News

New Qualicum Beach portal reveals what's on offer in the town

A welcome portal for the Town of Qualicum Beach is up and running including videos, photos, testimonials and a variety of links.

The portal is the marketing website for the Town of Qualicum Beach’s attraction strategy.

"The purpose of the portal is, it's there for the community, but it's also to show what it is we have to offer, what are our education assets, what is it like to move here, what are the housing prices and that sort of thing," said the town's cultural development and communications contracted consultant, Patricia Huntsman.

The portal offers a community calendar for people to enter events, there are links to resources for children, plus links to arts groups and local entertainment and information about the education offered in the area.

Figures regarding commercial property tax rates can be found on the site along with a map of shops and services and the top business opportunities in the area. The difference between a website and a portal is that a portal brings together a collection of websites and is highly interactive, Huntsman explained. Coun. Mary Brouilette commended Huntsman on her work.

"This has been something that has been missing for some years, so good job," she said.

The Town of Qualicum Beach website has also had a facelift and will soon be up and running with improved functionality and navigation, Huntsman said. Some new features include quick links for frequently asked questions on the homepage, and during a public hearing the town can field live gallery questions.

"Some people, particularly my generation, don't necessarily want to attend the public hearing but they are fine to put in a question through a website while sitting on a couch at home," she said. Visit the portal at www.welcometoqb.com and the town's website is www.qualicumbeach.com.

• Via Rail has a new Chief Executive Officer and Coun. Dave Willie said he was impressed with his responses at a 15-minute presentation at the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalites conference in Niagara Falls, Ont.

"He certainly knew a lot about the ICF on the Island here," said Willie.

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano was very concerned about safety, Willie reported, and concerned with how Via Rail could reduce its subsidies. Willie said he and Parksville Mayor Chris Burger spoke with the CEO after the presentation. Among other topics, they discussed how the rail line in this community is a sidewalk to many people and if the train is turned back on, funds need to be made available to let people know they need to once again stop at rail crossings.

Willie said he’s looking forward to further discussions around the rail, such as a meeting with the Island Corridor Foundation board on June 18.

• A new trail surface will be installed in a small area of the Community Park in Qualicum Beach, which if extended could save the town $50,000 a year. A few years ago, gravel replaced cedar trails for more stability but residents complained that it was too hard on dogs’ paws.

The new surface is a compromise said Luke Sales, director of planning. It’s a combination of gravel on the bottom and cedar on top. It will be laid on 275 meters in the Community Park this summer.

• Protective services are expensive and there are a lot of costs that can’t be controlled, but the town can control its operating costs, said Director of Engineering Bob Weir.

That’s why council and the project team set out a goal of achieving 75 per cent greater energy efficiency than the 2010 Model National Energy Code for Buildings. The most recent energy modelling for the new fire hall shows it will reach 72 per cent, only three per cent off, resulting in an annual savings of $30,000. Tanner asked Weir if the heat exchange system was similar to the one at the Nanoose Bay Fire Hall which spilled a large amount of water.

Weir said no, the town merely diverts water from a higher pressure zone, puts it through a heat exchanger and it goes back into the system in a lower pressure zone.

Council passed a motion moving the fire hall public information meeting from the council chambers to the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on June 23 at 7 p.m. An open house on the plans will take place in the same location from 6-7 p.m. that night.

• An amendment was made to the cemetery bylaw before it passed second reading, which would allow residents who live in District 69 to purchase rights of internment for full and cremation burial at the Qualicum Beach Cemetery for the resident fees.

The new bylaw will also open up the door to former residents. As it stands the cemetery is losing around $40,000 a year.

A working group that was recently formed felt opening up the cemetery to more residents would help recover some of that loss and, acting CAO John Marsh reported, they also felt it was the right thing to do to let their neighbours into the cemetery.

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