Whoever gets voted into office in Qualicum Beach on Saturday won’t necessarily be getting an easy start to their term.
The mayor and council will be facing some serious issues that will likely require their full attention.
Among the issues filling up council’s plate will be the fate of new bus garage property and what — if anything — is going to be done with it over the course of the next three years.
Council is already well immersed in the cultural review study, a large portion of which is specifically designed to answer the question of what should be done with the site — although it’s not confined to that.
That process, too, will form a significant part of council’s agenda as they slog through an extensive period of public consultation.
Although they will have no say in the outcome, council members will also be faced with the fallout from whatever ends up befalling the local high school, Kwalikum Secondary.
If the school board should opt to close the school, the town will be faced with a shockwave of possibly detrimental impacts. On the other hand, council will likely find itself front and centre as they work in the interim to find ways to keep the facility open.
Just a quick walk through the uptown core will show the new mayor and council no shortage of shuttered shops and storefronts to rent — highlighting the need for the municipality to do whatever it can to increase business viability in the town and at least staunch the economic bleeding.
On a more positive note, the newly-minted team will be challenged to continue the town’s move towards lower carbon emissions and come up with new and innovative ways to do so.
The reconfiguration of Memorial Avenue will likely form one of the first headaches for the crew, with concerns likely to be focusing on traffic disruption into the uptown core, drainage and tree-cutting issues.
Taxes will also likely prove a hot topic of conversation, with a concerted push mounted by some candidates during the campaign to put an end to tax increases — or to at least lower them.
That’s a pretty full plate already, but those are just the electoral appies. The main course, as is nearly always the case in Qualicum Beach, will be issues about development — how much is required? How fast should it go? What is the correct type of development for what type of area? Should variances be granted to developers and if so, under what circumstances?
All or most of these questions will probably form the basis for heated conversation, both open and in camera meetings.
Finally, with only two incumbent council members running for re-election, the vast majority voted into office will need to get up to speed on the policies, procedures and issues faced by rookie council members as they get on board what is undoubtedly going to be a very steep learning curve.
To all of the new council members then, good luck and clear thinking.