3L Developments has closed its land around Stotan Falls, which had been a popular swimming hole in the Comox Valley. File photo

LETTER – ‘Losing’ Stotan Falls would be tragic

Dear editor,

WARNING: The Comox Valley is on the verge of losing a spectacular park, and the loss would be tragic.

Local politicians (with a few exceptions) by their actions/inactions seem prepared to walk away from the gift of 140 acres of riverfront park along the Puntledge and Browns River including Stotan Falls.

Many of these politicians have only lived here a few years and have not experienced growing up in the Comox Valley or living here for decades. They don’t share the fond memories every summer of going to various swimming holes or the joy of sharing the trails along our local rivers with their children or grandchildren. One of those favorite spots has always been Stotan Falls!

Some of these politicians seem caught up in fighting the “bad developer” – trying to exchange the spectacular riverfront property on the Puntledge and Brown rivers for rezoning on a small portion of the remaining property.

This fantastic location has been in private hands for decades. Fortunately, prior to the age of increased litigation, the previous owners did not prevent people from accessing the property and enjoying the swimming holes.

If some real compromise is not made between the developer and local politicians, this land might be sold off to many private landholders (several separate titles) or the land might be clear cut and a huge amount of gravel deposits extracted leaving a moonscape for decades.

Why are the politicians and their staff working so hard trying to stonewall this developer and his request for Regional Growth Strategy amendments? Amendments should be expected and will occur as any community continues to grow. People should know that the current proposal from the developer moves the subdivision from north of the Puntledge to south of the river (next to the City of Courtenay Powerhouse Road area). This area is already designated as a future growth node. I wish politicians and staff would have extended the same effort coming up with some compromise to acquire the 140-acre park as they have fighting the proposal.

The compromise might be an outright purchase of the total property, rezoning, etc. or some combination thereof.

Politicians with vision should be sincerely and quickly putting their efforts into how we can tie this park into part of a walkway from Goose Spit to Comox Lake.

Let’s quit focusing on the developer’s application to amend the RGS and start looking at the local government’s acquisition of a spectacular park. One that would possibly rival Seal Bay Park.

For the benefit of all the Valley why wouldn’t the regional district and the three municipalities put together a committee to negotiate the acquisition of the Stotan Falls Park? The present politicians could go down in history as the ones who saved Stotan Falls as a legacy for the future!

Murray Presley,

Courtenay

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