Letters: Mayor disregards citizens, Todsen subdivision opposed

Reader Susan Blacklin writes:

I am concerned that our current mayor [Wiese] appears to have complete disregard for the views of those who elected him. I watched the August 19 Qualicum Beach Council meeting online during which Mayor Wiese, Councilor Harrison and Councilor Westbroek berated Councilor Walker for sending a small survey to a random group of Qualicum Beach citizens.

Walker is consistently well prepared for each Council meeting. He asks pertinent questions and is always willing to engage with constituents. It appears that these other three members of Council don’t want to listen to their constituents, but they also don’t want the other two councilors to invite feedback from their constituents either!

I believe we are all entitled to transparent, accountable, professional conduct from all members of Council, and that all councilors should act with integrity and due diligence. People should watch the recorded Council meetings to see for themselves how Council acts.

Susan Blacklin

In response to our previous stories about the proposed Todsen subdivision, reader Richard Allan writes:

I strongly disagree with the Todsen development proposal.

I believe that Mayor Wiese is completely unprepared to make sound decisions for our town. I believe the Mayor and Council are not aware that they work for the citizens of this town, not for a few developers who seem only to care to pad their wallets. They need to be reminded that when sworn into Council there is a code of conduct that they must adhere to.

This Todsen development is absurd, and reeks of greed for a few individuals. Stop the madness!

Thank you,
Richard Allan

In an open letter to Mayor and Councillors following the July 15, 2020 Town Council meeting, Lance Nater included the following comments regarding proposed amendments to the Official Community Plan (OCP) to enable the Todsen subdivision in the Estate Properties:

“I am compelled to express my thoughts regarding the discussions and decisions reached during the July 15 meeting. Very important comments were touched on that did not necessarily reach a logical conclusion. Let’s begin with the Todsen development proposal. During the Advisory Planning Commission meeting [June 17, 2020], which resulted in a 3-2 favourable vote, one member commented that the proposal would look better than what currently exists.

During your meeting, Mr. Sales was asked what is the state of the property. His answer was that the land had been essentially cleared about 5 years ago. Council never did ask who or why that woodland was cleared. My recollection was the land was cleared by the property owner and it was done in anticipation of some development. Council commented that infrastructure to accommodate the Cottages development was “oversized” to accommodate a future development on this property. All of this anticipation and accommodation was taken while this property was outside the Urban Containment Boundary [UCB] and well before any development was presented to the public. Good planning or putting the cart before the horse?

Council pointed out the “iconic” meaning of the Estate Properties and cautioned that nothing should be done until the next OCP review. Council was reminded of a long standing bylaw protecting trees and vegetation on the Estate Properties, but that protection excludes what is now the Todsen property. No one has been able to offer a clear explanation why that is the case. An opinion was raised that a comprehensive plan for the future of the Estate Properties should be established, as a priority, in “fairness” to the developer. In conclusion, Council did not move to 2nd reading, but did ask for a lift analysis and traffic study prior to a public hearing. What is council’s priority? Expediency for the developer, or protection and restoration of woodland?

How can Council appreciate the “iconic” value of the Estate Properties to our Town and next discuss proceeding with the Todsen proposal which is part of the Estate Properties and outside the UCB? I recall assurances made by several Councillors during the [Regional District of Nanaimo] RDN discussions in late 2018 that Qualicum Beach was certainly capable of making its own land use decisions without RDN involvement. It was said the Town would continue to utilize the UCB to prevent sprawl and limit servicing expectations.

In early 2019, when asked directly what intentions existed to modify the UCB, two Council members replied with “nothing” or “no changes are anticipated”. One and a half years later, after several changes to the UCB, after assurances during the RDN discussion, and adoption of the OCP, here we are discussing this proposal. So our inexperienced Council and our highly experienced staff have led us to this point – I call it “never, never land.”

Lance Nater