Downtown vitalization plans threaten Comox’s beauty

Dear editor,

The following is a letter for Comox town council:

As concerned citizens, we wish to make our preferences known about downtown development plans for the town of Comox.

Recently we have enjoyed trips to quaint places on Vancouver Island. These towns have character. Sydney has a lovely little downtown area, with shops, restaurants and pubs. Victoria’s Cook Street Village has that feel to it. Tofino has that atmosphere. And Chemainus even more so. Most buildings small, seldom more than two stories, sometimes with stores on the main floor and owners residences nearby upstairs. Many of the stores are boutiques featuring rare local crafts and one-of-a- kind antique furniture pieces. No big box stores and large factory outlets, no fast food chains with drive-throughs. Even Nanaimo knows how to capitalize on its oceanfront with a seaside boardwalk and ample ocean views from pub and restaurant patios. Cumberland has its main street and pubs like the Waverley featuring local and west coast performers. All these places that attract us do not feature big buildings and high-rise condos.

We would like to see the concept of “Comox by the Sea” as a quaint place be upheld and enhanced. If more condos must be built to increase population density, perhaps place them three or more blocks distant from the downtown core. We do not like the design of the replacement for the Lorne Hotel with the five-story commercial and condo giant replacing the traditional style pub that had character.

We do not like the building at the foot of Church Street blocking the vista of the harbour. We don’t need more vacant white elephant structures blocking nature and scenery. We don’t want buildings around the marina area further blocking what few ocean views we have left. Let’s go minimal functional shelters keeping most vistas open. Changing our policies to attract more small specialty shops and brew pubs would be ideal to attract our people back to our downtown.

Concrete and glass high rise condos are great for large urban centres like Vancouver, but let’s keep the small town atmosphere and character that will attract tourists and Valley residents as well.

 

 

Frank Young

Comox