LETTERS: Pheasant Glen – Chartwell encroachments – Complaints + compliments

Mayor’s haste to grease skids for Pheasant Glen

Dear Editor,

Thanks for the [above article’s] notice to the public about the Pheasant Glen Public Hearing. The information and views you’ve provided are helpful in understanding different perspectives related to the new proposal for Pheasant Glen resort development.

The quotes from the APC [Advisory Planning Commission] meeting are particularly revealing for me, and I’m glad you included that specific part of the application process. My first reaction to the APC Chair’s comments when I listened to the recording of their meeting was disconcerted then disappointed, and as more time has passed I now feel discounted.

Your review of the Chair’s comments and his particular viewpoint on Pheasant Glen amendments and the process and opinion of the public’s role in that process, mirror my own feelings. I completely agree with your assessment of the Chair’s comments.

Charna Macfie, Qualicum Beach

Chartwell residents singled out for encroachment violations

In your [above] article it states “Mr. Sales provided no reason why the Chartwell folks were selected as the first target.”  This is a new project for the town, and like all projects, it had to start somewhere.  Rather than choosing properties at random, is it possible they planned to start at the eastern edge of town and move systematically west?

Please remember what encroachments are – they are illegal use of town-owned land.  These encroachments are being handled by staff, that is their job.  What makes you think there should have been “public review to assure the community that individual levies or penalties would be both reasonable and applied in a fair and consistent manner, relative to the severity of the encroachment”?

You continually harp about a lack of transparency and accountability, yet there is no information readily available on your website about the people behind your truly negative and combative publication.  Fess up, be transparent and accountable to your readership. [Editor’s note: We’re happy to comply with your request to “fess up.” See our response in the current BREAKERS section.]

Julio Hassenpfeffer, Qualicum Beach

RESPONSE from the article’s author, Gil Sampson: Thank you Julio for your feedback. We are in no way defending encroachments. We are, and have been, criticizing the process of resolving the encroachments. For all readers, here’s a quick recap of what we reported previously in Breakers: Chartwell residents singled out for encroachment violations. The Town in its Strategic Plan for the four year term of the newly elected Council, dated February 25, 2019, stated its intention to address encroachments onto Town-owned land, “a significant undertaking, as there are hundreds of examples in all parts of the Town. The public engagement over this issue will be a major component, as both land owners and residents will have views regarding outcomes such as a financial obligation or requirement to stop the unsanctioned use of Town land.” [emphasis ours] Some of these infractions date back more than 15 years.

The process as originally described in CAO Daniel Sailland’s Strategic Plan is quite reasonable. The CAO’s first planned step was to “develop a Summary Report on encroachments” which, according to his July 2020 update, was completed. But neither the full report, which may have contained sensitive information unsuitable for public dissemination, nor any summarized report, which would have been informative to Town taxpayers, has been provided. The CAO’s second planned step was “public consultation.” We have seen no evidence of engagement with the broader community, other than private negotiations with a dozen or so individual Chartwell residents. Blaming COVID is not, in our opinion, a legitimate excuse.

When a management team’s plan, particularly related to strategic initiatives and policies, is not followed, an erosion of trust in the management team is inevitable. It did not need to be this way. This is just one of many examples of community conflict we have observed that could have and should have been avoided. We ardently hope by providing media exposure, these conflicts become less frequent in the future.

Thanks and compliments

Dear Editor,

Many thanks for your very good research and reporting which is such an important contribution to the Community.

Richard Helm

Dear Editor,

Thanks for your fine reporting.

Dee Brock

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