Town of Qualicum Beach is working on its 2021-2025 financial plan. (PQB News file photo)

Town of Qualicum Beach is working on its 2021-2025 financial plan. (PQB News file photo)

Residents want to know Qualicum Beach’s budget commitment to trees, climate change

Council gives public opportunity to give input on budget

The protection of trees and replacements, as well as funding for climate change are two major concerns raised by residents who gave feedback on the Town of Qualicum Beach’s 2021-2025 financial plan.

Council gave the public an opportunity to provide input on the budget at its meeting on Dec. 9, before giving it second reading.

Jay Smith wanted to know the town’s commitment to protecting the trees, replanting them and creation of urban bylaws. He cited other jurisdictions like the City of Parksville have earmarked funds to address these issues.

“I am concerned as are many other citizens that we are lagging further and further behind and we’re one of the last municipalities on the Island to come up with a urban plan and bylaws,” Smith commented.

Lois Eaton wanted to know if the town has budgeted for climate changes as well as lawsuits. She asked where the money is coming from.

Coun. Teunis Westbroek asked director of finance John Marsh if staff has been tracking the town’s expenditures on tree replacements and on initiatives in anticipation of climate change.

Marsh acknowledged they do have records and will include them in the report when the budget comes up for third reading on Jan. 13, 2021.

Meanwhile, Marsh reported to council how the provincial Government’s $2,359,000 COVID-19 Restart Grant is assisting the town in addressing increasing expenditures and revenue shortfalls. He said it’s additional money that has relieved some of the town’s financial pressures.

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach councillor takes medical leave, citying ‘toxic’ town hall environment

“It certainly is helping with a number of initiatives that we want to do this year and moving forward,” said Marsh.

One of the projects that town needs to undertake, Marsh cited as an example, is the $300,000 information technology improvements. He said they are do for renewal and the grant makes it possible.

“We have a number of technological issues that we have regarding security,” said Marsh. “Security of our technology has become a large issue. There’s a lot of hackers out there that are trying to penetrate government systems and we’re doing what we can to protect the town’s infrastructure. A lot of those penetrations have been from Eastern Europe which is interesting because we are able to identify where it’s coming from.”

As well, the grant will help with the town’s community development initiatives that include COVID restart plans.

“Staff and in particular, (director of planning) Luke Sales is looking at some opportunities to try and enhance help for our business community,” said Marsh, who added that more details on the initiatives will be provided in the next budget report.

Marsh also pointed out the forecast 3.5 per cent increase in taxes next year that comprise of 1.5 per cent inflation, one per cent for services charges and one per cent for capital projects will remain unchanged.

Coun. Scott Harrison commended Marsh and staff for containing cost increases as best as they can considering the town’s desire to achieve some goals in the strategic plan. He added that despite the pandemic, he was impressed that homeowners were able to pay their taxes on time.

“That really took a lot of pressure I think off on our staff,” said Harrison.

Harrison still wants to see the projected tax increase reduced a bit. He suggested that council and staff review projects that can be deferred for one year.

“I don’t think there’s going to be huge variance but it’s worth having a discussion,” said Harrison.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

budgetqualicum beach

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cheryl Dill visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Talking jobs, tourism and business with Cheryl Dill in Parksville

Podcast: COVID-19 has far-reaching impacts on Vancouver Island

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Vandals strike in Parksville, prowler lurks in Nanoose Bay

Oceanside RCMP receive 276 complaints in one-week period

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

This photo shows crews battling the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
Six fortunate to escape terrifying early-morning fire in Greater Victoria

Damage to the duplex extensive with one resident said to be ‘catatonic’ after escaping building

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

Most Read