Re: Three councillors support public over entrance to Comox.
Couns. Patti Fletcher, Barbara Price and Hugh MacKinnon are to be applauded for listening and caring for the citizens of Comox. Their compassion and sensitivity to public concerns over the entrance to our town is very much appreciated.
Patti Fletcher eloquently stated, “It didn’t take long to recognize how important the trees and Comox hill are for the community, and I don’t think we near heard the full story at the public hearing. I think our entire community values that hill — it’s our front door.”
An upset builder appears to be a greater concern for Ken Grant. He commented, “When we get a developer that comes into town and he complies with our OCP and he goes through all the professional reports … I think there’s a deal that we have to look at as a council and say, ‘Boy, we put the guy through the wringer.”
What about the wringer such developers are putting the public through?
In this example, the natural beauty of our town entrance will be destroyed. This project didn’t comply with our OCP. Council modified it to meet the builder’s needs.
The Church Street corridor and Comox town entrance are both examples where developers have had Comox council change the OCP to maximize their profits. Both of these projects significantly erode the attractiveness of Comox.
Tom Grant states, “We do listen to the people when they come to talk at the public hearing, but we also have to take into consideration all the other things such as staff reports and the professionals that have been hired and have given us reports.”
It is the public you were elected to support. Staff makes recommendations and you represent the interests of the citizens of Comox.
The speakers at the public meeting were not just talking, they were well-informed, well-researched and spoke clearly on their opposition to the proposal.
Mayor Paul Ives noted when he looked at the drawings and heard about this development he believed it was going to be a suitable use of the property. “To go back and ask the developer to reconfigure it, I don’t think would achieve what we’re trying to do with the (official community plan).”
I am wondering who is the “we” the mayor is referring to in this statement. There is no community in the plan when four people can change it at the request of an outside developer.
When the citizens are divided on an issue of public interest, the council is faced with a decision that will upset some of the citizenry they represent. When an elected council is faced with a decision between an entrepreneur and the public at large, the choice should be obvious.
The zeal with which a few members of council and staff stand behind developers over public interest is disgraceful. Despite all common sense, it is now up to a builder to establish what “Welcome to Comox” will look like.