Everyone will have a say in the formation of the Qualicum Beach waterfront master plan

Town council debates who, and how many, should be provided with formal chance for input

Qualicum Beach council kicked off the public participation planning process for the second phase of the Waterfront Master Plan at Monday’s regular town council meeting.

Director of planning Luke Sales said they are “taking a few extra steps to make sure everyone who wants to be involved can be,” referencing the town’s new model of outreach to the community on big projects.

The engagement strategy includes a “preliminary list of stakeholders” 15 long, including everyone from waterfront property owners and tourists, to First Nations and the regional district.

“If you want to create something cumbersome, you ask for everyone’s opinion,” said Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer, suggesting they may need to “develop some sort of tiered structure in who we ask based on the impact on them as landowners or residents.”

“There should be some balance given to how it might affect them versus how it might effect Vancouver Island University or the B.C. Climate Action Secretariat,” he said.

“I can’t agree with that,” said Coun. Neil Horner. “I think that the waterfront effects every person in Qualicum Beach and if everyone in Qualicum Beach has something to say then we’ll just have to suck it up and listen and maybe they have something valuable to say.”

“This list is exhaustive,” said chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland, “but certainly best practices for public engagement would suggest that every stakeholder group is not necessarily engaged in the same way. However, input is welcome from them.”

“And from our experience, whether people are invited or not, they will come anyway,” quipped mayor Teunis Westbroek.

The preliminary list of issues to be addressed includes ecological protection, public and private property protection, pedestrian connectivity, funding issues, recreation, safety, parking and economic development.

The goal of the plan is to “energize and revitalize the waterfront,” according to the staff report. A report on the results of the first phase — recommending management processes — will be released soon, along with details on public engagement.

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