Courtenay council has approved an additional $25,000 to a design options analysis for McPhee Meadows, a 4.78 hectare riverfront property in the Old Orchard neighbourhood. The additional funds increase the budget to $55,000.
The late Robert McPhee donated the land to the City in 2011. It is to be maintained as a public wetland park.
“This is great news,” Coun. Doug Hillian said at the Nov. 1 meeting. “We obviously have a pressing need for more access to park space.”
The site remains closed to the public, and requires further planning and infrastructure before it can be opened. The City hopes to partially open the park by the end of 2022.
Council approved up to $9,500 to support a Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association marketing campaign in November and December to let people know downtown is open for business, despite the ongoing 5th Street Bridge project. BIA members say there’s a perception that reaching downtown is difficult and time consuming during bridge repairs. The campaign goal is to encourage people to visit downtown, and to reinforce alternate routes and minimal delays of single-lane alternating traffic over the bridge.
“I think it’s no secret that our downtown businesses have been stretched and strained first by the pandemic, and then added to that the delays in the bridge project,” Hillian said. “I think it’s really important that we do what we can to support them, particularly in this season when they rely on additional commerce to pay their bills and feed their families.”
Hillian and Couns. Will Cole-Hamilton, Melanie McCollum and Wendy Morin were appointed directors for the next term on the Comox Valley Regional District board. All four will serve on the water committee, while Hillian, Morin and Cole-Hamilton will sit on the sewage commission.
The inaugural CVRD board meeting is Nov. 23. The terms ends next November.
Leisure for Everyone
The City will implement a one-year pilot of the Leisure for Everyone Accessibility Program (LEAP), in partnership with the CVRD and neighboring municipalities, to extend recreation benefits to youth. The idea is to enhance and improve access for those who face financial barriers.
The City’s Recreation Access Program provides 52 free drop-ins to eligible residents, determined by Statistic Canada’s Low-income Cut-off (LICO) rates. Drop-ins provide access to the LINC Youth Centre, fitness programs, Wellness Centre and outdoor pool.
Tree of Life
Council agreed to write a letter to support the Tree of Life Cultural Society’s application for a federal transportation grant. The non-profit wants to create an affordable link between north Island communities and facilities offered in the southern reaches.