Community input for the Waterfront Master Plan has been pushed back to Sept. 12 after Qualicum Beach town staff said they’ve received a large volume of feedback.
At the committee of the whole meeting on Aug. 11 staff recommended to council more time for community review as well as time to incorporate the comments into the draft plan.
The recommendation, which was approved at the Aug. 15 regular council meeting, will now have the master plan brought back for comment at a special Sept. 20 committee of the whole meeting at the civic centre (747 Jones St.) at 7 p.m.
Director of Planning Luke Sales said a large portion of the feedback was related to a continuous walkway in front of existing residences. The feedback was both positive and negative.
Council voted against removing the “detailed design of a continuous walkway adjacent to the residential waterfront properties west of Bay Street from the “Next Steps” in the plan.
At the Aug. 11 meeting, Mayor Teunis Westbroek said he was surprised to hear that residents felt they were not told about the master plan. He added that there were ads published as well as stories, and that the town “had no intention to sneak it past” the community.
According to the Aug. 11 agenda, it said that the town sent out eight e-mail blasts (to a list of about 300 residents), nine council/committee of the whole meetings, two large-format public information meetings and four notices in The NEWS.
“It’s important for us to not only feel the community has had enough time to let their feelings be known and their thoughts on the Waterfront Master Plan,” Horner said at the committee of the whole meeting, in support of extending the review period.
Coun. Anne Skipsey said “the plan has lost some of the focus on the issue at hand” which was addressing sea level rise and how the town can be more proactive in addressing it.
Resident Kevin Monahan reiterated that point, saying the plan has lost its way. “My understanding was it was originally supposed to be a plan to deal with sea level rise — certainly a large focus, if not the only focus,” he said, adding that was the focus of first three years.
“But now we have a plan that does not seem to know its own identity,” said Monahan.
Monahan said that the town did a good job on consultations and involving the community, but he added that the process stopped too soon.
“If you’ve ever played a game of telephone, where the message passes from one person to another, you realize how quickly messages can become garbled.”