Growing Qualicum Beach refuses to be called a city


WATCH: The quaint seaside community of Qualicum Beach is saying “no thank-you” to becoming a city, despite being big enough in population to have earned that title many years ago. Locals say staying a town is part of its unique charm, so while other communities are striving to grow, Qualicum Beach is one of those rare places where no one’s in any hurry to see things change.

Qualicum Beach is trying to stay a small town as long as it can.

“Yeah it’s like living on a film set that is forever,” said resident Joan Novak.

In this town that has the oldest average age in Canada (at 60-years-old) mom-and-pop shops thrive in the absence of chains that are kept at bay by strict town regulations designed to protect this place’s unique time-locked style.

“Life is better than good,” said resident Wayne Hamilton. “It’s magnificent here,” he added while smiling.

So while other communities clamour for growth, Qualicum Beach is balking the trend.

“This is different. This town is different,” said Mayor Teunis Westbroek. “Nobody ever said we should change the name of the town to the city or anything like that. They like the feel of being a town.”

The threshold for the city title is 5,000 residents and nearly 9,000 people live in Qualicum Beach. But locals don’t want anyone to call it a city.

“It hasn’t got that rush that a lot of places have. It’s quieter,” said resident Ann Umpleby.

Some here would even it rather go back to being a village.

“I wasn’t happy it became a town,” said Joan Novak. “I like it as a village but you know we gotta go with the times right?”

Keeping that small-town name means also keeping a smaller council, which residents like.

“Which is the feedback that we give to the council and the mayor,” said Wayne Hamilton.

“I’ll tell you maybe it’s not good if you become a city because more councillors and more BS,” said resident Alex Cherm. “So you gotta cut that stuff out.”

Over the next 25 years, the town’s expected to pass the 10,000 population mark, yet Mayor Westbroek says even then, he doesn’t see anyone wanting to make Qualicum Beach a city.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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