Qualicum Beach town council news

Stories about helping the homeless and banning balloons

Food is being trucked into the region at least twice a week from Costco in Nanaimo to assist local organizations in helping the area’s less fortunate and homeless.

“Through working with the Salvation Army and the Society of Organized Services and Manna Ministries, (The Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness) sends a truck three times a week to Costco where it’s loaded up with produce, vegetables and fruit, just to distribute in Oceanside area to ministries and agencies that are working with the underprivileged and homeless,” said Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer at Monday night’s Qualicum Beach town council meeting.

He said the agreement with Costco was successfully reached by Homeless Coordinator with Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness, Sarah Poole. Robin Campbell with Manna Homeless Society confirmed his outreach van received some food last week.

“We had lots for our clients,” he said, adding it was mostly fruits and vegetables.

Lisa Clason of the Salvation Army said it’s a fabulous arrangement and beyond all the healthy food now available at the food bank, the society’s soup kitchen will now also be able to increase its variety.

Costco generally does give produce and extra baked goods to food banks and agencies in the communities it operates in, said Valerie Fulford, assistant warehouse manager at the Nanaimo Costco. If there is a bag of apples and there is one bad apple in there, they won’t repackage them, she said, and would instead give the rest of the good apples away. “The excess is donated to the community rather than being thrown in the garbage — why wouldn’t we support the community we live in?” she said.

• Mayor Teunis Westbroek successfully suggested the town send condolences to the Jiggins family on the loss of Mike Jiggins. Coun. Dave Willie added his condolences and said Mike and his family have been major contributors to the Qualicum, Parksville and Arrowsmith areas, with Arranglen Lodge Long Term Care Facility, Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club and Paradise Sea Side Resort. Mike also served as a regional director and board chair at the Regional District of Nanaimo.

• Coun. Scott Tanner would like to see helium balloons banned from community events. He made a motion to instruct staff to provide policy options to discourage the use of the balloons for a few reasons, but mainly because of the pollution it causes, he said. “One of the biggest issues, when the helium-filled balloons get to a certain height, they explode and the material floats down and a lot of it ends up in the ocean and it becomes ingested by marine mammals,” said Tanner. North Vancouver has restricted the use of helium balloons on municipal land, he reported. Willie said he also  has some concerns with helium but with a busy summer ahead, along with a new CAO coming onboard, he moved to defer the motion until September. The motion to defer passed.

• Jeff Bray of Shaw Communiations asked council to allow Shaw to put access points in town-owned facilities, which would give free Wi-Fi to all residents when on those locations, Shaw customers and otherwise. Shaw has put more than 35,000 free Wi-Fi access points at businesses around Western Canada, which its customers can tap into for free. In this way the company hopes to make cell phone data plans obsolete.

• Lilo Kallai of the Qualicum Beach Downtown Business Association asked council to allow the expansion of road closures during the weekly Thursday Night Uptown Summer Market. This would mean the closure of second Avenue from Primrose to Beach. The market has run the last two years on Second Ave. from Memorial to Primrose and merchants and vendors have benefitted from it, she said. But since opening up the second block this year, merchants are benefitting, but the vendors up on the sidewalks haven’t been as successful, she said. The space is too cramped and they can’t show their products appropriately, she said.

• The Qualicum Beach Tourism Association is working with the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce  and other stakeholders to create a historical driving and walking tour throughout the region. The tour is meant to promote local tourism and economic development. A motion passed  to write a support letter for the project in order to help it acquire grants.

• Council did not give the requested consent requested by the Regional District of Nanaimo to extend the boundaries of the local sewer service to include a lot in Nanoose Bay. The RDN has approved the amended bylaw and need the consent of at least two of the three local service participants. Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer questioned the rationale of approving this lot, which is one of eight similar in that area. “I think this whole issue needs to be looked at from the town and the city of Parksville as well, we’re going to have to pay for the upgrading of that sewer treatment plant,” he said.  He moved that the issue be deferred to the next council meeting when more information could be obtained from the regional district and the City of Parksville. Coun. Scott Tanner said he thought there might be a bigger health and safety issue so he wouldn’t vote in favour of deferring. The motion passed.

• Drainage on Hoylake road has been problematic for over 20 years, reported Engineering director, Bob Weir. With the development at the end of Hoylake rd. it is the straw that has broken the camel’s back, he said, and flooding is taking place. The contract to fix it has been awarded to Knappett Industries which came in with the lowest bid at $104,120.

• The town will allow Rogers Communications to install a cellular tower on Town-owned land at the intersection of Andreef and Laburnham Road.

• The town will enter into an agreement with the Coastal Invasive Species Committee for a knotweed eradication program in 2014 with a budget of $12,800.

• Council requested planning staff prepare a report with alternative options now that the Regional District of Nanaimo denied to Town’s request to amend the RDN’s Regional Growth Strategy through the minor amendment process to expand Qualicum Beach’s Growth Containment Boundary.

• The Qualicum Beach Curling Club is celebrating 50 years this year and Mary Brouilette made a notice of motion to request $2,000 including in-kind services for a celebration.  Brouilette also requested $600 to help host a senior’s event in conjunction with senior’s week Sept. 22 to 27. The event will take place Sept. 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Qualicum Beach Inn.