CLEARING THE WAY: Work has been done on the parcel of land where the new fire hall will be built off Rupert Road near the roundabout in Qualicum Beach. There has been some controversy about land being used on the site that was designated as parkland. On Monday night

Broom, schools and digital arts

Qualicum Beach town council briefs from the regular meeting Monday, Jan. 13

Qualicum Beach is 95 per cent Scotch Broom free and other communities look to the efforts here as a model in the fight against the invasive plant, Joanne Sales told council Monday night.

Sales, a director on the Broombusters Invasive Plant Society, appeared before council to thank the town for its assistance to the society and to provide an update on what Broombusters have been doing, both locally and in other Island communities.

Broombusters started cutting the aggressive plant in 2006 on Memorial Avenue. Work continues in Qualicum Beach and surrounding areas, including a 40-volunteer effort last year in Parksville.

Briefly, in other news from town council’s regular meeting Monday night in front of about 100 people at the civic centre:

• A motion put forward by Coun. Scott Tanner regarding the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), was defeated. Tanner’s motion called for the town to send a letter to government ministers encouraging them to retain the ALC as an independent body, and further that the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) remain as one zone for the whole province.

“I’m not sure what the point of this is,” said Coun. Mary Brouilette.

• Mayor Teunis Westbroek gave notice he will put forward a motion at the Jan. 27 meeting “indicating that the town would look favourably on an application for dormitory-style facilities on school board property.”

It’s not clear if Westbroek’s motion will get support, however, because councillors seemed to express a reluctance to wade into the business of the school board.

“For us to stir the pot at this time is inappropriate,” said Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer.

Westbroek did get his feelings about any possible closure of Qualicum Beach Elementary School into the public record.

“We think it is part of the heart of Qualicum Beach and if it was removed it would be a step in the wrong direction,” said Westbroek.

District 69’s board of trustees, facing a $3.4 million deficit over the next five years, is expected to make decisions about school closures at its Jan. 28 meeting.

• Council voted to accept a corporate communications plan (see the town’s website for more details).

• Council voted to direct its cultural consultant, Patricia Huntsman, and staff to convene a team of five volunteers from the local digital media workforce to serve as advisors on the program and space requirements for a digital arts studio pilot project at the train station.

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