LETTERS: RV camping – Tourism – Dry housing – Chamber by-law violation

  • QB waterfront tourism enhancement plan to allow overnight RV camping
  • Chamber of Commerce erasing QB from tourism map
  • Town plans to clearcut Community Park for temporary dry housing
  • Chamber Executive Director supports candidate Sarah Duncan, in violation of by-laws

QB waterfront tourism enhancement plan to allow overnight RV camping

Dear Editor,

This has to be the worst, most harebrained, stupid scheme I have heard yet from this dysfunctional council. All of the comments in the woman’s letter addressing the council were very astute. It’s not just the policing that will inevitably have to be paid for, but the increased garbage and litter from campers. With two beach accesses within two blocks of us having had the trash bins removed (apparently cost cutting), I find it strange and contradictory that the Town would suddenly allow people to set up camp on the nicest area of QB’s waterfront, which will certainly result in extra trash disposal.

The citizens of QB regularly use this beach and respect it. People staying for a night will not feel the same way. Why take an area that is just about perfect and then turn it into a trailer park? Seriously???

Faith and David Robertson, Qualicum Beach

Article referenced: Ready – Fire – Aim: Waterfront tourism expansion

Chamber of Commerce erasing QB from tourism map

Dear Editor:

Another reason to remove Kim Burden as executive director of the QB Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Majercsik

Article referenced: Chamber of Commerce erasing QB from tourism map

Town plans to clearcut Community Park for temporary dry housing

The following letter was also sent to the Mayor, Council and area MLA Adam Walker regarding the April 29, 2021 public information presentation by the Town about the proposal and request for grant money for a “temporary dry recovery” program which we covered in our recent article, Clearcutting our community park when other Town land is available? — Editor

In the presentation by Mr. Sailland, a plot of ALR land near the Qualicum Beach Fire Station was highlighted as a potential location that was discounted. It was admitted that no attempt was made to even inquire if this ALR land would be considered for the proposed use, even though it looks unusable for agricultural purposes and is a reasonable walking distance to downtown for clients of the housing.

Firstly, the plot appears to be the furthest thing away from being agriculturally viable, as it looks to be a barren field with a gravel road covering part of it. Would it really be so difficult to argue for the adjusted land use for this plot? And although it may not be enough room for the entire project, perhaps the urgent portion, the dry housing, would be a better fit for ALR re-use, as it doesn’t have to be proposed as a permanent change, and it would likely require little if any tree removal.

Perhaps MLA Walker can provide some insight into Councillor Harrison’s allegation that the province isn’t supporting ALR land for re-use for social housing, as his example seemed to imply? And if that was the case in the past, would the provincial government consider this request for re-use?

Dry creek bridge in Qualicum Beach Community Park.

As other members of the public commented, we do understand that a time sensitive grant requires quick movement by the Town. However, since the works yard relocation has been on the table since 2006, why could the two projects not be separated, allowing further exploration of the other options for the works yard? If the Town still decides it has to be the Jones Road site, at the very least separate the two projects and cut down the lower number of trees required to be removed for housing.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if the Town didn’t even inquire about land re-use, I suspect a full environmental impact comparison for relative harm wasn’t made between clear cutting up to 1-2 acres of trees versus the increased travel Town vehicles would make if located near the Bennet Road location, for example?

And the difference in the two sites in distance would be about 2 kilometres to downtown one way, not 3 as was stated, as the Jones Street site was described as approximately 850 metres from downtown, the Bennet Road area site about 3 kilometres. (And a quick check of the dog park location on Garden Road East to Qualicum Foods, for example, is only 1.7 kilometres, a lot different impact wise than 3 kilometres).

Although the majority of vehicle travel may be to the downtown area as described by staff, I often see Town vehicles in Eaglecrest, Chartwell, and Qualicum Woods, all so much closer to the Bennett Road site. Was that factored into the comparison for environment purposes?

The Town has the time to take to explore all the options available for the Public Works yard relocation, and to truly explore the impact on the environment clear cutting would make. Please take that time.

As for the dry housing, there are other options available within a reasonable distance of health and social support services, which we all agree are necessary for the success of this project. Please take the limited time you have to properly explore those options.

Todd Provost, Qualicum Beach

Chamber Executive Director supports candidate Sarah Duncan, in violation of by-laws

Dear Editor,

I enjoy your comments. Second Opinion QB has been enlightening with a different view.

I was saddened though that your banner headline, which is all some people read, inferred [Chamber executive director] Kim Burden’s support was valued endorsement, and not an employee vouching for his boss. On rereading this article, I think you did the best you could.

I followed up with Sarah Duncan by email after an earlier Second Opinion article to ask if she was responsible for his [Kim Burden’s] hiring. Indeed she thought it was a good thing. We differed on that point.

So disheartening to see these shenanigans in our community.

Lynn Thompson, Qualicum Beach

Dear Editor,

It’s not surprising that you would publish this story based on hearsay and gossip. If you have any hard evidence, publish it. Here’s information about another one of the candidates:

On January 15th, 2021 the town was copied on an e-mail sent from Lois Eaton, the former campaign manager for Anne Skipsey in the 2018 municipal election [copy provided].

The title of the e-mail is “Take Action: Save Our Estate Residential Forest”.  The messages in the e-mail describe a “multifaceted approach” to trying to stop the town council from proceeding with its legitimate business – it describes the council thusly: “Our local Council is singing from a 1980’s song sheet. And they will wreck our Town unless they are stopped!”

The multifaceted approach includes [publishing] a letter in the paper (“would be like a paintball hit”), involving a lawyer and the legal firm West Coast Environmental Law, and a letter in The Narwhal.

Julio Hassenpfeffer

We received another letter on this topic from John Wood. Since it was identical to the letter written by Julio Hassenpfeffer, we are not publishing both. John Wood is president of the Eaglecrest Residents Association.

Editor’s Response: The importance of journalistic trust

The story that Mr. Hassenpfeffer and Mr. Wood initially refer to, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director supports Sarah Duncan in QB by-election in violation of Chamber by-law, was not based on hearsay and gossip. As we reported, we received first-hand evidence confirming that the Chamber’s executive director, Kim Burden, did support candidate Sarah Duncan, in violation of the Chamber’s by-laws forbidding the Chamber from supporting any political candidate. We know the identities of the sources, and we have copies of credible evidence confirming the allegations.

After careful consideration, we published this story because the Chamber receives taxpayer funding from our municipality and other government sources, and therefore their actions, when they affect Qualicum Beach, do warrant public scrutiny, especially so when the matter concerns influence exerted on an election campaign. To date, neither Kim Burden nor the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce has refuted any of the alleged facts we reported in this article.

The media is permitted, and expected, to use anonymous sources in instances when there is a likelihood that the sources may face retaliation or harm, as long as the media has obtained evidence to support the allegations. In fact, a federal law was enacted in 2017 to protect the use of anonymous sources.  As reported by Global News “The Journalistic Sources Protection Act, also known as Bill S-231, was first introduced by Conservative Senator Claude Carignan in November 2016 after news broke that Quebec and Montreal police had been spying on journalists to find the sources of embarrassing leaks.”

Perhaps the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression put it best. “Responsible reliance on confidential sources is a recognized practice by journalists to provide information to society when reliance on attributable sources of information is not possible.”

In respect of Ms. Eaton’s email, our evidence indicates, as expected, that the inclusion of the Town as an email addressee was an inadvertent error. For Mr. Hassenpfeffer and Mr. Wood to infer there is something nefarious about assertive advocacy for environmental protection is not appropriate.

READ previously Published Letters