A group of residents have asked the Comox Valley Regional District to withdraw support for a pair of sea cucumber applications in Baynes Sound.
Dan Bowen Consulting Services of Courtenay and several other proponents have applied for a 10- to 30-year aquaculture tenure on 155 hectares of Crown land from Gartley Point in south Royston to north of Union Point in Union Bay. A second application for 107 hectares is also under consideration.
The residents, who appeared Tuesday before the CVRD board, harbour a number of environmental, financial and social concerns.
Ed Varney of Royston questions how a tenure fee less than one per cent of an expected $45 million-a-year operation is in the public interest.
Kathy Gordon said the site in question has been a family-centred, recreational area for more than a century.
“This treasured area needs protection to keep it for recreational use for future generations,” said Gordon, who requested the area be secured by a public recreational refuge.
CVRD chief administrative officer Debra Oakman said the CVRD is a referral agency and does not recommend granting tenure applications. The final decision rests with the provincial Forest Ministry.
A public hearing about the application drew a large crowd earlier in the month in Union Bay.
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The Province and Salvation Army announced this week that funding for the 14-bed Pidcock House shelter in Courtenay will be extended an additional nine months, securing 24/7 access for those in need.
The board had intended to request Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing, to reinstate the money that was to be discontinued at the end of June. Instead, the board voted to write a letter of appreciation and to ask Coleman to consider ongoing funding for continuous, round-the-clock shelter operation.
The CVRD will also send a letter urging local municipalities to make the same request of Coleman.
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The CVRD will submit a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities to request the federal minister of Public Safety Canada to restore funding for the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) and emergency stockpile system, and to continue supporting the urban search and rescue team. A letter will be sent to local governments in B.C. to seek support for the resolution at this year’s convention.