The Qualicum Beach town council will hear input from the public over rezoning regarding the proposed ‘East Village’ development on Monday, Sept. 9.
The meeting will see a public hearing and final reading of a bylaw that would change the zoning of 126, 130, 134, 144 and 148 Second Avenue East from an industrial designation to a comprehensive development zone.
This makes up part of the area that is set aside for the East Village revitalization project. The rezoning would allow for 28 units of multi-residential housing to be built.
There are two styles of housing that would make up the 28 units.
Condo-style housing would see a three-storey building, with two units stacked on top of each other. The ground floor units would be one storey, and the upper units would be two-storey. The ground floor units could be used as commercial, residential or a combination of the two.
There would also be townhouses, each with a single-car garage.
The units, as per a motion moved by Coun. Adam Walker and seconded by Coun. Robert Filmer on Aug. 12, will have no age or rental restrictions, and no restrictions on businesses of any kind.
This is part of a larger plan to develop a pedestrian-friendly, walkable gathering area in downtown Qualicum Beach. The idea is to create a public square at the end of Second Avenue, with a brew pub forming a focal point in the area.
“The street becomes a place to be, not just a place to travel through on your way from one place to another,” said director of planning Luke Sales in a July 15 council meeting during the rezoning bylaw’s first reading.
Sales expressed the hope that expanding on the type of housing offered in Qualicum Beach and creating a cohesive design aesthetic for the area will attract workers from the growing tech and digital arts industries.
Walker has posted a survey online on his Facebook page, asking for public feedback on the project.
Many people have expressed positive feedback online about the project underneath Walker’s post.
There are some concerns from the public, including a lack of parking and worries about affordability. Several people have expressed wanting increased areas for children and families.
Filmer has expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision to not include more affordable housing in the plan. Walker has expressed worry that the council has not been transparent enough in the process of working with developers and asking for public input.
Coun. Scott Harrison shared Filmer’s concern about affordable housing, but floated the idea at an Aug. 12 council meeting that a taller, higher-density building could potentially be built in the public works yard.
Harrison says that a higher-end project like the East Village plan has the potential to increase property value in downtown Qualicum Beach. He compared the project to Vancouver’s Gastown and Montreal’s Mile End.
“This is exactly what every community who’s looking to revitalize their downtown core is doing,” said Harrison at the meeting.
The public hearing will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 9 in the council chamber of Town Hall at 660 Primrose St. All members of the public are welcome to attend and voice their feedback.
Two other zoning amendments, one for 637 Beach Rd., and one for 650 Hemlock St., will also be discussed.
For information on the East Village project, including a concept plan, timeline and more, visit www.qualicumbeach.com/_eastvillage.