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Public input sought about vision for Arden corridor development in Courtenay

A series of public meetings will be held in the third week of September to discuss in more detail a vision and a strategy for long-range planning and development in the Arden corridor area.

A Local Area Planning process started in June to help shape future growth on the western boundary of the City, in light of development interest in the area and the possibility for annexation of Comox Valley Regional District Areas A and C lands.

Local Area Plans (LAPs) are a commonly used tool to implement neighbourhood specific land use goals, guided by community input. In the Arden area, the plan will look at appropriate land uses, transportation and trail network, servicing, environmentally sensitive areas including natural drainage patterns, and protection of neighbourhood character.

The boundaries include both sides of Arden Road from the Comox Valley Parkway to approximately Bood Road. The LAP will have to be adopted by Council before it can be included in the Official Community Plan (OCP). Once it's adopted in the OCP, it will provide guidance on how land use will take shape in that area over time.

“The City is aware of resident’s interest and concerns around annexation. It’s important to distinguish that this planning process is not an annexation exercise,” said Peter Crawford Director of Development Services. “We’re trying to work with the community to identify what the land use goals and approaches should be in this area so that we can get ahead of the curve for when annexation eventually does occur.

"Development is expected in this area as it has been identified as a Settlement Expansion Area in the Regional Growth Strategy, and therefore we should be prepared for it.”

The planning process is being conducted by a consulting firm, James Tuer Architecture and Planning. One public workshop took place in mid July; Participants identified opportunities and constraints for the area and discussed what goals and objectives should frame the Local Area Plan.

The meetings will be held for three evenings in a row at the Sid Williams Theatre lower lobby.

“Based on feedback from our first meeting, we’re aiming to provide a venue and format for public meetings that can provide more time and flexibility for residents to get involved,” noted  Crawford.

The details are as follows: Sept. 18, 5-7 p.m., an overview of the plan goals and the outcomes of the first public session. Sept. 19, 5-7:30 p.m., a workshop to provide visual and hands-on materials to help discuss specific planning and site design options for the area including individual parcels. Sept. 20, 5-7 p.m., the City and consultant team will showcase the compiled material from the first two evenings, and will confirm the plan options with the public.

Following these September meetings, the plan options will be posted on the City’s website to solicit further online feedback from the public. A final public meeting is planned for late October to discuss the results from the entire planning process and confirm the preferred plan to be presented to Council by the end of this year.

Participants are encouraged to register for the events by phoning 250-334-4441 or e-mailing planning@courtenay.ca.

— City of Courtenay

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