Staff looking into 3D model of downtown Qualicum Beach

Staff looking into 3D model of downtown Qualicum Beach

Discussions on First Avenue developments

With multiple development proposals within the Village Neighbourhood coming forward at Qualicum Beach council meetings, staff is looking into a 3D digital model of the downtown core.

Mayor Teunis Westbroek brought forward the motion at Monday’s (March 20) council meeting. Westbroek said a resident brought forward the idea of a scale-model of the Village Neighbourhood and its commercial core.

Westbroek said with each new proposal they could add it into the digital model.

“I thought to help as a public consultation tool in reviewing any future proposals that we could actually take a look at it through this kind of media,” Westbroek said.

Council voted in favour of directing staff to commission a 3D digital model of the town’s commercial core for use as a public consultation tool in reviewing development proposals and policies, up to a maximum budget of $15,000.

As Westbroek said, this tool could be useful since in the the past few months mutiple proposals, especially on First Avenue, have come forward to council.

Two of the proposals — 210 First Ave. West and 174 and 180 First Ave. West — were on the agenda at Monday’s council meeting.

First up was 210 First Ave. West, an 18-unit multi-residential development, with a staff recommendation to go to first reading. At its Feb. 6 meeting, council had wanted more options for commercial space on the lower floor of the units fronting First Avenue.

Planning director Luke Sales said the applicant is completely willing to make the lower floor convertible to commercial units.

Coun. Neil Horner said he was in favour of the convertible units, but Coun. Anne Skipsey said she’s struggled with some of the developments that have come to council.

“I have concerns looking at these developments piecemeal when we should be looking at the bigger picture,” Skipsey said.

Skipsey said much of council and staff are advancing the policies of the former council; policies that amended the Official Community Plan (OCP) a year after the full OCP review.

“In the meantime we’re left working with the previous council’s rules. I’m going to make sure that during the OCP process that we have the opportunity for the citizens to vet these policy changes,” Skipsey said.

The motion failed with a 2-2 vote; Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer had to excuse himself from the room during the vote since he owns property near the development.

The second development on the table was 174 and 180 First Ave. West, a 15-unit, multi-residential development, with a staff recommendation to be given second reading.

Since the development last came to council on Feb. 16, it has been reduced to 15 units from 16. The garages on some units fronting First Avenue could also be converted to commercial spaces, said Sales.

Coun. Neil Horner wondered if every second unit could be commercial in order to keep it a walkable, retail community.

Sales said council was not necessarily able to dictate how the which units are commercial, but they could ask for a number of units to be flexible for commercial.

Council voted in favour of moving the proposal to second reading along with asking the developer to amend the proposal to include commercial on the ground floor facing First Avenue as well as giving those units a commercial character.

The development will also be going back to the Advisory Planning Commission for further review and comment.