Courtenay council rejects annexation appeal outside ‘settled area’ of city

Courtenay council unanimously denied an application for a single property annexation near the Little River ferry terminal.

Courtenay council unanimously denied an application for a single property annexation near the Little River ferry terminal.

A Courtenay development services department report recommended denial of the application for a 24-acre property lying between Anderton and Ellenor roads in Area B of the Comox Valley Regional District.

“You’ve got an isolated property, it is a distance from settled area of the city, which is unlike the other boundary extensions we’ve had,” said Courtenay director of development services Peter Crawford during his verbal report. “This is the first one that’s, I would say, quite a leap out from our settled area in the city.”

The property owner, Foundation Capital Corporation, proposed a large housing project — called Harbour View Landing — on the property a couple of years ago. The project boasted a 150-plus-unit terraced condominium complex with rooftop gardens and a number of executive home lots. The neighbouring community had some concerns, a big one being that the surrounding area is rural.

The company has been seeking annexation to the City since then, but the first official application was just put in last fall. The staff report recommended denial then as well but council postponed debate over the matter at the applicants’ request.

Alvin Fritz spoke on behalf of the company Monday, and asked council to table the annexation application yet again so the applicants could conduct more community consultation and “adequately address the mandate of Courtenay’s administration.”

According to Crawford, the property not close enough to the city for required sewer servicing, and the property is too far away from Courtenay’s boundaries for a single lot to be annexed.

He added if council chose to deny the application Monday, “It’s saying to the applicant looking at the one parcel is not an avenue you need to go down — if you wish to pursue this, it certainly rules out coming back with one property.”

Mayor Larry Jangula noted he attended one of the community consultation meetings closer to when the project was first proposed and didn’t hear anyone speak in favour of it.

Coun. Jon Ambler said there are plenty of things he likes about the project, like its design, but he agreed with Jangula.

“There’s been to my knowledge — and I stand to be corrected — no support from the people that live in that area for this project,” he said, adding the area may be listed as a settlement expansion area in the Comox Valley Regional Growth Strategy, but that doesn’t mean the expansion should happen now, as the RGS is designed to look decades into the future.

Although council voted to deny the application, the applicants are allowed to reapply at any point.