LETTERS: Bike path congestion – Roaming cats a concern – East Village development – Illicit drug deaths

August 17, 2022

Bike path congestion

The following letter requesting support from QB Mayor and Council appeared on the agenda of the August 10, 2022 QB Council meeting. Due to the recent decision by Council to adopt changes recommended by QB Town administration, we cannot identify the sender’s name or even their location, but we believe this letter was not sent by a bot. At their meeting, Mayor Wiese ignored the straightforward question to Council contained in the letter, and opted instead to disregard the letter entirely. The informative July 2022 newsletter cited in this letter can be found at https://fortvi.ca/news/newsletter-archive/ —Editor

East Village development

The following letter was submitted to Town Council and staff as part of the Public Hearing held July 19, 2022 (and re-held on August 8, 2022), regarding a development application for the south side of Second Avenue in the East Village. The correspondent’s name was not redacted by Town staff.Editor

Council and Staff:

I am very supportive of the East Village Revitalization project; however, I am concerned that the current development proposal does not reflect the vision for this area as reflected in the Official Community Plan and the concept plan, and is a marked departure from the original proposal for these parcels.

[I]t appears that development will now be guided by the vision of developers.

The transformation of this area represents a significant opportunity for the Town. It was contemplated that the Town would develop design guidelines to reflect its vision and guide future development. In the absence of such guidelines, it appears that development will now be guided by the vision of developers. The Town should have prioritized the development of these guidelines and should do so now. The “housing crisis” is not sufficient justification for minimizing the importance of proper planning.

What was originally conceived as a 3-storey development with 28 dwelling units in multiple buildings, the majority being 3-bedroom units, has more than doubled in size and will now consist of 1- and 2-bedroom units. The increases in height, the congregation of the units into 2 buildings, and minimal landscaped areas (which I understand will not be open to the public) creates a dense, urban look that one sees in other urban areas. In my view, it is not unique and does not reflect the vision for this area. If it is permitted, is this density envisioned for the other side of the street?

The density exceeds the maximum that would be permitted even with a maximum density bonus and it is not clear from the materials provided to the public how that density bonus has been calculated. I question whether it is appropriate to provide the maximum bonus when the project does not include affordable housing, public amenities, contributions, etc. Exceeding that maximum bonus should not be permitted.

With regard to the housing agreement, my comments are meant for staff. It does not appear that the draft agreement will restrict the rental building units to long-term rental housing. The definition of “Dwelling Unit” only relates to dwelling units on the “ground floor”, and section 2.3 only requires that dwelling units not be restricted as to age or family composition. Section 2.6 prohibits short-term rentals, but that alone does not, in my view, ensure that the units are only used for rental housing.

In other comparable housing agreements of the Town, section 2.3 appears as “Every Dwelling Unit shall be occupied only by a Tenant and no Dwelling Unit may be used or occupied other than as an Unrestricted Dwelling Unit”. In my view, removing the requirement that a dwelling unit be occupied only by a tenant is a significant alteration. Finally, if the agreement will be registered against the parent parcels, then it may be necessary to alter section 2.2 or the “Dwelling unit” definition to restrict the application of this agreement to the rental building.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input and I hope my comments are useful.

Susan Lloyd, Qualicum Beach, BC

Roaming cats a concern

If, like us, you are fed up with trying to keep cats out of your gardens and from using them as their personal toilets, please write to Don Marshall By-law officer in Qualicum Beach.

We have spent several hundreds of dollars over the past few weeks having mulch laid down plus netting, all to no avail. We have also tried all the conventional and non-conventional methods.

We now have 9 raised veg beds that we are unable to use and the frustration mounts.

By the Town’s own admission Bylaw 649 2c is hard to enforce and requires a lot of work by the complainant.

Please ask for the current Bylaw to be brought up to date so that our Bylaw Officer is able to enforce it.

R. and H. Freedman, Qualicum Beach

Illicit drug related deaths – the other pandemic

Dear Editor,

Who is dying in B.C. at pandemic rates and have been dying at increasing rates for over five years? If we are interested, it is easy to find relatively precise data and clear statistics from the government of B.C.’s web site.  https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/statistical/illicit-drug.pdf 

  • 516 people under the age of 40 died in 2.5 years from Covid (approximately ½ had previous health conditions)
  • 940 people died in the first 5 months of 2022 (mostly under the age of 50) from illicit drug related injury
  • 8,300 people died between 2016-2021 from illicit drug related injury

It is therefore not unrealistic to surmise that without dramatic and immediate intervention from people like you and me pushing our B.C. government hard to respond to the drug  pandemic (on a similar scale to what we are seeing with the Covid virus interventions), this pandemic will continue to kill with heartbreaking impunity until the number of  drug related deaths in B.C. could reach 3,000 in 2022 alone.

These unarguable and verifiable facts tell us a great deal about our priorities, our fears, our values and our commitment to justice, human dignity and compassion. Who is dying? Our youth are dying, and we are so busy fighting the covid virus we are too afraid and too preoccupied to see the real threat or acknowledge the real killer. We are sleeping and we are allowing our governments to sleep.  

The data tells the story and it is for all to see:

  • 2017……………..346 drug related deaths
  • 2019……………..981 drug related deaths
  • 2020……………..1,716 drug related deaths
  • 2021………………2,200 drug related deaths
  • 2022………………(940 to May 2022) projected 2,500

How was it possible to respond to the Covid threat with such unprecedented, committed unity while at the same time failing to respond similarly to the far greater killer than Covid?  

Next time you pass those who have lost their way on our streets look at them.  Don’t turn away. They are our sons and daughters.  The ugly truth is in the statistics and the story is in the data.  Make our government accountable. Take direct action if you care.  Write emails and letters, sign petitions and vote for those you believe truly care.  And do not think this pandemic does not concern you.

Darryl and Patri Janyk, Courtenay, BC

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