilde said he believes another piece of town-owned land, near the airport, would be better suited for the fire hall and would cost the town less than the approximately $2 million it will spend on the Rupert Road location to bring services like the sewer to the fire hall site.

"(The new fire hall) is in the wrong location," said Wilde.

Town engineer Bob Weir said the town has always known it was going to use some parkland for the fire hall. The land was designated parkland as part of the price a developer paid to sub-divide nearby lands.

"We always knew part of it (the new fire hall site) was parkland," said Weir. "We knew it was going to be used for some municipal purpose. We knew we needed a reservoir and we knew we needed a fire hall and that site was good."

Traditionally, when municipalities use parkland for some purpose, they dedicate some other parcel of town-owned land as park space.

"That's typically the easiest way to do it, but it's not the only way to do it," said Weir.

Both Weir and Wilde said town council was expected to raise the issue at a meeting Wednesday afternoon, but there was no meeting listed on the town's online calendar, usually an accurate source of when council is meeting for any reason.

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