Town of Qualicum Beach mulls airport special zone

Staff want to start an airport area plan before zoning changes

Qualicum Beach town council won’t allow light industrial zoning on land next to the airport unless they see what a proponent is planning. And even then, the council fears potential repercussions in a zoning change so close to a residential subdivision.

On Monday, the merits of a proposal by W.R. Colclough and Associates Ltd. of Lantzville to rezone land on Ravensbourne Lane was debated by town council. Their primary concern is a lack of definite plans for the area — which was only described as a business park by the proponent.

Instead of providing what councillors termed carte blanche at the site, they suggested that the public be consulted first on potential uses for the land.

Town planner Luke Sales told council he brought it to them to get a direction and thoughts on the existing official community plan’s stated role for the Ravensbourne Lane properties — specifically the goal to create an airport area plan to explore alternate land uses there to stimulate economic activity.

“I agree with the OCP,” said councillor Bill Luchmeijer, who suggested instead of rezoning the land to light industrial outright, the town might consider special zoning to help address potential neighbour concerns.

The property is close to the Chartwell residential area and council made it clear they expect feedback from the residents.

The key, according to most councillors, is to see actual plans for the site.

“We would want to see plans first,” said Mayor Teunis Westbroek. “There should be no speculation. We would invite the property owners to tell council what (we) might be approving.”

Coun. Dave Willie added the developer should first discuss their plans with the community — before they go out and spend a lot of money in creating a plan beforehand.

Council agreed to consider their options surrounding the OCP, potential special zoning, and the airport area plan — the creation of which staff said will begin in January, 2013.