After an announcement last week that members of the public in Qualicum Beach had until the end of January to give feedback on the potential land sale of the old bus garage and Qualicum Commons property, the town has announced it will extend the consultation period.
In mid-January, it was announced the town had tentatively agreed to an offer from Naked Naturals Whole Foods Ltd., to purchase the town-owned land, at the intersection of Fern Road and Memorial Avenue, at a cost of $2.5 million. Quality Food landlords Ken Schley and John Biuolo voiced their concerns about the short consultation process, as well as the standing of a previous proposal, in a letter last week. In reaction to the extension of the consultation process, Schley said it was a good move by the town.
“I think it’s such a potential landmark in Qualicum Beach and deserves the attention of the neighbours, businesses and residents to maintain the integrity of the town’s already established entryway,” said Schley. “I think it will take a great deal of time and consideration to put the right project in place, I think the town is doing the best thing for our community by giving it more time.”
A motion was adopted on Wednesday, Jan. 30 after being unanimously voted on by council. It read: “that the town will not complete any land sales on the Fern Road and Memorial Avenue property until: 1. the Bus Garage/Qualicum Commons public consultation process and the Vancouver Island University planning process have been completed, in order to ensure that public concerns are adequately addressed and that the long-term vision can be accommodated; and 2. a request for proposals and/or tendering process has been completed by council.”
Mayor Brian Wiese said the town decided to extend the consultation process because of public feedback from both sides.
“At this point in time, I think its best that we all take a step back,” he said. “Let’s start over and let the VIU students finish what they started and then we will take that report back to the public.”
Wiese said there’s no date set for a decision on what will happen with the property, but that they can expect the report from VIU sometime in the spring.
“At that point in time, we will bring that report and we’ll have public input,” he said. “Not sure where or when, but it’s definitely going to happen.”
“I’m happy that we’re taking a step back and I’m happy that we’re unanimous in that we’re unanimous in that fact.”