I am disappointed to see a public notice to the effect that the Town of Qualicum Beach proposes to sell to adjacent landowners some public land, currently designated as highway, between Pintail Drive and Butterball Drive, saving only a narrow strip in the middle.
It is obvious that, over the years of the town’s existence, council has not considered public use and access to have precedence over private occupancy of land—as anyone wishing to walk the Qualicum waterfront at high tide soon discovers.
Presumably, when earlier planners gave approval for the many buildings that abut the foreshore, the idea that people might want to walk along the waterfront and not just visit the beach did not occur to them.
And throughout the town are strips of public land that have been incorporated into adjacent gardens or forest, apparently without any objection from past councils or the town administration, as if public access were unimportant.
I had hoped that the present council and administration took a more enlightened attitude towards public land than their predecessors, but with the proposal of a bylaw to permit this sale, I have doubts.
The road allowance under discussion is not accessible by the public at present, but how do we know that a future generation would not find good use for this piece of prime view property if it remained in public hands?
Council should recognize we are stewards, not owners, of public lands, and must consider very carefully whether the short-term gain is worth the long-term loss.