LETTERS: citizens respond to encroachment demands by Town

Letters received about our story regarding demands for settlement of encroachment on Town land.

Gord (and Catharine) Wilson write: My wife and I have been living here for the past 2 years. We found a note under our door mat informing us – and other residents – that our back fences are encroaching on town land (which was RDN land previously). Our properties back onto a dog walking path with nothing between the path and our fences but scrub. The rep. from the city told us that they have no future plans for this land. When these homes were built in the mid 1990’s, the RDN apparently gave permission for the fences to be where they are.

Yambury strip — Town of Qualicum Beach owns,
residents maintain.

So, with no plans for this unusable land, why is the town now holding us- mostly seniors on fixed incomes- hostage for thousands upon thousands of dollars if we choose to keep from destroying, not only the original fences, but gardens lovingly cared for over the years?

We are not alone! The town has their eyes on 150+ residences in Qualicum Beach that also infringe on town land. Currently, their plan appears to be threatening us all several at a time. Most don’t know what’s coming.

Gord and Catharine Wilson

Barbara Matzanke writes: While I understand that there are laws of the land, I’m curious why the Town of Qualicum Beach has nothing better to do than squeeze a bunch of senior citizens for money during a pandemic?

Aren’t we all supposed to be helping people feel less stressed-out right now? That’s the message I see on media, not “dredge up ancient encroachments and bleed the townspeople dry.”

I am surprised and put-off by this Council choice. If there are encroachments, they should be dealt with when they happen or when the Town needs the land, and not during a time when people are asking for bail-outs, not extra bills.

Not years and years after the supposed infraction. 

Barbara Matzanke, Parksville

Helen Thomas writes: Thank you for your concern for balance in public concerns.

I need to say that I feel strongly that the Town must tend to encroachments and make sure that they do not continue. I understand that if a certain number of years go by, application may be made for the land owner who was encroaching on town land to have that parcel of land revert to him.  The Town needs to keep tabs on the land that belongs to all of us. It is not honest for owners to encroach on town land. 

Do you know about specific situations? Are they along the waterfront where we would like to walk, but where parking sometimes makes that unsafe? 

Helen Thomas

Andrea Button (& Nigel McMeans) write: I went to look at the street causing all the fuss from the Town of Q.B. about encroachments. Really? If there are so many encroachments in Qualicum, then the town planners should be addressing them as a whole, taking into consideration unique circumstances. A pandemic, maybe? Or people who had encroachments passed down to them without their knowledge? In most cities and towns, this initiative would have been a progression that may have taken several years after such a long time without addressing the problem. 

I’d be in favour of the Qualicum Beach Council revisiting this with a much better plan after the pandemic is over.

Andrea Button & Nigel McMeans, Qualicum Beach

Kelly Mowat writes: As a resident of Oceanside, I was appalled to read about how the Town of Qualicum Beach is treating citizens (purportedly, mostly seniors) concerning encroachments that have been overlooked for decades. Why come after these folks when the Town has no plans to do anything with the land? It sounds like the owners have been caring for the property – so why just these properties and not all the Qualicum encroachments at once? It seems the Town planners missed precedent, goodwill, and due process, considering most residents didn’t even know they had an encroachment. Pretty shoddy treatment of your citizens, during a pandemic or anytime.

 Kelly Mowat, Parksville