Courtenay council chambers were packed Monday for a public hearing about an apartment complex proposal. Scott Stanfield photo

Residents speak out against apartment proposal near Courtenay hospital

Courtenay council chambers were packed Monday for a public hearing about an apartment complex proposal across from the hospital at the corner of Mission Road and Veterans Memorial Way.

Woodsmere Holdings of Victoria hopes to construct a pair of four-storey buildings at 2600 Mission Rd. Pending council approval, they will contain a combined 94 apartments: 16 three-bedrooms, 46 two-bedrooms and 32 one-bedrooms. The units are within walking distance of North Island College, Queneesh Elementary and the Comox Valley Aquatic Centre.

Several area residents spoke against the project. Some are unhappy about the height of the complex. Others are concerned about traffic congestion.

Jim Crowder, a former teacher who lives at Cascara Crescent, is deeply concerned about the safety of children, especially at crosswalks.

“I’ve seen too many issues (on roads),” Crowder said. “You’re about to have an enormous problem with the congestion. Somebody’s going to get killed there, and it’s going to be a kid.”

Murray Little questions the numbers in a traffic report presented by Woodsmere at the Nov. 4 council meeting.

“The representative said their approach is often conservative and takes the worst-case scenario,” Little said. “However, the report addresses the right-out at Mission as the minimum clearance should be 55 metres. Then they recommend 30 to 40 metres instead. That doesn’t sound like the worst-case scenario to me.

“While I agree the City needs more rental accommodation, that does not mean that safety has to be compromised to achieve this end,” Little added.

Muir Road resident Debbie Baier is also not opposed to development, but she would prefer a two-floor, townhome complex, not a four-floor apartment building.

“That’s, for me, two floors too many,” said Baier, noting the third and fourth floors will infringe on neighbours’ privacy.

“The congestion is really bothering us because our property values will go down,” said Lorraine Jankey, who backs onto the proposed development. “There’s no personal ownership because it’s rent.”

She notes another nearby development is proposing 60 rental units.

“Just two approaches on the opposite side, that’s crazy. It’s not going to be quiet. We’re just not for this particular type of development.”

“It’s too much,” Cascara resident Gary Rawlings said.

“You cannot drop all these buildings into an area like this that already has a hospital which is busy as it is. It’s on a main thoroughfare that’s taking people from Comox to go to Campbell River.”

Since there is no left-turn into the complex for those driving up Mission, Rawlings notes the presenter at the Nov. 4 meeting said commuters could turn right into the hospital, or do a U-turn at the pool.

“He’s actually telling people to commit a wrongdoing. Where does this make sense?” he said. “This is not Vancouver. These people at Walbran have nice homes. They don’t want a big commercial building stuck up in their backyard peering down at them. I would be choked. I know we need housing, but you have to place the right thing in the right area.”

Valley Vista resident Pat Dawkins lives three houses away from the proposed exit onto Veterans Memorial — which he says is a nightmare.

“I don’t think anybody’s taken that into consideration. It’s adding more problems to our exit.”

Dawkins also worries that mature trees near his home will be bulldozed.

“What about the bird life? We can’t just keep on destroying what we’ve got.”

Council will discuss the project proposal at a future meeting before voting on third reading of the application.

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