The Town of Qualicum Beach wishes to stay a “town” with four councillors and a mayor despite being the size of a “city” which would allow for six councillors and a mayor. — Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach balks at promotion to city

Council debates whether to retain town status despite population rise

The Town of Qualicum Beach wishes to stay designated as a ‘town’ despite being nearly double the maximum population of a town or village.

Staff brought forward a motion for adoption during the March 19 meeting on the Local Government Status and Council Size policy, which defines the number of council members and class of municipality as a ‘town.’

According to the Local Government Act, a ‘town’ consists of a population between 2,500 and 5,000 and a ‘city’ is any population greater than 5,000.

The Community Charter states that for a town or a village, council is to consist of a mayor and four councillors. For a city or district with a population less than 50,000, council is to consist of a mayor and six councillors.

The population of Qualicum Beach was 8,943 as of the 2016 census.

According to the policy from staff on local government status and council size, “Council may, by bylaw, establish the number of council members as a mayor and 4, 6, 8 or 10 councillors.”

The policy states “that council retain its town status, with no change in current council make-up being four councillors and one mayor.”

Coun. Anne Skipsey said she struggled with the wording on of the policy.

“It just seems misleading to me that it states for the legislation as a town, we should have a mayor and four councillors but then we don’t talk about in the legislation where it defines a town as having a population between 2,500 and 5,000.

“We call ourselves a town, yes, but technically by the legislation we would be a city which would have a mayor and six councillors.”

Corporate administrator Heather Svensen said the council make-up could be defined in the policy.

Council referred the motion back to staff to clarify the council make-up in the policy.

Send story tips: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

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