Qualicum Beach’s bus garage site not a priority

$1.5 million property in downtown Qualicum Beach will be a parking lot for the foreseeable future.

The future of a former school bus garage site remains vague at best after Qualicum Beach town council voted to make it a parking lot for the foreseeable future on Monday night.

Councillor Bill Luchmeijer said after the meeting that the site — which cost the town $1.5 million — is just not a high priority for this council.

“Our focus is on downtown infill,” he said of council’s ongoing plans to make development in the Village Neighbourhood easier and faster.

The site is, however, located within that zone. Luchmeijer added that the land will, eventually, be part of future community planing sessions to determine what it might become. The council prior to the November,  2011 municipal election had purchased the land from School District 69 (Qualicum) with the intent of creating a public arts space or facility there in the future.

Monday night, council ordered staff to make the site into a public parking lot with an estimated 72 stalls and main entrance off of Memorial Avenue at Fourth Street — while rejecting a staff recommendation to provide them with a list of other possible interim uses for the site.

They also asked that staff remove the hedging and fence where the property borders on an existing parking lot between The Old School House arts centre and the Qualicum Foods grocery store, instead of just trimming the hedges. There is no planned vehicle access to the new parking lot through the existing lot, to help keep heavy traffic away form the existing crosswalk on Fern Avenue.

A staff request to add up to $31,000 over the next five years for the upgrade and ongoing maintenance of the new parking lot, was rejected by council. The implication there, said mayor Teunis Westbroek, is that staff find the money in the existing budget to cover those costs.

Coun. Mary Brioulette said she is concerned the decision will, essentially, keep the site as a parking lot, and asked if a covenant should be placed on the property to ensure other uses will be considered.

Town administrator Mark Brown said there’s no need for a covenant, as council’s motion does state that it remain a parking lot “until such time as a long-term use of the property can be determined.”

The bus garage building itself will be closed to the public. Brown told council that it is an industrial building, used for the servicing and repair of school buses — and not appropriate for public assembly without considerable upgrades to meet the required building codes. Town staff, on the other hand, can use it, he said, for such activities as firefighter training.

“Firemen tend to go in and out of buildings that aren’t safe for anyone else,” quipped Westbroek.

Council ordered staff to have the parking lot upgrades complete and ready for public use by the May 5 weekend — in time for the annual Fire and Ice street festival.

Just Posted

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

A slide on best practices when reporting a suspected impaired driver that was presented to Parksville city council on June 7 by Margarita Bernard, a volunteer with MADD. The organization’s Report Impaired Drivers campaign involves the installation of informative signs within the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
MADD brings campaign to report impaired drivers to Parksville

Aim is to raise awareness that 911 should be called

Pam Bottomley (executive director), right and Sandy Hurley (president) of the Parksville Downtown Business Association visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Downtown Parksville gears up for post-pandemic bounce back

Podcast: Hurley, Bottomley chat about what’s ahead for the PDBA

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Most Read