Development doesn’t have to be a dirty word

The ‘d-word’ can often inspire plenty of animated debate.

Development is always a hot-button issue in any community. It’s no different in Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the surrounding areas.

In most communities, and often more so in smaller towns, you’ll find members of WHEE (we hate everything equally). Small, vocal groups of residents who never want anything to change.

The way it was in 1955? Perfect.

That’s the way it should stay.

No new highways. Don’t need ’em. No new buildings. Don’t need ’em. And on and on.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way things need to work.

Couple that with a history of politicians who’ve been unable to come to any type of meaningful consensus on a lot of major projects, and it’s often hard to get things done.

You’ll end up waiting years for things like a multiplex/pool/rec centre, decaying running tracks and building projects that seemingly drag on forever.

Thing is, we need development. It keeps feeding the building of new and replacing decaying infrastructure, which requires new revenue, or increased revenue.

We need the jobs that major projects would bring.

We need the people (really, more people here won’t be so terrible) living in new housing projects. They bring with them cash for local businesses and added tax revenue.

This week, IAG Developments said it’s going back to the drawing board with a proposed seven-building development on Parksville’s waterfront.

From a glass half-full perspective, this can be seen as a good thing.

There’s a vast difference between hating everything and being legitimately concerned about soaring building heights on the waterfront. But make no mistake, a happy medium should be found for such a development plan.

Along those lines, it was encouraging to hear what Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne had to say.

“Council as a whole really liked the project,” he said.

Good to hear.

The issue?

“They didn’t like the heights of the building,” said the mayor. “Everybody you talk to – it comes back to basically that comment.”

Fair enough. But let’s hope the developer does come back with a proposal most can live with.

As Mayne points out, Parksville is in serious need of attracting more young workers to the area. He also correctly notes the development helps create a true city centre that connects the boardwalk, beach and downtown. That’s something we should all be behind.

“You’re not going to please everyone… everybody has an opinion on what should be done on that piece of property,” said Mayne.

Indeed. Trying to please everyone will surely fail. Instead, let’s hope decisions are made in the best interests of the community as a whole.

That’s why we elect our politicians, isn’t it?

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