Qualicum Beach must change, asserts the new mayor. As a QB taxpayer since 1994, I agree. Three changes are needed immediately:
Firstly, support families by building a public childcare facility in Qualicum Beach. Currently, there are spaces for only 38% of children aged 0-4. Availability of quality, affordable childcare will increase availability of employees and could provide for intergenerational experiences. Community groups (ECCO) and the provincial government are looking to partner with local governments.
Secondly, acknowledge the global warming crisis we are facing. Promote the work and mandate of the Mt. Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, which seeks “a positive future for all living species”. Update Qualicum Beach’s development practices to 2018 standards: use swales, wetlands, forests and natural watercourses to keep runoff where needed in the aquifer. Gibsons, B.C., developed a sharable model which expands green spaces while saving costs of constructing water diverting curbs, and culverts.
Lastly, admit 8,006 voters of Qualicum Beach are entitled to a seven-member council, according to B.C. provincial standards, to accurately represent voters, provide balanced decision-making, and make room for the inclusion of women, 55% of QB’s population. UN standards consider lack of women in decision-making roles as ineffective governance. Public discourse, including respectful debate by council, is part of a functioning democracy.
2019 is time Qualicum Beach directs policy toward a healthy, inclusive community.
We are lucky to have the natural, human, and financial resources to continue building on the successes of all our previous community leaders to ensure a sustainable future. Qualicum Beach has changed since settlers arrived; how it will change over the next four years is up to a council that can pass major projects with approval of three people. Let’s hope changes benefit the whole community.