EDITORIAL: Caught in the Stotan squeeze

How would you feel if total strangers walked or drove through your property, or stopped to enjoy themselves?

How would you feel if total strangers walked or drove through your property, or stopped to enjoy themselves?

You probably wouldn’t like it. You might even post No Trespassing signs and maybe even hire security, especially if you were worried about somebody injuring themselves and suing you in this Age of Litigation.

OK, that’s one perspective about the current controversy surrounding Stotan Falls and surrounding area.

The other is from the people who have dipped themselves in the Puntledge River there for decades.

Or driven across the skinny little bridge on the Comox Logging Road, saving a lot of time by not having to take the long way around to the Inland Highway and Forbidden Plateau.

Those are not good legal arguments, but the common people who see No Trespassing signs springing up on treasured wilderness recreation spots around the region are not in the mood for legal arguments.

For evidence of that, a Save Stotan Falls website has generated more than 3,700 likes since it was created April 1.

David Dutcyvich’s Nanaimo-based 3L Developments owns 385 acres, on which it wants to create a riverfront community at the confluence of the Puntledge and Browns rivers.

The Comox Valley Regional District says the project is not in synch, at least at this time, with the Regional Growth Strategy.

Curiously, 3L has gone from claiming it offered to give land to the CVRD, although it’s likely strings were attached to that offer, to trying to sell the property to the CVRD for $9 million.

And a concern about liability has arisen — since the CVRD has twice declined to bless the project.

The CVRD board is rightly concerned about how the development would impact surrounding resource lands and agricultural areas.

In the meantime, are people who love the area and the shortcut being caught in the squeeze as 3L applies duress to the CVRD by closing the area to the public?


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