Parksville feverish over cabins

City council not happy with waterfront development proposal, but hands tied

Artist's conception of the view from the boardwalk

Artist's conception of the view from the boardwalk

City council approved a development permit application for 81 separate units on the Parksville Beach Resort property.

“We’re happy we finally got something we can start work on,” owner Bernie Walsh later told The News. “It’s been 10 years and I’m happy with this path, I think it will be good for everybody.”

He didn’t want to dwell on what he has previously said has been a long frustrating process that has seen numerous proposals, and he believes the project “will bring more families back to stay on the beach and add variety.”

With their hands tied, Parksville city council was less positive.

“I think this is the wrong place for this type of development,” councillor Al Greir said. “I’m not crazy about this but I will support it because we have to.”

After the last proposal was denied by council, based on community feedback, the latest proposal fit within the current zoning and council could only consider form and character, on which they didn’t have a lot to say.

Councillor Bill Neufeld said on the form and character issue, he objected to the very limited yard sizes, but director of community planning Blaine Russell said the proposal actually provided close to double the required nine square metres for the tourist commercial zone.

Several councillors also said the 11 metre roof height closest to the water would block the view of the beach from the end of the Alberni Highway, but Russell pointed out they are lower than required and reiterated that the application met all the requirements of the zoning and didn’t ask for any variances.

Neufeld suggested that the owners of the residential style units will likely break the bylaw that limits people to 180 day consecutive stays in tourist accommodation, but Russell again pointed out that wasn’t relevant to the discussion on form and character.

Mayor Chris Burger added that while they will investigate complaints about infractions of that bylaw, the city generally relies on residents to comply on their own and highlighted the difficulty of keeping track of how many consecutive days individual guests stay in town.

There was discussion about whether the proposal conformed to the official community plan (OCP), but Russell said the portions of the OCP that might apply only apply during rezoning.

The 81 single family units, ranging from around 90 to 140 sq.m. (1,000 to 1,500 sq.ft.) will be built in phases as the market allows.

Burger pointed out that the city will hold a $430,000 landscaping security until the project it complete, which will help ensure the construction doesn’t drag on indefinitely.

Walsh said they will now develop the actual blueprints and construction plans and apply for the final building permits and details. He projects they will start physical work over the winter and really get going in the spring.

The application passed with only Neufeld voting against. Coun. Sue Powell was absent and Lefebvre tried to not vote, clearly unhappy, but a non vote counts as assent.