THE PALACE THEATRE site continues to be an eyesore in downtown Courtenay.

THE PALACE THEATRE site continues to be an eyesore in downtown Courtenay.

Comox Valley Economic Development tackling ‘eyesores’

The Comox Valley Economic Development Society will take on a new role that could help rid the Valley of some well-known eyesores.

The Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS) will take on a new role over the next five years — and that role could help rid the Valley of some well-known eyesores.

CVEDS’s five-year strategic plan outlines 19 programs, 14 core and five support, including many ongoing programs such as its Destination Marketing program. But, the plan also includes something brand new to CVEDS, a Land and Development Impact Analysis program, something executive director John Watson says came out of community consultations with industry and community stakeholders.

“What we were hearing was that there’s significant parcels and properties within the Valley, within the municipalities, that either could be developed to a greater potential or perhaps aren’t being developed at all,” says Watson.

“For example, the Palace Theatre site in downtown Courtenay was raised numerous times as a site that might require additional facilitation, programs, a little bit of work and attention, not only by our office, but in this case, the City (of Courtenay) and perhaps a few other regulatory agencies, to get it to the point where it’s something that we can promote as a community as needing development.”

Part of the program will see CVEDS facilitate discussions with landowners, local government, other regulatory agencies and potential investors and developers about some key sites in the Valley that can be developed.

“The old Field Sawmill site is still sitting there, lands adjacent to the airport; there’s opportunities out there, former school district sites,” Watson says, as he lists a few examples. CVEDS will also continue to identify sites where it can help facilitate these discussions.

“And we would want to explore the reasons … as to why they’re not developing through this program, and then see if we can address some of these reasons and enhance or market or support the process of seeing investment come to these regions,” he continues.

Encouraging more uniformity in all Comox Valley local government development review processes is another aspect of the program, including suggesting process improvements from other jurisdictions. Watson adds an important component of the program will be to create a standardized economic and financial impact model.

“That’s probably the first step, is to take a look at some of the economic impacts of a particular development application and ensure that we have the information to speak accurately to the economic impacts of a particular development that’s occurring in our town,” he says.

The economic impact model would not only show financial gains, like increased municipal property taxes and increased jobs from a development, but would also show costs, such as costs for new sewer and water infrastructure if needed, he adds.

According to Watson, economic development groups across the country have similar programs in place.

Though Watson says all the programs in the strategic plan are very important, he adds a couple of areas of interest seemed to resonate strongly with the community.

“I’d say one of the significant ones, stemming from both the urban components and the rural areas, is our agriculture programs, wanting to ensure that these continue,” he says, adding the community was also very interested in the Health Services Program.

“There’s certainly a role for Economic Development as we move forward in providing support to the discussion and dialogue around the future of health services with the advent of the new hospital and potential redevelopment or redesign of St. Joe’s (hospital) — I think these are things that are important to our community to engage in and understand.”

The final draft of the five-year strategic plan was completed in April, and CVEDS has now presented it to the four main local governments. The next step will be to create annual tactical plans, and the CVEDS board is expected to set the year one tactical plan goals at its next board meeting, in early October.

To view the strategic plan, visit www.investcomoxvalley.com.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

The Courtenay Legion has identified 16 homeless veterans living in the Comox Valley. File photo
Courtenay Legion unites with Qualicum to help homeless veterans

Last year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count conducted in the Comox Valley identified… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read