Qualicum Beach council chomping at the bit

First step is to sit down and have a good chin-wag

Even as the old council met for its penultimate meeting Wednesday morning, the newly-elected members of council were chomping at the bit to get to work.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek said his first priority for the new council will be to sit down with each

For the new councillors, he said he’ll meet with them for a one-on-one talk about how they see their role.

“We need to have a conversation about what they would like to achieve in their three-year term.”

Westbroek also stressed the need to discuss what works about Qualicum Beach.

“Before we get into any ideas of changes to the taxes or the OCP or anything like that, we need to look at the long term financial plan and long-term community plan and we need to see how we can advance that. There are a lot of elements in the OCP that need a lot more work and a lot more consultation with the public. The retention and attraction of young families, food production, the waterfront master plan, revitalization of the village neighbourhood: these are all elements of the OCP that we said would be part of the next steps. The OCP is a start, but it’s the implementation that comes next.”

Westbroek said he wants to build better communication with the new school board and move forward on the bus garage redevelopment project.

Councillor-elect Bill Luchtmeijer said his first priority will be to work to rebuild a relationship with the town’s working partners, such as the City of Parksville and Regional District of Nanaimo. He said he wants to take a second look at the Arrowsmith Water Service and the town’s relationship to it.

“I think the town has backed away from some of the involvement in the Arrowsmith Water Service,” he said. “I think by pulling out we probably left our partners in an unenviable position and I want to explore that.”

Returning incumbent councillor Mary Brouilette said making sure information is flowing to those who need it is job one.

“My first priority is to make sure everyone has all the information as soon as they can, so we can make wise decisions,” she said. “I think that’s key. We need to work with the proper knowledge.”

Council newcomer Dave Willie said he wants to settle in and see what’s what.

“My first priority is to work with everybody and see where everybody is at and what we can move forward on,” he said. “That’s what I ran on.”

Scott Tanner, who returns to council after two terms away, said he doesn’t have to get up to speed all that much, as he never really lost momentum.

“It’s like I never left council, because I attend all the meetings,” he said. “However, I’m looking forward to getting to having our first get to know you meeting so we can have a mutual discussion and understand each other more thoroughly. I am interested to hear what their perspective is.”

Tanner said his top priority is to keep Kwalikum Secondary School open and to that end he wants to encourage more open lines of communication.

“The decision on KSS is the board’s to make, but I would like to see a structure put in place where there is an opportunity for the town to participate,” he said. “I guess more than anything, I would like to mend some fences.”