Here are some of the items that Qualicum Beach council addressed at its SEpt. 17 meeting. — NEWS file photo

Qualicum Beach council moves forwards on East Village, tweaks proposed plastic bag ban

Several speed redcation motions end with existing speeds remaining

Qualicum Beach council is looking at fronting the cost of building up services for their vision of the East Village, passed second reading of its plastic bag ban bylaw after making some legal tweaks, and decided against speed reductions at several locations at its Sept. 17 council meeting.

Council unanimously gave staff the go-ahead to prepare a local area service bylaw for its East Village area (the corner of Second Avenue East and Berwick Road South, and some of Fir Street).

The town has re-imagined the largely underused and in some cases derelict area as a “bit more edgy” area of town compared to “uptown,” said Luke Sales, the town’s director of planning.

Conceptual ideas for what the area (including town land) could be used for include:

• brew pub and tasting room

• residential units

• fitness facility

• innovation space

However, as a kickstart, town staff and property owners propose that staff complete all public realm improvements at the start. The town’s idea is to turn Second Avenue East into a pedestrian-centric corridor that could be used for cars, but encourages pedestrian and bicycle use.

The financing mechanism is the local area service bylaw that staff is looking into.

That would have the public realm improvements being at first paid for by the town, but with the town being paid back by property owners over a period of something like 10 or 20 years, suggested Sales.

Exactly who would pay how much, and over what period of time is part of the bylaw staff will look into, said Sales.

Council passed the motion unanimously, with Coun. Neil Horner calling the East Village “the most exciting thing that’s happened in Qualicum Beach for many, many years.”

Mayor Teunis Westbroek asked Sales if the owner of a derelict building located at 673 Fir St. across from Naked Naturals had agreed to demolish the building.

Sales said staff made it clear to the owner that they’d have no agreement with the town until they’d committed to taking down the building. An environmental assessment has since been done on the building, said Sales, confirming there are hazardous materials. Nonetheless, “they are intending to demolish the building,” and are getting quotes now, said Sales.

PLASTIC BAG BAN

Staff recommended that the second reading of the town’s plastic bag ban bylaw (Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaw) be rescinded so that amendments could be made that came out of discussions with legal staff, and a court case in Victoria.

While the rescinding motion received full support from council, Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer once again noted his disagreement with the bylaw as a whole, suggesting that, instead of calling on residents to stop using single-use plastic bags in certain cases with a bylaw, that the town endeavour to collect and recycle the bags instead.

Both Westbroek and Horner suggested that such a recycling program could be done alongside the proposed ban, because there are a number of exemptions to the ban so such a recycling program would still be needed.

When it came to passing second reading of the amended bylaw, Luchtmeijer was the sole hold-out, as well as for the motion allowing “persons affected by this bylaw to make representations to council… be referred to the Nov. 21 committee of the whole meeting.”

Final decision on the bylaw would then go to the new council following the Oct. 20 election, which will not include Luchtmeijer, the only member of council not running for re-election.

NO SPEED CHANGES

Council decided not to support a reduction in the speed limit to 40 km/h on Highway 19A from Memorial Avenue to the Brant Viewing Area, nor on Crescent Road East.

The decisions were in light of Speedwatch statistics showing that the excess in speed in those areas was minimal, being 4 per cent along the Highway 19A section, and 2.2 per cent on Crescent Road East.

A motion to have the speed limit reduced to 40 km/h on Memorial Avenue from Village Way to Crescent Road East, and to replace a “no left turn” sign at Highway 19A and Crescent Road East failed, with Horner, Luchtmeijer and Westbroek in opposition.

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