LETTERS: Town benches – Falsely-framed warring camps

Why is the Town removing our benches?
Qualicum Beach bench — an endangered species? August 2021

Dear Editor,

This is a list of benches that I have noticed on my walks around Qualicum Beach that have recently been removed.  Some of these benches had plaques and some were new benches.

  • 3 from the QB Cemetery [on Jones]
  • 2 from the Friendship Garden [corner of Garden and Memorial]
  • 1 on Primrose Lane ( I used to see a couple sitting there and she would be reading a book aloud to her partner.)
  • 1 by Eagle Park Health Care Facility
  • 1 by the Knot Garden by the Qualicum Community Baptist Church
  • 1 along the QB Museum Trail

Why are they disappearing?

A. Taylor, Qualicum Beach

Decrying “falsely ‘framed’ warring ‘camps’ ” in our community

Dear Editor,

All human societies since time immemorial have been and are developed. Some imploded and others exploded due to their societal arrangements being unequitable. This resulted in an unsustainable use of the resources to which it had access. Some got the balance right.

QB Blackberries, August 2021

Let’s face it – the ecological writing has been on the wall for a number of decades. Since the 1950s and particularly since the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring we have had a global environmental movement. The heat dome, drought and burning forests we experienced this summer were a tiny taste of what is in store for us if we don’t immediately structurally heed the warnings we have been getting since the 1950s.

Some people, businesses and governments – local and global – have been trying to learn the lessons from a variety of societies in order to constructively respond to these social and climate realities. One such community was and is Qualicum Beach. Thanks to the dedication and passion of residents such as Faye Smith Rosenblatt as well as Scott and Annette Tanner together with many others, Qualicum Beach not only aspired to become a transition community, we were actually achieving it.

Our village, then town council and staff, actively enabled Qualicum progressing along this careful and sustainable development path. We were the envy of many other communities because of the high level of resident participation in professionally facilitated public processes undertaken to determine the priorities for our Official Community Plan (OCP).

Amongst the priorities was the setting of a population cap, maintaining a walker and scooter friendly community, maintaining numerous ‘urban’ forests within our boundaries and ensuring we did not outstrip the carrying capacity of the region. The climate chaos we have been and are currently experiencing, including the heat dome this summer, has long been predicted. The planned for, and maintenance of, numerous ‘urban’ forests within our boundaries is as much about lowering the temperature of our community as providing homes for local wildlife and restorative reprieves for all our residents.

Oregon grape in Qualicum Beach Community Park, BC August 2021

Unfortunately, a tiny minority of residents are not pleased with our decades-old approach to development. They label people who want the collectively determined OCP wishes of current residents and the carrying capacity of the region to be honoured, as [being] “anti-development.” I suggest the term “appropriate development” is more accurate.

Those who support 200+ condo unit developments with contemptuous disregard for the carrying capacity of our community and region as well as our collaborative processes involving current residents are labelled “pro-development.” Given the massive energy sucking air-conditioning and heating units such projects require given their out-dated construction, I consider them “inappropriate development.”

These [groups] are then falsely ‘framed’ as warring ‘camps’ within our community. I say ‘falsely’ because, unlike those wanting to honour our OCP, there was no professionally facilitated public process that determined the people of Qualicum Beach want to disregard their Official Community Plan.   

It is in response to the socially engineered tensions within our community as well as the push to ignore our OCP that the Concerned Citizens of Qualicum Beach (CCQB) was formed. It is in response to the threats to our ‘urban’ and surrounding forests that the Qualicum Nature Preservation Society was formed. These are in addition to the long established Qualicum Beach Residents Association. These organizations have websites. 

Given you have read this, you care about this community. Please consider adding your voice and creative energy to one of these constructively engaged organizations to ensure Qualicum Beach continues to be the community you love.

Y. A. Zarowny, Qualicum Beach

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