A debate broke out at the Qualicum Beach town council meeting on April 4 about the rezoning of 629 Maple St. and densification.
Councillors Neil Horner and Barry Avis said they were concerned the new subdivision was not following the official community plan (OCP), while Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer was in favour of increasing density in the area.
The proposed change would increase density from 12 to 16 dwellings per hectare.
Horner said that while the change in density was not huge, it doubles the number of homes allowed on the property to two.
“I’m not seeing a huge ground swell of support for this particular proposal,” said Horner. “Council may very well pass this, but they’ll have to do so without my assistance.”
Avis said he’s had conversations with a few of the neighbours on Maple Street. “We spend time putting together an OCP, and even though it’s minor, again the death by a thousand cuts, it’s still a change from what we’ve said there,” said Avis.
Luchtmeijer said that the 37-metre deep lot with a small house on it “is not, by any stretch, the best use of that property. I think to still keep it within the character of the neighbourhood and put two houses there, moves us in the direction of stopping someone from going out and buying another piece of land outside our boundaries that is either agricultural land with a big house on it or it stops that urban footprint from growing.”
The current OCP suggests a maximum build-out of 12,000 people for the Town of Qualicum Beach. Mayor Teunis Westbroek said the town won’t ever get to 12,000 people if large lots continue to have only one dwelling.
“They could have built far more units (on Maple Street) and I was hoping they would build far more units, but there’s also market conditions and what people want,” said Westbroek.
The owner of the Maple Street property has made an application to rezone the property for subdivision into two lots of 590 square metres each.
The property is designated single-family residential under the OCP, which allows a maximum of 12 dwellings per hectare, but the piece of land is one block out of the “Village Neighbourhood,” which allows up to 60 dwellings per hectare.
The development will be going to public hearing April 25 at 7 p.m. at Qualicum Beach Town Hall.
In other news from town council’s meeting on Monday night:
• Coun. Horner is cancelling his trip to Winnipeg for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and wants to shift the cost of that trip to the Broombusters festival.
“I’m doing it specifically to pay for the broom project, so there is no cost to taxpayers from the broom project,” he said. “So hopefully that will allow everyone, or at least more people, to roll up their sleeves and get to work because this isn’t just about broom… It’s about community pride.”
• Council gave approval for the use of town facilities/streets for a number of local festivals, including the Qualicum Beach Fire and Ice Festival on Saturday, April 30 and the Quality Foods Festival of Lights Fireworks on Saturday, May 28.