Some concern expressed about Hornby Island condo proposal

After being in the works for nearly two years, the Islands Trust — Hornby Island Local Trust Committee approved a rezoning bylaw last week for a 15-unit condominium to proceed on the Island to the development permit phase.

Trustee Tony Law said the proposal was first presented to the Islands Trust in 2009, and an open house was held in August of that year.

"We didn't receive any opposition ... we conserved the application for a number of months to negotiate with the applicant," he noted about the unit on 1.4 acres of commercial waterfront property.

Last August, the committee held a public hearing where he added they received oral and written submissions, with two people outright opposing the bylaw, as well as a petition with 110 signatures supporting the proposal.

"We took a year to address a handful of issues and made adjustments to the bylaw to strengthen the conditions with covenants to water and parking," he added.

In an e-mail to the Comox Valley Record, resident William Thomas notes some residents who live on a spit of land adjacent to the site raised concerns over the water challenges, as he added a single sulfurous well already runs short of water during the summer months.

As the site currently houses a laundromat, pub and accommodations, Law said water is a major consideration as the island relies on groundwater, and that is why the committee placed a water covenant on the bylaw approval.

Thomas said some residents questioned a professional report that provided the assurance there is adequate water, which was forwarded to the local trust committee, as the engineers reporting on the site were hired by the developers.

"We wanted to spell out the requirements for water — a catchment for storage and stormwater management. The proposal does include significant water storage and it eliminates some uses such as the laundromat," Law noted, adding the committee feels they've done their due diligence.

Law said the condo unit could provide excellent accommodation to support events throughout the year, not just in the summer tourist season.

"Having accommodations available in the off-season for workshops, concerts and events could support economic development in the off-season," he noted.

"The majority of the issues — water, parking — we've taken a careful look at. That's why we've taken a year to address the issues and the covenants."

Law said he expects the developer to take the winter to work on his application prior to the next phase of applying for the development permit.

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