EDITORIAL: Market forces

Now that The Clarion development has passed all regulatory hurdles, it's the marketplace that will dictate what, if anything, is built

There is one thing stronger than all the pleadings and name calling and formation of citizens groups that could stop the construction of the contentious Clarion development in downtown Qualicum Beach: a product that might not sell.

Like it or not, the five-storey, 50-unit condo project has cleared all its regulatory hurdles. The legal process was followed correctly and a duly elected council gave its approvals. One could argue, many have, a project of this scale in such a high-profile location should have been given more than the legally-required opportunities for public input, but the fact remains the laws of the land were followed and attempts to retroactively change laws are not something anyone should support.

However, The Clarion would not be the first project in Qualicum Beach — or anywhere in the province, for that matter — to die on the draftsman’s table because of simple economics. There are people in this region who are familiar with the housing market who will tell you there’s no way The Clarion will be built because enough buyers will not be found to make it financially viable. That remains to be seen — a modern, attractive building in such an attractive location could sell easily.

The fact there’s a possibility The Clarion might not get off the ground likely won’t console those who want a pound of political flesh over this issue, or those who are trying to set themselves up for a run at a town council seat next year, but it’s clear the future of The Clarion is now in the hands of the marketplace.

We would like to tell you more about the proponents of The Clarion, their marketing plans and their level of confidence this building will actually rise on that vacant lot. However, we have not been successful in our efforts to get a word with the principals. When one considers the verbal abuse this project has endured, we’re not sure we blame the proponents for wanting to stay in the background.

There was talk Monday night at the open house hosted by the Concerned Citizens of Qualicum Beach that has more merit than the crying over spilled milk we’ve been hearing time and time again. Some forward-thinking individuals suggested citizens ask better, more specific questions of candidates during the next municipal election campaign.

That, in our view, is the correct approach. Ask the tough questions, demand clear answers and vote according to your comfort level with the responses given.

— Editorial by John Harding