Qualicum Beach councillors continue to quibble

The make-up and meeting times of the official community plan steering committee are points of debate at the council table in Qualicum Beach

Director of planning Luke Sales presented a draft of the work plan for the Official Community Plan review at the June 13 Qualicum Beach town council meeting, but the plan was not adopted by council.

Council members decided to defer the work plan to next month’s meeting (July 11) with Mayor Teunis Westbroek saying that the town is already a month behind on starting the review plan.

Within the draft is a plan to create an OCP review steering committee, however multiple councillors and the mayor had issues with composition of the committee and the meeting times.

Coun. Neil Horner voiced his concerns about how committee members will be selected. He said that in the past committees have been heavily weighted to the “development community.”

Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said the time of the committee’s meetings — 2 p.m. on the third Monday of each month — limits the function to retired people only.

“Two o’clock in the afternoon eliminates families, it eliminates the business community and you might as well say, ‘Let’s open this up to the seniors’ centre or the retired community.'” Luchtmeijer said. “I think that’s inappropriate. I think that we need to look at the future, and the future in this community depends a lot on attracting younger families and younger people and we have to get their say as well.”

Westbroek agreed with Luchtmeijer, adding that the time of the meetings could be taken out of the committee draft.

The OCP process will include five major steps: preliminary consultation, the development of a public engagement plan, a quality of life survey, a focused public engagement and a draft plan.

Step one, preliminary consultation (which staff planned to start this summer), would identify issues that should be reviewed in the OCP review such as short-term vacation rental in residential areas, waterfront planning and sea-level rise and municipal services outside of the Urban Containment Boundary.

Step two, development of a public engagement plan (which staff planned to start in the fall), would be presented after the preliminary consultation and would depend on the issues being discussed.

Step three, the quality of life survey (which staffed planned to work on in November), would serve several functions such as monitor and report resident satisfaction with municipal services and on shifting trends such as hobbies, transportation, lifestyle and communication preferences.

Step four, focused public engagement, would target varying levels of participation such as comment boxes, interactive maps, surveys and focused conversations.

Step five, the draft plan, town staff would draft amendments to the OCP which would then be brought forward at a council meeting.

Coun. Anne Skipsey didn’t agree with the timing of some of the steps.

“The timing of the quality of life survey is supposed to take place during November/December when a very significant percentage of our population is not in town,” Skipsey said.

The next council meeting is Monday, July 11 at 7 p.m.

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