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Stotan Falls development; Woodhus Creek/Oyster River coal exploration on CVRD agenda

Patricia Boham represented a coalition of concerned citizens, speaking against the proposed coal mine testing to occur this summer in and around Woodhus Creek and Oyster River.  - Scott Stanfield
Patricia Boham represented a coalition of concerned citizens, speaking against the proposed coal mine testing to occur this summer in and around Woodhus Creek and Oyster River.
— image credit: Scott Stanfield

The regional district committee of the whole has deferred discussion about amending the Regional Growth Strategy, as per an application from 3L Developments. The Nanaimo-based company has proposed to create a riverfront community near Stotan Falls with homes and trails at the confluence of the Puntledge and Browns rivers.

Staff has recommended against amending the RGS, a document that guides growth and development in the Valley. Settlement nodes identified in RGS policies are intended to accommodate compact forms of development and areas “not contiguous to municipalities.”

The CVRD board had previously rejected an offer to purchase the property for $9 million, saying 3L’s proposal is not in synch with the RGS. The offer included Stotan Falls, Bull Island and parkland dedication.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Area C resident Jay Oddleifson and Larry Peterson of the Puntledge River Restoration Committee and the local branch of the Steelhead Society, spoke in favour of initiating a process to consider the proposal.

Courtenay director Starr Winchester and Comox director Tom Grant would like to hear the public’s opinion.

“I think we owe it to the community,” Winchester said. “Let’s try to hammer out a deal.”

But Area B director Jim Gillis feels it is important to respect the RGS. He notes 3L had originally drawn the line at the Puntledge River.

Concerned about coal test sites

Patricia Boham, representing residents in and around Woodhus Creek/Oyster River, forwarded concerns about two licences issued to Hillsborough Resources for exploratory coal drilling in the area.

Test sites, she notes, are uphill from the river and adjacent to the creek that flows into the river.

“Fresh water is a necessity for life,” Boham said. “There’s a tremendous amount at stake.”

In 1985, she said a Nuspar Resources application to mine the same area was refused after a test pit showed unacceptable levels of acid runoff.

The CVRD will inform the Energy Ministry of terms and conditions of the requested notice of work permit submitted by Hillsborough. The letter, cc’d to MLA Don McRae, will note that the river supplies drinking water to about 3,800 people.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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