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New Courtenay bylaw to control erosion, sediment

Courtenay council gave first, second and third reading Tuesday to a new bylaw — the Erosion and Sediment Control Bylaw.

"The purpose of the bylaw is to protect city infrastructure and water quality, while at the same time reducing the costs of maintaining the city drainage systems," said City sustainability planner Allan Gornall, adding erosion control is required in the City's Soil Removal Bylaw and the Tree Management and Protection Bylaw.

"However, these bylaws do not provide a clear requirement of what is needed to effectively implement, monitor and enforce erosion and sediment control."

He added the new bylaw would create a "level playing field in the development industry" when it comes to erosion and sediment control. A staff report noted many developers take care to protect watersheds and invest resources into adequate erosion and sediment control measures, but not all are "fully engaged and committed to this practice."

According to the report, lack of control measures in construction activities can lead to erosion of soils, which end up accumulating in the city's drainage system and watercourses. Besides being costly to clean the drainage systems, sediment is considered harmful in fish-bearing waterways, according to the Federal Fish Act.

Gornall noted the next step is to get some feedback from development community and other stakeholders. The public will also be notified of the draft bylaw via the City's website at www.courtenay.ca.

The bylaw was developed over the past two years in consultation with Convening for Action on Vancouver Island (CAVI), the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, among other groups.

The bylaw is expected to come back before council in January.

Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard moved to send a letter to all local governments in the Comox Valley encouraging them to adopt similar bylaws. It was carried unanimously.

• • •

Coun. Jon Ambler told council the East Courtenay Fire Hall select committee has met and has plenty of learning to do during the first few meetings.

"And then following that, we'll be able to come back to council with the scope and scale and complexity of the issue fully understood," he added. "And then when we come back to council we can come back with a plan that will show timelines and deliverables."

Ambler will chair the committee, and Couns. Manno Theos and Bill Anglin are also members, as well as City director of financial services Tillie Manthey and Courtenay fire chief Don Bardonnex.

Courtenay's strategic plan calls for a new fire hall in East Courtenay in the coming years due to growth in the area.

• • •

Communication between the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association and the Comox Valley Economic Development Society is apparently improving.

DCBIA president Mark Middleton noted communication troubles back in September and Coun. Doug Hillian asked Coun. Bill Anglin, who is council liaison to both groups, how things are going now.

"Communication — all organizations I think struggle with it sometimes, and that's certainly one thing from the CVEDS side that they're working on," said Anglin, noting CVEDS is currently working on its five-year plan and what services it will focus on providing. "And the DCBIA is always willing to step to the plate and provide their thoughts and directions in terms of what both the City and the Economic Development can do for them and help them out."

After the meeting, Middleton told the Record things have improved, noting the two groups have "had some ongoing dialogue."

• • •

After much debate, council allowed the Chrysler dealership at the top of Mission Hill to add the word Ram to its sign.

The company applied to replace three of its signs — Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep — with updated signs featuring the same words, and add a fourth sign saying Ram.

City staff recommended council deny the application based what the sign bylaw allows and what other vehicle dealerships in Courtenay have been allowed to do.

Couns. Jon Ambler, Bill Anglin, and Manno Theos and Mayor Jangula outvoted Couns. Doug Hillian, Starr Winchester and Ronna-Rae Leonard in defeating the recommended motion. A motion to allow the additional sign was passed with the same 4-3 vote.

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