What do you envision for the future of the Arden Road neighbourhood?
The City of Courtenay is inviting the community to provide input on the Arden Local Area Plan through an online survey, available at www.ardenroadconcepts.ca. Hard copies are also available at City Hall. The deadline to complete the survey is November 13.
The survey is just one part of a public consultation process that began earlier this year. Workshops were held in July and September to develop goals and ideas, and then refine concepts.
“The City really appreciates the public’s participation in the planning process for this unique area,” said Peter Crawford, director of development services. “The people who have come out to the workshops have been very engaged and have given much of their time to ensure their views and values are being heard. We’re now at a phase where we need clarification on some finer points of the plan.”
Local Area Plans (LAPs) are a commonly used tool to implement neighbourhood-specific land-use goals. While a large portion of the Arden neighbourhood is not currently within city limits, it has been identified in the Regional Growth Strategy as a “Settlement Expansion Area” – earmarked for potential future incorporation into the City. The boundaries for the Arden LAP include both sides of Arden Road from the Comox Valley Parkway to approximately Bood Road.
The draft plan, also available online, identifies the key issues and questions raised by workshop participants including appropriate housing densities and building styles, designing for a growing number of families in the area, sensitively working around the wet soil conditions, and calming traffic on major roads.
The draft plan and survey provide numerous examples of ways to accommodate new development in the area, while retaining neighbourhood character. One example is small-lot single family homes that are serviced by laneways with car parking at the rear. These can add housing while avoiding the ‘garage and parking’ façade of many conventional suburban neighbourhoods. Carriage homes and carefully designed tri-plexes that look like large single family homes are other options for the area.
The environment, traffic calming and a more defined trail network were priorities raised by local residents. “The plan proposes a trail along Arden, Cumberland and Lake Trail Roads to accommodate the avid walkers in the area who feel the current road situation is unsafe,” stated Crawford. “Roundabouts are included as options to slow traffic. Maintaining well connected greenspace is a critical design element, protecting both the environment and neighbourhood character.”
The LAP will have to be adopted by Council before it can be included in the Official Community Plan (OCP). Once adopted, it will provide guidance on how land use will take shape in the Arden area over time.
All residents are invited to fill out the questionnaire, regardless of where they live in the City. “So far, consultation has mostly included residents of the Arden area. We want other residents to provide some input into the plan, as this neighbourhood is part of our larger community,” noted Crawford.
A final public meeting to discuss the results of the survey and the plan’s recommendations will be announced in November.
For more information, visit www.ardenroadconcepts.ca, contact the Planning Department at 250-334-4441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— City of Courtenay