Sign up for the McPhee Meadows virtual open house on July 15.

Sign up for the McPhee Meadows virtual open house on July 15.

Draft concept plan ready for Courtenay park

A long-held vision to provide public access to a large property along the Puntledge River is one step closer to reality following broad consultation efforts with community partners and the public.

A draft concept plan for McPhee Meadows is ready for review, based on input received from K’ómoks First Nation, the original donors the McPhee family, Nature Trust BC, neighbours and the public.

McPhee Meadows is a 4.6 hectare (11.3 acre) riverfront property that was donated to the City of Courtenay and Nature Trust BC through the federal Ecological Gift Program in 2011. The donor was the late Robert McPhee, a former Courtenay mayor and long-time member of council who envisioned public access and preserving the site in perpetuity as a public green space. While the park remains closed to the public, the city looks forward to its opening in the future following completion and implementation of a concept plan.

The site is located on the south bank of the Puntledge around 4.1 kilometres upstream of the Courtenay River estuary. The land donation and plans for trail access will help secure more than 20 per cent of the estimated 2.6-kilometre Puntledge River Greenway.

The draft concept plan is available at www.courtenay.ca/mcphee

There are two opportunities to provide input:

•Sign up for a virtual open house on July 15 from 4–6 p.m.

•Send feedback by email by July 25 to rcs@courtenay.ca

The city and the Island Corridor Foundation have a Memorandum of Understanding in place that covers ICF lands along Menzies Avenue between 1st and 5th streets. These lands are considered in the plan for access to McPhee Meadows, park, and trail uses, pending confirmation of lease agreements between the partners.

Under the terms of the land donation agreement, use and maintenance of the McPhee Meadows property must follow certain guidelines. These include maintaining biodiversity and environmental heritage features such as rivers, riparian areas, trees, and eagle nests. The city retained Urban Systems to assist with preparing the concept plan.

Once finalized with potential revisions based on community input, city staff will present the concept plan to council for approval, followed by detailed design. The construction timeline is subject to funding availability through the city’s annual financial planning process.

Courtenay