BREAKERS: Community development review survey – Samar’s citizenship ceremony – Pollinator pathways

June 13, 2023

  • Town seeking input on development review processes
  • Samar al Hbayo’s Canadian citizenship ceremony
  • Pollinator pathways
  • Scene around Town – The Courtyard is calling

Community Survey on Development Approvals Process Review

The Town of Qualicum Beach is conducting a survey to help to improve its development review processes.

The aim of this project is to improve the transparency, clarity, and consistency of development review, resulting in better applications and developments that align with community priorities and policies.

The research is funded by a grant from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. The Town partnered with Vancouver Island University and research began in October 2021.

Background research has included an extensive literature review of best practices and interviews with local government planners, First Nations referral managers, developers, and technical consultants. This survey is focused on community engagement and how to improve the processes of informing, consulting and involving the public in development reviews.

This survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and all answers are anonymous. The survey is available at

Participants are asked to complete the survey by June 30, 2023. — Town of Qualicum Beach

Samar al Hbayo obtains Canadian citizenship

Samar, seated at centre, takes the Oath of Citizenship in an online ceremony, joined by her three children and proud husband Bader. June 6, 2023

Many readers will be familiar with the remarkable story of the two families who relocated to our community after fleeing the war in Syria.

Samar al Hbayo and her husband Bader al Faraj and their three children arrived at Nanaimo airport on a chilly evening in December 2017. After experiencing incredible strife and many years apart struggling to make their way out of dangerous situations, Samar’s brother Hesham and his wife Noor and their children arrived in Canada to a joyous reunion with Samar and her family.

On June 6, 2023, Samar obtained her Canadian citizenship. It was a momentous occasion.

Samar, Bader and their children with her brother Hesham, his wife Noor and their children gather to congratulate Samar on becoming a Canadian citizen. June 6, 2023

Citizenship ceremonies are still being held online, a change brought about by the pandemic restrictions. Samar gathered at home with her family and some of their many new friends who have helped Samar and the whole family make their way in a new country, a new language and a new culture.

All who know her are in awe of Samar, especially her ability to continue to strive to help others, family, friends and strangers, and her ability to achieve goals many other people would find too daunting.

When we last reported on her efforts, Samar was organizing donations for children orphaned by the massive earthquakes that killed over 60,000 people in Syria and Turkey in February 2023.

Throughout all of this, while raising her children and working at her job, she and her family continue their efforts to bring the rest of their family to Canada who are currently in limbo having fled their destroyed homeland, Bader’s brother and family, now living in Lebanon, and the family of Samar’s widowed sister Rima and her children who are currently in Turkey.

Council asked to support pollinator pathways in Qualicum Beach

Recently the Arrowsmith Naturalists sent the following written request and offer of assistance to the QB Town Council:

“The Arrowsmith Naturalists respectfully ask you to consider the encouragement and creation of pollinator pathways within Qualicum Beach.

“As you are no doubt aware, one of the dire effects of climate change and the loss of biodiversity has been a precipitous decline in the numbers of many species of beneficial insects, particularly pollinating insects. These creatures are suffering from habitat loss, chemical pesticides, disease and the use of chemicals which render many commercially-raised plant species toxic to pollinators. Pollinating insects – bees, butterflies, etc. – are, as you know, essential to the production of food crops and the sustainability of those crops.

“Across the world, many communities have recognized the danger which a compromised pollinating insect population poses. During the term of the previous Council, Rosemary Taylor outlined to Council both the need for and some of the low-cost methods which would help to address the threat to pollinators. Among other measures, she pointed out that, throughout our Town, there exist many patches of Town-owned land which would provide vital habitat to pollinators.

“Also, neighbourhoods could be invited to band together to set aside small portions of their property for plants beneficial to pollinators. Even the postponement of mowing of grassy areas – both public and private – during the Spring months would provide valuable pollinator habitat. Through residents’ associations, garden clubs and the Town’s newsletter and social media, volunteers could be invited to coordinate and plan pollinator insect pathways or refuges….all at little cost to the Town. What a valuable way to augment our association with Communities In Bloom.

“Unfortunately, these suggestions were not acted upon.

“However, the present Council seems eager to explore and mitigate the effects of climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Perhaps a project like pollinator pathways is a low-cost way of increasing climate-change awareness in the community of Qualicum Beach, while also bringing our community together through a network of keen volunteers. The Arrowsmith Naturalists are more than willing to assist in any way we can.”

Editor — The week of June 19 – 25, 2023 is designated North American Pollinator Week.

Scene around Town – The Courtyard is calling

The Courtyard is a locally owned and operated café nestled in the heart of downtown Qualicum Beach. Baked goods are made daily using fresh wholesome ingredients. Open Tues – Sat, 7:30 AM – 3 PM.

Not only does The Courtyard on Memorial Avenue offer a welcoming and attractive gathering spot, it also provides canine residents with a cool sip of water, and we understand gardeners can occasionally pick up a supply of spent coffee grounds for use as compost in their flower beds.