Coun. Neil Horner said at a council meeting Monday, July 17 that stratas within Qualicum Beach are “unfriendly” to families. — Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach councillor wants to end strata age restrictions

Staff says council can use land use bylaw as a tool

A Qualicum Beach councillor says he’s found the source of Qualicum Beach’s perceived unfriendliness toward families.

“This town, as you may know, also has a bit of a reputation as being somewhat less than welcoming to families,” said Coun. Neil Horner at Monday’s (July 17) council meeting. “I would suggest this council is entirely family friendly, so where is the problem?”

“You see, Qualicum Beach is unfriendly to families, but it’s not this council that is unfriendly to families, it’s the strata councils of as many as 500 units in this town that bear that responsibility.”

At Monday’s meeting, Horner put forward a notice of motion to prepare a bylaw amendment that would “prohibit strata corporation bylaws or rules referring to the age or family composition of persons who may reside in a dwelling unit without council approval.”

The motion will be coming before council at the next meeting on Aug. 21.

Horner said he doesn’t think age restrictions are right.

“I don’t think strata councils should have the power to impose them. It’s a human rights issue and I intend to at least try to do something about it,” he said.

Horner said he realizes some young people may seem intimidating to some residents.

“Our elderly residents need to cast their lines back and remember they were young once,” he said.

Later in the meeting, during a discussion for a third reading of a bylaw amendment for a development at 174 and 180 First Ave. West, Coun. Anne Skipsey put forward a motion (which passed unanimously) for a covenant to be placed on the development to ensure no age restrictions are introduced with the strata.

Coun. Barry Avis said he was unsure of the legalities. After researching the Strata Property Act, Avis said municipalities have no jurisdiction over stratas and the act “makes it clear that strata councils can pass bylaws that restrict the ages of people residing in the strata lot as long as it does not violate the human rights code.”

Avis then went on to say the B.C. Human Rights Code states “you cannot discriminate against a person attempting to purchase a property on account of their race, colour, religion or sexual orientation,” but the code does not restrict discrimination based on age.

Luke Sales, director of planning, said council has previously put a covenant in place that would prohibit age restrictions and not allowing rental units.

“We’ve had conversations with our lawyer about potential legality of applying this on a broader scale and the recommendation is that it would probably (have to) be through the zoning bylaw,” said Sales. “Because council has very broad discretionary authorities in implementing zoning. Land use is the town’s most powerful tool.”