Stop the development of the Qualicum Wetlands
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Note: We have uncovered thousands of pages of documents that validate our cause and reveal that the Town has known this development was troubled from the start. Please see the Wetland FOI #2 Results, Wetland FOI #1 Results or the Wetland FAQ.
As a community that values sustainability, we collectively agreed to protect and preserve the wetlands by Laburnum for generations. We designated this sensitive ecosystem as an Aquatic Habitat Greenway (G5), and created guidelines to shield the at-risk wetland inhabitants.
For the last 20 years, the Town of Qualicum Beach has refused every development proposal in these wetlands due to our bylaws. These protections are to ensure that it continues to provide clean air, wildlife habitat, a healthy environment and recreational opportunities to our future residents. Furthermore, the wetlands serve as vital mitigation infrastructure in times of flood and drought.
"Wetlands are disappearing all over Canada--including locally--and with them the crucial environmental services they provide and diverse creatures they support. If you care at all about environmental health, native species, and the future of our once wildly beautiful area, I urge you to do all that you can locally to help preserve what yet remains" - Dr. Lynne Brookes, MSc, MEd, PhD (Environmental Education), resident & member of Arrowsmith Naturalists
But today, we are trading our vision of sustainability and everyone's clean air for a few private ~2700 SQFT McMansions during a housing crisis; a sensitive ecosystem torn apart to be replaced by soggy lawns and amenities.
Based on correspondence with the Town as well as a number of documents -- including an environmental report and a geotechnical report related to the development -- we are concerned that the current development activity in this wetland may not
- adhere to our protective bylaw guidelines
- have the necessary development permits
- have followed the proper review and approval process
We have made repeated requests to the Town for other relevant public documents and information, which we have not received. For this reason, we have been unable to assuage our concerns. We have been forced to make a request under the provincial freedom of information law, which is a slow process that could have been avoided, and to try to apply public pressure to the Town to get answers.
Based on the information available today from public documents, there is no documented authorization for this project and no permits. The construction activity appears to have been verbally approved before any acceptable reports were collected. We call upon the Town of Qualicum Beach to halt the activity, replant the damage and work with the community to forever preserve this vital wetland.
We find ourselves in a time of global crisis (with coronavirus being just one example), brought in part by ecological destruction and improper development practices worldwide. Now--more than any other--it is time for us to forge a sustainable path forward. To start, we should begin to uphold the regulatory guidelines we've codified into our Official Community Plan.
Instead of standing by and letting our town allow development in protected zones that creates precedent to develop other Aquatic Habitat Greenways, we need to work together for our collective future as a community.
Today let us embark forth to create a local movement that ensures the long arc of the moral universe will bends toward justice, if just this once.
Stay safe and healthy!
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