Before pledging their support to save it, Qualicum Beach politicians want more information about a local tutoring program that’s on the chopping block.
According to a letter submitted to council by Judy Wilson, Vancouver Island University’s Parksville/Qualicum Beach tutoring program is slated to close at the end of this month after funding was cut dramatically by the provincial government.
Wilson wants council to save the program by lobbying VIU to reverse their funding decision or to include the existing tutoring program under the umbrella of a larger organization such as the Centre for Healthy Aging in Parksville.
But Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said council doesn’t know enough about the tutoring program’s closure.
“Why is the funding being stopped?” he asked. “I can’t support something I personally know nothing about other than the fact that it sounds like a good idea.”
Luchtmeijer said it would be nice to know if the program is being replaced with something more effective, or if the funding is being cut due to lack of attendance.
“As a council I’d hate to be in a position where we are making snap decisions without any information,” he said.
Luchtmeijer requested a report from VIU providing background information about the tutoring program and the rationale behind the funding cuts.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek said the request is “entirely appropriate” and the motion was deferred back to staff for more information.
Highlights from Qualicum Beach council meeting:
• Westbroek announced there will be a “waterfront tree celebration of life” on March 16 at 3 p.m. for community members to honour a rotting eagle tree that will soon be cut down. According to an arborist’s report, the tree has been dead for some time, likely from a phaeolus infection. “We thought it would be appropriate if we didn’t just hack it down, but provide some type of opportunity for people to share their feelings about the tree,” said Westbroek. The ceremony will take place by the tree site located near the Beach Hut restaurant.
• Council instructed staff to provide a report outlining options for an illuminated pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Village Way and Qualicum Road; and further that staff produces a vegetation management plan for site lines on Village Way and Qualicum Road.
• Council instructed staff to investigate opportunities to provide a picnic table at Christleton Park.
• CAO Daniel Sailland was designated as the local government liaison to the Island Health Authority.
• Council instructed staff to provide a letter of support to the Nanaimo Airport Commission for the Nanaimo Airport Expansion.
• Council instructed staff to prepare a letter of support to the Island Crisis Care Society to apply for further funding on behalf of the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness.
• Council instructed staff to provide 350 Town pins and one Town flag for the 75th Anniversary of the May 5, 2015 Liberation Day ceremony in Holten, Netherlands.
• Council instructed staff to work with the Qualicum Beach Community Education and Wellness Society and Coun. Anne Skipsey, as council liaison, to explore options for the site.
• After first and second readings of the 2015 Kiwanis Housing zoning amendments, a public hearing was scheduled for March 23 at 7 p.m. in the Town’s Council Chambers. Additionally, council agreed the Town would pay the $4,000 application fee for the zoning amendment application.
• Dr. Paul Hasselback presented the 2014 local health area profile data for Qualicum Beach to council and the power point presentation is posted on the town’s website at www.qualicumbeach.com.
• Dr. Ansel Undergrove and Bill Preston of the Community Education and Wellness Society made a presentation, “Vision for the Heart of the Community at Qualicum Commons,” that is also posted on the town’s website.