Street closures produce debate

Meanwhile, Quality Foods Fireworks show is a go for evening of May 25 in Qualicum Beach

Festivals, art shows, markets, craft fairs — they bring “energy” to downtown Qualicum Beach and there’s no need to set up a town-hall-driven process to co-ordinate them, says Mary Brouilette.

The town councillor as responding to a letter from Evelyn Clark, the executive director of the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce, asking the town to “consider the creation of a formal review process” to deal with requests to close streets and take up parking spots and green spaces.

The debate came Monday night as town council considered requests from a number of organizations asking for street closures and the use of town-owned parking lots — three on the same day (July 27).

Brouilette said she was “quite disappointed” with Clark’s letter and she said the community groups don’t need co-ordination because they are already doing just that.

“There’s great collaboration that goes on here,” said Brouilette.

Coun. Dave Willie was clearly not pleased with Brouilette’s comments.

“Somehow this has turned into the chamber versus the world here and that’s not what it is,” said Willie.

Clark said Tuesday the situation now is “hodgepodge” and she disputed Brouilette’s assertion the groups already practise some co-ordination.

“They often don’t talk to one another,” said Clark. “Events have to be tracked. At this point, it’s a one-off.”

Clark said she spoke with “a couple of random members” of the chamber before sending the letter to the town and the chamber’s board of directors did not request she send the letter or approve it before it was sent.

Town council did pass motions to grant street closures for some events Monday night, but deferred the requests of three others that fell on the same weekend.

One of the motions that passed had nothing to do with street closures. Quality Foods was granted permission to hold a Festival of Lights fireworks show from a barge on the waterfront on May 25.

The other motion that passed will allow for the closure of Village Way from Memorial Avenue to Berwick Road from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 27 for the annual St. Mark’ Fair.

The motions deferred to council’s next meeting March 25 related to use of the parking lot beside The Old School House for both the July 27th farmer’s market and TOSH’s Grand Prix d’Art event on the same day.