Courtenay council narrowly defeated a resolution from Mayor Larry Jangula to abandon the 11th Street corridor option for a third crossing over the Courtenay River.
Manno Theos and Erik Eriksson supported the motion, but Bob Wells, Rebecca Lennox, David Frisch and Doug Hillian were opposed.
“I know this is a difficult decision,” Jangula said at Monday’s meeting, noting the hardship the decision could place on developers. But he feels the chances of building a third bridge are highly unlikely. “I did this with a heavy heart but I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Frisch noted that council has not heard feedback from the proposed Tiger Lily development at the Home Hardware site.
“I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves,” he said.
Though he struggles to understand how a crossing at 11th would help traffic flows, Hillian feels obliged to first hear from City staff before giving up on the idea.
The City hired McElhanney Consulting Services to review past transportation studies concerning possible third river crossings with a focus on the 11th Street corridor recommendation. McElhanney conducted a 2008 study that narrowed crossing options to Eighth, 11th and 19th streets, with 11th brought to the forefront. A 2005 study by Ward Engineering that narrowed the options to 11th and 19th streets also favoured 11th.
Jangula thinks the farther south the better for a bridge in order to take the heat off the Ryan Road hill.
Noting a crossing at 11th would be a regional bridge, Eriksson suggests Comox should contribute to the project, should it happen.
Lesley Hatch, director of engineering services, said council is limiting its options each time it takes away a potential crossing.
Staff has asked McElhanney to submit its findings by Feb. 4. A staff report will appear before council Feb. 15 or March 1.
Donation for Lantern Fest
Council approved a $1,500 donation to help the Comox Valley Multicultural & Immigrant Support Society prepare for the Lantern Fest, Feb. 7 at the Native Sons Hall. The event, also known as Lunarfest, had previously been held in Cumberland.
A series of design charrette events are being held March 7, 8 and 10 at Native Sons Hall. A charrette is a workshop where the public and design professionals work together on the visions and goals for future development. The events will build on the momentum of October’s downtown forum about revitalizing downtown Courtenay.