LETTERS: School trustee complaint – KSS amenities proposed – Water restrictions – French Creek sewage odour

July 14, 2023

  • Ballenas Track story elicits school trustee complaint
  • Community amenities proposed for KSS school grounds
  • Water restriction surprise
  • French Creek sewage odour

Ballenas Track story elicits school trustee complaint

Dear Editor,

I’d like to thank Second Opinion QB for their often fine work reporting news of local and community matters. It is in the interest of community dialogue to have various sources of information. I would like, however, to comment and clarify elements of your May 15th Article QB Council’s track record supporting white elephants erodes Town reserves.”  

At its May 1st regular meeting, which predates your article, the City of Parksville gave three readings to its five year financial plan. This plan included an additional $750,000 contribution to the Oceanside track that comes from the Canada Community-Building Fund. With the $750,000 raised to date this enables the Oceanside Community Track Society to move forward confidently with the long-awaited construction of this 6 lane facility. The figures you used in your article are outdated and erroneous which in turn affected some of your conclusions and inferences.

I also must comment on your ill conceived metaphor of Trustee Young’s perceived conflict of interest as a school district trustee presiding as president of the Oceanside Community Track Society. It is equivalent to a major developer being a Town Council member and then voting for his own development proposal.”

Though I appreciate in politics there is some extremely eyebrow raising behaviour, comparing a school board trustee donating her time to that of the financial incentive of a major developer is laughable. There was no financial benefit to Trustee Young whatsoever in her volunteer capacity to move this project forward. Her only benefit was to finally see progress on something that has tried to get off the ground for 20 years.  

Our local communities depend on the goodwill and volunteer spirit of its members. To so cavalierly question the ethics of one of these volunteer members does a disservice to the good work that so many people do to improve our community.

So thank you once again for your time working within a not for profit environment to provide another perspective on issues affecting our communities. As media it benefits everyone to double check your facts and consider whether the use of figurative language is libelous, appropriate, clarifies a position or moves the story forward.

Thank you,

Julie Austin, Qualicum School District Trustee

We sincerely appreciate your feedback on our article. As you will read in the Breakers section of this issue of Second Opinion QB, we explain that the monies requested for and “committed” to this project are still in flux, and the cost may increase again. In January 2022, Michael Garland, a fundraising co-ordinator of the Oceanside Community Track Committee (OCTA) said that the project would cost $1.2 million. Today, the OCTA’s current project cost estimate is $1.5 million.

We value the contribution of all community volunteers. However, conflict of interest can arise not only from improper financial gain but also from questionable influence on decisions, actual or perceived – regardless of whether a person volunteers or provides services for monetary compensation. Trustee Elaine Young ran in an election to serve the entire community’s school needs, not to advance a particular project she personally promoted. The issue of conflict of interest in this instance also arises from her role as the Chair of the Finance and Operations Committee of School District 69 overseeing a budget of $60 million. — Editor

Community amenities proposed for KSS school grounds

This letter was sent on June 15, 2023 to the mayor and councillors of Qualicum Beach and the trustees of Qualicum School District 69. — Editor

Dear Council,

It was very welcoming to hear you speak for our children and KSS high school at the last council meeting. Attached is a map with a red dot on it. This red dot is along the bike trail and virtually across the railway tracks from the east village and very close to downtown and the farm market. It’s also beside the large parking lot at KSS. The field it is on is not very well maintained. The soccer nets have all fallen apart and are either shoved to the side or left to stand in their disrepair. Pictures attached.

If the Town was to invest in amenities at KSS please consider this red dot as a good place to do so. The convenience of just stopping by while biking or downtown but still being accessible to the school gym class and for non-curricular KSS club use it’s perfect. Basketball – street hockey might be a good choice to start with, likely used by both the whole community and school classes. This could be a good start but in my opinion there is much more to be gained for our community here.

KSS does NOT have a lunch room. It does not have a room for the children to go to, have their lunch and hang out with friends. A large outdoor gazebo could suffice as a gathering place for students at lunch. It could also be used as a public gathering space. Even rented out on weekends. The teachers could use the gazebo as an outdoor learning space. I believe KSS is the only sd69 school without an outdoor learning space. Having a few picnic tables around the gazebo could provide students a place to sit and eat while also being used by the public picnicking, shooting hoops and kicking a soccer ball while on a bike ride to the farm market on the weekend.

These are a few ideas…please see my past emails to you about KSS for other ideas if you like. For this to be successful I believe the Town would need to maintain this area on school district property. The unions may work it out as they did for the community gardens at the Qualicum Commons. For the betterment of children’s learning experience and because nice schools will attract young families and workers.

As always thank you for listening and truly showing you care for our community!

Take care,

Ray Woroniak, Qualicum Beach

Water restriction surprise

What is wrong with this picture?

The province is on fire and we are running out of water but Qualicum keeps pumping like there is no problem.

We need a bigger picture system for managing water resources.

Larry Biccum, Qualicum Beach

French Creek sewage odour

Dear Editor,

When I moved back to the island in fall of 2013, a realtor tried to tell me the smell by the sewage plant was from the “herring spawn”. As a native islander, I knew that was a lie, and needless to say, I chose a different realtor. I once lived a couple of blocks from the huge sewage treatment plant in Ottawa, and there were times we would smell it…always during a backyard BBQ….but the city admitted it needed upgrading, and did that within a couple of years. Never smelled anything again, even during their well known record breaking high summer heat-waves.

My realtor told me the local sewage plant was going to have imminent upgrades. That was 10 years ago, and I still have visitors hold their breath on bad days as we drive by the plant. Are they waiting for it to fail? It doesn’t appear to be as bad as it was, but am I just acclimatizing myself to the smell? I DID live in Port Alberni, so I know how that works. With all the additional pressure from the rampant development, how can it be managed? I fear for a spill into the sensitive estuary and new wildlife reserve.

Kathy Desjardins, Qualicum Beach

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