During a special council meeting, Qualicum Beach council referred a motion back to staff to look into what the ramifications would be for turning the waterfront into an official park. — Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach council debates turning waterfront area into ‘park’

Information deferred back to staff

During a special council meeting to discuss its draft Official Community Plan, Qualicum Beach council discussed the ramifications of turning the town’s waterfront area into a park from Memorial Avenue to the Brant Viewing Area.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek said when the roundabout comes in (at the intersection of Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A), from the waterfront to the Brant Viewing Area, “I would like to consider that we change the speed limit to 40 km/h.”

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“There’s a lot of people crossing that road (Highway 19A) during the summertime, even in the shoulder season now,” Westbroek said.

Westbroek said he once did speed watch and then drove from the Qualicum Beach Inn to the Brant Viewing Area going 40 km/h from the usual 50 km/h, and he said it “took exactly one minute longer.”

That waterfront stretch of Highway 19A, Westbroek said, is more like a park setting. Council passed a motion to refer the change in speed limit to the select committee on public safety.

With the possible change in speed limit, Coun. Barry Avis made a motion to turn that stretch of land on the water side into a town park. It currently is designated as having a “park-like character.”

Coun. Neil Horner said he wondered what the ramifications of turning it into a park would be compared to the current uses of the land.

Planning director Luke Sales said the wording in the waterfront master plan, “park-like character,” would not have any ramifications because it does not recognize it as an official park, “but recognizing that it’s a special place and we might treat it differently.”

But, Sales said, turning the area into an official park could limit what the town would be able to do in the stretch of land.

Avis said he was happy with the inclusion of a park-like character, but it was “a little wishy washy.”

“I think it would be tremendous for the town if that… was designated as the Qualicum Beach waterfront park.”

CAO Daniel Sailland said staff and council could have a meeting to define what park-like character means.

“It is deserving of a more articulate vision, but this is a good basis.”

Council deferred the motion to staff to further research the implications of turning the stretch of land into a park.

Send story tips to: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

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