Qualicum Beach Council Approves Loan Bylaw for Downtown East Village Project – Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Qualicum Beach Council has approved a bylaw that would allow funding for the East Village downtown revitalization project, which will be funded through a long-term loan.

The first phase of the project is now complete, but the second phase along East Second Avenue, which includes public realm improvements, has yet to be completed. It will cost $1,345,000.

The council wants the project to move forward before the end of their term. They gave first, second and third reading to the East Village local service by-law as well as the loan authorization by-law at its regular council meeting on January 12.

The East Village project aims to create a commercial and residential village that will attract tourists, professionals, families, seniors and residents. It includes various housing options, mixed-use commercial and residential spaces, and other amenities that aim to enhance community vitality and visitor attraction to the area.

“The intention is not to be funded by the city,” the councilor said. Scott Harrison. “The city borrows money, but it’s actually the payments that are made by the business owners.”

Com. Anne Skipsey voted against the loan. She wanted the issue deferred and discussed during budget deliberations because she thinks it could impact the city’s ability to borrow for other projects and capital expenditures.

Com. Teunis Westbroek said he is normally against borrowing money as the city has always prided itself on having low or very low debt. But this case is different, he said.

“Because the servicing of the loan, the interest, would also be covered by the payments from the developers, I agree with that,” Westbroek said. “I think we can work in other areas if we need to do more. I think we have other options to cover the costs of other municipal projects. But this one is a nice clean separation between what the city pays and what the owners pay. So splitting it up and borrowing it separately, charging the interest to the project from the developers, that’s fine.

Mayor Brian Wiese was also in favor of the loan by-law and wants to see the project come to fruition.

“It’s been going on for a really long time,” Wiese said. “I can’t think of a project the city has done that we’ve spent more time on than this one. Staff time and a lot of hard work has been put into this by the promoters. Some people have already taken the plunge like in the brewery there. And I think we have to go all the way. You know, this is what we’ve been planning since day one and we need this as advice to follow through.

The concept of the Second Ave East development is to create a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly streetscape that, along with the retail development, would function as a community gathering place.

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