Qualicum Beach town council unanimously passed the first reading of a rezoning application for the areas of 126, 130, 134, 144 and 148 Second Avenue East.
The zoning amendment would turn what is currently an industrial area into mixed use commercial and residential units in those five lots.
The amendment is part of the larger plan to create an area known as East Village in downtown Qualicum Beach.
Director of planning Luke Sales presented a deeper look at the design ideas for East Village.
The current proposal for that five lot area of East Village has eight buildings. These would be four fully residential buildings, two buildings with live/work spaces and two buildings of ground-floor commercial.
The plan includes a total of 28 residential units.
The live/work spaces would be aimed towards attracting people who work in the tech and digital arts industries.
The idea Sales presented was for an area with a strong village character, expanded services, compact residential development and tourism facilities. Sales described a pedestrian village atmosphere, full of life and excitement, with a public square at the end of Second Avenue.
“The street becomes a place to be, not just a place to travel through on your way from one place to another,” said Sales. He also emphasized that the form and character of the street would be aesthetically different from uptown Qualicum Beach, with more of an edgy, industrial flare.
Ideas such as a brew pub and a fitness facility were also floated.
Councillors Robert Filmer and Adam Walker both voiced that they would like to see higher density and inclusion of rental housing in the proposal.
The current proposal has room for a higher density than is currently outlined in the plan. Walker also voiced his support for the potential of East Village to reinvigorate downtown.
Plans for East Village are outlined in the Town of Qualicum Beach’s Official Community Plan.
Traffic on 19A
Filmer also proposed a motion dealing with speed, traffic and noise levels on Highway 19A.
The motion advocated that council direct staff to conduct a public information session before the end of September to review speed limits and traffic calming, especially on Highway 19A.
Filmer says he currently receives many citizen complaints about traffic and noise. The motion was carried.
Council also discussed a future plan to create a forum for youth participation in committee of the whole meetings over the course of the 2019-20 school year.
Council discussed sitting down with school principals starting in September.