In 2016, Krystyna Janik decided to have her dream house built on Bluffs Drive in Qualicum Beach.
But for Janik, that dream has become a nightmare.
The Town of Qualicum Beach has denied her an occupancy permit, due to a zoning violation because the height of the house contravenes the town’s bylaws. A notice on the property will be submitted to the land office until the height issues are resolved.
Janik was given an opportunity to appear before Qualicum Beach council on Dec. 9, to convince the town not to put a notice on her property and also allow her to move into the home.
“The house is a little bit too high,” Janik said. “It’s an innocent mistake. It was completely unintentional. It just happened. I don’t have reason to build my house higher. My house is safe. It is built in accordance with the safety regulation.”
Janik added visually her house does not appear any higher than her neighbour’s house and is not bothering anyone.
“To rebuild the roof it would cost me huge amount of money,” said Janik. “From what I understand it would be over $300,000. I don’t have this money. I am 74 years old. I work very hard for my life and I really wanted for my remaining years of my life to live in peace and quiet. It was my goal. It was my dream. That’s why I decided to build this house in that area because it appears to me to be a very good area. Very nice area and very quiet place.”
Janik pleaded to council to grant her an occupancy permit.
“I feel deep sadness after all these years when I work so hard and I have been dreaming to have something,” said Janik. “Now it turned into something very unpleasant. It affects my budget, it affects my health. I am hoping you would have compassion in your heart to allow me to move to the house so I can really enjoy it.”
Ursula Kur, who lives close to Bluffs Drive, spoke to council to support Janik.
Kur explained she and her husband drove around to look at the different house designs and structures along Bluffs Drive and compared them with Janik’s house.
“I didn’t see anything that stood out about Krystyna’s house that was so not acceptable to I guess people around the Bluffs,” said Kur. “And what I’ve learned over time that this has really brought incredible division in the community that should really be together and neighbours that should support each other. Because it really doesn’t make any difference, 16 inches on someone’s roof, to someone’s survival and being able to actually live and continue.”
Kur said she’s seen Janik’s health deteriorate because of this and questions who actually benefits from all of this.
“She’s unable to enjoy the hard-earned fruits of her life,” said Kur, who also asked the council for compassion.
Councillors sympathized with Janik’s situation but they indicated that she was given ample notice to correct the situation. Coun. Robert Filmer said if all the house on the Bluffs are conforming, no exceptions should be given.
“Sixteen inches, that’s a lot,” said Filmer. “If it was one or two inches over, it might be a different story but that’s not the case. I support where we’re going with this.”
Coun. Scott Harrison said “a hardline is totally warranted,” stressing the importance of being consistent when enforcing town policies and bylaws.