Council unanimously approved an application from Billy D’s Pub & Bistro to allow the addition of an outdoor patio at the Fifth Street establishment.
Of 11 letters received, nine support the application. One letter writer notes the success of the patio at the Gladstone Brewing Co. on Fourth, but another feels Fifth is too busy for the venue presented. The latter also claims the project will require the removal of three parking spots, but City staff say two spaces is more accurate.
“This is an experiment,” Mayor Larry Jangula said.
Nay to liquor zoning bylaw
Council defeated a motion from David Frisch for a staff report concerning zoning bylaws and time implications for retail liquor outlets.
Liquor retailers hope council will consider implementing a one kilometre-distance rule between new outlets. They have also requested a bylaw to maintain the kilometre regulation when considering a private liquor store licence.
Under new rules, food/liquor stores can have alcohol on the shelves with unrestricted access to all patrons regardless of age.
Jangula said the provincially-mandated issue is beyond council’s control.
Doug Hillian, Manno Theos and Bob Wells also opposed the motion. Erik Eriksson was in support. Rebecca Lennox was absent Monday.
Food trucks one step closer
In a 4-2 vote, council approved third reading of a bylaw amendment to allow food trucks to operate in the city under certain conditions. Jangula was opposed because he feels seven food trucks — four in Lewis Park, two at the Air Park and one at Standard Park — are too many. He is concerned about the effect on existing businesses.
“I think the marketplace would sort out whether seven is too much or not,” Hillian said. “It’s an experiment. Bold cities conduct bold experiments.”
Theos, Wells and Frisch also supported third reading. Eriksson was opposed.
LUSH appeals for financial assistance
The LUSH (Let Us Share the Harvest) Valley Food Action Society appealed to Courtenay council for financial assistance to help build a community cooler, and to hire a co-ordinator for the Community Garden at Sixth and Harmston. The society has received an $8,000 Community Foundation grant towards the cooler, but is looking for another $5,000. It might be housed at the Wachiay Friendship Centre, though Coun. Doug Hillian suggested the food bank would be a natural fit.
LUSH hopes for another $6,000 to hire a garden co-ordinator — which surprised Mayor Larry Jangula, who thought the position would be voluntary.
“This hasn’t been a 100 per cent success story,” Jangula said at Monday’s meeting.
Coun. Manno Theos questioned the need for a garden co-ordinator, but Andrea Cupelli of LUSH said it would be helpful to have someone onsite who could re-involve people with the project to make it less of an eyesore.
“It’s not your average community garden,” she said.
In what was likely the youngest delegation to ever appear before council, three young boys requested a letter of support for an electric car supercharger station in the Valley. Dominic, Jack and Ben — Grade 5 students at Brooklyn Elementary who comprise the DFC (Design for Change) Electric Car Helpers — suggest installing a station near Driftwood Mall. They note it takes just 20 minutes to charge a Tesla.
Hillian complimented the boys for their initiative and their display of leadership.
Council approved the letter.
Three Conservation Strategy reports show the Comox Valley is on the verge of losing sensitive ecosystems, largely through logging and development. In a presentation, project manager David Stapley mentioned that Piercy Creek Estates, as an example, has encroached on the nearby waterway.
“We’re on a path of continuous loss and degradation,” he said.
Jangula feels the City has come a long way in terms of stormwater management and other responsible practices.
Stapley invited staff to attend an upcoming workshop: Effective Environmental Development Permit Area Regulations.
With the exception of Jangula and Coun. Erik Eriksson, council approved a weekly Wednesday closure on Fifth Street between England and Fitzgerald avenues to accommodate the Farmers’ Market. It will run from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. from June 1 to Sept. 14.
Jangula is concerned about traffic, and questions how many market patrons purchase items such as jewelry from permanent businesses on the street. He suggested canvassing businesses for their opinions before voting. Theos suggests reviewing the market after a month or two would be prudent.
Council also approved a $1,000 expense for advertising the road closure to mitigate traffic problems.
In 2013, council approved the temporary closure of England between Fifth and Sixth to host a midweek market. Last year, council approved a Thursday evening market on Fifth, in addition to the mid-week, morning market. The Fifth Street closure did not generate any traffic complaints, a staff report says.