I was pleased to note that the majority of Council chose to heed city staff advice on this issue and vote to retain the 11th Street property as a third crossing option.
An option that would create no further riparian zone destruction along the Courtenay River, nor impact the estuary, is the 17th Street Bridge twinning/expansion possibility. This would keep the traffic flow farther south than 11th Street, as desired by the mayor. It is difficult to fathom why this option does not appear to be on anyone’s radar but I understand that it has been considered by our provincial highways branch in the past, and I believe it warrants further investigation.
In a perfect world, where the Comox Valley has a sustainable transportation plan in place, I would agree with the mayor that the chances of building a third bridge would be highly unlikely, at least in the foreseeable future. However, the Valley population continues to grow and, unfortunately, the major planning focus continues to centre on the automobile. Far too little consideration is given to adequately resourcing alternatives, such as a convenient public transportation system, complete streets with safe and separate pedestrian/cycling lanes and higher density urban development.
I would urge all local decision makers to cast their eyes a generation or two down the road, start thinking outside the box, and be proactive in ensuring that there continues to be a high quality of life for our grandchildren and beyond.