Man still living there, but town-owned residence in Qualicum Beach to be demolished

Heritage forest resident is hinting at legal action against the town

The town is taking a different approach to the issue of the residence in the Heritage Forest where a man has ignored a previous eviction notice — it has ordered the building demolished.

Without discussion, Qualicum Beach council passed a motion Monday night that was brought forward from an in-camera session to instruct staff to demolish the residential portion of the building in the Heritage Forest.

Coun. Mary Brouilette told The NEWS on Tuesday the town looked into refurbishing the building, but she said it was cost prohibitive. The decision was made to try and save the stables  portion of the building, but demolish the residential portion.

A man has been living, rent-free, for years in the town-owned building. Council passed a motion at the end of May that gave the man a 90-day eviction notice, but he has still not vacated the premises.

Brouilette said Tuesday provincial legislation allows a landlord to give a tenant 60 days notice to leave if the landlord intends to demolish a residence. Brouilette said the man was served the 60-day notice last week.

“We are going to try to save the stables portion of the building but demolish the residence,” said Brouilette.

“We’ve made the decision to not allow anyone to live there.”

The NEWS has had some e-mail contact with a man believed to be the resident. While he would not directly answer questions posed to him by The NEWS about his continued residency in the building, he did hint at legal action against the town in an Oct. 31 message:

“Legal recourse to correct a bad decision by ‘bad actors’ called the ‘gang of three’ is imminent as they broke the legal and moral trust expected of them from the community called Qualicum Beach,” wrote the man who has signed his e-mails as ‘Bert’. “There was only one answer to a bad decision. What do you think that is? How ignorant of the law can a group of three councillors be?”

Also, briefly, from Qualicum Beach town council’s meeting Monday night:

• council voted unanimously to support the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association’s renewal of the two per cent Municipal Regional District Tax (hotel tax).

• council passed a motion to give the 2014-18 financial plan second reading. Coun. Scott Tanner wondered aloud if property taxes will have to be raised beyond the planned 3.5 per cent increase for 2014 because the new fire hall project is pushing other projects down the priority list. “It’s clear a lot of capital projects will be deferred and we can’t afford to defer some of these projects,” said Tanner.

• as for the new fire hall, Mayor Teunis Westbroek continues to question the cost and the need. Westbroek pointed out the fire department report before council Monday showed the only three calls for service in the month of October. “And we want to spend $6 million on a new fire hall? We have to put this in perspective,” said Westbroek. A public information meeting on the fire hall project is scheduled for  7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the civic centre.