In a second meeting that could have seen Qualicum Beach’s Unrestricted Residential bylaw adopted, council chose to defer the vote to a future meeting.
At the beginning of Monday’s (Feb. 19) regular council meeting, Mayor Teunis Westbroek made a motion to defer third reading and adoption of the bylaw amendment to a future council meeting, as Coun. Anne Skipsey was absent from the meeting.
The Unrestricted Residential bylaw would change the definition of “dwelling unit” to prevent strata corporations from restricting residency by age or family composition.
The meeting also included a second public hearing on the bylaw amendment. It was scheduled after Coun. Neil Horner brought forward information at the previous council meeting about the Government of Alberta’s changes to the Human Rights Act, to prohibit age discrimination in protected areas of goods, services, accommodation or facilities in sections 4 and 5.
Four people spoke at the hearing; one person who was in favour of council approving the bylaw amendment; two who weren’t in favour and one person who said council needs to consider another direction.
Lissa Alexander, who now lives in Parksville after struggling to find a home in Qualicum Beach without an age restriction, said when she and her family were looking to purchase a home, they found that even with a strata fee, a strata was a more affordable option for them.
Alexander said if council were to pass the Unrestricted Residential bylaw, then it would be a “step toward creating an inclusive community that supports the needs of seniors, but also supports its younger residents.”
Lance Nater of Qualicum Beach said he had hoped Monday’s meeting would allow for a discussion and comparison of the town’s bylaw amendment and Alberta’s Human Rights Act changes.
Nater said from his understanding of the Alberta case, it was a Queen’s court order for the province to change its Human Rights Act, not a municipality.
Resident Zweitse de Wit said he understood where council was coming from, but that what type of complex is proposed is dependent on the developer or corporation behind the development.
“The developers might just come along and say, ‘We’ve got to go elsewhere,’ and you’re really not achieving anything.”
The question, de Wit said, should be how the town should try to provide for families in another form.