Seeing the recent articles regarding the closure of the trails along the Browns and Puntledge rivers and access to Stotan Falls being cut off makes one wonder if our regional district will ever or can ever do anything right.
Prime examples of this, in addition to the pubic losing the ability to utilize these prime recreationally and culturally valuable lands is the location of the hospital and the Regional Growth Strategy.
The location of the hospital comes to mind due to the nightmare that occurred a few weeks ago with the closure of the 17th Street Bridge. The closure created traffic chaos and a massive gridlock, where one had wait for almost an eternity to get across from one side of town to the other. Imagine what it would have felt like had you been in an ambulance trying to get across the bridge to the new hospital site. Lives might be put at risk by the new location.
If the hospital is truly regional, would it not have made more sense to have located where it is the most accessible and where most of the people it serves live? This would place it on the west side of the Tsolum River.
I understand that the K'ómoks First Nation had offered land, at no cost to VIHA, at the intersection of Piercy Road and the Inland Island Highway and that they were rebuffed.
From a regional hospital perspective, this location made great sense, given its proximity to the Inland Highway which made it very accessible from points to the north, west, and south as well as Courtenay.
Surely, some of the brilliant planners at the Regional District could have recognized this and understood the necessity to have reliable access to the hospital or did they believe that gridlock was an important component of health care.
This brings me to the Regional Growth Strategy. Again, the brilliant planners and regional district have come up with a document that appears to cater to the opinion of a vocal few and their own inflated sense of importance.
Where and how does the RGS address the possibility of a new circumstance which could provide a great benefit to the Valley.
What would happen if a large employer wanted to relocate to the Valley? Unless their operation was such that it could be located with the boundaries of the RGS developable areas, such an opportunity would be lost.
A little more foresight would have allowed consideration of such an opportunity. But no, we are left with a document that can only be amended after a lengthy review process akin to the one that established the RGS in the first place and then only with the unanimous approval of the RD board of directors. Good Luck.
As a result, we are left with instances such as what is happening with recreational areas along the Puntledge and Browns rivers.
Good work by the RD. Could have had 200 acres of free parkland, but the planners and the CVRD did not want it. So stop complaining about the loss of these lands and start questioning how the RD is serving the people of our Valley. These are only a couple of examples and unfortunately, countless others probably exist.
Editor's note: While the regional district is as open to criticism as any other public body, the CVRD did not decide where to locate a new hospital.