Qualicum Beach council heard frustration from the public before voting in favour of allowing a resident to build a rental unit on their property. The next-door neighbour expressed her concern the addition would change the character of the area and six residents wrote in to express their opposition.
“It will no longer reflect a quiet neighbourhood that neighbours have been accustomed to,” said Nory Johrden.
The carriage house at 230 Higson Crescent will be a unit on top of a detached garage. The owner made several changes, including installation of privacy screening and moving the proposed location away slightly from the neighbour’s property line, according to Luke Sales, director of planning for the town.
“People always tell us, ‘we don’t want urban sprawl, but we also need more housing’ and I think this is one way to address that,” said Coun. Teunis Westbroek.
Coun. Robert Filmer said he sympathized with the neighbours, but added rental housing was important to help the town attract younger residents.
“This is what promotes spaces for your local workforce to live,” said Filmer, who said he lives in a secondary suite similar to the development in question.
Johrden said she was worried about increased traffic, noise and a shortage of parking space as a result of the rental property. The property is large enough to accommodate the required two spaces for the single-family dwelling and one space for the carriage house, according to the town. She also expressed concern over losing her backyard privacy because of the large balcony included in the design for the carriage house.
Coun. Scott Harrison said council should make its decision based on making an effective use of the land, rather than focusing on relationships between neighbours.
“This kind of development encourages multi family residences and allows older people to stay in place,” he said.
Council voted unanimously in favour of the motion to allow a zoning amendment and permit the owner to build the carriage house.
Johrden said she was worried about an increased noise level because the property would be used as a vacation rental.
“It will have a huge community effect, changing it and a domino effect that could cause changes throughout all of Qualicum Beach, causing it to be [similar to a] Lower Mainland community, as opposed to a wonderful, quiet town,” said Johrden.