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Residents feel duped about development in Qualicum Beach

While the exterior will be finished, work on the interior of the heritage building portion of the College Inn development is on hold. - Auren Ruvinsky photo
While the exterior will be finished, work on the interior of the heritage building portion of the College Inn development is on hold.
— image credit: Auren Ruvinsky photo

Work on the heritage building in the Qualicum College Heights development will be postponed, but the developer will have to finish the exterior of the building on schedule.

Developer Dean Pomeroy told town council Monday night "sales are not there at this time for me to go ahead and build it all."

The project is slated to add three luxury condo buildings to the heritage building currently on site, which would house 40 units.  A request was before council Monday night to postpone the rehabilitation of the heritage building until the second phase, among other requests by the developer.

At the meeting, Pat Jacobson shared her frustration with the project and her opposition to some of the developers requests.

She said she has a number of concerns regarding what has already taken place at the site, including the clearing of trees at Burnham Road. Some trees were slated to be removed to facilitate underground servicing, she said, but the real reason they were removed was so the site could be used for construction access including all sorts of large trucks, which she documented with photos at the meeting. She also showed pictures of downed street signs and large trees and branches strewn along the side of the road.

"We were duped by the town and by the developer," she said.

The building, and construction site, continues to be an eyesore, she said, and she voiced her desire to have the developer finish the exterior of the Heritage Building in Phase 1 as scheduled.

Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said he agreed entirely with the delegation and moved her request. Coun. Willie agreed saying the site looks a lot worse than he ever thought it would.

Coun. Mary Brouillette, who was on council when the project was approved, said she hoped some trees could be put back with remedial work.

“What happened to Burnham road, I don’t have words,” she said. “Because absolutely, when we looked at the pictures, everything that we were shown, that was not what it looked like.”

Luchtmeijer said he wanted to make sure, however, that council not make it too complex so that the developer walk away and leave the site unfinished. After the motion passed unanimously to allow the postponement of the interior but not the exterior of the building, council discussed the other requests from the developer.

The other motions before town council were that council request the applicant provide alternate designs to accommodate the elevator shaft that would minimize changes to the south facade of the Heritage Building; eliminate the LEED equivalency requirement and put in Built Green certification instead, and enter into a restrictive covenant which would return funds to the developer once it met green building standards.

The developer was now requesting to drop the LEED building standards for the subsequent buildings. Staff recommended the developers meet a different certification called Built Green and also enter into a restrictive covenant in the form of a performance bond that would be given to the Town and refunded to the developer once it achieved the green building standard.

Acting CAO of the Town John Marsh changed the wording from performance bond to irrevocable letter of credit to avoid legal trouble.

Council passed the motions and agreed with Sales that it would be a good idea to arrange a public information meeting with the developer.

During comment period at the end of the meeting, the developer, Dean Pomeroy with PR Pomeroy Restoration & Construction, addressed some of the concerns voiced.

“Believe me, I would love to build this thing all at one time,” he said. “Sales are not there at this time for me to go ahead and build it all.”

Built Green certification actually has more stringent requirements than LEED Silver, he said, and he will follow through with that. He said the trees taken out were all required and suggested that the maybe the architect’s rendering, which showed more trees than there are currently, was meant to show what would come back in the future. He said he would be happy to meet with residents and discuss their concerns at a meeting.

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