Opinion

EDITORIAL: There is a compromise available in Qualicum Beach

The village neighbourhood of Qualicum Beach should be protected.

If a town is fortunate, it can showcase something unique, something that sets it apart from other communities when it looks to attract tourists, new residents and new business.

Qualicum Beach has just that, with an attractive, condensed, pedestrian-friendly downtown. Things like the table-service-only bylaw, which at first glance seems exclusionary or even draconian, actually makes some sense and adds to the uniqueness of downtown.

We see absolutely no reason, however, to extend growth restrictions or needless hurdles to development outside of those unique blocks downtown.

And we see even less logic in having those who are not elected to represent Qualicum Beach taxpayers having a say in development issues within the town boundaries.

The Qualicum Beach Residents' Association (QBRA) is hosting a meeting on Friday (3 p.m. at the Seniors' Centre on Memorial Avenue) to shed more light on an issue council is expected to deal with on Monday.

It's complex, and it does have a faces-glaze-over-in-abject-confusion side. The QBRA believes there has not been enough public consultation about council's impending vote on making what's called an urban containment boundary the same as the town boundary.

As it stands now, development outside the existing (confining?) urban containment boundary requires something akin to royal ascent from people who represent places like Nanaimo and Cedar, namely the board of directors of the Regional District of Nanaimo.

As with most things in life and politics, there is a compromise position that may not make either side in the debate happy, but it is fair. And this issue has been on the radar of at least one town councillor for years, so it's not tied to one certain development. The emergence of the Pheasant Glen proposal may have pushed it to the forefront, but that's what happens in the development of all laws and bylaws — something comes along that forces debate and possible change, whether we're talking about the bylaws of a town or the Criminal Code of Canada.

For Qualicum Beach, why can't the compromise be the protection of the village neighbourhood on one hand, and the availability of growth outside those designated downtown blocks on the other, with Qualicum Beach people making the decisions?

— Editorial by John Harding

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