Qualicum Beach Coun. Teunis Westbroek wanted the adoption of a multi-residential development on 431 College Rd. deferred until a full complement of council is restored following a looming May 15 byelection.
It didn’t end up that way.
The developer of the College Road project has been seeking a zoning amendment and it was up for adoption at council’s regular meeting (April 28), as recommended by staff. Also up for consideration was the provision of a development permit.
A lengthy discussion took place as Westbroek and Coun. Robert Filmer raised concerns and were not ready to endorse the development.
Staff indicated the developer has already agreed to council’s directive to reduce the density. It was first dropped from 62 units to 58 prior to the public hearing on Jan. 27. Council asked to bring it down by another nine units which, the developer agreed. But the starting point of the reduction was from 62 units not 58.
Westbroek argued it should have started at 58 units, bringing the density down to 49 units. He made a motion to defer the matter until May 26 when they have a full council. A byelection is being held to fill the vacancy created when Adam Walker became the new MLA for Parksville-Qualicum.
“Many times we have heard from our residents that when we make big decisions that we should wait till we have the fifth member on board,” said Westbroek.
Coun. Scott Harrison asked whether they are willing to make a contentious decision on the first meeting when they have a five-member council.
“I don’t want to be that person, I can guarantee you that,’ said Mayor Brian Wiese.
Westbroek and Filmer do not see any problem as they feel whoever is running is going to be prepared for the job.
“They know they’re going to be thrown in the thick of things,” said Filmer. “All five candidates are well aware of that.”
Harrison said they shouldn’t assume what the new member of council will be prepared to do particularly on contentious issues.
“We should be really careful about front-loading our first meeting as a five-member council with some of the biggest decisions that we have to make as a council,” said Harrison.
Wiese pointed out they’ve made major decisions even when there were only three councillors. He doesn’t feel it’s right for council to delay dealing with the matter.
“There’s four of us that can make a decision,” said Wiese. “I am good with that. I feel confident in any decision I am going to make. We, the four of us, probably have more information on College Heights than anyone else coming in.”
On the advice of staff, a compromise was eventually reached by council. The zoning amendment was passed but with the condition the density be reduced to 49 units. As for the development permit, the developers would be required to set up garbage, food waste and recycling shed at an ideal location to make it easier for the contracted garbage collector and residents, particularly those who have difficulty moving around.