Courtenay council approved first reading for a subdivision proposal in the western boundary of the city.
Rosebery Investments of West Vancouver hopes to build a 39-unit mix of triplex, duplex and single family units on a six-acre site at Copperfield Road.
The proposal — which sits on a heavily treed property containing clusters of second- and third-growth forest, and wetlands — has drawn numerous complaints from neighbours.
A Swanson Street resident worries that a rare species of salamander would be destroyed if the homes are built. Another suggests that further congestion in the area will cause greater difficulty to safely cross the intersection at Cumberland and Arden roads.
A Copperfield Road resident, who is a developer/building contractor, said the area’s non-conforming roadway and infrastructure does not support a zoning change. The resident also said the wetlands/riparian habitat is a critical wildlife corridor that cannot support the proposed level of density.
“This proposal, in my opinion, is clearly irresponsible…This is not the Lower Mainland.”
A Steele Crescent resident favours the development because it would help densify the area and create more affordable housing options.
Coun. Manno Theos takes the ‘affordable housing’ sentiment with a grain of salt because council inevitably hears the term in presentations from developers, but does not hear the numbers.
In a presentation at the Oct. 5 meeting, architect James Tuer said the proponents feel the project would foster an “inter-connected neighbourhood” that encourages cycling and “living a little softer on the land.” The proposal includes on-street parking, which he said would slow traffic.
Development consultant Tim Nye questions if residents would even know the development exists when construction is complete.
Second reading of the rezoning application depends on council’s consideration of an agreement to finance the cost of a waterline extension to the property to provide adequate water services.
“It would be a tough sell to the public to say that we’re spending a million dollars to enable one development to happen,” Coun. David Frisch said.