Qualicum council delays Naked Naturals development zoning amendment decision

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After hearing from residents during a public hearing, Qualicum Beach council decided to delay its third reading and adoption of a zoning amendment for the proposed Naked Naturals development.

Council heard concerns about traffic congestion, parking and noise from trucks unloading, during its Dec. 8 regular meeting.

“I don’t think it’s best for us to move this today. I think we should take some time, let the next information meeting continue on and then bring these zoning amendments back,” said Coun. Robert Filmer. 

He added he was confused by public comments that the project was being rushed and said council has been discussing it for over a year.

Naked Naturals Whole Foods Ltd bought the property known as the Bus Garage at 111 Fourth Avenue West. It has applied for a zoning amendment to permit a mixed commercial-residential development with a grocery store on the ground floor and nine residential units above. The zoning needs to be changed from institutional to commercial.

Coun. Anne Skipsey said she would prefer council vote after a second virtual public information meeting is held on Dec. 14.

“I would like to be able to see the whole vision, not just for this property,” she said, adding she believes it is important people are able to see how the Naked Naturals development will integrate with the adjacent town-owned Qualicum Commons.

Coun. Teunis Westbroek agreed and said before the public hearing he planned to vote in favour of third reading.

“We’ve had a lot of comments — and well thought out comments. The one I thought I picked up the most on, other than parking, was that people like to see the rest of the property and what it could be used for,” he said.

A common concern brought up during the hearing was noise from trucks unloading at the proposed store.  Luke Sales, the town’s director of planning, said deliveries will be made during 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in an effort to reduce noise impacting nearby homes.

“If you can’t deal with noise between 10 in the morning and two in the afternoon, go for a walk, go do something,” said Filmer, who pointed out the town provides notice of helicopter training for residents who live near the airport.

“It allows residents to get out of town for those times of day. That might be what has to happen here,” Filmer continued.

Skipsey said she would like to see a traffic study completed for the town’s commercial core.

Council will look at the issue again in January.

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