Word came on Family Day that the Dutton family will once again try to develop their land at Pheasant Glen Golf Resort.
The Duttons are calling their application for about 225 housing units a “family-friendly development.” They are looking to build single-family, multi-family, rental and tourist accomodation and have delivered the application to the planning department at the Town of Qualicum Beach.
“We recognize the need for family-friendly housing in Qualicum Beach as well as tourist accommodation and rental accommodation,” said Qualicum Beach resident and Pheasant Glen patriarch Bill Dutton. “We think our site could fill those needs.”
Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said this week councillors had yet to see anything from town staff about Pheasant Glen’s new application.
The site presently has zoning for 225 housing units that are all designated tourist accommodation in an existing, approved development plan. However, the Duttons want to have housing units that aren’t designated tourism accomodation, which means they need new approval and a change to the town’s Official Community Plan (OCP).
The town’s OCP review process has already started.
“This is the time to start presenting concepts and ideas,” said Luchtmeijer.
During the last OCP review process almost a decade ago, there was an invitation from the town for people to submit some bigger-picture ideas for the town. People did respond.
“None of those big ideas ever made it into the OCP in the end,” said Luchtmeijer, who said this week he also believes the OCP process is a time for council, staff and residents to do something more than lip service about providing family and low-cost housing.
“If we are serious about family or low-cost housing, we have to plan to be in a position to accomodate those types of (development) requests,” said Luchtmeijer. “That’s exactly what the OCP should do. It can’t just be lip service.”
Dutton, who also has an ownership interest in the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, said he would like to see more families like his own move to, and stay in, Qualicum Beach.
“Qualicum Beach is our home. We have four generations of family living, working and going to school in Qualicum Beach,” said Dutton.
“We think that there should be more opportunities for other families to do the same, so we have amended our development proposal to hopefully help make that possible.”
The last time Pheasant Glen tried get a development application approved through the town was in 2013 and it created both animosity and large crowds at council meetings and public hearings.
Town planning director Luke Sales recommended the council of the day refuse Pheasant Glen’s application to amend current zoning and the OCP. Sales told council at the time it would be more appropriate to explore the development of the south Qualicum Beach area during the next OCP review, which is where we are now.
That recommendation did not sit well at the time with Bill’s son Craig Dutton.
“The planning department continues to do what it always does in Qualicum Beach and that is talk about development, talk about resorts and then find every way possible to interpret every regulation as broadly as possible to ensure none of that ever happens in Qualicum Beach and Mr. Sales carried that tradition on,” said Dutton in Nov. of 2013. “(The town has) delayed, delayed and found every possible excuse to keep us from doing anything since 2009 and that tradition continues. We want to get on with it. We believe in the project, we’ve invested $10 million, we all live here. My dad’s 80 years old.”
Craig Dutton was also talking about family-friendly developments back in 2013.
“This town needs to have opportunities for families to move into town,” he said.
The Duttons are celebrating their 20th year in Qualicum Beach. Pheasant Glen Golf Resort recently hosted the prestigious B.C. Men’s Amatuer Championship. It currently has 40 local KSS and Ballenas students enrolled in its school golf program.
The PGGR Academy students have earned golf scholarships in Canada and the U.S., including ones for Parksville Qualicum Beach residents Brayden Erickson and Michelle Waters.