Courtenay city council briefs

Courtenay council approved Monday a memorandum of understanding between the City, the Wachiay Friendship Centre and the M’akola Group of Societies regarding the Braidwood housing project.

As opposed to a legally binding document, an MOU outlines terms and conditions of the partnership for the supportive housing project, which is intended to address a wide range of at-risk tenants.

M’akola, the lead project manager, has committed $250,000 towards the project. Wachiay — which will work with M’akola to ensure the project meets the needs of tenants — has committed $30,000 to $40,000. The City is offering a 60-year lease of the site, and forgiveness of municipal fees and charges.

Market value of the property is appraised at $289,000. There is a further $85,000 remaining from the sale of the Cliffe Avenue property originally intended for the project, and $100,000 from Island Health. Of the $474,000, $185,000 remains to offset municipal fees and charges.

•Council approved second reading of a tree protection and management bylaw.

An existing bylaw applies to Garry oak and Pacific dogwoods, properties over one hectare, and a number of properties along the City’s urban/rural boundary. A new bylaw will set a target number of trees on properties — staff feel 50 per hectare is reasonable.

Council also directed staff to provide a report outlining the time and cost of drafting an Urban Forest Strategy.

Science recommends a tree canopy cover target of 40 per cent for urban areas in the Pacific Northwest, according to information provided by the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy. Courtenay’s canopy covers about 37 per cent of the area of the city. About one-third exists on undeveloped greenfield sites.

“Development of greenfield sites over the next 15 to 20 years could result in a rapid loss of the existing tree canopy,” CVCS project manager David Stapley said in a presentation.

 

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