BREAKERS: By-election surprises – Who are we? – Todsen land lift – unreported COVID cases

BREAKERS – timely tidbits and follow-ups to previously published stories:

  • Council by-election candidate surprises
  • Who are we? Readers want to know
  • Winning acoustic guitarist has QB ties
  • Todsen / Happach land lift review will be made public
  • Local COVID cases unreported

Council by-election candidate surprises

The Town of Qualicum Beach is governed by a Council of five elected officials: one mayor and four councillors. Councillor Adam Walker was elected to the Provincial Legislature in November 2020. A by-election is required to fill the vacancy on Council. Election Day is May 15, 2021. The Town’s website provides information about mail-in voting and in-person voting, and how to contact Candidates. The following people have been declared Candidates for the position of Councillor:

Brian DENBIGH, a previous employee with the City of Nanaimo, was reported to have taken the City to court in 2017 “seeking damages for wrongful dismissal and aggravated and punitive damages relating to perceived unfair conduct and breaching the implied duty of good faith in employment contracts.”

Sarah DUNCAN manages the Qualicum Beach Coastal Community Credit Union branch and is Board Chair of the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce, which is led by Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce head Kim Burden, who is also managing the current Qualicum Beach branding campaign.

Peter KENT is a Realtor with RE/MAX in Nanaimo. He served one term on Council in the District of Squamish (2014 – 2018) before returning to the Island. He ran unsuccessfully for City of Nanaimo Council in 2018, finishing 13th.

Anne SKIPSEY is a former Town of Qualicum Beach Councillor (2014 to 2018) who ran unsuccessfully for Mayor in 2018, and is currently leading the community effort to restore St. Andrews Lodge.

Jean YOUNG owns and operates the Arbutus Fashion & Lifestyle retail store in Qualicum Beach, and ran for QB Council in 2018, finishing 71 votes behind fourth place finisher Scott Harrison.

We fess up… in response to readers’ questions about Second Opinion QB

Second Opinion QB has been publishing for a year now, since April 14, 2020, and we still encounter the question ”who are the people behind your publication?” [See Letters] It is a sad but understandable comment that some folks have become so accustomed to local media being aligned with, or beholden to, or serving specific “interests”, that they cannot fathom a couple of unpaid volunteers like us launching a fiercely independent hyper-local community news website dedicated to strengthening our Town through a well-informed, engaged citizenry served by open and accountable civic institutions, as well as our Town’s amazing array of retail, service suppliers and community groups.

We are not shy at criticizing processes and practices that, in our opinion, poorly serve the public interest, particularly when improvements could be readily made. It had been a very long time since Qualicum Beach’s civic affairs were under any meaningful media scrutiny. Our sudden appearance on the scene and critical analysis of current events has no doubt made many of our public servants uncomfortable. As time goes on, we expect they will get past their initial reaction of trying to ignore us (by not responding to emails etc.) and instead strive to earn our trust and respect.

Civic affairs is a primary focus of Second Opinion QB. Municipal governments in Canada are the only level of government that is not designed with an official opposition function to hold government to account. We are pleased to play a small part in that vital community role. In our About Us section we have provided additional information about our backgrounds. There will  always be some who want to believe and speculate that we are driven by some self-serving personal interest. We “fess up” … our personal interest is helping our community protect and sustain this beautiful Town we call home. Period.

Winning acoustic guitarist has QB ties

Congratulations to Marc Atkinson for winning Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards this past weekend!

This exceptional West Coast acoustic guitarist’s proud parents live in Qualicum Beach, for which we are grateful since that’s meant we have been able to catch Marc in an impromptu local performance or two in past years.

His newest album, Solo, contains 11 new Marc Atkinson originals plus a cover of George L. Cobb’s Russian Rag, and features two well-known Island musicians, Joey Smith on bass and Chris Frye on rhythm guitar.

Todsen / Happach Community Amenity Contribution

In our March 19, 2021 article, Todsen land lift hits nasty speed bump, describing the mishandled Land Lift Analysis related to the Todsen / Happach application, we concluded that “in the interests of both transparency and accountability, the Town would be well-advised to make all of the appraisal documentation available for reading by the public, whose confidence in the entire process is probably shaky at best, especially after this latest revealing fiasco.”

We are pleasantly surprised to report that at their closed door meeting five days later on March 24, 2021, QB Council directed staff “to make public the third party review of methodology for the land lift assessment for 2075 Island Hwy / 850 Eaglecrest Drive by Cunningham and Rivard Appraisals, commission a new land lift assessment using the residual land value analysis methodology, and that the assessment be presented to Council at a subsequent open meeting; AND FURTHER THAT a new public hearing be scheduled after the new land lift assessment has been completed.” Stay tuned.

Local COVID cases unreported

We were surprised not to see any alerts from our local Emergency Management Oceanside or the Town of Qualicum Beach about the exposure at Kwalikum Secondary School in Qualicum Beach to one or more positive COVID cases over a period of three days, just prior to Easter weekend. Nor did other local media publish any announcements on any platform to warn the public, although PQB News did publish a story about an exposure at Ballenas Secondary School in Parksville. We are grateful to CHEK News for their reporting on this Qualicum Beach story which allowed us to alert our subscribers in a timely manner, KSS COVID-19 exposure March 29, 30 and 31.