There won’t be any development near Stotan Falls any time soon.
After a lengthy meeting Tuesday, the Comox Valley Regional District board approved a staff recommendation to deny 3L Developments’ application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) in order to create a new settlement node. The company had hoped to create a riverfront community near Stotan Falls. The proposal included about 1,100 homes and a 250-acre park.
Directors Bob Wells (Courtenay), Barbara Price (Comox), Gwyn Sproule (Cumberland), Rod Nichol (Area B), Curtis Scoville (alternate Area C director) and Bruce Jolliffe (Area A/board chair) favoured the recommendation. Those opposed were Comox director Ken Grant, and Courtenay directors Larry Jangula, Manno Theos and Erik Eriksson.
“To stop before we start is not honourable,” Eriksson said.
Grant agreed, noting 3L has twice won court decisions after challenging the district about due process. Scoville, however, thinks it’s a bad idea to gather further information from one applicant to question the RGS — which he feels is a different process.
The RGS establishes that 90 per cent of future growth in the Valley be directed to core areas (Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland), Settlement Expansion Areas adjacent to municipalities, and three settlement nodes of Mount Washington, Saratoga Miracle Beach and Union Bay. The remaining 10 per cent is for rural areas. 3L lands are mostly rural.
3L had requested an extension for additional time to prepare new information.
“I believe this project has massive public interest,” said Mark Holland of Holland Planning Innovations. “We would like time to engage these discussions.”
Several members of the public were also allowed to share their opinions about 3L’s project.
“It’s a beautiful setting for a settlement node,” said Gladys Schmidt, who lives near Stotan. “We risk to lose more than we stand to gain (if the application is turned down).”
Kathleen Pitt, representing 3L, said the process has seen backroom deals, lies and corruption of politicians. Sproule called a point of order regarding slanderous comments about elected officials. Pitt apologized.
Lisa Christensen said 3L’s “difficult behaviour” has made it difficult to trust the company.
Last year, 3L president Dave Dutcyvich had a toll booth installed near Stotan Falls on Duncan Bay Main, but decided this year to take it down. He had also planned last year to charge people wanting to access Stotan, but has since had a change of heart.
Dutcyvich has owned the property for about 12 years. He can still re-apply to amend the RGS.