LETTERS: Threatened forests — Street lights — Cold weather shelter

  • Qualicum Woods forest threatened with destruction
  • Sale of land at 504 Juniper Drive opposed by hundreds — ignored by Council
  • Town misleads public about street lighting
  • Cold weather shelter at south airport lands

At their closed door Special Council meeting on March 3, 2021, QB Town Council approved a motion to sell 504 Juniper Drive (corner of Dogwood). A delegation by the Qualicum Woods Residents Association at the July 15, 2020 Council meeting made a strong case for permanent preservation of this biodiverse area of natural forest. Editor

Qualicum Woods forest threatened with destruction

March 16, 2021 To: Qualicum Beach Mayor and Council

Again, the voices of our residents are falling on deaf ears.  You were presented with a petition of some 500 voters living in Qualicum Woods, who opposed the degradation of our scenic entrance to Town along [Highway] 19a last year.

The reasons to preserve this space across from Milner Gardens are obvious to most residents of this Town.

On one hand Council is talking about Microforest creation and the other is prepared to lay waste to two natural, forested lots.  I fail to see the logic.  If it is a matter of requiring funding for overspending then it seems to me that fiscal responsibility should trump the devastation of our natural resources.

Why the rush?  Could it be that it is to be pushed through before the by-election?

We moved to Qualicum for its small town charm, natural resources and slow pace.  I am most disappointed in the manner with which this Council conducts its business and the direction in which we are headed. 

Kim Greig, Qualicum Beach, BC

Sale of land at 504 Juniper Drive opposed by hundreds— ignored by Council

March 18, 2021 To: Mayor and Council of Qualicum Beach

When the Town issued a reply to 10 community organizations who wrote to the Town to highlight concerns about a lack of communication and public consultation, amongst the reply from the Town were these words:

One of many large native trees cut down in Qualicum Beach this year. March 2021

“We are invested in improving the Town of Qualicum Beach for ourselves, our neighbours, our families, and future generations. We are listening.” — February 12, 2021

Ahead of the March 17, 2021 Council meeting, the QWRA [Qualicum Woods Residents Association] wrote to remind Council that over 500 people had objected to the sale of the land at 504 Juniper Drive last year, as listing the property for sale was an agenda item reported as a decision made in camera [on March 3, 2021].

Despite the sale being an agenda item, and Council being reminded of the community opposition to the sale, and Council having received a number of new letters opposing the sale, there was absolutely no discussion about the decision to sell this land.

There was no discussion about the QWRA request that if Council goes against the will of the people and now sells the land, they should allow residents input on the sale, such as a walk through of the property to clarify land markers, and identify old growth and significant trees that should be preserved.

Ironically, at this very Council meeting, Rosemary Taylor of the Arrowsmith Naturalists appeared before Council to educate on the detrimental impact that development and cutting down tress was having on pollinators in our community.

In spite of Ms. Taylor’s clearly articulated presentation on the negative impacts of reducing green space for vital food security and climate issues, Council went ahead with the decision to sell 504 Juniper Drive.

Council went ahead without any explanation, discussion, information, or public input, and decided to list this property.

Somehow the assertion, “we are listening,” rings hollow yet again.

Todd Provost, Qualicum Woods Residents Association

Town misleads public about street lighting

Dear Editor

Thanks for your article Town Misleads re Lighting. I sent Bob Weir, Engineer Qualicum Beach, an email on January 28, 2021. I received a short reply that quickly indicated to me that my issue was not taken seriously even though I told him in my email that the newly upgraded lighting of the street light on the corner of Berwick and Hoylake E. in front of my home of the last 18 years was suddenly shining like a bright spotlight onto my property and actually through my living room window as well. The entire front, side and part of my back yard are as bright as daylight.

I subsequently sent a written letter to Mayor, Council and Bob Weir the following day. I followed the next town meeting which illustrated I was not the only citizen who was upset. I was thoroughly unimpressed with the way the issue was sloughed off with a lot of disinformation. No one on Council gave a thought about going out for 15 minutes at night to actually see that there is a genuine problem that needs to be fixed. After researching this issue is it obvious Parksville is taking this seriously, and that reduced wattage and light shields are an option. My neighbours have since told me they are upset at the reaction they have received from Council as well.

Great research on this topic and it reflected some of the misinformation I received from Mr Weir. Hope you keep on this subject in future issues as, after chatting with many neighbours, I discovered it’s an irritant affecting a lot more of us than Mr. Weir lets on.

Michael Reeves, Qualicum Beach

Cold weather shelter at south airport lands

March 15, 2021

Dear Editor,

My comment to QB Council about their choice to use south airport land for the temporary cold weather shelter.

Mayor and Council,

It is good news that the Town is paying attention to those most in need and providing support for the homeless with a temporary cold weather shelter. This sends the message to constituents that our Town and Council are compassionate people – the most desirable human attribute.

Homelessness and the associated problems of homelessness are complex and extremely challenging for society. Providing a shelter is only part of the solution. Although I do not know the details of the support services that will be provided along with the shelter, I greatly appreciate and admire the individuals working for the organizations that help the homeless and those in need.

The problem for our community is Council’s choice of the location for the temporary shelter. The south airport lands is absolutely the wrong location, and I think Council must have had their doubts about this location as well. I don’t need to go into the details about south airport lands because the public has dealt with this topic with Council in the recent past when the Province denied Council’s request for a land use change of south airport land. The main issues being that south airport land is a sensitive ecosystem and a temporary cold weather shelter is not a permitted land use on that Crown land.

If the Town had had a conversation with the public about the best location for the shelter, we would have come up with a compromise that is a more suitable, practical and agreeable location to the community and more beneficial to the people using the shelter.

By the time the shelter is built the cold weather will have passed. Council has the opportunity to consult with the public for a better location for a temporary homeless shelter.

C. Macfie, Qualicum Beach

READ previously Published Letters