Despite a push from Coun. Anne Skipsey to vote against a development on Laburnum Road, Qualicum Beach town council moved the development to third reading.
Qualicum Beach town council moved 560/570 Laburnum Rd., to third reading Monday with councillors Barry Avis and Anne Skipsey voting no.
Coun. Neil Horner asked for a recorded vote.
Skipsey said that council was going to make the decision that night based on members’ own values and biases, since only three votes matter.
“It doesn’t matter than Coun. Avis and I are concerned about the highly sensitive wetlands that were identified by environment Canada on this property,” Skipsey said.
Skipsey said she was appealing to the majority of council that this was not the right proposal.
“If the decision to proceed on this proposal were based on input from the public hearing and all of the concerns expressed by our citizens, then I would suggest council would not be voting in favour,” Skipsey said. “If it were based on the thoughtful and educated opinion of our Advisory Planning Commission, which voted unanimously to not support this proposal, then council would not be voting in favour.”
The proposed development at 560/570 Laburnum Rd. would amend the zoning in the Official Community Plan (OCP) to permit a 22-lot subdivision. Six of those lots would be duplexable units. Secondary suites would also be permitted.
The property is divided into six parcels; 2.9 ha would be donated to the town for conservation purposes, 2.3 ha is proposed to stay as Rural Residential with two existing houses, and 2.4 ha is proposed for the 22-lot subdivision.
Avis said he has voted against proposals on this property for two years because of his concern over the wetland.
“We are mandated by the provincial government to have an Advisory Planning Commission. Every member of the Advisory Planning Commission — all five members — voted against doing this,” Avis said.
“Then we came forward and we had a hearing and it was clear that 80 per cent of the people at the hearing spoke against developing on this wetland… Maybe our residents in the future will say ‘What’s the point? We come out to the hearing, we speak and maybe something gets approved.’”
Skipsey said if council was genuine about wanting to provide family friendly housing by Qualicum Beach Elementary School, then it needs to be sitting down with young people and families and figuring out what they need.
“We need to be talking about two- and three-storey town houses with shared walls, shared green spaces and standard or basic builders’ package,” she said.