Rick and Linda Todsen say they believe there were some misinformed speakers at a public hearing about their proposed 16-parcel subdivision development, held by the Town of Qualicum Beach via Zoom on Feb. 10.
They say a variety of concerns raised were not based on facts.
Linda pointed out the Official Community Plan amendment was more of the focus of many, rather than on the housing development project, proposed for the common property portions of the strata subdivision of 2075 Island Highway and 850 Eaglecrest Dr.
“Most of those in opposition to our development were not as opposed to the actual development as they were to the fact that something with the OCP would need to be adjusted,” said Linda. “That’s what bothered us the most.”
She said the town has in place an OCP amendment process they are now going through for their project.
“It is a legitimate and normal application process that occurs in every municipality all the time,” Linda said. “OCPs are living documents that provide guidance but are not intended to be a set of rules that must be strictly adhered to. If this was so, there would not be an amendment process available.”
The Todsens, who have been developing housing in Qualicum Beach and area for more than 30 years, required an amendment to the OCP and zoning, as the land is designated ‘estate residential’ and is outside the Urban Containment Boundary. The current policy allows only one dwelling per hectare with a maximum of two dwellings per parcel on estate properties. There is a requirement of two dwelling units on 12 of the 16 parcels.
“The town has a responsibility to look at an application and make a decision if it’s a yes or no,” said Rick. “And they can find a way to go from A to B and approve a rezoning. It’s the town’s planner Luke Sales that comes to us and tells us, ‘you have to do this and that’. We’ve been doing that.”
The Todsens said in their years of developing housing in Qualicum Beach, this is the first time they’ve ever encountered so much “hostility” against their project. They believe opposition is coming from a small group.
Rick said they placed in ads in the newspaper for their open house a year ago that included their phone numbers and email address.
“We asked anybody if they have any questions and not once has anybody phoned us,” said Rick.
Among the information raised at the hearing the Todsens said is false: the gateway to Qualicum Beach will be forever altered; the entire 180 acres of the ‘estate residential’ will be developed; the equivalent of more han 200 football fields of protected forests are going to be removed; and the Milner Gardens and Woodland would be affected.
“We don’t expect full support but we don’t expect full opposition either because we’re building housing,” said Linda. “We’re in a housing crisis.”
“A difference in opinion and debate are expected and democratic as long as the conversations are based on facts,” she said.