Courtenay council approved a one-time grant of $35,000 to help the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness increase its co-ordinator position to full-time. The idea is to enable a co-ordinated, community response to homeless encampments that are cropping up and causing challenges for police and City staff.
“This is something that’s causing a real and present concern in our neighbourhoods, for our businesses,” Coun. Doug Hillian said at Monday’s meeting. “We’ve had concerns expressed by vulnerable agencies such as the hospice with camps in their vicinity. Having a more solid ability to respond among agencies that are charged with and have the expertise in dealing with this would be very useful to our citizens, and would be gaming revenues as opposed to tax dollars.”
“It is an urgent situation, in my opinion,” Coun. Wendy Morin added.
Council also approved an amended motion from David Frisch to ask neighboring jurisdictions to contribute funds.
•Kathie Donohoe is concerned that a Pandora’s Box will open if council approves a zoning amendment for a secondary suite in a mobile home at 446 Qualicum Ave.
“This is a quiet neighbourhood,” Donohoe said at a public hearing. “We will become a densely populated area.”
Donohoe moved from the Lower Mainland to get away from the masses. She is concerned about increased traffic and noise in her neighbourhood. She notes the owner lives onsite for half the year.
Pat Lewis, who is related to the owner, noted that the City and council has talked about increasing density.
“At some point, you have to do it,” he said.
•Council agreed to support a resolution by the Strathcona Regional District to ask the Province to curtail commercial extraction of groundwater resources for bottling or bulk water sales.
Merville resident Bruce Gibbons, founder of the Merville Water Guardians, initiated the resolution to help protect the Comox Valley aquifer.
Council asked for staff reports on his requests to implement a bylaw prohibiting water bottling in any City zoning, and to ban the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at City events.
•Council agreed to release in-camera resolutions on a semi-annual basis, once the requirement for confidentiality has passed. The idea is to support council’s objective of being open and transparent.
•Council approved a zoning amendment to allow the Wachiay Friendship Centre to create a day care and family development centre at McPhee and 17th Street.