Laburnum development moves to first reading

Proponents of a development on a high-profile plot of land on Laburnum Road in Qualicum Beach have made a small step forward.

The proponents of a development on a high-profile plot of land on Laburnum Road in Qualicum Beach have made a small step forward in their application, but one councillor said it’s not a step in the right direction.

The town received a revised proposal at council on Monday (Oct. 3) for a 10-unit residential development, with two larger lots for existing homes, a wetland area to be donated to the town for conservation purposes and a park area with a 10-metre green buffer adjacent to Laburnum Road.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek and councillors Bill Luchtmeijer and Neil Horner voted for the application to go to first reading and for it to be referred to the Advisory Planning Committee, while councillors Anne Skipsey and Barry Avis voted against the application moving forward.

Luchtmeijer said it’s a tough one for him since the property owners were led down a path that involved future development on their land.

“Council has seen fit to shoot down the first application for 60 units, and then shoot down the second application for 30 dwelling units,” Luchtmeijer said of previous applications. “ Now it looks like we’re crowing about the fact that we’re allowing 12 (including the existing homes). To me, that is totally the wrong move. We’re moving in the wrong direction.”

Luchtmeijer said since there’s a school in the area, they should be focusing on that.

“We should be focusing on creating an environment around that school that would encourage all the little buzz words we hear when we go to the UBCM, or any event, is lower-cost housing, family housing and here we’re now focusing on half-acre lots with big houses,” Luchtmeijer said.

On the other hand, Horner said he was delighted to support the application.

“I believe that we were elected to keep Qualicum Beach charming, but not to stop development in its tracks. On this property, we’ve knocked it down from 60 units to 30 units to currently with this proposal, 12, including existing homes,” Horner said. “I think that that shows that we’ve done our job and that the development community is listening.”

Skipsey said she couldn’t support the application because of the sensitive wetland.

“It was suggested to me that blocking the first culvert on Claymore would eliminate this wetland, and that’s a no-go for me. I think that giving this actual wetland a thin buffer would eliminate at least three of the proposed properties, so I don’t know if there’s any feasibility in continuing,” she said.

Skipsey said she could have maybe voted in favour of the application, and worked on a compromise, if it was geared toward family housing.

The next council meeting is at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 at town hall (660 Primrose St., Qualicum Beach).