All 11 Qualicum Beach candidates (two vying for mayor, and nine vying for four councillor spots) attend the Qualicum Beach Residents’ Association’s all candidates meeting on Oct. 2. — Adam Kveton Photo

Housing, development dominate discussion at Qualicum Beach all-candidates meeting

Candidates split on more action faster, or gradual, considered approach

The need for more housing (especially the less-expensive variety) and the content and pace of development were among the top issues discussed at a Qualicum Beach all-candidates meeting Oct. 2.

The meeting, hosted by the Qualicum Beach Residents Association, saw all 11 candidates for the coming Oct. 20 municipal election attend, as well as hundreds of voters who packed the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, with some having to stand or sit on the floor.

Affordable housing and development in general were discussed at length at the two-and-a-half hour event, with new candidates like Robert Filmer, Scott Harrison, Dave Willie and Brian Wiese (running for mayor) pushing for action after what was described in various terms as years of foot-dragging.

Doug MacKay-Dunn preached a strict adherence to the Official Community Plan and community input that effects outcomes. Adam Walker said he’s good with three-storey buildings downtown, but would push against sprawl. Jean Young called for gradual, planned change, adding that community input is important, as is the input of experts.

Those seeking re-election like Anne Skipsey (running for mayor rather than councillor this time), Barry Avis and Teunis Westbroek (running for councillor rather than for mayor) at times were left defending their decisions for and against various projects. Westbroek at one point appealed to the crowd to clap if they “like Qualicum Beach?” A fair amount of applause ensued, though some remained silent.

Neil Horner (also running for re-election as a councillor) said council requires a “monkey in the middle” who would be the swing vote in a community that he said “has a longstanding and bitter divide between developers on the one side, and what I would loosely term environmentalists on the other.” He said he is willing to fill such a role.

Other topics included the lack of doctors, the need for respect between council and administration, a lack of communication between the town and the community according to some candidates like Young and MacKay-Dunn, and balancing development with protection of the environment.

Mayoral candidate Wiese pressed the need to act on the Perfect Storm Group’s plan for a health care facility, and to create apartments and affordable housing for young workers, families, seniors and the less-fortunate.

Skipsey said, “As mayor, my first priority will be to establish a council code of conduct so that over the next four years, council members act in the manner that befits the role and responsibilities of the positions, and your expectations.”

While some candidates were in favour of the task force, others called it an unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle that would further delay the creation of affordable housing.

“How can we solve a problem if we don’t know exactly what it is?” said Skipsey. “We need to know what is missing from our housing mix, what people, families and seniors on a pension can afford to pay. What models have been successful in other communities, and with whom can we partner?”

Filmer disagreed, saying, “In this election, you’re electing your housing task force. Your council is the housing task force, that’s their job,” he said. “We’ve been dwelling on this issue for far too long. In 2014 in that election, we heard that the main issue was affordable housing. Nothing’s been done. That’s council’s job. We can’t be delegating this out any more.”

Horner similarly described council as the appropriate task force.

“Let’s gather all the studies, all the experts and public meetings we can in order for council to make the good decisions required.”

He also voiced concern that such a task force might get in the way of projects like the East Village as well.

For a video of the all candidates meeting, check www.qbresidents.ca.

Full story: www.pqbnews.com

Harrison suggested a housing task force would be appropriate to create a 15-year plan, but that immediate action could be taken based on BC Housing information.

Westbroek said a task force could be helpful if it has the right makeup of people, but took exception to the suggestion that nothing has been done.

He noted a bylaw allowing for secondary suites anywhere in town, as well as the town’s donation of parkland for the Kiwanis Qualicum Park Village affordable housing complex with 34 units.

“We have done more than nothing,” said Westbroek.

A question from the crowd sought to get candidates on record as for or against the planned roundabout on Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A. The responses were as follows in the order they spoke:

– Young: for

– Walker: against

– Willie: for

– Horner: for

– Harrison: for

– Westbroek: for

– Avis: against

– Mackay-Dunn: against

– Filmer: for

– Skipsey: against

– Wiese: for

Just Posted

RCMP ‘desperate’ for clues in case of missing Parksville mom

Carmel Gilmour was last seen more than a year ago

Mental health issue suspected after spike belts end car chase from Parksville

Woman in her 30s from the Nanaimo area detained in Lantzville after Tuesday afternoon incident

Parksville Qualicum Beach drivers reminded to be aware of possible icy road conditions

Shaded areas, bridge decks and corners are common areas where slippery conditions can occur

Multiple Parksville resorts report stolen Christmas decorations

Oceanside RCMP say three thefts likely occurred on same night

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

Boy with terminal disease gets his wish – a trip to Disneyland – but family still looking for support

Kaleb Francis, 4, was diagnosed last month with X-linked myotubular myopathy

B.C. city considers scrapping funds for Christmas decorations

Victoria city coun. Ben Isitt doesn’t think the government should pay for any religious symbols

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

Out of the doghouse: B.C. city lifts ban on pup who barked too much at dog park

Cameron the Shetland sheepdog is allowed back into Uplands off-leash dog park under some conditions.

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Most Read