I have followed with interest the attempts by 3L Developments to convince the Comox Valley Regional District to amend the Regional Growth Strategy and allow them to develop a housing project in the area of Stotan Falls.
The carrot 3L keeps holding out, to entice those who will vote on this amendment, is that they will leave half of the area as a park.
This might be a nice amenity in this area, however in order to get the park we would have to allow the building of a subdivision that would include approximately 700 homes. The infrastructure that is required to service that many homes would put immense strain on the district for the provision of water, sewer, gas, electrical, and roads. Even when the developer pays for the upfront costs, the ongoing maintenance costs would fall to the regional district which is already spending increasing amounts of money maintaining our existing infrastructure. And I do not believe 3L is interested in building “affordable” housing or rental housing, which are the greatest needs in the Comox Valley.
Before the project gets much further there is a process that must be followed which is mandated by the provincial regulations related to Regional Growth Strategies (which are a requirement of every regional district in B.C.). One of the steps in the process is the provision for a public hearing. Although this is optional (under the amendment regulations), I urge the CVRD directors to plan for public hearings before moving forward with any amendments.
One of the purposes of the RGS was to identify areas for future housing/commercial development and to avoid urban sprawl invading our more rural areas. There is still plenty of room within the existing municipal core settlement areas and the settlement expansion areas (as laid out in the RGS document) to provide affordable and rental housing for the residents of the Comox Valley. It is time for the CVRD directors to hold fast to the Regional Growth Strategy and not be seduced by the promise of a “park.”