City of Courtenay staff has made some good recommendations lately, and council has made some wise decisions.
A decision to encourage downtown business owners to improve their storefronts would have the most visible outcome.
The Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association started the ball rolling with its Façade Improvement Program. Business and building owners can be reimbursed for up to half of storefront improvement costs to a maximum of $5,000.
City council unanimously gave the first three readings to a bylaw amendment that would reduce development permit fees for renovations in the downtown core from $1,000 to $100.
• Councillors also followed a staff recommendation to decline an opportunity to operate a district energy system to service buildings in the Lerwick and Ryan roads area.
It might make good sense to create a mini-grid to power buildings like North Island College, Queneesh Elementary School and the Aquatic Centre as well as the new hospital in a rapidly developing sector of the city.
However, the City is not experienced at operating such a system. Councillors were correct to stick with the full plate the municipality already has.
• Some might argue municipalities have no place in reducing global warming. The reality is that all of us – not just federal and provincial governments, but each person can do our part.
The City just issued its first State of the Environment Report with updates on targets for air quality, water consumption, transportation, land use, waste, and energy.
One important target is the City’s commitment to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
• When the provincial Ministry of Transportation and federal Fisheries and Oceans played the not-our-jurisdiction card, Courtenay took action.
City workers dragged a derelict boat out of the Courtenay River, a responsible and laudable act.