Boundary debate takes a turn in Qualicum Beach

Town to seek legal opinion in the wake of B.C. Supreme Court ruling

The town’s lawyer will be asked whether making a change to the Growth Containment Boundary is even necessary following a recent ruling by the B.C. Supreme Court involving the Township of Langley.

“The decision in Langley does have implications for how the town makes land-use decisions,” said director of planning Luke Sales. “The law evolves through decisions made at the Supreme Court level and until that is overturned, if it ever is, that is the way it is and the scales have been strongly tipped in favour of municipal autonomy.”

Coun. Mary Brouilette asked Sales whether it would be appropriate to ask the town’s solicitor if legally the town is still required to get approval from the Regional District of Nanaimo to approve land-use decisions in the future.

“My question is, if legally it’s not required to go to the RDN or to another level of government then what are we doing this for?”

Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said the reason the town is going through with the process is because previous councils had voluntarily entered into an agreement with their partners and neighbours.

“If we’re going to ask to change that agreement,”

said Luchtmeijer. ” . . . It’s simple as that.”

Brouilette moved that council instruct staff to obtain a legal opinion from the town’s solicitor on the effect of the recent Supreme Court decision and how it affects the town’s process.

The town will continue its process and passed second reading of the Growth Containment Boundary OCP Review bylaw on Monday. The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 22 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.

Briefly in other news from council’s meeting on Monday night:

• Only two residents registered their opposition to the construction of the new fire hall during the time period set aside in the alternative approvals process.

The town had chosen the alternate process after it was faced with a legal challenge surrounding the exchange of parkland on the property in order to build the fire hall in a desired location.

In the alternative approvals process, the public had 30 days to object to the plan by filling out an application at town hall. More than 10 per cent opposition (about 600 residents) would have meant a possible referendum.

Council passed the parkland exchange bylaw unanimously and the town will proceed with building plans.

• The College Heights development no longer needs to meet the LEED silver equivalency requirement, but instead must adhere to a Built Green standard following a vote by council Monday night.

The bylaw got third reading and adoption with only Coun.  Bill Luchtmeijer opposed.

A motion to issue a development permit was also passed, which will authorize a change to the heritage building which will see changes to the north facade and the two dormers on the south side increased in height.

While the other phases are being built, the developer has proposed to wrap the west facade of a concrete parking garage with a print screening featuring a natural scene, and is working with the town’s cultural consultant on the project.

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