The Qualicum Beach waterfront I knew as a boy 55 years ago has been seriously compromised by incremental change. We are losing the very reason for the town being here. And within 50, or 100 years, we stand to loose all of what remains. We need to start planning now.
On Thursday night, the town introduced a planning strategy to address waterfront revitalization and sea level change. This is an admirable first step, as yet unfunded.
The strategy lays out a two-year, two-phase process, the first phase establishing the scientific data base, and the second working with the community to establish multifaceted design solutions. These solutions must address not only the realities of sea level rise, but also the profile of future residential and commercial properties, engineering infrastructures, natural features and recreational amenities.
The required construction may require ultimately millions of dollars in capital investment, and may take several decades to implement. But the cost of doing nothing will also run into millions of dollars in infrastructure and property losses. And doing nothing will irreparably damage the quality of life for future generations.
It is encouraging that the town has applied for a grant to begin the planning work; but additional resources will be needed.
We are the stewards of what we have. Let’s look into the future and get our priorities straight: funding, completion and implementation of a Waterfront Plan must become an ongoing community commitment.
We should make this funding the priority issue in the next municipal election.