Another updated Waterfront Master Plan draft was brought to council this week.
The updated draft was a result of the special committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 20 when residents were given one last chance to provide feedback on the plan. Some of the common themes in the feedback: a desire to keep the waterfront “as-is,” concerns over the focus of the waterfront master plan, a concern that the master plan is pushing economic development and concern about a continuous walkway.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek said while at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM), they saw areas where municipalities had changed the width of a roadway, so it made it impossible to go more than 30 or 40 kilometres an hour.
“I think one of the things we should consider when we talk about continuous walkway is how that might happen if the traffic speed was reduced and the road was narrowed,” Westbroek said.
Coun. Barry Avis agreed with Westbroek and said he thinks a portion of the beach from Memorial Avenue to west Crescent Road should be turned into a park.
“I feel that if we treat it as a park, that would mean slow down the road, that would mean narrow the road, maybe move the road over a bit, and that would end up with a safe walkway from one end to the other,” Avis said.
Director of planning Luke Sales said throughout the course of discussion for the Waterfront Master Plan, there have been many similarities between it and the Official Community Plan (OCP). Sales said from this point, staff will be referring specific points related to the waterfront to the OCP.
Council also voted no to changing the name from Waterfront Master Plan to Waterfront Plan.
“We heard from members of the public that the name Waterfront Master Plan conveyed specific expectations for the level of detail and specificity in the plan,” Sales said. “The simplest thing there is to change the name. If the word master implies something that the plan is not, the approach recommended by staff is to rename it to Waterfront Plan.”
Westbroek said the name change was a bit ironic.
“The OCP actually says not that we’re going to think about doing it, but that we shall have a Waterfront Master Plan. It’s actually the OCP that says that,” Westbroek said.
Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said if it’s got the same stripes, it’s the same animal.
“If we’re going to start changing direction, I think we should call it a waterfront vision because a plan indicates some very definite things that have to be pulled off to make the plan work.”
Luchtmeijer also said that changing the name at this point is a waste of everyone’s time.
The next council meeting is Oct. 24 at town hall (660 Primrose St., Qualicum Beach). The Waterfront Master Plan will be brought back for further discussion.