Courtenay council praises Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North's housing project on Piercy Avenue got the green light from Courtenay this week.

The development permit with variances for Habitat's property at 1580 Piercy Ave. received final approval — and praise — from Courtenay council Monday.

The project includes three duplexes, or six homes, for local families that need a hand up to purchase their own home. Families who receive a home must demonstrate need, have children and spend 500 hours giving 'sweat equity' to build their home. In return they own a home with no down payment, and a no-interest mortgage through Habitat for Humanity.

Various groups from the community have been fundraising to build the homes, and now that the development permit is approved, Habitat will set a date to break ground at the site and the build groups can set dates to build.

"We are thrilled to be able to move forward and to complete a much-needed time line," Deb Roth, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, told the Record. "We have a large body of volunteers and supporters who have been on hold — unable to schedule their time for the various builds. We are so grateful for their patience through this process."

She added thanks to Courtenay council and staff who have supported and helped guide the project.

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Courtenay council will write a letter to North Island MP John Duncan expressing concern over the planned closure of Coast Guard base in Comox.

The Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre at Cape Lazo is slated for closure in 2015.

The letter will also invite Duncan or a representative to the next available council meeting to discuss the closure, and it will be copied to Comox Valley MLA Don McRae.

Regional director of Pacific Marine Communications Officers Allan Hughes came before council in a delegation to protest the closure.

The Comox centre covers the area from north of Port Hardy down as far as Parksville.

Stations at Tofino and Vancouver are also slated to close in 2015, and services will be transferred to Prince Rupert and Victoria.

He noted the Pacific region's five centres handle 60 per cent of the workload out of all the centres in the country. With the closures, only two centres would be responsible for that 60 per cent, while 10 centres would look after the other 40 per cent of that workload, he added.

"This is about marine safety," he told council as he explained loss of local knowledge is a worry if services go to Prince Rupert.

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