Qualicum Beach staff members recently updated council on the status of the town’s strategic plan.
At a committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 24, corporate administrator Heather Svensen provided a report that highlights council items on the strategic plan that have been completed and those that are still outstanding.
Some residents were critical of the report.
“The updated strategic plan does not once refer to climate change, climate change adaptation, climate change mitigation or climate change emergency,” said resident Bruce Fleming-Smith. “I believe that is an utter travesty that our council purports to undertake seriously addressing today’s agenda with the complete omission of climate change and climate change impacts.”
Fleming-Smith also pointed out no consideration of climate change impacts are included in the town’s financial plan and capital budget.
Coun. Ann Skipsey made a motion to recommend to council the Town of Qualicum Beach Climate Change Adaptation Plan be added to the strategic plan – and all decisions now be considered through the lens of climate change.
Coun. Scott Harrison requested Skipsey split her motion in two and she agreed. Both motions were unanimously supported by council.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek agreed the town needs to reference everything it does to the climate change plan, including the relocation of the public works yard.
Another resident suggested the town hold off on its strategic plan until the town has a definite climate change plan.
“I would suggest perhaps that this strategic plan for 2022 to 2026 goes back to the drawing board and you bring it forward again in the new year where the climate change lens applied to the various developments that you have in mind,” said the resident. “Because otherwise going forward without it seems to me, rather like a waste of time because you’ve got this critical issue staring the face.”
Mayor Brian Wiese acknowledged that council definitely needs to look at climate change in the final year of their term.
“We have made small changes to adapt through the years and we’ll make some changes to adapt in the final year of our term,” said Wiese. “Going back to the drawing board, probably not.”
Westbroek agreed with the resident and does not see why the town cannot review the strategic plans and tweak them.
“If we just leave things as they are which was decided I guess some of it three years ago, then we’re just ignoring all the facts about climate change,” said Westbroek. “So to take another look at it and review the strategic plan through as it’s been called through the lens of climate change makes sense.”