The needs of Comox’s aging community and keeping youth around are key issues for Mayor Paul Ives in 2012.
“There are some things that we’ve got to pay attention to, our aging community, what are our youth going to be involved with, how can we engage them, and then also in terms of health, making sure that the health services component of our community is maintained going forward,” said Ives.
The possibility of a new hospital being built near North Island College is something that Ives said will be on his mind in 2012.
“We’re seeing what will happen with that, if a hospital does in fact, a new one, gets built out by North Island College then we’ll have to make sure that the health services that we have in our community aren’t diminished,” explained Ives. “There’ll have to be a new role played by St. Joe’s and of course by all the medical practitioners who have their offices in Comox, we’d like to see them stay.”
Ives added that Comox’s aging community strengthens the need for good medical service nearby.
However, he said another important goal for the Town of Comox will be keeping youth in town. He hopes building developments bringing new business to town will help do this by creating more jobs.
He said the 62-unit waterfront hotel project will help do that.
“It’ll create some jobs in the service industry, obviously the hospitality,” said Ives. “We have a high school here that has a province renowned hospitality training program so a lot of those graduates go off to other places, so it’ll be nice for some of them to stay here.”
Ives said the last he heard, construction of the $18 million project is expected to begin this spring.
He also looks forward to the addition of the Harbour Centre on Church Street at Beaufort Avenue; land is already being cleared on site and construction is set to begin in 2012. The development will be home to a 14-unit condominium and a retail unit.
“That will provide more of a commercial retail focus to the downtown as well, which we’d like to see,” he said.
Ives also said he hopes something will be done with Lorne Hotel site, which has been vacant since fire destroyed the building earlier this year. However, he said nothing has happened so far.
Moving development projects along a faster pace is something Ives wants to continue to do in 2012.
“We’ve streamlined our process to a four-day turnaround for those builders who complete a check-list,” said Ives. “We’d like to also streamline our rezoning and development process – that’s something staff will be working on – so when developments come forward, try to assist them and allow them to be achieved in as short a timeframe as possible with public input.”
Ives said council will be starting things off in the New Year by planning the five-year budget.
“That’ll be the first thing I think that council will probably want to sink their teeth into. We’ll get going on that probably February/March,” said Ives. “Everyone will want to make sure that we’ve got a good budget going forward.”