Waterfront big at Craig Bay forum

Casual atmosphere reigns as Parksville candidates battle for hearts and minds of voters

Parksville city council candidates

Parksville city council candidates

It was a casual atmosphere at Craig Bay last Thursday when a couple dozen residents turned out for the latest Parksville all-candidates forum.

Each of the candidates — four running for mayor and 12 of the 13 running for council — gave an opening statement and then faced the audience for questions, which were slow in coming.

Candidate Jim Banks, who was hospitalized for stomach issues last week was not present.

After a brief pause to consider changing the format to an informal meet-and-greet, a question was asked, launching the forum.

There was some discussion about the proposed health centre, but the two questions that got the most response were about big developments and housing.

A Craig Bay resident explained that a fellow resident had moved to the Beach Club in town because of driving issues and the lack of transportation. She said there is a lack of high-quality housing options and asked if council was afraid to move ahead on higher end developments.

Incumbent councillor Marc Lefebvre said they were not afraid, they just hadn’t received any proposals that fit. He pointed out the Beach Club generates $300,000 a year in taxes for the city.

“We haven’t had much variety to chose from,” added fellow incumbent Al Greir.

Bill Neufeld said it was the uproar over the waterfront that got him involved in politics.

“I am very much against residential on the beach,” he told the waterfront residents, adding there is very little hotel space in the Beach Club, that it’s mostly residential.

Incumbent Teresa Patterson said she works at the Beach Club — as though admitting a dark secret.

“It’s out there now, I knew it would have to come out,” she said before defending the development and pointing out it has been open nearly four years, employs over 100 people and brings a lot of people, tourists and tax revenue to the city.

Candidate Jesse Schroeder turned the question around, as he often does, and pointed out that, according to the woman’s story, her friend moved downtown due to a lack of transportation.

“There has been a lot of focus on that one property,” he said, suggesting that efficient public transportation would solve a lot of issues, making cheaper accommodation in the regional district accessible to downtown low income workers for example.

“We actually want people to come with proposals that differ from the OCP (official community plan),” suggested Peter Morrison, who explained that’s when council has some power to require other things from developers.

Mayoral candidate Rick Honaizer had spoken of his waterfront vision in his opening and jumped on the opportunity to promote his idea of a grand plaza development, with tourist and commercial space underneath, cascading from downtown to the waterfront, opening up views and increasing the amount of public parkland.

Paul Reitsma, running for mayor, said Craig Bay was a great example of what can be done when the developers, city and region all work together and stick to the OCP.

He said he cast the deciding vote against a big development on the Parksville flats, where Surfside RV is now, because it went against the OCP, which council violated in allowing the Beach Club.

Acting mayor Chris Burger said they didn’t violate the OCP, they granted a height variance, which they are allowed to consider. He also corrected that most of the Beach Club, except for one building, is tourist commercial.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Remains of the scene off Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek where three bodies were found on Nov. 1, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
RCMP investigation continues into grisly discovery of 3 human bodies, 4 dead dogs near Whiskey Creek

Police still want to speak with motorist who picked up hitchhikers near scene on Nov. 1

An man from Errington died when his ATV went over an embankment on Northwest Bay Logging Road on the weekend. (File photo)
Errington man dies in ATV crash southwest of Parksville

Incident happened on Northwest Bay Logging Road on Saturday afternoon

Patricia Taylor and Debra Strut at the Salvation Army on Friday, Nov. 27, handing out winter boots and gift bags to those in need. Taylor says they'll be back until all her supplies are gone.(Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville residents distribute gifts and winter boots in Salvation Army parking lot

‘I’m hoping to open the eyes of the community to realize that everybody has value’

Qualicum Beach resident Harold MacDougall won $75,000 off a Casino Royale II Scratch & Win ticket, purchased the ticket at Qualicum Foods on Memorial Avenue. (BCLC photo)
Qualicum Beach man $75K richer thanks to scratch-and-win ticket windfall

MacDougall plans on trips to Cape Breton and Scotland

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism widespread

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

The Nov. 20 WestJet flight 3171 has been identified by the BC Centre for Disease Control with a COVID case aboard. (Black Press file photo)
Fifth COVID-19 exposure reported on flight at Comox airport

Another exposure risk from flight originating in Calgary

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

Most Read