Letters: kids cheer seniors, Nenzel Rd rezoning non-compliant

Qualicum Beach family decorates for Hallowe’en. October 2020

Qualicum Beach resident Lorna Gray writes about a group of local young people who found an innovative way to cheer seniors locked in by the coronavirus.

Some thanks are due to a group of local children who made extra efforts to reach out to the seniors of Qualicum Beach.

As Thanksgiving approached, children who had been regularly visiting seniors at residential facilities prior to the pandemic came up with a wonderful way to bring some of the outside world to these shut-in seniors. This group of children and their families are part of an effort to foster engagement between different generations, an initiative of QCEWS, the Qualicum Community Education & Wellness Society.

Since we aren’t able to visit the local care homes right now, and we can’t do anything directly with the Seniors Centre, the young people put together a video instead. It features each QCEWS child / family member with a photo or video of them doing something fun, like playing guitar or skateboarding or whatever their “passion” is, and some thoughts about what they are thankful for. This was a first-time effort for many involved; a steep learning curve for adults and children alike, mostly the adults!!

This Happy Thanksgiving video was shown to the residents of Eagle Park and The Gardens, who, we were told, were all happy to see it.

Lorna Gray

The following open letter from Qualicum Beach resident Charna Macfie was sent to Town Council prior to a Public Hearing held October 14, 2020 for a development proposal at 545 Nenzel Road. Details of the proposal are appended to the meeting Agenda. Watch the full Public Hearing here.

Dear Mayor Wiese and Council,

No matter how one attempts to re-interpret the OCP to justify the re-zoning of 545 Nenzel Road, this development is still not compliant. The OCP has no value or relevance when it is ignored, or manipulated to produce a desired outcome. The fact that 545 Nenzel is outside the urban containment boundary is entirely disregarded by planning and Council as easily as closing your eyes.

Planning sustainable communities and planning for climate crisis depends on understanding how decisions and actions we adopt today will either adversely contribute to the climate crisis locally and globally or hopefully build foundations for a resilient community and move us closer to emissions reduction targets and biodiversity preservation and restoration.

Densifying urban centres and preserving land for its natural resources and agricultural uses has been part of urban planning for a very long time and then revived again with the smart growth philosophy. Even here in Qualicum Beach we have attempted to adopt the smart growth method of urban planning. But the philosophy of a compact community is being set aside to allow Town expansion into rural and ecologically sensitive areas such as 545 Nenzel Road, 850 Eaglecrest Drive, Laburnum Lot C and Claymore Landing. The Town’s current expansionist ideology contrasts sharply with the increasing urgency to reduce global warming and biodiversity loss.

Planning department confirmed for me there will be on-site sewer system to support this development. A reminder to Council that 545 Nenzel Road is within the Beach Creek watershed and the creek borders the property.

The community is left in the dark about how Council has come to the decision to support 545 Nenzel Road development application because there is no consultation or communication between Council and public. It appears the applicant’s promise for 6 rental units is Council’s only consideration. But are there other considerations?

The re-zoning of 545 Nenzel Road sets an unfavourable precedent. Has there been an impact assessment of the recent and future cumulative land use changes and tree clearing on natural and rural lands in Qualicum Beach?

A report by United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change says:
“Natural climate solutions can deliver 37% of cost-effective carbon dioxide mitigation needed by 2030 for a greater than 66% chance of holding global warming below 2 degrees centigrade this century. “
“Trees have the greatest potential to cost-effectively reduce carbon emissions.”
“Better stewardship of the land also has impact on other critical environmental, social and economic benefits.”

The 2019 BC Real Estate Foundation survey found that, “A ratio of 3 to 1 BC residents choose environmental protection over economic growth.”

I ask Council to deny 545 Nenzel re-zoning amendment.

Charna Macfie