The Town of Qualicum Beach council adopted staff recommendation for the East Village loan authorization bylaw.
The decision was reached at a special council meeting on Sept. 28. The vote was 3-1 in favour of the bylaw that was also approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Coun. Anne Skipsey opposed. Coun. Robert Filmer was not present during the vote.
The bylaw was also endorsed in the Local Service Area Bylaw and also included in the 2022-2026 financial plan.
The town will now borrow $1,325,000 to pay for second phase of the project that will entail beautification along Second Avenue, from Berwick Road to Fir Street near the Clock Tower Square. The focus will be to create a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly streetscape that, along with retail development, would function as a community gathering place.
A longterm loan, up to 30 years amortization period, may be sought and will paid for by business and property owners in the area through a local service tax.
Council has also agreed to award the contract for the Phase Two of the project to Milestone Equipment Contracting Inc., in the amount of $1,831,624.20, which is higher than the estimated cost set in the 2020 budget. It means the town will have to fork out an extra $375,000 on top of the $500,000 council agreed to contribute to the project.
Skipsey said she finds it a little misleading to the public that the costs will all be borne by business and property owners when it’s not.
Mayor Brian Wiese said this is similar to the Out of the Woods project that had the town allocating more funds to finish the project.
“The costs have gone up, that’s what it is,” said Wiese. “We need to get this done as we did with the Out of the Woods one. So I think, for the betterment of the town, and for the betterment of our citizens, we need to get this done and get it finished and get it moving.”
Coun. Teunis Westbroek also raised concerns with the amount of money the town is subsidizing for the project’s financial shortfall as it is a private development, with a number of property owners involved.
The total cost of Phase 1 and 2 of East Village Project is $3,609,000. The funding of $2,694,525 was to be derived through external funding sources that included borrowing of $1,325,000 that will be used for Phase 2, which staff stated could not be increased without having to go through another bylaw process and consent from majority of the property owners.