LETTERS: Code of Conduct – Chainsaw carvings – Naked Naturals truck traffic

  • Will Town staff be held to the same municipal Code of Conduct?
  • Chainsaw carving disrupts Town’s look and feel
  • Naked Naturals truck traffic to be the soundtrack of the Qualicum Commons?

Will Town staff be held to the same municipal Code of Conduct?

Mayor and Council,

Arbutus tree trunk, Qualicum Beach, BC

During your recent Council meeting [October 27, 2021] you discussed the draft Code of Conduct and the process to be used for implementation, including sessions with staff and a consultant. This is a very productive step towards professional, courteous and respectful standards of behaviour that residents expect of Council. During the most recent Committee of the Whole meeting [October 20, 2021], the Mayor commented that although the Code will not apply to the public, he hoped the public would behave in line with the spirit of the Code.

Will the Mayor and Council hold staff to the same standards of professional behaviour expected of them in the Code? If Council decides the Code does not apply to staff, will Council establish a policy and guidelines for staff, and an updated complaints policy that will offer meaningful levels of accountability for staff from the public?

Although Council did allow some public consultation on the issue (albeit with restrictive parameters set by the Mayor) at the Committee of the Whole meeting on the Code of Conduct, will there be a chance for public consultation on the Code of Conduct?

Will the public be given the opportunity to provide the consultant with public concerns over the proposed Code of Conduct, including examples of Council behaviour of concern to the public to help clarify whether the Code of Conduct would address these examples of concerning behaviour?

Todd Provost (as a resident), Qualicum Beach

Editor’s Note: In this letter, Todd Provost is not speaking on behalf of the Qualicum Woods Residents’ Association.

Chainsaw carving disrupts Town’s look and feel

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

The location [of the chainsaw carving event] was poorly chosen… a public recreational space that is used quite regularly by those who use the [tennis] backboard, and the many youth who take advantage of getting together with friends to shoot some hoops.

Next, this spot was right beside Qualicum Beach’s only tennis courts which are very much in use during dry spells in the weather. It was not pleasant trying to play tennis with all the cacophony and smell of chainsaw exhaust fumes. I therefore request that this location not even be considered for such an event in the future. Yes, a local artist would have been ideal if one was available for the time slot that had been decided on.

I personally do not see any connection with the design and our town. Yes, we have lovely gardens here and maybe there are some fairies lurking in amongst all the flowers and shrubs, but is this the “new“ branding that the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce is looking for? Chainsaw carvings are a big hit for Campbell River, [but] do we really want to infringe on their identity? Surely we can come up with a better alternative.

Bill Majercsik, Qualicum Beach

Naked Naturals – truck traffic to be the soundtrack of the Qualicum Commons?

Re: Bus Garage property development hobbled by Town foot-dragging and The (un)branding of Qualicum Beach

Two recent articles have connected some dots for me about our future in Qualicum Beach.

The first was your very good piece on the Naked Naturals proposal for the old bus garage site at 111 Fourth Avenue West. The second was your recent piece in the loss of our town’s brand/identity.

My recollection of the Official Community Plan process and discussions in the last civic election included fairly passionate feelings that we needed to retain the ‘village’ feel, even as we grew. In the related consultation about Qualicum Commons, the consensus was that it should become the village centre, with gathering spots, perhaps a bandstand, shops and some housing.

To their credit, the Advisory Planning Commission and Town Council aren’t rushing into approval of the Naked Naturals proposal. Council delayed second reading of the bylaw that would okay the project and sent it back to the APC for another look, and the Commission once again declined to approve the project without design changes and work between the Town and Naked Naturals on integrating underground parking. 

Qualicum Commons overlooking community garden with Mount Arrowsmith in background. August 2020 Qualicum Beach, BC.

There seems to be a growing realization that this will be the first building block of Qualicum Commons and they want to get it right. And neither has yet addressed how pedestrians will get to or around the site.

By their nature, big grocery stores attract shoppers in cars, and that means they need lots of parking. Putting Naked Naturals directly across from Qualicum Foods seems to me like a prescription for traffic and parking woes. Is that going to be part of our future brand?

And for the people whose homes are closest to the project, the part of our brand that includes liveability and walkability becomes a joke. They’ll have to contend with the noise of delivery vehicles’ backup alarms, waste collection and the traffic that will be turning into the store’s parking lot off Memorial onto Fourth just a few metres from their homes.

I’m one of a growing group that uses the laneway that parallels Memorial Avenue as a safe pedestrian access. There is no sidewalk on Primrose Lane, and the one on Memorial is narrow and has curbs that are an obstacle to wheelchairs and other mobility aids. The laneway is lightly travelled, it’s flat and well drained. It is now a safe, pleasant way to walk into town.

But with trucks and traffic turning onto Fourth, that makes our access to downtown much more hazardous. And with parking at a premium around the stores, shoppers might start using the lane for parking or access.

In its first look at the project, the APC fretted about the store’s effect on future neighbours in Qualicum Commons. Even in its second look there was little attention to the effect it will have on the neighbours who are already there. One of the members of the Commission said neighbours used to hear noise from the bus garage that stopped operating years ago. But wasn’t one of the objectives of all that planning and consultation to make decidedly different use of that site?

Let’s hope that when it does get back to Council, our political leaders take a serious look at how their decision could change not only the ‘village’ nature of the town we love but also the development of what we hoped would become our cultural centre. And I hope citizens will share their feelings with Councillors.

Naked Naturals has done its best to fit its new store into a tight site with access dictated by the town planners. The design is attractive and it’s as eco-friendly as a big building can be.

But is this whole exercise trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? Do we really want traffic and truck alarms from two big grocery stores as the soundtrack for Qualicum Commons?

Scott Honeyman, Qualicum Beach

Editor’s Note: This letter was received on November 8, 2021, after the Advisory Planning Committee met on November 3, and before the Naked Naturals project was put on the Council agenda for November 17, 2021. See Naked Naturals – tangled web spun by Town staff, next move Council Nov 17.

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