Qualicum Beach town council recently turned the tables on a staff recommendation and approved a zoning amendment for land near the airport, setting the stage for more public debate about the future of that area.
The land in question sits between the airport lands and the Chartwell neighbourhood. The proponent for what is being called the Ravensbourne Lane Business Park held a public meeting in June where 110 people attended.
According to a staff report, “the residents in Chartwell do not want uses on this land that would be noisy, smelly or otherwise bothersome.”
The staff report also pointed out there are a number of vacancies in the light industrial area and core of the downtown village, and expressed concerns that even light industrial uses at this airport location “may drain vitality from the village neighbourhood.”
Coun. Scott Tanner jumped on this point while expressing his opposition to the motion allowing for the zoning amendment.
“I’m going to do everything I can to keep the businesses in town,” said Tanner.
Coun. Mary Brouilette was not impressed.
“That was very dramatic, Mr. Tanner,” said Brouilette, who, along with other councillors, pointed out there are some businesses for which being in the village neighbourhood does not make sense. “Don’t ever think my decisions are against my community because they never are.”
Brouilette said the town has “a bad record for these things taking a long time.” She also said passing the zoning amendment does not spell out exactly what type of businesses will go on the land in question but it will move the process more quickly to a public input phase.
“It’s about time we got off the fence on this property,” she said.
Director of Planning Luke Sales opened his report on the matter suggesting there wasn’t enough information from the applicant to support the zoning amendment.
“There simply isn’t enough detail in the application to know whether the concerns of the neighbourhood are addressed,” said Sales.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek, who along with Tanner voted against the motion which passed 3-2 (Brouilette, Dave Willie and Bill Luchtmeijer were in favour), said he’d like to get more information too, and on a more direct scale.
“I would like to see the person who is actually going to build come forward,” said the mayor.