Neighbours wary about housing development

Larry Jangula -
Larry Jangula
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Courtenay council is taking the next step with an 85-unit residential development at Cumberland Road and 20th Street, with the hope that safety concerns raised by nearby residents can be addressed.

Council gave third reading to amendments to the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and zoning bylaws for properties at 2110 and 2290 Cumberland Rd. and 2089 20th St. from commercial to urban residential and parks and recreation rural recreation and from Residential One A to Residential Three Monday following a public hearing.

Councillors expressed a desire for the city to work with the community to address their safety concerns.

Piercy Creek Estates is proposing 85 residential units on 11.7 acres at the intersection of Cumberland Road and 20th Street, arranged in duplex, triplex and fourplex townhouse configurations.

Derek Jensen of McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. spoke about the proposal Monday.

The development proposes 1,350-square-metre units that would each have a rear patio, private entrance and garage. Jensen anticipates the homes would sell for between $180,000 and $200,000.

The development seeks to create a 3.9-acre park along the Piercy Creek corridor and adjacent to Tributary 10, while a pedestrian trail network including footbridge would be constructed to link Cumberland Road to 20th Street and provide access parallel to Piercy Creek.

Off-site improvements are also being offered, including widening Cumberland Road to include a bike lane, a noise attenuation fence along Cumberland Road and realignment of the 20th Street/Cumberland Road intersection to provide improved vehicle safety.

During the public hearing, numerous neighbours expressed concern about pedestrian and cyclist safety in the area and about traffic speeds.

One Lambert Drive resident raised concerns about the bus network and asked if council could look at the Arden bus route, as more people will be using the service if this development is completed.

A man who lives on Cousins Avenue was concerned the increase in traffic would pose a safety risk to children, and he asked if council could look at slowing traffic at the junction of Cousins and 20th Street.

Mary Lang of Lambert Drive was concerned about speed as well, and she wondered if council could consider moving the sign lowering the speed limit on Cumberland Road from 60 kilometres per hour to 50 km/h farther toward the Comox Valley Parkway because people are coming in at such high speeds.

Dan Kirk, whose property runs along Tributary 10 and Piercy Creek next to the development, raised a number of concerns about the project’s impacts on his property, including about storm drainage, how the watercourses will be impacted by the development and flooding to his property.

He was also concerned about the greenway path being proposed.

“We like it, and it’s a good idea, but one tract of it runs along our property,” he said. “It exposes our property and Tributary 10 to damage.”

The city is working with the Comox Valley Regional District on bus service in this area for this year and future years, noted Kevin Lagan, Courtenay’s director of operational services.

He told council he would make sure the traffic consultant would look at the issues identified by people at the public hearing.

Coun. Larry Jangula felt moving the speed limit sign on Cumberland Road and putting in a four-way stop at Cousins and 20th made sense, and he thought a traffic circle might make the Cumberland Road/20th Street/Arden Road intersection safer.

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