Civic leaders and legendary stewards in Qualicum Beach came together to preserve and enhance one of the last intact Coastal Douglas Fir Biogeoclimatic Zones on Vancouver Island. Almost a century of conservation and planning practices have resulted in the treasure that we consider the entryway to our village. It brings tourists, contributes to research, enhances our environment and brightens our day as it welcomes us home.
In contrast to our past stewards, a few years ago one of the protected Estate Residential lots was purchased and homes were built to its legal capacity. A remaining portion of the lot was logged, stripping it of much of its ecological value in what appeared to be preparation for development that our rules do not allow. During the last OCP review just 2 years ago, our Mayor voiced opposition to such a development calling it the "Thin Edge of the Wedge"; this is the precedent that could lead to the unraveling and development of the rest of the 150 acre Milner Woodland Forest.
In addition to Town Staff recomending that this council refuse the development, our community has vociferously rejected this development in a large scale petition and rally. Further, a randomized survey was sent to residents in the summer of 2020 and the results are astonishing. Almost 90% of respondents agreed with the Estate Residential protections & Rural Land policy, and only a miniscule amount were in support of this development.
The current proposal only provides 16 unique lots, not promising significant housing over what a higher density development could provide on unprotected land closer to the downtown core. Additionally, to take this 6.4 acres of undevelopable land and allow 16 lots, the Town has been provided with an estimate suggesting the uplift would only increase the property value a mere $540,000 (less that the cost of a single family home in Qualicum Beach). The 50% Community Amenity Contribution would be a pittance, and we would bear the precedent created for ages to come.
If our citizens are against this and we don't stand to benefit significantly, just why isn't the Council listening to us about our future?
But on Wednesday, January 13th, a council of just 3 people (including the mayor who recieved significant campaign support from the proponent) may be poised to move forward these drastic changes to our Official Community Plan, our Urban Containment Boundary and our Rural Lands policies, which may subsequently trigger a deluged of developments sprawling into our pristine greenbelt both here and elsewhere.
It is our responsibility to send a message. Each and every one of us needs to speak up, inform our neighbors, roll up our sleeves and save our home.
If you care about the future of our village, please take a moment to use our form to contact Town Hall