Qualicum Beach council plans to keep the urban containment boundary where it is, but staff is now working to create a municipal services boundary.
This follows council previously voting to extend the urban containment boundary to align with the municipal boundary at the May 28 regular council meeting.
Council also approved providing a written request to the Regional District of Nanaimo that the regional growth strategy be amended accordingly.
The vote was part of a number of notices of motions for the Official Community Plan.
While the motions passed at the May 28 meeting, councillors Barry Avis and Anne Skipsey voted against the UCB expansion with Skipsey asking for a recorded vote.
However, during last Wednesday’s special council meeting, staff asked council to clarify the motion, providing alternative language motions that will “achieve the intent of the approved resolution,” said planning director Luke Sales.
Avis and Skipsey were absent from the June 6 meeting.
In the agenda packet from the June 6 meeting, staff said that there is “a lot of misunderstanding” about the two containment boundaries: the urban containment boundary and the growth containment boundary.
The UCB in the town’s Official Community Plan sets limits on the areas intended for urban development. The town can amend its own Urban Containment Boundary, unless that change conflicts with the regional growth containment boundary.
The RDN’s growth containment boundary also sets limits on the areas intended for urban development. The distinction is that changes to the growth containment boundary require approval from the RDN.
Sales said there were two ways to implement council’s May 28 motion.
Sales said staff could amend the growth containment boundary to align with the municipal boundary which would include that the town will manage the growth through the UCB that is independent from the growth containment boundary.
The other option, he said, the UCB would match the town’s boundary which would require three key changes: add a municipal services boundary that aligns with the expanded UCB; the growth containment boundary, the UCB and the municipal boundary would be aligned; working to include that the town will manage growth through a municipal services area that is independent of the growth containment boundary and that the term “urban containment boundary” be replaced by “municipal services boundary” throughout the OCP.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek asked for a motion on the second option, adding that he wanted to keep the UCB where it is “and strengthen that with the water and sewer (municipal) services boundary bylaw so that people understand that inside the urban containment boundary provides services like that but outside the urban containment boundary we do not provide water and sewer unless it’s for health and environmental reasons, but not for development.”
Coun. Neil Horner said it was an “elegant” alternative.
“People don’t have to be afraid we’re going to have development from top to bottom and left to right, and yet, it keeps the regional district out of our affairs which is why I voted the way I did in the last meeting.”
Westbroek made an amendment to the alternative motion, directing staff to prepare a water and sewer services boundary bylaw to strengthen the UCB which would be part of the UCB going forward.
“Containment, urban, growth; people get confused about that. But if there’s no water and sewer provided, that’s pretty clear that’s not for development,” Westbroek said.
Council is expected to adopt the OCP at the June 18 meeting which would finalize the motions on the UCB.