Public airs concerns regarding Qualicum Beach’s proposed East Village development

Naked Naturals proposal presents last-minute alternate plan

Qualicum Beach’s Town Hall was filled to the brim with people during a public hearing on Monday, Sept. 9. Approximately 70 people were in attendance.

Council heard feedback from members of the public regarding three zoning amendment bylaws — for 650 Hemlock St., for 637 and 629 Beach Rd., and for 126, 130, 134, 144 and 148 Second Avenue East.

The discussion was mostly centered around the rezoning of Second Ave E.

The properties on Second Ave E are part of the town’s proposed ‘East Village’ development, a revitalization project for downtown Qualicum Beach that would see the area turned into a pedestrian-friendly, walkable urban landscape.

The zoning amendment would change the zoning from Industrial (1) to Comprehensive Development Zone 17 and allow for residential and commercial construction.

The Town of Qualicum Beach is the owner of lots 126, 130 and 134, currently a parking lot and 144 and 148 are owned by Quality Fresh Aqua Springs Limited, with the property agent listed as C.A. Design. The current development proposal by C.A. Design for the properties in question on Second Ave E would see the five lots turned into 28 units of multi-residential housing.

The plan is for three-storey buildings, with the ground units as bachelor and one-bedroom type units that could be used for commercial, residential or a mix of both. The upper units would be two-floor condos.

READ MORE: Last call for public input on Qualicum Beach development project

The eventual plan is to turn Second Ave E into a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly streetscape that, along with retail development, would function as a community gathering place.

The eventual plans for East Village also include a brewery to the east. A summary of development submitted by BJK Architecture Inc. on July 15 refers to the proposed business as Tidal Brewery.

Council heard from 13 people on the subject of Second Ave E, with several people speaking multiple times.

The main concern voiced by the public was a lack of adequate parking for the area, followed by concerns about density and the council’s public outreach methods.

The development would see the town-owned parking lot on 126, 130 and 134 Second Ave E turned into residential and commercial properties.

The current development proposal also does not take full advantage of the allowed density in the area.

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach council talks East Village plans, traffic calming

Council also heard from several business owners in the area, including Kristopher Baker, owner of Naked Naturals, who claimed he had not heard of the development proposal and rezoning until earlier in the week.

Baker submitted an alternate development proposal on Sept. 6. Baker proposed that Naked Naturals Wholefoods Ltd. build a 12,000-15,000 square-foot “retail artisan grocery store” on the current parking lot, with residential units located above the commercial space.

Following Baker’s proposal, Coun. Robert Filmer proposed a motion, seconded by Coun. Adam Walker, that would adjourn the public hearing and have it recommence on Oct. 7.

The motion failed. It was opposed by Mayor Brian Wiese, Coun. Scott Harrison and Coun. Teunis Westbroek.

Baker has the rest of the month to come up with a development plan. If he does, it will be considered by council at the Oct. 7. Qualicum Beach council meeting.

Members of council will no longer hear from members of the public on the rezoning of the Second Ave E properties, however, citizens are free to speak with town staff members, who can direct comments to council.

All information regarding the proposed East Village development plans are available for anyone to view at any time on the Town’s website at www.qualicumbeach.com/_eastvillage.

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