Development proposal near popular Comox Valley swimming hole debated at length

A developer's proposal to construct a riverfront community near a popular Comox Valley recreation spot will remain on hold.

A developer’s proposal to construct a riverfront community near Stotan Falls will remain on hold until the regional district board clarifies details about amending the Regional Growth Strategy.

At committee of the whole Tuesday, directors referred to the next meeting a staff recommendation to deny 3L Developments’ application for a standard amendment to the RGS, which addresses land use in the Valley over the next 20 years.

The company hopes to construct homes and develop trails at the confluence of the Puntledge and Browns rivers. The district, however, has said the proposal is not in synch with the RGS. In March, the board rejected an offer to purchase the property for $9 million. The offer included Stotan Falls and Bull Island.

The company then closed two sets of gates on Duncan Bay Main and enforced No Trespassing signs at Stotan Falls, but later reopened the road in hopes of resolving the situation.

The gate closure prompted a protest at the falls to keep the popular swimming hole and hiking area open to the public.

But 3L president David Dutcyvich says he has received phone calls from people who support the project.

“The people of the Valley want this to happen,” Dutcyvich said after Tuesday’s meeting.

The United Steelworkers support the proposal.

“We need change,” Local 1-1937 president Darrel Wong states in a letter to the CVRD. “We need to create steady, long-term jobs for the kids coming out of high school.”

Over the course of a 10- to 15-year buildout, 3L plans to develop 740 lots for single-family homes and patio homes tailored for seniors. The project includes nine kilometres of trails, a parking lot and washrooms, links to public bus routes and a commercial centre that would serve Forbidden Plateau residents.

It would create about 2,500 man years of employment, translating into 150 to 180 jobs and another 80 to 95 indirect jobs, according to company spokesman Kabel Atwall.

Atwall said the recommendation to deny the application appears contrary to the March rejection letter in which CVRD board chair Edwin Grieve outlines three options, one of which is to apply to amend the RGS and go through a public process.

“We’re not here asking for a decision, just let the process unfold,” Atwall said Tuesday.

He noted a flexibility provision in the RGS, referring to the Sage Hills proposal outside the city limits that had employment potential but ultimately failed.

“I think this is one of those instances,” Atwall said. “We believe our proposal can set a positive benchmark for development in the Valley.”

The RGS, adopted two years ago, says 90 per cent of growth in the Valley is to be directed to core settlement areas.

A lack of available lots indicates a changing dynamic in the industry, says Atwall, noting the stalled Kensington and Trilogy proposals. Some directors questioned this statement.

“We’re ready to move forward,” Atwall said.

Cumberland director Roger Kishi has a hard time believing a development this size could be self-sustaining in terms of water and sewer.

While he realizes “change is inevitable,” Grieve feels the project could be a possibility in the future.

“It boils down to process,” he said, noting the ink has not dried on the RGS after about 40 meetings over two years. The process cost about $1 million, he added.

“This is the most important bylaw I would say for the entire Valley. No disrespect to the developers. This might be the best, greenest development, but right now is just not the time.”

Courtenay director Jon Ambler concurred, adding the effort by citizens during the RGS process was “like nothing I’ve seen.

“They entrusted us to look after it,” Ambler said of the document. “In five years we will know the exact value of it. Now is not the time for profound change.”

Fellow Courtenay director Bill Anglin, however, does not see how 3L’s application differs from other amendments, noting a mechanism for change within the RGS.

“We’re not here to say yes or no,” he said. ” We can’t penalize 3L or anyone if we didn’t do our homework.

“They’re asking for what’s in the document,” he added. “Time, to me, is not the ultimate criteria.”

“I’m torn here,” Courtenay director Starr Winchester said. “I’m in favour of process. I would like to hear what the public has to say.”

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Valley student’s passion project helping Cumberland forest

It took a little while for Frederica Blouin-Comeau to find her passion… Continue reading

Emailed bomb threat triggers heavy police presence at Comox Valley RV

Heavy police presence could be seen at Comox Valley RV on Ryan… Continue reading

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Help the Comox Valley RCMP ‘Cram the Cruiser’ with items for the food bank

RCMP will be onsite at the Real Canadian Superstore Saturday

Transit Rider Appreciation Day Friday in the Comox Valley

Transit riders in the Comox Valley are invited to enjoy some festive… Continue reading

UPDATE: B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Most Read