The public will have a chance to let Courtenay council know what it thinks of an alternate off-site trail in the South Courtenay area.
Tuesday, Councillors moved a proposed amended version of the phased development agreement between the City and Buckstone Investments to the public hearing stage. The public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, April 16 at City Hall (830 Cliffe Ave.)
The development agreement lays out provisions for the residential development, which will be phased in over time and feature about 300 properties when complete. The development is located on more than 70 acres of land in the Fraser Road and Comox Logging Road area of South Courtenay.
According to a report from Courtenay’s manager of planning Ian Buck, the proposed amendments relate to the relocation of the sanitary sewer lift station, minor changes to water infrastructure regarding pipe diameters — and would give the developer an alternate route option for the off-site trail in the agreement.
The alternate option would go along Beachwood Road to the foreshore before heading north to Millard Road and connecting to the existing Courtenay Riverway South trail.
The original option would contribute to the Rails With Trails project that is expected to one day see a trail from Courtenay to Victoria next to the railway tracks on the E&N corridor.
The developer’s “feeling is if they construct that portion of the rail line (trail) that it’s really a trail, at this point, to nowhere,” noted Buck in his verbal report.
Leaving the agreement open for Buckstone to decide which off-site trail option it would like to do concerned Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard.
“That one is one that makes me a little bit anxious,” she said, noting she sees the alternate option may benefit the community more than the original option, but it may not be what the community wants.
“If the community is interested in the E&N Rails With Trails connecting Island-wide, if that is the greater community interest, it becomes not our choice (if it’s left up to the developer in the agreement).”
Coun. Jon Ambler noted the importance of the Rails With Rails project and pointed out the public hearing is a chance for the community to make itself heard.
Coun. Bill Anglin said creating a loop with the alternate trail makes more sense to him than the original trail proposal.
He added the Rails With Trails project will likely go ahead whether a developer pays for it or not as Courtenay, the Island Corridor Foundation and Courtenay are partners in the project — whereas the alternate trail likely wouldn’t go ahead with a developer paying for it.