Letters: commending Walker, survey

In support of Councillor Walker’s recent survey of QB residents, Bruce Fleming-Smith submitted the following letter to Council on September 2, 2020:

Dear Councillor Walker, Mayor Wiese and Council;

I want to commend your initiative Councillor Walker in initiating this survey and sending it out with the hopes of gleaning some additional information on public sentiment towards the very, very important issue as to how Council proceeds with the Todsen development application.

There is widespread interest and concern within our community on the matter of rural land preservation and forest conservation, and a creeping proliferation of development that contradicts some of the fundamental tenets of our OCP and by extension moves us further from the ‘small town’ vision for Qualicum Beach.

That Council continues to proceed with consideration of this proposal even in the face of Planning Staff’s recommendations to the contrary, is worrisome for me. Your survey will possibly shed some light as to whether my concerns are widely held or not.

I think it unfortunate and frankly irresponsible, that Council has not chosen to follow Planning Staff’s recommendation, and/or conduct more concerted dialogue with the broader community via survey and other means as to the general public sentiment regarding the Todsens’ development proposal. Failure on the part of Council to exercise genuine caution and reticence with this application clearly cements in the minds of many members of the public the perception that this proposal is a ‘fait accompli’. 

When developments do proceed in such a fashion, the integrity of ‘responsible parties’ is inevitably brought into question.

Your initiative Councillor Walker, in working to bring more information and critical scrutiny to bear on this matter, speaks of your high character and is a clear confirmation that there was a sound reason why you garnered the largest percentage of votes cast during our last civic election.

Thank you for your excellent work!

Bruce Fleming-Smith

The following is an excerpt of an email sent to the Mayor, Council and Staff from Jill Sawchuk regarding her observations of Council discussions about Councillor Adam Walker’s survey of residents during the Regular Council Meeting held August 19, 2020:

“…It is clear Adam Walker is looking for ways to engage with the public and get their true concerns heard. As a younger person in this community, I truly appreciate these innovative ways to participate in decisions being made in our community that affect ALL of us. From listening to the conversation around the survey it also became clear that there were attempts to involve everyone in council including the Mayor to get involved in these new and innovative ways to engage the public. So, by the end of the discussion my impression was that the Mayor was simply trying to assert his power and control only to be faced with the truth – which is: he isn’t listening to the public and what they want.

“Adam I commend you for your courage in standing your ground. There are MANY people living here that appreciate you helping to get our voices heard.

“I believe this specific motion around the survey goes to show that times are changing and you can’t shame people who are trying to create change so that ALL voices are heard. It gave me hope to see this coming to light. The people who have been in power for so long are meeting with clear and truthful discussion and those old ways of shaming others to shut them up are dying. Bravo Adam! And thank you to Councillor Filmer for standing up for Adam in that moment. …”

Jill Sawchuk