My hometown of Parksville has a new mayor: Ed Mayne, the owner of a local Tim Hortons franchise. Hooray! I’m sure he’ll make wonderful planning decisions, especially considering his comments to the press in which he promised to attract more young families to the city (read: allow more subdivisions), to re-zone a contentious piece of the Agricultural Land Reserve for housing development, and to cut funding for downtown revitalization – a waste of money in his mind, and no wonder (Tim Hortons isn’t downtown, of course). Mayne’s Tim Hortons franchise is one of the many, many drive-thru chains strung along the bleak stretch of Old Island Highway at the outskirts of town (snugly nestled between about a dozen car dealerships and other assorted detritus). Why would he care if Parksville’s core was vital, walkable or inviting? Answer: he wouldn’t.
In actual fact, Mayne doesn’t even live in the city of Parksville, but rather in Nanoose Bay about 20 minutes to the south. His only interests in Parksville lie in his business ventures – and that’s exactly how he’ll behave as mayor. Way to go Parksville! You’ve not only halted all progress by electing this new mayor, but you’ve actually taken several steps backward.
Oh well, there’s always Qualicum Beach nearby, one of B.C.’s few small towns to maintain some sanity in terms of development and planning. Maybe Qualicum’s secret lies in the fact that it doesn’t allow any fast-food chains within the city limits – Tim Hortons franchises (presumably) included.