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.

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

Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studios. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Interview with Oceanside RCMP operational support NCO Cpl. Jesse Foreman

Podcast: Talk includes policing, commercial fishing, COVID-19, Tour de Rock and more

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

(File photo)
Case of COVID-19 confirmed in School District 69 (Qualicum)

Individual was at PASS/Woodwinds, with a last date of attendance of Jan. 22

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

In this May 23, 2012, file photo, an approximately 2-year-old female cougar runs away from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trap after being released northeast of Arlington, Wash. A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Mulligan/The Daily Herald via AP
Cougar euthanized in B.C. after severely mauling a man north of Vancouver

Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby

Dex needs surgery after breaking his paw in the panic caused by an apartment fire. (Submitted)
Dog needs surgery after escaping burning North Island building

Fundraiser started for veterinarian costs after Dex breaks paw dropping from upper floor apartment

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Most Read