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Courtenay annexation applications heading to Victoria

Courtenay will send off applications to annex four areas in the Comox Valley Regional District to the Province after council gave the green light Monday.

South Courtenay, Beaver Meadow Farms/Beaver Meadow Cranberry Corporation off Anderton Road, Baptist Church on Lake Trail Road and Crown Isle-owned Lannan Lands (also known as Lannan Forest) on Lannan Road are the four areas the City plans to take in.

City director or development services Peter Crawford noted the City must consider future growth including expansion and densification.

"We're looking at future growth for the city and being able to manage the future of the city, managing our infrastructure, and this will occur through densification and expansion of city boundaries," he said. "There are a lot of items that have come before council where we are looking to densify and we will continue to do that."

Courtenay used alternative approval processes to receive elector approval, which means at least 10 per cent of electors within the city, (not in the areas where the proposed expansion would occur), must call for a referendum for one to happen.

The number of electors did not reach 10 per cent for any of the areas: 25 responses were received for South Courtenay, 36 for Beaver Meadows, 11 for Baptist Church and 36 for Lannan Lands.

Crawford again noted all applications except for South Courtenay, were applicant-driven. He added the South Courtenay expansion has been in the works for about 1.5 years — plenty of community outreach was done and 60 per cent of resident responses were in favour, according to Crawford.

He noted sewer servicing of the area via the development by Buckstone Investments Ltd. was a main driver for the expansion as well as concern around failing septic systems on some of the 100 properties in the expansion area.

Coun. Jon Ambler noted the safety of the Baynes Sound shellfish industry has been discussed at the Comox Valley Regional District lately, and he would be happy to see city sewer service in the area as failing septic systems are a threat to Baynes Sound.

"I think this process of us putting in sewer and getting ahead of the septic tank system is exactly the way we should be going," he said.

Meanwhile, Couns. Doug Hillian and Ronna-Rae Leonard said they would rather vote on moving these boundary extensions forward separately because they did not want to vote in favour of the annexation of Lannan Lands.

"On the issue of the Lannan Forest, I continue to see that the best way forward is to have requirements of property owners who wish to come into the city to achieve a high level of environmental protection before they are considered for annexation," she said citing the controversial logging of that land years ago.

Coun. Bill Anglin pointed out the land is sitting idle, adding the debate is about whether the land should come into the city, not whether it should have been logged.

Leonard later clarified.

"I haven't said that we shouldn't annex this property now; I said we should do it but subject to certain requirements," she said.

Council voted to proceed with all four boundary extensions with Leonard and Hillian opposed.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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