Qualicum Beach council has decided to defer reimbursing Arrowsmith Search and Rescue the money it paid to the town for the development cost charges for its new operation centre being built opposite the Qualicum Beach Airport.
Council supported the reimbursement at its regular meeting on May 27. Town staff recommended reimbursing the ASAR for the building permit fees through the grant-in-aid program at council regular meeting on June 26.
But Coun. Robert Filmer didn’t feel it was fair for the town to shoulder all cost when it should be shared by the City of Parksville as well as the other areas.
“It’s not Qualicum Beach search and rescue,” said Filmer. “It’s Arrowsmith Search and Rescue. It encompasses a huge area. And I don’t feel comfortable approving this and us footing this entire bill when we already have given so much.”
The town donated the land to the Arrowsmith Search and Rescue and was instrumental in convincing Transport Canada to allow the new operation centre to be constructed at the airport.
Filmer said council should ask the City of Parksville to help the town pay or help cover the costs for the ASAR.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek agreed with Filmer and made a motion to defer reimbursement of the fees until the next council meeting in July. He also called on the Mayor Brian Wiese to discuss the matter with the City of Parksville and make them understand why they should support the ASAR.
“I think Mayor (Ed) Mayne is a reasonable man who has a sense of fair play and perhaps he can convince his council to say ‘you know what, we need to chip in on this one,’” said Westbroek, who added the formula for funding should follow the one the town uses to pay for their share of the Oceanside Arena.
Wiese and Coun. Scott Harrison did not agree as they both consider the funds to be small compared to the amount of money the ASAR needs to raise to pay for its new operation hall.
“This is a volunteer organization,” said Wiese. “It’s not an arena. It’s not a pool. So this $31,000, they don’t get wages. They don’t get the support from towns giving them a bunch of money all the time. This will go towards ropes and it will go towards all the different things they need to do what they do. It’s never a waste of money. It’s always a good thing. We throw a little extra being from Qualicum Beach, I am OK with that.”
Coun. Anne Skipsey supported Westbroek’s motion.
“It’s harder to go back after the fact,” said Westbroek. “It’s easier to have that conversation up front and then go from there.
The motion to defer passed, with Wiese and Harrison opposed.