The first attempt to add 25 new suites may not have succeeded, but the owners of The Gardens in Qualicum Beach are going to try, try again.
Retirement Concepts vice-president of operations Tony Baena has scheduled a second set of meetings to present the company’s ideas and to consult with residents and the community.
The first meeting, held on July 25, saw residents express strong opposition to the plan as presented, with Qualicum Beach town council voting shortly thereafter to abandon a bylaw that would have allowed the change.
The second set of two meetings is slated for Aug. 17, with condo owners, residents and families gathering from 3 to 5 p.m. Following this, a second meeting is slated, from 6 to 8 p.m. for a general consultation with members of the public.
In a letter to Gardens residents, Baena said Retirement Concepts is revisiting their plans for the seniors facility and revising them to reflect the feedback and concerns expressed at the first meeting.
That’s good news to Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce president Peter Doukakis.
“The residents, I think were more concerned with the process, rather than the report that was given to them,” he said. “The biggest issue was the owners’ representatives didn’t really lay out the framework and the timeline and the consultation process clearly enough.”
Doukakis said he applauded council’s decision to abandon the bylaw, but he also expressed confidence that the company’s second attempt would prove more fruitful.
“They learned a valuable lesson about what community consultation was and I believe they listened to the residents and will come back with a new meeting on 17th, listen to their concerns, and present a new proposal of how they are going to move forward and how they will incorporate concerns into their development,” he said. “It was a bit of a hiccup and a bit of cart before the horse, but they’ve taken a step back, they’re listening and coming back with a new community consultation meeting.”
An expansion at the facility, Dukakis added, could prove very beneficial to Qualicum Beach, if it is done correctly.
“I understand there is a wait list for the Gardens and I know they have done a really good job of providing quality care there and the residents want to make sure if there is an expansion, it doesn’t sacrifice the quality of care. I think it could be a big benefit for Qualicum Beach.”