Opinion

Downtown revitalization plan should include the resurrection of the Lorne

Dear Editor,

How many times have you heard a person say, “Why didn’t somebody tell me?”

Well, I’m telling you now.

The Comox town planning department and Comox town council have devised the Comox Downtown Vitalization Plan. It contains monetary incentives for developers through tax breaks and building permit cost reductions. It encourages more than four-storey building development by offering greater cash breaks for higher buildings. While our OCP (created in consultation with the citizens of Comox) stipulates that building height be no higher than three storeys, this new plan not only removes height restrictions completely, it actually encourages developers to submit proposals for higher buildings.

Last week a developer unveiled his plan for a five-storey building on the old Lorne Hotel site. This event was called a Public Open House but only a few select people were invited, I suspect mostly individuals hoping to benefit from what they like to call “density.”

Surrounded by faithful fans, the developer was able to report how “very happy” six out of seven people were with the plan. The comments I have heard about the proposal have not been positive: “just another commercial building”, “uninspiring”, “cheap.”

Many Comox citizens have expressed their wish that the old Lorne Hotel be rebuilt as it was, to recreate and honour a wonderful piece of Comox history, a landmark that had been with us since 1878 until 2011 when it was destroyed by fire.

The developer’s five-storey plan will soon be presented to council, which has four of its seven members involved in or with close ties to real estate and/or development.

Guess how that vote will turn out?

This time instead of saying, “They’ve done it to us again,” let’s use the power we have – our voices, our numbers and our passion – to get what we want. Let’s tell our town council that we would like to build a replica of one of the few historical buildings we had left.

If anyone is interested in talking about their vision of Comox please contact me at comoxvision@gmail.com.

Marilyn Machum

Comox

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