Language ramped up again in Qualicum Beach politics

New group using strong words to voice displeasure with town council

A new group of citizens in Qualicum Beach says it wants to “take back their town” from the current council.

In a news release issued this week, the Concerned Citizens of Qualicum Beach (CCQB) said the current town council “operates in an adversarial, autocratic, discourteous and secretive manner.”

In a phone interview Tuesday, one of the contact people listed on the news release, Graham Riches, said the group is “not formally constituted” and is comprised of approximately 10 people who “meet consistently.” He also said 20-30 people have expressed interest in the formation of the group, which will have a public meeting Monday, Sept. 16 (7 p.m. at the Civic Centre).

“All residents of Qualicum Beach are invited to explore ways in which they can register their concerns and take back their town,” stated the news release.

Riches was asked from whom the group feels the need to take back their town.

“From those who see the development process without regard for the particular uniqueness of Qualicum Beach,” he said. Riches refused to be specific about whom the group is targeting, but he did make reference to many 3-2 votes on motions at council regarding specific developments including The Clarion, the official community plan and the urban containment boundary.

The Qualicum Beach Residents’ Association (QBRA) has been issuing similar statements and has hosted public meetings regarding The Clarion and development in general.

Riches was asked why his new group didn’t believe it could operate within the QBRA.

“Their membership is comprised of a lot of people with a lot of different views on development,” said Riches, who also said he is member of the QBRA.

Riches said he does not intend to run for a council position in 2014 and he also said the QBCC, at this point, does not intend to put forward a slate of candidates.

“That’s not part of the plan,” he said.

Coun. Dave Willie said this new group is linked to the local arm of the provincial New Democratic Party.

“This is the bunch who got 32 per cent of the vote (in the May provincial election locally) and spent a ton of money to get there,” said Willie. “The election was over in May but this is the 32 per cent club that can’t move on.”

The QBRA was asked for a response to the formation of the QBCC.

“Although many of the issues that the CCQB has identified are of concern to the Board of Directors and members of the QBRA,” QBRA president Bill Adkins wrote in an e-mail, “we are not affiliated with this group or involved in the organization of this public meeting.

Here’s more from the QBCC (the new group) news release:

“Many residents also feel very unhappy with the abolishment of Citizen Advisory Committees and the proposal to expand the Urban Containment Boundary. No indication was given of these plans during the 2011 municipal election campaign. Many residents are angry they have been misled. The CCQB has three aims: to take informed public stands on development issues in Qualicum Beach; to restore public consultation and collaborative planning to town council; and to support development that is appropriate and respectful of the community’s views and needs.”

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