In 2004, having lost my husband suddenly two years earlier, I decided to downsize and move to Comox.
Living in Royston for 14 years, we thought Comox seemed a perfect place to spend one’s retirement years. Comox had a mall with a grocery store, hair salon, dress shops, and restaurant, with a seniors’ centre, library and other services nearby, not to mention the Pier, Filberg Park and lovely beaches.
I don’t drive, so I chose a condo a couple of blocks from downtown. However, in the next few years in the mall a bulk supermarket replaced the grocery store and several businesses, finding the rents too high, moved out.
In the seven years since I moved here, the mall has become half empty, the library has moved to a location down the hill. For a senior, getting to it or the seniors’ centre in winter can involve a difficult walk.
A bulk food store is not the best option for servicing older couples or single people downtown. We could definitely use a hardware store, shoe store, and other services which existed in the past.
With even our landmark hotels gone, the town seems to have lost its identity. Courtenay puts out an About Town supplement, telling about all their retail stores, services, etc. Those of us who make our homes in Comox don’t want to see our downtown services disappear and have the town become a bedroom community for Courtenay.
Comox has always had a charming “little village by the sea” quality, which was unique. Other communities on Vancouver Island have recognized and appreciated unique features of their towns and taken steps to maintain them.
Can our mayor and council not try to put some incentives in place to maintain our town’s character and still attract the people and businesses that care about this?
I would be interested in hearing whether other residents care about these things and also in having the Town council address these issues and tell the taxpayers what is being done.
Editor’s note: as well as publishing About Town, the Comox Valley Record distributes its Comox counterpart, Comox by the Sea, twice each year.