Cameron Yee’s vision of a waterfront area is starting to develop on the dock at the Courtenay Slough. Scott Stanfield photo

Business owner envisions Granville Island concept at Courtenay Slough

Cameron Yee would like to create a community space with food, arts and culture

A Comox Valley business owner has a vision to develop a waterfront area with food trucks and artisans on the dock at the Courtenay Slough, next to Simms Millennium Park.

Cameron Yee, who owns the White Whale Restaurant and the former Courtenay Car Centre on 5th Street, would like to create a community space in Courtenay, based around a “Granville Island of the Comox Valley” theory, if the dock comes up for sale.

The Comox Valley Harbour Authority manages the Courtenay Slough, which is leased from the Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Small Craft Harbours program — which aims to transfer ownership of harbours to a third party. The authority confirmed that the harbour is on the divestiture list.

“We have this area here that’s the heart of town, and it needs to be brought back to the community,” said Yee, noting the lack of water frontage in the city. “Our goal is to try to create as much food, and arts and culture as we could in this space.”

He hopes to make some arrangements with First Nations, and work together on a community project that would allow for cultural expression and micro-businesses on the dock, such as kayak rentals and eating areas.

Ideally, a circular loop that connects the dock area with the park will be created.

“We’ve offered the city a bike path through here,” Yee said. “Just try to give it to the people of Courtenay. There’s so many people moving here, but we’re building this for the people that live here.”

The model of food trucks/community space comes from Oregon, where Yee lived in recent years.

“With COVID now, food trucks have a lot more importance.”

The Phat Parrot and Pupuseria Las Gemelas food trucks are already operating at the dock, where Yee has installed a covered area with three picnic tables.

He envisions the space coming alive on weekends when the weather is nice. When power is installed, he plans to move the food carts to the back side against the road, and have more seating against the slough.

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Comox Valley Record