Lands owned by the Town of Qualicum Beach will now be part of the rezoning discussions related to the so-called Ravensbourne Business Park near the airport after a council debate Monday night.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek and Coun. Scott Tanner did not want the town-owned lands by the airport included in any rezoning debate related to Ravensbourne but were out-voted by councillors Mary Brouilette, Bill Luchtmeijer and Dave Willie.
Westbroek was consistent in his argument that he wants to see a site-specific plan for the Ravensbourne lands before he’s comfortable changing the zoning. He also said he believes the residents of the nearby Chartwell neighbourhood want the same thing.
“Until such time we have a suitable proposal, we should not make any changes to the zoning or OCP,” said Westbroek.
Council had previously passed a motion starting the process for official community plan ammendments and zoning changes for the privately-owned Ravensbourne lands. On Monday night, Luchtmeijer suggested it would be a “double standard” if the town did not also look at rezoning the town-owned adjacent lands.
“I think we need to be consistent and apply the same rules to ourselves that we apply to the general public,” said Luchtmeijer. “We need to spell out what should happen.”
“No, there’s not a (site-specific) plan right now but we want to encourage developers to bring them forward,” she said.
Tanner wondered aloud if there was some kind of secret plan by some councillors to flip the town lands for a profit once it had a more favourable zoning.
“If you have some kind of agenda that you are going to sell . . . ” said Tanner.
“I don’t know if there’s any covert plan,” said Brouilette. “I’m not aware of it if there is.”
After the meeting, Willie was asked if there is a fundamental difference in the way Tanner and Westbroek view the town’s responsibilities related to zoning, compared to the views of himself, Luchtmeijer and Brouilette.
“I think there may be a history here where there’s some misunderstanding of what zoning is all about and politicizing those decisions,” said Willie. “How do you expect someone to bring forward a plan when they don’t know what (the town) wants on it?
“Once the community makes a decision on what they want for zoning, it makes it easier for us to look at a plan that comes forward,” Willie continued. “They (Tanner and Westbroek) want to personally make the decision as to what project is allowed to go in there and what they do.”
Willie was asked if he believed that was local government’s role.
Any development of the Ravensbourne lands would still have to go through a public hearing, re-zoning and development permit process.
“There’s still rows and rows and rows of criteria that still have to be met,” said Brouilette.