Courtenay council gave third reading Monday to a bylaw calling for a four per cent property tax increase. Two per cent would support general operations, 1.5 per cent infrastructure renewal and .5 per cent capital projects.
Pending adoption, the yearly tax increase for an average property valued at $301,500 is estimated at $48. The average increase to a commercial property worth $689,600 is estimated at $184.
Mayor Larry Jangula is pleased that gaming revenue will continue to fund two of the 30.4 full-time equivalent RCMP members funded by the City.
More than $3 million of Building Canada Grant money has been provided for the Complete Streets project slated for the next four years. The City has also re-applied to Building Canada for about $2 million to help paint the Fifth Street Bridge — a $3.7 million project slated for 2017.
The City received two emails from the public about a draft of Courtenay’s five-year financial plan.
•Liquor retailers hope council will consider implementing a one kilometre-distance rule between new liquor outlets. They are also requesting a bylaw that would maintain the kilometre regulation for all liquor retailers in place when considering a private liquor store licence.
Jeff Lucas, general manager at Cascadia Liquor Store, addressed council as a representative of local liquor retailers, who feel government policy changes could have a negative impact on the city. In Courtenay, they say each grocery store that could potentially sell alcohol already has a private or government liquor store within 100 metres.
Under new rules, food/liquor stores can have alcohol on the shelves with unrestricted access to all patrons regardless of age.
Coun. David Frisch suggested that limiting store sales to BC wines might be a good thing.
“This isn’t about winning and losing,” Lucas said. “This is about choosing what’s right for your community.”
Mayor Larry Jangula said the issue is provincially-mandated.
“It (request) puts us in a really tough spot,” he said.
•The Comox Valley continues to be a relatively safe place to work and live, RCMP Insp. Tim Walton said in a presentation. In Courtenay, police received 420 fewer calls for service in the past year compared to the same period in 2014/15. Harassment, and business break and enters have also trended downward in the City and the entire Valley. On the other hand, assaults, robbery, auto and bike theft, fraud and shoplifting have risen in Courtenay and the Valley as a whole. Theft from vehicles was down in Courtenay but up in the Valley.
In terms of violent crime, Walton said most assault suspects are known to the victims. Of 12 sexual assault files, just one was a possible “stranger assault.”