A parking lot has got to be the worst use for the Town of Qualicum Beach’s $1.5 million investment in the former school bus garage site (and nearby chunk of green space).
However, it’s better than no use at all. At least this will only be a temporary use of the land — hopefully.
There are many laments that the town — specifically the downtown area — doesn’t have enough parking. The danger here is that pressures are brought to bear and the site is left a permanent strip of pavement for vehicles, rather than turned into a boon for the community. Making this site a permanent parking lot will ensure that those who would want the town to recoup that $1.5 million would never see it again.
That is, unless the town decided to make it pay parking.
No, Qualicum Beach has enough parking spaces for those who would seek them out. In study after study, consultants have stated there is no parking problem in the town — only a driving problem. People just don’t want to walk an extra block or two if they can help it.
But let’s put that issue aside. The town and its residents have been looking at this land as the potential site for something ... more. Something artistic perhaps. Something that will, at least, benefit the community as a whole. In the long-term, this will be the subject of many planning meetings and debates over just what will go there — and how much we are willing to pay for it.
Let using it as a parking lot be as town council has decreed: a short-term solution to a non-existent problem.
In the months ahead, the bigger question will be posed — what can the town afford to build, or will a private company step in and deliver a facility or a green space that all of the town’s residents can enjoy?
This site is a focal point in the community.
How it takes shape will build — or destroy — legacies.
— editorial by Steven Heywood