Courtenay council approved an application for a 32-unit strata in the 1500 block of Dingwall Road, where the zoning bylaw was amended in 2012 to allow multi-residential development.
The proposal consists of two apartment buildings, each containing 12 units and four duplexes. The property adjoins a church to the east along Dingwall and an elementary school to the southwest.
Mayor Larry Jangula, recalling neighbours’ concerns about traffic and property values, was the lone member of council opposed to the application. He would like to see less density on this property.
“I think the neighbours have legitimate concerns,” Jangula said.
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Council gave third reading to a cemetery bylaw that includes a specific section for infants and children. City staff created a section of the cemetery with 96 plots specifically for infants and children.
“It’s often a significant burden to take care of, saying goodbye,” said Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard, referring to the unexpected death of a child. Children laid to rest with other children is a sign of respect, she added.
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Council gave third reading to enter into a housing agreement maintaining rental units for 10 years at properties in the 3000 block of Cliffe Avenue at Anfield. The properties have been rezoned to develop a 94-unit apartment complex containing two buildings.
“I’m pleased to see this come forward,” said Leonard, noting the lack of affordable rental stock in the city.
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The Immigrant Welcome Centre of North Vancouver Island is planning a multicultural festival March 8 at the Filberg Centre. The Global Fusion Fest will include music, dance, food, arts and crafts. The idea is to share and to foster understanding of different cultures.
Naturalized citizens will no longer be eligible for services provided by the centre when federal policy changes in the immigrant service sector take effect April. Temporary foreign workers and international students are already ineligible.
“That’s going to have a bit of an impact on our community,” executive director Rachel Blaney said.
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Council received a letter from president Richard Clarke on behalf of the Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society, in which he says he does not feel the proposed supportive housing complex in East Courtenay will meet the needs of all of the Valley’s homeless persons.
Jangula agrees with the points made by Clarke, but Coun. Doug Hillian does not feel the society’s issues are definitive. Coun. Starr Winchester feels it is premature to debate the issue while a consultant has yet to produce a report about the project.
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Douglas Ante is concerned with the burden being experienced by commercially zoned properties. The owner of the Pump House has appealed to council to consider an alternative to one tax rate. He suggests looking at four levels of commercial taxation.
Ante says his business, which sells swimming pools and hot tubs, has experienced a 300-per-cent increase in property taxes and a 64-per-cent reduction in gross sales.
“In talking to numerous merchants, and specifically those who have closed their doors, invariably the first comment they make is taxes,” Ante states in a letter.
Leonard is concerned he is asking council to be proactive in an area outside its realm. Hillian agrees council does not have the ability to change commercial tax rates.
Leonard seconded Winchester’s motion to send Ante a letter explaining his request is not within council’s jurisdiction. The motion passed.