LETTERS: Benches – Chainsaw carvers – LED streetlighting – Short-term rentals

  • Town selling “unsafe” benches on Facebook?
  • Bench removal “mean-spirited”
  • Chainsaw carvers shouldn’t be criticized for totem pole bench
  • How we light our Town is a big deal
  • Short-term rentals “wrong headed” – architect, former Advisory Planning Commission member

Town selling “unsafe” benches on Facebook?

As one who suffers occasionally from excruciating back pain, if I have the choice between sitting on a log, or a decent bench with a back to it, the bench wins every time.

I had no idea the town was selling off benches for $100 on Facebook – but if they were not safe for QB residents to sit on, how come they’re safe for anyone else? If I’d known they were only $100 each I would have bought several, donated them back to the town, and insisted they be reinstated in public places of my choice.

Rosemary Taylor, Qualicum Beach

Bench removal “mean-spirited”

The bench on the NE corner of Sixth Avenue and Primrose was recently removed despite being used frequently — obviously the wants of senior and other local residents were not important enough to consider. There are no other benches in this area so too bad if you have trouble walking or would just like to sit down for a few minutes.

Whoever made this mean-spirited and thoughtless decision — one day you too will be a senior and good luck finding somewhere public to sit in Qualicum Beach.  This will not be forgotten.

Barb and Harvey Freedman, Qualicum Beach

Chainsaw carvers shouldn’t be criticized for totem pole bench

Re: Chainsaw totems a “gift” to Qualicum Beach from the Legion?

I typically support the vast majority of articles Second Opinion QB delves into. I’m very disappointed about this article about the totem benches. I talked with these carvers. They’re all nice people just trying to make a living and beautifying our town.

$10,000* is a pretty little pittance compared to the millions spent on the round-about, or the ridiculous amount of trees being cut down without any permits. Or the 1/4 acre properties like the one next to me being allowed to be turned into 3 lots.

Does it really matter that these carvers are white vs indigenous? Who decides that? Who says If there wasn’t an indigenous carving team available, they wouldn’t have been hired? As someone who has always been sensitive to indigenous rights, the paragraph you mention about “totems” and stealing aboriginal rights is absolutely absurd. Nobody on this planet owns rights to carving a tree trunk. There is nothing being carved on these trees that co-opts indigenous culture.

Tim Popoff, Qualicum Beach

*Editors Note: No information was provided by the Town of Qualicum Beach to confirm the actual cost of the chainsaw carvings. The amount referred to in this letter is speculative.

How we light our town is a big deal

The [QB] Council discussion around the topic of LED streetlighting was, at best, convoluted. [Committee of the Whole meeting October 20, 2021]

The Town took the easy, one size fits all, course of action. Next, the director of engineering states that public safety is paramount. But next we are told that the town is not compliant but the LED lights bring the town closer – but still not compliant. Also, we are told the additional street light on Nenzel Rd. was rejected. Why? Well it would cost too much!

How we light our Town is a big deal. While public safety is very important it is certainly not the only matter to consider.

The mayor thinks the 31 households who posted written complaints represent the extent of public dissatisfaction. He is not correct. Many people have given up with expecting the town to respond to their concerns. What would it cost to bring town lighting to compliance? This question was never asked.

If we cannot afford compliance, we are not compliant, period. If that is the case, let’s apply some common sense to this issue. One size of lighting does not fit all!!

Lance Nater, Qualicum Beach

Short-term rental proposal “wrong-headed” says architect, former Advisory Planning Commission member

Dear Mayor and Council

Please consider my comments and recommendations regarding the Temporary Use Permit Application for 210 First Avenue West. As many of you know my wife and I have had a home in Qualicum Beach for over 30 years and due to my profession I have been a long time, keen observer of the evolving urban character of our town. In the past I served a number of terms on the Advisory Planning Commission. I was on the APC when the application to develop this property first came before Council. At that time the mixed use nature (commercial at grade with residential above) was discussed at length. There was then much more concern about the commercial viability of new commercial space in Qualicum than there is today. After extensive deliberation, the APC recommended to Council that commercial use of the street level space should remain as a condition of the development proceeding. Council considered all aspects of the proposal and approved the plans as submitted (and now built) for a mixed use development.  

I recommend strongly against endorsing any ground level use other than that which was approved and is currently permitted.  

Second Opinion QB – Qualicum Beach, BC

Recent new medium density housing development in the town – either recently completed, under construction, or approved and/or in the permitting/approval stage – all suggest that this part of town will be enjoying more life and business in the next short while. The approved zoning for this lot and this area supports the continued desirability and viability of street level commercial small shops. Numerous new small businesses have opened in Qualicum Beach during the last couple of years and despite COVID most appear to be doing well. Previous OCPs and the town’s zoning bylaws have consistently supported the importance of small shops as being an intrinsic part of the small town character of Qualicum Beach.  

If this Council were to renege on the decision of the previous Council and permit a use that runs counter to the priority of enhanced street level commercial it would stand as a serious departure from the already established commercial character of the eastern portion of this block. Bonnie and Bill’s Qualicum Stationery is one of the “key commercial bulwarks” of our town. Their property was specifically developed to meet the town’s zoning policy and in running their business for all these years they have assumed that the town’s declared zoning and development policy would remain in place and allow that any future development of similar properties would be consistent with the town’s intentions and would reinforce the mixed used residential commercial character of the street.  

The owner of 210 First understood that he would be building commercial space at street level when he submitted his plans for approval and building permit. Council should continue to support the future success of his venture in the form and use that it was approved – and nothing else.  

I will only say – briefly – that the thought that Council would even consider temporary residential uses (aka Airbnb) for this property strikes me utterly wrong headed.  I was under the impression that our town does not currently permit Airbnb and I can’t see such usage as making any kind of meaningful contribution to the full time residential character of nearby single family homes or newly constructed medium density residences.  

It must be remembered that this is “a neighbourhood” and an essential quality of “neighbourhood” is that those who live in the surrounds all share a commitment and sense of ownership and belonging to their surrounds. The very transient nature of Airbnb type uses seriously undermines the qualities of permanence and belonging that a good neighbourhood hopes to foster. All and all a poor choice for this location and a poor choice for our town!  

Thank you for considering my views.

Bruce Fleming-Smith, B.A./B.Arch. MRAIC LEED AP
Qualicum Beach

Editor’s note — At their October 6, 2021 meeting, QB Council voted 3 to 2 against approving Paul Luksay’s Temporary Use Permit application.

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