If Qualicum Beach town council does decide to give developers a break on their development cost charges and other fees and regulations in order to help them turn the downtown around, it could make a difference, perhaps, but perhaps not as much as they might hope.
As was pointed out in a public meeting on the issue last week, the DCCs and other requirements are at very least comparable to other communities of similar size and generally tend to be at least a little bit lower.
Fair enough. If Qualicum Beach developers need a little extra boost and town council is willing to give it to them, why not?
True, that boost will come out of the pockets of other taxpayers in the community — it has to come from somewhere after all — but again, it wouldn’t be enough to make a significant difference to the residential taxpayers’ bottom line either.
The elephant in the room, as one person was acute enough to point out, was the fact that local residents tend to go elsewhere to do their shopping and that’s why local businesses — along with the generally dismal state of the economy — are hurting, far too many shops are shuttered and development opportunities languish on the drawing board.
It’s tough at best for small local businesses in Qualicum Beach to compete with the prices offered in big box stores elsewhere and if local residents are willing to go out of town to do the bulk of their shopping, it’s doubtful that tinkering with DCCs and so on for new developments is going to be enough to turn things around.
That said, it might help a bit and like they say, every little bit helps.
However, there is little doubt that if local residents were to pause prior to getting in their vehicles and driving out of town to shop, it would do a whole lot more to aid the situation than any incentive that town council can come up with.