Courtenay council hears details of proposed The Ridge development

The first new subdivision being proposed for the South Courtenay Local Area Plan area features a variety of sustainable principles such as green boulevards and connected greenways.

 

The first new subdivision being proposed for the South Courtenay Local Area Plan area features a variety of sustainable principles such as green boulevards and connected greenways.

Buckstone Investments Ltd. is proposing a 300-unit mixed use development called The Ridge on 73 acres of land bound by Fraser Road, Buckstone Road and Comox Logging Road in South Courtenay.

Courtenay councillors heard about the proposal Monday.

This land was annexed into the City of Courtenay in 2007 and is part of the South Courtenay Local Area Plan (SCLAP), which was adopted by council in 2009.

“The SCLAP builds on the policies of the Official Community Plan,” senior planner Gina MacKay and Peter Crawford, the city’s director of planning services, wrote in their report to council. “The long-term plan for the South Courtenay area includes the provision of limited commercial, live-work residential units, integrated trail systems and planned residential neighbourhoods.”

The Ridge is the first development application within the SCLAP, and McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. is applying to amend the city’s zoning bylaw for the property to create a new Comprehensive Development Twenty-One Zone.

Council gave the zoning amendment bylaw first and second reading Monday. A public hearing will be held once the city has received a phased development agreement.

Buckstone Investments Ltd. bought the land in January 2008. The proposed development includes 300 housing units of varying sizes.

Buckstone will sell the lots to the local building community, and Bruce Clapham, a shareholder with Buckstone, thinks housing prices will probably start in the low $300,000 range and go up from there.

The land use will be primarily residential but will also include live-work opportunities on the ground floor of some of the multi-family buildings to support small-scale employment uses.

The ownership and consultant team has incorporated green streets that are narrower for cars and have boulevards separating pedestrians from traffic and provide opportunities for stormwater integration. There is a greenway network that runs through the site, and there opportunities for the greenways to connect right into Courtenay.

Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard questioned the amount of parkland dedication, as she felt it seemed “kind of skinny.”

The proposed development includes about eight per cent parkland dedication, including a centrally located neighbourhood park with both passive and active play areas, a number of dedicated greenways within the residential neighbourhood area, tree-lined boulevards and a pedestrian trail within the E&N Railway corridor.

“It was determined this area did not really necessitate an extremely large parkland dedication,” said MacKay. “We felt what was needed was a more Idiens-style park to provide more passive and active opportunities.”

Features such as the proposed green boulevards are not considered part of the greenway dedication, she added.

Coun. Murray Presley wanted to see this development take place within the city, not outside its boundaries.

“I think this is an attractive development, and I look forward to seeing it being built,” he said.

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