Demolition underway at Qualicum College, council votes to grant building permit

Demolition is underway on the former Qualicum College building || Photo by Kevin Forsyth
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Qualicum Beach town council voted to grant a building permit and zoning amendment for the old Qualicum College site, with a couple last minute changes.

Council voted to reduce the total units on site to 49, from 53 after a lengthy discussion. The reduced density removes the need for a variance to permit off-site parking, according to Luke Sales, director of planning. 

Coun. Teunis Westbroek moved to defer adoption of the zoning to the next council meeting, when a fifth member will have a vote, but eventually withdrew the motion to work out a compromise. 

“I feel confident in any decision I am going to make and I think that we as the four of us probably have more information on College Heights than anyone else coming in,” said Mayor Brian Wiese.

Coun. Scott Harrison questioned whether the first meeting with a fifth member should include a high profile development decision, but Westbroek and Coun. Robert Filmer said the elected candidate should come prepared for the job.

“I saw a public comment from one of the candidates that they need more information to come to a position on the backyard chicken debate, which bluntly speaking is a little bit less complicated than this development,” Harrison said. “I just want to highlight that perhaps we shouldn’t be so presumptuous as to assume what the new member of council will be prepared to do.”

Westbroek also wanted to see waste and recycling facilities at the proposed development addressed before voting in favour of adoption. He moved to require composting, garbage and waste to a central location for all residents and it was carried.

Council voted unanimously to grant the development permit and zoning amendment after the discussion.

Town staff also recommended council rescind two motions regarding the Qualicum College building because the developer is no longer required to construct the replica.

Council previously voted to require the developer to construct the replica 24 months after bylaw adoptions and to enter into a housing agreement to ensure all units in the college building remained rentals — both were rescinded.

Though it is no longer required, there is no indication the developer will not go forward with building a replica, but it is likely to be late in the development process, according to Sales.

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