The Comox Valley Regional District, in collaboration with the City of Courtenay and School District 71, has an integrated approach for a new CVRD regional office through a land purchase and exchange agreement. The land, located on Harmston Avenue in downtown Courtenay between 6th Street and Cumberland Road, is zoned for government offices and is currently owned by the City of Courtenay and SD71.
The CVRD has successfully completed a property purchase agreement, contingent on a school board public consultation process, to begin next week.
“Working together and developing a regional office facility is one of the CVRD’s board strategic priorities,” explains CVRD board chair, Bruce Jolliffe. “By having local government own the property, we would be in a position to integrate shared services, save tax payers money in the long term, redevelop under-utilized land and contribute to revitalizing the downtown area.”
The regional district offices not only house key assets including IT infrastructure, fleet vehicles, and corporate records; but also is the centre of activity for elected officials, staff and the public.
Concerns have been raised over the years regarding the current offices’ flood-prone location (on Comox Road) and annual lease rate which is approximately $330,000 a year.
RCMP building still a priority
A second parcel of land on Harmston, adjacent to the future site of the CVRD regional office, will remain under the ownership of the City of Courtenay. This parcel has been designated for several years as the future site of a new RCMP building, and is the current location of the Share the Harvest community garden.
Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula says the acquisition of Harmston Park is something the City of Courtenay has desired for some time.
“We have been fortunate to have the use of the park for many years, but without ownership we didn’t have certainty, or the ability to make long-term plans,” noted Jangula. “We also remain steadfast in our commitment to the RCMP for the adjacent property, and have consulted with them to ensure this land exchange does not interfere with their future plans.”
“SD71 is proud to be a partner in this joint collaboration with the CVRD and City of Courtenay,” said SD71 board chair, Tom Weber. “We believe this exchange of land will strengthen and benefit the community, and will build efficiency for the school district and the community. We look forward to working with both partners to ensure the successful completion of this exchange.”
Public consultations upcoming
As part of the process, SD71 will be carrying out public consultations the beginning of June to gather feedback about the disposal of its lands. The dates of these sessions will be Monday June 6, Tuesday June 14, and Thursday June 16 from 7-8 p.m. at the school board office. To find out more information regarding SD71’s public consultation process please visit www.sd71.bc.ca. If you are interested in learning more about the new CVRD regional office and next steps please visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/regionaloffice.