Time running out to bid on controversial downtown Courtenay property

Potential buyers will have just over a month to make an offer on some controversial property in downtown Courtenay.

Potential buyers will have just over a month to make an offer on some controversial property in downtown Courtenay.

Three lots at Cliffe Avenue and 10th Street bought by the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) in 2010 for emergency shelter/supportive housing purposes recently transferred officially into the City of Courtenay’s hands.

Mayor Larry Jangula confirmed council voted to sell these properties during last week’s ‘in-camera’ meeting, and offers will be accepted until May 17. The lots are appraised at $355,000.

The properties have been the subject of controversy since they were bought by the CVRD — some people supported having an emergency shelter/supportive housing project in that location and some didn’t — and the fate of the properties was uncertain for a long time.

Jangula has been publicly against having an emergency shelter or supportive housing in Courtenay’s downtown core and he’s pleased to see clarity coming for area business owners.

“I would just like to see this whole cloud come off that area,” says Jangula. “I mean, the business community is suffering a lot already and this hasn’t helped really, the uncertainty, and I would just like to see them be able to move forward.”

Courtenay received the land from the CVRD with the clause that if Courtenay chose to sell the land, the proceeds would be used to assist with developing an emergency shelter and/or supportive housing project elsewhere. The CVRD also passed along a $100,000 grant from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, which Courtenay will lump in with the sale proceeds.

Jangula says the new project will not be an emergency shelter.

“Quite honestly, when you look at all the things out there I mean, I think that what people really need is housing — a shelter doesn’t do anything other than shelter you for three days,” he says. “So what we’re trying to do is get the Province to build some form of subsidized housing, which is, in the longterm, much more beneficial.”

He’s careful to note this kind of service is not in the City’s mandate, but any proceeds and the $100,000 grant will be set aside to help with some form of housing project.

He notes the City has it’s eye on a couple of properties it would like to buy for this purpose. While he can’t say exactly where they are, he notes they are “near downtown” and “certainly within an area that would be reasonable.”

Detlef Kunz, who owns property adjacent to the City’s Cliffe Avenue lots, has offered to purchase part of the properties in the past. He sited an urgent need for parking in the area.

Kunz was listed on the Courtenay council agenda this week to “address possible alternatives for the proposed sale of the vacant land next to our building at 841 Cliffe…which would include a parking solution…”

He didn’t show up at the meeting Monday but later told the Record, it was a timing misunderstanding and he plans to present his proposal at the April 15 meeting.


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