The Town of Qualicum Beach council is divided on giving staff support to the City of Parksville’s aquatic and recreation centre project.
Parksville mayor Ed Mayne recently wrote a letter to Qualicum Beach council, requesting town staff be involved in a joint management committee that will also include staff at the Regional District of Nanaimo during the duration of the project.
“It is important for our staff teams to continue their collaboration on major regional initiatives, such as the new aquatic and recreation centre,” Mayne stated. “I recognize this places an additional demand on your staff’s time but their contribution and input on the technical elements of the project and its regional implications is very valuable.”
Daniel Sailland, Qualicum Beach’s chief administrative officer, indicated it is always good practice to maintain dialogue and suggested a staff can participate but be limited to just 20 hours of work time.
Mayor Brian Wiese supported Sailland’s recommendation and favoured Mayne’s request. He said it is important to maintain a good relationship with Parksville. But the motion failed when the vote ended up in a stalemate with Wiese and Coun. Scott Harrison in favour and councillors Teunis Westbroek and Robert Filmer both opposing.
Westbroek and Filmer argued Qualicum Beach staff is already swamped with work from all the different projects they currently need to focus on. They agreed staff does not need added responsibility on a project that is not a priority of the town.
“It is not our project,” said Westbroek. “It is not on our strategic plan.”
Westbroek added: “I will support it but I won’t want to pay for it and I don’t think we should have a say if we don’t pay for it.”
Filmer also pointed out the Ravensong Aquatic Centre upgrade is still ongoing
Harrison said it’s important for the town to be involved with the project from start instead of ending on the “outside looking in.”
“I think it’s important for this project to have a voice at the table from day one,” said Harrison. “To not have a voice when it’s a fait accompli, I think you’re going to find some communities in the area that are pushing this and some communities that have reservations. I would rather we actually stay informed and engaged earlier on and then find out later on what other people have made up their minds on because we didn’t have a seat on the table.”