A committee of visionaries foresees a possible year-round marketplace — among other features — at the former Field Sawmill site near the 17th Street Bridge.
The approximate 8.5-acre property has been vacant about seven years.
Roger McKinnon, part owner of the Old House Village Hotel which sits across the Courtenay River from the site, started the committee a couple of years ago. The group hopes to build a three-storey parkade with 120 to 180 spots, and a walk-down amphitheatre. Other possibilities include shops, a restaurant, condominiums, a mini golf course and a bird observatory.
“This piece (of property) is such an important piece coming into the Comox Valley. It needs something on it,” said McKinnon, who started the Mayor’s Charity Golf Classic. “I guess the easiest comparison would be a Granville Island to the Coombs marketplace.”
About a quarter of the site plan is dedicated to parkland.
“This would be an individual developer or more than one developer,” McKinnon said. “The whole idea is just to get it out there.”
The site plan also includes a bridge across 19th Street.
“If you keep going without a bridge for another five years, I don’t know how you’re going to get across the 17th Street Bridge,” McKinnon said.
The site is zoned industrial, allowing for a sawmill, manufacturing, storage and heliport. It would need to be rezoned for a marketplace and condos, and would require an amendment to the Official Community Plan, according to the City of Courtenay.
There are other limitations as the property must build to floodplain levels. Setbacks to the river may also limit the overall site area.
Height limitations from the airport would be in the three- to four-storey range to keep within a five-per-cent flight line slope. Going higher would result in physical improvements being required at the airport.