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Selling natural assets in Comox reflects limited perspective on town planning
I wrote letters of concern during the construction of the Comox Harbour Centre.
It has since been completed and now blocks a beautiful attribute of Comox.
The more I learned how such a structure came to be, the less comfortable I became with the development process for our town. My discomfort is validated by seeing this dark structure sitting virtually empty.
This corridor view was to be protected by our Official Community Plan. All we have is more “for lease” signs to add to those on Comox Avenue and in the mall.
We now have a massive condo/hotel/retail/marina complex for our waterfront before council. I certainly appreciate the desire to replicate the ambience of the old Edgewater Pub and the desire to have some hotel space in town.
However, the proposed project is predominantly water-view condominiums. These will do little to revitalize downtown and certainly won’t add to available affordable housing.
Once projects such as Comox Harbour Centre and the proposed condo/hotel/retail/marina are built, they alter the landscape for several generations. It seems developers, motivated by maximizing financial profit, are being encouraged to determine the landscape of our town.
Our leaders allow us to participate in forming a community plan, and then they allow developers to make dramatic changes.
Council members will tell us that increasing density is in keeping with our community plan. They suggest that adding density near the downtown core will increase our population and will improve business for merchants.
Comox’s geography and proximity to neighbouring communities makes for unique considerations. It is very likely that additional downtown area condos will be attractive to existing residents of Comox wishing to downsize.
The only significant change to Comox Avenue may be increased traffic for people heading to Courtenay to shop and work.
The Comox planning department, mayor and councillors need to get out into the community and listen to the wishes of the people. Look for business models that appeal to the residents rather than looking for residents to fit their business model.
The population of Comox has steadily, and significantly, increased over the years because it is a beautiful and safe place to live. Attempting to force growth by selling our natural assets reflects a limited perspective on town planning.