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Qualicum Beach council decision denied by regional district

A motion to change Qualicum Beach's growth containment boundary using the minor amendment process was defeated by one vote at Tuesday night's regular Regional District of Nanaimo meeting.

The vote needed two-thirds of support from board members to pass.

Of the 16 directors present (Nanaimo Coun. George Anderson was absent), Nanaimo mayor John Ruttan, Nanaimo Coun. Bill Bestwick, Nanaimo Coun. Jim Kipp, director Alec McPherson (Cedar), director Jack De Jong (Lantzville) and director Maureen Young (Pleasant Valley) voted against the motion.

Bruce Fleming-Smith called the motion's defeat "a victory."

"I think it was the right decision for the RDN board to make," said Fleming-Smith, one of nine Qualicum Beach residents who spoke out against looming changes to the town's growth boundary. "The ball is back in the court of Qualicum Beach."

The changes in question require a review of the OCP to make an amendment to the RGS and would eliminate the need to consult with the RDN over many land-use issues. Many of those who spoke out against the changes allege the growth boundary change does not constitute a minor amendment.

Qualicum Beach Coun. Dave Willie said the outcome of Tuesday's meeting was "disappointing. The RDN (board) is overriding land-use decisions (in Qualicum Beach)," said Willie, adding the majority of RDN directors are appointed — not elected — to the board.

"The principle of that is just wrong."

Willie said he was “frustrated” that many of the directors who voted against the motion did not attend an earlier in-camera meeting where the issue was discussed in depth with staff.

“The ones who didn’t show up (to the in-camera meeting) were the ones who voted against it (the motion),” he said insisting information from the delegates can be “skewed.”

“I’m disappointed that many of the members from Nanaimo know full well they don’t have to take anything to the RDN,” said Willie. “A special interest group from Qualicum Beach has now persuaded the RDN — they’ve effectively overruled council.”

In light of the defeated motion, a new one was carried seeing the RGS amendment as submitted by the town of Qualicum Beach proceed through the regular amendment process. The board will require a consultation plan for that process.

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