In a 5-2 vote at its April 16 meeting, Courtenay council approved third reading of a bylaw to close part of Harmston Avenue, in conjunction with the development of a new administration building for the regional district. The CVRD requires the 4.4 metre closure to accommodate parking. Pending public input, the City would dispose the portion of closed road to the CVRD for an appraised value of $130,640.
Mayor Larry Jangula is opposed to giving away land at this time. He sat on council about 12 years ago when the City purchased the property, which could possibly house a new police station.
“If you look at the current RCMP office, it was built in 1983, and by 1985 they were busting out of it,” Jangula said, noting parking challenges for visitors, especially those with motor homes. “Now they work out of four different locations when they should be in one. The idea now of narrowing this street is going to take away from any possibility of having adequate parking for people who are visiting the police station.”
Also opposed is Coun. Manno Theos, who shares Jangula’s concerns. Theos notes the need to locate a new district office outside the floodplain.
Coun. Bob Wells has a hard time voting against the recommendation, considering the Comox Valley RCMP has no concerns about the remaining width at Harmston, if the closure proceeds, and if a police station is built at the site.
“If the concerns aren’t shared by the RCMP, I don’t see any reason for us not to proceed,” Coun. Doug Hillian said.
Coun. Erik Eriksson likes the idea of having CVRD headquarters in downtown Courtenay — which in his opinion is downtown Comox Valley.
The City says Harmston is wider than needed. Staff do not anticipate additional width requirements in the future.