My development permit for a new store on Ryan Road was recently approved by the Comox Valley Regional District. I thought it was important to share with you that my experience was far from what I expected. A few years ago we built a large commercial building in the Crown Isle commercial area. Our overall experience dealing with the City of Courtenay on that development project was challenging. I was expecting the same bureaucratic delays, green mail, signage restrictions and the like. Mr. Coulson I feel your pain.
Things were different at Regional District. Brian Chow, planner, and Alan Mullaly, manager planning services, managed the development file for the Comox Valley Regional District. They were very professional and quite supportive of our development plan. Mr. Chow was helpful in advising us of the procedures and bylaws that had to be followed. He encouraged us to ask for what we wanted and did not discourage us from making any requests for variances. Mr. Chow was also forthcoming on upcoming potential bylaw changes that would impact our development. Developments bordering on ALR would require greater setbacks that would have eaten up too much land that in turn would have made the new development impossible. This notice motivated us to accelerate our submission. This kind of transparency was unexpected but the consequences were significant.
I contacted Rod Nichol, Area B Director to discuss our project. I offered to send him the drawings for his review. Mr. Nichol offered to meet at the new location at a time convenient to me. Mr. Nichol had yet to be sworn in and took the time one early morning to visit the site. I didn’t expect such a hands-on approach. He was truly interested in the project, the overall appearance and the new jobs it would create. I see why he achieved a landslide majority in his district.
I submitted the plan in October and it was approved in January. I believe it would have been approved quicker if it wasn’t for the election and Christmas break.
The complete process was a welcome change. The CVRD Planning Department has their act together and I encourage others to build in the Regional District.
Comox Valley RV