Qualicum College building to be demolished — residents express concerns over proposed development

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Qualicum Beach town council voted to remove heritage status on the old Qualicum College building and have it demolished as soon as possible.

“At this point, after hearing what I have heard and knowing what I know — I am not comfortable leaving it there,” said Mayor Brian Wiese at a special council meeting and public hearing on Jan. 27.

Those who attended the public hearing showed near unanimous support for the demolition, citing fire hazards and saying it has been an eyesore in the neighbourhood for too long. 

The owner of the property at 431 College Road has proposed a 62 unit, multi-residential development. The proposal is for three buildings, including a replica of the Qualicum College, which would house 10 rental units. 

The developer is seeking an amendment to the official community plan (OCP) to change the maximum allowable units from 40 to 62.

Many residents in the area expressed concerns at the public hearing, mainly to do with density, parking and traffic. The proposal includes sixty off-street parking spaces, ten fewer than required, according to the town. 

A few residents spoke in favour of the project, but the majority urged council not to move forward with the amendment and said the development is too big for the area. 

Residents suggested the town allow development within the existing zoning, but said an OCP amendment for the number of units being asked for can not be justified.

The development site is currently listed for sale for $4.6 million — residents at the hearing questioned why it is on the market and whether the developer will follow through if council grants the OCP amendment. 

Council carried second reading for the bylaw amendments on Dec. 9. Third reading was not on the agenda on Jan. 27.

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