There could soon be a few more councillors in Qualicum Beach.
That’s because the Town of Qualicum Beach is currently considering increasing its council size from five to seven elected members.
According to a recent staff report, one reason for going forward with an increase is that a larger council “may increase opportunities” for others to run for office. The report also suggests that the municipality could benefit from the “broadened perspectives” that a larger, and in theory, more diverse body could provide.
“There would be increased opportunities for differing perspectives and skillsets to be brought to the decision-making process.”
If council were to increase to seven members, it would result in an approximately $100,000 increase to the town’s annual budget, which would be covered through 1.0 per cent tax increase, the report notes.
Qualicum Beach has considered increasing its council size in 2008 and 2014, putting the question to voters on the ballot during the general local election. In both cases, voters overwhelmingly opposed the idea.
Municipalities of comparable size to Qualicum Beach that have seven councillors include Ladysmith, Castlegar, Kitimat, Trail and Revelstoke. Nearby Parksville also uses seven councillors while Nanaimo while the View Royal is also considering increasing its council size from five to seven.
Any decision to increase council size would need to be approved by April 22.