Mural project brightens downtown Courtenay

The Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association is requesting money from the City to support a mural project.

The Downtown Courtenay BIA has made a funding request to the City to cover some of the expenses associated with this mural.

The Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association is requesting $5,000 from the City to support the mural project on the side of the Golden Carriage building near Fifth and Fitzgerald.

Painted by local artists Alex Witcombe and Nick Hutton-Jay, the collage-style mural honours the Leung family who operated a grocery and diner for decades in downtown Courtenay. A fundraising push is underway to cover costs to help the artists proceed. So far, about $10,000 of $20,000 has been raised.

•Tax exemption

Amethyst House — a recovery centre for women needing treatment for substance use and addiction — will receive a full tax exemption, with gaming funds covering 60 per cent.

The facility’s property taxes for 2017 are estimated at $3,984. Council had previously approved a $1,591 exemption, which left a difference of $2,393. The use of gaming funds negates any impact on the overall property tax burden of Courtenay residents.

Before a permissive tax policy was developed, a men’s facility offering similar services was granted a 100 per cent property tax exemption.

•No vaping

Council endorsed the Canadian Cancer Society’s recommendation to the Province to expand the scope of B.C.’s Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act to prohibit use of vapers in outdoor public places such as patios and parks.

“It’s a huge public health concern and a drain on our system,” said Hillian, a former smoker.

•Revitalizing plan

Courtenay council adopted an action plan to revitalize the downtown core. Emerging from a design charette process, a ‘playbook’ defines short- to mid-term revitalization tools and strategies, and describes projects that could help achieve a community vision for downtown. One idea is to create a ‘Duncan Commons,’ a central location framed by the library and art gallery. Mayor Larry Jangula sees some good and bad points with this idea. In time, he thinks some of the proposals could happen, but there’s only so much money in the pot.

Coun. Doug Hillian considers the plan an opportunity to create something enduring.

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