The Town of Qualicum Beach has given final approval to support the Regional District of Nanaimo’s regional growth strategy.
However, the move didn’t come without some controversy.
Councillor Barry Avis said he can’t support the move because he sees it as inherently condtradictory.
“I have a concern that the regional growth strategy presents sustainability to its fullest,” Avis said. “There seems to be a fundamental conflict between its two objectives: sustainability and growth.”
However, Coun. Mary Brouilette disagreed.
“Growth and sustainability are not opposite words,” she said. “That’s what you are suggesting. I don’t agree.”
Avis fired back that the current plan doesn’t contain enough information about what is planned for different areas.
“Without that kind of information, we have a problem,” he said. “If we don’t have that, it’s just a growth plan that gets changed every term to meet the growth that’s happened.”
Mayor Teunis Westbroek came on strong in support of the strategy.
“If you try to pass something for an electoral area, like building inspections, people come out in droves,” he said. “We’ve had two public hearings on this and we had very low attendance, with some speaking in favour.
“Our OCP will not be altered, as it is consistent with the growth strategy. We’ve been working on this for about six years and it’s been tweaked many times. To please everyone in the Regional District of Nanaimo is not an easy task and this is probably a good document to work with.
“Some improvements can be made, but I suggest we support it.”
Council agreed, with Avis casting the lone ‘no’ vote.