I recently attended the Official Community Plan (OCP) open house and I was shocked to discover that the future plan has absolutely no balance to it.
This should set off alarm bells for the majority of people who live here and plan to thrive here. I should state that I am all for being environmentally responsible and looking after our community before I continue.
With the whole world being hyper-sensitive and focused on climate change it appears the Comox Valley has gone to that extreme as well. This is unfortunate because a thriving, healthy community needs a good balance between developing a thriving economy, attracting new people (which requires housing), as well as a healthy environment. The disappointing part of the OCP open house was the fact that is was so one-sided and only focussed on “green” options. All questions posed to the public were designed to elicit answers about environmental issues. There was absolutely zero focus on the economy or future development unless it was a park, planting trees, bike paths, and community gather points. Perhaps I misunderstood the actual reason for the OCP; perhaps they are spending huge dollars on a consulting company to make a plan for strictly the aesthetics of our community. I took an Official Community Plan to be for the health and growth of all aspects of our community in the future.
I live in the Crown Isle community and that is one of the main reasons I reside here and am attracted to the Comox Valley. I love the sense of community it provides. It has a convenient location to everything from shopping centres, the hospital, schools, parks and green spaces, and the airport. It is an area that promotes being active with no shortage of trails and sidewalks for walking or biking. Easy walking to any shopping you may want. The clubhouse with its community events, golf and restaurants also adds a nice touch that I use often.
Then there is Cumberland; what a fantastic place, and it attracts people for a whole other host of reasons.
Have you seen the downtown core of Courtenay? Great place to utilize for so many reasons.
My point being is that people are attracted to the Comox Valley because it is incredible and offers so much to so many. Having said that, green space is great, but people are going to continue coming, as they have for over 100 years, and we need to create new developments that are in demand for living space and for business. We also need to promote our town to new businesses and new families so that we can increase the tax base to pay for all of the wishes within the community plan.
A common trait of humans is once they are personally established then they want nothing to change, forgetting they themselves caused change to others when they settled in. In short, change is constant and we have to accept that and find a good balance between green spaces, environmental practices and development.
This is our chance to help shape and steer the change that is coming to our community in the future. We need to achieve more balance than we currently have if we are going to be, and have, a successful community. That means that more people need to show up to these events such as the OCP open house and give their input to keep things in check. One city planner told me it is always the same small group of people that show up for these things so this is the input they go from.
I am hoping that this is read by at least some and it gets them motivated to participate in the planning of our community. I hope this also makes the OCP committee, city planners and city councillors perhaps have a look at things from a different angle to create a more balanced approach to all in the community.