Re: Courtenay’s core.
Courtenay council seems to have difficulty connecting the dots.
Last week the mayor was quoted as saying that the struggling businesses in the city core are a real complicated thing. Perhaps less so then one might think.
In the same week, we learned that council has asked staff to draw up a plan for a new 5,000-people subdivision lying within and partially outside city boundaries.
The continued approval of large residential subdivisions outside of the core in combination with large shopping malls in between these subdivisions and the downtown, has robbed the core of much its business and vitality. What should be the vibrant heart of the city, and indeed the Valley, is being atrophied by council’s own policies.
How about challenging your planning staff to figure out what would be required to house 5,000 people within and as close to the existing core as possible? Conceivably this could result in a Core Local Area Plan, based on a town centre living concept.
Small lot single family, townhouses, duplexes, midrise condominiums and mixed use buildings with pedestrian and bicycle connections to retail and business would all be part of the new core. New zoning and subdivision regulations, reallocation of excessive road space, civic investments in amenities and beautification would be an integral part of this new core area strategy.
Not only would town centre living meet Council’s sustainability agenda, it would also allow Courtenay to create a niche in Vancouver Island’s languishing new home market by offering an alternative lifestyle to the homogenous subdivisions, distinguished only by view, golf course or proximity to big box store.
The proposed tinkering with taxes and carrying on with the same old policies will not save the core. Without a bold, visionary approach to the downtown, Westworld magazine’s somewhat unflattering description of the Comox Valley as a “tangle of suburbs and box stores” is closer then we think.