Courtenay council

Borrowed funds would pay half the cost to rehab Courtenay bridge

At its Monday meeting, Courtenay council approved third reading of a bylaw to borrow money to rehabilitate the 5th Street Bridge.

The project is estimated to cost $6.3 million, of which $3.4 million will be borrowed. The impact will be about a one per cent increase to the debt levy for property taxation beginning in 2022 when the first payments would be due. Based on 2019 assessments and tax rates, the impact to the average residential property would be about $13 per year over a 20-year amortization.

In February, council had voted to exclude cantilevers and to use the Alternate Approval Process to obtain elector approval. The project is slated to begin next spring.

Coun. Doug Hillian noted the hit to the downtown core that will be caused by partial lane closures during construction.

“Now we’re in a situation where hopefully our business community will be starting to recover from the impact of the (COVID-19) pandemic, and I think it will be incumbent on us to find some ways to support downtown business through what will be another hit,” he said. “It does concern me. I do think we need to go ahead with this project, but I think we need to keep firmly in our gaze the impact on business and how we can mitigate that.”

Also Monday

•Council approved a staff recommendation to develop an Official Community Plan (OCP) with a greenhouse gas emission target that achieves net-zero emissions by 2050.

“We feel that aggressive approach is what’s necessary at this time,” said Ian Buck, director of development services.

Compact communities, efficient buildings and low-carbon transportation are among the means of reducing emissions.

An OCP concerns land use and growth management. The policy document influences how people live, work, shop, play and move around a community. Courtenay’s OCP was last updated in 2005.

About 350 people participated in February’s Ideas Fair, which will contribute to the finalized plan.

Following neighbourhood consultations, a draft plan is expected later this year.

•Residents can expect a Public Service Announcement to help clarify regulations about open burning smoke control.

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