Development permits for two waterfront properties in Qualicum Beach moved forward, with some compromises.
The property owners are requesting to build a single-family dwelling on 217 Higson Cr. In addition, they want to demolish the existing house at 221 Higson Cr., in order to extend the side yard. The two waterfront property proposals also include foreshore work – which is why the development permits are needed. The applicant wants to get rid of the existing seawall, opting for a ‘green shores approach.’
A development variance permit was also granted for the 217 Higson Cr. property.
“It required a variance because the proposed single-family dwelling encroaches into the setback from the natural boundary by 2.58m and is 2.4m higher than the permitted maximum height,” read a report by the town at a virtual meeting on Wednesday.
The vote for the development variance permit was passed 3-2, with councillors Robert Filmer and Adam Walker voting in opposition. The development permit was also passed, with Walker the sole opposing voter.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek brought forward an amendment to the development permits, which states that the headland structures will be built as small as possible.
For the development variance permit, conditions were: the height of the house will come down by half-a-metre (for a total variance in height of 1.9 meters, including the fill it rests on) and the house will move farther away from the neighbouring property.
The town received 22 submissions from the public about the properties.
Concerns raised included the construction of a breakwater having potentially negative effects on neighbouring properties and wildlife, the height of the building and a feeling that part of the beach was being privatized.
Director of planning Luke Sales said that approving the development would set a precedent for other property owners. Sales said it’s something the town would encourage since green shores are part of the town’s Waterfront Master Plan.
The application will still have to go through the province before any sort of building could start. Sales said the development will still have to go through forests, lands and natural resource operations to assess the impact on wildlife; Crown land authorizations to decide if they want to enter into this agreement on Crown land; Navigation Canada to look into the impact on property owners/the general public who want to use the beach and the department of fisheries and oceans.
“We’re essentially the first part of a lengthy approval process that covers off all of these issues in much more detail,” said Sales.