Waterfront plan moves forward in Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach town council debates some of the changes to
the weighting of public opinion

Qualicum Beach residents still have until Aug. 2 to submit their reviews on the most recently updated Waterfront Master Plan.

“The intention is to have a period of review and comment on it, so at the end of that period we need to start considering the comments received and start incorporating them into the plan,” said Luke Sales.

Sales, the town’s director of planning, said the plan could be adopted in August or September. New to the plan presented to council on July 11 are policies and next steps, according to Sales.

The new policies include: naturalizing the foreshore using Green Shores principles, strengthening access to and from the waterfront while respecting the integrity of marine ecosystems, supporting more community gathering places on the waterfront’s foreshore and upland area, supporting economic opportunities along the waterfront, incorporating cultural awareness and history along the waterfront, create opportunities for community activities that work with the master plan and, finally, maintaining and enhancing viewscapes and the small-town character of the waterfront.

Within each of those policies, Sales said there are sub-policies.

The ‘Next Steps’ section of the update plan detail how the town will monitor expected rising sea levels.

Since the last council meeting (June 13), there were changes made to the community values framework. The criteria is based on feedback collected through various engagement initiatives

These changes include the weighting of food to three per cent from seven per cent and a one per cent increase in natural beauty, safety, tranquility and cleanliness.

“It was brought up that perhaps the weighting of food in the framework was too heavy at seven per cent, so that was reduced to three per cent and some of the other areas were increased,” Sales said.

Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer weighed in on the changes, saying public input should not be subject to revision.

“A few members of council don’t agree, suddenly the seven per cent disappears and it becomes three per cent. Are we just sort of skewing the figures of public input?” Luchtmiejer asked. “If that’s what the people told us, that’s what we should be working with. We shouldn’t be working with revised numbers because we, as a few people, don’t agree with public input.”

Sales said there is some subjectivity and there is no right or wrong answer with the weighting of one particular item.

“In comparison to views and small-town character, (the food weighting) probably was previously too high,” Sales said.