Qualicum Beach town councillors were in Vancouver at the UBCM convention last week, but they were clearly keeping track of what was happening at home.
More than 150 people attended an open house Sept. 16, hosted by the fledgling Concerned Citizens of Qualicum Beach. The open mike was dominated by comments about the council and its direction regarding development. The vast majority of speakers expressed their disappointment with the council, specifically Mary Brouilette, Bill Luchtmeijer and Dave Willie.
Brouilette fired back at the regular meeting of council Monday night.
“The people of Qualicum Beach are represented by a strong, albeit diverse, council,” said Brouilette after linking what she heard from noted speaker and statesman Stephen Lewis at the UBCM. “We are delivering what we committed to. We have all lived and worked and volunteered in this town for over 20 years. Let’s look at the broader picture and count our blessings.”
Brouilette also pointed to what she believe are accomplishments of this group, while taking a shot at previous councils.
“I must remind the dissident groups that it was this council who has insisted on the communication strategies; this council who brought forward the youth and family retention program, this council who has supported the cutting-edge arts and cultural master plan; and this council who has insisted more information should come out of the in-camera sessions,” said Brouilette. “This council — not the one last term, not the one before that, not the one before that.”
Mayor Teunis Westbroek, who has sat on the last few councils, gave thanks to the organizers of the open house and disagreed with Brouilette’s version of history, saying it was previous councils that brought some, if not all, of those items to the table.
Luchtmeijer also made reference to Lewis’ speech to the UBCM and he also echoed some of what Brouilette said.
“I’m pleased to work with a council that does follow its convictions and do what it was elected to do,” said the former mayor, who wondered aloud why anyone would run for public office these days. “What makes people want to step up in this position when all they get is backlash?” he said.
Coun. Scott Tanner said one of the things he took away from the Lewis speech and the UBCM in general was that communities shouldn’t just follow the lead of other communities in the form and character of buildings or development direction.
“We need to put our own Qualicum Beach label on it, not just cut and paste from another community,” said Tanner, who earlier this year trumpeted the look and direction of the town of Leavenworth, Washington.