Stop Development in Qualicum Beach’s Protected Greenbelt
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Our precious Greenbelt--heritage land protected for generations--is under assault in Qualicum Beach, threatened by impending development. These large forested parcels, some of which were created almost a century ago, play a vital part in our Town’s sustainability vision and are crucial for maintaining an ecologically balanced village that will continue to bring us health in this changing world. As such, sprawl has been strictly curtailed here in our Official Community Plan, resulting in a vibrant and gorgeous community.
In total these “Estate Residential” lots make up 200 acres, or 150 football fields, and nestle our Town’s precious gem: Milner Gardens. This forest is part of the Town’s green infrastructure, natural capital that must be preserved for future generation--for our children--if we are to adapt and promote resilience in the face of climate change.
- “Estate Residential properties provide a buffer between the sensitive land on the foreshore and the higher traffic on Highway 19A…In consideration of the sustainability targets in this OCP, the physical constraints of these large properties make them unsuitable for an increase in residential density” - Official Community Plan
And today, on the heels of the wetlands development, the first of many subdivisions aims to set a precedent that will unravel our community’s long-term vision and roll back a century of protections. Despite being in clear conflict with our bylaws, up to 28 units are poised to be developed at 850 Eaglecrest Drive/2075 Island Highway.
- “...staff cannot support this application, as it conflicts with most of the Town’s policies regarding residential development and does not meet any of the housing needs that are specifically identified in the OCP. Furthermore, this change would be inconsistent within the Town’s longstanding commitment to comprehensive planning." - Town Staff, Committee of the Whole, November 14, 2019
To accomplish this per proposed Bylaw 800.03, the Mayor and council simply need to remove a section of this land from the protected Greenbelt by amending our Official Community Plan, as they can for every similar development application that will come next from neighboring lots. Further precedent will thereby be set by removing Section 2.2.6 Rural, Policy #7, which will greenlight subdivision of all designated Resource Lands, Open Space and Rural Residential zones in Qualicum Beach.
What will result is broken promises and an exploited environment, as Mayor Brian Wiese and our council turn their back on our sustainable vision, all in the name of profit for private developers and land speculators who all understand exactly what the restrictions are when these lands are acquired; our sustainable future sold out again. And through this act of developing outside the UCB, Mayor Brian Wiese will betray the public after explicitly writing:
- As stated in the Town’s 2018 Official Community Plan, “The Town will manage growth through an Urban Containment Boundary that is independent of the Growth Containment Boundary in the Regional Growth Strategy.” - Mayor Brian Wiese, January 3rd, 2019
Now is the time to take action, for our environment and for our future generations. This land remains too precious and too important to develop, both because of “high ecological value”, and because it is “a part of the identity of the Town“ (OCP). Let us not argue over differences, but understand this is a unifying community issue that has been consistent for generations.
These lands signify our long term commitment to preserving, protecting and benefiting from our natural resources. Let us unify and save our Town from the development of this parcel, the precedent that it will create, and the gradual densification of our precious Greenbelt.
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