The CVRD office in Courtenay

The CVRD office in Courtenay

Trial date approaches for owner of unsightly properties in Comox Valley

The Comox Valley Regional District initiated provincial court prosecutions last year against three properties owned by Amandio Santos, with an upcoming trial date of April 29 and 30.

“These prosecutions are to address building violations, zoning issues (primarily occupancy RVs) and the overall condition of the properties through the Unsightly Premises Bylaw,” Amanda Yasinski, manager of bylaw compliance, said during a report at the March 8 Electoral Area Services meeting.

Two of the Santos-owned properties are in Fanny Bay and one is located in Black Creek.

Santos and his company, River Dam Holdings, Inc. are also in court on March 10 to address a slew of Comox Valley bylaw offences. A pre-trial conference is booked for the morning session at the Courtenay Law Courts to address 17 bylaw infractions in the region. Santos is also appearing on March 11 to confirm a trial date for a charge of assault causing bodily harm.

READ: Comox Valley Regional District initiates legal action against property owner

Affordable housing on Denman Island

A 2013 study found that 120 people living on Denman Island — more than 10 per cent of its population — are in need of affordable housing. The study also found that 66 per cent of renters are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter, which meets the definition of unaffordable.

The Denman Housing Association has secured an offer at a central location, named Denman Green, that could accommodate 20 housing units. The group estimates an immediate funding shortfall of $10,000, which is why it is asking for support from the district.

In the longer term, the association has plans for a rainwater harvesting system that will conserve groundwater and provide a more reliable source as climate change results in shorter, wetter winters, increased runoff and less replenishment of groundwater sources.

“There is good science behind this progressive approach to supplying multi-family and multi-use buildings of all kinds with potable water,” association chair Simon Palmer said in a presentation. “Denman Green could well prove a leader in this.”

The estimated cost of the system is $200,000.

Area A director Daniel Arbour agrees the Denman Green site contains all the elements to make for a successful project. He noted the CVRD Housing Function does not apply to Denman and Hornby.

Food Hub

In January, the CVRD and Agriculture Ministry entered into a shared cost agreement to assess the potential for establishing a financially self-supporting food hub that could be part of the emerging BC Food Hub Network. A feasibility assessment is underway. The goal is to promote collaboration between groups such as the CV Farmers’ Institute, Lush Valley and the CV Farmers Market. A report will be prepared by the end of March. A completed assessment will be delivered to the board and the ministry in June.

Roadside garbage, recycling collection

The committee recommends an Alternative Approval Process to determine whether the public wishes to establish a rural roadside garbage and recycling collection service.

A 2013 referendum rejected a proposed service. Since then, public opinion seems to have changed. A survey of about 3,000 residents indicates strong interest in establishing the service, with neighbourhood support ranging from 63 to 83 per cent in favour.

Area directors, echoing what they’re hearing from constituents, would like the AAP to happen sooner than later.